Why are people averting their eyes from the coming collapse of population growth?
Its worth a read and casts a decent shadow on what she calls a "conservative libertarian" and liberal response to the problem. The general theme is that its best just to ignore the problem. After all to look at it means you are: 1) Against greater choices or 2) Racist
Our pill-popping generation has yet to feel the effects of our indulgence.
To which I responded
I disagree with that only because I think that many of the ill effects our society already feels are PRECISELY because of this indulgence.
Contraception divides sex from marriage and its intended purpose (be fruitful and multiply). It thus fuels pre-marital sex by removing the natural consequence. It fuels increased adultery by making the sin easier to cover up. It fuels divorce by making fruitless sex the natural end and fostering great dissatisfaction should someone "more enticing" come along. Let me clarify -- it objectifies the wife thus making her primary purpose to the man sexual satisfaction. It fuels a tremendous lack of self-control in couples, especially men, by giving them ready access to wives who will never go through pregnancies and medically recommended down periods. The tempering thought of the gravity of "openness to life" rarely enters the mind of the contracepting couple. Rather than seeing themselves as an always life-giving couple, they increasingly see themselves as a means to the end of pleasure (distinct from procreative). It also undermines the discernment process before marriage by minimizing the role of parent in a future spouse. Furthermore the "privacy" aspect of it is a direct precursor to so-called "abortion rights".
The division of sex from marriage also gives root to the idea that marriage is purely a socially recognized collection of folks who consent to have sex with each other. Today this is driving the gay marriage crowd. Tomorrow it will be polygamists, pedophiles etc. In fact, I have a hard time seeing how society is going to avoid the concept that sex is a "right" so much so that it would be selfish to require "consent" in the case of those who cannot exercise their "right". It would not shock me to see a push to legalize and "regulate" prostitution to allow people to exercise their right to sex. Sooner or later we will decide it should be "free" and thus federally funded prostitution will be the law of the land. The demographic winter is the final stage.
The environmental factor is a strong sign of what sex is to our country. Environmentalists are willing to use the "precautionary principle" to enact legislation of dubious possible outcome all over the map but when it comes to denying the right to free sex when it happens to be doing harm to the environment they are stunningly silent. There is our god America. IMHO contraception was like adding gasoline to the smoke filled campfire and now it is an out of control forest fire.
We must give up our idolatry.
I guess the whole point of this rant is that while I agree with the Mercatornet article, we have been covering our eyes and going la-la-la for 40 years now. What makes anyone think that willful ignorance is anything new or that its going to change tomorrow? (this is why I dislike the "stewardship" angle argued by many Christians in favor of contraception -- it totally dodges the moral question of "Is it even OK?") .... I repeat:
Of course in isolation this means nothing. It 1) only deals with a small part of the world and 2) ummm it is in isolation
That said, I suspect it is part of a trend that follows sun activity. Just me though ... Hope Al Gore rakes in his bucks in the next few years. The December snow in Louisiana caused many converts to the "skeptic" crowd even though the rest of December turned out to be ridiculously warm.
These are some thoughts of mine ... only thoughts and not exactly backed by popes ....
I have to say, I think we as Catholics have been conditioned as part of our non-Catholic culture to see beauty as completely subjective and a "matter of taste". Quite frankly I think that which makes a certain song less objectively beautiful (i.e. those which distort our understanding and appreciation of God who is objectively perfectly beautiful) SHOULD be criticized.
I think the objectiveness is most obvious in the execution. For example, I think I am safe in assuming it is pretty much universally accepted that people who are tone deaf and cannot carry a tune are best left OUT of a choir. Therefore choirs sound better with more accomplished musicians. There is a reason for this. Talent is a GIFT from God and better images of the objectively perfectly beautiful attributes of God.
That said, I think there are objective reasons to select certain songs over others.
