20 November 2010

OMG! The Pope says condoms are OK!!!

The Pelvic Obsessed Media are going bat crazy over the Pope's "changing his mind" on the morality of condom use.  No such change has occurred.  The use of artificial contraception within the bonds of marriage for the prevention of procreation is always intrinsically morally evil.  Sex outside the bonds of marriage is always intrinsically morally evil, so the Church has never felt it necessary to say anything about the use of contraception when it comes to adultery, pre-martial sex, same-sex sexual activity, etc.  

What the Church has said about condom use to prevent disease is this:  it is not a fool-proof means for preventing the spread of STD's.  Only sexual abstinence is 100% guaranteed to prevent the transmission of diseases contracted through sexual activity.  The only "change" here is that BXVI is saying out loud what common sense and logic dictates.  In cases where one sexual partner is infected with an STD, it might be morally permissible to use a condom in order to protect the uninfected partner.  

When it comes to making moral choices intention is vital.  If you are married and you use condoms with the intention of preventing pregnancy, you are intending a morally evil act.  If you aren't married and you use condoms. . .well, you are already engaging in a morally evil act--sex outside the bonds of marriage.  The Church has never addressed the issue of whether or not artificial contraception is permissible outside of marriage.  Why?  Because sex outside of marriage is always morally evil.  For the Church to say, "Yea, it's OK (or not) to use condoms if you're gonna fornicate or commit adultery" would be strange.  

What about a case where a husband or wife commits adultery and contracts an STD? Is it morally permissible for them to use a condom?  If the intention is to prevent the uninfected partner from disease, I'd say yes.  We might even go so far as to say that not using a condom would be morally evil.  Under the circumstances, the best option for them would be sexual abstinence, especially if there is a chance that a child might be irreparably damaged by the disease.

The example that BXVI uses to illustrate his point is telling:  a male prostitute who uses condoms to prevent STD's.  The Pope says the guy is showing some moral awareness by using condoms. He is already engaged in a morally evil business, so taking steps to lessen the evil consequences of his chosen occupation demonstrates that there is a spark of conscience at work. 

Bottom-line:  nothing has changed.  The whole "Pope shifts his position on condoms" meme sells papers.  Nothing more. 

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Coffee Bowl Browsing

Getting us used to the idea of shutting down websites by going after "copyright infringement."  How long before some gov't agency decides that criticism of the governing party violates "intellectual property rights"?

The train of Eric Holder's DoJ is just starting to wreck with the recent Gitmo detainee verdict.

I would rather be sent to the Sudan as a door-to-door Bible salesman than work for the TSA.  I feel sorry for the screeners.  They are doing the job they've been given.  It's Big Sis who needs to be encouraged to explore alternative career options.

Remember this if you're flying over the holidays:  it's the dumb TSA rules that are causing the problems NOT the screeners.

Case in point:  Muslim women may be exempted from airport body searches.  Yea, that'll work.

A solution to the sex abuse crisis:  "Fidelity, fidelity, fidelity."  When the scandal reached its peak in 2002, self-appointed Prophets of Church Reform didn't want the crisis to go to waste.  Calls for radical restructuring of Church governance rang throughout the land.  But here's the problem:  had the priests and bishops who caused the scandal actually followed Church teaching there would have been no abuse, no cover-ups, no crisis.

How to fix US airport security. . .unfortunately, we would never follow these suggestions b/c someone might sue.  We can't allow anyone to feel singled out.

Redneck wedding chaos. . .um, those cops need some training on how to deescalate a potentially violent situation.  Screaming hysterically "CALM DOWN!!!" just doesn't work.  

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19 November 2010

No thieves in the temple

33rd Week OT (Fri)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Ss. Domenico e Sisto, Roma

Jesus enters the holy city and delivers what has come to be called the Lament for Jerusalem, “For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will. . .smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." God's people—busy with the business of the world—fail time and again to heed the prophets, leaving themselves unprepared for divine judgment. Evidence of their lack of readiness, the sign of their inattention is the thriving marketplace that has overwhelmed the temple courtyard. Quoting the prophet Malachi, Jesus shouts, “'My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.'” He then drives the merchants out of the temple so that he might teach without distraction. This surprising scene raises an intriguing question: in what ways do we steal from God? 

Mixing religion and money always brings with it the temptation to abuse one or the other if not both. Pastors steal from the collection plate. Bishops overlook sexual misconduct in fear of expensive lawsuits. Otherwise good Christians cheat on their taxes or allow money to threaten their marriages and friendships. Even Catholic religious living under vows of poverty manage to find temptation in the accumulation of things. The problem that Jesus recognizes in the temple courtyard however is not the doing of business per se. Buying and selling are not sinful in themselves. The problem is that those who buy and sell in the temple are principally motivated by buying and selling. Consumed with the daily business of acquiring money, they allow their attention to wander away from doing the business of God. God's house of prayer becomes a den of thieves when we turn our attention away from the works of righteousness and toward working in the world for the world. Our job description—as baptized followers of Christ—is simple: witness to the mercy of God by preaching His word in season and out.

Jesus wrecks the businesses in the temple because they steal from God. They steal the worship due His name. They steal the time and treasure due His work. They steal the talent better used in His service. God's people in Jerusalem are unprepared for the divine visitation. Quite literally, they don't see it coming. If we want to be prepared for judgment, we will carefully, diligently remain on watch, living each moment knowing that we live in God's creation, living as His creatures, wholly possessed by our promise to be His faithful workers.

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16 November 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Professional cheaters:  custom essay writing companies do a booming business.  I was once offered $300 in grad school to write a paper for a fellow student in our critical theory seminar.  I turned it down.  Even Marxist-feminists can have a conscience!

