Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Important Thing About The George Zimmerman Trial To Remember

I have not not been following this trial to have much comment. Even if I was it's a tad folly to think we can get the same impression as the people in the court room. That being said a conversation as well as a number of articles on this trial makes me want to remind folks of an important fact.

It is not enough that a juror thinks he did murder . It is not enough for a juror to think that he PROBABLY did murder. A juror must find  BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT he did murder. That is intentionally a pretty high standard that actually has a religious basis. In England of old there was problems getting jurors because Christians were thinking of that scripture about judging. The Crown 's response well wassurely if the standard is so high to convict you can't be guilty of being in violation of that scripture.  It is the State job to prove guilt not the the defense job to prove innocence.

Seems this gets overlooked a good bit. Also if one is a African American, a minority , or not one well connected which is a good bit of those that go to Court you should be invested in now lowering the standard to have a persons liberty deprived by the State.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

How Many Liberals Oppose Immigration Reform And How To Engage Them

I am all pretty pro immigration reform but as a matter of getting an important article out I wanted to post this piece A Liberal Reason To Oppose Immigration Reform .

There are a lot more T.A. Franks out there than people realize but for various reason they feel the need to be silent. A good bit of this has to do that the largely progressive forces of immigration reform that control the message are in a place where they don't encounter this views. Its class , housing patterns and economics again .

 On twitter I often come across Obama voting Republican cursing  liberals that go hey what on this immigration reform business. I also encounter that in my personal one on one talks

Some of these concerns are shared by both right and left. They will be the ones to be affected .

I think so much of this is how one views the economics of immigration. I see the long term needed pluses for our nation.  This might come from whole Republican Free Trade Free Markets mindset .However we should be aware that the folks opposing this are quite right that there might be a some significant short term cost as to $$$ ( and States are cutting budgets to the bone as it is  ) and other factors .

However in the end they are here and we are not going to deport them so we got to do something. Which is why I am never sure what the anti immigration reform alternative is.

One important point. The issue that by doing this we might just set up another wave of illegal immigration is a important one. For that reason I am not totally against having Pathway to Citizenship linked to certain border security triggers. It would give an incentive to do something  about it and something might get done.

That's also an position Catholic Justice groups might need to endorse if they want in the end a immigration bill to even get out the House.

Anyway its a sign that liberals need not to be assuming that the concerns  tooppose immigration reform are not without merit and must be engaged.

Loyola New Orleans Professor Blasts The Hypocrisy In Paula Deen Case

Prof C.W. Cannon teaches English and New Orleans Studies at Loyola University has a provocative piece on the whole Paula Deen affair. See  Media hypocrisy and the n-word: Was Paula Deen fired for her sins or ours?

There are a few things I quibble with but in this age of Random House canceling Paula Deen 's  book contract  ( Is this going to be a new standard or just for this stoning ? ) it's a breath of fresh air. It's very honest and is the type of article we should be seeing more of in place of sadly what we have seen.

I agree there is some themes here and he makes the Class point very well. I very much agree with this part :

As the great black novelist Ralph Ellison noted 50 years ago, “Southern whites cannot walk, talk, sing, conceive of laws or justice, think of sex, love, the family or freedom without responding to the presence of the Negroes.” Anyone familiar with white and black Southern literature, from William Faulkner to Alice Walker, is aware that white Southern racism is more complex, intimate, and emotional than its Northern cousin. The immediate blacklisting of white Southerners who have the courage to examine their own racial feelings in good faith advances no useful anti-racist purpose.

He also interacts with people in the comments so take advantage of that.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Paula Deen , Jimmy Carter , and The Catholic Confessional

I am about to wade into this topic. I have followed the Paula Deen saga some and know the matter is complicated because this is part of some ongoing litigation. I have no comment on the accusation the Paula Deen family treated blacks in the work place in an racist manner because  that is still out there in litigation.

However what about the racial slurs ? Well Jimmy Carter had a few words to say on this today:

"She was maybe excessively honest in saying that she had in the past, 30 years ago, used this terrible word," Carter told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux in an interview Friday. "I think she has been punished, perhaps overly severely, for her honesty in admitting it and for the use of the word in the distant past. She's apologized profusely." 

Carter said he remembers that the n-word was used "quite frequently" when racial segregation was the "law of the land" throughout the country, not just the South, where Deen is from and resides.
Carter mentioned Deen's programs in Savannah, Georgia, that benefit "almost exclusively oppressed and poverty stricken black people." He advised her to get people she's helping to speak up and "show she's changed in her relationship with African-Americans." "My heart goes out to her but there's no condoning the use of a word that abuses other people," he said. "I've known Paula Deen quite well for a long period of time; I advised her to let the dust settle and make apologies."

This is about the first lick of sense from a major figure on this I have heard.

I was raised in the deep south in the time that really the changes of integration was happening. Among white family and friends I had the word was quite common. I detested the word and it though it was being used in a way that rooted in evil. However there were sadly far too few of us at the time.

With that being said though I avoided the word I started thinking did I ever say it. Did I say it under my breath in some sort of road rage etc. I can recall saying just the n word just once 20 years  ago and it was after a friend of mine had been a victim of a crime. It was done out of anger and frustration.

 Did I say it more than that. It  was so much around me its difficult to think I must not have said a few more times though I found it horrific.

So what would my Priest give me as Penance if I confessed. Heck not more than a Hail Mary I expect. But what if I have had decades ago used in far more common fashion. The Penance might be a tad more I suspect. However he would no doubt take into consideration time and and my culture .If I said it to a actual black person he might counsel me to seek their forgiveness

However lets say I went back to the Priest the next Sunday and said Father I can't get over saying the N word like I did 20 years ago.

The first thing he would do I am willing to bet  would perhaps warn me I was in danger of falling into the dangerous sin of  scrupulosity !

I think this relates to what the Pope said yesterday about the topic of fake Christians . He mentioned one category.

The second type, Pope Francis called "pelagian".  These Christians lead “a staid and starched lifestyle;” they “stare at their feet,” the Pope added ironically. “And this temptation exists today. Superficial Christians who believe, yes, God, yes Christ, but not ‘everywhere’: Jesus Christ is not the one who gives them their foundation. They are the modern gnostics. The temptation of gnosticism.” “A Christianity without Jesus, a Christianity without Christ.”

Then there are those who take Christian life so seriously that they end up confusing solidity and firmness with rigidity. “They are rigid! This think that being Christian means being in perpetual mourning." The Pope commented on how many of these kinds of Christians there are. "They are not Christians, they disguise themselves as Christians." "They do not know – he added – what the Lord is, they do not know what the rock is, do not have the freedom of Christians. To put it simply ‘they have no joy.”

I think that is very apt. One cause of joyless rigid Christians is  scrupulosity ! . The Priest also could  make some sort of teenage boy masturbation analogy. Masturbation like demeaning racist words is sinful.  However there is no condoning  either sin that sometime HABIT over time lessens culpuabilty .

 In many ways being raised in time and place where the n word was common view that the masturbation analogy seems apt.

You ask if masturbation is viewed as a mortal or venial sin. Remember, that for a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met. It has to be a very serious and grave matter, which is committed with full knowledge and with deliberate consent. What we are saying is that for it to be mortal sin, it would have to be done deliberately, knowing that it is not what God wishes for us and without any regard for that. In order to judge the morality of a human act, certain conditions have to be considered. The Church recognizes, for example, that in the practice of masturbation, psychological factors including adolescent immaturity, lack of psychological balance, and even ingrained habit can influence a person's behavior, and this could lessen or even eliminate moral responsibility. 

