Did Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake meant what she actually said here in the wake of the destructive riots taking place in her city?
Apparently not as her office has sent out some clarifying remarks:
“What she is saying within this statement was that there was an effort to give the peaceful demonstrators room to conduct their peaceful protests on Saturday. Unfortunately, as a result of providing the peaceful demonstrators with the space to share their message, that also meant that those seeking to incite violent also had the space to operate. The police sought to balance the rights of the peaceful demonstrators against the need to step in against those who were seeking to create violence.”
I want to believe that. I honestly do.
It was an image that came to symbolise desperation and valour: the desperation of those who will take on the sea – and the men who ferry human cargo across it – to flee the ills that cannot keep them in their own countries. And the valour of those on Europe’s southern shores who rush to save them when tragedy strikes.
Last week on the island of Rhodes, war, repression, dictatorship in distant Eritrea were far from the mind of army sergeant Antonis Deligiorgis. The world inhabited by Wegasi Nebiat, a 24-year-old Eritrean in the cabin of a yacht sailing towards the isle, was still far away.
At 8am on Monday there was nothing that indicated the two would meet. Stationed in Rhodes, the burly soldier accompanied his wife, Theodora, on the school run. “Then we thought we’d grab a coffee,” he told the Observer in an exclusive interview recounting what would soon ensue. “We stopped by a cafe on the seafront.”
Deligiorgis had his back to the sea when the vessel carrying Nebiat struck the jagged rocks fishermen on Rhodes grow up learning to avoid. Within seconds the rickety boat packed with Syrians and Eritreans was listing. The odyssey that had originated six hours earlier at the Turkish port of Marmaris – where thousands of Europe-bound migrants are now said to be amassed – was about to end in the strong currents off Zefyros Beach.
For Nebiat, whose journey to Europe began in early March – her parents paid $10,000 for a voyage that would see her walk, bus and fly her way to “freedom” – the reef was her first contact with the continent she had prayed to reach. Soon she was in the water clinging to a rubber buoy.
“The boat disintegrated in a matter of minutes,” the father-of-two recalled. “It was as if it was made of paper. By the time I left the café at 10 past 10, a lot of people had rushed to the scene. The coastguard was there, a Super Puma [helicopter] was in the air, the ambulance brigade had come, fishermen had gathered in their caiques. Without really giving it a second’s thought, I did what I had to do. By 10:15 I had taken off my shirt and was in the water.”
Deligiorgis brought 20 of the 93 migrants to shore singlehandedly. “At first I wore my shoes but soon had to take them off,” he said, speaking by telephone from Rhodes. “The water was full of oil from the boat and was very bitter and the rocks were slippery and very sharp. I cut myself quite badly on my hands and feet, but all I could think of was saving those poor people.”
Read the rest.
Gripping heroism on display by the good sergeant. Thank God for him.
Via Ryan Michael, on Google+, something informative and, along with the graphic, pretty hilarious:
The very first Christian Bible was produced by the Catholic Church – compiled by Catholic scholars of the 2nd and 3rd century and approved for general Christian use by the Catholic Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397). The very first printed Bible was produced under the auspices of the Catholic Church – printed by the Catholic inventor of the printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. And the very first Bible with chapters and numbered verses was produced by the Catholic Church–the work of Stephen Langton, Cardinal Archbishop of Canterbury.
“Divinely wise souls often infuriate the worldly-wise because they always see things from the Divine point of view. The worldly are willing to let anyone believe in God if he pleases, but only on condition that a belief in God will mean no more than belief in anything else. They will allow God, provided that God does not matter. But taking God seriously is precisely what makes the saint. As St. Teresa put it, “What is not God to me is nothing.” This passion is called snobbish, intolerant, stupid, and unwarranted intrusion; yet those who resent it deeply wish in their own hearts that they had the saint’s inner peace and happiness.”
~ Fulton J. Sheen
Pope Francis said Wednesday that marriage is a vocation all believers are called to defend, specifically in terms of the complementarity of the union between a man and a woman.
In the account of creation, “man appears for a moment without woman, free and master, but he is alone, he feels alone,” the Pope told attendees of his April 22 general audience.
“God himself recognizes that this reality is not good, that there is a lack of fullness and of communion, and because of this decided to create woman,” Francis said, explaining that when the woman is finally presented to the man, “the man recognizes that only this creature, and only she, is part of him.”
Man doesn’t see woman as a mere replica or reflection of himself, the Pope noted, but immediately recognizes her as someone reciprocal and complimentary to him.
The woman, he said, “is not a ‘replica’ of the man; she comes directly from the creative act of God. The image of the ‘rib’ does not in any way express inferiority or subordination, but on the contrary, that man and woman are of the same substance and are complementary.”
Francis spoke to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his general audience address, during which he continued his ongoing catechesis on the family.
In his speech, the Pope warned that the complementarity between men and women is frequently threatened by “the negative excesses of patriarchal cultures (and) multiple forms of ‘machismo,’” or sexist attitudes.
He noted how the female body is often instrumentalized and commoditized in the current media culture.
While God initially placed his full confidence in Adam and Eve, the devil is the one who sowed seeds of suspicion and distrust in their hearts, leading them to disobey God and destroy the initial harmony of their relationship, he said.
“All of this has increased distrust and the difficulty of a full alliance between man and woman, who are capable of an intimate relationship of communion and respect for differences,” the Pope continued.
Rather than being lived as a reciprocal union, marriage today has been marred by an “epidemic of distrust, of skepticism and even of hostility,” he said.
At the same time, the procreative aspect of marriage has been “devalued, which is always a great loss for everyone. How important it is to revalue marriage and the family!”
