Sunday, December 09, 2007


Lutheran (LCMS) pastor Paul McCain today kindly (and I mean that) emailed me to let me know that I'm banned from commenting at his blog, noting that its not an open forum.

I replied that I appreciated him letting me know, but I also noted that I'm not sure what I said that he took issue with. In the last couple days, I've made three comments at his blog: one, here, wondering what his thoughts on Benedict's new encyclical Spe Salvi were; another, here, expressing concern (with him) about a Knight of Columbus who supposedly said, in regard to some relics of the Magi, "This is the closest I'm going to get to God in my physical lifetime"; and a final comment back at the first post I'd commented on, trying to clarify to another commenter that almsgiving in the context of indulgences wasn't very different from his own understanding of almsigiving and its potential effect on our sanctification.

It's the final comment which I think got me banned, but I'm not really sure why. Pastor McCain stated that he's not inclined to feature folks who are "intent on promoting faulty understanding and error." Now, given that I was simply trying to clarify that Catholic teaching on indulgences & almsgiving, I'm not sure how I was doing so, but there you go. Based on prior interactions with Pastor McCain and the history of his blog, I am inclined to think that he simply isn't interested in having his preconceptions regarding Catholicism challenged: he's confident that he understands Catholic teaching, and he isn't interested in haven't his understanding questioned. Nor is he interested in entering into dialogue with Catholics in order to confirm that his understanding is in fact accurate.

C'est la vie. There are plenty of other Christians -- including Catholics -- with similar mindsets, and while I'm disappointed that Pastor McCain has no interest in ecumenical dialogue, I can't say that I'm that surprised... for many of us who take confessional orthodoxy seriously, it can be difficult to understand the point of ecumenical dialogue. So while I am saddened by his actions in banning me, I applaud Pastor McCain for desiring to promote Lutheran orthodoxy on his blog. I only hope that at some point he realizes that one can uphold one's orthodoxy while simultaneously dialoguing with those of differing confessions.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pope Benedict and the Jews

The First Things blog recently posted an article by Jewish scholar David Dalin on John Paul the Great and the Jews, extolling the late great pontiff for his relationships and engagement with the Jewish people, both on a personal and pastoral level.

In his conclusion, Dalin also makes reference to our current Bishop of Rome: "Pope Benedict XVI, like Pope John Paul II, is known to be a staunch friend of the Jewish people and the State of Israel and a vocal critic of anti-Semitism. [...] John Paul II was the heir and exemplar of a long a venerable philo-Semitic tradition within papal–Jewish relations, [!!!] a tradition of papal friendship and support for the Jewish people that has continued with John Paul II’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New encyclical tomorrow!

Pope Benedict is set to sign and publish his second encyclical tomorrow. Entitled Spe Salvi ("salvation by or through hope"; it's from the writings of St. Paul), it's said to be on Christian hope, especially in the context of modern philosophy. Word from those who have read it is that it's weighty, which is no surprise.

The letter should be at the Vatican's website around 5:00 a.m. Central time, so keep your eyes peeled.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

There's no way Rudy will get my vote

If the GOP nominates Giuliani, I'll either vote third-party or not at all (for President). I think that having a Republican president who supports abortion rights will do more harm than good to the pro-life cause in the long run, no matter what he says about judges.

I'm familiar with the argument that voting for Giuliani (as opposed to Hillary or any of the other Dem candidates) would be voting for the lesser of two evils (which is legitimate, from a Catholic moral perspective), but I'm still not sold... obviously, anyone who is pro-life would be voting for Giuliani in spite of his views on abortion, but if it was impossible for someone to support Kerry "in spite" of his views on abortion, how can someone do so with regard to Rudy?

My position doesn't have anymore weight behind it than my own solitary vote, but I don't care: I don't see anyway in which I can vote for Rudy for President.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Attached and Attacked

[W]hat we need is the heroism of life, not because it is against banality, but because it illuminates it. Like a young man who is in love with his girlfriend and she says “yes” to him: the world is the same, but different; the light is different, food tastes differently, relationships are different, what he does is different, his struggles are different. Therefore, the difference that makes it possible to live the ordinary lies precisely in affection, which means to be attached and attacked, attached to the truth and attacked by it, living reality intensely.
-- Giancarlo Cesana

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Where else shall I go?

