Father Z does a splendid job of fleshing out the meaning of Pope Benedict's last official remarks as Pontiff this morning . See Benedict’s Last Official Speech – a summary of his vision .
Besides the liturgical and other overtones in his farewell speech Pope Benedict seemed to signal where he is going to be or rather not be in the coming weeks. In other words we should not expect video of now Pope Emeritus kissing the ring of the new Pope.
Father Z states ( in red )
Before greeting you each personally, I desire to tell you that I will continue to be near to you in prayer, especially in the upcoming days, so that you may be entirely docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of a new Pope. May the Lord show you what He wants you to do. And among you, in the College of Cardinals, there is the future Pope, to whom I, already, promise my unconditioned reverence and obedience. [The fact that he says this here and now means that he is not going to appear later to do it in public. He really will just disappear and cast no shadow hear the new Pope.] For this, with affection and thanksgiving, I impart to you from my heart the Apostolic Blessing.
I have to admit this part struck me as different in tone than the rest of the speech when I was listening. However now reading it it does appears to be a very solemn and formulaic declaration.
Of course if the new Pope wants him there I suspect Benedict would go. But Benedict seems to be be telling the soon to be Pope he does not have to invite him and in fact perhaps it would not be wise to do so.
Thursday, February 28, 2013
In Last Remarks Pope Benedict Signals Will Not Attend Installation of New Pope & Other Liturgical Nuggets
Father Z does a splendid job of fleshing out the meaning of Pope Benedict's last official remarks as Pontiff this morning . See Benedict’s Last Official Speech – a summary of his vision .
I know there was a book called What's the matter with Kansas but when I hear things like this my viewpoint is NOT MUCH :) .
|.....And finally, while it may be trendy to embrace a vegetarian lifestyle for
health, environmental or ethical reasons, we enter into the Friday abstinence
for matters of the soul. If the world thinks us odd, then we are in good company
with St. Paul, who was known to call himself “a fool for Christ.” If we want to
be different from the culture around us — and different for all the right
reasons — then we need to do things in a different way. |
The purpose of the abstinence remains primarily spiritual as a penance, a recalling of the Lord’s passion. It also can unite us spiritually to those who do not have enough food for the day. But as a public witness, it clearly adds to our Catholic identity. For that reason, it may be far more needed today than when it was observed more faithfully 50 years ago.
See the Bishop's article here.
Bishop Duca Advises His Louisiana Flock To Avoid Drama & Speculation of Ignorant Media As To Future Pope
I received the Catholic Connection in the mail today which is the official monthly publication for my Diocese of Shreveport in Louisiana. A publication that has very much improved since the Bishop has arrived on the scene if I might say As you can expect Pope Benedict was a topic.
Bishop Duca had a very good article as to his thoughts on this historic change that we saw today. See Forget Speculation; Search for Spiritual Truth .
Its a very good article that touches on many aspects of what we as Catholics will encounter and how we should view this.
As to the media he says ( and I don't think he is talking local media that seems to have some degree of sophistication on religious matters and you know actually talks to the Bishop ) he says in part :
..It is my hope that you have not been caught up in this endless stream of drama, but see that there is a deeply spiritual side to this moment in history. Unfortunately the secular media mostly seem to understand the Church as a kind of corporation or organization where decisions about dogma are made by the pope reacting to public sentiment or opinion. Of course we know the Holy Father’s primary mission is to receive the faith handed down from the apostles to this generation, and to keep that truth the same so it can be handed on to the next generation of believers. In fact, the Holy Father’s mission is to preserve the faith, not change it. It is true that it falls to the Holy Father to proclaim the Good News in ways that are understood to the present age, to apply the Gospel to new challenges, to seek justice for all in the unique circumstances of life in countries throughout the world. So while the pope has many opportunities to make an original impact on the Church, he does not do it by changing the unchanging parts of Catholic teaching. Forget about all the speculation because it is just that, speculation. Our hope in this time of change, will be found in the spiritual truth of our faith. We believe the Holy Spirit is at work in this process and the Church is always bigger than even the pope.....
Read it all
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
See Bill Seeks to Protect Religious Groups from the Texas Tribune.
Seems like a lot of folks were up very early to watch the Pope give his last Wednesday audience and what it appears is his last public speaking engagement as Pontiff. The Crowds were huge estimated at 150,000. A very moving and personal address. Full Text is here .
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Quite a big controversy over at the Washington Post where a unnamed reporter involved in an exchange with a reader was quite blunt with what he thought about some religious beliefs as to gay marriage.
Get Religion has done a good job covering this with assorted links and comments. See WPost: Yes, we fear and loathe religious traditionalists for the article that set this all off.
Get Religion also wonders about the ethics of allowing this reporter to be unnamed. Guess which WPost reporter refuses to cover you fairly . As is mentioned it does seem a tad unfair that everyone is placing a guessing game as to the person. On the flip side at least we have a very vivid example of how some think on this matter . They also give some more comment from other people here at Bill Keller, et al, openly confess that “error has no rights”
After reading these articles I do wonder the pressure that some newspaper folks of Faith might feel at the office. It seems hard to avoid the topics that are at dispute , but I do wonder about how they might navigate the work place at times.
. First Thoughts has a piece on this today.. This is not the only controversy over the management of Louisiana College we have seen but it is perhaps the most explosive.
Friday, February 22, 2013
In our " national conversation on guns " there has been some talk on mandatory gun insurance for gun owners. In fact there has been some bill filed in some state legislatures.
