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

Apr 082015
 

My genesis as a constant reader really came into full bloom just before high school. Before that I enjoyed reading, but wasn’t constantly reading. What really changed that was the discovery of the genre of Science Fiction. The Apollo program and the landing of the moon had me convinced we were living in a new age and SF fed that for me. The books of Isaac Asimov were my first real book-love and from there moved to all the other authors of the golden age of SF and beyond. I actually skipped classes to read books from Asimov and others. I don’t regret that at all as no doubt I probably made out on the deal. For decades the likelihood of the current book I was reading being SF was almost certain. It was only much later that I branched out into Fantasy, mystery, military fiction, thrillers, etc.

So I certainly consider myself a SF fan. While a fan though, I have never been much involved in fandom. I am sure I would love to go to one of the conventions and converse with other fans. Well at least I like the idea of it. I would describe myself as a gregarious introvert. I really like being around others and hearing what others have to say. If perhaps I have spent six months among such a group I might even be comfortable contributing to conversations. I mean other than making comedic cracks since for whatever reason being the class clown was the more gregarious part of my nature. Although this aspect I have found is not uncommon among introverts and jesters.

Mostly when it comes to fandom I find it interesting, but mostly would just rather read than participate in fan sites and other fan related activity. When I read someone as knowledgeable as Maureen at Aliens in This World on conventions and other aspects I wish this was otherwise for me.

So mostly I was unaware of much that was going on in the SF/Fantasy world in regards to political correctness. Still I was picking up more regarding this from some publishing site blogs along with the limited number of author blogs I read. In the last year the nonsense has been much more apparent to me. Last year there was this article on Tor.com Post-Binary Gender in SF: Introduction. The introduction gives you a taste of the this:

I want an end to the default of binary gender in science fiction stories.

What do I mean by “post-binary gender”? It’s a term that has already been used to mean multiple things, so I will set out my definition:

Post-binary gender in SF is the acknowledgement that gender is more complex than the Western cultural norm of two genders (female and male): that there are more genders than two, that gender can be fluid, that gender exists in many forms.

As far as I am concerned this is total idiocy. All I want to do is read is a good well-written SF story. I have certainly read very good SF where such topics were explored and was never put off if alien reproductive abilities were totally different than humans. Just as long as it was a good story. But now I have seen more and more of articles of this type demanding agenda driven message fiction.

Then there were articles like I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year. This article which included a picture of the finger-waving author would have been awesome if printed by the Onion. Although I guess self-parody is a form of parody.

I thought: What if I only read stories by a certain type of author?

Well I thought knock yourself out if that is what you want to do. Strangely I couldn’t care less about the race, sex, or political persuasion of an author. There have been many times after reading a book I happened to find out more about an author and that they held views contrary to my own. This never stopped me from buying another of their books if I enjoyed their previous ones. Sure there is a special delight to find that an author you love does share your views. If I decided to boycott authors with different views then my own I would save a lot of money and Amazon’s stocks would probably slide.

Today I saw Maureen had written a response to a study coming out about author Lois Mcmaster Bujold.

Acclaimed science fiction scholar Edward James traces how Bujold emerged from fanzine culture to win devoted male and female readers despite working in genres–military SF, space opera–perceived as solely by and for males.

She puts the idiocy in context regarding all the women writers who have written both military SF and space opera. Not just written in this genre, but creating classic books in these SF sub-genres.

Bujold is remarkable because she is a Darned Good Writer.

Exactly. I’ve read 22 of Bujold’s books in the last two years and look forward to more.

Last year I picked up Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia due to a recommendation by a Facebook friend. I really enjoyed his first book and soon read everything he has written. I enjoyed that series along with totally loving his The Grimnoir Chronicles. The audiobook versions with Bronson Pinchot are phenomenal. I knew nothing about him other than I really liked his books. I started finding references about him and that apparently he was pissing off all the right people (in my opinion). So I added his blog to my small selection of author blogs.

One author blog I have followed for several years is that of SF author John C. Wright. Mark Shea had once linked to a post of his critiquing the so-called technological singularity when AI will surpass human intelligence. I enjoyed that post and picked up his Golden Age trilogy which was already on my wishlist to read. He quickly became another author where I quickly read everything they had and whose new books were instant preorders. Plus his blog posts are a wonder to behold in their rhetoric and philosophical discussions. His back and forth with readers of his blog and especially critiques keeps me coming back for more. Instead of the “shut up” of the left he engages in more of a “explain yourself” and questioning tone. Certainly polemical, but the target is always ideas and not persons.