A fellow blogger used the occasion of San Francisco's archbishop giving Holy Communion to two transvesite men dressed as nuns to state the following:

"Wake up, folks! This is the reality of the Church of John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Conservative Catholics longed for change, thought that these men would bring it, and what have they received? This."

Said blogger (a former Catholic) proceeded to quote Revelation 18:1-5, implying none too subtly that the Catholic Church is the Babylon of St. John's vision.

Here was my comment in response, which (for reasons inscrutable to me) didn't make the moderation cut:

"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

I stopped fretting about the sins and failings (real & perceived) of popes and bishops a long time ago... it's not my billet. I am confident that the Catholic Church is the fullness of the Body of Christ, despite the faults of her members, and there is no where else for me to flee to, no utopian ecclesial community that will be without fault, if for no other reason then as soon as I joined it, it would cease to be such.

The teachings of the Catholic Church are the teachings of Jesus Christ, and I know that I receive Him and His grace & life when I dwell in her... that's good enough for me.
Warts and all, the Catholic Church is the place where I encounter Christ, in the fullness possible this side of heavenly glory.

Update: Said blogger now compares yours truly and other convicted Catholics to the people of Jerusalem who ignored the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah. But here's the thing: there's been plenty of sin in the history of the Catholic Church, which has been around now for much longer than Jerusalem was the capitol of Judah prior to its fall, and God hasn't destroyed it. Why? Because He promised that the Church would be pillar and foundation of truth, the place where His disciples would encounter Him even after His return to the Father. To compare the fall of Jerusalem to a supposed fall of the Catholic Church commits the crucial error of placing the Old and New Covenants and their promises and exactly the same level, when the very point of Christianity is that the New fulfills and completes the Old.

To posit that the Church can fail is to assert that Jesus cannot keep His promises.

Besides, if God didn't destroy the Catholic Church after Alexander VI, he won't destroy it because of John Paul the Great and Benedict XVI.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sadly, not too surprising

Bill Cork -- recent convert from Catholicism to the Seventh-Day Adventism of his youth -- jettisoned his belief in the immorality of contraception when he swam the Tiber (the other way).

Unfortunately, it's relatively common to see those who once presumably recognized the destructive nature of contraception to abandon that belief when they abandon Rome... the cultural current in favor of contraception is an especially strong one, which relatively few Christians (including Catholics) seem able to swim against. (NB: I'm not psychoanalyzing Bill here... just making a more general observation.) And there's another issue at play here, which might get closer to addressing Bill's recent spiritual wanderings...

Generally speaking, Christians accept the truths of their faith not (necessarily) because they are convinced of the arguments offered in favor of said truths, but precisely because of their faith, their faith in God: they accept as true the things which He has revealed, even if they don't (yet) understand the "why's" with regard to each of those truths. This is in no way to disparage the process of seeking to answer those "Why?'s"... that's exactly what theology does, and it would be strange for a theologian to disparage his own discipline. However, as Christians we don't withhold assent to our doctrines until we have been presented with a proof with demonstrates their rationality... instead, we recognize He who is the origin of those doctrines, and give our assent accordingly. In those instances wherein we do not fully understand a particular doctrine, we can still give our assent because of our confident faith in God, and at the same time we can seek to understand the intelligibility of said doctrine.

For Catholics in particular, this is (or should be) a fairly easy process: because we understand the Magisterium (the pope and the bishops in union with him) to be infallibly guided by the Holy Spirit in the teaching of Christian doctrine, we have confidence that what the Magisterium proposes for our belief is in fact true, even if we do not see the rationality of a particular doctrine at any particular moment. The Magisterium acts, then, as God's concrete instrument by which those who follow His Son can know what He proposes for our belief, and therefore what we can give confident assent to in faith, even prior to an understanding its intelligibility.