There are plenty of songs I like (even love) for various reasons. They are singable (much of contemporary Catholic and evangelical praise songs fall into this category). They have melodies that are pleasing to my ears. These might be subjective qualities (although I suspect certain melodies are objectively more pleasing than others for reasons I care to not get into). Contemporary pop Catholic music might be great for the time (relevance as they like to say). Its great outside the mass. Its helpful in a devotional sense. It will not (I strongly suspect) stand the test of time because it lacks some qualities that make it LESS suitable than a veritable host of selections we have from our past. It will not be categorized alongside the genius of Bach or the great traditional chants that have been handed down to us for generations. Those works of genius image the genius of God and is, I think, objectively more beautiful. I personally think that subjecting most Catholics to decades of merely OK music has conditioned us to not appreciate the genius of truly extraordinary music. Okay music undermines the idea of objective beauty.
So if I tell you I hate songs used in the mass in this country, there might be something more to it than a matter of taste.
I mean, you wouldn't wear casual clothes to a wedding. Current contemporary Catholic music is casual and in that sense is less deserving of a place in mass than something that 1) is properly suited for the purpose, 2) contains those elements of extraordinary genius I mention and 3) has stood the test of time.
Of course I have ignored the concept of disordered views of beauty of which I suspect most if not all of us suffer from. That is why this gets into subjective understandings rather quickly and, as this writer suggests, its difficult for us to judge others on musical tastes. Still, I think "standing the test of time" or being "traditional" gives us a good indication of what works closer to the ideal of heavenly worship.
I also ignored practicality. God bless em, a church I attend frequently is completely tone deaf. They have no choice but to worship with whatever folks happen to be in the choir. The means to create something like St. Peters is beyond that of nearly every parish in the world. Still, I think our expectations should be high and one of the first things that needs to go is letting people volunteer to do something they have no business doing so. If the parish has enough people of sufficient talent then a choir does not need twice as many people when half of them cannot carry a tune. JMHO.
One final thought. Consider these two images of the Transfiguration ... both good images .... but which belongs in St. Peters?
Since I included the amazing aerial video in the last post I did a little digging around. I wanted to include a few more, for various reasons.
This first one is the Pampa TX F4 that was made famous for the van and truck thrown out of the funnel at about 100 feet above the ground at at greater than 90 mph. This is best shown in the Tornado Video Classics series where they analyze this quite effectively. Still, if it looks large and tumbling, its most likely a truck or van ... look for it in the zoom in on the debris.
This second video is of the Parkersburg EF5. It is a bank camera catching the tornado destroying the house across the street. Few videos show the sheer violence of a major tornado like this video does ...
This video reminds me of the Parkersburg video. Its short and I suggest watching it a few times. Sadly it is believed that the man who shot this video was one of the 19 people who died in this F4 at Warner Robins AFB in Georgia. The TVC series states the following about this clip:
Buildings disintegrating in slow motion, as they accelerate to 100 mph in less than 1 second in the Warner-Robins, Georgia tornado.
It was filmed April 30, 1953
This video is of the Andover tornado as it rips through McConnel AFB in Kansas on April 26, 1991. Twenty minutes later it killed 17 people in Andover. This tornado strengthened to F4 intensity just after exiting the base and eventually became an F5 tornado.
This final tornado is one that happened when I was a teenager. My mom woke us up and huddled us into the bathtub as tornado warnings were going off on the cable weather station. It was June 8, 1989 and this tornado was one of several that hit south Louisiana that morning (it was around sunrise). A map of the outbreak is included below the video (click for a larger version). It was rated F2.
I think a lot of criticism for his failure with Katrina is misguided. I hold the same about Blanco and Nagin. Despite our best efforts to 20/20 this whole thing, the government treated it like every other hurricane. But don't let that make you think that anyone else treated it otherwise. I will never forget the morning of the storm watching media broadcasting from New Orleans and they were pretty content to say "things look OK" ... Of course, with Gustav they seemed like they wanted Katrina to happen again so bad they would report water flowing through canals as a major catastrophe. The lesson there? Experience is the best teacher ....
