Friday, August 29, 2008

Let's play ball!

Sarah the Barracuda vs. Obama Yo Mama: one-on-one half-court. Inexperience issue settled. ...Ok, maybe not, but you know you could sell out MSG with that matchup.
during high school she was a point guard for its championship basketball team. "Everything I need to know, I learned on the basketball court," she once remarked.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Love you like you was mine...

but respect the Thin Line:
Biden-qua-politician should not be the object of special attention by ecclesiastical leadership. Rather, Biden-qua-Catholic should be. And he will be. ~ Ed Peters

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Now I'm never gonna be able to identify myself as a "devout Catholic" with a straight face ever again. I think an inventory of politically ambivalent (but theologically useless) adjectival modifiers for the noun "Catholic" is in order, just so we know what's left. If only we could copyright them and restrict them to "fair use."

They shoulda built a Greek Temple

From CNA:
The unprecedented gathering of Latinos went uncovered by the local news media. Instead, local news channels chose to cover a demonstration by about 1,500 anti-war protestors and a martial arts training session for protestors from the anti-war group Re-create 68, which was held in preparation for their first demonstration.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 Obama is wrong

I don't know exactly how successful has been at remaining party-neutral, but their latest article confirms that I, and most pro-lifers, can still read and not lie, contrary to what Obama was telling us:
A June 30 Obama campaign statement responding to similar claims by conservative commentator William J. Bennett says that SB 1082 did not contain the same language as the federal BAIPA.
Obama campaign statement, June 30: Illinois And Federal Born Alive Infant Protection Acts Did Not Include Exactly The Same Language. The Illinois legislation read, "A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law." The Born Alive Infant Protections Act read, "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being 'born alive' as defined in this section." [SB 1082, Held in Health and Human Services, 3/13/03; Session Sine Die, 1/11/05; BAIPA, Public Law 107-207]
The statement was still on Obama's Web site as of this writing, Aug. 25, long after Obama had accused his detractors of "lying." But Obama's claim is wrong. In fact, by the time the HHS Committee voted on the bill, it did contain language identical to the federal act.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Who's Not A Cultural Catholic?

We should be wary to attack a fellow Catholic for being "culturally Catholic," a term which only has weight from within an historically anti-Catholic Protestant America. While Biden's Catholicism is in grievous error, it ain't chump change either. When orthodox Catholics resort to an ideological posture that tolerates no distinctions between pro-choice Catholics, orthodoxy loses. The distinction between a Biden and a Kerry Catholic is the difference between Notre Dame and Georgetown: both are elite schools torn up by post-V2 rifts within the Church, but one is far more grounded in the working class spirituality and ethos of the American Church (thereby handling Catholic identity with far more grace) and the other is hopelessly infected with Ivy-league wannabeism (thereby failing miserably on Catholic identity).

I also note how classically Irish-American Biden's faith is -- pugnacious yet endearing, proudly Roman yet insecure about its latent Puritanism. Look at most of our bishops; they're not that different in attitude. Unfortunately, the majority of American Catholics think exactly like Biden. We are complicit when Biden's errors merely reflect the severe anemia within our post-V2 Church, with which, it needs to be said, we are in communion. Consequently, the Dems have far more to gain nomminating a Biden Catholic than say a Brownback Catholic. But a Kerry Catholic would have been a loser too. The Dems calibrated it just about right politically.

The foolish assumption of most of the attacks on Biden from pro-life Catholics is that the Dems should select a Catholic that reflects Roman orthodoxy, as if Dems should care at all about the orthodox chunk of the Catholic vote when it's only a minority 1) rigidly locked into the GOP and 2) unstably or unconvincingly represented among swing-state Catholics. This is how catechesis and formation intersect with politics. Too many pro-life Catholics think we can solve the problem of pro-choice Catholics simply by more politics. But until we get our own house in order, we'll continue to send mixed messages and see Biden Catholics promoted to prominence.

How can we complain that much when we produce "Hear-&-See-No-Evil" Abps. Mahony, Egan, Niederauer, Wuerl, and the USCCB as our national Magisterium? We forget that they are the fruits of our harvest, not just the product of top-down machinations in the Curia.

The proper response to the Biden announcement is what Amy Welborn admonishes the bishops to do: TEACH, NOW.

CORRECTION: Abp. Wuerl is exercising his teaching muscles. Sorry, I was sounding off machine-gun style, or internet style.

CORRECTION II: Wow, Cardinal Egan's gone up to take a swing at Pelosi's spitter too! Come on Mahony, Niederauer, you're up next!

Of course, I am being facetious. Pelosi's not the only target here and merely criticizing her theological doublespeak just contributes to the Beltway Science Fiction Theatre. She's just a Speaker of the House of Americanized Catholics, a rather divided, confused house.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How not to nix a liberal Catholic prof

That the Univ of San Diego is taking action against Rosemary Ruether's appointment to an endowed chair in "Roman Catholic Theology" is not my issue. I'm glad they did that. But there are many good reasons to "nix" her appointment, so why of all things would the university administration trot out her abortion stance as the single reason, as if she were running for political office?