What this means is that we do not need to earn PhDs in theology in order to follow Jesus Christ! For if there is not a concrete means by which we know the doctrines which He teaches and therefore what we can give assent to, we are forced to examine each allegedly Christian doctrine to determine if it in fact is authentic Christian doctrine, and only then can we give our assent to it. Such a proposal strikes me as non-sensical: while we are all called to grow in faith and in our understanding of it, the divine pedagogy as we find it in Sacred Scripture certainly does not indicate that assent is to be withheld from each and every supposedly Christian doctrine until every such doctrine is judged as true by the (Almighty!) individual and his quasi-divine intellect. In addition, it's ahistorical: although the Church did not substantially and dogmatically articulate its Trinitarian & Christological doctrines until forced to by the Arian heresy, Christians before Arius still assented to the truths which were precisely formulated at Nicea and the other early Councils. And we're seeing the same thing today with regard to the reservation of ordination to men alone: the theological arguments which explain this teaching are only know being thoroughly developed (because the teaching has been challenged), but that doesn't mean that Catholics who lived centuries ago did not believe this teaching... they in fact did, despite the fact that they were not presented with elaborate theological argumentation in its defense.

I praise and thank God for giving us the Magisterium; even though I do have a doctorate in theology, I have just enough self-awareness to recognize that if I had to arrive at the intelligibility of a doctrine prior to giving my assent to it, the content of my faith would be extremely sparse. Thankfully, I don't have to do so to revel in the truths which God has revealed for my salvation.

(Feel free to offer your critical comments... this line of thought is very much a work in progress.)

Last week the House and Senate passed sizable increases the State Children’s Health Insurance Program budget, despite the threat of a presidential veto. S-CHIP ostensibly exists to offer health insurance for children of the working poor, and because of that, many thoughtful and well-meaning people -- including some of the people at the very interesting Catholic blog Vox Nova -- support the growth in the program which the House and Senate approved.

However, it looks to me like this is another example of a good program being grown beyond its original purpose to create a new entitlement for those who do not need it. I'm certainly not questioning that there are those enrolled in S-CHIP who need it: that's definitely true. But I have a hard time understanding how a family of four with an income of $60,000 (or even $83,000 in some cases) and whose kids are 25 years old can qualify.

Let's help the working poor, but let's not redistribute income to those who don't need it. (See here for more.)

Friday, August 03, 2007


Despite being (or because he is?) a highly successful suer (not sewer, but close), John Edwards has a penchant for sticking his feet in his mouth.

Take his recent criticism of Hillary Clinton for accepting political contributions from media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Turns out that Murdoch's publishing house gave Edwards and $800,000 advance for his 2006 book. As a News Corp. spokesman said, I wonder if Edwards will give that money back to Murdoch?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In distancing us from ourselves, we distance ourselves from Christ

The first way we distance ourselves from Christ is by distancing ourselves from our very selves. In that text from the Exercises twenty years ago, Father Giussani quoted a phrase from Pope John Paul II that is still decisive for us today: "there will be no faithfulness... if a question isn't found in man's heart to which only God... is the answer." He doesn't say there will be no faithfulness if we're not good, if we're not coherent, if we lack the energy. No. There will be no faithfulness -- in other words, in the end Christ will not matter to us -- without a question to which only He is the answer. If this question is not rooted in the depths of our I, and if we are not loyal to it, sooner or later Christ will not matter to us anymore. Like many others, we too will go away. For this reason, our first loyalty is to our humanity, to our cry, to the urgent need of our heart.
Fr. Julian Carron, Exercises of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, Rimini, 2007, pp. 8-9 (English transl, Fr. William Vouk et al.).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Can you believe it?

That's three posts for this month, not even counting this one!

Who is the real liberal Catholic?

A nice post by Shawn of NLM on the opposition of some Catholics to Pope Benedict's recent decision to liberalize the use of the "traditional Latin Mass". He notes that if you look at the historical meaning of what a "Catholic liberal" is, the Holy Father fits the bill far more than those opposing this liberalization.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hey libs: do you want to stop genocide or not?

