Tuesday, August 03, 2021

So one of the thing "anti-racists" claim is that punctuality and scheduling are racist--that is, that they are too white a concept.

 I'm sorry, but this is going on my list of "things that are actually dumb that I won't sugar-coat."

In their zeal to oppose themselves to western civilization, they have completely failed to acknowledge the diversity of Europe.  

Have they never attempted to make a social appointment in Latin Europe?  I mean the Mediterranean-adjacent states, not some transplanted hispanic-american fiction you are trying to imagine.

If that's the path you're choosing, good luck.  I'm not even going to speculate about other, dumber stuff that fits your paradigm; you'll just blame me for it when it blows up in your face after you figure it out for yourself.

Friday, July 23, 2021

“DNC is more pro life. I side with them because they want to end the causes of poverty that result specifically in abortion.”

If you’re right, then fine. There’s room for people of good will to reach that conclusion on their efforts and methods as far as this goes.


That’s not an entirely fair depiction.

Ending poverty by other means can achieve this—fine. That’s the stuff they accuse us of not doing, which would be fair if it were true. But them picking up the ball when we drop it isn’t all they do--and dropping the ball isn't all we do, either.

The two big things they also do that make it very hard to justify this are (1) they promote social behaviors and programs that promote abortion, such as teaching utilitarian and Malthusian philosophies about humanity that at the very least but usually far more don’t rule out abortion as a means to an end (2) promote abortion itself as a necessary and inherent good in the life of a civilized, defeminized, and fully actualized woman.

That makes it a lot harder to justify the “on the balance they’re still better than the alternatives” rationale.

Especially when the jury is still out.  Sure, in the short run, local governments providing contraception to teenagers behind their parents' backs can reduce the demand for abortion--and I'll be thrilled to see how Planned Parenthood reacts when the state bogarts their business--at least, it can today, but (1) there are medical side effects to any form of contraception that have to be factored in (2) there are sociological effects that have to be factored in, which are usually cited as evidence for bans on contraception (3) there are also sociological effects from changing laws to permit going behind parents' backs that need to be factored in (4) there is such a thing as risk compensation, and with pregnancies often taking several weeks to discover and months to run to completion, changes in behavior are bound to happen.  Do the powers that be consider any of these things, or do they just wave their hands and say "it's the responsible thing?"

Never mind that to hear them talk lately the only problems of concern in the world are racism and sexism in the US, which kind of neuters any seamless garment arguments about life issues. These are certainly not good things, but they are not the only pressing matters and I don’t want my leaders to ignore everything else or see everything as just variations on those two evils.

And if you're a Christian, you're doubly burdened because Jesus Himself said the poor we would always have with us, so while we shouldn't give up trying, we should be a lot more modest about our goals; especially if we end up not feeding the hungry and not clothing the naked and not housing the stranger  because we don't want to take our eyes off the prize to see the opportunities all around us to do some actual good.

Friday, July 16, 2021

On the Custodians of Tradition

 I know the conspiracy theories, I know the charitable theories, I recognize the sliver of truth within the propaganda....

I started going to the Latin Mass a few years ago just to experience an aspect of our heritage that I had only read about.  Eucharistic adoration was another that I was drawn to.  Also, the fact that they had frequent times for confession was appealing, so I wouldn't have to worry about going to my own pastor and being too embarrassed to be forthcoming in front of someone I knew.

I went on occasion, but after a while I went to the Tridentine liturgy almost exclusively.  There are things I like about the Novus Ordo on paper, but--and I recognize that this is an emotional argument but I don't want to get lost in the weeds here--when I'm at the Latin mass, those things just don't hold up.

So I'm not thrilled about what was promulgated Friday.  But:

The pope is still the pope.  His policy is distasteful, and might not even be honest, but he's the pope and this is the Church.  There's really no where else to go.  You can get farther away by joining one of the Eastern rites, and still get a beautiful and reverent liturgy, but Rome is still there.

And eventually Francis will pass, and then as now, Christ will guide His Church through a history that holds no secrets from God.

I don't know what we'll have to adapt to, resist, or contend with.  But keep your rosaries in your hands and your knees behind Roman Catholic pews; we need the grace and faithfulness more than ever.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Not the way to do ecumenism...two perspectives

So several days ago I was watching a Trent Horn video where he responded to a Seventh Day Adventist allegedly converted from Catholicism, who was posting a number of reasons why he left the RCC.