The condition that many persons claim for their innocence regarding masturbation is habit, and we certainly know how difficult habits are to break. We must keep in mind, however, that habit does not completely destroy the voluntary nature of our acts. As Christians who are going to be held accountable for our actions, we must strive to unite ourselves to the Lord and, therefore, do all we can to curb or eliminate all habits that detach us from Him. So, if a person is masturbating and knows fully that it is wrong, and does it willingly without doing anything to resist, then he or she is guilty of grave sin.

Heck in the era and place Paula Deen was raised just replace masturbation with racial epithet .

Now this does not not condone the use of N word , but golly it should give us some balance.

Final observations -

We have racial problems in this country. The way the whole Paula Deen episode is developing it seems to make it trivial. I am betting Jimmy Carter thinks the same

We are being asked to forgive a lot of people and treat them with human dignity. We are asked to forgive the illegal alien that broke laws through immigration reform. We are asked to find forgiveness and not execute people including the Boston Terrorist . We are asked to show mercy to even the terrorists we have housed down in Cuba. I could go and on and on and on.

I am not sure making someone do public penance for bad racial words they said decades ago helps any of the above. Another matter I suspect Jimmy Carter might agree on.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pope Francis On Two Kinds of Fake Christians - Joyless Pelagians and the Gnostics

Another one of Pope Francis 's interesting daily homilies.

The Law Of Merited Impossibility , Gay Marriage , And Religious Liberty

Rod Dreher  defines it as :

The Law Of Merited Impossibility is an epistemological construct governing the paradoxical way overclass opinion makers frame the discourse about the clash between religious liberty and gay civil rights. It is best summed up by the phrase, “It’s a complete absurdity to believe that Christians will suffer a single thing from the expansion of gay rights, and boy, do they deserve what they’re going to get.”

Rod talks about this in context perhaps one of the best religious liberty columns of the week written by Ben Domenech.

See Rod's post Frightening The Horses

Of course those that talk about gay marriage and religious liberty see this all the time. Its often employed in the same paragraph by the same person. It also sets up at times some impossible condition. You better agree to gay marriage now or when its forced upon you there will be hell to pay. Now this of course disrgards that many Christians were against making gay  sex acts illegal , were for unjust laws that  discriminated  and many were very open to Civil Unions. The fact  is there will always be a " they " that cannot be eliminated as to opponents of gay marriage.

Recently  I have been discussing the need for some rather " in my view " limited religious liberty protections for people of Faith that oppose gay marriage.

That  is for the countless numbers of objectors of gay marriage whose work at times interaacts with marriage ceremonies. That is  Photo folks, florists,  bakers that make wedding cake makers , etc etc. The fact there can be any dissent will not be tolerated it seems . Though these people might have gay employees and serve happily same sex singles and couples outside the marriage ceremony that shall not be enough..

All dissent must be abolished or as they put it discrimination.

Hopefully though as we move more to the religious liberty questions there might be some victories in this regard. At he very least the Libertarians that have been in the forefront of opposing DOMA and Prop 8 and similar folks are much more likely to too see not only the religious first amendment concerns but those related to Speech and association as to the First Amendment

Is Soul Death ( Extinction ) Gaining Ground In Protestant and Evangelical Circles

I have a good bit of Seventh Day Adventist in my family background so I have a familiarity with the Doctrines of their Church. One thing among many that set them apart from many Christians was that the souls that did not get to heaven would be destroyed.

I have never head that many other Christian communities in the Protestant world held this view. That might be changing. See from Rachel Evans  Ask a conditionalist (annihilationist)….

This is of course not a doctrine that the Catholic Church teaches. I often think though a good many people  in the pews perhaps hope this happens or perhaps are hoping God has that option I suppose .

After The Supreme Court Prop 8 Opinion Are California Like Voter Inititatives Less of A Club

The Prop 8 case was decided or mot decided on your point of view on the basis of standing which people often have different opinions of which can be seem in the SCOTUS opinion itself .

I have brought up as to the Prop 8 dispute an issues that has nothing to do with gay marriage but should be a concern. In fact it was a concern of some  anti pro gay marriage anti Prop 8 folks

. Howard Friedman brings up this at Analysis of Today's Same-Sex Marriage Decisions-- Installment 3: The Amazing Power of A Decision Based On Standing After talking about parts of the opinion and how the California Govt decided not to defend this law he notes in part :

 The case raises the broader question of when it is appropriate for state officials to refuse to defend the constitutionality of a state law, or a state constitutional provision. Their oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States presumably obligates them to refuse to defend unconstitutional provisions. However, in states like California with broad initiative provisions, this case suggests a route by which initiatives adopted by popular vote can be effectively eliminated by a legislature and executive who disagree with the initiative. An opponent of the initiative need merely file a federal lawsuit challenging its constitutionality under federal law, and existing state officials need merely to refuse to defend the initiative's legality. That spectre is reflected in the dissent's observation:

  In the end, what the Court fails to grasp or accept is the basic premise of the initiative process. And it is this. The essence of democracy is that the right to make law rests in the people and flows to the government, not the other way around.

I have to say I think this is huge. In a State like California with its political dynamics the voter initiative has been a powerful and needed check. Now there is a way for the Government to actually defeat it despite perhaps having its position defeated at the polls.

This of course goes beyond California .

The Day After the Supreme Court Rulings On Marriage

I have been horribly busy the last few days and so with so much news its weird to have this blog silent.

First order of business is the Supreme Courts closely divided opinions on gay marriage which of course has resulted in a ton of Catholic and religious commentary.

Public Discourse had a joint column that was good The Supreme Court, You and Me, and the Future of Marriage Over at First Things there is Marriage and Justice Are Wounded, But Not Fatally . Both articles are good and gives an opportunity to take a deep breath as we go from here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Response to Commonweal Post On Supreme Court and the Votings Right Act

Commonweal has a post up on the Supreme Court opinion that now invalidates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and matters dealing with Pre Clearance. See Scalia: Chief Judicial Activist? The case tht Scalia is a Judicial Activist is never really made unless one buys that the argument that anytime a law is overturned a person is being a judicial activist.

Opinions can and will differ as to what the Supreme Court did today. I have been of the opinon that the evils are starting the outweight the good as to maintaining the status quo.

Among other things its does seems seem packing every minority one can in district has resulted in both parties electing people that are slighlty more partisan and tilt to the hard left or right. Its also functions as impediment to building local coalitions in elections. It is also very expensive and for every political sub division to have comply with.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Univ of Penn Professor - 20 Plus Week Abortion Ban Bill Because of White Fear . Really ?

In politics it is of course natural to get tribal. Our team versus their team geaux team knock the other guys block off  sort of things. 

It is also natural for us just to  try to ignore when someone says something stupid on our side

I do it I admit at times . No one wants to say something bad about our team. Again it is very LSU vs Alabama like .

 Rod Dreher touched on this last week:

....TNC’s post prescribes diversity to conservatives to get them to be less “stupid,” and again, I agree that it’s always good to try to understand the perspective of others. But: every conservative has heard liberals say incredibly ignorant, stupid, untrue things about conservatives, but one rarely hears liberals worry about their own epistemic closure resulting from their monocultural liberalism. As I’ve written here before, conservatives are extremely wary when they hear calls for “diversity” and for “racial dialogue,” not because either is a bad thing in and of itself, but because they are code words for, “We liberals are going to tell you conservatives why you are wrong, and what we expect you to do about it.”...

