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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bathroom Wars

The solution is simple.

If someone of the wrong sex walks in, scream.
Scream like you're in a horror movie and Jason's bloody knife is inches from your jugular.
Scream, scream, SCREAM!!!!!!!!

That makes YOU the victim and THEM the perp.
You are welcome.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Getting Back to the Mass

Traditionalists are famous for their sacrifices.
People, we are told, will drive hours to attend a Traditional Latin Mass.

Well, often, they make that sacrifice because they don't understand the Mass very well. As one traditionalists told me: "I don't feel like I've been to Mass unless it's the TLM."

Wow - so many errors packed into one little sentence:
  1.  Catholic Faith is reduced to feeling
  2.  Feeling is so screwed up that it cannot detect Christ at a valid Mass
  3.  Implicit assertion that personal feeling is infallible 
  4.  Implicit refusal to acknowledge the validity of the Novus Ordo
  5.  It's all about ME, not about God.
How is this not Protestantism?

And then they wonder why bishops aren't interested in encouraging this attitude.
Yeah, there's a mystery.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Trump's Delegate Problems

In Colorado, Donald Trump's "best people" directed their own supporters to vote for Ted Cruz delegates. No one else made such a monumental unforced error.

In Washington state, Donald Trump's "best people" sent email reminders to vote for delegates to Washington D.C. voters. And, to add insult to injury, the email reminders were several days late.

In South Carolina, Donald Trump's failure to do due diligence caused him to lose "five of the six delegate seats on the ballot in South Carolina’s 3rd and 7th congressional districts."

Indiana hasn't even voted yet, but Trump's failure to pay attention to delegate selection means he will capture none of the delegates. Worse, as of April 9th, less than a week ago, he seemed completely oblivious to it.

New York: he failed to begin working voters by the October deadline for party registration. His ignorance of the deadline was so thorough and complete that Trump even admitted his own family won't be voting for him. They are all registered Democrats. Their opportunity to switch to Republican and vote in New York's closed Republican primary expired over six months ago.

Louisiana: Trump's failure to understand the Art of the Deal meant he let all unbound delegates walk. Cruz is reported to have picked them up. In Georgia and Tennessee, Trump's failure to close the deal with the delegates means Cruz managed to get several pro-Cruz delegates elected as convention representatives: these delegates are only bound to Trump for the first two votes.

California: Cruz has been building a ground game for a year. Trump just declared his Statewide Director on April 13. California's delegate registration deadline is May 7.

Wyoming: Trump's own manager gave up hours before the vote even began.

Nebraska: Trump never even sent people in to look for delegates.

Trump has a fake on-line army. He also has an artificial 22% boost in delegates, courtesy of the GOP rule system. If he really thought the system was unfair, he could give back his unearned 22% delegate bonus.

Instead, Trump whines not only without apology, but with great pride. No, really, he is proud of his whining. Trump acts like a garden-variety welfare queen, insisting he should get more than he already hasn't earned, and blaming all of his unforced errors on George Bush Ted Cruz.

Cruz has now grabbed Missouri and half of Pennsylvania's delegates.

Friday, April 08, 2016

Amoris Laetitia

The new papal apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, is out.

A few words may be in order.
Here is a summary of what I found to be highlights (your may find others, when you look):

This is news to the folks at EWTN
#50 Distractions abound, including an addiction to television.

Homosexual unions are again condemned.
#52 We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability, but de facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with marriage. No union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society.