When a stable and “fruitful” union between a man and a woman is lacking or underappreciated, it is the young who suffer most, Francis observed.
Despite all of our sins and weaknesses, our vocation “is to care for the covenant of marriage,” which constitutes “a vital and energizing vocation, through which we cooperate with our heavenly Father, who himself always cares for and protects this great gift.”
Pope Francis then turned to God’s mercy, saying that the image of the Father’s tenderness toward a sinful couple “leaves us open-mouthed with wonder” at how he safeguards his creation.
This image, he said, should inspire all believers to make a commitment to defend the “vital and energizing” vocation of marriage and to protect the sacred union that God willed for men and women.
Francis concluded his address by praying that Mary’s example would teach all men and women of today to obey and be strengthened by the first harmony with which they were created and loved by God.
I await the petition to God written by prominent Catholics decrying the Pope's intolerance.
She told attendees at the sixth annual Women in The World Summit that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed” for the sake of giving women access to “reproductive health care and safe childbirth.”
“Far too many women are denied access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth, and laws don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice — not just on paper,” Clinton said.
“Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will,” she explained. “And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed. As I have said and as I believe, the advancement of the full participation of women and girls in every aspect of their societies is the great unfinished business of the 21st century and not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”
Daily Caller has the video of the speech if you can stomach it.
Let there be little doubt about where Hillary stands amongst the pro-abort community and she clearly is embracing the support of the nation's leading baby killers:
Clearly it will be those of us with deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases.
But hey, no matter because we'll have finally elected a woman.
And that trumps.
Frederica Matthews-Green likely lost a number of people with her recent post, but she's articulating the most serious problem we who oppose gay marriage have:
Gay marriage is only the last in a long series of shifts in sexual morality. Why didn’t premarital sex or cohabitation galvanize our attention, like this has? Where were the protests then? How did divorce and remarriage become about as frequent among Christians as in the general population?
When reminded of those higher standards, of not that long ago, people say, “But it would be too hard for divorced people to remain unmarried. It’s too hard to live without love.” Yet that’s exactly what we ask gay people to do. We should at least admit that it is not easy; it is in fact a kind of heroism, and we should honor it better than we do. I don’t advocate relaxing the rules (of the faith) for gays, but I wonder how straight people came to relax the rules for themselves.
So I don’t care what other people do in bed, and I don’t think that a gay couple living down the street undermines the marriages around them. But I do think that gay sex damages the soul, and I’ll tell you why.
My Eastern Orthodox Church teaches that the whole purpose of human life is union with God. It teaches that this is possible even for the most ordinary Christians. Our church has had plenty of practice—centuries and millennia of practice—discerning what helps and what hinders that process. It has long observed (as have most ancient faiths) that sex outside hetero marriage (gay or straight) is one of the things that impede spiritual growth.
This is not a theoretical belief, but an observation based on practical experience. So it can’t change. But why should other people care what I believe? If I saw someone smoking a cigarette, I might worry that he’s harming himself, and he might suspect I disapprove. But we don’t have to have an argument about it. He’s free to do what he wants, and I’m free to have my own opinion. Live and let live, I say.
But mark this: I also expect my church to be free practice this faith. While there is much more to the process of soul-healing than sexual activity—anger and pride, for example, are much more frequently addressed—that doesn’t make the sexual morality obsolete. So we uphold it, whether gay or straight. Everyone in my church is there voluntarily; everyone is free to leave at any time. We all struggle with one temptation or another, and support each other on the path. If any attempt is made to restrict what people of faith believe, teach, preach, and practice, this country will have a much bigger fight on its hands.
I’ve resisted joining up with the “defend marriage” movement for a long time, and you might wonder why I’d change my mind now. It’s not that I think I have anything fresh to add to the conversation. People aren’t listening anyway; to gay advocates, I am just another hater. When I tried, a few years ago, to put my “live and let live” perspective into words, a gay blogger responded with a post stating, “Frederica says I don’t deserve to be loved.”
No, I’m joining the fray because it looks like the battle is lost. That means it’s time to stand together. It’s not hard to predict what happens next: winners silence their opponents, and losers are hounded, misrepresented, and punished for their views.
Well, what did we expect? What we are saying seems nonsense to the secular world, and is felt as actively antagonistic. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).
This past Good Friday I was struck by the scripture that says Christ suffered “outside the gate,” as an outcast, beyond the city wall. Why should we be any different? As the Scripture says, “Let us go forth to him outside the camp, and bear the abuse he endured” (Hebrews 13:13). It’s time. Let’s go.
Thought provoking and unsettling words purposed in pointing out that defending marriage isn't just about opposing gay marriage.
There's lots of work to do.
“False economics says that the primary end of business is not consumption, but production. Start with this principle and it follows then that the purpose of a machine is not to supply human needs, but to make profit for its owner. The price then becomes more important than the man who pays the price. It is then only a step to say that the produce of God’s bountiful land may be destroyed in the midst of starvation for the sake of an economic price. Man becomes subordinate to economics, instead of economics to man, and this means a degradation and impoverishment of human dignity.”
~ Archbishop Fulton Sheen (The Prodigal World)
I watched the new movie "Little Boy" with my nine year old son and seven year old daughter. We all loved it. It is a beautiful story about faith and love. It's the kind of movie you just don't see anymore.
The story centers around the faith of a young boy who, at the request of a local priest played by the great actor Tom Wilksinson, decided that bringing his father back alive from World War II depends on him performing the corporal works of mercy. The movie is told through the child's eyes.
The child named Pepper is played by a super cute actor named Jakob Salvati. The kid really delivers a moving performance.