Jonah Goldberg has a succinct column examining the hypocrisy inconsistency of many liberals (including many running for their party's presidential nomination) on the question of using force to stop genocide.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I know posts have been extremely sparse here over the last several months... I appreciate those of you who poke your heads in on occasion, as well as those who feel moved to offer a thought or two. Rest assured that vulgarity and spam aside, comments are not moderated... I feel that if you take the time to offer a thought, I'm happy to give you the space. Nor does disagreement (even strong disagreement) concern me... I'd hate for someone to think that I ignored/deleted a comment because I didn't like the conclusions or consequences of the comment.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Polarization remains

Good post by Stanley Kurtz on the reality of polarization in our country.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Hear hear!

"In same way, many Catholics congratulate themselves as "Thinking Catholics" under the false impression that they have devoted actual thought to the Church's theology. The vast majority have simply followed the line of least cultural resistance by adapting themselves to the fashion that disdains Catholic orthodoxy as a kind of boot camp of working class muscular moralism. Since it's so terribly un-chic, you never have to get around to showing that it's false" (emphasis added).

Well said, Diogenes!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Josh... still at it

Josh S. is a Lutheran (LCMS) seminarian at the synod's seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana who's been in the blogosphere for a number of years. Last year he closed down the group blog that he'd started (after closing his own personal blog previously), owing to his time in the seminary. That, however, hasn't stopped his need to blog... I just discovered that he's continuing to post at The Boar's Head Tavern, under a pseudonym.

Josh's online personality is a bit of an ornery cuss. He seems to mildly enjoy flamethrowing and the results that it brings... at his own blogs, he's gone after anyone and everyone from any Christian tradition, focusing his ire in particular on Calvinism and Catholicism at various times. Like a number of Christians I know, he seems to identify himself by what he isn't (Catholic or Calvinist), more so than by what he is. Or to be a bit more precise, his explanations of what he is (or what he believes) are generally in the context of what he is not (or what he does not believe). In Josh's case, I have no idea why that is... any ideas I could offer would only be speculative, no matter their accuracy.

Josh has always been fairly well read, and that's obviously still the case in seminary. But as they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. And despite the reading he's done, he evidently still doesn't get Catholicism (not that that's uncommon, btw... I suppose if he did get it, he'd convert). Unfortunately, he's still prone to occasionally saying completely ridiculous things. For instance, he has this funny little post on what converts to Catholicism ignore. Written in the context of Dr. Francis Beckwith's recent return to the Catholic Church of his youth (he became an evangelical when he was young, and had some standing... he just resigned as President of the Evangelical Theological Society), Josh apparently thinks that no one could possibly convert to Catholicism if they really knew these things (many of which are fairly accurate, but some of which are off-base; for instance, the second item on his list).

Conversions & reversions are mysterious things, but it's pretty bold to claim that someone of Dr. Beckwith's intellectual rigor & honesty would ignore the warts on the Church. More likely, he's well aware of them, but realizes that in the end, they don't obscure the reality of what the Church is: the community of disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, founded and structured by Him, communicating (in many ways) the salvation won by Him.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Key to '08: Minnewisowa!

Glad to see that some political analysts are recognizing the major political importance of what some are calling the Minne(sota)Wi(sconsin)(I)owa SuperState.

And note which comes first ;-)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Greedy Capitalists

"my needs for the future just didn't dovetail with what ABC was able to offer me."
-- Rosie O'Donnell, explaining that she won't be back on The View in the fall because of contract differences with ABC.

I hope she has enough consistency to avoid complaining about people who she thinks are overpaid.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Vincible Ignorance

Just when I was starting to think that Pope Benedict was reaching even those who couldn't care less about him, his Church, or his Lord, we have some blogger at some group blog to remind us that persuasion is ineffective against those who refuse to consider the possible.