Of course, after the the storm, the mistakes piled up. That said, I don't fault Bush for what he didn't do before Katrina any more than I fault the press for not noticing that a record surge was heading into Mobile Bay before landfall. Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel noticed because he was in the middle of it. But your average hurricane ignorant press person doesn't know what all that means. Anyone who has studied the history of hurricanes in the area knew that would mean hundreds of deaths along the Mississippi coast. Weather history is a HUGE gap in education, especially along the coast. My generation doesn't remember Camille or Betsy or Audrey yet widespread knowledge of those events may have saved many lives.
The shocker for me, and for all of us, was the failure of the levees and quite frankly it was unrealistic to expect people to prepare for that to happen.
Americans have a really bad habit of wanting to blame someone that has money. Civil judgments that involve payouts cannot happen otherwise. We have been trained in our culture to think we have that kind of control. 9/11 -- somebody is at fault. Katrina -- somebody is at fault. It might just be that we have a pride problem and its hard to really admit that some things are outside of even the control of our supposed "best and brightest". In that light, I think it is important to realize that if Bobby Jindal and Barrack Obama had been running the show in Louisiana and Washington respectively, the outcome is unlikely to have been all that different. Events like this are political career killers and for Jindal supporters, they had better thank God that he lost the election to Blanco. His career would have ended in her shoes ... just like hers did.
As for Gustav ... experience is the best teacher. Jindal had that benefit. Blanco did not.
One more thing .. no criticism of Bush is complete without reference to his complicity with the No Child Left Behind act. Without significant reform, or complete reversal, the death of public education is upon us.
I am interested to see how an Obama presidency treats a faster exodus of students from the public school system. I see it every year. Our homeschooling group nearly DOUBLED this last year and the vast majority are leaving because their kids are being ignored in the public school system. This exodus will increase and the public school test scores will fall.
It is on this note that we will find out how serious Obama was in Audacity of Hope when he indicated belief in a right to homeschool and even supported the principle of subsidiarity. Homeschooling, sooner or later, will become an issue. The way the system is set up now local schools cannot afford to have their best and brightest continue to be homechooled or go to private schools. Now they need the test scores ... Obviously the most pragmatic approach is to get those kids back in the schools where their test scores are counted (or do like they do in BR and count the magnet scores at the schools they WOULD be going to if not magnet) ....
What gives? Liberty, the integrity of teachers or NCLB?
Uraguay's version of FOCA vetoed by their popular progressive president
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
President Tabaré Vázquez makes his case
There is a consensus that abortion is a social evil which must be avoided. Nonetheless, in those countries where abortion has been liberalised, it has increased. In the United States, in the first ten years, they tripled, and the figure has been maintained. It has become customary. The same thing happened in Spain.
Laws cannot ignore the reality of the existence of human life in its gestational stage, just as science reveals it. Biology has evolved greatly. Revolutionary discoveries, such as IVF or sequencing the human genome, show that from the moment of conception there is a new human life, a new being. So much so, that in modern legal systems, including our own, DNA has become the acid test of determining the identity of persons, independent of their age, even if the body is destroyed, or when practically nothing is left of the human being, and even after a long time.
The true degree of civilization of a nation is measured by how the neediest are protected. Therefore we must protect the weakest amongst us. Because the criterion is not the value of the subject with respect to how others respond to him, or his usefulness, but the value which exists due to his mere existence...
This text also affects freedom of enterprise and association when it imposes upon medical institutions with legally approved statues which have, in some cases, been functioning for more than a hundred years, an obligation to perform abortions, expressly contrary to their foundational principles.
The law, furthermore, describes, erroneously and in a strained fashion, against common sense, abortion as a medical act, ignoring international declarations... which reflect the principles of Hippocratic medicine which characterize the doctor as someone who acts in favor of life and physical integrity.
