Aug 062015
 

One of the first things I learned in my career in the Navy was the concept of watertight integrity. Using compartmentation with access via watertight doors a ship can contain damage by isolating areas of the ship to any hull breaches. In combat situations the number of hatches locked increases. Each hatch and some ventilation have a symbol reflecting what Material Condition it is closed under. With Condition Zebra providing the greatest degree of subdivision and watertight integrity.

120906-N-HV737-001 PACIFIC OCEAN (Sept. 6, 2012) Logistics Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kaityln Walker, left, and Logistics Specialist Seaman Jeanne Paulaski dog down a water tight hatch aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) during a general quarters drill. John C. Stennis is returning to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility four months ahead of schedule in order to maintain combatant commander requirements for presence in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charlotte C. Oliver/Released)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charlotte C. Oliver/Released)

The reason I was thinking about this is concerning the Planned Parenthood videos and how apparently Material Condition Zebra has been set on most consciences. There is such a compartmentation of conscience that a person can call one thing evil and the same thing good depending on an incomprehensible ruleset. In science there is a drive towards learning all the underlying principles for a Theory of Everything. When it comes to morality there seems to be an opposite drive where people really don’t want to find coherent underlying principles. It doesn’t take much observance to see inconsistent actions everywhere. Especially prevalent is the chasm between belief and action, although this is nothing new.

The fragmented compartmentalized conscience results often in the charge of hypocrisy because of the apparent separation of belief and action. For example everyone from the President to the Limousine Liberal warning about the threat of global warming just before they get on another private jet. I would not call this hypocrisy, but just evidence once again of people supporting ideas and not taking on the intellectual discernment of connected followthrough. Like Hashtag Activism or Earth Hour where you get to feel good for a moment and then go on as always.

Another aspect of the compartmentation of conscience is that it is usually evidenced by a total lack of self-awareness. That a valid application of underlying moral reasoning will be applied in one area with a blindspot to other equal applications.

Recently I saw a headline that said Obama: Killing Humans And Harvesting Their Organs Is An Atrocity That Must End. This headline was crafted to reference the recent undercover vides regarding Planned Parenthood and Stem Express.

In a wide-ranging question and answer session with members of the Young African Leaders Initiative [YALI], a woman from Kenya said “Persons with albinism in Africa are being killed and their body parts harvested for ritual purposes. My request to you is to raise this issue with heads of state of African countries to bring these atrocities to an end.”

… “If there’s one thing I want YALI leaders to come out with, it’s the notion of you are strong by taking care of the people who are vulnerable, by looking after the minority, looking after the disabled, looking after the vulnerable. You’re not strong by putting people down you’re strong by lifting them up. That’s the measure of a leader.”

Totally valid moral principles applies correctly to a situation by the President. It is almost a certainty that he would have zero self-awareness and that the same principles apply when it comes to the harvesting of organs from unborn children.

In response to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, the President said:

We are a people who believe that every single child is entitled to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Of course this lack of self-awareness is not confined to the President. We can pile up egregious examples of this.

I’ve certainly found enough examples of this segregation in my own life. That was one aspect of the Catholic faith that drew me in was that there was a consistent moral theology that influences everything. The tools and principles are there for us to draw on to remove the barriers between belief and action. I use to love the science show Connections with James Burke. I fell in love with the Catechism for the same reasons and the total connectedness regarding the Church’s moral reasonings.

Image Reference – WikiMedia Commons

Jun 162015
 

Via Jimmy Akin:

With just days to go before the release of Pope Francis’s highly anticipated encyclical on the environment, a draft copy has suddenly appeared on the Internet.

Here are 12 things to know and share

The document was leaked by well-known Italian journalist Sandro Magister on the web page of his newspaper, L’Espresso. Subsequently he has had press credentials for the Vatican lifted.

I have seen multiple reports of somebody in the Vatican calling this a “heinous act”, although have not seen a actual source for this. If accurate this is pure hyperbole. Yes reprisal against Magister is appropriate for violating the embargo, “heinous act”? — not really. As if this Encyclical needed more drama involved.

Contrary to some reports the name of the Encyclical “Laudato Si” is not Latin for “People heads blow up.” I’ve been taking a rather novel approach to the whole thing. That is actually waiting to read it before forming an opinion in any way.