I read some reviews from professional reviewers who seem to find the movie "cloying" or "syrupy" or "obvious." I'm not a professional film watcher. I just like movies. And I really liked it. My kids did as well. And there's many lessons for the kids here as well such as being brave and having faith even in the face of insurmountable odds. What's wrong with a movie that I can watch with my family without worrying what they'll be exposed to?
If you want more movies to be made like this we have to go see it. I advise all to take your spouse, your kids, and their friends to this movie.
He's got a bit more, check it out.
I had planned on seeing the movie myself and now I'm even more primed to go.
When we speak, how much do we rationalize, avoid saying, over-state, as our needs and interests require? Do we speak strongly when the subjects are weak or distant or marginal and more carefully or not at all when they’re stronger or closer to us? How much do we employ euphemisms when our desires drive us to do something our consciences recognize as wrong?
In culturally conservative circles, for example, we find it easy to speak firmly against homosexuality and to condemn homosexual people who act on their desires. We have no problem advising those who want to live by the Church’s teaching on the high standards they must maintain. These people can become subjects for culture-warring. They are Them, and they live a good ways away.
In these same circles, how often do we speak in that way about Catholic couples on their second marriages who haven’t gotten an annulment? About couples using contraception? Not, I think, nearly as often as we speak that way about homosexual people.
The sins seem equal in the Catholic understanding and they’re a great deal more common than homosexuality and just as public. The articulation of the Catholic teaching on sexuality and marriage is needed a lot more by these people than by homosexual people. But these people are our neighbors and the people to whom we pass the peace at Mass. We work with them on the parish festival and run into them at the Lenten fish fry. We’ve heard their stories and we know how much pain they’ve suffered. We know how they came to be where they are.
In their cases, we speak gently and only when we think we will get a hearing. Many times since I’ve been a Catholic I’ve heard someone who spoke strongly when the subject was theoretical or distant suddenly start speaking with empathy when the subject was someone he knew. The most rigorous legalist finds a “pastoral” reading of the law.
Their kindness becomes them, inconsistent as it may be. Perhaps we ought to speak strongly to the people in irregular marriages, though that kind of confrontation seems properly the clergy’s job. Not everyone in ancient Israel was called to be like Elijah.
In any case, as I say, telling the truth is hard. We all tend to evade it when saying it will cost us or hurt people we care about. Instead of thrusting our fist into the air, we stuff our hands in our pockets and look at the ground.
This sounds like compromise and cowardice, and it may often be, but not always. How to speak and what to say when and to whom is a matter of discernment and discernment requires care for the person, and we care more easily for the people we know. Most of us need to work on caring for those we don’t know, the ones we find easy to condemn and order around.
Knowing well what to say requires not just an intellectual effort but growth in holiness. Our ability to tell the truth depends upon our conformity to the Lord who is the truth and also love. He’s the source of courage and tact.
Do read the whole thing.
Under too many circumstances, courage and tact are necessary things but really should come paired together and only when He truly is the source.
Otherwise, harm is likely to follow.
The voice of experience tells the tale.
Religious persecution of Christians is rampant worldwide, as Pew has noted, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in the Middle East and Northern Africa, where followers of Jesus are the targets of religious cleansing. Pope Francis has repeatedly decried the persecution and begged the world for help, but it has had little impact. Western leaders — including Obama — will be remembered for their near silence as this human rights tragedy unfolded. The president's mumblings about the atrocities visited upon Christians (usually extracted after public outcry over his silence) are few and far between. And it will be hard to forget his lecturing of Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast about the centuries-old Crusades while Middle Eastern Christianswere at that moment being harassed, driven from their homes, tortured and murdered for their faith.
A week and a half after Obama's National Prayer Breakfast speech, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded for being "people of the cross." Seven of the victims were former students of my friend and hero "Mama" Maggie Gobran, known as the "Mother Theresa of Cairo" for her work with the poorest of the poor. She told me these dear men grew up in rural Upper Egypt and had gone to Libya seeking work to support their families. They died with dignity as they called out to their God, while the cowardly murderers masked their faces.
Rather than hectoring Christians about their ancestors' misdeeds, Obama should honor these men and the countless Middle Eastern Christians persecuted before them.
Monday, there was more horrifying news: ISIL terrorists released a video purporting to show more religiously motivated killing. According to CNN, before beheading and shooting two groups of Christians in Libya, a speaker said, "The Islamic State has offered the Christian community (the opportunity to convert to Islam or pay a tax for being Christian) many times and set a deadline for this, but the Christians never cooperated."
So they kill them.
Indeed, let's talk more about the Crusades.
Read the whole thing.
Pass it on.
She speaks truth.
In a saner time, the questions Ryan wants to raise are exactly the ones we should be debating. I think the answers would still come out against him, but Enlightenment reason has as only one of its themes the corrosive destruction of enchanted medievalisms. Isn’t it another theme of Enlightenment reason, the positive one, that we need deep concern for our policy choices, deep research about sociological impacts, and profound thought about the effects on political foundation?
In a world where an Indiana pizza parlor can be shut down—then receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations—for what was in essence not even a crime of wrong action but wrong thought, we have moved into a world of metonymy, where an argument is judged not by its argumentation but by its symbolic place.
You could trace all this through the sadly hilarious videoof Ryan’s having his microphone cut off on an MSNBC program this March. An even more recent spat shows the pattern, as well. On April 15, a not-bad profile of Ryan appeared in the Washington Post. The writer’s voice was mostly one of bemusement that someone not obviously insane could oppose same-sex marriage, but within the confines of that voice, the piece was respectful and interested. As schools are wont to do, his old high school, the Friends School of Baltimore, put on its Facebook page a link to this profile of one of its increasingly famous graduates—only to replace it quickly with a message from the headmaster groveling over this failure to grasp the true inwardness of the bigotry and evil manifest in his school’s former student.
