Being authentically Catholic can be complicated

keeprightwrongThe Catholic vision of life permeates everything. Thus, it shapes the way I view sexuality – as a great gift from God but also with certain boundaries and limits – but also the way I view how we should build our towns and cities and care for the environment, raise our animals, cultivate our food. The Catholic principle of subsidiarity – mentioned earlier – causes me to be distrustful of big government – where it isn’t warranted – but also of big corporations.

None of this fits into our neat political categories. And it leads to quite a bit of misunderstanding from those on the outside.

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The old culture war rages on

The culture war is essentially a struggle to see if the West will have ametaphysical culture or an anti-metaphysical culture. An anti-metaphysical culture must give way to nihilism, anarchy, and the upsurge of unchecked evil. Thus, the long-term prospects for the survival of Western Civilization will be determined by the outcome of the culture war.

Metaphysics, faith, and reason

Is there a connection between metaphysics, faith, and reason? Yes. Faith and reason help us to connect with the metaphysical realm. Metaphysics enriches and stabilizes both faith and reason. For example, metaphysical theology and ethics provide boundaries in which faith and reason must operate.

Western metaphysics produced a culture that was both uniquely rational and uniquely welcoming to religious faith. Prior to the bifurcation of Western culture, faith and reason were strongly allied. After the bifurcation, faith and reason were in tension. Today, faith and reason are hostile to one another in some quarters. This current situation is historically abnormal and culturally unhealthy.

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The answers to three key Catholic questions speak volumes

questionOnce again let me stress that I developed this set of questions in the mid-1980s as a journalistic tool. The goal, when asking these questions, is to listen carefully to the answers.

It is especially interesting, of course, to note when people remain silence or try to find a way to maneuver around the questions without answering.

Different types of believers, of course, have different answers. The goal is to listen carefully and then respond with follow-up questions that yield nuggets of on-the-record doctrinal, as opposed to political, information. The goal is to transcend mere labels.

Here are those questions, once again:

(1) Are the biblical accounts of the resurrection of Jesus accurate? Did this event really happen?

(2) Is salvation found through Jesus Christ, alone? Was Jesus being literal when he said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)?

(3) Is sex outside of the Sacrament of Marriage a sin?

Link to story

Seen on the web: The conservative vs. liberal concept of Catholic reform

BuckeyePhysicist • 5 days ago

Conservative idea of Catholic reform: Proclaim the Gospel, maintain doctrinal orthodoxy, support marriage and family, reform the Curia, fix the bank, root out corruption in management.

Liberal idea of Catholic reform: Redefine sins as virtues.

Link to original article

For the first time in decades, the staff of the US bishops’ conference will (probably) not swing reflexively into line with the latest liberal rhetoric.

When John Carr retired from the staff of the US bishops’ conference, after helping to shape the bishops’ statements on political issues for more then 25 years, we wondered whether his departure signaled a shift in USCCB policy. Today we have our answer: Yes, it does.

Jonathan J. Reyes, who will be taking Carr’s post in December, will be coming to Washington from Denver, where he was head of Catholic Charities. His work there, and especially his involvement in projects like “Christ in the City,” testify to his belief that Christian charitable work is inseparable from evangelization. In other words he sees charitable work as a witness to faith, not a call for government support.

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Ann Barnhardt is a brilliant, ultra-conservative, Catholic “firecracker”

by Doug Lawrence

A friend sent me a link to Ann Barnhardt’s website, and I’m still in awe. This brilliant Catholic (convert) woman knows from where she is speaking, on a host of very timely and relevant subjects, and she isn’t afraid to step up and say it, loud and clear!

Here’s an example (not necessarily the best one):

Q: Ann, What do you think of the Marines who peed on the dead Taliban?

A: I have little sympathy for men who live their lives wiping their anuses with their bare hands after bowel movements, and who view as the pinnacle of human pleasure inserting their genitals and depositing their semen into the feces-laden rectums of boys and other men, who suddenly get squeamish about dead bodies being sprinkled with a bit of urine – which is sterile by the way. Those dead Taliban were probably the cleanest they had ever been in their adult lives after being showered with the righteous tinkles of those Marines. Ooh-rah. That is all. Carry on.

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Marquette Bishop: “I was more prayerful than many of my peers. That opened me up to the action of the Holy Spirit.”

…Although a young bishop, Bishop Sample has been outspoken in his defense of Church teaching. In 2009, for example, he asked Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, retired auxiliary bishop of Detroit, not to speak in the Marquette diocese because of his dissenting views on such issues as homosexuality and the ordination of women. He also condemned the University of Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Barack Obama, calling the move “unconscionable” and “completely out of step with the Catholic Church’s teaching.”