Just as bad is his (the blogger's) reflexive tendency to see everything through a political lens, which seems to be pretty common among those who are obsessed with -- you guessed it -- politics. But when you attempt to reduce the Infinite and Transcendent from your life, you have to fill the void with something, and politics fits the bill for too many of these guys.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

A couple good columns

It's been a busy couple weeks and home & work, and hence the lack of posts.

The blog has had a bit more of a political slant of late, and that's continuing today, with two recommended columns:

Rep. John Boehner's column on Democrats & General Petraeus.

A great TCSDaily column documenting the violent crimes that occur even in countries with strict gun-control laws (in light of some quarters' call for more gun control here in light of the VTech horror).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Best show on TV:

Lost, on ABC, Wednesday nights, 8/9E&P. Hands down. Most intelligent, one of the best written & acted... there ain't been anything like this since The X-Files!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hoping for the salvation of all

The twentieth-century Swiss theologian and cardinal-designate, Hans Urs von Balthasar, is known for many theological insights and proposals, perhaps the most controversial being his assertion that we should hope for the salvation of all men. This is controversial in the opinion of some because they fear that it tends towards universalism, i.e. the assertion that all men in fact will be saved. Also, some believe that Scripture and Tradition indicate that we know that some people either are or will be damned. I've discussed this in the past on this blog, and it's come up recently at Insight Scoop and Evangelical Catholicism. In short, I see no problem with hoping and praying for the salvation of all, as long as it's made clear that this is not an assertion that we in fact know that all men will be saved. Such has been my position for some time.

Today my confidence in this position was bolstered when I came across the following in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, in the context of the discussion of the theological virtue of hope: "In hope, the Church prays for 'all men to be saved' [1 Tim 2:4]" (1821). [For you sticklers, the Latin doesn't really differ: "Spe orat Ecclesia 'omnes homines [...] salvos fieri' (1 Tim 2,4)."

Umm... a pretty strong endorsement of von Balthasar's view, no?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Jonah on Britain, and a Euro response

Decent column by Jonah Goldberg on Britain's recent (i.e. the last several years) "wobblying". Perhaps even more interesting is a response he received from a European:
    Perhaps the biggest wrong we Europeans have done to the native peoples of the American continent since that Italian man mistook them for Indians is that we have spent nearly 500 years dumping our trash in their back yard. We have booted out our misfits and rejects, our religious bigots and everything we had that was violent, agressive, intolerant or beligerent. If you sent only brown-eyed people to a remote location and they reproduced among themselves, how may blue-eyed people do you think there would be in that population 500 years later? Therein lies the fundamental difference between the civilization that has developed on the American continent and our European civilization. You use a couple of our languages, after a fashion, but that is all. That is probably the kind of thinking that underlay the OU motion and, yes, I think you're right, it is a setup!

    A few "American" jokes for you.
    1. They warned Columbus that if he sailed out too far to the west it would lead to disaster. Well, he did. And it has!
    2. American: "I feel very lucky that I don't live in Europe."
    European: "Me too!. I also feel very lucky that you don't live in Europe."
Talk about bitter. Seems to me that Jonah hit a nerve with his column.

Look, I've spent over three years of my life in Europe, and there's a ton that I love about it. But the Europe of today is not the Europe of the past, in many ways. And I'm sick and tired of Europeans forgetting where the two worst wars in world history began, who began them, and who it was who was instrumental in ending them.

I'm sure some Europeans are tired of Americans pointing out that we saved their butts from totalitarianism, but as long as they keep throwing out inane comments like these, some of us will keep reminding them of recent history (funny, I thought it was Americans who had short memories).

Thursday, April 05, 2007

WaPost slams Pelosi

This week Speaker Pelosi strangely decided that it would be somehow helpful to send mixed signals to Syria and other countries in the Middle East by visiting those countries and promoting her own foreign policy, rather than that of the government official who is responsible for foreign affairs: the President and his duly appointed Secretary of State.

Not surprisingly, she made a mess of things, so much so that in today's editorial, the Washington Post slammed her for her conduct. And rightly so. Like it or not, we are in a war, and whatever divisions there might be in Washington, when it comes to projecting our foreign policy to other nations, we should be of one voice: the President's. If you don't like his foreign policy, get one of your own people elected.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

A post for today

Some lefty websites say that General Petraeus should be fired for meeting privately with Republicans to map out a legislative strategy.