I was rather thrilled when Larry Correia started linking to John C. Wright’s posts and vice-versa. Three years ago Larry Correia was fed up with Hugo nominations that were all agenda driven and tongue-and-cheek started the Sad Puppies campaign. He attempted to get his own book nominated along with books from other authors. Such campaigns were not nothing new to the Hugo’s, just that a hated conservative would are to do the same thing. This is the third year of the campaign and this time it is being run by Brad R. Torgersen. I read his book The Chaplain’s War last year and highly recommend it. He also came up with the sample slate of books for Sad Puppies 3. What caught pretty much everybody by surprise is actual Hugo nominations announced was obviously heavily influenced by the Sad Puppies sample slate.

Not surprising is the freak out over this and the total slandering of the campaign. Would you be surprised to find that the Sad Puppies campaign was orchestrated by right-wing conservative, homophobic, misogynistic, racist, straight white men? Yes the typical punch-card of epithets was invoked. Funny how the actual sample slate was actually politically and racially diverse along with including both men and women. While last years winners were hardly diverse at all. There has been some truly awful reporting on this. Typical agenda journalism with no fact checks or even attempts at talking to members of the campaign.

Larry Correia was not personally involved in the campaign this year and he also turned down a Hugo nomination when called by the committee. He has a great post on the subject. A post I admire a lot since it was funny, self-deprecating, and addressed the common criticisms about the Sad Puppies. I especially liked how he was actually reaching out in this post and spelling out areas where disagreements are just fine. John C. Wright has also been writing a good deal on the topic and his post In Which a Morlock Chides Me gives a very good overview of the lack of quality in previous nominations that were hardly even SF. There is also a lot of outrage over the number of nominations that he received. In my opinion the stories of his that were nominated are well-deserved and his novella One Bright Star to Guide Them is easily one of the best things I read last year.

The best thing about the Hugo nominations this year is that I have actually read some of them and others look well-worth reading. It is hard to believe that Jim Butcher has never even been nominated before. His latest book Skin Game part of the Dresden Files series has almost 3,000 reviews with the large majority being five stars. It is not as if the previous books were not as popular.

But as I said in the title of this post, political correctness ruins everything. Everything it touches is lessened – The Minus Touch. PC did not give us better SF and Fantasy, it promoted approved message driven propaganda over storytelling.

Sorry for the long post which I doubt few will read. It is that when you try to mess with my beloved genre I get my dander up a bit.

Oh by the way one of my absolute favorite podcasts is A Good Story is Hard to find with Julie Davis and Scott D. Danielson. They discuss books and movies and whatever else interests them and this week they discussed Isaac Asimov’s classic SF book “Foundation”. Their tagline:

Two Catholics talking about books, movies and traces of “the One Reality” they find below the surface.

Apr 082015
 

From an article originally published by the Catholic News Agency.

WASHINGTON — The editor of Religion News Service has denied that a grant from a wealthy LGBT advocacy funder has biased its coverage of traditional religion, which includes a recent controversial story on Cardinal Raymond Burke.

The Arcus Foundation dispenses millions of dollars in grants every year to support LGBT activism. Its 2014 grants included $120,000 to the Religion Newswriters Foundation, the owner of the widely syndicated Religion News Service.

The Arcus Foundation’s grant listing said the one year of support was intended “to recruit and equip LGBT supportive leaders and advocates to counter rejection and antagonism within traditionally conservative Christian churches.”

The foundation’s Sept. 23, 2014, announcement said the grant aimed at “fostering a culture of LGBT understanding through the media” by funding the production of feature stories and blog posts “about religion and LGBT peoples of color.”

Kevin Eckstrom, RNS editor in chief, told CNA that receiving money from the advocacy group did not influence editorial choices.

I believe Kevin Eckstrom’s statement is totally accurate. RNS would have given us biased coverage in support of LGBT activism regardless of the grant. Their awful coverage of the Church was not affected at all by this grant. David Gibson would have written stupid stories on the Church regardless of the grant.

No the grant was just an honest acknowledgment of the work RNS has done in the past and will do in the future.

The best thing about the RNS byline is that I know it will be not worth my time reading and not even worth fisking.

Apr 062015
 

John Allen Jr. in his latest column writes An Easter reflection on what Christians and atheists have in common.