Some of the SDA's reasons were better than others, but none was bulletproof.  It might edify other Adventists or confuse poorly catechized Catholics, but wouldn't convince anyone who wasn't already on Team Ellen White.

To be fair, it was probably a half hour video, and you can only cover so much ground, but it was a critical research failure spoiling oversight of simple details; like, despite looking up instructions on a Catholic web site, reporting that the Rosary consists of "at least 33 Hail Marys"--okay, 53 is technically at least 33, but huh?--and basing the old canard that Catholics removed the prohibition of images in worship from the Ten Commandments on the strategy of directing the attention of the viewer to the paragraph below the one with that text. I guess the line between incompetence and malice is malfeasance.

At the risk of sounding condescending, I got a sense more that these are the things he was told as a child when he asked his parents why they started going to a new building on Saturday nights, and stopped taking him to the pretty church on Sunday mornings.

Most of the other reasons relied on assuming up front that SDA doctrines were true, because there's no way a mere mortal is going to have access to the supernatural knowledge that sacraments are inefficacious or Mary is dead/in soul sleep.  Not without some divine intervention that would have been his #1 reason, which it wasn't.

Even though half an hour is kind of long for even a top ten list, I would have expected a little more depth to his positive arguments.  But they were all on this level.

Perhaps the most interesting was his claim that that Bible was clear that Mary was dead.  In fact, the Bible is completely silent on Mary's demise.  He can only infer her death by looking at extrabiblical data on life exptectancies and taking as axiomatic that Mary did not receive any exceptional treatment like Elijah.

Sure, it's a reasonable inference or assumption for a non-Catholic, but the Bible doesn't actually say so.  This ended up being a common theme in my overall experience.

I got involved in the comments section, just meaning to make a couple points, but got dragged into it with someone who might have been a troll, and I remembered why I drifted away from religion arguments online in the first place, and have been quiet lately after I got sick of politics as well.  God bless 'im, but I don't have Trent Horn's charitable patience.

Talking with one of the commenters was...not much like talking to another person.  He expressed some satisfaction that I could cite a chapter here or a verse there, but his interest seemed to lie in proving Mary was dead in her grave.

By way of example, he tried to demonstrate that Moses was not.  And a few general references to the resurrection and general judgment at the end of the world--none of which speak to exceptions that both of us make.  Him, Elijah and Moses; me, Elijah and Mary--but maybe also Moses; I know that I don't know and that the Scriptures aren't explicit.

The discussion was difficult.  He didn't seem interested in Trent's defense of Mary or the communion of saints, and seemed to think I would find it novel to consider praying directly to Jesus.  I said I do both, and she does the same anyway, so what does it hurt?  He told me to prove from scripture that Mary prays to Jesus in heaven.

I said pretty much everyone does.  I think if I'd suggested that ligaments hold bones together, he'd ask me to provide sources.  He seemed to think that this was a linchpin in my argument--in the whole edifice of Mariology--because he kept coming back and pretending I had repeated this claim in new words instead of talking about other things, like why his Biblical claims were spurious.

I think I made a misstep here.  I'm used to debating more mainline protestants, who mostly believe that Christians go to heaven right after death, and I think I got stuck between working on that basis and working on his belief in soul sleep--which in my defense Trent Horn had gone over in his video.

When I asked how he could know Mary was dead, he quoted something about the resurrection at the final judgment.  That's nice, but it doesn't discuss Mary; he is relying again on extrabiblical sources that he hasn't disclosed in order to assume that Mary is not a special case.

His response:  "Such as?"  

Dude: You're the one making the claim that the Bible says Mary died.  I'm not the one here who has to show the passage that states it, or the supporting extrabiblical documents that argue for such an interpretation of some Scripture.  That Bible passage about the final judgment does not name or infer Mary, and by this point in the argument, we'd already visited the precedent of Elijah and Moses, so there's no way to fall back on "Well, everyone."  In retrospect, I think he was trying to dodge this and make me or his audience think that I'm being coy about extrabiblical sources to prove something about Mary, and I need to come out and 'fess up more than he needs to participate in dialog as if we were both adults.

I wasn't buying Moses, though.  I pointed out that Jude 1:9 is about the handling of his body, not the status of his soul.  But he insisted that was sufficient proof.