I would recommend Larry D’s 10 Things That Won’t Be In Pope Francis’ Encyclical ‘Laudato Sii’ for both the humorous list and the sage advice.

Still it will be an interesting upside down week when progressive Catholics tell us how we must obey the Pope’s teachings and conservative Catholics tell us how we don’t have to. Sure, broad generalization with lots of caveats — but hey this is a blog after all.

memejoker_encylical

Jun 042015
 

Since becoming Catholic I have become delighted in seeing how many Catholics in history were involved in science, especially priests. Wikipedia’s List of Catholic scientists is a good start.

Still I was surprised when on saw this article on the Mac website Cult of Mac.

Casimir Zeglen was truly a man of the cloth. He was a Catholic priest — with an obsession for silk underwear — but the pleasure he got from silk touching skin was because it stopped bullets.

Okay the opening to the story is clumsy.

The Chicago priest is credited with inventing the first bulletproof vest, a calling he answered in 1893 after the city’s mayor was gunned down.

Zeglen is an unlikely figure in the history of preventing such violent deaths. Born a peasant in the Ukraine, he entered a monastery there at 18. Fearing he would be forced to serve in the Austrian army, he asked to be sent away to serve a church. He eventually landed at a Polish church in Chicago in 1890.

By Zeglen’s own account, the assassination of Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison made him realize he wanted to “create a product of great usefulness to the world.” He began experimenting with a cloth made from moss, hair and steel shavings.

He turned to silk when he read an 1887 article by a physician who described a man who was shot but saved by a silk handkerchief in his breast pocket. The doctor, George Goodfellow, conducted his own experiments with silk that was as thick as 18 to 30 layers.

At the source of this article you can see pictures of Fr. Casimir Zeglen wearing the vest while being shot at by Chicago policeman. There is even a video of this.

Wikipedia has more details.

A 1⁄8 in (3.175 mm) thick, four ply bulletproof vest produced there was able to protect the wearer from the lower velocity pistol bullets of that era. Zeglen himself submitted to a test in Chicago. He put on a vest of the material and an expert revolver shot fired at the vest at eight paces and not one of the bullets disturbed Zeglen. The weight of the fabric was 1⁄2 lb (0.23 kg) per sq ft (0.093 m²).

Jun 042015
 

Thinking more about the Vanity Fair’s Bruce Jenner cover I am thinking about the wider pattern and not the particulars of this story. After all there have been celebrities before with gender identity disorder, just not the same cultural reaction.

Lost in yesterday’s celebration of Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair debut as a cultural touchstone for the transgender community was the fact that, at 65, she’s the oldest woman to ever grace the magazine’s cover, making her a gender revolutionary on an entirely different level. (Source)

Apparently gender identity disorder is not confined to individuals who suffer with this, but the culture at large. Words have become unstuck from their meanings. Language drift will always be with us as words come to have more meanings or even come to mean the opposite of what they once were defined. So I am not going to rail about “gender” in that it’s meaning is grammatical in reference to words and not a replacement for the words “sex”. It is easy to see why gender has taken the place of the sexes. The more accurate term was a “throwback” to the binary nature of he sexes as male and female. Gender as expressed now is much more fluid and can now mean anything (which of course means it means nothing).

Still this is a sidetrack to my observation in that the culture at large has become enablers for a range of problems. People are actually being praised for having mental illnesses or being morally deficient in some area. That for admitting some disordered behavior they are actually “brave” and likely to get a phone call or tweet from the President congratulating them.

On the one hand I see the good when people are not stigmatized and mocked for whatever failing they have. That we should always see the dignity of the human person and love them as our neighbor. That seeing our own major failings that we can become more empathetic towards others on their own journeys.

On the other hand I do not see how it helps someone to pretend that they do not have some problem. The culture of enablers is a culture in love with the Emperor’s new clothes and waiting for next season’s lineup. A culture that can’t make a distinction between sinfully judging others and making judgments. That it is better to normalize mental illnesses than to have empathy and to pray for those who suffer from them. That a problem goes away by saying there is not problem in the first place.

No doubt moral relativity has laid the groundwork for all of this. It is easy to see why everything is so confused when everybody is so confused. For the most part moral relativity as practiced comes down to this.

Morality is relative, but you’re wrong!

