Some Of My Favorite Things

Monday, October 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Quote on Ferguson, MO

If we could eliminated black on black violence, America's murder rate would fall by 50%. Want proof? This is the best FBI table:


This is the FBI summary of the table: This is the best pull-quote from the sumary
"Concerning murder victims for whom race was known, 50.4 percent were black, 47.0 percent were white, and 2.6 percent were of other races. Race was unknown for 152 victims. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 2.)
Of the offenders for whom race was known, 53.1 percent were black, 44.6 percent were white, and 2.3 percent were of other races. The race was unknown for 4,224 offenders. (Based on Expanded Homicide Data Table 3.) "

Here is a rabidly left-wing organization that admits it.


And Martin Luther King himself pointed out the same thing fifty years, ago, so it ain't new: 

"Do you know that Negroes are 10 percent of the population of St. Louis and are responsible for 58% of its crimes? We've got to face that. And we've got to do something about our moral standards," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told a congregation in 1961. "We know that there are many things wrong in the white world, but there are many things wrong in the black world, too. We can't keep on blaming the white man. There are things we must do for ourselves."

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Rise of (Cr)ISIS

Just shut up.

All the Catholic news organizations and bloggers who are flipping their wigs over the upcoming synod need to just shut the hell up.

Who honestly cares what the synod says?
What possible difference can it make?

Either it will affirm Catholic teaching, in which case there is no news, or it will not affirm Catholic teaching, in which case the Pope will politely reject it or die trying.

Either way, it makes absolutely no difference to the Faith.

This whole synod "controversy" is just clickbait for Catholic news organizations and apologists trying to turn a buck.

Look, I understand how it happened. The last guy I know who actually read a diocesan newspaper just died and got buried this summer. Literally. Nice guy, I liked him a lot, but that's the readership age of diocesan newspaper subscribers, which is why pretty much all of them have stopped printing paper editions. Diocesan newspapers - the only source of Catholic news for generations - were nothing but feel-good organs created by the bishop that never reported on anything the bishop didn't want made public.

As electronic media took over, the diocesan paper died. But Catholic electronic media, the legions of amateur bloggers and journalists fresh out from under the wings of the bishops, soon discovered what secular media knew all along - "if it bleeds, it leads." They had to report controversy to keep the clicks and the revenues coming in. If there wasn't controversy, they had to invent it.

EWTN bought National Catholic Register just as the latter was going bankrupt. EWTN's viewership is well over 60. 10-15% of it's audience dies each year. EWTN needs new viewers, so Raymond Arroyo and company have finally become full-blown secular media whores pretending to be Catholic news reporters.

It is in NO ONE's interest for you to be confident in the synod and unconcerned about it's outcome. Indeed, it is in NO ONE's interest for you to be confident of the Church. Nobody clicks to find out more about a story when they know the ending. They only click when they are AFRAID.

Crisis rules the day. And if crisis does not exist, it MUST be manufactured.

So, Catholic media makes you afraid. The heretics make their heretic readers worry that the Pope won't be heretical, the "orthodox" make their "orthodox" readers worry that the Pope will be a heretic.  And why do I put "orthodox" in quotes while I don't put "heretic" in quotes? Because the "orthodox" Catholics are stupid enough to actually buy this bilge.

Dude, this is a Church synod in a highly-communicative age. (1) Do you actually think a synod could or would try to fundamentally change Church doctrine?

Seriously?

And even if it did, (2) do you think an infallible Pope is going to sign off on the resulting assumptive heresies and try to make the changes legitimate?

SERIOUSLY?!?!???

Look, if you bought into EITHER of those propositions, you aren't orthodox, you're just stupid. I'm sorry to have to be blunt, but this doesn't even rise to the level of ignorance. Ignorance we can attribute to well-meaning pagans, but people who claim to be orthodox and still hold either of these positions? Yeah, that's stupid.

Despite what EWTN and other Catholic bloggers may be claiming, Christ didn't counsel us to "BE AFRAID! Be VERY Afraid!"

So just stop it.

Stop clicking on these stupid pundit whores who are writing click-bait controversies to generate ad revenue for their "irreplaceable" Catholic website and punditry.  For the love of Christ, have a little Faith and stop acting like superstitious old women. Most of the "crisis" of the modern Church are manufactured by Catholics trying to sell their wares. Tell Raymond Arroyo and company to get behind thee. You don't have time for this nonsense. No one does.