I thought of this the other day when I saw remarks of University of Pennsylvania Assistant Professor Salamisha Tillet on the MSNBC show reagrding the vote on the 20 plus week abortion ban .

Well, I think, the Census just released data, so part of it is the changing racial demographics in the United States. For the first time in American history, children born under the age of five are racial, the majority of them are racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. So I think that there's a kind of moral panic, a fear of the end of whiteness that we've been seeing a long time in that I think, you know, Obama's ascension as President kind of symbolizes to a certain degree. And so I think this is one response to that sense that there's a decreasing white majority in the country and that women's bodies and white women's bodies in particular are obviously a crucial way of reproducing whiteness, white supremacy, white privilege. And so I think it's just a kind of clamping down on women's bodies, in particular white women's bodies, even though women of color are really caught in the fray.

Lord have mercy does she really I mean really believe this?  As American Thinker posted here she seems to have the whole world upside down !

Needless to say its not generally pro lifers going into minority neighborhoods and doing the hard sell on having  a IUD installed in minority women or concerned about those various shades of  non white folks making so many babies abroad.

In the end it appears English from Harvard University and her M.A.T. from Brown University does not prevent folks from imagining crazy things.

Governor Bobby Jindal Signs First Amendment Trashing Gun Rights Bill

There is no doubt that politicos passing legislation that is pleasing to the ears of their voters but has the problem of being unconstitutional is a very bipartisan problem

Today's offender is my Governor of the Great State of Louisiana. See here

Now I get the reasons behind this bill and I think some media acted very badly and abused their positions in releasing concealed info.

HOWEVER ! As shown here even those that make it their work , like me ;  to protect the second amendment are shaking their heads . See Louisiana Set to Criminalize Publishing That Someone Has a Concealed Carry Permit

He says in part :

....So blogging that you happen to know that a gun control advocate actually has a concealed carry permit himself would be a crime. Or say that you know someone has a concealed carry permit, and that person is sued for supposedly making death threats, or is criminally prosecuted for a felony offense involving a shotgun, or otherwise seems dangerous and unstable — mentioning the permit in publicly discussing the situation would be a crime. Mentioning applicants’ names in giving examples of cases where you think a concealed handgun permit was wrongly issued, or wrongly denied, would be a crime, too. So would talking about a person’s concealed carry permit in a biography of the person, or in a newspaper or magazine story that is trying to give a sense of the kind of person he is. 

This is a clear First Amendment violation. Florida Star v. B.J.F. (1989) struck down a law banning the publication of the names of rape victims, once the information was released by the police (even when it was released in violation of department policy). This statute is thus unconstitutionally overbroad, because it has no exception for these kinds of erroneous-release situations. But even if the statute were limited to exclude information gleaned from public records, it would still be unconstitutional: It would be a content-based restriction on speech. It would apply to speech about crime, lawsuits, threats to public safety, and other matters of public concern....

Most Louisiana citizens of course are unaware that they could go jail AKA have their liberty restricted and be thrown in jail with violent criminals if they just mention someone has concealed weapon gun permit.

Thankfully for them any Louisiana Judge worth their salt is going to balk at this law. The legislature know this, Jindal knows this, and you can bet those lawyers that advise the Governor know this. So why do it?

Even silly symbolic legislation like this I think is a threat against the First amendment. Further how in the heck is it very " limited government" just to casually throw out jail terms like this ?

You don't protect the Second Amendment by attacking the First.

How Exactly Does Striking Down DOMA and Prop 8 Become A Victory For Federalism ?

In search of the that Justice Kennedy vote this seems to be the argument I keep hearing. Today for instance see Goldstein on the Court’s “Power”

 Please note I am not talking about the Equal Protection argument just the Federalism argument.

 At the above post this comment seems apt to me.

I'm sorry to put it this way, but your claim that Kennedy should strike down DOMA on federalism rounds is a complete pile of crap, and you know it. The part at issue is the fact that DOMA say the Federal Government won't treat you as if you are married, if your marriage doesn't involve one man and one woman. This law has NO impact upon State governments, unlike Section 5. State's can make whatever rules they want FOR THEIR STATE. 

What they can't do is force their decisions on everyone else. THAT is the essence of Federalism. And as other commentators pointed out when you first gave this garbage argument, it is already any unobjectionable the case that the Federal Government can have different meanings for terms than Stat's have, even when it's something normally subject to State definition.

 If Kennedy takes Federalism seriously, DOMA will survive, Prop 8 will survive, and Section 5 will be struck down.

I have to agree . The whole game plan by same sex marriage advocates is to have pro same sex marriage laws in some states make anti same sex marriage in other states moot. How is that a victory for Federalism. I am willing to entertain the argument striking down DOMA would be a good Federalism outcome but I have not seen the argument yet.

Correcting Mistakes of Post Vatican II Architecture In The Diocese of Shreveport ( Shreveport Times )

Adam Duvernay of the Shreveport Times has wrote a nice article on the newest and indeed largest Church  that is being built in the Diocese of the Shreveport .  Since this is my Diocese any Catholic news in the paper I am glad to get.

From a journalistic point of view the article might have been  served perhaps by finding a voice of those not thrilled with the location ( I have to drive how far !! ) but the story does acknowledge that some are not happy on that front. However this is pretty inside baseball so for the 99 percent of my readers who are outside the Diocese of Shreveport let me move on.

Father Pike Thomas , a former Priest of mine , is the one that has done the work on getting this new Church built. A task that because of his talents is really suited to him. Pike naturally plays a very active voice in the story but says a couple of things that might be questionable such as :

You have to have adequate room for the various things we have going on. Before, people just sat there or knelt and didn’t do anything,” Thomas said. “If you had other sacraments being celebrated like we do now — communion, confirmation, baptism — you have to have places for that. There are a whole lot more people up in the front being honored. Month to month, I’m asking a group of people to come up, whether it’s the kids or the fathers last weekend. We didn’t do any of that before Vatican II.

Well its not exactly true I don't think Catholics in the Pews back them were not " doing anything" .

Also based just on old pictures I have seen I am not sure people being honored ( I think he means blessed ) at the front of Church was not exactly unheard of back before the council.

Many mights wonder , as I did, in reading this article where this story is going. I was thinking what is the purpose of talking about Catholic worship post Vatican II Council which is not exactly breaking news anymore Catholic or indeed Protestant.

Also this is not the first Church by any stretch of the imagination that was built after and with the " Spirit " of the Council as we were told back then.

 Then Father Pike hits it !!

 Although St. Jude’s current chapel on Viking Drive was built in a post-Vatican II world, Thomas said it lacks “a traditional sacred character.” It’s an intimate setting conducive to community, but Bossier parishioners are quickly outgrowing the venue.

Boom !


 “A lot of the churches built right after the council did some good things but neglected other things,” Thomas said.

Boom II .

 In other words perhaps it was not exactly a Post Vatican II requirement that Churches looking like the most stripped down of Puritan meeting halls , an bland auditorium , or a funeral home chapel., or some modern style of building that is bound to be outdated in just a decade or two  A style of Church building of which Bishop Duca has inherited quite a few of in this Diocese.

However the " Reform of the Reform " that so many of us have been jabbering about  for quite a while seems to be having an effect. In this case making sure that Churches we build have a " traditional sacred character " ( Catholic ) as a part of plans.