This is especially true when it comes to sex. Everything regarding it has to be undefined where each individual defines their own terms. The radical autonomy of the individual means each define their own morality, gender, etc. Just as long as you don’t define them by terms accessible by the natural law. Thus we have an excuse for everything. Teenage sex and fornication — they are going to do it anyway. No fault divorce – they fell out of love. Subsequent remarriage – of course. Psychological disorders regarding sexual identity – born that way. Adultery – everybody does it. You don’t have to live up to any moral standards if there aren’t any. As a consequence of original sin is is not a surprise when we do fall from a standard, but to deny standards does not eliminate the fall.

So much easier not to pass any kind of judgment – really you just go “pass judgement” and move straight to enabling. Who want to do a spiritual act of mercy like “rebuking sinners”, since it is too easy to be a jerk about doing it. Much better to not do it at all. When somebody writes a book displaying their extreme selfishness, where the destruction of the family is a necessary consequence, they are not condemned — instead a movie is made about this staring Julia Roberts.

This enabling is not something just confined to the culture, but to the Church as well.

How do you tell the difference between being pastoral and not doing nothing at all? Usually I can’t tell in the modern way pastoral is used. Although this is to be expected as prayer for a person is also pastoral. Still so much is passed over with vary a word. What George Weigel describes as the Truce of 1968 seems be to a treaty with an automatic annual renewal. It is sad that when a bishop moves against dissent or towards teaching the faith of the Church it makes headlines. This does not mean that most bishops are heterodox, just that many don’t want to makes waves.

So just go with the cultural flow.

“A dead thing can go with the stream, but only a living thing can go against it.”

– G.K. Chesterton (The Everlasting Man

Or not.

Suggested reading:

  1. Trent Horn’s Five Questions for Supporters of Gender Transitioning.
  2. Mark Shea’s excellent essay Trangender Newspeak.
Jun 022015
 

Last Sunday HBO’s show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” had a discussion regarding the Pope and his not watching TV and relating him to Walter White in Breaking Bad. This was partly in response to the Vatican’s Secretary of State common that this was “defeat for humanity” regarding Ireland’s vote that legalized same-sex-so-called marriage.

He of course goes down the checklist of opening remarks regarding the Church.

  • Priestly abuse scandal ☑
  • Crusades ☑
  • Forced adoptions ☑
  • Pope wears a silly hat ☑

Now as a fan of Breaking Bad I was wondering just how this comparison was made. Although as I expected the comparison wasn’t even comically insightful regarding the show or the Pope.

Here is the transcript from the section in response to the recent story about Pope Francis not watching TV for 25 years.

OLIVER: (audience laughs) Oh, I’m sorry, Pope – this isn’t for you? (audience laughs) This isn’t – actually, that’s a good instinct. This show is definitely not for you. (audience laughs) It’s why, in the little warning card at the top of every episode, it says ‘UP’ – ‘unsuitable for popes.’ (audience laughs)

But – but it is a shame, because it might have helped if the Pope had been watching TV over the last 25 years. TV shows have done a lot to acclimate people to same-sex relationships. There was Will and Grace; there was Ellen; Queer as Folk; SpongeBob SquarePants (audience laughs) Oh – oh, please! They hang out in a pineapple under the sea. Read between the lines. (audience laughs) I’m just saying, Pope – if you’d watched TV, not only would you have learned a lot, but there are shows that you might have really liked. If nothing else, I think you’d have loved Breaking Bad. (audience laughs) That’s a show you could really relate to. It’s a story about a man gradually losing touch with reality; overseeing a vast criminal enterprise; and yet, so powerful that no one’s brave enough to tell he’s wearing a very silly hat.

Transcript via NewsBusters

This part is actually insightful commentary. This is an acknowledgment about just how effective the propaganda put out by Hollywood has been in pushing same-sex-so-called marriage.

No it was not enough for the pope to have studied Natural Law and Revelation. That what he knows and has learned about the anthropology of the human person is not meaningful. No what he should have done is to watch TV where shows made a concerted effort to introduce sympathetic characters with same-sex attraction. This campaign of “acclimation” has been widely successful.

No intellectual argument is appealed to, but instead fictionalized characters. No treatise by St. Thomas Aquinas on will and grace matters, it is the TV show “Will and Grace” that trumps it all.

Objection 1: Same Sex acts are intrinsically disordered.

On the contrary: Ellen is very funny.