This week, Holy Week no less, two stories broke that together illustrate a towering irony about the rise of violent Islamic extremism: In a growing number of places these days, nobody has more in common than Christians and atheists.

In Kenya, the militant Islamic group Al-Shabaab launched an assault on Garissa University College, beginning by shooting up a Christian prayer service. The gunmen then moved on, leaving Muslims unharmed while killing or abducting Christians. All told, 147 people are believed to have died.

It’s not clear if the militants deliberately chose one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar for the assault, though Christmas and Easter tend to be periods of special risk for Christian minorities in many parts of the world.

In Bangladesh, a blogger passionately opposed to religious fundamentalism named Washiqur Rahman was hacked to death in Dhaka by two men wielding knives and meat cleavers. It followed the eerily similar murder of Bangladeshi-American atheist blogger Avijit Roy in late February. Roy was assaulted by two men with machetes.

Reports out of Bangladesh assert that over the past two years, several other atheist bloggers have either been murdered or died under mysterious circumstances.

Both these Kenyan and Bangladeshi victims were targeted not just for being non-Muslims, but a specific kind of non-Muslim.

Among Islamic radicals incensed with the West, no two groups stir rage like Christians and atheists. Christians symbolize the perceived sins of the Western past, while atheists embody what Islamists see as the decadence and apostasy of the Western present.

He goes on to write about how a coalition of Christians and atheists could evolve concerning an agenda of some shared goals along with some give-and-take. That also Pope Francis would be a key in putting such a partnership together.

Ideally such a coalition makes sense because there certainly is overlap in countries where Christians are a minority in how they and atheists are treated. Still I see little chance of this happening on any major level. The so-called new atheists emerged more into the public after the terrorist attack on 9/11. Making distinctions has never been a strong point for them. While this movement has been extremely anti-religion from its start, it has also mostly played out as anti-Christian in practice. The new atheists at times will criticize Islam, but much of their thrust has been anti-Christian in the amount of critique.

There is also a lot of overlap with the new atheists and secularism in general with a heavy dose of political correctness. They are natural allies and once again the thrust is anti-Christian with what should be a strange bend towards the defense of Islam. Strange indeed the secular apologists for Islam when it is so contrary to so much they profess. It only makes sense in light of the fact that these groups are primarily anti-Christian. As Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy “..any stick was good enough to beat Christianity with.”

There are of course notable exceptions to this with some atheist commentators making distinctions and seeing the threat as it is. But figures like Oriana Fallaci are few. I would love to see common cause in this where our goals do indeed intersect and that my own pessimism about this being totally wrong.

Note: The fuller quote is “This began to be alarming. It looked not so much as if Christianity was bad enough to include any vices, but rather as if any stick was good enough to beat Christianity with. What again could this astonishing thing be like which people were so anxious to contradict, that in doing so they did not mind contradicting themselves?” — G. K. Chesterton. “Orthodoxy”

Mar 262015
 

Lifting this in full from Dr. Ed. Peters British priests have canonical rights, too.

There isn’t a word—not one single word—in the short, open letter signed by hundreds of British Catholic priests to the Catholic Herald (London) defending Church teaching on marriage and sacraments that any Catholic could not, and should not be proud to, personally profess and publically proclaim. The priests’ letter is a model of accuracy, balance, brevity, and pastoral respect for persons. It fortifies the soul to know it exists. It gladdens the heart to actually read it.

I am at a loss, therefore, to understand why Vincent Cardinal Nichols seems to chastise priests who signed letter for their allegedly “conducting [a] dialogue, between a priest and his bishop … through the press.” The priests’ letter is a statement of Catholic belief, not an opening gambit in a negotiation; it is addressed to a journal editor, and through him to lay and clerical public, not to a particular prelate. Moreover, the letter is a text-book example of clergy exercising a canonical right guaranteed to all the Christian faithful, namely, “to manifest to sacred pastors [Code for ‘bishops’] their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” Canon 212 § 3, my emphasis.

The Cardinal, of course, need not have said anything about the letter; frankly, his responding via the press is what might yet turn the event into a dialogue in the press. But, if a response was to be made, anything less than “I am delighted to know that so many priests love our Church, her teachings, and the people served by both” makes the direction of that dialogue suddenly worrisome.