Josh Blackman has been blogging on this issue for some time. His latest piece is here at The Constitutionality of Mandating Firearm Insurance where he talks about the legal and indeed moral hazard problems involved.
A few thoughts of my own. From a pragmatic sense this seems like a idea that gun control people would want to run away from for various reasons.
First it does not take a lot of imagination to see this in a poll tax sort of way and our history with that. That it is very likely that this have a disparate impact on poor folks and very much poor folks of color. Which to be honest might be part of the intent. It's no secret that the modern gun control movement partly got its start because people were freaking out over riots by black citizens in the 60 ' s.
Second it seems just to confirm the worse fears of gun rights folks that are told their fears are so unreasonable. That is the "reasonable" request that gun owners should register their firearms will eventually lead to a tax and/ or confiscation.
Last but not least the car insurance issue does not seem very apt. When I cannot pay my car insurance That means I cannot drive the car off my property. I can have an car without insurance to my hearts content on my property. In fact I believe in all states I can pretty much Drive and use my car all over my private property. No one is going to confiscate it if I let the insurance lapse. That is good since I might have some investment in my vehicle.
Mandatory gun insurance is perhaps the least likely of all regulation to pass in my opinion. The problem is for gun control advocates just the serious discussion of it likely results in a ton of anti gun control laws in response and other assorted blowback.
I am going to try to hit on the defense of rreligious exemptions or as the freedom from religion folks more often call it " religious privilege" as to laws later on more fully.I truly think that the effort to exempt these are a true threat to human freedom and human dignity.
Till then NPR had an nice little program on their show called Talk of the Nation that touched on this.Prof Rick Garnett that participated in the program has the link to the vid and transcript here at Garnett on religious exemptions on "Talk of the Nation" . Exempt
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
I am going to try to engage part of America's Op Ed on repealing the Second Amendment. There is a good Huff Post article with background on this at America, Catholic Magazine, Calls For Repeal Of Second Amendment In Controversial Editorial .
Here here is at least part 1 of a hopefully series of posts.
America as background takes on the the now famous Heller case .
On June 26, 2008, in a closely watched, far-reaching decision, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the D.C. law, ruling that it violated the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which states: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” In the court’s majority opinion, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia wrote: “We are aware of the problem of handgun violence in this country, and we take seriously the concerns raised by the many amici who believe that the prohibition of handgun ownership is a solution.... But the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table.”
Justice Scalia was right. Even those who subscribe to methods of constitutional interpretation other than Mr. Scalia’s brand of modified originalism must concede the basic point: The Second Amendment impedes the power of the government to regulate the sale or possession of firearms. Unfortunately, the grim consequence of this constitutional restriction is measured in body counts. The murder of 20 elementary school children and six adults in Newtown, Conn., in December was merely the latest in a string of mass shootings: Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek. In the last 30 years, there have been 62 mass shootings (each leaving at least four people dead) in the United States. Since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colo., there have been 130 shootings at schools; nearly half involved multiple deaths or injuries.
Now there is major problem here. It is true that Heller is far reaching since they are explict that firearm ownership is a individual right. However they DID NOT touch on the many many many many laws and regulations that go as to sale or possession of firearms.
Let us see if all "reasonable" gun restrictions have Gone with the Wind in D.C that was the subject of the Heller case .
Lets says a good Jesuit that lives in the District of Columbia wishes to buy a handgun. What will he have to do.
Step 1 Buy your Handgun but make sure it's on the approved 3 state list.
Make sure it holds no more than 10 rounds. Note you are going to have to go to a local dealer in the area since most handguns come with a standard 13 mag. That means you got to get someone to open the box switch out the mag with a 10 one so it can be accepted for delivery in the district . That means most big online sales from dealers are not going to happen. No one is going to be switching out mags at the warehouse. Your 10 DAY WAITING PERIOD begins.
Step 2 PAY ( they don't do this for free ) to have the gun you purchased to be shipped to the ONLY federal firearms licensee (FFL). That is D.C.’s only legal gun dealer.
Step 3 - Get the required forms you need from the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. Sadly these forms are not online ( of course ) so you have to go get them or call them to send them to you.
Step 4 - Fill out forms send them back the D.C. 's ONLY legal gun dealer.
Step 5 - Take 30 minute online Course on fundamentals, safety and local laws. Then print our Certificate sign it .
Step 6- The handgun arrives to D.C. ONLY LEGAL GUN DEALER so you have to set up an appointment to fill our registration form. Go to the MPD where the gun dealer is at .Bring $125 fee in cash and the FBI BACKGROUND CHECK IS DONE.
Step 7 Take the test ( though this is pretty easy )
Step 8 Fill out more forms get photographed and fingerprinted
Step 9 GO TO THE DMV ( Horrors ) This step alone perhaps is enough to stop most handgun buying in you live in the District. After waiting through the long line ( s) Pay $48 dollars in Cash get receipt .
Step 10 Take your and receipt and trek back to the Metropolitan Police Department. The registration office staff will tell you what day to come back for the end of the ten-day waiting period. Don't expect them to call you.
Step 11- Go back to the MPD. The day before waiting period ends contact D.C. only legal gun dealer located in the MPD too see if application approved. Then make appointment to pick gun up. Make sure you have a lock and a case so you can transport the gun home.
Suggested Step 12- Make sure to keep up with all D.C. gun laws in the future so you don't accidentally become a criminal and have to go through a long legal process.