Using the internet to plagiarize is all too common.  One problem for professors is the huge amount of relevant material available to students on the internet.  There's simply no way for profs to keep up with everything available in their respective fields.  One solution is to assign highly specific topics on a limited range of material.  This is where U.D.'s penchant for asking "what does the text say?" comes in very handy.

Great American Spirit at work!  The kid who was told he couldn't fly an American flag on his bike gets the support of hundreds. . .all with flags on their bikes. 

Parish surveys instead of a homily?  NO.  Nothing should take the place of the homily at Mass.  Not capital fund appeals.  Not announcements.  Not lay-led meditations.  Nothing.  If the bishop is asking the pastor to read a fundraising letter, then it can be read before Mass begins.  Annoying, I know.  But replacing the homily with mundane parish business diminishes preaching by presenting the homily as dispensable.

Rainbow Sash Movement endorses Bishop Kicanas for USCCB president.  I doubt the good bishop sought this endorsement, but the fact that this dissident group thinks the bishop would make a good president of our nation's episcopal conference should cause the voting bishops pause.

Even the Europeans are starting to see the error of Big Gov't.

Charlie "I Don't Come Cheap" Rangel (D-NY) convicted of 11 ethical violations

"Why Marxism Always Fails". . .socialism requires a culturally homogeneous society whose citizens are willing and able to become wards of the State.  Inevitably, socialist societies quash natural human instincts like the desire to better oneself, a longing for the transcendent, and the need to individualize--all b/c these traits fail to reinforce dependency on the State.

Mark Shea on being an orthodox Catholic opponent of torture.  I join The Church's Yeti of the Northwest in his crusade against torture; or rather, he and I join the Church's crusade against torture.  Say it with me now:  "Utilitarianism is NOT and will NEVER be part of Catholic orthodoxy."

Take the Zombie Survival Quiz.  I got an "A."  Was there any doubt?

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US Bishops break with tradition

The voting bishops of the USCCB dodged a huge P.R. bullet today.  They elected Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York as president of their conference.

It is customary for the bishops to elect the previous term's vice-president to the office of president.  However, the presumptive heir to the office, Bishop Gerard Kicanas of Tuscon hit the major stumbling block when it was reported that while rector of a seminary he knew about the sexual proclivities and activities of a seminarian he later approved for ordination to the priesthood.  That priest went on to molest a dozen boys and is serving time for his crimes.

Bishop Kicanas' election bid probably wasn't helped by the fact that the "Catholic" special interest group the "Rainbow Sash Movement" endorsed the bishop, praising his "evolving views" and his close ties to Cardinal Bernadin of Chicago, his mentor.  RSM's website is claiming that the USCCB is taking a turn to the right. 

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15 November 2010

Sr. Mary Joseph of the Five Wounds gets frisked

Drudge Report caption:  "The Terrorists Have Won!"

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Believing is seeing

St Albert the Great
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
Ss Domenico e Sisto, Roma

As students and professors learning and teaching in a Catholic university, the idea that we must believe in order to understand is not all that controversial. Understanding is not limited to the accumulation, dissection, and explanation of facts about the material world. Central to the humane project of reasoning about the world is our right and duty to make ethical judgments and good moral choices. We cannot call ourselves human beings (much less Christians) if we begin our investigations of the world with the idea that all we need to do is observe, collect, and explain in purely empirical terms. How do you chronicle the genocides of Rwanda w/o reaching a moral judgment? How do you explain the holocaust of legalized abortion w/o challenging the ethics of medical science? “Seeing” for Christians cannot be a cold, clinical exercise in objective observation. Because we first believe, we understand. We first believe that we are loved creatures of a loving God, then we understand what it means to slaughter innocents, to experiment on the physically disabled and mentally challenged, to subject others to state persecution, torture, and exile b/c of their race, religion, or ethnicity. Our belief is not a political ideology nor is it a philosophical position. Our belief is the same belief embodied in the blind man who cries out to the Lord, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me. . .please let me see!” Our hope comes in Christ's answer to the man, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” 

We need to pay attention to the ordering of events in this gospel story. The blind man hears that Jesus is coming. He cries out. The man is brought to Jesus. Jesus asks, “What do you want me to do for you?” Believing that Jesus can heal his blindness, the man pleads for pity from one whom he trusts will show him the compassion necessary to open his eyes, so pleads to see. Jesus tells him 1) “have sight,” then 2) “your faith has saved you.” Faith comes first, then sight. Had the blind man wanted to wait until his sight was restored before he believed, he would still be blind. But b/c he first believed, his world is illuminated by faith and now he “sees as” a follower of Christ. 

As students and professors learning and teaching at a Catholic university, we follow along behind the great Christian minds of our tradition. We “see as” followers of Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas who were themselves followers of Christ, and by submitting to the truths of the faith and right reason, we mold not only our intellects but our hearts as well into Christ-shaped instruments for doing the work of divine love in the world. Therefore, our most profound prayer is the plea of a blind man, “Lord, please let me see!”

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14 November 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Holy Father rattles the liturgical cages of Italy's bishops.  Of all the bishops' conferences in the Church, the Italian conference has been the most stubborn about accepting BXVI's liturgical vision.

Church of England clergy turn to Mother Church. . .that sound you hear is Henry VIII spinning in his grave.

B.O. allows 110 companies to opt-out of ObamaCare, including a health-care reform group that supported his "reform."  Check out the list on the link.  NB. the number of unions that received waivers. 

On wearing the Roman collar. . .if you want to start an argument among religious, ask:  when should the habit be worn in public?  Answers will most likely divide along generational lines.  The younger the religious, the more likely he/she will say, "All the time."

Folding furniture for those tiny apartments. 

Men vs. Women jokes.  NB.  only men may click this link.

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Let it go now. . .

Most appropriate for today. . .

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