Islamic practice of FGM is specifically called out as reprehensible:
#54 The verbal, physical, and sexual violence that women endure in some marriages contradicts the very nature of the conjugal union. I think of the reprehensible genital mutilation of women practiced in some cultures, but also of their lack of equal access to dignified work and roles of decision-making. History is burdened by the excesses of patriarchal cultures that considered women inferior, yet in our own day, we cannot overlook the use of surrogate mothers and “the exploitation and commercialization of the female body in the current media culture

One of the more beautiful passages in the exhortation:
#72 The sacrament is a gift given for the sanctification and salvation of the spouses, since “their mutual belonging is a real representation, through the sacramental sign, of the same relationship between Christ and the Church. The married couple are therefore a permanent reminder for the Church of what took place on the cross

Article #75 has a great description of exactly how the grace of marriage works

Pope Francis notes opportunities:
#78 When a couple in an irregular union attains a noteworthy stability through a public bond – and is characterized by deep affection, responsibility towards the children and the ability to overcome trials – this can be seen as an opportunity where possible, to lead them to celebrate the sacrament of Matrimony.

Another beautiful passage:
#80 Nonetheless, the conjugal union is ordered to procreation “by its very nature”.84 The child who is born “does not come from outside as something added on to the mutual love of the spouses, but springs from the very heart of that mutual giving, as its fruit and fulfilment”.85 He or she does not appear at the end of a process, but is present from the beginning of love as an essential feature, one that cannot be denied without disfiguring that love itself.

#81 A child deserves to be born of that love, and not by any other means, for “he or she is not something owed to one, but is a gift”,87 which is “the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of the parents”.

Article #83 has a great exhortation against abortion

Bishops, take note:
#84 At the same time I feel it important to reiterate that the overall education of children is a “most serious duty” and at the same time a “primary right” of parents....Schools do not replace parents, but complement them.

Bishops, priests, DREs: stop trying to replace parents
#85. The Church is called to cooperate with parents through suitable pastoral initiatives, assisting them in the fulfilment of their educational mission. She must always do this by helping them to appreciate their proper role and to realize that by their reception of the sacrament of marriage they become ministers of their children’s education.

Articles #91-94 are a great passage on what "patience" means. In fact, the whole discussion through #119 is a wealth of material for meditation.

Note the difference in attitude towards children
#124 In the words of Saint Robert Bellarmine, “the fact that one man unites with one woman in an indissoluble bond, and that they remain inseparable despite every kind of difficulty, even when there is no longer hope for children, can only be the sign of a great mystery”.

Another beautiful passage:
#170 A child is a human being of immense worth and may never be used for one’s own benefit. So it matters little whether this new life is convenient for you, whether it has features that please you, or whether it fits into your plans and aspirations. For “children are a gift. Each one is unique and irreplaceable… We love our children because they are children, not because they are beautiful, or look or think as we do, or embody our dreams. We love them because they are children. A child is a child”.186 The love of parents is the means by which God our Father shows his own love.

Pope Francis paraphrases Pope Benedict:
#186. When those who receive it turn a blind eye to the poor and suffering, or consent to various forms of division, contempt and inequality, the Eucharist is received unworthily.

Important advice for newlyweds
#190 In some marriages, one spouse keeps secrets from the other, confiding them instead to his or her parents. As a result, the opinions of their parents become more important than the feelings and opinions of their spouse. This situation cannot go on for long

Possibly the most beautiful passage in the document:
#221 Might we say that the greatest mission of two people in love is to help one another become, respectively, more a man and more a woman? Fostering growth means helping a person to shape his or her own identity. Love is thus a kind of craftsmanship.

This passage speaks for itself:
#242 At the same time, “divorced people who have not remarried, and often bear witness to marital fidelity, ought to be encouraged to find in the Eucharist the nourishment they need to sustain them in their present state of life. The local community and pastors should accompany these people with solicitude, particularly when children are involved or when they are in serious financial difficulty”

Re-iterating constant teaching
#243. It is important that the divorced who have entered a new union should be made to feel part of the Church. “They are not excommunicated” and they should not be treated as such, since they remain part of the ecclesial community.261 These situations “require careful discernment and respectful accompaniment. Language or conduct that might lead them to feel discriminated against should be avoided, and they should be encouraged to participate in the life of the community. The Christian community’s care of such persons is not to be considered a weakening of its faith and testimony to the indissolubility of marriage; rather, such care is a particular expression of its charity”.