The most ironic part may be this: Opposition to same-sex marriage is commonly caricatured as a religious prejudice, and against such prejudice stand the forces of reason, rational argument, and thoughtful debate. But on the ground, where Ryan has taken his stand, it’s far too often the supporters of same-sex marriage who are reacting religiously—symbolically and metonymically, in horror at the evil-mindedness of their opponents. And Ryan who has quixotically, naively, and old-fashionedly assumed that this is all a debate about public reason, rational choice, and political theory.
Excellent piece... read it all... but know what Mr. Bottums' bottum line is.
Marriage as we know it will soon be completely redefined and it'll have nothing to do with reason. It instead will have everything to do with emotion.
And that does not bode well.
Mitchell Primary School officials have drawn criticism from some parents after a children’s book about a transgender child was read to most of the school's students.
During a lesson on tolerance and acceptance implemented by the guidance department, the book “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings was read to 20 of 22 classes in the Grades K-3 school. The story is about a young child “with a boy’s body but a girl’s brain,” who goes through a childhood struggle of identifying with her true self until she and her family speak with a new doctor and come to understand the child is transgender.
Superintendent of Schools Allyn Hutton said it was an oversight that parents weren't notified in advance of the lesson.
“We have a practice of if a topic is considered sensitive, parents should be informed,” Hutton said Friday morning. “In this situation, that didn’t happen. The whole culture at Mitchell School is about teaching tolerance and respect. The people presenting the lesson thought (the book) was one more piece of teaching that lesson. In retrospect, we understand that toleration is tolerating people of all opinions.”
Hutton said educating students about transgender people is important because there are students within the district who identify as such.
A parent of a transgender child in the Kittery school system provided a statement about the school’s lesson. The parent requested anonymity to protect the identity of his child.
“We fully support the staff of Horace Mitchell School,” the statement began. “People in this country, parents in this country are outraged by bullying, teen suicide rates and the depression in children. The staff of Mitchell School is doing something about this. By teaching acceptance and love they are shedding a light on (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning) issues. Reading ‘I Am Jazz’ by Jazz Jennings to students is a way of showing them that gender can be more complicated than just boys and girls. Some people are born somewhere in between. LGBTQ issues should never be classified as a ‘sensitive subject’ — there is nothing sensitive about the way we are born. Blonde hair, brown hair, gay, straight or somewhere in-between, we are all people and we all need acceptance.”
“The Kittery School District embraces diversity and is committed to creating an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for all people, regardless of their race, religion, political belief system or sexual orientation,” the letter read. “… With this in mind, guidance staff of the Horace Mitchell School recently read aloud the book, ‘I Am Jazz,’ a book about a transgender student.
“In general, it is the practice of the (KSD) to inform parents when sensitive material is being introduced in a classroom,” it continued. “Unfortunately, this did not occur in this situation and as a result some parents were uncomfortable with the material and/or felt unprepared for follow up discussions with their children.”
I'll believe the tolerance and diversity police when they start reading books about Catholic children and their beliefs and how they should be respected and tolerated.
I wonder when that'll happen?
... we would not be free:
There are certain things that, in a free and democratic society, are simply not up for debate. Racial equality is one of those things, hence why we crack down hard on anyone attempting to spread racial hatred. Vaccines are another one of those things, hence why we’re now passing laws to ban anyone from spreading anti-vaccine lies. A woman’s uterus is also not up for debate. By opposing a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body, one is essentially saying that women are not equal to men and thus do not have human rights. How is this any different than racism? Why is this something that should be legally permissible?
Not only is the right to have an abortion a human right, but so is the right to accurate information. The arguments used by the anti-choice crowd are wrong, misleading, and dangerous. We wouldn’t allow people to spread lies about vaccines, so why should we allow people to spread lies about abortion? We wouldn’t allow people to vilify ethnic minorities, so why should we allow people to vilify women who have abortions? When people are allowed to manipulate public opinion against the common good, the results can more dangerous than anyone could possibly imagine. There is a reason that Australia bans hate speech and has strict media regulations: when the masses are exposed to hateful or un-democratic ideas, it can lead not only to things like the Cronulla race riots, but also to things like the Holocaust. In the words of the great human rights activist Tim Soutphommasane of the Australian Human Rights Commission, “genocide begins with words.”
Women who have abortions already tend to face depression and even suicide. Vilification from right-wing Christians increases the depression already faced by said women, and also increases their suicide rate tremendously, in the same way that the vilification of transgender people plays a major role in their high suicide rate. Freedom of speech is a core Australian value, but it’s not the only value that we have. Like all democratic rights, the right to freedom of speech comes with significant responsibility, and it has to be balanced against other rights. People also have the right to be free from lies, hatred, vilification, offense, misleading information, and insults, to name a few things. In a society based on human rights – which, despite everything, I strongly believe that Australia still is – there is absolutely no place for anyone who attempts to argue against human rights. Freedom of speech does not give anyone the right to oppose human rights. People who oppose human rights have absolutely no place in a human rights-based liberal democracy like Australia.
I speak for all Australians when I say that, in Australia, it is just common sense that freedom of speech doesn’t give anyone the right to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, vilify, incite hatred or violence, be impolite or uncivil, disrespect, oppose human rights, spread lies or misinformation, argue against the common good, or promote ideas which have no place in society. The idea that women should not be allowed to make decisions about their own bodies is, without a doubt, an idea that has no place in society. Freedom of speech exists so that people can have civil, polite, and reasonable discussions about issues that are worth discussing – NOT so that people can argue against the common good and/or denigrate the most vulnerable and marginalised members of society. Australia has absolutely nothing to learn from the anti-choice crowd. Tolerating their intolerance would not only be needless, but it would also be harmful and dangerous. Freedom of speech is counter-productive if it’s something that only benefits white men, who already wield the most disproportionate amounts of power and privilege in society. The voices of vulnerable and marginalised groups – for example, women (and especially women of colour) seeking abortions – are drowned out by the voices of rich and powerful white men. It’s time to change that.