Among the strongest arguments from liberals concerned about the friction between "Catholic identity" and "academic freedom" is the ideological ossification of Catholic thought. As a Catholic who cares about orthodoxy, I'm with the liberals on this point. The battle for Catholic identity on our campuses should never be framed in ideological terms -- no political litmus tests which are more applicable to the campaign trail than the white paper trail. As anti-abortion and pro-life I try to be, I cannot find much comfort in a Catholic administration that revokes a faculty appointment on the primary grounds that the appointee is pro-choice, not because I'm sympathetic to the views of pro-choicers or believe in their "right" to preach the abortionist gospel on a Catholic campus, but because litmus tests cheapen the Catholic vision of intellectual integrity and excellence.

What I would prefer to see more confidently expressed is the argument that academic freedom is MORE vibrant in pursuit of Catholic orthodoxy; that heresy is a throttling of the Truth; that the attempt to belittle and relativize Catholic orthodoxy on Catholic campuses in the name of academic freedom is really just liberal secularism/Protestantism imposing its own totalitarian vision of Truth on other communities who may dissent. USD could have mentioned that the theological disciplines can only be properly called a science if it is pursued ex corde Ecclesia.

So while Ruether's abortion stance is morally repugnant, it is, more importantly from a university's point of view, intellectually repugnant. The pro-choice position fails to meet academic standards that are intrinsic to any university much less a Catholic university.

Furthermore, as important as opposition to abortion is to Catholic theology, it is obviously not the primary object of study. The university should have made some reference to the substance of Catholic theology and how Ruether's work is of shoddy quality. She is without question one of the most overrated Catholic theologians of the post-V2 era, whose popularity derives not from the merits of her scholarship but from its incendiary posture of dissent and heresy which has value and utility only for liberal secularist and Protestant ideology. Catholic theology should proudly confidently put all ideological pursuits on notice as unbefitting of the "Queen of the sciences." We can easily find in Ruether's impoverished Christology, her anemic neo-pagan feminism, her sloppy relativistic ecumenism, and her weak attacks on hierarchy and patriarchy an ideological self-impairment that is simply not worthy of even a faculty position, much less a chair in Roman Catholic theology at a Roman Catholic university.

One of the great weaknesses of so-called "conservative Catholicism" in America is its casual adoption of ideological/political thinking on orthodoxy. We are told often that orthodoxy is neither conservative or liberal. Yet Catholics who appreciate orthodoxy, even in the apostolic sense, often fall into this trap anyway, in large part because ideology has crept into every nook and cranny of Catholic life, most disastrously in its liturgy and spirituality. Catholicism has become excessively Westernized and modernized, hence Sean Hannity thinks of himself as an orthodox Catholic.

In our collective amnesia, the Catholic and Apostolic mindframe that predates Trent is almost completely beyond our grasp, even though it is our birthright. This is why we now need a Pope to compensate for the other pillars of orthodoxy of our Apostolic past that we've neglected: liturgy, asceticism, monasticism, iconodulism, synodal subsidiarity, inter alia.

Kudos nonetheless to USD for caring enough about Catholic identity to block Ruether's accession to a theological cathedra.

Virtually, almost, nearly

Google anything on the Born Alive Infant Protection Act and you'll get the smears and counter-smears. I was frustrated from not finding a direct side-by-side comparison of the Illinois and federal bills on the first search results page. Instead the first few search results pages are full of statements from the pro-life side merely asserting that the two bills are "virtually" or "almost" or "nearly" identical. Thanks but I can use too. As I learned in college writing class, "Don't tell me, show me!"

I had to search within National Right to Life Committee's website to find it. Not even its front page has an obvious link to the comparison. But here it is. The 8/18/08 update by NRLC on the "Obama cover-up" is very informative too.

Hadley Arkes, in a new piece for The Catholic Thing, has a succinct dismissal of Obama's claim that the "neutrality clause" of the federal bill that was added to the IL bill was somehow critical to his interest in protecting Roe v. Wade. In essence, the added clause, which states that nothing in the amended definition of what constitutes a "born-alive infant" should be construed to affect the jurisprudence of Roe v. Wade whatsoever, is superfluous since a fetus born alive by definition is no longer a threat to the mother's health under Roe.

What hasn't been explained clearly enough by either side is how BAIPA actually operates. It doesn't actually mandate or ban any acts by anyone. It's just a defintional expansion to the rules of construction or interpretation on health care for neonates. It's protection by redefinition.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"above YOUR pay grade"

That's what Obama really meant to say at Saddleback. We're too dumb to appreciate the intricate nuances of his brilliance. We really are.
Warren, to his credit, didn’t pose a metaphysical question, or a biological one. He asked a legal question: “At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?” Obama tried to dodge by saying that from a “theological perspective” or a “scientific perspective” the issue is “above his pay grade.” But Warren asked a more narrow question, and one that any politician who votes on abortion laws should be able to answer. And of course, as a supporter of Roe and Casey, Obama does have an answer: He thinks that a baby acquires rights when it’s born - well, perhaps depending on how and why it happens to be born - and lacks them at every juncture before birth. He just didn’t want to come out and say it. ~Ross Douthat