…My generation was the first in the wake of Vatican II. While I certainly don’t blame the Council, much upheaval occurred in the Church in its aftermath. Culturally, society was experiencing the sexual revolution, the women’s liberation movement, and the anti-war movement, among others. There was an anti-authoritarian spirit.

In this time of great confusion, catechesis suffered. We booted the Baltimore Catechism out the door, but there wasn’t anything to replace it. I was taught the faith in Catholic schools using materials that were weak and insubstantial. I wasn’t being taught my faith. The liturgy suffered from experimentation as well.

…We need a renewal in catechesis. I feel passionately about this. In my Diocese of Marquette, I directed the development of a diocesan curriculum for faith formation for grades K-8. It is a solid, substantive, systematic, and sequential curriculum, which builds from one year to the next. It is topical, based on the pillars of the catechism. Every parish is expected to follow this curriculum.

Now I’m turning my attention toward adult faith formation. If we can get catechesis and the liturgy right, we’ll be well on our way to the renewal and growth of the Church for which we hope.

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Editor’s note: Isolated in the wilderness that still constitutes much of the upper peninsula of Michigan, Bishop Sample might just succeed. Let’s all pray that he does!

The Bellarmine Report: New name. New look. More convenient. Same solid, conservative Catholic content.

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The Failure of Liberal Catholicism

It is virtually impossible to provide a summary of all the various elements of this two part series.

I suggest you read part one for yourself.

Part two is available only by subscription.

Tom Roeser, Catholic, dead at 82

by Doug Lawrence

I never met Tom Roeser, but through his extensive writings and his long, Chicago broadcast radio career, I felt like I did.

Tom was a Catholic, a Republican, a conservative, a media personality, a family man, a scholar, and many other things.

I read all his daily blog posts and also listened to his radio show, whenever possible.

Tom Roeser 1928-2011

Tom contended with the rich and the powerful on his own terms, suitably enlightened by the traditional Catholic beliefs and practices that he learned and perfected, way back when, with the help of his beloved Rev. Fr. Ernie. Because of this, and his extensive business and government experience, Tom was a hard guy to fool.

Much like the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Tom always managed to deliver his insightful messages with style and grace … coupled with an appropriate dose of humor.

Tom was a great guy. We’ll miss him … a lot. I would also like to extend my sincere condolences to the entire Roeser family.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May Tom’s soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. 

Chicago Tribune on the life and times of Thomas Roeser

The Chicago Sun-Times on the life and times of Thomas Roeser

Tom Roeser Funeral Details

Read some of Tom’s daily blog posts

The true meaning of the word “tolerance”.

Yesterday, I discussed some terms that are manipulated to normalize homosexuality, and today I want to discuss a few more that are misused in the pernicious effort to use public schools — including elementary schools — to normalize homosexuality. The first term is “tolerance”:

  • Tolerance actually means to put up with or endure something one finds objectionable. Implicit in the idea of tolerance is disagreement and disapproval. One does not tolerate something with which one agrees or approves.
  • True tolerance would mean allowing or enduring the expression of ideas, even ideas which we find offensive or wrongheaded. (It does not, however, require the expression of ideas that are age inappropriate.)
  • When, however, the self-appointed cultural elites and public school administrators contend that society should be tolerant of homosexuality, they are really claiming that one ought to approve of it, affirm it, and celebrate it.
  • Under the guise of promoting tolerance, schools offer only resources and activities that espouse liberal beliefs while censoring all resources that espouse conservative beliefs, which is completely inconsistent with the idea of tolerance.
  • Resources that express disapproval of homosexual acts no more represent intolerance of homosexual persons than resources that express disapproval of promiscuity represent intolerance of those who are promiscuous.
  • A commitment to true tolerance requires that some put up with the expression of the belief that homosexual conduct is moral, and requires that others put up with the expression of the belief that homosexual conduct is immoral.
  • A skewed understanding of tolerance is, ironically, cultivating hatred. When children are taught the lie that those who believe homosexual acts are immoral also hate homosexuals, those children and teens start hating conservatives.

Read more at Matt C. Abbot’s site

Fundraiser for Carl Segvich, conservative Cook County Board Candidate, August 18th.


Carl is a true conservative,
dedicated to bringing lower taxes,
accountability, and honesty
back to Cook County government.

We can certainly use some of that!

Date: August 18th

Time: 6 – 9 PM

STUDIO 31
5147 S. Archer
Chicago
RSVP (773)655-0684

What do today’s Jews believe? It all depends …

The path to Orthodoxy is long and labyrinthine. Does G-d exist? Did He give the Torah? Did He also provide an oral tradition? Like many Jews rediscovering their heritage, I had to confront and resolve each of these challenges. Eventually, we pre-ba’alei tshuva arrive at the denominational crossroads. Convinced of the Torah’s Divine origin and aware that, to be decipherable, the Pentateuch must have been given with an oral explanation, I sought the Jewish movement in possession of that ancient Mesorah.