It is bad enough that the secular world is attacking marriage, but when we have friends like Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal, Marx and, Cardinal Nichols, and other Catholic it is not very comforting. Still British Bishops have a tradition of not defending marriage since only one bishop stood up to King Henry VIII – St. John Fisher. Although this is certainly not confined to British bishops. Remember when the USCC and NCCB the predecessor groups to the USCCB totally freaked out over no fault divorce laws? Unfortunately history doesn’t remember this either.

Still it is awesome to see the support for marriage by hundreds of British Catholic priests.

Another story that has caught my attention regards Patricia Jannuzzi, the Catholic teacher removed from a Catholic school for defending Catholic teachings about marriage. When I first saw the story I had some initial skepticism. Often people can defend Catholic teaching in quite a belligerent way. Now that I have actually read the screenshot of this post I don’t see what was so highly objectionable other than to same-sex activists and their supporters. The post was just a tad hyperbolic, but the slippery slope argument in this regard certainly has merit. Was her post super-elegant with necessary caveats? Of course not it was on Facebook.

Later I saw another story with the diocese saying she had not fired her. So I wasn’t sure what the story was now.

Today I saw an update to this story from Maggie Gallagher and it doesn’t come off well for the diocese in that reportedly diocesan lawyers told her lawyer that there was no way she would ever be allowed to teach there again. Originally the bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen called Patricia Jannuzzi’s statement “disturbing.” Seems like the diocese is in damage control now. Especially after the Lepanto Institute ran a local radio add.

Last Friday’s ad encouraged listeners to “call Bishop Bootkoski now, 732–562–1990” and “ask him whose side he’s on: Catholics who defend our faith or Hollywood liberals who mock it.”

“Tell Bishop Bootkoski to put our values ahead of political correctness,” he said.

The Hollywood liberal aspect regards comments made by Susan Sarandon whose nephew was a student of Patricia Jannuzzi and was the one who got her Facebook post publicized.

I must say I am a bit uneasy about a radio ad of this nature and the tone of it. Part of that is my own uneasiness even posting about this story in the first place. It is too easy to take a narrative approach to a news story when really the only information you have about a story is through the news. It certainly seems to me that the diocese could have handled this much better and if they considered her post imprudent than certainly that could have been handled without firing her.

Still the story does have some contrasts with other stories. So on one coast we have a bishop under fire for wanting teachers who will teach the truth of the Catholic faith and on the other coast a bishop who apparently would fire a teacher for accepting the Church’s teaching.

Mar 092015
 

Lately there has been much discussion regarding the death penalty due to the “Capital punishment must end” editorial of America, National Catholic Register, National Catholic Reporter, and Our Sunday Visitor.

My first reaction to this was no big deal. Generally I align myself with Pope Saint John Paul II’s reasoning in the Evangelium Vitae and what is spelled out in the Catechism. Through most of my life I have not had a strong opinion either way. Mostly I have been against the death penalty and at times favoring it in some cases. It was not until I became Catholic that I formed a stronger opinion about this.

One of the things I strive to do as a Catholic is not to go farther than what the Church actually teaches. I credit Jimmy Akin for my desiring this attitude since time and time again I noticed this in the way he answered questions. As a result I have had to moderate my own favoring of the end of the death penalty to the fact that the Church has constantly taught the “moral liceity of the death penalty justly administered.”

Mark Shea from time to time has accused so-called “conservative Catholics” of using prudential questions as a way of ignoring doctrine. An aspect of this is true, but ignoring doctrine in this way is not limited to any one group. Especially since much of the support for eliminating the death penalty is almost totally prudential without much anchoring to the consistent teaching of the Church. When I finally read the editorial I found this to be mostly the case. As someone generally inclined in this direction I did not think the case made in the editorially very well thought out. Kind of all over the place with no caveats regarding Church teaching on this. I found it a bit dishonest.

I found myself nodding my head mostly in agreement as I read Dr. Ed Peter’s blog post today Okay, what about Catholics and the death penalty?.

… As a Catholic squarely in line with the Catholic tradition that, as Long accurately if turgidly sets out, supports the just administration of the death penalty for capital crimes, I have grown used to having my motives for such support reduced to: my thirst for vengeance, my disdain for mercy, my obliviousness to Christ’s salvific will, my despair about conversion, and my contempt for compassion. I apparently do not understand that the death penalty does not bring murder victims back to life (gee, whodathunkit?) but that’s not to worry, because my support for the death penalty can be excused (and then dismissed) on purely demographic grounds (I am, after all, white, male, middle-aged, and usually vote conservative, so who cares what a heartless jerk like me thinks about anything?)