The hope is that this is satire. That's the hope.
Had you heard about any of this? I hadn't either. And an actress overjoyed and even relieved by the news? How can this be? There must be something missing.
Oh wait... I got a piece of the story wrong:
In Holy Week, three historic Catholic churches were torched in Melbourne, Australia.
On Holy Monday, St Mary’s Church, St Kilda East and St James’ Church, Brighton were set alight. On Holy Wednesday, the third, St Mary’s Church in Dandenong went up in flames.
Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention but, as an Australian Catholic, I only heard about this today — two weeks after it happened.
There has been little media attention on this tragedy. Sadly, what coverage there was focused almost exclusively on the possible link between the churches burned and the child sex abuse scandals of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The sadness and loss of current priests and parishioners has been pushed aside as the media has gleefully relayed the crimes that took place around these churches. The implication is clear. These churches are a burnt offering in atonement for the sins of past priests.
What the media reports insinuated, some went right ahead and said. Australian actress Rachel Griffith said she felt “great relief” and added, “I was quite elated, like many of my generation, when I heard the news this morning.”
Elated? At the news three churches had been burned?
Imagine for a moment that these weren’t Christian churches.
If they had been mosques or temples, we’d be loudly decrying such persecution and furiously examining our consciences. We’d have a nation-wide hashtag campaign and protests in support of those whose beloved sacred places had been destroyed in the most holy of weeks. (Can I suggest #illfightchurchattackswithyou)
But no, these are Christian churches.
They had it coming, you see.
"I really hope that we can heal and move forward and I think that's why this particular fire - to create a metaphor - it's sometimes out of the burning ruins that something true and authentic can be reborn and I hope that's true for this parish," Griffiths said.
I take it that her words are supposed to garner sympathetic support and represent enlightened thought.
I take it that the burning of the other two churches in the area brought her more relief, more elation and more opportunities for something true and authentic to be reborn.
If these buildings had been mosques and an airhead actress had expressed support for their burnings, there would be calls to boycott her films and blacklist her work.
But hey, it's just 3 historic Catholic churches.
Nothing to see here folks.
... yet who disagree with most of Catholic teaching, who rarely go to Mass, who rarely if ever let people know about the beauty of Catholicism, who dissent largely from Catholic doctrine, who are more likely to talk up how they oppose the Church rather than support it.
You know who you are.
Why stay in the Church? Why not go to a Church more in line with your thinking, with your ideology, with your mindset?
Those are the questions I can't help but ask when I read about this sort of thing over at The National Review:
Escalating the attacks on Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco for continuing to uphold Catholic teachings, 100 self-described “Catholic leaders” have signed an open letter to Pope Francis, calling for the archbishop’s removal. In a full-page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, the petitioners claim that Cordileone has “fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance” by asking K–12 Catholic-school teachers in the Bay area to “violate their individual consciences by accepting a morality code” based on the Church’s teachings.
Did you catch that last sentence? Read it again.
These people think that the Church's teachings foster an atmosphere of division and intolerance. So why stay in that Church?
Someone explain why you'd want to remain associated with a Church you minimally dislike and more likely hate?
Makes little sense to me.
Catholic World Report's Jim Graves recently interviewed Barrie Schwortz, an expert on the Shroud of Turin, and the result is a fascinating read:
CWR: What are some of the most compelling arguments that the Shroud is authentic?
Barrie Schwortz: Thirty-seven years ago, when I went to Italy with STRUP to examine the Shroud, I assumed it was a fake, some sort of medieval painting. But after 10 minutes studying it, I knew it was not [a painting]. As a professional photographer, I was looking for brush strokes. But there was no paint and no brush strokes.
For 17 years I refused to accept that the Shroud was authentic. The last argument holding me back was related to the blood. The blood on the Shroud is reddish, but blood on a cloth, even after just a few hours, should turn brown or black. I had a conversation with Alan Adler, a blood chemist, on the phone and I shared my reservation. He got upset and asked, “Didn’t you read my paper?”
He had found a high content of bilirubin on the Shroud, which explains why the blood on the Shroud is red. When a man is beaten and has had no water, he can go into shock and the liver starts pumping out bilirubin. It makes the blood stay red forever. It was the last piece of the puzzle for me. I had nothing left to complain about. Sometimes I wonder why I hadn’t asked Alan Adler that question 17 years before, but I guess I wasn’t ready for the answer back then.
Although this was the final evidence that convinced me, it is no one particular piece of evidence that proves the Shroud is authentic. The entirety of evidence indicates that it is.
One of my favorite testimonials as to the authenticity of the Shroud actually came from my Jewish mother. She was originally from Poland, and had only a high school education. She heard one of my lectures, and afterwards we were driving home. She was quiet for a long time—you have to worry when a Jewish mother is quiet—so I asked her, “Mom, what did you think?” She said, “Barrie, of course it’s authentic. They wouldn’t have kept it for 2,000 years if it wasn’t.”
Now that was an excellent point. According to Jewish law, a blood-soaked shroud would have had to have been kept in the grave. To remove it, in fact, you would have been putting yourself at risk because you were violating the law.
The most plausible explanation to me for the Shroud, both because of the science and my own personal background as a Jew, is that it was the cloth that was used to wrap Jesus’ body.
CWR: What are some of the common falsehoods about the Shroud?