The Reform of the Reform meets Church architecture ! A hopeful sign at least and in my own Diocese.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Getting to Know and Love The Pharisees Again

I have had a rather conflicted relationships with the Pharisees and how that group of people in history have been used

 When I became a Catholic the term Pharisees was often linked to the Catholic Church ( rules ritual religion bad ) vs other " true " Christianity ( relationship no religion , no rules /no  laws  good ).

Later at times the use of Pharisees seems to be popular in a perverted way of getting rid of some sins. The hypocrisy label goes away if we can take x out of the sin discussion .

Related to that is in both secular and Christian circles throwing out the Pharisees label is the ultimate attempt at a discussion stopper. On heated but important issues that Christians must engage in the Pharisees too often seem to be thrown out there as a trump card and not to illuminate.

Finally I can't help but notice that a good many people that relish putting that term on other people are well kinda of jerks.

With all that being said it seemed at the times the Pharisees were getting a bad rap and from my Bible reading perhaps their reputation was not entirely correct. In other words there perhaps was some cultural baggage I was bringing into all this. That is why I have some interest in what this Messianic Jew posted not too long ago. See his post PHARISEES and a follow up at WHY PHARISEES MATTER .

Now I am not interested in getting into all the replacement Theology, supersessionism etc issues. However I am interested in the historical background as to the truth of the Pharisees in the Biblical age . I think that helps illuminates some of the scriptures perhaps.

The Grand Tribal Southern Episcopalians of The American South

I have been very busy the last week so I am doing some catching up. Part of that is seeing what Rod Dreher has been saying .

He had a post that was prompted by a death in his town, See Southern Episcopalians . I thought it was nice post but it seems the very diverse League of the Offended and or / Complaining  appear in the comment section and poor Rod is catching it from all sides.

In the comments Rod says:

[NFR: I don't really have anything insightful to say here, Will, other than that it has always seemed to me that Episcopalian men seem to be the sort that looks comfortable wearing seersucker suits. Not sure what that means, but I've observed it. I see in Southern Episcopalians the same kind of upper-middle and upper class style as you associate with old-school Yankee Episcopalians, but down South that often comes with a patrician awareness of history, especially family history. It's not all Episcopalians, of course, but I'm impressed by how much I have come to associate the essence of certain Southern places with Episcopalians. As you know, I did not grow up Episcopalian, but when I think of my own parish, I think of Episcopalianism as the essence of the place. This is not because most people here are Episcopalians, but, I think, because for better or for worse, Episcopalians are the kind of people with whom I associate old families, old places, and the cherishing of these things. It has always been startling to me to see how the Episcopal Church nationally has been on the forefront of destroying their own tradition, given what I saw from the outside of Episcopalians growing up. I suppose what I'm getting at is saying that Episcopalianism is the tribal religion of Southern patricians -- and believe me, I say that as a compliment. -- RD] 

 I have to agree with that. I should also add in my experience that "tribalism" they have at times translates into a pretty caring community . They do care about each other families and are there for each other it seems. I understand there are bad sides to the word tribalism. But I have to say in my interactions with the Episcopalians in the South I was always welcomed and felt genuine warmth. That might have to do with the still strong  Anglican ( and Christian ) concept that everyone in a  parish  geographical area  is in a ways their responsibility and a "member" no matter if they are Episcopalian or not. This of course translates into community life as the obit of dear ole Alice Davis Folkes " Puddin " Bankston relates.

Happy Juneteenth- Louisiana Young Democrats Throw Lincoln Under the Bus

A black Louisiana State Senator has become Republican and naturally some Democrats don't like it. That is understandable and politics is not romper room after all. That being said I was rather shocked how the Young Louisiana Democrats org took a page out of League of the South History as well as others to just throw Abraham Lincoln under the bus !

Senator Guillory’s romanticized recollection of Lincoln and the Nineteenth Century Republicans is alarming. The Republican Party, which began in 1854, only associated ‘free’ people with ‘free soil’. In other words, they were not necessarily against the institution of slavery in the South as they were against the spread of slavery in free territories.

 The Republicans were anti-Slavery. John Brown was an abolitionist. And they wanted nothing to do with him. And neither did their 1860 presidential nominee, Abraham Lincoln. The dichotomy between anti-Slavery and abolitionism is primarily between eradicating slavery where it could exists, in future states and territories, as opposed to abolishing the entire institution itself. The Republicans disdain for slavery was not for moral reasons; but for political ones. The Republicans, during this time, were confined only to the North; therefore, their influence became confined to this region of the country.

 Thus, their influence in Congress and in future presidential elections were horribly limited. They wanted to spread their anti-slavery influence westward. This would inevitably lead to Kansas Territory, where blood from an impromptu war would flow like water over the disputes between slavery and anti-slavery factions. And while, Senator Guillory suggests that President Lincoln is known for so-called “freeing” the slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation, historians well agree, that it only freed slaves in states who were in rebellion against the Union during the US Civil War; thus, Negroes who were enslaved in the Border states such as Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri remained. Lincoln wasn’t only hellbent on discarding slavery during the Civil War, but jettisoning Negroes too. He seriously considered exporting ex-slaves to parts of Caribbean, Central Mexico, and Monrovia (West Africa).

As always history is complicated and often things that lead to such big events as the Civil War is of mixed motives. However the allegation that there were no moral reasons were at play for Republicans to oppose Slavery is just false. Further the fact that Lincoln did not seem to give a damn about slaves as is implied is very wrong.

First as to Emancipation Proclamation Lincoln actually thought he had to have a grant of power  for such a grand move to do what he did in the Constitution  .I know worrying about such things is rather old school , but Lincoln did not think he was a King that could just do things by decree in most cases . So he grounded this in his power as Commander in Chief and where the Confederacy was for the most part occupied by Federal Forces.

Further Lincoln had to wait for a important Federal victory to even announce this so not to be seen as desperate. As to the border states it would have done the cause to eliminate slavery little good if Lincoln had added political and military problems in border states to add to the Deep South.

The goal as to slavery from the Republican point view was to limited in place so it would die out. Needless to say as crops like Cotton depleted the ground we saw an expansion of these slave farmers to Texas  and hopes of places like New Mexico. This is just one example. The issue was in part could slavery die out without a war.

To get a sense of Lincoln views one has to look at his past speeches. He was no doubt as racially enlighten in all things as a man today perhaps. However his hatred of slavery ( and the debate surrounding it ) is shown by ample evidence before his election.

For instance we can look at Lincoln's Copper Union Speech and this part.

....The question recurs, what will satisfy them? Simply this: We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, we know by experience, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the very beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have constantly protested our purpose to let them alone; but this has had no tendency to convince them. Alike unavailing to convince them, is the fact that they have never detected a man of us in any attempt to disturb them. These natural, and apparently adequate means all failing, what will convince them? This, and this only: cease to call slavery wrong, and join them in calling it right. And this must be done thoroughly - done in acts as well as in words.

Silence will not be tolerated - we must place ourselves avowedly with them. Senator Douglas' new sedition law must be enacted and enforced, suppressing all declarations that slavery is wrong, whether made in politics, in presses, in pulpits, or in private. We must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure. We must pull down our Free State constitutions. The whole atmosphere must be disinfected from all taint of opposition to slavery, before they will cease to believe that all their troubles proceed from us. I am quite aware they do not state their case precisely in this way. Most of them would probably say to us, "Let us alone, do nothing to us, and say what you please about slavery." But we do let them alone - have never disturbed them - so that, after all, it is what we say, which dissatisfies them.