… So argue, if one will, the prudence of the death penalty—there are some very good prudential arguments against it, as Häring noted fifty years ago—but do not read the Catechism as making any principled points against the death penalty beyond those that have long been part of the Church teaching on the death penalty, that is, for the last 20 centuries during which no Catholic thinker, let alone any Magisterial pronouncement, asserted the inherent immorality of the death penalty. To the contrary, as Long points out, acknowledgment of the moral liceity of the death penalty justly administered, is the Catholic tradition.

There has been way too much noise and straw men on both sides of the debate. I’ve seen some rather ridiculous arguments pro and con.

What was helpful for me in coming to understand this more was the late Cardinal Dulles’ article in First Things Catholicism & Capital Punishment. This is an excellent overview of this issue.

In light of all this it seems safe to conclude that the death penalty is not in itself a violation of the right to life. The real issue for Catholics is to determine the circumstances under which that penalty ought to be applied. It is appropriate, I contend, when it is necessary to achieve the purposes of punishment and when it does not have disproportionate evil effects. I say “necessary” because I am of the opinion that killing should be avoided if the purposes of punishment can be obtained by bloodless means.

He goes over the fourfold purpose of punishment in secular courts as it applies to the death penalty and how it stacks up prudentially to the use of the death penalty. Really just read the article as I find it accurately states Catholic teaching along with the prudential concerns with the state administering the death penalty.

Mainly my point is that the debate should be about as he states “The real issue for Catholics is to determine the circumstances under which that penalty ought to be applied.” The problem with prudential questions is that of course they are prudential or as Dr. Ed Peters’ wrote “debatable”. What a shock that one persons prudential opinion goes against another’s. So as is often the case we have people arguing over each other and being rather dismissive towards their view even if it is within the range of what Catholics can believe on this issue.

Feb 282015
 

Last week there was this story:

The Vatican’s Office of the Synod intercepted mail to prevent delivery of a book to bishops participating in last October’s session of the Synod, journalist Edward Pentin reports.

Remaining in the Truth of Christ, a series of essays about Catholic teaching on marriage, was published just before the Synod meeting. The book, published simultaneously in several languages, was a response to the proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper that Catholics who divorce and remarry might be allowed to receive Communion. Among the contributing authors were three cardinals: Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was then the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura; and Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, the retired president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.

The editors and publishers of Remaining in the Truth of Christ sent advance copies to score of the bishops who were in Rome for the October Synod meeting. But the books that were addressed to bishops staying at the Vatican were not delivered, Pentin reports.

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, the editor of Ignatius Press, which published the American edition of the book, confirms that dozens of books were received by the Vatican City governorate, but never reached the prelates to whom they were addressed.

According to Pentin, the books were intercepted on orders from Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops. Pentin writes that Cardinal Baldisseri was “furious” about the book, and said that it would “interfere with the Synod.”

Hey I read the book “The Book Thief” and it wasn’t about Cardinal Baldisseri. Still there are interesting aspects to this story. First off it was originally reported in a story by Pentin in NewsMax.com and not the National Catholic Register which is where Pentin normally has his stories published. So no doubt there were problems affirmatively sourcing the story as would be expected even if true.

Whatever the merits of the story, I find this press release from Ignatius Press hilarious.

I used their title The mysterious case of the Extraordinary Synod and the missing books in my title. This is simply awesome and we need Sherlock Holmes on the case. Besides he investigated the Vatican before – Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes

Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi has denied this story:

“The copies that arrived by mail were distributed in the mailboxes without impediment,” Father Lombardi told AP. “One person told me he even received two copies!”

Father Joseph Fessio, the publisher of the book’s English-language edition, maintained that the books had not been delivered. “Only a few reached synod fathers at their mailboxes in the Vatican,” he told AP.

Confirmation bias tends me towards believing the story along with the fact that too often I have trusted Father Lombardi full revealing of the facts just a little less than the White House spokesman. Well that is hyperbolic, really it is that I detect too much spin in his statements and that they lack a real getting at the truth. Any amount of spin from a Vatican spokesman totally annoys me.

Whatever the merits of the original story, I find it unlikely that there was much of an investigation into this. Such an allegation should be strenuously investigated as it is matches totally the criticisms of the Curia from Pope Francis. See Dr. Peters post on this story It was worse than a crime–it was a blunder.