Schwortz: It would take hours to compose such a list. There seems to be a constant cacophony of nonsense being put out about the Shroud. One involves a medieval artist creating it by using three different photographic exposures and his own urine; I call that the “Shroud of Urine” theory. Now why would someone go to all that trouble when they simply could have painted an image?
The Shroud is a complex object, and a six-page article or 44-minute documentary—which must be entertaining—can’t do it justice. That’s why I created www.shroud.com so that people can review all the data and come to their own conclusion based on the facts.
CWR: What does the Shroud tell us about the physical sufferings of Christ?
Schwortz: It is literally a document of the Passion and the torture Jesus suffered. His face was severely beaten, and was particularly swollen around the eyes. I’m a fan of professional boxing; the facial image on the Shroud reminds me of a boxer who’s just lost a match.
The man has been severely scourged. Not only do we observe the wounds on the back, but the thongs wrapped around the body and hit the front as well. Forensically speaking, the image on the Shroud is more accurate than common depictions we see in art.
He has a spear wound on his side. His legs are not broken, as was typically the case with men who are crucified. His head and scalp are covered in wounds. Again, in art, we often see the Crown of Thorns depicted as a small circle resembling laurel leaves around Christ’s head. But that is not realistic. The soldiers actually took a thorn bush and smashed it down on his head.
We see the back of one hand, which indicates that the nails were driven not through the center of the palm, but an inch closer to the wrist. For a Roman soldier crucifying 20 or more people at a time, that makes sense. It’s the perfect place to drive a nail that will hold, and then you can move on to your next victim.
Regarding the feet, it’s impossible for us to judge if a single nail held both feet, or if nails were driven in each one. We have the actual remains of two crucifixion victims, and two nails were used in their feet.
There's much more, all of it captivating.
With props and thanks to Mark Shea for the find, who adds:
Not that Catholic faith rests on the Shroud. Millions of Christians have lived and died never so much as having heard of, let alone seen, it. But such grace notes are kindnesses from a God who, under carefully controlled laboratory conditions and despite advice from the finest ideologues money can buy, does whatever he feels like.
The Montreal Gazette with quite an understated story:
At least nine Christian refugees drowned in the Mediterranean when they were thrown overboard by Muslim migrants after a row provoked by religious differences erupted on a boat sailing from Libya to Italy.
Italian police and prosecutors were investigating the deaths, which emerged from evidence provided by the 100 other asylum seekers on board the vessel after it was rescued by Italian ships and taken to Palermo in Sicily.
Fifteen Muslim migrants, believed to be from Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali and Guinea Bissau, were arrested by police, accused of having thrown the Christians from Ghana and Nigeria into the sea after the fight broke out.
It's just "a row provoked by religious differences" here folks. Nothing to see. Move along. Except there is this little tidbit from the AP:
During the crossing, the migrants from Nigeria and Ghana — believed to be Christians — were threatened with being abandoned at sea by some 15 other passengers from the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali and Guinea Bissau.
Eventually the threat was carried out and 12 were pushed overboard. The statement said the motive was that the victims "professed the Christian faith while the aggressors were Muslim."
The surviving Christians, the statement said, only managed to stay on board by forming a "human chain" to resist the assault.
We will all need much more than a human chain to resist the increasingly brazen assaults of the wicked.
He's eloquent, articulate, patient, kind, knowledgeable and is increasingly being seen to be the go to guy one needs when defending traditional marriage. He's also fighting an uphill battle:
Another day, another town. Ryan T. Anderson, the conservative movement’s fresh-faced, millennial, Ivy League-educated spokesman against same-sex marriage, has another busy schedule.
There is an interview with conservative talk radio, a debate with a liberal professor at the University of Colorado’s law school and, after that, a lecture to Catholic students eager to hear Anderson’s view that the Constitution does not require that marriage be “redefined” to include same-sex couples.
The Supreme Court will soon be deciding just that question. And Anderson, a 33-year-old scholar at the Heritage Foundation, has emerged as a leading voice for those who resent being labeled hopelessly old-fashioned — or, worse, bigoted — for believing that marriage should be only between a man and a woman.
“Gays and lesbians undoubtedly have been discriminated against,” Anderson says. “But marriage is not part of that discrimination.”
Anderson says he has no illusions that his arguments will turn the tide, at least for now, but that he feels it is important to “reassure” those who agree with him and try to make others think.
He has become a circuit rider with an iPad, filled with philosophy and (disputed) social science. Anderson says he is happy if Americans at least consider his message: that government’s interest in regulating marriage is to protect the offspring that come only from the male-female union, not to validate the desires of adults.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. cited his work twice in his dissent from the court’s opinion in United States v. Windsor, which struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Anderson is becoming a prominent face of the opposition in news media appearances.
His appeal in part owes something to counter-programming. A Princeton graduate with a doctorate in economic policy from Notre Dame, his views are at odds with other elite academics with whom he has so much in common. They are the opposite of those in his demographic. A devout Catholic, he nonetheless believes it a losing argument to oppose the legality of same-sex marriage on religious or moral grounds.
On Anderson’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, same-sex marriage supporters regularly tell Anderson that it is easy for him to advocate a wait-and-see approach: It is not his rights that are being denied or delayed or suggested for referendum.
He seems almost surprised at the reaction he provokes.
“On the marriage issue, they don’t think you’re just wrong, they think you’re evil,” he says. “And that your views are bigoted. I count it as a success if I can at least get someone to say, ‘I disagree with you, but I don’t think you’re crazy or full of animus. I think you’re wrong, but I understand why you believe what you believe.’ ”
Read the whole thing.
We need more like Mr. Anderson. Many more. Perhaps too many more.