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Despite what the USCCB apparently maintains, there is no right to national health care in authentic Catholic doctrine

It is important to emphasize that this is not a mere pragmatic consideration. For a central government, or any level of government, to intervene when it is unnecessary for it to do so is not merely not required. It is not merely unwise. It is, in the words of Pius XI, nothing less than an “injustice,”“gravely wrong,” a “grave evil and disturbance of right order.” It is disturbing, then, that the USCCB does not balance its emphasis on the Church’s teaching about the “right to medical care” with equal emphasis on the principle of subsidiarity – a principle which has a longer history in Catholic social teaching than the (very recent) affirmation of a “right to medical care,” and which has a much more sophisticated and worked out theoretical basis in Catholic moral theology and natural law theory than the latter right has ever been given. (Astonishingly, the USCCB’s online summary of the basic principles of Catholic social teaching includes no reference to subsidiarity at all; and its more extended online overview of Catholic social teaching mentions subsidiarity only once, in passing, without explaining what it means.)

In particular, it is disturbing that no consideration of subsidiarity or the rights of the family seems to have informed the USCCB position on the health care bill, which, as I have noted already, seems to allow that the bill is acceptable or even required by Catholic teaching apart from the elements concerning abortion and coverage of illegal immigrants. How does respect for a “right to medical care” justify the federal government forcing every citizen to buy insurance, of a kind the government (rather than parents or individuals generally) decides the citizen needs? How does it justify increasing government power to determine for citizens what sorts of treatments are worth paying for? How does it justify moving towards a de facto monopoly as health insurance companies are transformed into heavily regulated government contractors? How does it justify the bill’s “marriage penalties”? Even apart from considerations of subsidiarity and the independence of the family, it is hard to see how such policies could be justified; in light of those considerations the policies seem positively immoral. Add to that the bill’s staggering increase to the already crushing debt we are facing, the dubious constitutionality of some of its components, the rushed and irresponsible way a transformation of one-sixth of the economy was cobbled together for political reasons without sufficient attention to unforeseen consequences, and the bill’s Rube Goldberg system of bribes and special breaks – as well as the USCCB letter’s admission that the bishops are “not politicians, policy experts or legislative tacticians” and thus without any special competence vis-à-vis the practical side of health care policy – and it becomes mystifying why the USCCB should think that, apart from the matter of abortion, the bill is something to “applaud” (as Cardinal George put it). The bill is not even an improvement on the existing system; it’s not even equally bad. As Steve Burton points out, it takes what is already wrong with the existing system and doubles down on it.

Read the article by Edward Feser

The Conservative-Christian (Catholic) Big Thinker Behind the Manhattan Declaration

On a September afternoon, about 60 prominent Christians assembled in the library of the Metropolitan Club on the east side of Central Park. It was a gathering of unusual diversity and power. Many in attendance were conservative evangelicals like the born-again Watergate felon Chuck Colson, who helped initiate the meeting. Metropolitan Jonah, the primate of the Orthodox Church in America, was there as well. And so were more than half a dozen of this country’s most influential Roman Catholic bishops, including Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, Archbishop John Myers of Newark and Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia.

At the center of the event was Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country’s most influential conservative Christian thinker. Dressed in his usual uniform of three-piece suit, New College, Oxford cuff links and rimless glasses­, George convened the meeting with a note of thanks and a reminder of its purpose. Alarmed at the liberal takeover of Washington and an apparent leadership vacuum among the Christian right, the group had come together to warn the country’s secular powers that the culture wars had not ended. As a starting point, George had drafted a 4,700-word manifesto that promised resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same-sex marriage.

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More on George, from Tom Roeser:

Who is Robbie George? Read The New York Times magazine last Sunday and you’ll find out. He is a Princeton professor who with the death of Rev. Richard John Neuhaus has become a consultant to a number of conservative Catholic bishops. Dr. Robert P. George, that is who is a Thomist who those conservative bishops have found to possess the talent for phrasing their arguments in thoughtful, academic language. No, Cardinal George is not among them. He’s busily constructing his own theory of parsing which alleges Catholicism is hobbled by conservatives on one hand and liberals on the other… contrasted with which-guess what-he, the equivocator of both-occupies the Golden Mean.

But I digress. The interesting thing about Robert George is that he is unassailably right on theology-philosophy… but guess what? His uniqueness is due to the fact that he almost alone espouses the essence of Aquinas which has been forsaken by most Catholic intellectuals. You remember my disquisitions about Fr. Ernie? Fr. Ernie’s theology, philosophy is reborn in Robbie George. Encouraging isn’t it. But also discouraging.

It’s a shame that the logic that has permeated Catholic theology since the 13th, that greatest of all centuries for philosophy and theology, has been so ignored since the mid-20th that Robbie George is the only one the bishops can find.