During WWII Hollywood were also successful in selling War Bonds with celebrities pushing them along with reels before movies also pushing them. Now we have that same concerted effort where most shows now must have to have sympathetic character with same-sex attraction. Is is any wonder Americans have come to believe that a large section of the population is made up of those with same-sex attraction? (Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are)

The wonderful thing about being Catholic is that we don’t leave our intellects at the door. That we can come to have a deeper understanding of the human person and love of our neighbor – all without even watching a sitcom!

CCC 2358: The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

Jun 022015
 

The Trinity and gender

Recently Father James Martin, S.J. tweeted two items regarding the Holy Spirit as feminine.

In response Darwin Catholic has an excellent response looking at Sex, Grammar and the Holy Spirit. Well worth reading and shows the silliness of Father’s bit of what I would call Twitter Trolling.

In related news another priest Retweeted Fr. Martin’s tweet and subsequently threatened to sue a blogger who posted about this tweet and another of his celebrating Ireland’s passing of same-sex-so-called-marriage. Subsequent update from the women blogger involved regarding an exchange with Fr. Dan.

In response to the Anglican’s possible change to calling God “Mother”, see Fr. Longenecker’s Twelve Reasons Why You Can’t Call God “Mother”.

Bruce Jenner and beyond

Yesterday social media was awash with the Vanity Fair cover of Bruce Jenner as Caitlyn. I definitely could have used a Vanity Fair filter yesterday. Lots of puns came to mind regarding his last name as a rhyme with gender to me, I wish prayer came to me as easily. Still I had no intention of posting on this at all.

That is until I saw Thomas L. McDonald’s post What Should We Call Bruce Jenner?. This is an excellent look regarding this which takes seriously the question in the title.

With transgender issues being the hot topic right now, Wesley J. Smith looks at another piece of word engineering regarding “transability” and the media’s use of “transabled” to refer to those who suffer with Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID).

May 132015
 

From ABC (Always Bash Catholics) a new show – “The Real O’Neals”.

A contemporary take on a seemingly perfect Catholic family, whose lives take an unexpected turn when surprising truths are revealed. Instead of ruining their family, the honesty triggers a new, messier chapter where everyone stops pretending to be perfect and actually starts being real.

When I saw this yesterday on The Deacon’s Bench I didn’t pay it much attention. I figured it was par for the course. Today I noticed he updated with this.

One or two readers have wondered what I think about all this. I think the trailer speaks for itself.

But if you need me to be more explicit: this is beyond hateful. It’s repugnant. It’s bigotry masquerading as comedy.

That something like this can work its way through the production process, and get approved, and find a time slot, and be endorsed by the likes of Robert Iger and the suits at one of the most powerful and influential media enterprises on earth is horrifying. A generation ago, it would have been
unthinkable.

Well since Deacon Greg Kandra does not tend to be hyperbolic I finally did look at the video.

In some ways it did not surprise me. I knew beforehand that it would be mandatory that one of the children be “gay”. After watching it I was suprised that the daughter didn’t have an abortion in the trailer. Maybe that is episode two. I am not one going around looking for things to be offended about, but wow is this show repugnant. Besides if you are going to make a anti-Catholic family comedy I desire that it at least be funny.

I remember ABC also had the television show “Nothing Sacred” which aired in 1997–1998, won several awards, and was canceled before the season was over. It was about an “irreverent priest who questions the existence of God, feels lust in his heart, and touches people’s souls.” Rather tame compared to “The Real O’Neals”.

May 122015
 

I’ve seen several stories recently highlighting that two Palestinian Nuns were going to be canonized on Sunday, May 17th. A French nun is also be canonized on the same day.

Blessed Mary Alphonsine Danil Ghattas, Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified Baouardy and Blessed Jeanne Emilie de Villeneuve will be canonized saints.

Here is a short summary regarding the three of them.

The story of Blessed Mariam Baouardy, a Melkite/Greek Catholic Palestinian is expecially interesting. A Carmelite and mystic who founded a convent, received the stigmata, and also levitated.

All of this is facinating, but one details seems to have escaped the media, including Catholic media. I was rather surprised to see this this headline from the always knowledeable Maureen at “Aliens in This World” Survivor of Jihadist Attack to Be Canonized This Sunday.

The short story is that Blessed Mariam Baouardy had her throat cut with a sword by a Muslim angry that she would not convert to Islam. She was left for dead and moved and dumped into an alley.