Not much more than a year ago, I linked to a Salon piece I thought initially was satirical detailing the risks associated with infant gender assignment. What, you might be asking, is infant gender assignment? From that Salon piece:
Obstetricians, doctors, and midwives commit this procedure on infants every single day, in every single country. In reality, this treatment is performed almost universally without even asking for the parents' consent, making this practice all the more insidious. It's called infant gender assignment: When the doctor holds your child up to the harsh light of the delivery room, looks between its legs, and declares his opinion: It's a boy or a girl, based on nothing more than a cursory assessment of your offspring's genitals.
You might be thinking that this sort of thing is beyond extreme... think again... this sort of thing, if some would have their way, would become the new 'normal':
We live in a society that assumes gender based on genitals. When we are born, we are categorized as a gender based on the appearance of our genitals.
“Transgender” is a word that generally refers to people who do not identify with the gender they were categorized as at birth.
A person with a penis would be classified as a boy, but will identify as a woman. Therefore, this person is a woman. Likewise, someone with a vagina might identify as a man.
Many people do not feel like solely a man or a woman.These people often refer to themselves as non-binary.
Trans* people can experience gender in a number of different ways.
As such, the existence of people who identify as transgender essentially challenges the idea that gender = genitals.
Unfortunately, the conflation of gender with genitals is deeply rooted in society.
It is seen as “normal” and “natural” to identify with the gender associated with one’s genitals. As a result, transgender people are often labelled unnatural or abnormal, and are oppressed, marginalized, and underrepresented by society.
Cisgender people – people who identify with the gender they were categorized as at birth – enjoy a range of privileges over trans* folk.
We often use the word “transphobia” to refer to a range of negative attitudes towards trans* folk.
While the difference between cissexism and transphobia is not entirely clear, and many people use the terms interchangeably, cissexism is often thought to be a more subtle form of transphobia.
By “subtle,” I mean that it is less visible to cisgender people. Despite this, it is no less damaging.
In fact, it could be argued that it is more damaging as fewer people notice it – while most decent people would be quick to condemn physical attacks on trans* folk, fewer people would notice how harmful it is to assume that only women have vaginas.
However, the very attitude that regards cisgender as the norm and others the trans* community leads to the denial of trans* people’s rights.
Our society regularly makes cissexist assumptions.
It assumes that all people identify with the gender they were categorized as at birth, based on their genitals. Assuming all people are cisgender results in cisgender people being seen as “normal” and “natural”, while transgender people are seen as the opposite – “abnormal” and “unnatural.”
This attitude toward the trans* community is what leads to discrimination and transphobic attacks.
Into that fray steps Pope Francis during his General Audience today in St. Peter's Square:
"As we all know, sexual difference is present in many forms of life, in the long ladder of the living," he noted. "But only man and woman carry within them the image and likeness of God."
Genesis, he explained, not only explains that man and woman individually bear this likeness to God, but also together as a couple.
"The difference between man and woman is not for opposition, or subordination, but for communion and creation, always in the image and likeness of God."
The 78 year old Pontiff went on to say that without the mutual enrichment in their relationship, neither can truly understand what it means to be man and woman. While modern culture has opened new ways and freedoms to understand these differences, the Pope noted that it also introduced "many doubts and much skepticism."
"I wonder, for example, if the so-called gender theory is also an expression of frustration and resignation, which aims to erase sexual difference because they can no longer deal with it. Yes, we risk taking a step back," he said.
"The removal of the difference, in fact, is the problem, not the solution. To solve their relationship problems, man and the woman should instead talk more, listen more, know more, [and] love each other more. They must treat each other with respect and cooperate with friendship."
The Pope went on to call on intellectuals to not abandon the importance of this theme, which he said has become secondary.
When the Pope feels the need to directly address this issue, you know that it's crossed the fringe realm and entered mainstream thought.
The Pope went on:
The collective mistrust in God, he said, gives way to incredulity and cynicism and connects to the crisis between man and woman. This division is exemplified in the creation story in which this covenant is broken once sin entered.
"In fact, the biblical story, with the grand symbolic fresco of the earthly paradise and original sin, precisely tells us that the communion with God is reflected in the communion of the human couple and the loss of trust in the Heavenly Father generates division and conflict between man and woman," he said.
Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis said that the Church has the responsibility of rediscovering the beauty of God's design in the covenant between man and woman.
"Jesus encourages us explicitly to give witness to this beauty, which is the image of God," he concluded.
God help us form a moat between right thinking and twisted thinking that's becoming more and more prevalent.
Interesting Crux piece on Marco Rubio:
Rubio wrote that Christ Fellowship deepened his relationship with Jesus, but that he missed Roman Catholicism. “I craved, literally, the Most Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion, the sacramental point of contact between the Catholic and the liturgy of heaven,” he wrote. “I wondered why there couldn’t be a church that offered both a powerful, contemporary gospel message and the actual body and blood of Jesus.” Starting in late 2004, he began to delve deeper into his Roman Catholic roots, reading the whole catechism, and concluding that “every sacrament, every symbol and tradition of the Catholic faith is intended to convey, above everything else, the revelation that God yearns, too, for a relationship with you.”
Of the few who've committed to the 2016 race thus far, Mr. Rubio seems to be my frontrunner.
We shall see.
Russel Saltzman's struggles with the death penalty mirror my own. Good read here:
I am opposed to the death penalty, though I don’t recall ever writing about it before now. Probably my hesitation is due to the degree of my opposition to it. I’m not the sort to go out holding a sign or marching for much of anything. I guess I oppose capital punishment only about six days out of a week.