 They will continue to accuse us of doing, until we cease saying. I am also aware they have not, as yet, in terms, demanded the overthrow of our Free-State Constitutions. Yet those Constitutions declare the wrong of slavery, with more solemn emphasis, than do all other sayings against it; and when all these other sayings shall have been silenced, the overthrow of these Constitutions will be demanded, and nothing be left to resist the demand. It is nothing to the contrary, that they do not demand the whole of this just now. Demanding what they do, and for the reason they do, they can voluntarily stop nowhere short of this consummation. Holding, as they do, that slavery is morally right, and socially elevating, they cannot cease to demand a full national recognition of it, as a legal right, and a social blessing.

 Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality - its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension - its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends the whole controversy. 

Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this? Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? 

If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did. Neither let us be slander...

As the war progressed of course Lincoln recognized more and more perhaps the divine hand in all this violence , death, and destruction. In fact those words are at the Lincoln Memorial  which are from his second Inaugural Address .

The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

This hardly seems like a man whose mind was focused on Party power, nor Northern power and profits.

Nuns On the Bus Hits New Orleans For Immigration Reform Legislation

I was not exactly singing Network nor Nuns on the Bus praises last year. However despite a few potential reservations about political tactics that might happen , I am all on board with their immigration reform push !.

The New Orleans Catholic newspaper has a story up on their visit.

Can The New York Times Keep Their Abortion Editorials Off Their Front Page

Get Religion takes this " “news analysis,” to task today after yesterdays House Vote.

Now I get the New York Times in reality has no chance what so ever in taking a stance that any abortion or death of the unborn should be restricted.

Still something like this belongs on the Op-ed page not on the first. It also does know service to even their pro choice readers about perhaps the more complicated reality of abortion politics.

About Laughing and Mocking the Unborn Child This Week

Law Prof Ann Althouse who by no means is some big pro lifer has some thoughts .

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Does the Catholic Faith Have Anything To Say About Privacy In The Internet & Digital Age ?

Professor Leary from CUA has a few thoughts on this at Mirrors of Justice. See The Morality of a World Without Privacy .

History's Cunning Timing Gives Rare Catholic Teaching Moment in Upcoming Four Hands Papal Encyclical Of Two Popes

I thought this was a good piece that published in an the Italian paper Corriere Della Dera the other day and has been translated here.

 What the 'four-hands'
encyclical teaches us

by Vittorio Messori
Translated from

June 15, 2013

Vatican officials had sought to tone down the reality - they spoke of a document that Benedict XVI had drafted in part and that Pope Francis had taken up to complete, or rather, fragments that the emeritus Pope had written that the reigning Pope has then developed to completion.

Instead, the encyclical on faith will really be 'an encyclical by four hands' [as in a piano duet, for which the Italian term 'a quattro mani' is habitually used].- just so, textually, as announced plainly by Papa Bergoglio on an official occasion - his meeting with the current Executive Council and Secretariat-General of the Bishops' Synod.

Thus, another 'first' for the Argentine Pontiff: a doctrinal document of primary importance - on faith, no less, therefore, on the very foundation of the Church. One that was ideated, thought through, and in large part written by one Pope and signed by another.

A Pope who announced on the same occasion that he would not fail to inform the addressees of his first circular letter to Christianity - that is the meaning of the word 'encyclical' - that he "received from Benedict XVI a great piece of work" that he fully shares-and found to be "a powerful text".

Of course, every Pope in the documents he issues under his name always cites his predecessors, but as citations, sources duly footnoted, certainly never as co-author. Indeed, one thinks back, with irony, to the resignation of Celestine V, who was imprisoned in some secret place by his successor Boniface VIII for fear he could inspire a schism, and whom he brought back to captivity when the old monk sought to escape.

Let us try to understand how we have come to this unprecedented situation now. Joseph Ratzinger's primary concern - as a scholar, then as cardinal, and finally as Pope - was always to turn back to the fundamentals, to recover the bases of Christianity, to offer a new apologetics appropriate to contemporary man.

And so, he planned a trilogy on the major virtues, those called 'theological' - thus, he wrote an encyclical on love and one on hope. The one on faith was to come, and he had planned to publish it by autumn of 2013, at the end of the special year that he decreed precisely to a rediscovery of the reasons why we believe the Gospel.

The work was far advanced when he came to the realization that his advancing age no longer allowed him to carry the burdens of the Pontificate on his shoulders.

Perhaps, free from the duties of the Bishop of Rome, he would have enough strength left to finish the text and publish it, 'de-classing' it from a papal encyclical to just a scholarly text, as he had done with the three volumes he wrote on the historicity of Jesus. Books that do not have magisterial value but are open to debate by experts on the topic.

It is possible that he consulted the new Pope about this, and that Francis gladly offered to use the work already done, bring it to completion, and sign it as an encyclical with his name.

This has disconcerted some eccelesial circles: The idea of a papal document with such importance and on such a decisive topic that has joint authorship has left many perplexed.

On the contrary, it is most welcome. The novelty seems precious because it can help recover a perspective that many faithful appear to have forgotten. That perspective of faith in which it is not the persona of the Pope that matters, and all that goes with it - a biography, a culture, a nationality, a personality.

What matters is the papacy, the institution desired by Christ himself with a specific task: to lead the flock, as a good shepherd, through the tempests of history, without deviating from the right course.

To the faithful, the Pope exists to be their master in faith and morals, not by advocating his own ideas, but by helping them to understand the divine will, announcing the eternal life that awaits us at the end of our earthly journey, and watching that we do not fall into the abyss of error.

That is why Popes are assured of the assistance of the Holy Spirit - to keep them from straying from the path. In his teachings, the Roman Pontiff is not 'an author' whose qualities one must admire. Indeed, he would betray his role if he said fascinating and original things that were not along the lines indicated by Scripture and Tradition. A Pope is not allowed to say "in my opinion", which is the hallmark of heresy.

Simplifying extremely, we can say that "one Pope is as good as another" in that ultimately his person does not count, but only his obedience and fidelity as an instrument of evangelical announcement.

Anecdotes about the Popes, on their daily lives, may be interesting, but they have no bearing on their mission. What really counts is the Papacy as a perennial institution that will endure until parousia - to the end of history and the second coming of Christ. An institution which, to the Catholic, is not a weight to be borne, but a gift for which we must be grateful. It does not matter whether the Pope of the moment is 'pleasing' as a person, whether we love his character or style.

Joseph Ratzinger and Jorge Bergoglio are vastly different personalities, but they cannot differ - and Heaven watches that this does not happen - when they speak of Christ and his teaching, as teachers of faith and morals.

As instruments - "a simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord", as Benedict XVI called himself in his first remarks as Pope - they are in a way interchangeable. They can explain more deeply the significance of the Gospel, help it to be understood better by the men of their time, but always in the wake of Scripture and Tradition. They are not allowed to be 'creative'. They are not 'authors' but leaders, in turn led by an Other.

Precisely because of this, the idea is not at all unwelcome - but rather, it seems a precious occasion offered to us by what Hegel would call 'the cunning of history' - of a document by two Popes that reannounces the faith, which is the basis of everything.

A document by an emeritus Pontiff and a reigning one shows that Popes may be different personalities but that the perspective in which they are called to lead the Church is the same, the direction is the same. Just as their words are basically identical in re-proposing the great wager on the truth of Christianity.