Man, no it's not.  It's not proof of anything.  It's not even a reference to the Old Testament.  It's to a lost book called the Assumption of Moses or the Testament of Moses, and we only know about it from Jewish tradition and a Patristic reference to this book as a possible source for Jude's comment.  

I pointed out two more things to him:  (1) He's made enough maneuvering room in his "Bible-based" doctrines for the same thing the Catholics do, but he only allows it to be applied to Moses and not Mary, based on Scripture that doesn't spell out that she died or that he was raised  (2) He's not even quoting Bible verses anymore.

"Well," he demurred--I'm paraphrasing, sorry--"I usually don't get much traction quoting Scripture to Catholics, since they don't know it."

Well, I kept up with you when you started out doing that, and you were nice enough to admit it.  So why stop when I beat him to the punch on citing one of the most cryptic verses in the New Testament?  

I'd had about enough at this point.  If I said something he thought I'd buckle under trying to defend, he'd attack, but if not, he'd go back to insisting I prove from Scripture that Mary prays to Jesus in heaven, as if all the intervening comments never happened.

That is confusing enough just to read.  Maybe he thought he was keeping me on my back foot by never giving a straight answer when he could press me to prove something that had been addressed in Trent's video.  Maybe he didn't like it--Trent's own video, including the clips from the original, was a little more than an hour, so he didn't have room for extensive dissertations either--but even if Moses was assumed into heaven the way we believe Mary was, he hadn't given any evidence that actually pointed to it--and wouldn't when asked, except to insist that what he didn't admit were Ellen White's mystical interpretations were both interpretations and correct.  It's not like I really know Moses is normal-dead, but this is leaning way over the line into "Shakespeare indicated the door was blue to symbolize the sorrow and vastness of..." territory.

There’s a difference between claiming a verse or passage means something, and explaining how it does. If he had attempted the latter without merely gainsaying me and moving on like my concerns were both put to bed and not worth discussing, I might have continued under the presumption that he was either honest or competent enough to be worth dialoging with.

Maybe he was assuming some interpretations and then assuming I'd just pick them up.  But whether it's true or not, whether it's intended or not, this stuff is not what the Bible literally says.

And maybe he was trying to do the same kind of thing I was trying to do:  me, forcing him to admit that his creative interpretations and smuggling in assumed conclusions is the same thing he accuses Catholics of doing; and he, forcing me to admit that if Mary's not in heaven because she's in soul sleep then she naturally wouldn't be praying for us.

Since I brought it up, here's Jude 9:  "But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses  he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said 'The Lord rebuke you.'"  That's not even about Moses; it's incidental.  It's a specific example showcasing Michael's humility.  You can compare other translations if you want to see for yourself.  Spirits fighting over a holy man's body does seem like an unusual situation--in fact, it's so rare I don't think there are any other cases we can make a comparison to or draw expectations from--but from that and the fact that the text doesn't rule it out only leaves us with speculations.  So maybe it's true.  But we can't honestly say the Bible sews it up.

So I told him I was done.  His response?  "But I asked you one thing, to prove Mary prays to Jesus in heaven.  Now you bow out?"  Yeah, because you're rude and incoherent.  You haven't responded directly to anything I've claimed except to bogart Mary's privileges for Moses.  But a nonanswer isn't really an answer.

I suggested if he was interested in honest discussion to pay more attention to the channel and the professionals in the combox.  But no, now he reveals that he had been a Catholic for thirty years so he was already well familiar with all our doctrines that just don't make sense.  

If he really were, he'd already be familiar with the arguments for the Assumption, and that we don't put Scripture exclusively above Tradition.  Instead, he sounds more like the guy Trent Horn deconstructed.

Yeah, I ended up effectively sidestepping his question.  But he should have already known the answer, and my point was to show him that he actually uses a similar hermeneutic to support his own beliefs, so either we both might be right and we have to look in other directions or we're both wrong.  After all, even if you take a strong view of Biblical self-sufficiency, that's still not the same thing as mandatory Biblical sufficiency.

Maybe it would have helped if I’d more directly addressed his demand for a passage. Like: “Why do I have to cite a prooftext?” As I said, if he really was an ex-Catholic who left because he plumbed too deeply and found problems, he’d know and understand what I was getting at without me having to point it out; but his double standard, I suspect, would have been too overt to elide.