Small problem: the reality is that the general gave a video teleconference at the Pentagon for Republicans and Democrats, but the Dems chose not to attend.


HT: RS Insider.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Democrats: fulfilling their stereotype of Republicans

Democrats and liberals regularly accuse Republicans and conservatives of ignoring the little guy, of not caring for the poor, the sick, the worker, the downtrodden, etc. They claim that conservatives and the GOP only care about their rich country club buddies, and have no interest in helping the less fortunate in our country.

Of course, these accusations and claims are erroneous, but that's beside the point right now.

What's interesting to me is that the antiwar liberals and Democrats are doing exactly what they claim conservatives and Republicans do... instead of the poor and downtrodden being Americans, though, they are Iraqis, and the antiwar folks apparently have no problem with abandoning them to whatever fate has in store for them.

Of course, it wouldn't be the first time this has happened... many of the same people who want to abandon innocent Iraqis to violence and bloodshed were pretty quick to do the same in Southeast Asia, i.e. South Vietnam, when they pulled the plug on financial aid to that country after our troops were out.

I guess it really is better to be poor in America.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Prophets vs. Science

Al Gore vs. climatologists et al. (Probably not what you were thinking when you read the title.)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Blog of the day

NRO's Planet Gore.

Yes, the earth (or more technically, the biosphere) is warming, and yes, human activity probably has something to do with the increase. But to what extent? I don't know, and despite what some would have us believe, it doesn't appear that climatologists know either.

That, together with the fact that bearers of news of apocalyptic doom tend to be wrong (Paul Erlich et al.) makes me skeptical of the fear-mongering about global warming.

With that in mind, I recommend Planet Gore, a blog at NRO that offers a different perspective from that you'll see, oh, at the Oscars.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Things are looking up for Williams Arena!

I attended the University of Minnesota for just under three years before transferring to Franciscan University of Steubenville, and I had student season tickets each one of those three years. While the basketball teams those years ('92-'93 to '94-'95) weren't quite the '96-'97 that (now unofficially) won the Big Ten title and made it to the Final Four, they were still fun to watch: Ariel McDonald, Randy Carter, Townsend Orr, Voshon Lenard, et al. From those years to the peak years of that '96-'97 team, Williams Arena was a hot ticket in Minneapolis.

Then, scandal. Faced with the pressures of winning in a major conference, Clem Haskins recruited some guys with solid talent but less-than-solid character and academics. And it caught up with him. Just two years after taking his team to the Final Four, Haskins was forced out and the team was placed under severe penalties by the NCAA.

Dan Monson replaced Haskins, and cleaned things up off the court, but on the court, they turned ugly, and quickly. While some of the blame must fall on the sanctions, Monson simply wasn't able to recruit and coach the kind of talent needed to win in the Big 10. And so he was fired just seven games into this season, and ten years after making the Final Four, the Golden Gophers finished 9-22, setting a school record for most losses in a season. Tickets that once couldn't be found now couldn't be unloaded quickly enough.

Today, none of that matters.

At a noon press conference, Tubby Smith will be introduced as the new men's basketball coach for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, and the last ten years of misery will soon be forgotten.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Another quote for today

"So often the Church’s counter-cultural witness is misunderstood as something backward and negative in today’s society. That is why it is important to emphasize the Good News, the life-giving and life-enhancing message of the Gospel (cf. Jn 10:10). Even though it is necessary to speak out strongly against the evils that threaten us, we must correct the idea that Catholicism is merely “a collection of prohibitions”."

-- Pope Benedict XVI, in an address to the bishops of Ireland on their "ad limina" visit to Rome, on October 28th of last year.
A quote for today

"Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose, constitute an interesting subject for study."