#246 Divorce is an evil and the increasing number of divorces is very troubling.

#247 With regard to sharing in the Eucharist, ‘the decision as to whether the non-Catholic party of the marriage may be admitted to Eucharistic communion is to be made in keeping with the general norms existing in the matter, both for Eastern Christians and for other Christians, taking into account the particular situation of the reception of the sacrament of matrimony by two baptized Christians. Although the spouses in a mixed marriage share the sacraments of baptism and matrimony, eucharistic sharing can only be exceptional and in each case according to the stated norms’ (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, 25 March 1993, 159-160)”.

Nothing new on homosexuality
251. In discussing the dignity and mission of the family, the Synod Fathers observed that, “as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”. It is unacceptable “that local Churches should be subjected to pressure in this matter and that international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex”

Bishops, take note:
263. Parents rely on schools to ensure the basic instruction of their children, but can never completely delegate the moral formation of their children to others.

On Correcting children (read through #274, but here is a highlight)
268. It is also essential to help children and adolescents to realize that misbehaviour has consequences. They need to be encouraged to put themselves in other people’s shoes and to acknowledge the hurt they have caused. Some punishments – those for aggressive, antisocial conduct - can partially serve this purpose. It is important to train children firmly to ask forgiveness and to repair the harm done to others.

#274 A person may clearly and willingly desire something evil, but do so as the result of an irresistible passion or a poor upbringing. In such cases, while the decision is voluntary, inasmuch as it does not run counter to the inclination of their desire, it is not free, since it is practically impossible for them not to choose that evil. We see this in the case of compulsive drug addicts. When they want a fix, they want it completely, yet they are so conditioned that at that moment no other decision is possible. Their decision is voluntary but not free. It makes no sense to “let them freely choose”, since in fact they cannot choose, and exposing them to drugs only increases their addiction. They need the help of others and a process of rehabilitation.

Good to remember for training spouses - they have to learn to trust each other
#279. Nor is it good for parents to be domineering. When children are made to feel that only their parents can be trusted, this hinders an adequate process of socialization and growth in affective maturity.

Great summary on sex education
#283. Frequently, sex education deals primarily with “protection” through the practice of “safe sex”. Such expressions convey a negative attitude towards the natural procreative finality of sexuality, as if an eventual child were an enemy to be protected against. This way of thinking promotes narcissism and aggressivity in place of acceptance. It is always irresponsible to invite adolescents to toy with their bodies and their desires, as if they possessed the maturity, values, mutual commitment and goals proper to marriage.

Nancy Pelosi, please call your office:
#297 Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others; this is a case of something which separates from the community (cf. Mt 18:17). Such a person needs to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion.

The Church's declaration on a particular marriage's validity/nullity CAN be wrong:
#298 There are also the cases of those who made every effort to save their first marriage and were unjustly abandoned, or of “those who have entered into a second union for the sake of the children’s upbringing, and are sometimes subjectively certain in conscience that their previous and irreparably broken marriage had never been valid”

#301 Saint Thomas Aquinas himself recognized that someone may possess grace and charity, yet not be able to exercise any one of the virtues well;341 in other words, although someone may possess all the infused moral virtues, he does not clearly manifest the existence of one of them, because the outward practice of that virtue is rendered difficult: “Certain saints are said not to possess certain virtues, in so far as they experience difficulty in the acts of those virtues, even though they have the habits of all the virtues”.

A quote from the Summa (I-II, q. 94, art. 4.)
#304 I earnestly ask that we always recall a teaching of Saint Thomas Aquinas and learn to incorporate it in our pastoral discernment: “Although there is necessity in the general principles, the more we descend to matters of detail, the more frequently we encounter defects… In matters of action, truth or practical rectitude is not the same for all, as to matters of detail, but only as to the general principles; and where there is the same rectitude in matters of detail, it is not equally known to all… The principle will be found to fail, according as we descend further into detail”.347 It is true that general rules set forth a good which can never be disregarded or neglected, but in their formulation they cannot provide absolutely for all particular situations. At the same time, it must be said that, precisely for that reason, what is part of a practical discernment in particular circumstances cannot be elevated to the level of a rule.