I mean, man, come on:  You come onto a Catholic channel for a video that discusses soul sleep as a widely recognized error--and it's a public space, I'm not saying you're not welcome--and pick fights with everyone who will listen to you, tuning out when they don't stay on your script, to prove to you that Mary is asleep-dead but Moses isn't...

...and the problem is that I, just I, am not telling you what you want to hear?

I think you're already getting what you want.  

If I talk to him again, I'll apologize on behalf of his catechists for failing him as profoundly as those who failed the guy who did the original video, who failed him so badly he couldn't even count to 53.

Because it's that or he's a character out of a Chick Tract.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

So my redneck and immigrant coworkers were arguing recently about children being tried as adults.

They shared consternation at the idea that a youth tried as an adult and convicted would be incarcerated with other adults as opposed to being put in a juvenile facility until reaching 18.  One mentioned a place that sounds basically like a prison for high school students, which sounds reasonable except maybe in the case the immigrant coworker mentioned about a 14 year old from Texas who was tried as an adult, executed, and later was exonerated.  Someone that young would do better at one of these high school places than a regular maximum security penitentiary, certainly, but kids who are bad enough to end up at a place like that are their own special kind of brutal, so would a 14 year old really do as well there as one might hope?

The redneck couldn't believe in this day and age that something like that would happen without the judge, jury, and district attorney's office getting purged and blackballed.  At first he thought it was some more fake news.

Well, turns out this was a real case from the 1940s.  Look up George Stinney if you're interested.  Actually it's a good idea to read up on it anyway; it's a good example of how a small town conspiracy can thwart federal law to maintain social mores.

"Oh!" the redneck said when he was clued in.  "That' I'd believe."

"What makes it okay in 1944 that doesn't let it still be okay today?" the immigrant asked.

The redneck had run out of argument at this point, having tried to call a bluff and lost the pot over it, but I'd like to provide an answer without acknowledging that such a miscarriage of justice is ever okay, because of other things that were said.

In short, it's not okay, and the redneck didn't even say it was.  He only said he'd believe such a story was true.

After all, such a thing has happened, and not just to George Stinney.  Separate juvenile court systems weren't established until 1899, and enjoyed a "diversity" of standards until some Supreme Court cases in the 1960s led to a modicum of uniformity.  One can still see some variation in laws and expectations from state to state when statutory rape laws are compared, as high school and college students sometimes like to do.  But even before the 60s, at least some of the problems were well recognized.  

So it's not that the redneck was wrong.  It's that the immigrant's rhetorical question that was a red herring.  Failing to distinguish the undeveloped judgment of a child from the malformed conscience of an adult criminal was a known flaw in America's justice system before the second half of the 20th Century, one that has received some attention though not perfect correction since then.

Nobody in the office that day was defending history.  But it can be educational to note who seems to be allowed to criticize it, and who does not, even if for the same reasons; and who takes on the mantle of gatekeeper in such a matter and who lets them.

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

I'll be coming back out of stasis shortly....

 I'll be reviewing my Redemptorist scapular post and putting it back up on top sometime in the foreseeable future; found a conflicting interpretation elsewhere in cyberspace and I want to more closely compare my interpretation of a certain source to his, and see if anything new to me has floated to the top.

Meanwhile, it will be business as usual.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Daily devotional requirements of the 5-fold or Redemptorist scapular, based on each individual one, and hopefully some clarifications.

Brief intro:  As a child, I received a scapular as a gift but didn't know what to do with it; it went unworn and was eventually forgotten.  Years later I learned about the Redemptorist scapular, and my interest was reawakened, but I still didn't know anything about the devotion, other than "wear it and do some prayerful things."  My first investigations were fruitless where they weren't contradictory, but the Internet has grown since then, so I felt it was time to grasp for the brass ring again, starting with all the books and web sites I could find.

First, the summary of my research.  Discussion follows.  I invite your insights and knowledge.

Summary of Requirements
White    Six Our Fathers, six Holy Marys, six Glory Bes
Black    One Hail Mary, one Hail Holy Queen, and fifteen minutes of meditation on Mary's Dolors
Red        Contemplate the Passion
Brown    None (not counting the Sabbatine Privilege)
Blue        Pray for the conversion of recalcitrant sinners, the sick and the dying, and the  Chaplet of 10 Evangelical Virtues or the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception
General    Cultivate devotion and spiritual support for the scapular's subjects of devotion, the associated religious communities, and their charisms; live chastely per your station in life