UPDATE:
LifeSiteNews now admits that the Catholic press essentially fabricated the entire synod controversy.
Color me shocked.
What emerges from the summaries is a clear picture that most of the Synod Fathers were alarmed and perturbed at the publication of the mid-term report, which most had not seen prior to its being released to the press.
As South Africa Cardinal Wilfred Fox Napier told Vatican radio today, the mid-term report was “not to the liking of many Synod Fathers who were objecting that what was said by one or two people was largely presented (and was certainly being taken up by the media) as if it was the considered opinion of the whole synod.” (emphasis added)
The fix is in. Catholics are being talked into acting like Protestants towards the Church by the very Catholic media that is supposed to be supporting and restoring their Faith. The document the synod produced wasn't the problem - the secular news media has neither the interest nor the staff to pay attention to the synod. When it comes to this synod, secular media has simply been reporting on what the Catholic media has trumpeted. Secular news stories on this synod are always hours/days after Catholic media reports and those stories always mimic Catholic media story structures. They're using Catholic media as their stringers. So when the synod's orthodox Catholic bishops decry the distortions introduced by "the press", those bishops are talking about "the (Catholic) press".

The Catholic media is dividing the Church, just as I foresaw eight years ago.

A short list of crypto-Protestant blogs and news sites:

  • Rorate Caeli, 
  • Pewsitter, 
  • WDTPRS, 
  • EWTN, 
  • The Catholic Thing, 
  • A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics, 
  • Voice of the Family, 
  • Insight Scoop
  • Church Militant with Michael Voris
  • etc.

In short, every Catholic blog/website that traditionalists and their co-travellers consider "Scriptural" has turned out to be filled with whores and thieves, people willing to distort a synod of the Church just to get a few extra clicks in their pockets.

This isn't my opinion: this is what the orthodox bishops of the synod themselves tell us (see above). The Catholic press deliberately blew this teapot into a tempest to line their own pockets. Only Lifesitenews, to their credit, bothered to tell us the bishops' opinion on this, and you'll notice that they buried the lede.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Traditionalists Screw Up NFP

Some Catholics are upset with recent statements by Cardinal Kaspar concerning natural family planning. According to the UK Telegraph:
Cardinal Walter Kasper said it was “the responsibility of the parents” to decide how many children they should have.
Correct. The Church does not mandate that every married couple have a certain number of children or, that once they are parents, they must have a certain number of children in order to avoid being in sin. So how is this new? And why would Catholics object to any priest or cardinal pointing this out?
He also said that so-called natural family planning, which is promoted by the Church as an alternative to contraception, also has an “artificial” element.
Correct again. There is nothing natural about a thermometer (only invented in the 1600s) and there is nothing particularly natural about observing cervical mucus and using one's reason to discover why it looks the way it does. Human rationality is participation in the divine rationality of God - it is supernatural, not natural. The charting of days, the use of paper, pencil and mutually agreed meaningful signs (writing) on paper by the pencil in order to keep track of the signs of fertility - exactly how is this not artificial, that is, how it is NOT the result of artifice?

Do you see squirrels and moose engaged in such behaviour?
If so, why is the video not on Youtube?
Please.

Kaspar is giving standard Catholic teaching.
The newspaper is putting a secular spin on it.
This shocks someone?
Seriously?

Ladies and gentlemen, it's called "natural family planning" not because it is what the birds, bees, flowers and trees do, but because it is in accord with human nature.

Sadly, even Catholics no longer appear to understand this...

And since I see the traditionalists yelling about this the loudest, I must conclude that they are the most ignorant of these points of Faith.

Again.

Sigh.

Update
Look, here's a thought experiment:

Let's say we have two identical heterosexual couples, in both of which the woman is carrying a child who will be born prematurely. The first couple gives birth in the woods, amongst the birds, bees, flowers and trees. Seeing the child's precarious state, they immediately abandon the child on an anthill after giving birth. This allows the forest to benefit from the child's death as the various vegetation, insect and animals slowly consume the dying child and the nutrients from the resultant corpse.

