Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gov. Cuomo and St. Thomas More

Gov. Cuomo says that he has a devotion to St. Thomas More, a revelation more ironic than a phone-booth full of hipsters.  Ed Peters writes
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, per this interview with Maureen Dowd, keeps a portrait of St. Thomas More (which had once belonged to his father Mario) in his Albany office. I am glad to hear it, for St. Thomas, I am sure, intercedes especially for Catholics in high political office. Any Catholic in political life today needs St. Thomas More’s prayers. 
Cuomo, we read, has shrugged off the shrill complaint of Vatican adviser Edward Peters that he’s living in ‘public concubinage’ with his girlfriend in their Westchester home,” adding that “[Peters] was a blogger, not from my state. I didn’t want to give it too much credibility.’ As for whether Lee was hurt by the crude, archaic term, [Cuomo] conceded, ‘It was not a pleasant conversation for anyone.’”
To adapt a famous line from A Man For All Seasons, "It profits a man nothing to gain the whole world and lose his soul.  But for your girlfriend?"

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blog Index

I have been working on indexing my blog posts by topic, a process made lengthier than anticipated by power outages.  Here are a few of the topics with the most posts:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Make War Not Love

In general, violence is of greater moral value than sex.  This is for two reasons.  First of all, you can kill multiple people during a war or in self-defense and retain a clear conscience, but the number of people you can licitly have sex with is a dichotomous variable with a value of either 0 or 1, depending on whether or not you're married.  In addition, there is no sin in being killed, so at worst, a person who kills another is only harming his own soul and not his victim's.  In contrast, having sex outside of marriage is a grave sin committed not by one person but by two.  By leading each other into sin, those who engage in illicit sexual activity are not just committing the sin of fornication but scandal as well.  Murder is a greater sin than unchastity, but the effects of unchastity can be even worse than murder.

That is not to say that at the individual level, violence is always superior to sex.  Between spouses, sex is a renewal of the marriage covenant and releases sanctifying grace.  That is of course worth more than all the just wars in the world.  However, it is certain that a man is better off doing combat patrols in Afghanistan than cohabiting with his girlfriend back home.

This concludes our disturbing moral theology lesson for today.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sorry Billie, But You're Not a Minority

Minority is a song by the punk rock band Green Day.  (Video here)  It begins with frontman Billie Armstrong singing these lines:

I want to be the minority
I don't need your authority
Down with the moral majority
'Cause I want to be the minority

The song is catchy but dumb.  When he mentions the "moral majority," Armstrong is not just referring to the defunct social conservative group active in the 1980s, but to the American population as a whole.  He really ought to have looked at some polling data, because on moral issues, the majority of Americans are more closely aligned with the pseudo-anarchist pinkos of Green Day than with Billy Graham.  Although Minority was released a decade ago, public opinion on social issues has remained fairly constant.  Both in the year 2000 and today, the "moral majority" believes that the following things are morally acceptable:
  • Maintaining legal access to abortion
  • Taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood
  • Contraception
  • Homosexual relationships
  • Embryonic stem cell research
  • Pre-marital sex
Sources: Gallup and Polling Report

If the members of Green Day and their fans really want to be a rebellious minority, they ought to become social conservatives.  However, I don't think that is a very likely occurrence.  After all, it's easy to be in the majority.

New Job

I have not been blogging very much since I got a job, but I have some new posts lined up about Green Day, Herman Cain, sex, violence, and other stuff.  Stay tuned!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Awesome St. John Neumann Quote

I saw this quote from St. John Cardinal Neumann on TH2, and I thought it was really cool.  Neumann is describing the Church:

There is a religious communion claiming a divine commission, and holding all other religious bodies around it heretical or infidel; it is a well-organized, well-disciplined body; it is a sort of secret society, binding together its members by influences and by engagements which it is difficult for strangers to ascertain. It is spread over the known world; it may be weak or insignificant locally, but is strong on the whole from its continuity; it may be smaller than other religious bodies together, but it is larger than each separately. It is a natural enemy to governments external to itself; it is intolerant and engrossing, and tends to a new modelling of society; it breaks laws, it divides families. It is a gross superstition; it is charged with the foulest crimes; it is despised by the intellect of the day; it is frightful to the imagination of many. And there is but one communion such. Place this description before Pliny or Julian; place it before Frederick the Second or Guiznot. "Apparent diræ facies". Each knows at once, without asking a question, who is meant by it. One object, and only one, absorbs each item of the detail of the delineation.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blog Reccomendation

Check out A Catholic UNapologist, a great blog by Patrick Vandapool, who mercilessly crushes the errors of Protestantism with funny and insightful posts.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Heresy of Indifference

I enjoy debating Protestants on issues of faith, but every discussion I have with one ends in the same frustrating dead end of doctrinal indifference.  This is typified by something a Presbyterian friend said to me, "We believe that accepting Jesus is all that matters, once he is in your heart, we will be debating the finer points of the faith til the day He comes back."  This proposition makes any argument moot because it claims that theological debate among Christians can never produce a solid result.  My friend's judgement is fairly accurate when applied to Protestant sects, because lacking a Magesterium, Protestants can make no absolute claim to theological truth beyond the most basic of doctrines.