-- Alfred North Whitehead referring to Darwinists, in The Function of Reason (Princeton University Press, 1929), p. 12. Cited in turn by Fr. Stanley Jaki, "The Science of Education and Education in Science" (PDF) in The Challenges for Science: Eduation for the Twenty-first Century (The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 2002), p. 67. Cited also by Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, "Reasonable Science, Reasonable Faith", First Things (April 2007), p. 24.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Quote of the Day

"We Christians must not fear spiritual confrontation with a society whose ostentatious intellectual superiority conceals its perplexity before the final existential questions."

From Pope Benedict's address to the first group of German bishops on their "ad limina" visit to Rome last November.

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Thanksgiving Parody of Apollo 13

This is pretty funny.

HT: Moe @ Redstate.
The Dangers of (Blind?) Loyalism

Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, has an interesting article at Real Clear Politics on an underlying error in the President's style of management: a trust in "good men" and "good women" which insufficiently takes their credentials into account.

I continue to believe that George W. Bush is both a good man and a good president, but he is certainly not without fault nor above rebuke, where legitimately necessary.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sean Hannity

On Tuesday, I was talking with some friends about conservative talk radio, noting that Laura Ingraham was my runaway favorite, with Rush coming in second, and the rest finishing far, far back, in this order: Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Mike Gallagher, and Michael Savage. One of those I was talking with indicated her preference for Hannity, and I opined that I basically can't stand him, at least as a talk show host. I find him superficial and quick to exaggerate and demonize his opponents' views. I also noted that his Catholicism seems to be of the cafeteria variety, based on some of his comments on the air.

It was rather ironic that my take was validated by Sean himself just a couple days later, when he had a back and forth with HLI president Fr. Thomas Euteneuer on his Fox News TV show about his (Sean's) views on contraception (which he apparently supports).

He employed his standard form of argument: raise a couple sound points in the midst of a deluge of non sequiturs and quasi-ad hominems. Father said that Sean's grasp of the faith seemed superficial, and while Sean disagreed, I thought that he actually confirmed Father's take.

Find more at Amy Welborn's post here, and do read the comments.
A conservative's candidate (with a chance) for '08?

Some conservatives have been pushing and hoping for a Fred Thompson candidacy for 2008. While I think Senator Sam Brownback is the best on the issues of the current and possible candidates, I think Thompson would be a great nominee.

More on him and his appearance on Fox News Sunday -- including his take on the bigger issues -- here.
Politics as usual

From an AP article today:
    The Senate's No. 3 Democrat said Sunday that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should resign because he is putting politics above the law. Sen. Charles Schumer cited the FBI's illegal snooping into people's private lives and the Justice Department's firing of federal prosecutors.

    Schumer, D-N.Y., said Gonzales repeatedly has shown more allegiance to President Bush than to citizens' legal rights since taking his job in early 2005.

I propose that Senator Schumer should resign, as he continually puts politics above what is best for his state and our nation.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Article of the Day: Islam and the West

This OpinionJournal article discusses Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her critique of Islam.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Post of the Day

Interesting post at On the Square on one of the latest anti-religious polemicists. The source of what is bad in religion [sic] is, apparently, certitude. The fact that (at least many) religious people are certain about their beliefs is somehow a dangerous thing.

The anti-certitude position has become a popular one of late in arguments against both religious and political conservatism (I really hate using political terminology for matters of faith, but it'll have to do for now). From Andrew Sullivan to the fellow discussed in this post, the fact that people are certain about things is somehow a bad thing. Of course, what's ignored or downplayed is the fact that these critics have their own certitudes, but those are in some way different from the certitudes of those they (attempt to) criticize.

Much more could be said about this, but I'll leave it at that for now.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Blog of the Day

Intentional Disciples. Great stuff, all the time.

Check 'em out.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Post of the Day

Here's a post at RedState detailing a talk Hillary Clinton recently gave at the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights lobby. She explains how "mean-spirited" the Federal Marriage Amendment is, how she supports civil unions for gays, and a few other heart-warming things.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Article for today

As the new archives template indicates, there is an inverse relationship between blogging activity here and the welcoming of the Burgy Babies into the world ('04, and twins in '06). Finding the time and energy to blog has been a challenge, to say the least.