And so, no one should be scandalized at a 'four-handed encyclical'.

President Obama Comments on Catholic School Education in Northern Ireland Gets Noticed

I am not sure if the Obama was trying to make an intentional point here or not as to the policy of Catholic education in Northern Ireland. However the Catholic papers in the UK appeared to have noticed. See US president undermines Catholic schools after Vatican Prefect praised them

American Press vs Italian Press on Covering Vatican " Gay Lobby " Story

Get Religion has an interesting side by side.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Center for Constitutional Rights Shameful Effort To Put Pope Benedict Emeritus In Jail Has Ended

Laurie Goodstein at the New York Times has the news of the failure to prosecute Pope Benedict ,now Pope Benedict Emeritus, and put him in jail. See Hague Court Declines Inquiry Into Church Abuse Cover-Up . This of course brought by SNAP and their Advocates at the Center for Constitutional Rights. A couple of years ago Ole Miss Law Prof Ronald J. Rychlak took a look at this at Accusing Pope Benedict SNAP’s petition to the International Criminal Court is a publicity stunt.

He said in part :

 ....It is also worth noting that the ICC was designed to punish the “worst of the worst” perpetrators. With respect to sexual abuse, the evidence clearly demonstrates that such crimes were committed not only within the Catholic Church, but also within other religious and civic groups and school systems, and often at rates higher than those for priest offenders. That is no excuse for any of the perpetrators, but it eliminates the ICC as a proper forum for prosecuting them or their superiors. The ICC was not intended as a court in which to prosecute countless leaders of churches, civic institutions, and schools throughout the world. 

One has the sense from their press statements that SNAP activists are not bothered by such niceties as the true purpose of the ICC or its jurisdictional mandate. The attorneys representing SNAP, however, work out of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and they cannot so easily be let off the hook. Those attorneys know that their petition does not state a valid claim before the ICC, but they filed it anyway. The CCR attorneys are misusing this new and fragile instrument of international law as a political tool — in other words, they are using it in precisely the way that the ICC, at its inception, was intended to avoid. 

Indeed, the filing of the petition itself was organized as a media event — the kickoff to a major “European tour,” replete with SNAP and CCR press conferences in European capitals. The CCR attorneys are not acting as lawyers; they are facilitating a publicity stunt. That is shameful behavior that brings disrepute to the legal profession and, because the petition itself is fallacious, ultimately will not advance the interests of abuse victims. 

I find the attorneys’ actions particularly troubling because I worked on a case with the CCR years ago, and I considered Morty Stavis — one of the founders of the CCR and a lawyer active there from 1983 until his death in 1992 — a friend. Morty was too good a lawyer to play such games. The CCR would not be involved in something like this if Morty were still alive.......

I agree with that. I think it did NOT help SNAP's credibility to do this but to me the actions of the Lawyers that signed their names to this is the most troublesome.

If you are of the opinion that ICC should have some teeth and by consequence International  law these actions did you no favors. The only one cheering such actions is perhaps the current regime of Syria and his ilk.

Former Taliban Muslim Becomes a Orthodox Christians On Mount Athos ( Pics & Story )

GREAT PICS GREAT STORY . See Former Taliban From Afghanistan Baptized at the Monastic Republic of Mount Athos

Does The Pope Francis Gay Lobby Story Show A Lack of Media Diversity ?

I thought Rod Dreher had a rather good column on why many conservatives view talk of " diversity " as a type of a con game.

See Diversity For Thee, But Not For Me . I think he makes a reasonable argument and one I largely agree. Rod though in responding in the comments to a commenter makes an interesting observation on another front that has been in the news. The so call Pope Francis Gay Lobby story.

 [NFR: Geoff, you should realize that the Southern Baptist Convention has nothing at all to do with the Westboro Baptist Church. Why on earth do you accuse them of letting the Westboro nuts define Christianity? Second, though I appreciate very much the diversity on this blog, many people, both liberals and conservatives, have told me that this blog is a huge exception to the rule on most blogs. Most important, though, the diversity we're talking about here is workplace diversity. It has been exceptionally important in my line of work, because it is through the media lens that we come to understand the world. You would not know from reading the mainstream American press that Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI were very much to the (American) left on economics. The US media narrative portrayed them as moral conservatives on sexuality (which they were), and downplayed or ignored their statements about economics and fairness. Why? I would say that this is because they chose to report on the issues that interested them. Yesterday, the front page of the NYT's website carried a story reporting Pope Francis's private observation that there is a "gay lobby" in the Vatican. I agree that that story is somewhat newsworthy, but from a Catholic point of view, his remarks about the extremes in the Catholic church was the more important observation. But the Times has an incredibly strong bias towards highlighting gay issues (as two previous public editors have written), so that's the lens through which they cover much news. This is what I mean by the lack of diversity within the media workplace -- often reporters, editors, and producers don't know what they don't know. I think most reporters make an effort to be fair, which is, I think, all you can reasonably expect of a journalist. I don't believe in affirmative action for conservatives. That said, if liberals in media management really meant what they said about diversity, they would be concerned about the lack of conservatives and religious believers in newsrooms. They don't, so they aren't. Their idea of diversity runs the gamut from A to B. I think this is true in most places, but most consequentially in the newsroom. -- RD]

Are There Third-Day Adventists In Louisiana? Whose Sabbath Is On Tuesday ( accommodation case )

I keep wondering about the details in this religious accommodation case down here in Louisiana. See When You’re a Schoolteacher Observing a Tuesday Sabbath, You’re Likely to Have Problems

Catholic Bishop Isern of The Diocese of Pueblo Gives Unexpected Resignation

I happen to be be up around 5 a.m. when this news was announced from war. His relative youth and the fact he was just made a Bishop in 2009 made this all the more shocking.

Of course in this day and age I like many others  no doubt were dreading some " scandal shoe " to drop. However all signs point out that he must be having a serious health crisis. Prayers for the Bishop.

Rocco has a post on the details that we know so far as well as some background. See Amid Sudden Departure, It's Open Pueblo .

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Community of Priests Dedicated To Formation of Diocesan Seminarians and Priests Forming In Omaha

I was researching the top  Catholics things to see  in in Omaha if you are going to the College World Series , and I ran across an interesting article.  The Institute for Priestly Formation based in Omaha is looking at forming a priestly community . See the article here .

It appears this would be Society of apostolic life which differs somewhat from an institutes of consecrated life".

Louisiana Catholic Church Uses Humor To Press Issue of Summer Mass Attire

I suspect there was a great Amen from people ( folks like me ) and some grumbling by some about this Hammond Catholic Church announcement.

After much study, our finance committee has determined it would not be feasible to construct an indoor swimming pool in our church. As a result, we can now announce with certainty that those who have been arriving for Mass as if dressed for the pool need not do so. Also, we hope to keep the air conditioning cranking until well into October. So you do not need to wear shorts, tube‐tops, spaghetti straps, camis, or mini shirts to Mass.

However some disagree . See  Casual Dress and the Body of Christ: A Plea for Bathrobes 
via First Things.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

So How Exactly Did the Early Church Treat People of Color ?

Krista Dalton has wrote a piece I might want to comment much more at length later. See CHRISTIAN MEMORY OR WHY I DON’T WANT TO BE LIKE THE EARLY CHURCH .