In accordance with the particular characteristics of our people, it is better to seek a solution based upon solidarity which promotes women and their babies, giving them the freedom to be able to choose other ways, and in this fashion, to save both of them.
We need to tackle the true causes of abortion in our country which are rooted in our socio-economic circumstances. There are many women, particularly in the poorest sectors, who are alone in the task of raising children. Hence, we should protect abandoned women with solidarity, instead of offering them abortions. (source)
Notice not a single Bible verse is included. This isn't a "tyranny of theocracy" at work folks. His case is as secular as they come.
Of course Mercatornet hits the nail on the head ...
Perhaps President Vázquez could forward a copy of this letter to Uruguay's Congress to his counterpart in the United States, along with a few political tips. ... Opposing abortion doesn't have to be a political death sentence for a progressive politician.
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.
The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.
My categories -- Conversion Story, Marriage and Dating are more my writing and invoke less quoting of other material. I think they hit closer to the mark. They result in INTP - The Thinkers
The logical and analytical type. They are especially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.
They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.
My category - Personal and Family results in ESTP - The Doers
The active and play-ful type. They are especially attuned to people and things around them and often full of energy, talking, joking and engaging in physical out-door activities.
The Doers are happiest with action-filled work which craves their full attention and focus. They might be very impulsive and more keen on starting something new than following it through. They might have a problem with sitting still or remaining inactive for any period of time.
This is completely out in left field. Extroverted I am not ...
FWIW, I have tested as an INTP once in my life. Every other time I have taken it, I have tested as a INFP with the F being so close to the border of T that it was ridiculous. I am really more an INXP. The time I tested as a INTP was in college and it was taken in an engineering class which I suspect may have caused my leaning towards T answers.
As American Catholics, we, the undersigned, would like to reiterate the congratulations given to you by Pope Benedict XVI. We will be praying for you as you undertake the office of President of the United States.
Wishing you much good will, we hope we will be able to work with you, your administration, and our fellow citizens to move beyond the gridlock which has often harmed our great nation in recent years. Too often, partisan politics has hampered our response to disaster and misfortune. As a result of this, many Americans have become resentful, blaming others for what happens instead of realizing our own responsibilities. We face serious problems as a people, and if we hope to overcome the crises we face in today’s world, we should make a serious effort to set aside the bitterness in our hearts, to listen to one another, and to work with one another
One of the praiseworthy elements of your campaign has been the call to end such partisanship. You have stated a desire to engage others in dialogue. With you, we believe that real achievement comes not through the defamation of one’s opponents, nor by amassing power and using it merely as a tool for one’s own individual will. We also believe dialogue is essential. We too wish to appeal to the better nature of the nation. We want to encourage people to work together for the common good. Such action can and will engender trust. It may change the hearts of many, and it might alter the path of our nation, shifting to a road leading to a better America. We hope this theme of your campaign is realized in the years ahead.
One of the critical issues which currently divides our nation is abortion. As you have said, no one is for abortion, and you would agree to limit late-term abortions as long as any bill which comes your way allows for exceptions to those limits, such as when the health of the mother is in jeopardy. You have also said you would like to work on those social issues which cause women to feel as if they have a need for an abortion, so as to reduce the actual number of abortions being performed in the United States.
Indeed, you said in your third presidential debate, “But there surely is some common ground when both those who believe in choice and those who are opposed to abortion can come together and say, ‘We should try to prevent unintended pregnancies by providing appropriate education to our youth, communicating that sexuality is sacred and that they should not be engaged in cavalier activity, and providing options for adoption, and helping single mothers if they want to choose to keep the baby.’”
As men and women who oppose abortion and embrace a pro-life ethic, we want to commend your willingness to engage us in dialogue, and we ask that you live up to your promise, and engage us on this issue.
There is much we can do together. There is much that we can do to help women who find themselves in difficult situations so they will not see abortion as their only option. There is much which we can do to help eliminate those unwanted pregnancies which lead to abortion.