That is the short story and there is much, much more including how she was healed. Just read the whole thing because it is great reading.

“Muslim, no, never! I am a daughter of the Catholic Church, and I hope by the grace of God to persevere until death in my religion, which is the only true one.

St. Marie of Jesus Crucified, pray for us

Apr 232015
 

In conservative political circles there is a game called “Name that party”. This is a joke regarding whenever there is some corruption in the Democrat Party the news article will either not mention the party of the individual or mention it at the end of the article.

I propose another game called “Name that religion”. This can be especially invoked whenever the President is forced to mention the latest execution of people by Mohammedans. In these cases those who are targeted for murder because of their faith get transformed into just “Egyptian citizens” or a shooting becomes “random”. That 21 Coptic Christians were killed in the first example and the random event was against Jews at at deli in Paris.

Unfortunately you can multiple the number of examples of this where the President just can’t seem to mention the underlying reason for these murders.

Although at least after the execution of 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya recently, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said:

“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal mass murder purportedly of Ethiopian Christians by ISIL-affiliated terrorists in Libya,”

“That these terrorists killed these men solely because of their faith lays bare the terrorists’ vicious, senseless brutality,”

Why exactly can’t the President make a more accurate statement?

In regards to Muslims throwing a dozen Christians overboard on a migrant ship traveling from Libya to Italy there was a press conference with Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and President Obama. Kirsten Powers reports:

As Renzi was questioned about the incident, Obama was mute on the killings. He failed to interject any sense of outrage or even tepid concern for the targeting of Christians for their faith. If a Christian mob on a ship bound for Italy threw 12 Muslims to their death for praying to Allah, does anyone think the president would have been so disinterested? When three North Carolina Muslims were gunned down by a virulent atheist, Obama rightly spoke out against the horrifying killings. But he just can’t seem to find any passion for the mass persecution of Middle Eastern Christians or the eradication of Christianity from its birthplace.

This just follows the President’s trend in regards to any visible indicator of him being upset about these acts. Still really he is internally consistent. He says the Islamic state is not Islamic and terrorists who just happen to be Mohammedans are not practicing Islam.

So by his definition there can be no Islamic terrorism, but just people stripped of any possible religious motive. There are not bad Muslims since once they become bad in some way they cease to be Muslims.

In contrast he feels that the same treatment is not to be afforded to Christians. Apparently “people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ”, but people never committed terrible deeds in the name of Mohammad. Over and over again the President has praised Islam and apparently we have a debt to Islam, but not one to Christendom. The contrast between what he says about Islam and Christianity are polar opposites. I do not know of one kind word he has said regarding Christianity, and what he does say is always negatively broached. This long list of statements regarding the two show that this is not just some subjective reading of his statements. He excuses Islam and accuses Christians.

There are of course a slew of caveats regarding whenever a religious believer supposedly acts on their faith and whether it actually reflects that faith. Lots of distinctions to be made, but apparently our President is an Islamic scholar and can instantly weigh in whether and adherent of Islam is reflection Islam. Really Muslims who want to be good Muslims should make a pilgrimage to the White House to find out from the President whether they are indeed good Muslims. No doubt he would be as good at this as he was predicting outcomes in Libya, Yemen, and other countries.

Although when it comes to the “Name that religion” game I admit that really it isn’t a overall worthwhile game. Too easy to score rhetorical points against the president and forget about the tragedies playing over and over again with the increased persecution of Christians, Jews, and others including atheists. The reality of this is what we should focus praying about. Mostly I am lecturing myself in regards to this. Yes it would be a good step if the President actually acknowledged what was going on and wasn’t so slanted in diminishing evil acts. If he actually got upset about not only the multiple murders of Americans, but all who are suffering regarding this. We ourselves should be more angry about these acts than angry about whatever the President left out in a statement.

I certainly wish that there was more that I could do. After the executions of the 21 Coptic Christians I really wished I could join the military again to fight this evil. A ridiculous thought for an overweight 56 year old geek, but I also considered joining the Seals during Bootcamp. I can laugh at myself and think of St. Teresa of Avila as a child when she persuaded her brother in a failed plan to run off with her to Africa to join the Crusades and to become martyrs. Still prayer and fasting I can do.

Apr 142015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 29 March 2015 to 14 April 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Regina Cæli

Speeches

Papal Tweets