All these restrictions though burdensome are likely to survive court scrutiny up in the District. . Just like the District's ban on assault weapons.
So it's not really the case that just because the Court has ruled that one cannot just art Blanche ban the most common firearm in American that Judges just left and and right are striking now "reasonable" gun laws done by our elected officials.
I think America is missing that fact that it doubles down like they did in the Op-Ed . In this case waiting periods , registrations , background checks , plus a lot of hassle have all been proposed as reasonable. In fact they are have been proposed as necessary to prevent misuse of firearms by gun control advocates. There is no real indications these laws are going away in the District.
Thanks to this article that explains process on how to buy an gun if one lives in the District of Columbia .
This is an short but excellent response by Kevin Walsh on those that use the Jehovah’s Witness blood transfusion argument as to the HHS contraception mandate controversy .
See If RFRA protects for-profit corporations, what’s to stop Jehovah’s Witnesses’ companies from refusing coverage for blood transfusions?
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
Doing the Right Thing - Harvard Crimson Columnist Admits Was Wrong On Conservative Jewish Religious Practice
Rod Dreher righlty note it is good to see when someone in the media admits they were wrong and trys to correct the mistake. See A Praiseworthy Apology
This sounds like a possible good hire in some form of journalism when he leaves Harvard.
Always interesting to see the state of American Catholicsm by looking at different regions of the country. It often shows a more complex picture than many headlines
Peter Smith at the Courier-Journal up in Louisville Kentucky has a nice article up at St. Michael: Former upstart school booms in eastern Jefferson County
There was a sadly a rape on the Loyola campus this past weekend. See NOPD: Student raped inside Loyola University parking garage . The fact pattern here does not indicate here that a having access to a firearm would have helped this alleged victim since this is a scenario where the victim had put some degree of trust in the rapist.
Still though rapes and other violent crimes happen to women at the Loyola campus and the campus right next to it Tulane sadly way too much.
There is a wealth of empirical evidence, as well as common sense, attesting women known to be well armed are safer. Pistol and rifle target shooting is an Olympic event. Why don't universities have girls' (there I go again) teams in these sports? But wait: there is one benefit to "Take Back the Night" marches, and I do want to be fair: whenever rapists contemplate these events, they keel over in laughter. They are laughing so uproariously that at least during these times they are incapable of raping anyone.
Block faces I suspect a uphill battle at Loyola in arming the Coed.Especially since the Jesuit run America Magazine just came out for REPEALING THE SECOND AMENDMENT .
This is all a sort of run up to one of the more interesting articles on the gun issue I have read all week that is written by black female feminist and her experience of getting a gun and a concealed carry permit. See
The Methodist Mark Tooley has the story over at IRD and Catholic Conversion .
A little Louisiana Catholic news.
I have always though Lafayette Louisiana was one of the better places to raise a family. I also think if you are Catholic it is one of the better Dioceses to have support for a strong life long Faith life.
Reporter Nicholas Persac of the Advertiser has a nice story on how the Catholic community is coming together to battle a sadly more than expected somber Lent. See Catholic community pulls together
Vatican Insider has come up with a some statement that Pope Benedict made back in his university days that is pretty interesting. See Ratzinger's forgotten prophesy on the future of the Church.
From reading this I think it's fair to say that he was not only just talking about the Catholic Church here but could see Protestant Faith communities would be affected to as to gigantic shift he was starting to see.
Then and only then, Ratzinger concluded, will they see “that small flock of faithful as something completely new: they will see it as a source of hope for themselves, the answer they had always secretly been searching for.
Today many Protestants celebrate the Feast day of Martin Luther. First Thoughts has a good post up at Celebrating Martin Luther which has excerpts and links to Pope Benedict's thoughts on him and the issues surrounding him.
There has been a good bit of looking back on the service of Pope Benedict to his Church over the period of his life. Strangely perhaps one of the biggest accomplishments of his is rarely mention which occurred before he became Pope. That is making substantial headway and finding agreement on one of the major issues that split up Christianity. That is how we are saved or the issue of Justification.
The JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION signed by the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church in 1999 was and continues to be a rather big deal. In 2006 the World Wide Methoist Council signed on as well. See THE WORLD METHODIST COUNCIL STATEMENT OF ASSOCIATION WITH THE JOINT DECLARATION ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION .
Cardianl Ratzinger was seen as the moving force on the Catholic side to make this happen. No doubt his German upbringing played a role in helping bring this about.
In any list of accomplishments of Ratzinger / Benedict this needs to be at the top of the list.
Friday, February 15, 2013
Many Americans , like I did this morning, woke up to this AP article in their morning newspapers. Pope enjoys swansong; future still a question .
It sort of alludes to the very interesting off the cuff remarks the Pope made as to his experiences at Vatican II that he made to the Priests in Rome. However the fact that was the topic is not even mentioned. This topic and indeed event had already been decided before the Pope announced he was resigning. The remarks are indeed intriguing and no doubt many Catholics would have been interested them. It was I think worthy " news ". For those remarks see Pope Benedict's last great master class: Vatican II, as I saw it [full text]
My main complaint about the article is it never really puts forth facts on of it's central claims .
That is :
For a second day of his emotional farewell tour, Benedict sent a pointed message to his successor and to the cardinals who will elect him about the direction the Catholic Church must take once he is no longer pope. While these remarks have been clearly labeled as Benedict’s swansong before retiring, his influence after retirement remains the subject of intense debate.