One of your campaign promises is of grave concern to many pro-life citizens. On January 22, 2008, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, when speaking of the current right of women in America to have abortions, you said, “And I will continue to defend this right by passing the Freedom of Choice Act as president.”
The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) might well undermine your engagement of pro-life Americans on the question of abortion. It might hamper any effort on your part to work with us to limit late-term abortions. We believe FOCA does more than allow for choice. It may force the choice of a woman upon others, and make them morally complicit in such choice. One concern is that it would force doctors and hospitals which would otherwise choose not to perform abortions to do so, even if it went against their sacred beliefs. Such a law would undermine choice, and might begin the process by which abortion is enforced as a preferred option, instead of being one possible choice for a doctor to practice.
It is because of such concern we write. We urge you to engage us, and to dialogue with us, and to do so before you consider signing this legislation. Let us reason together and search out the implications of FOCA. Let us carefully review it and search for contradictions of those positions which we hold in common. If FOCA can be postponed for the present, and serious dialogue begun with us, as well as with those who disagree with us, you will demonstrate that your administration will indeed be one that rises above partisanship, and will be one of change. This might well be the first step toward resolving an issue which tears at the fabric of our churches, our political process, our families, our very society, and that causes so much hardship and heartache in pregnant women.
Likewise, you have also recently stated you might over-ride some of President G.W. Bush’s executive orders. This is also a concern to us. We believe doing so without having a dialogue with the American people would undermine the political environment you would like to establish. Among those issues which concern us are those which would use taxpayer money to support actions we find to be morally questionable, such as embryonic stem cell research, or to fund international organizations that would counsel women to have an abortion (this would make abortion to be more than a mere choice, but an encouraged activity).
Consider, sir, your general promise to the American people and set aside particular promises to a part of your constituency. This would indicate that you plan to reject politics as usual. This would indeed be a change we need.
Scranton, Pa., Bishop Joseph F. Martino said the bishops must concentrate on reaching out to Catholic politicians who disagree with them, even if they have to threaten excommunication in the same way that bishops in St. Louis and New Orleans threatened segregationist Catholic officials in 1947 and 1962.
"We must speak to Catholic politicians who are stridently anti-life," he said.
Referring to Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Scranton native, Bishop Martino said, "I cannot have the vice president-elect coming to Scranton, saying he learned his values there, when those values are utterly opposed to the teachings of the Catholic church."
What are the chances we will see some excommunications?
"Speaker Pelosi what do you think of the recent statement issued by the USCCB"
She has already proven willing to take the bait. In the minds of the press the excommunications would be news. Many think it would be the undoing of the relevance of the Church. Of course, I suspect the opposite would really happen. I think it would open the hearts of many pro-life Americans to taking the Catholic faith seriously.
I pray they all come around and Obama is stuck with a collection of instantly pro-life Catholic politicians.
“Ideas create idols; only wonder leads to knowing.” – St. Gregory of Nyssa
Once upon a time I might have agreed with the statement that the left is all about “feelings and emotions” while the right was about thinking and issues. I’m not entirely sure I would, anymore. Both left and right are doing their share of emoting.
The even scarier thing for conservatives is that the left is doing their share of thinking. The case that undermined McCain from the Catholic perspective was a calculated case. The knee-jerk cries of racism were not effective. Way too much time was spent pointing fingers and saying "ha ha look how irrational". Meanwhile leftist Catholics sought to appeal to reason. You can say it was based in irrationality. You can say that theirs is an "argument that deserves to met, not with engagement, but with contempt" all you want, but apparently it worked.
Its up to Republicans, in the future, to not only undermine that case but make it completely inarguable. Or, as St. Ignatius of Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises stated:
Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another's statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved
I am aiming to summarize, for my own understanding, the case for voting for Obama.
