26 January 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Bishop Jose S. Vasquez appointed as ordinary for the Diocese of Austin.  Excellent choice.  I met the good bishop while serving as a deacon in Houston.  He came to the priory to visit a sick friar who had preceded him as pastor in a parish in San Angelo.  His respect for our elderly brother was exemplary.  Very impressive.

Activist behind the ACORN pimp/prostitute video stings has been arrested for trying to wiretap the office of a LA Senator.  If convicted, he and his friends will spend ten years in jail.  If this allegation is true:  dumb, just plain dumb.

Socialist experiment in Israel bends toward private property rights.  This happens in religious life as well.  Communitarianism (the model for religious life) is not socialism, but sometimes the drum beat of "community life" can drown out the fruitful contributions of the individual.  As always, there's a via media that balances both community and the individual.  It ain't easy.

On facing east at the altar.  I think this is going to catch on big time in the RCC.  There's no problem here really, but the people in the pews need to be properly and thoroughly catechized about the why's of doing it.  Ad hoc changes are always a bad idea.

Personhood Initiative in Kansas.  On the face of it, amending the Constitution to recognize the personhood of the fetus seems like a good idea.  But we need to be careful and think through the legal implications of doing so.  Yes, it would make abortion a crime.  But would it open mothers to lawsuits by grown children for failing to eat properly, for drinking/smoking while pregnant, for knowingly bringing a child into an abusive home, etc.?  Lawyers are very creative.  Caution. 

Paralyzed for want of a definition:  Tom K. busts the wafflers on "torture."  Just in case there's a question. . .the Church is against it. 

Apparently, if there's any doubt in your mind that your baby will grow up to be anything other than the Next Einstein, the Next Mozart or NFL quarterback, you should just kill it.  Do we really need anymore pedophile rapists?

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18 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:29 AM

    I think these images are important, provocative, and moving. What else must we see?

    http://www.chrisjordan.com/



    Follower of Gabrielle Bossis

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  2. Had a brain fart and googled RCC. This is what I got:

    http://www.reformedcatholicchurch.org/

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  3. Fr. P,

    I'd take "creative" lawsuits over child murder any day!

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  4. Jesus on Torture

    “Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matt. 18: 32-35)

    When John Paul II stated that torture is intrinsically evil, (Veritatis Splendor 80) I am sure he did not want to accuse God the Father or Jesus of being immoral. That is why he did not provide any further analysis of torture. If pressed he would have had to define torture in the same way we do murder, as an act against an innocent person. Deep down I think he wanted to prohibit all forms of extreme interrogation, but he was a philosopher and knew the problems were too great.

    In the end, pain can be therapeutic. Hence, both the temporal punishment for sin and purgatory, as taught by Jesus in the passage above, are moral.

    When pain is used properly in interrogation it does not degrade the dignity of the person. Instead it cuts through all the lies and arrogance, and sometimes gets to the truth.

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  5. Lamont,

    Jesus is describing what a debtors lord would do not what he should do.

    God is Lord, perfect Justice...so, if pain/suffering is what He wills, then so be it. We cannot say that He violates human dignity.

    We are not perfectly just...far from it. Prisoners who are tortured for information are innocent until proven guilty. Like slavery, torture violates not only the dignity of the one tortured but also the one doing the torture.

    The Catechism--approved by John Paul II--expressively condemns torture.

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  6. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Thank you, Fr. Philip. I have wondered similar things about the personhood initiative. There may be a potential threat to women's actual rights there.

    Also thank you for your words against torture. . . what would you say about the torture of someone who had been proven guilty? Are flogging, breaking bones, maiming etc. acceptable "punishments"?

    Monika

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  7. Anonymous12:00 PM

    By which I mean to ask -- do such actions violate the human dignity of the person performing and the person suffering them?

    Monika

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  8. So you should kill your unborn daughter because she may grow up to be the next Joy Behar?

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  9. The point I was trying to make was that sometimes people are reluctant to define their terms because of what the definition entails. The debate that has caused so much comment of late is whether every form of interrogation constitutes torture.

    I would maintain that if the word is used so loosely that it prohibits the the interrogation of a known terrorist, as happened in Detroit, then something is wrong.

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  10. But would it open mothers to lawsuits by grown children for failing to eat properly, for drinking/smoking while pregnant, for knowingly bringing a child into an abusive home, etc.? Lawyers are very creative.

    I submit that there is no barrier to this now. We've already seen "wrongful birth" suits.

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  11. Anonymous7:00 PM

    Thanks for voting for Obama. He ended the intrinsic evil protecting Americans from mass murderers. Prez Zero sends over drones and kills them. The one and only positive thing he has ever done.

    Regarding torture: dulce bellum inexpertis.

    Paralyzed for a definition? Look up "detraction."

    Seems the church (the majority including bishops and priests voted for Obama and abortion) is more against keeping Americans safe than it is against abortion, ESCR, gay marriage and private property.

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  12. Yes, it would make abortion a crime. But would it open mothers to lawsuits by grown children for failing to eat properly, for drinking/smoking while pregnant, for knowingly bringing a child into an abusive home, etc.? Lawyers are very creative. Caution.

    Well, lawyerly creativity coupled with the "right" to have an abortion has already given us (at least in some jurisdictions) the torts of wrongful birth (doctor liable for failing to diagnose congenital disease in child, and therefore failed to give parents all the information necessary to decide whether to abort) and wrongful life (child sues doctor on essentially same grounds). Which of all these moral monstrosities is the worst?

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  13. 2.00am Anon,

    The morality of torture is not a question of what individual bishops or priests might be for or against.

    The Church holds that torture is wrong. Period. When dissenters attack the Church for opposing abortion, SSM, contraception, etc., we do not stand on this or that bishop's personal opinion rergarding the issues...we stand AS the Church and teach the truth.

    Be careful that you do not end up with the dissenters, picking and choosing your favorite teachings and leaving the rest to rot.

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  14. Mark, yes, we have...but do we need to give these ridiculous suits constitutional legitimacy.

    This is an extraordinarily thorny problem.

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  15. Lamont, the CCC is pretty clear. But we cannot allow quibbles over definitions prevent us from being a righteous people. Catholics often find themselves unnecessarily backed into a corner with pro-aborts b/c we allow them to frame the abortion debate in terms of the question: "What is a 'person,' really? Define the term! It's vague."

    If there is any doubt that some technique of interrogation constitutes torture, then charity must prevail not spats about semantics.

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  16. Anita, exactly my point. These suits are a cautionary tale about the very real limits of a purely legal solution to the abortion issue.

    Much like leftists believe that they can force reluctant citizens to care about the poor through taxation, we cannot force Americans to view abortion as the horror it is via legislation.

    The Church's battle is about altering a culture of convenience that sees pregnancy as a nuance. This cannot be done thoroughly with the law alone.

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  17. Much like leftists believe that they can force reluctant citizens to care about the poor through taxation, we cannot force Americans to view abortion as the horror it is via legislation.

    The Church's battle is about altering a culture of convenience that sees pregnancy as a nuance. This cannot be done thoroughly with the law alone.


    Father, no argument from me there. As a criminal defense lawyer, I can attest what a blunt instrument the law is, and how inadequate it is where there is a lack of morals.

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  18. Fr. P,

    In an imperfect world, we have to live with imperfect institutions and laws. So we mustn't be immobilized by that in our fight for life from conception to natural death. Thus, I'll side with the less bloody law.

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