I have no idea what they are talking about. Again look at the above link at the Pope's remarks. It is just strange they make this claim not followed by any quotes. Perhaps I missed it but I am not seeing what they are seeing.
Instead the article goes off on Father Gaenswein AKA “Gorgeous Georg” .
A sort of disappointing article after some very interesting remarks of the Holy Father yesterday.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Pope Benedict In Emotional Farewell To His Roman Priests Does Off the Cuff Talk On Memories of Vatican II ( Text & Vid )
Pope Benedict gave a heartfelt and emotional farewell to his Priest in Rome today. He also gave quite a off the cuff talk on his memories of Vatican II. Some of which no doubt is going to make so major headlines tommorow. See from Vatican Radio Pope Benedict's last great master class: Vatican II, as I saw it [full text]
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Umm well OK then :) More to the point he calls it Seafood which I guess is a distinction but I am not sure we are out of the meat category .:)
Tip of the Hat to Rod Dreher to the Lent post of the day MAYBE DECADE.
Baton Rouge Public High School Choir Sings Itself Into Pope Benedict Abdication Catholic History Today
An eventful week for the very talented Baton Rouge Magnet High School Choir got very more eventful as they sung in Papacy sistory. That is they sang before a packed Wednesday audience which was the first public appearance of Pope Benedict since announcing he would abdicate the Throne of St Peter at the end of the month. There is a great write up which includes the Vatican TV vid here.
The Baton Rouge Advocate has a short story up here . Another short close up vid here.
I was watching this live and think like many got a tad teared up. I think the ovation would have gone on and on until the Pope stopped it. The remarks of the Holy Father at both his morning audience and at the Ash Wednesday Mass are significant for the season. I might try to go into them later. Cardinal Bertone's Farewell Address to the Holy Father is located here.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Michael Winters- Bishops Need To Quit Listening To Lawyers On Legal Challenge To HHS Contraception Mandate
Michael Sean Winters has been a needed voice from the slightly more progressive leaning branch of American Catholicism against the HHS Contraception mandate. Still there are some areas differences as to tactics and indeed as to the scope of the problem.
He wrote this piece The USCCB Response: Change or Not?
Prof Rick Garnett takes issues with two aspects of his piece at Some thoughts on the bishops' response, lawyers, and for-profits (responding to MSW)
Garnett first responds to Winter's suggestion that the Bishops need to quit listening to all these Lawyers they have. I have to say from a slip and fall lawsuit to Bishops suing the Obama administration it is never a good idea to quit listening too your Lawyers. I think Garnett does a good job responding here as well as defending the Beckett Fund .
However a much bigger issue is Winter's viewpoint that once we the Bishops can save Catholic orgs from the affects of the HHS Contraception mandate that the Bishops have no business sticking up for the rest of us. This is a view that Winter's has had for some time and sadly in my view has not relented on much.
Garnett I think does a good job responding to this too. To quote Garnett "Religious-freedom is a human right, and is presented as such in authoritative Catholic teaching. How could violations of that right not be a concern of the bishops, simply because their own and the Church's institutional interests are (perhaps) taken care of. "
Monday, February 11, 2013
Josh Blackman has an excellent post at “Can a corporation have a conscience?” .
I keep asking these questions but I am still getting not very good answers. We seem to think correctly that just because one might be a corporation that does not mean anything goes. We don't seem to think as to the corporate form that the Govt can just ignore the takings clause or search any corporation without a warrant
Why is Religion different?. As Blackman points out should not the NYT logic apply to the press.The NYT is a corporation and yet they think the First amendment applies to them Again I waiting for logical response to this but so far it has just been ignored..
Let us be clear. We are not talking about 1st amendment law to be radically now seen anew. We are talking about folks having standing ( or their day in court). Why are people so fearful of that.
It always is interesting to too observe journalist and what they perceive to be the powers of the Papacy. They truly give him powers that few Pontiffs would dream of claiming. Further these same voices seem to be unaware that the things they would like SUPER POPE to do would cause a massive world wide schism , and make any reunion with the Eastern Orthodox an impossibility. Maybe they are aware of this and just can't wait to watch the Church boom live on tv.
Needless to say we are about to get this in spades for the next 30 days or so.
So on that note this is a good aid to the chattering classes via Cardinal Dolan 's straight forward blunt piece on POPE 101 things and yes the limitations of his office.
Ross Douthat has an excellent piece up on today's stunning developments. See The Pope Abdicates
I generally agree with him in this instance it might be good that Pope Benedict is taking this stance. Still I think the last part of his column is an important warning.
Yet these benefits need to be balanced against the longer term difficulties that this precedent creates for the papacy’s role within the church. There is great symbolic significance in the fact that popes die rather than resign: It’s a reminder that the pontiff is supposed to be a spiritual father more than a chief executive (presidents leave office, but your parents are your parents till they die), a sign of absolute papal surrender to the divine will (after all, if God wants a new pope, He’ll get one), and a illustration of the theological point that the church is still supposed to be the church even when its human leadership isn’t at fighting trim, whether physically or intellectually or (for that matter) morally.
This last point is underplayed, but supremely important. Catholicism’s resilience has always depended both on the power of the pontiff to sustain unity and safeguard doctrine and on the power of the Catholic faith itself to survive leaders who are wrongheaded, incompetent, senile or corrupt. (There’s a reason why relatively few popes have been canonized, and why Catholics wear their faith’s ability to recover from the Borgias as a badge of honor.) And if papal resignations became commonplace and expected, I worry that they might end up burdening the papacy with a weight it cannot bear — encouraging Catholics to lay far too much stress on the human qualities of the see of Peter’s occupant, and encouraging the world at large to judge the faith’s truth claims on whether the Vatican seemed to be running smoothly, and whether the pope’s approval ratings were robust.