Nonetheless, due to the demands and expectations of some of the readers here, I'm going to try to highlight articles or posts that I've found interesting on a more regular -- perhaps even daily -- basis. We'll see how it goes.

For today, I recommend this article at Right Reason; it's an interesting attempt to explain the difficulty in establishing democracy in the Middle East, by pointing to the strong tribal culture prevalent in Arab society.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

New Format

If you've ever visited Veritas before yesterday, you know that I've redesigned the appearance of the blog. The thing I'm most excited about is the new Archives section (to the right, below the blogroll), which is both more compact and more easily navigated.

Let me know what you think.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Rich "vs" Poor

Good article at TCS Daily on the frugality of most millionaires, which contradicts the stereotypical image of the millionaire.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Giuliani: an interesting twist

Whatever his successes as mayor of New York -- and that's to downplay his leadership on 9/11 in anyway -- Rudy Giuliani is way down my list of preferred GOP 2008 presidential nominees, due to his socially-liberal perspective. My top pick isn't running, due -- perhaps -- to an currently infelicitous last name: Jeb Bush. My top pick among declared candidates is Sam Brownback, but I also think that Newt would be an interesting candidate.

But back to Giuliani. For those for whom the issues of respect for life and marriage are important, he seems simply impossible to support. He has stated clearly that he is pro-"choice" and supports the right to marry for gays.

Having said that, he's made things somewhat interesting of late with his repeatedly stated assertion that as President, he'd nominate SCOTUS judges in the mold of Roberts and Alito. Now, if the CV on these guys is accurate, they're votes in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade and supporting traditional marriage.

What we have with Giuliani, then, is a twist on the common pro-"choice" refrain, "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but in matters of politics, I will work for the right to abortion". In Giuliani's case, it could be argued that his position is, "I personally support abortion, but in matters of politics, I will work against the right to abortion."

Which puts social conservatives in an interesting dilemma. Is it morally licit to support a politician who personally favors moral evils, but whose policies will (almost directly) oppose those evils?

You may recall that some Catholic Democrats tried to argue that it was moral to support John Kerry's candidacy on similar grounds, positing that whatever his stated views on abortion, his policies would actually reduce the need for and hence incidences of abortion. This view was widely criticized by many pro-lifers, and with good reason, in that Kerry's intention was not to do away with abortion; whatever positive effects may have occurred because of his policies, he thought that abortion should remain legal.

The Giuliani situation is similar, in the he apparently wants to keep abortion legal. The difference, though, is that in a very direct manner, one of his announced positions (that on SCOTUS and other federal judicial nominees) would most likely read to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, consequently returning the issue to the states, as a result of which abortion will be illegal in many of the United States.

I find this to be a very interesting thought experiment. However, I hope that I never have to seriously consider it, i.e. I hope that Giuliani does not win the GOP nomination.

Won't be too long before we find out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Minimum Wage & Unintended Consequences

From The Corner:

    Minimum Wage Minimizes Jobs [Jonah Goldberg]

    From Brit Hume's "grapevine " last night:

    The minimum wage increase that took effect in Arizona last month has brought with it some unintended consequences — many teenagers are losing their jobs. The Arizona Republic reports some employers say payroll budgets have risen so much since the minimum wage went from $5.15 per hour to $6.75 — they have had to cut jobs and hours.

    The owner of one Phoenix pizza restaurant says his payroll has shot up 13 percent and he's had to lay off three teenagers and cut hours for others. Another shop owner said expenses rose by $2,000 a month.

    A Federal Reserve study showed that for every ten percent increase in the minimum wage — there is a corresponding two to three percent decrease in employment.

Um, we told you so?

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Assymetrically-Liberal Embrace of 'New Anger'

Here's a great essay by Peter Wood on the Left's embrace of anger both as a sign of authenticity and as a argument itself.

Conservatives are certainly not immune to such an embrace themselves, but Wood illustrates how the Left seems to be more prone to this particular form of political engagement.