 She says in part :

 In the same way, we can approach the Early Church master narrative as a rich gift to help us shape our lives. This does not mean I need to be like the historical members of the Early Church, attempting to return to a pristine historical core. Their members think and act differently than I, they treat women and persons of color differently, their worship looks and sounds distinct, and their cultural values do not always mirror my own. Instead, I can hear the ancient hope of the Christian community, and I can participate in that stream.

However Rodney Stark of the book the Rise of Christianity has a different take it seems.

Racial integration gives us a foretaste of heaven, a “sign” of the coming Kingdom. Rodney Stark, in The Rise of Christianity, lists racial integration as one of the things that made the early church distinct from other religious groups and led to its rapid growth. Local churches were the one place in the Roman Empire where differing races actually got along. Their racial harmony gave them a chance to explain that Jesus was not only a Jew, but the Lord of all humanity, the Savior of all races. If we downplay the issue of race today, we are actually denying this key theological truth.

Can You Hear Us Now ? - Religious Liberty Rights , Cell Phone Records and Prism

There has been a good bit of outrage over the revelations that the Government has a lot of access to our cell phone data and now through Prism pretty much everything we do via the Internet it seems.

I think there are a lot of warning signs and the American public needs to have a discussion on this matter. Though it would be wrong to put me in the totally this needs to all go away camp. at this point. I am looking for a lot more info. Still I am very concerned

One of the major problem that has been noted is  that there is a huge deep canyon difference in the rights the public think they have and in these cases what the Government is arguing in private.

Steve Shiffrin over at the Religious Left Law site has a good post up.  See No Mr. President I Do Not Trust You or the Courts with the Fourth Amendment  a good read that might shock a good many Americans.

Yet despite a coalition of some liberals, conservatives, and libertarians that think we making the 4th amendment more and more a paper tiger not many seem to be concerned. We sort of see this with the Confrontation clause where Justice Scalia seems to be the only saying wait hold up.

However at least we not China or Iran the reasoning goes. No is really being ' persecuted " and the Government goal or policy of the moment seems just to win out.

In many ways we see the same dynamic with religious liberty cases. I suspect most Americans still do not realize that the Supreme Court has narrowly ruled that student groups can be required to accept all members and even student leaders regardless of beliefs. The Freedom of Association takes a hit for the current Government goal of diversity .

Likewise I think in the HHS contraception mandate cases many people would be shocked that to the Justice Department is arguing that you as a business owner don't really have First amendment rights and various statutes don't protect you. So the First amendment takes a hit for the Government goal of contraception. The response by even some Christians is quit talking that you are persecuted. This is not China and Iran. How dare you !!

The chipping away at the 4th amendment did not occur over night  and the Government goal in many cases is laudable. Many  no doubt  you woke up this week  this week a lot of folks have access to your DNA and you go  how did this happen.

Religious Liberty and First Amendment values is no different. There is I think some concern that the First amendment is a certain amount of stress lately. Therefore I join Professor Rick Garnett this week in very much opposing Michael Winters  viewpoint on the Bishops game plan in opposing the HHS mandate.

He stated in part

...I would add to his post, though, is this:  It is true that the Church, and Christians, can and must be "engaged" in and with the world.  Some are called to the monastery and the cloister, but I take it that the Church's mission is to fulfill the Great Commission and to live out Matthew 25. That said, there is no reason for the bishops to accept or take as given the state's increasingly aggressive efforts to "set the terms" of that engagement in ways that require the Church's social-welfare activities to be secularized, or to mimic the activities of state agencies.  It is not "sectarian," or culture-warrior-ish, or narrow, or Puritan, or Amish for the bishops to say, "look, we are going to stay here, in public, and feed the poor and fight for justice.  And, we'll play by the rules as we do so.  But, those rules need not and should not require us to secularize and they should not proceed from the premise that religion belongs in private or that social-welfare work somehow belongs to the state."  Those who are insisting that the bishops should not allow a misguided and unrealistic desire for purity to cause them to shut down important social-welfare activities rather than submit to legal conditions have a point -- i.e., these activities are important and it would be a big deal to abandon them rather than comply with these conditions -- but they should not lose sight of the fact that these conditions are contigent, not given, and they should join the bishops in doing all they can to oppose conditions that needlessly burden the mission and character of religious institutions.

The First amendment like the Fourth amendment is again under some stress.

In another case while the government goal of stopping discrimination might be a worthy  does it really mean a baker might face jail time for his principles  because he does not want to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding.

The assault on our rights under the 4th and 1st amendment do not happen overnight. There is rarely a big hurricane Katrina or BP oil spill like case that decimates the fragile coast land of our rights by itself. It is more the thousand of little things ( like coastal erosion ) that cause them to disappear.

Trying to Stop My Blog Comment Spam

Its has been real bad so I am adding a word verfiication to my comment section

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pope Francis Enters the If Catholics Can Ever Lie or Deceive Debate

The latest on this at Crisis.

Ira Glass on How This American Life Covers Christians in Their Stories

I have always enjoyed This American Life when I get a chance to hear it on my public radio station. One thing that has always struck me is it's entertaining and informative stories don't treat Christians as cartoons.

Ira Glass , tha comes from a secular Jewish background , talks about about their stories that have a Christian theme and how the media seems so bad covering them in this short vid.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Presbyterians At National Catholic Reporter Have Nothing To Fear From Pope Francis

I was going to respond to this column at NCR , but Jimmy Akin of course does it a thousand times better than I can. See Did Pope Francis poke Protestants in the eye?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Iowans & Mississippians Moved To Tears At Iowa Monument Rededication In Vicksburg Mississippi

Just for the fun of it I have been watching the various Mississippi City elections tonight. While doing so I happened upon a very nice article relating to the Vicksburg military park. The park at Vicksburg is a favorite of mine and I have made the drive over to see it many times.

The park has some very impressive monuments. Including the impressive Iowa one .

The Iowa monument last week was rededicated after going over some much needed restorations. I suspect with the rampant copper thefts its a full time job just making sure many of these monuments don't all disappear !!

The Iowa Governor was present for this event. Former Governor of Mississippi gave quite a speech for the event that I think is really worth a read. See Gov. Haley Barbour moved us to tears, and cried a little himself

Across All Cultures New Orleans Residents Honor the Blessed Virgin Mary ( Great Pictures )

A Catholic from St Landry Parish that runs Prairie Des Femmes blog recently went to New Orleans .

 She spent some time taking some wonderful pictures in the New Orleans of the residents devotion to the BVM. Also there are some wonderful pics of how Vietnamese community show their everyday devotion to our Blessed Mother at their homes. See her post Pray FOr Chong ! , Gentilly Street Mary NOLA , This is not A Mess Mary , Mary Green Gate , Mary Queen of Vietnam and New Orleans East ( Great pics here ) , and Mary of Miro .

For Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Vatican Sends Letter to Seminarians

Nice reading even if you are not in seminary.

America Will No Long Uses Political Sounding Labels As To Catholics ( Plus Other Changes )

This is somewhat a major change at one of the United States Catholic major publications . I am interested in how this works out. There is going to be an new attitude at America magazine and the editor promises words will be matched by deeds. See Pursuing the Truth in Love . Among some of the thing he pledges :

 “Love manifests itself more in deeds than in words.” America makes the following commitments:

 1. Church. The church in the United States must overcome the problem of factionalism. This begins by re-examining our language. America will no longer use the terms “liberal,” “conservative” or “moderate” when referring to our fellow Catholics in an ecclesiastical context.