So I understand why this pope made the choice it did, and I have some optimism for what his abdication means for the immediate future of the church. But I hope we have to wait another five hundred years, at least, for it to happen again.
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Why Third Circuit Is Wrong That For Profit Corporations Can't Practice Religion - HHS Contraception Mandate
An excellent short post by attorney Kevin Walsh of Richmond on this at The Third Circuit is wrong: RFRA protects corporations, without any carve-out of for-profit corporations from its protections
Missouri Synod Lutherans Unfeeling ? LCMS Journalist On Media Coverage of Sandy Hook Worship Service
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has been in the news this week as to a controversy over a interfaith Church service that happened after the Sandy Hook School shootings.
I have been following some of the media coverage and found it very wanting in some respects.
First I think many journalists assume that many of us are in regions where Lutherans are abundant. While there are Lutherans in the major cities of North Louisiana I did not meet my first Lutheran till I was in college. So many still are struggling with understanding the divisions and issuesin the Lutheran Church.
On a personal level I find many of the comments in the media articles dealing with this issue a tad disheartening. In fact many Christians themselves seem to parrot the attitude of The Friendly Atheist in his post Lutheran Pastor Apologizes for Being a Decent Human Being .
There is among Christians perhaps a tad little bit of a smug Holier than though attitude ,and yes let me saying that word "judging".
Now in honesty I think much of this has to deal with the fact that the issues might have not been fully explored that are at issue as to LCMS Doctrine and joint worship services likes this . That is we are dealing with many Christians acting out of ignorance.
Therefore I have been waiting during the week for journalist Mollie Hemingway to give her take on this since she is a member of a congregations of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
She does so here at Covering opposition to syncretism in a syncretized world where she gives some background , thoughts and reviews the media coverage. The comments are a must read , and one can see that the particulars of what is " worship " is of some debate in the Missouri Synod.
Two things struck me in Hemingway's piece. First she does remind us that these people left Germany in some great numbers and at great cost to come to American over these issues.
Second she notes "So if you thought it was less than enjoyable to have your patriotism questioned after 9/11, you can imagine how easy it is to explain your church doctrine on the First and Second Commandments in the subtle and unpolarized aftermath of the Newtown massacre. "
That I have to admit does not sound fun at all. Which I think requires of us all some sensitivity not only to the Newton victims and community but to the LCMS also.
It appears that this is a issue specifically worship. I think it is easy to get the impression that LCMS is against all ecumenical work. That is not the case. In fact what is largely missing in many of these stories is members of the local LCMS Congregation were on the ground giving aid to victims.
Mrs Hemingway was kind enough to clarify some elements of the doctrine that is at issue to me in an email.
First if a LCMC person attend a different church body's wedding or funeral and that's fine. They are also allowed to observe other worship services, though, including baptisms, weddings, funerals, etc.
The issue here is they do NOT DO syncretistic or unionistic worship services, and that includes weddings and funerals and in this case interfaithwworship services. That basically means their Pastors and Officials can NOT help lead them. I thought this post Unionism & Syncretism Follow-up by a Lutheran pastor was a good item to look at what these terms mean.
Now the coverage has not been all bad. But I have to admit the items that I have come across have seemed again wanting. However as reporter Bob Smietana of the Tennessean stated in the comments :
I think that is very true. Which is more the reason why journalists and indeed just regular folks that do social media sites of some influence need to be careful about accurately representing the the LCMS position (s) and complexities. On top of the shooting tragedy we don't need to add to that the perception that LCMS folks are unfeeling uncaring Christian folks.
This is one of two interesting Lutherans in the news posts I hope to do today.
First Thoughts reports on a bit of important news. See Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus severs ties with ELCA . The ELCA is Evangelical Lutheran Church in America .
The official issue here is same sex marriage but as we see with other Protestant groups the splits have been building over other issues as well.
What I found most mind blowing about this article was the states about the Ethiopian Evangelical Church.
Gay sexuality, though, is only the latest presenting issue, as it has been for some one thousand congregations that have left the ELCA to form new associations. On an array of issues from abortion to the authority and role of scripture in church life the ELCA has been dismissive of everything that once marked it as a stable, orthodox denomination. Lutheran church life in Ethiopia compared to the ELCA can be summarized simply: On any given Sunday there are more Ethiopian Lutherans at worship than ELCA Lutherans in any one month.
The Mekane Yesus consisted of perhaps twenty thousand Lutherans in 1970. During a decade of persecution in the 1970s by the communist Derg the church grew enormously, while enduring church burnings, arrests of pastors, forced closings of church properties and, most notoriously, the abduction and murder of the sainted general secretary, Gudina Tumsa. By 1997, the Mekane Yesus reported 2.3 million members; the latest figures place the membership at 5.3 million.
That is just amazing. However we see this dynamic in both Catholic churches and Protestant and Evangelical faith communities in persecuted areas in places of great persecution like Africa and China.
One can not think at times that some of these Catholic Churches and as we see here Evangelical Lutherans look a lot more like the early Christians and what they went through than we Christians in the West. However it is we in West that seem to be pushing the agenda and demanding X , Y , and Z of the worldwide Church even while our numbers are in decline and their numbers are increasing.