However, this relativism is not satisfactory when considering the differences between Protestantism and Catholicism.  Unlike Protestants, the Catholic Church makes a claim of infallibility in matters of faith and morals.  The fallibility of Protestant teachings is the very reason for indifference among Protestants and it is unreasonable to be indifferent about competing doctrinal claims when one side declares itself to be infallible.  Though Protestants profess indifference about Catholicism, they are not really being indifferent, but implicitly and absolutely rejecting the Catholic Church's claim of authority.  Because of this, an honest debate with a Protestant should result not in a declaration of indifference, but a statement of disbelief in the teaching authority of the Church.  This is a solid point of contention and should serve as the starting point for a more fruitful debate.

Ke$ha is a Vampire

Check out this great post by my classmate Ean.

I'm Still Alive

More blogging is imminent.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Church Wimpy or the Church Militant?

CNS News reports,
“Jesus: A prophet of Islam” states the provocative tagline in a “public awareness” advertising campaign launched by a Muslim group in Australia’s largest city.The group, calling itself Mypeace, says its aim is to inform, not offend – but offend it has, with one Catholic bishop calling the assertion about Jesus “a direct assault on Christian beliefs.”
Roadside billboards in the metropolitan Sydney area carry one of four simple slogans: “Jesus: A Prophet of Islam,” “Holy Qur’an: The Final Testament,” “Muhammad: Mercy to Mankind” and “Islam: Got Questions? Get Answers.”
Each banner invites people to get in touch by phone or online, for literature and a free copy of the Qur’an. Mypeace says the ads will stay up for four weeks, and later this year will be run on scores of public buses in the city.
One of the billboards featuring the Jesus slogan was vandalized a day after it was erected.
Mypeace says its aim is to “address the many misconceptions on Islam, to educate fellow Australians on Islam, invite them to ask any questions that they may have.”
Islamic awareness campaigns are not new, but the slogan referring to Jesus is causing a stir.  Muslims and interfaith advocates sometimes invoke Jesus to assert some sort of commonality with Christians, implying that Muslims, too, “believe in Jesus.”
“In Australia with its Christian heritage a billboard carrying the statement ‘Jesus A prophet of Islam’ is provocative and offensive to Christians,” Julian Porteous, auxiliary bishop at the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, responded in an article.
“Central to Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ is more than a prophet,” he said. “He is the Son of God. He is acclaimed Lord and Savior of humanity. This statement is a direct assault on Christian beliefs.”
Porteous said religions should not “set out to antagonize those with differing beliefs.”
“Dialogue between the religions can only take place when it is founded in mutual respect. It is not fostered by provocative statements.”
It is unfortunate that Bishop Porteous is so thin-skinned that a sign proclaiming Islamic doctrines offends him, but worse is his attempt to defend the faith in such a way that does more harm than good.  His condemnation of "offensive" proselytizing is foolish and self-defeating.  A fear of antagonizing those who disagree can only stifle debate and true ecumenicism.  Instead of sitting inside the fortress Church and complaining about Islam, Bishop Porteous ought to go out and engage Muslims and other unbelievers in an attempt to win more souls to the Church.  Catholics need to stop being the Church Wimpy and start being the Church Militant.

Friday, June 3, 2011

State Bans Death Row Inmate from Donating Organs

The Daily Mail reports,
An Oregon death row inmate is campaigning to donate his organs after he is executed in an attempt to repay society for the horrific murders of his wife and three children.

Christian Longo, 37, says he wants to save other people’s lives after taking those of his family before dumping their bodies in coastal bays in December 2001.

But he has been denied a request to drop his appeals in exchange for being allowed to donate organs and donation officials have labelled the idea ‘morally reprehensible’.

‘Why go out and waste your organs when you have the potential to go out and save six to 12 lives?’ Longo said from Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem.

However Indiana University medical ethics expert Dr Paul R. Helft said: ‘I don’t think we want to be the kind of society that takes organs from prisoners.'

‘To do so would be to use un-free prisoners as a means to an end,’ he told MSNBC.

But changing inmate donation policies could ease a dire shortage of transplantable organs, despite concerns this would rely on a vulnerable prisoner population.
I can appreciate the moral concerns regarding organ transplants from prisoners, but this is just ridiculous.  It makes sense to prohibit the donation of organs from living prisoners, but this man is going to die.  Longo will have no use for his organs after his execution, but other people certainly will and it would be cruel to prevent them from receiving life saving treatments at the expense of a willingly donated cadaver.  Also, organ donation is a corporal work of mercy and Longo could certainly use the grace attached such works. 

More important than good works of course, is the man's conversion.  No matter what happens to Christian Longo's organs, we must pray that he and all death row inmates repent and are saved through the mercy of God.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Best of Success Nun

Someone turned a picture of Mother Angelica into a great meme.  These are my favorites:



Warning: Before you go searching teh interwebz for more of success nun, keep in mind that there are evil versions of every meme, including this one.