That seventh day is when I hear about an unusually ugly murder, committed by a heartless, merciless murderer. In some trials the lethality and viciousness of the killer, and the blood of the victim, simply begs for blood-vengeance. Then I am all pro-death penalty. I want to see that guy turned into a crispy critter, none of that la-la land pentobarbital-induced sleepy-time bye-bye. A hemlock concoction is too good for the killer. Cruel and unusual, I’m thinking, is exactly the sort of execution called for, and the crueler and the more unusual it is, the better.
That’s just in the abstract, of course, only one day a week. Twenty-three years ago, it didn’t feel so abstract.
Read the whole thing.
It's easy to be for or against something in a vacuum. It's something else entirely when there's personal capital invested.
Mr. Saltzman, who's making his way across the Tiber River as a former Lutheran pastor, touches on this beautifully.
Hats off to him for voicing the struggle.
H/T to Mark Shea who opines with some effect:
When Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and the Communist Chinese are the closest allies you have in your quarrel with the Magisterium, the odds are extremely high that the Church is right and you are wrong.
It is food for thought.
Here's what the Pope actually said during the Easter Mass at the Vatican:
"In hope we entrust to the merciful Lord the framework recently agreed to in Lausanne, that it may be a definitive step toward a more secure and fraternal world."
I don't see praise there. I don't see any lauding. I instead see a prayerful man putting the agreement in God's hands and hoping for the best.
I want to use the Pope's words... and change them just a bit in my, perhaps poor, attempt to make my point.
"In hope my family and I entrust to the merciful Lord my wife's breast cancer, that it may be a definitive step toward her healing."
Am I, in that statement, praising and lauding my wife's breast cancer?
I ask in all honesty and then state unequivocally that the answer is no, I am not and if I am not, how then can anyone with confidence state that the Pope is praising and lauding this agreement?
As I walked down the street, I noticed in the window of a shop a decal advertising the so-called “Human Rights Campaign,” the organization agitating for a redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions. I was a little shocked somebody would be proud of that association, for I had heard the news that the founder of the Human Rights Campaign (and a major financial backer of President Obama), Terry Bean, was recently arrested in Oregon for sexually abusing a 15 year-old boy. Maybe that story was not broadcast as widely as it should have been—I can only guess why; if the president of the NRA had shot someone, certainly that would make the news.
Regardless, it also struck me how utterly debased the notion of human rights had become if an entire genus of moral claims could be reduced to a grotesque assertion made on behalf of one-percent of the population. Yet, I also saw that it is the epitome of the contemporary zeitgeist in which a “right” is nothing other than a sentimental imperative, as Alasdair MacIntyre has put it: on the one hand, it is nothing other than a bold and impulsive desire; yet, this is compounded with the tyrannical demand that others submit to your insistence that that desire be satisfied. This meretricious notion of rights debases them by placing individual desire ahead of objective value, a move which ineluctably reduces to nonsense any and all claims to have rights. I thought I might make a test to determine just how dedicated the shop owner really was to this notion of human rights: did he in fact agree that subjective desire implied the sort of right he seemed to claim for himself? In other words, would he allow me to redefine reality to conform to my own desires?
The store was a tidy gift shop full of knick-knacks of no intrinsic value, but it was presided over by a tall, thin man with a penciled beard running the ridge of his jaw line and an imperious aquiline nose. I quickly found a small plaster dog, and presented it to the register for purchase by commenting approvingly, “This looks just like my son!”
Not given to suffering fools—or customers deemed unworthy—gladly, the proprietor grasped the dog with his spidery fingers and superciliously replied, “Your son? Really?”
“Well, I consider him my son. I am planning on being able to claim a child tax credit for him next year—or soon at least. The government has no right to tell me who my child is. After all, I love him like a son! That’s all that matters.”
Not knowing what to make of me, the owner quickly rang up the item without comment, and announced, “That will be $20.”
I pulled out a $10, and giving it to him, reached for the bag. “I am sorry, sir,” he said. “That’s a $10 bill.”
With this, of course, he unintentionally got to the heart of the issue. I protested, “That’s okay—I see this as being worth $20. What I mean is that, to me, that is the same as a $20 bill is to you.” Seeing him hesitate, I insisted, “Please don’t impose your values on me: I have the right to judge the value of things in relation to my money, and you judge it in relation to yours. I consider this to be $20, though you may call it what you will.”
“But you cannot just change the worth of a $10 bill! These prices are meant to be for everyone—changing them according to your whim ruins the whole system.”
“As I said, I am not changing the price. I consider the money I am handing you to be worth $20. You are getting exactly what you ask for.”
Slowly, as if here were explaining this to a child, he retorted, “Sir, you cannot redefine reality. It is an obvious fact that a $10 note is not the same as a $20 note—that would be a contradiction in terms! Simply calling a $10 a $20 does not make it so. Regardless of what you call them, they are not the same. You cannot simply go around changing the value of money. It is a fact that $10 is worth $10, and $20 is worth $20.”
“How can you be so unsophisticated?” I replied. “Isn’t the value of money just a convention anyway? I mean, there is no objective foundation for how much one piece of paper is worth against another—they are all just pieces of paper. If it is all just a convention, I should not be bound by your arbitrary traditions.”
“Price is a number, is not a ‘convention,’ sir. It is what the thing is really worth. $20 is just what $20 is, period. You can’t change that. So you do have to pay what I say.”
“So you think these prices indicate a value independent of what people want to pay?”
“Of course! The value of money is not arbitrary! If that were the case, you could give me a penny in place of $100—if you did that, you would debase even the most valuable things. Why, money would have no meaning at all if we had to redefine it anytime someone wanted to! Sir, get real: you can’t have everything you want unless you can afford it.”
There's much more at the link.
Thought provoking stuff.
Thought being a prerequisite.