Now this is not to say the West has nothing to offer. I do think the West is correct to act in some outrage that a homosexual in some places are executed. I think Pope Benedict's POST-SYNODAL
APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION AFRICAE MUNUS is a good example of both talking about mutual gifts and some correction . Also needless to say what the Church of the West has to offer the Church worldwide on the problem of sex abuse in which some might still be in denial is great.
With that being said it does seem if we take the words of our various creeds serious about ONE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH it does seem perhaps we should be giving a lot more deference to Catholic and other faith communities like the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus .
Friday, February 8, 2013
Needless to say the rebel flag is a touchy subject which brings out all sort of emotions.
The person who drew this newspaper cartoon tells people to calm down , don't cancel their subscriptions , and in the end sometimes a battle flag is just a battle flag.
The Lead has what the cartoonist said at How to draw with dynamite .
This is depressing on so many levles and needs to be changed somehow. See from Mirrors of Justice A Partial Answer to Michael Moreland’s Question which deals partly why there is such a lack of good legal scholarship on the abortion issue.
Harvard Prof Mary Ann Glendon advice is perhaps sadly true and even more sadly has to be followed.
Grant Gallicho has a piece up that I think perhaps is a tad dismissive too quickly of the Bishop's concerns as the HHS Contraception mandate and for profit folks in his post What bishops want.
Cardinal Dolan also expresses his displeasure with the fact that the revised rule does not address the complaints of for-profit employers who have religious objections to the mandate. They “have no conscience protections at all,” Dolan writes. Matt Boudway covered this question earlier this week. Should any employer be able to opt out of federally established basic health-insurance benefits because of religious objections? Matt writes: ”It would logically lead to a situation they couldn’t possibly wish for. Should an overzealous Jehovah’s Witness be able to get a group plan that excludes coverage for emergency blood transfusions, even if none of his employees are coreligionists?” The bishops tend to treat conscience claims as though they outweigh everything. In fact, conscience claims must be balanced against state interests (whether the contraception mandate advances a legitimate state interest is another question).
Some thoughts here. First it needs to be stated that it appears the Government position is that for profits have no standing even to have their day in court especially if they are in a corporate form. This includes if they just have a family owned LLC. This is a significant part of the background to the HHS Mandate legislation that is going on.
Second I am not sure the Bishop's response is conscience rights outweigh everything. The Jehovah Witness blood transfusion example is useful but is in reality limited. I mean logically we can put everything ( abortion , sex change operations , heck maybe in the future Euthanasia ) under " health " and go but what about blood transfusions. That makes little sense either. I mean the " what about blood transfusions: argument then means that if we just put it under medicine or health the Government always wins.
Last but not least he misstates the standard. The standard as to the contraception mandate is NOT that if it advances a legitimate state interest. That is a part of the rational basis test which is the lowest level of scrutiny a government must meet. In almost all cases the Government meets that standard.
The contraception mandate comes under the highest form of scrutiny that is STRICT SCRUTINY.
It must be justified by a compelling governmental interest. which generally refers to something necessary or crucial, as opposed to something merely preferred.
The law or policy must be narrowly tailored to achieve that goal or interest.
The law or policy must be the least restrictive means for achieving that interest, that is, there cannot be a less restrictive way to effectively achieve the compelling government interest. .
Its a crucial difference.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Virginia Legislature Passes Law To Prevent Future Generation of Tyrants - Freedom of Association & Religion On Campus
The Friendly Atheist brings us the good news at Virginia Senate Approves Bill Allowing College Groups to Discriminate Based On Religious Beliefs . Note it also includes other beliefs.Hopefully the Governor will sign this bill.
This is very good news and is a good rebuke of some disturbing trends that are happening on some Government funded and operated college campuses. Contrary to what some believe the College campus is not an area where the first amendment does not apply.
Freedom of association is very link with the freedom of speech. College students at Government run colleges need to get use to the real world. They ( or the administration) cannot just engage in rampant viewpoint discrimination or try to cut off at the head groups and opinions they do not like. That is , at least currently , not how life in the real world operates.
This has wider implications than just the college campus. Trying to dictate membership and leadership requirements, overreaching vague speech and conduct codes, and often kangaroo campus " courts" teach students a horrible lesson. Harvey Silverglate pointed this recently in this Forbes article Campus Censorship Breeds Societal Dysfunction where he reviews an excellent and alarming book on this topic.
Unlearning Liberty gave me surprising insight into how it could be that such a large number of graduates of some of the nation’s leading colleges and law schools wind up as U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors doing so many awful things to so many often innocent people. I likewise gained insight into how some of the sharper legal minds now sitting on the federal bench do not blanch when innocent citizens are convicted of violating statutes and regulations that no normal person could possibly understand. Students, who get accustomed to the administrative tyranny that marks the vast majority of colleges, universities and graduate schools today, don’t have much adjusting to do when they gain, and abuse, real power of their own in the nation at large, including in its legislative chambers, executive offices, and courts....
.....Lukianoff observes: “The Founding Fathers understood that the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights would be best protected when individual citizens internalized these principles [of liberty] as personal values.” One rightly asks, upon reading Lukianoff’s profoundly disturbing disquisition on the culture of mindless totalitarianism that befouls the vast majority of our college campuses: how much longer do we have in which to restore liberty and sanity to higher education before our political and legal institutions reach the point of no return?