Justice through Mercy
#305 Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end. Discernment must help to find possible ways of responding to God and growing in the midst of limits. By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God. Let us remember that “a small step, in the midst of great human limitations, can be more pleasing to God than a life which appears outwardly in order, but moves through the day without confronting great difficulties”

Monday, April 04, 2016

The Republican's Open Convention

I am a Cruz supporter. Cruz has been working to close the nomination deal. Either he does, or he doesn't. That's his problem.

It isn't "unfair" if he doesn't manage it.

Same with Trump, Kasich or anyone else. Everyone knew how things worked going in, or should have. Everyone certainly had time to find out how things worked over the last year. There's nothing unfair going on - this is how the process works. It's not news. Whatever candidate gets nominated is the one who is able to close the nomination deal.

You can complain about the GOP backroom establishment all you want. That won't change the facts. Everyone knew the facts going in. This is life. Conservatives don't whine about how badly life treats them, or how things are unfair. The world doesn't owe us anything, nor does the process owe any of the candidates anything. The process is the process, it is a well-known process.

That is all.

Trump and The Hunter's Snare

Recently, Donald Trump made a statement about punishing women for trying to get an abortion. While he has walked those remarks back, many of his supporters continue to insist that Trump was essentially correct - women should be punished for abortion.

Here is the transcript of Trump's abortion remarks, with the relevant portion below:
MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle?
TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.
MATTHEWS: For the woman.
TRUMP: Yeah, there has to be some form.
MATTHEWS: Ten cents? Ten years? What?
TRUMP: I don’t know. That I don’t know. That I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: Why not?
TRUMP: I don’t know.
MATTHEWS: You take positions on everything else.
TRUMP: Because I don’t want to -- I frankly, I do take positions on everything else. It’s a very complicated position.
MATTHEWS: But you say, one, that you’re pro-life, meaning you want to ban it.
TRUMP: But wait a minute, wait a minute. But the Catholic Church is pro-life.
MATTHEWS: No, let’s not talk about my religion.
Has the pro-life side (a) ever said women should be punished and (b) displayed inconsistency by saying women should not be punished? After all, if it is murder, shouldn't the one attempting murder be punished?

The answers are (a) no, no state in the Union has ever prosecuted a woman for attempting to have an abortion, nor has the pro-life side ever attempted to get that to happen and (b) no, it is not inconsistent to say that the abortionist should be punished while the woman should not be.

Consider: a man who attempts suicide has, according to pro-life principles, also attempted to commit murder. So has anyone who assists such a man in his suicide attempt. Yet pro-lifers have always insisted that only doctors who assist suicide (e.g., Dr. Kevorkian) should be prosecuted, not the man who attempts it or who hires Dr. Kevorkian to assist him in completing it. 

For those who insist Trump is correct to punish women, I ask a simple question: would you also support prosecuting and punishing those who attempt suicide?

And for those who do not like this analogy, keep in mind what Planned Parenthood itself celebrates as a pro-abortion attitude:
In a magazine article some years ago I wrote, “No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

To my surprise, this line revealed a place of agreement in the midst of the deadlock. Not only was it quickly picked up by sympathetic pro-lifers, but it was “Quote of the Week” in Planned Parenthood’s Public Affairs Action Letter, and “Quote of the Month” in the Pro-Choice Network newsletter. Apparently pro-choice partisans could agree with pro-lifers that, no matter what their political differences, abortion was a miserable choice.
We don't punish people who are trapped by the hunter's snare. We punish the people who ensnared them. 

Trump answered as a pro-abort Democrat imagines a pro-lifer would answer. He is wrong, and all who agree with him are wrong.