 2. Charity. How we say things is as important as what we say. America seeks to provide a model for a public discourse that is intelligent and charitable. In the next few months, America will announce a new set of policies for the public commentary on our various platforms. 

 3. Community. America will appoint a community editor who will moderate our public conversation, ensuring that it rises to the standards we set for thoughtfulness and charity. We will continue to provide a forum for a diverse range of faithful, Catholic voices.

Prof Rick Garnett from Notre Dame comments on this here and Jana Bennett over at Catholic Moral Theology has an extended piece here on this.

In a pure Catholic context I think it is good to get away from some of those labels. Labels can mislead. On the other head they are often used to  convery where a person is coming from. In the comments at Catholic Moral Theology its speculated this might lead to get a tad more specific. From the comments:

One commenter on America suggests that other phrases will inevitably needed as shorthand (i.e. magenta!) – and it seems to me that the entire history of the Church is full of examples of using this kind of shorthand in order to move ecclesiastical debates forward. From Pelagians to Donatists to Jansenists to “the manuals” to “nouvelle” to “Communio” – we all know the inadequacy of these handles (or we should!), but we also know that they communicate something true and important about tendencies and models in theological thought and ecclesiastical practice. Indeed, the Gospels are surely doing this with the group they dub “the Pharisees”! How do we handle this seemingly inevitable tendency – or maybe how do we save what is necessary and true about such “labeling” without what is bad about it?

It will be interesting to watch this develop at America.. There is a lot more at Malone's piece. Read it all.

New Bill In Scotland Would Require Non Parent Guardian For Every Child - Parental Rights

When I first heard about the "Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill" introduced into Parliament on April 17 of this year, I assumed naively that it was an "Onion" type spoof. Sadly, it is not. Under this proposal, every child and young person will be assigned a "named person" (parents of the child are ineligible) whose job it is to promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person by, among other things, advising, informing, or supporting the child or the child's parents; and raising a matter about the child with a relevant authority. Information deemed relevant on each child will be collected by the named person and passed on to successor named persons or other relevant authorites. A "targeted intervention" is developed by the creation of a "child's plan" when "the child's wellbeing is being, or is at risk of being, adversely affected by any manner." In deciding whether a plan is needed and the contents of the plan, the "authority" making the decision will "so far as reasonably practicable ... ascertain and have regard for the views of the child, and the child's parents." ....

Read  more at Mirrors of Justice and "Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill" In the United States I think the reaction would be MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS except there would some be expletives used.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Is Demanding Muslims Transport Jack Daniels Worth Loss of Religious Liberty Protections ?

I have to say this really baffles me. Even if one thinks ISLAM is threat number 1 its hard to see how just numbers wise its a huge threat in the USA. I mean we just don't have the migration patterns to justify such an alarm.

Still it seems too many conservatives leaning folks from the way the 911 mosque inscident was handled to over broad anti Sharia law seems hell bent in going on a course of action that in the end I fear could set precedents that jeopardize Christian as well as everyone else's religious liberty.

Case in point the lastest outrage over some Muslims not having to transport booze or beer!!!

This needed legal voice tries to talk folks off the ledge here.

Catholic Declaration of Independence Signer Charles Carroll of Carrollton & His Lesson For Catholic Business

Charles Carroll of Carrollton is one those Founding Fathers that does not get the attention he do no doubt deserves. This of course was not always the case.

He was not only the lone Catholic Signer of the Declaration of Independence but he outlived all the other founders. He was late in his life the last link to that time and thus there was quite a national celebration of his life. Many things being named after Carroll come of of this time.

 It's hard to imagine especially at a time when Catholics were under such legal discrimination but the Carollton family were likely the most wealthy in the Colonies at the time. So needless to say they were risking a lot when they sided with those that advocated Revolution.

 Over at Legatus today Sam Gregg has a nice column on Charles Caroll as a Catholic businessman and the lessons that gives us today. I can't seem to get a firm link on it so I am reproducing it in full below.

 Charles Carroll of Carrollton is known to most Americans as the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence. In doing so, Carroll arguably put far more at risk than any other Signer. In 1776, Carroll was most likely the wealthiest man in Britain’s American colonies. Indeed, after Carroll appended his signature to the Declaration, one bystander reportedly quipped, “There go a few millions.” 

 Both Carroll’s father and grandfather were successful merchants despite the anti-Catholic laws that prevailed in the Maryland colony throughout most of the 18th century. But Carroll turned out to be a successful entrepreneur in his own right. In fact, Carroll was so good at creating wealth that when George Washington thought of making Carroll ambassador to France in 1796, he eventually opted not to

. Carroll’s commercial interests extended far beyond those of the typical Marylander of his time. They ranged from grain products to livestock, small cloth factories, building crafts, cattle, mills, orchards, land speculation, and iron production. As well as investing in domestic and European markets, Carroll was in the business of making loans, charging market interest rates. He even authored a document defending the legality and morality of compound interest. And, it should be said, a portion of Carroll’s assets consisted of slaves. 

Carroll’s commercial success did not mean, however, that what he often called the “habit of business” became suffocating for him. He would have thoroughly agreed with Calvin Coolidge that “the accumulation of wealth cannot be justified as the chief end of existence.” Like many other Signers, Carroll was a true Renaissance man.Though he worked incredibly hard at expanding his business ventures, he was heavily involved in revolutionary-era politics. And in the midst of all this, Carroll somehow found time before, during, and after the Revolution to read the works of prominent philosophers such as Voltaire and Rousseau — and to find their critiques of Christianity thoroughly unconvincing.

 But Carroll also had a very strong sense that the life of business was itself one full of potential nobility and purpose that went beyond utility. For one thing, Carroll never ceased to emphasize to his own family and friends the order and discipline which business and trade can introduce into people’s lives. Though he never used the word, Carroll understood the folly of consumerism. 

His father had never ceased to remind him that conspicuous consumption was the road to moral (and sometimes economic) ruin. Much of the Maryland high society in which he lived was marred by what Carroll sharply criticized as the vices that flowed from mindless spending and taking on debt for purposes of consumption. Carroll specified, however, that one check on such habits was a conscientious attention to business itself. By this, Carroll meant allocating specific amounts of time to organizing commercial affairs and developing work habits which themselves relied upon cultivating virtues such as prudence, fortitude, and temperance. Carroll’s underlying attitude toward such matters was not driven by something akin to a Protestant work ethic. His approach flowed from his sense of responsibility to fulfill the expectations of those who had gone before him, to provide for one’s family, and to pass on something to forthcoming generations. In these matters, 

Carroll may have been influenced by a book of Catholic spirituality that is a must-read for us: St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life (1609). This 17th-century classic was in vogue among Maryland Catholics during Carroll’s lifetime and occupied a prominent place in his father’s library. Among other things, the book provides counsel on cultivating a prayer life and the necessary degree of detachment in the midst of material comfort so that people’s identity is not consumed by their wealth. 

In short, it seeks to teach Catholics living “in the world,” how to do so while remaining “not of the world.” Charles Carroll’s life and writings have much to teach us today — as Catholics and Americans — especially regarding religious liberty and the other freedoms secured by the American Revolution. But for Catholics in business, there’s also much to learn from Carroll’s life about how to integrate the high moral calling that’s inseparable from Catholic faith into the world of commerce. To forget this is not only to overlook one Catholic’s peerless contribution to the American founding, it’s also to neglect a potential source of timeless wisdom for Catholics in business.