Friday, August 31, 2007

Orthodoxy Enforced, to a Degree

Fox News reports on a story of a Catholic university that's enforcing orthodoxy, of a sort:

The private Chicago Catholic university recently informed professor Norman Finkelstein that his three courses were canceled after a dispute over tenure that drew charges of anti-Semitism against him.

Critics find issue with Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, who believes that some Jews have exploited the Holocaust. Finkelstein is the author of five books, including "The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering."

I wish that DePaul University was so zealous in defending the Catholic Faith as it is defending Jewish victimhood. Not too long ago, De Paul started turning heads with it's avant garde Gay Studies program.

"I understand that there's a tension there," says Assistant Prof. Gary Cestaro, the program's director. "Institutions of higher learning, even if they are Catholic, aren't spokespeople for the Vatican," he says. "Like any university, there should be room for free inquiry."

I guess that some inquiry should be more free than others? Or is it that the only kind of free inquiry desired is that inquiry free of Catholic doctrine. What ever happened to Ex Corde Ecclesiae?

Looking over the course offerings and course descriptions for the LGBTQ Studies, I don't see anything that points to a discussion on Catholic doctrine on human sexuality. Maybe the topic will be touched upon at the upcoming "Out There Conference" at DePaul in October. There's a session in the program called “Roman Catholicism and its Teaching on Homosexuality: Past, Present, Future” with James Halstead and Tom Judge from DePaul University, and Patricia Jung, Loyola University Chicago. The rest of the sessions seem to be the usual rah-rah for gay causes.

Halstead's not the most solid bulwark against the prevailing culture, as evidenced by his comment on CNN in regard to pro-abortion politicians and the Eucharist:

"It's precisely the people that are sick or in error that need to be going to communion. It's not a reward. It's a help on the journey."

There are few better ways to tell someone that they are sick or in error by declaring that they are not in communion with the Church, but you won't hear that from Halstead. Patricia Jung, inline skating gold medalist at the 1994 Gay Games, is not a notorious stalwart for true Catholic doctrine either. In her paper, "The Call to Wed: Why Catholics Should Celebrate Same Sex Marriage," Ms. Jung displays her ignorance/disregard for catholic teaching:

"When the church’s long-standing emphasis on the significance of procreativity to marriage is
critically analyzed, it becomes clear that both the church and society should encourage all those so called – whether queer or straight – to wed."

"Critical analysis", in Academe-speak, is code for rationalized dismissal. With Halstead's and Jung's records, it looks like the deck is stacked against any straight, pardon the pun, discussion of Church teaching on human sexuality at this conference.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

America LOVES Failure

Two pointless incidents which americans, and their media vending machines, have turned into a stomach-turning, ubiquitous display of our crass interests.

a) The stunning blather of a beauty pageant contestant. Hey folks, she was on the spot, probably with a prepared comment in her mind, and was thrown a curveball. What I heard was a young person thinking with their mouth open. How merciless are we becoming, as a society, when brief moments of our humanity are suddenly national news, and something we're forever marked by.

b) The more lurid accusations and circumstances that a certain U.S. Senator has found himself in. Like Ted Haggard before him, Larry Craig has not made the "I'm a Gay American" speech, ala Jim McGreevey, which makes the militant gay lobby that hounds him even the more enraged. Really. The nerve of this guy, trolling public restrooms for gay sex, but voting against gay interests. Craig's denials make it sound as if being gay is something to be ashamed of, and our society won't tolerate that. That's why the media is being so merciless.

The Democrat-controlled congress is even going to spend some precious Ethics Committee time to further explore the issue, further cementing the idea that democrats are more interested in fanning scandals than actually accomplishing anything.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Like a Horoscope

Your Birthdate: June 28

You have a Type A personality so big it makes other Type A's shrink away in shame.
You never shy away from adversity - and you love to tackle impossible problems.
Failure is not an option for you, and more than a few people are put off by your ego.
You tend to be controlling, and you hate leaving anything up to chance.

Your strength: Your bold approach to life

Your weakness: You don't accept help

Your power color: Bronze

Your power symbol: Pyramid

Your power month: October

Interesting coincidence, and I would have to agree that some of it does describe an aspect of my personality. Yes, I am high-strung, and prone to taking personal control of certain projects. Nonetheless, I'm nowhere near conceited or egotistical about my work, as colleagues would tell anyone. I even blush at any public praise.

Sometimes I'm an INTJ, and other times an ENTP. I'm frequently a Rat, and sometimes a Cancer. I tend to be socially conservative, but fiscally liberal. But, I don't let any of it define me, or look to these systems for guidance that only the Holy Spirit, Sacred Scripture, and Holy Mother Church can provide.

h/t Regular Guy.