Amen to that. All these things are connected. That is sometimes in the noble aim of "tolerance" we decree by law or regulation in toleration.
An interesting article from Vatican Insider. See The Opus Dei and Benedict XVI’s “silent clean-up" operation
The incorporation of nonbelievers (atheists, agnostics, and so on) under the protection of the right of religious freedom should imply a long-range expansion of the paradigm of religious freedom, never a reduction or a simple shift to exclude the old paradigm.
From page nine of the Law Review article A New Paradigm for Religious Freedom by Rafael Domingo of the University of Navarra.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
I have taken an interest in the past few years on how hard it is for advocacy groups for issues from a to z to stay on message in the age of social media.
The result is your "friends" on cause x often say things that just are not helpful to the cause. I know I have been there.
Lets look at the issue of gun control and gun rights.
In the old days ( the 1990 early 2000 ) the NRA would go behind close doors with gun manufacturers, hunting groups, sports groups , certain politicos and hash out the talking points and the SCRIPT.
Likewise the gun control groups would go behind close doors with their hombres and hash out the SCRIPT.
Its very important for success to each group as a general matter to be very disciplined and not go off the script/talking points as they engage the American public.
Social media has pretty much blown this up. You now spend a good bit of time it seems putting out fires of your friends that have gone off the script in a big way.
Which bring us to Father Thomas Worcester article Gun Culture Versus Human Life and Dignity
In this we learn he wants to tax guns and ammo like tobacco . He thinks "twelve step" programs are needed for these alleged pagan gun collectors. He thinks a program of basically shaming gun owners is a good thing. He also has to say the least an interesting legal interpretation of governing document.
Now the SCRIPT for gun control folks is WHY IS THE NRA SO UNREASONABLE. What is wrong with these "reasonable" limited restrictions on guns. I mean we are just talking about assault weapons, some background checks, some registration , and limits on mags. No one wants to take your guns away.That is all scare tactics !!
The problem is Father is justifying all the fears the supposed crazy NRA President is saying. The only reason for gun registration is to take them them or tax them NRA man says. Well lo and behold look at this article.
Now to be fair Father Thomas Worcester may think the current gun control script is phony and thinks we all need to be honest what some really want.
That being said this is an interesting example of how nowadays its hard for an advocacy group to control their message . Because there are a lot of people like the good Father on the social media saying the same thing. And that is competing with the SCRIPT.
The Deacon Bench has the story and link at Deacon sues government over contraception mandate .
First Thoughts has the story and the link to the Bishops statement here at Catholic Hypocrisy in the Public Mind
I have to admit when this story broke over the National March For Life I suspected this to be debated over at Catholic and religious legal blogs I visit. For the most part I never saw it.
That is unfortunate and it seems much of the debate was dominated on both sides by people that don't seem to have a understanding of the legal actions involved.
Thankfully there were robust responses in the comment section above.
They include :
Correct. Doctrinally, the plaintiffs are not suing for the injuries to the deceased woman and twins. The husband/father and daughter/sister are suing for the injuries to themselves, which is the lack of companionship. If Colorado law treated fetuses as persons, it would only affect this case if it treated them as persons for purposes of wrongful death.
Legal personhood and moral/ethical personhood are completely independent. God and the angels are not legally persons. Corporations are not morally or ethically persons. On top of that, legal personhood in some respects doesn’t equate to legal personhood in all respects. Corporations are persons for purposes of contracts and most torts, but not for, e.g., voting.
On top of that, wrongful death is purely a creation of statutory, positive law. There’s no natural law right to bring a wrongful death action. There’s no common law right. There’s no constitutional right. There’s no logical connection between abortion and wrongful death. Until about 40 years ago, wrongful death did not exist as a cause of action, and abortion was illegal.
Even if Roe v. Wade were overturned and abortion was illegal, that wouldn’t, by itself, create a wrongful death cause of action for fetuses.
The Bishops of Colorado are incredibly wrong in abandoning that defense. It’s stupid and even sinful to conflate the two issues.
Moral and ethical personhood is NOT the same as legal personhood. Personhood for purposes of one law is NOT the same as personhood for purposes of another law.
The hospital isn’t asserting that because no person died it isn’t liable. It is asserting that the Colorado wrongful death statute only imposes wrongful death liability (which is about the survivor’s rights, and NOT the decedent’s) for the deaths of persons who have been born alive.
The word “person” in the personalist philosophy that’s been adopted by some of our recent popes and “person” in the common law tradition are mere homophones.
What you are missing, I think, is that the bishops believe that the the law *should* include the unborn within its definition.
That would not be a moral judgment on their part, it would be a judgment about the purpose of wrongful death suits, and from the admittedly little I understand, it would be a wrongheaded judgment. As I understand it, those who may bring about a wrongful death suit are the deceased’s heirs and beneficiaries. The suits attempt to put a monetary value on the deceased person’s life to calculate what the beneficiaries have lost by the deceased’s untimely death. Bringing a wrongful death suit is not the civil equivalent of bringing criminal charges for homicide. It is not to brand the defendant as a killer. It is to get monetary compensation for what the deceased person would have been worth to you had he or she not died. There is not much point in bringing a wrongful death suit when the person who dies is very young or very elderly, because it is extraordinarily difficult to put a value on their lives had they not died.
Read all the comments. Now I get in this might be a PR problem in this soundbite world. LOOK THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS SAYING UNBORN CHILDREN ARE NOT REALLY PEOPLE. However that is really not what is going on. I am not sure one has to turn in their prolife credentials because you are pointing out the legislative intent was not to include unborn children in a case of positive TORT LAW.