Republicans set themselves up for being undermined by not immediately coming down on Rudy in the primaries and allowing a pro-ESCR guy to win the nomination. They also set themselves up with their arguments for torture and zealous support for an increasingly unpopular war. They undermined their "pro-life" credentials. The logic from there goes like this:
1) The GOP is primarily interested in pro-life votes ONLY seeking to pass laws to pacify that end. They are, after all, politicians seeking votes and seeking to keep voting blocks in place. The GOP has little interest in reducing or eliminating abortion because they will lose a large block of hostage pro-life voters (the reluctant otherwise Democrat-leaning pro-lifers) 2) The laws they have passed have done very little to actually reduce abortion. 3) Other ways to reduce abortions such as fighting poverty and handing out contraception (consider most Catholics reject Church teaching here) and "education" will have more immediate returns in fighting abortion than the "divisive" legal route. 4) Even if we reverse Roe v. Wade then it returns to the states. States that have high percentages of abortions will retain the "right". This will not reduce abortions that much if at all.
In other words, the legal route will do very little and other means will have a better outcome. Consider it "outcome based" abortion elimination. They consider this a more pragmatic solution and thus use it to decide that the "proportionate reason" to support Obama exists because his OTHER policies will bear more fruit in reducing abortions. They also claim that other Obama policies are more in line with the Church. Remember, they don't see him as a platform Democrat. The change rhetoric was designed to set him apart from platform Democrats, and more importantly, set him apart from Bush.
IMHO the US bishops made the case against this reasoning and thus unequivocally against a vote for Obama. They argued the proportionate reason didn't exist ... The way *I* saw it, third party or a *very* reluctant vote for McCain were your two best choices.
Zippy Catholic is right ... the Catholics who voted for Obama have a responsibility to be first in line to fight him on FOCA. I expect others will remind them of their line of reasoning should Obama's policies fail to reduce abortions.
Now that we have a President elect, you see, there is no longer any justification for remote material cooperation in his wicked policies. Justified remote material cooperation with evil may have (I think it objectively did not, but lets set that aside) made it possible to choose him over McCain; but now we have the absolute condition of a chosen President. If proportionate reason ever existed for remote material cooperation with his evil policies before the election, they no longer do now. Now your obligation is reversed, as I alluded to earlier. Now your obligation is to oppose his evil policies with all your heart, mind, and strength; all the more so because of your choice to vote for him.
Also, I think it best not to assign evil motive to those who voted for Obama. I might think their reasoning is greatly clouded but its uncharitable to go beyond that. Consider them works in progress and more importantly, ask for your own humility on that which you fail to understand.
For larger versions of the images (amongst other images) go to the Art category of this blog.
I modified the pictures using mostly favorites of my own .... I may switch a few .. comments would be appreciated
Fra Angelico - San Dominic adoring the Crucifixion
1 Carl Heinrich Bloch - Agony In the Garden 2 William Bouguereau The Flagellation of Our Lord Jesus Christ 3 Unknown 1490 altarpiece - Crowning by Thorns 4 Master Thomas de Coloswar - Christ Carrying the Cross 5 Josse Lieferinxe - Crucifixion
1 Sandro Botticelli - Annunciation 2 Dominico Ghirlandaio - Visitation 3 Lorenzo Lotto - The Nativity 4 Philippe de Champaigne - The Presentation in the Temple 5 William Holman Hunt Finding Jesus in the Temple
1 Pierre Paul Rubens - Érection de la Croix 2 Garofalo - Ascension of Christ 3 Jean Restout - Pentacost 4 Poussin Assumption 5 Velazquez Crowning mary
1 Francesco Albani - Baptism of Christ 2 Marten de Vos - The Marriage at Cana 3 Carl Heinrich Bloch - Sermon on the Mount 4 Raphael - Transfiguration 5 Juan de Flandes - Last Supper
This is a "fresh" blogroll. It tends to list blogs most frequently updated at the top. It will also drop blogs not updated for a few days. Never fear though, if you post, it will show back up. If you are interested in how I did it see this post.