The Sword in the Cistern

Jeremiah was a popular guy, notorious for telling people exactly what they DIDN'T want to hear. He was charged with undermining the common unity. Folks wanted some peace of mind, so they put ol' Jeremiah down a muddy cistern.

Jesus is popular as well, notorious also for telling people what they don't want to hear. Today's gospel reading from Luke is one such lesson from Jesus that too frequently is put down the cistern:

" Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation. For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three."

Ecumeniacs and syncretists don't like to dwell on this scripture much, unless it's to bolster perception of their own righteousness. Another teaching that ends up in the cistern is the second half of a liberal favourite, from John 8, when an adulteress is brought to Jesus:

And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Now, most liberals will stop there, having used scripture to support their notion of blissful non-discernment. Despite their abridgement, the scripture continues:

And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee?

11 Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.

The "go, and sin no more" often ends up in the cistern because it indicates that adultery is sin, and that there are still consequences for sin. What other teachings of Jesus agitate us to us put Him in the cistern?

Friday, August 17, 2007

You Might Be an Apostate If..

This silliness was inspired by some seriousness over at 'Crossed the Tiber.' My apologies to both Tiber Jumper and Jeff Foxworthy...

If you think John Shelby Spong is a wise theologian, you might be an apostate.

If you consider one of the Seven Deadly Sins to be wearing white shoes after Labor Day, you might be an apostate.

If Easter afternoon finds you still in your jammies, eating jelly beans and peeps, you just might be an apostate.

You might be an apostate if you welcome homosexuality as "the Spirit doing something new in the Church."

You might be an apostate if you think that venereal disease and pregnancies are best prevented with condoms, preferably distributed in grade schools.

If you can sit through an entire televised football game, but usually leave Mass right after Communion, you just might be an apostate.

* New* If you complain about how the Church opresses women, but never bother praying the Rosary, you might be an apostate.

Any others, from the few who bother to haunt this place?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ignorance and Enablers

Okay, the article in the local paper was headlined as "Churches help couples prepare for their future together", so I figured to see how bad it could be. Oh yes, pretty bad.

The family highlighted is listed as such: Bride goes to temple and wants Jewish wedding. Groom is Seventh Day Adventist, but isn't particularly adamant, and agrees to the Jewish wedding. Bride's mum goes to a UCC church. The temple balks at the interfaith wedding, so mum gets the kids to have a co-officiated wedding at her UCC church. Getting it so far?

Bride has this to say:

“He [groom] would’ve been fine with a justice of peace, but I wanted a wedding, and I wanted a religious wedding,” she said. “I said, ‘I want God at my wedding and if he wants to bring his little friend Jesus along, then that’s fine with me.’”

Okay, you can get up off the floor now, catch your breath, and dry the tears.

A rabbi of local renown, who co-officiated the ceremony for the confused couple "said he believes churches should be blind to the cultural and religious differences that a couple might have." Does that include one spouse proclaiming Jesus as Lord, while the other spouse considers Him "[God's] little friend?"

The senior minister at First-Plymouth said that weddings are an advertisement for his congregation’s inclusivity and lack of anything deeper than passing discernment.

“We look at this as a moment for them (couples) to begin a potential relationship with the church or a moment for us to express the warmth of the Christian church,” he said. “Will the church be a place of compassion and inclusion and spiritual depth or not?”

Well, how about instructing the spiritually ignorant, for starters? The couple getting married in his church obviously need some instruction, as ambivalent as they are. But this minister does like to collect the lukewarm. He has, in a televised sermon, smugly intoned about one of his congregants that "still considers herself a Catholic", yet attends his church because she disagrees with Rome on many issues.

You know, a sewer will take anything that drops down the hole as well..

The article then prepares us for the coming section on Catholic teaching on Matrimony with this:

"Not all clergy are as progressive."

The director from the diocesan Family Life office then gives the proper Catholic teaching on marriage, and the article explores a catholic couple's long road to the Altar.

“The church is trying to present an authentic view of marriage and to preserve and protect that understanding,” he continued. “There are so many images and presentations in our culture of marriage that are not authentic and not Christian. They are warped views of marriage. We are trying to protect and preserve what God has established.”

The article concludes with it's punchline, that the UCC is starting a marital preparation course as well, though with the muddle of theology the UCC subscribes to, I can't imagine that it will be of much service.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

If I Only Had a Brain

How smart are you? - Are you dumb?

I actually quit Mensa 13 years ago, when I discovered that a high IQ doesn't necessarily make you a good person. Around the same time, I also figured out that Democrats don't love their fellow man any better than Republicans do. C'est la guerre.

h/t to Regular Guy, who is, lamentably, 0.2% dumber than I. I may have to strike him from the blogroll ;-)