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Robert Royal has a good post over at the Catholic Thing looking at the abuse claims in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles . See Signs of the Beast .
The chart has an interesting, and of course very depressing chart , looking at reported abuse claims over the time span of 1935 to 2005. The Chart indicates what we seem to have seen nationwide. A huge post World War II spike followed by a rather dramatic decline from around 1981 onward..
The question that has always bothered many people and in fact needs to be answered to prevent this in the future is the why of the post World War II spike. Sex abuse in the Church has always been with us , but it does seem to come in some massive waves at times.
Royal makes the points that explanations by both the Catholic "left" and "right" are not exactly as airtight as some might think. As to the post World War II generation:
What I find most surprising is the large bump in the late 1950s, the pre-Vatican II years. Some reports claim that as many as 10 percent of the students at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo CA – Cardinal Mahony’s own alma mater – are known to have gone on to sexual abuse troubles. Is this evidence of the pre-Conciliar clerical culture or something else?
I’ve talked with some people who have worked on these kinds of problems for years and several seem to think that we’ve underestimated the cultural influence of American optimism in the post-World-War-II era. The very success that American Catholics always wanted earlier, and that translated within the Church to large numbers of vocations of all kinds, may have led to a deep complacency – and failure to adequately police the kinds of men entering seminaries long before the disorders that followed the Council.
This cuts across our usual assumptions that wealth and peace make virtue easier – but those are American and secular assumptions, not Catholic or philosophic ones. The reported numbers from the 1950s – high as they are – are probably on the low side, too, given that many victims have probably died or are too old now to want to revisit painful experiences from half a century ago.
No one element, of course, can explain evil of this kind and scale. But it would be wrong to ignore what those earlier numbers may tell us. Complacency is a perennial temptation.
We may be seeing here a confirmation of the line from the Psalms: “Man living in wealth and not in understanding is like unto the beasts that perish.”
Well that could be a part of it. I do agree that " quality control " seem to fail perhaps some after WWII.
Still that explanation does not seem that air tight though again is one of the factors I believe. I still think there is evidence of a general uptick of sexual abuse as a whole after World War II. The Church is indeed a reflection of society. Could the absolute horror of that period and what young men experienced affected the hard wiring of some of them in a way in some way? I am still think that is yet to be explored. It does seem as some of this generation left the priesthood /Brothers or retired to a less active status. that is was when we started seeing a dramatic decline.
If you managed to watch the series Downton Abbey this past week the Catholic / Protestant tensions were on full display surrounding the issue of the Baptism of the infant of Tom Branson and the late Lady Sybil Branson (née Crawley) .
There was an anti Catholic slur used that I was not unfamilar with that was introduced . That is
" left footer ". It appears I was not the only one that was unfamilar with that term and it's origins.
First Thoughts explains it at Why Are Catholics Called “Left-Footers”?
This past week with the Superbowl it was no exception as the Cathedral was used as a back drop from many of the sports broadcast.
Some New Orleans Catholics were out in front of the Cathedral for Superbowl week. See from the Catholic newspaper from the Archdiocese New evangelization meets Super Bowl crowds what they were doing.
Over the past weekend there was a rather important Catholic conference of note. That is the Mission of the Ordinariate Symposium. This was dealing with the Anglo Catholic Ordinariate. It was held in Houston Texas and it was also the occasion of Archbishops Müller, Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, first visit to the USA as Prefect..
The full texts of the talks are located here .
I have highlighted the Diocese of Witchita before buts it is always good to highlight it again !! I realized that in some Dioceses this model of school funding might not work. On the other hand I got to think in manyu Dioceses it would.
Kansas school stewardship model encourages vocations
The Baton Rouge Adovcate has the stance here at Bishops seek to prevent execution set for Ash Wednesday
Friday, February 1, 2013
Nevada Episcopal Church Bishop Has Helpful Practical Points For The Catholic Parish & the Lapsed Catholic
I have been thinking about this article from the Episcopal Church Bishop of Nevada and how it applies to ways we Catholics are doing various programs and invitations to get Catholics to come back to the Church.
See The Real Reason People Who Have Left A Church "Can't Go Home Again"
One thing off the bat he says that strikes me as true perhaps is when he says "When I consult with churches whose membership has declined, they often express little desire to attract new members. Instead they say they want to win back the “lapsed.” I generally warn them that the so-called “lapsed” are the least likely demographic group to resume regular attendance at the church they left. "
Now I am not sure the "lapsed" are the least likely group to resume attendance , but I do see his point that
that we might think this is easier than going after new folks. Both are needed.
What really struck me was sort of the little things that I might even say and not mean offense. See his thoughts on NOT saying "we have missed you " and saying " glad you are here".
Anyway some food for thought here.
Johna Allen has his always interesting Friday column up at National Catholic Reporter. He says that by looking at current Italian politics and the Church's role we can see that the Church is neither left nor right. See The church's natural habitat is the center, not the right .
The kicker though is "All this suggests a memo to political writers and pundits. Only against the backdrop of an exclusively two-party system can the Catholic church accurately be described as a fixture of the right. Its natural habitat, so to speak, is in the middle, assuming there's a credible political middle on offer."
I think in the current American environment that is largely correct. I also don't expect that to change anytime soon. American though they say they want more political choices seem to have a default mode in reality of living a living in a two party system.