The second couple, however, gives birth in a hospital. This child is immediately rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). While in NICU, the child is hooked up to literally dozens of beeping machines, is subjected to constant needle sticks and computer monitoring as dozens of technicians work to save the child's life.

Which is more natural?

According to natural law teaching, the second is natural, the first is not. In the first birth, the parents act against human nature by refusing to image the loving God who gives existence to all things. They refuse to assist their own child by trying to keep him alive. Instead, they act like animals and abandon their child to the elements.

Meanwhile, the second couple acts in the image and likeness of God by trying to help another image and likeness of God, their own child, live. Not only that, the entire community answers the call to image God, and everyone works to care for, love and save the child's life, offering up their work, tears, sacrifice and prayers so that the child might live.

The cross was made with human hands. The bread and wine at the altar are the work of human hands. The work of human hands is artifice - it is, technically, artificial. Artifice, also known as "art", is an act of creation that uses created things, forms them in new ways, and thereby attempts to image the original Divine creation of the universe out of nothing.  There is nothing wrong with creating or using something "artificial" - we are supposed to do that. It is, as Tolkien points out, one of the ways we image God, by being sub-creators.

The error comes when we use artifice, the artificial, to avoid imitating God. The natural law encourages, even requires, that we create and use artificial things. We must, if we are to imitate God, if we are to use our reason to its fullest extent. It is only when we use the artificial to shut God out instead of invite Him in, it is only then that we have violated the natural law.

The natural law isn't about Nature, red in tooth and claw. It is about the Natures that, in the person of God, were nailed to the Cross and sanctified by the red Blood and Body of Christ. The Cross is the result of artifice, it is artificial, but because it unites us with God, it sanctifies the artificial. Thus, it is actually a compliment to call NFP artificial, if we use it to draw closer to God.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mocking the Mass


This photo was posted by a priest who likes "Catholic traditionalism". Some of the responses from his Catholic friends and followers:
"hahahaha" 
"Excellent!"
"WOW..."
"that's cool"
"Took me a minute but I like the idea now that I got it. You don't want the driver facing you. You want him facing the direction you are all going."
"Hilarious! Well, whether or not one cares for the implications of the cartoon, the end result has proven to be accurate."
"WOW really Fr Jeff???"
"Though to be fair, facing the people isn't necessarily an aspect of the OF. My parish uses both forms, both facing the correct direction."
"the one with the driver looking where he's going"
"That is too funny" 
"Love it!"
Now think for a minute.
When I am sick, do I want the doctor facing away from me or towards me?

The priest is celebrating Mass, not driving a bus. Both facing towards and away from the people are reasonable positions - neither one is "better" than the other. It is just a question of whether or not you want to view the priest as primarily presenting the people to God (as the Jewish priests did) or presenting God to the people (as Jesus did).

The High Priest, standing alone in the Holy of Holies or at the altar of sacrifice, faced towards God on behalf of, and in spiritual union with, the people because he was man, but not God. Jesus, hanging on the Cross, faced towards the people, because He was fully God, and not just fully man. So, the "traditionalist" Catholic priest is acting as the Jewish High Priest acted, while the Novus Ordo Catholic priest is acting as Jesus on the Cross acted.

The Catholic priest is only a man, but while celebrating Mass he is in persona Christi, Who is both High Priest and Victim, thus either stance is fine.

But consider the responses. The cartoon mocks the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The priest who posted it has now mocked the Mass. Most of the Catholics who found it impressive or funny have participated in mocking the Mass. Mocking the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should really be reserved to dissenters, it should not be the habit of Catholics.

Now, to be fair, there IS a strong tradition of making mockery of the Mass, but this is mostly a tradition popular among non-Catholics. Unfortunately, this non-Catholic tradition appears to be a habit among "Catholic traditionalists". This makes me think "Catholics traditionalists" are definitely into tradition, they just are not into CATHOLIC tradition. 

"Catholic traditionalists" spend a lot of time on little "t" visions and mockery. They don't seem to register the fact that ALL liturgy is holy - an odd lacunae for both Catholics and those who claim to adhere to Tradition.

Now, a deacon responded to all of this by saying:
"What seems to go sadly unnoticed in these threads is that in these two priest-centric cartoons is that, in either 'form', the children aren't paying any attention to him...they are simply looking out of the windows.
What does that tell you?"
It tells me the Mass was created for adults, not for children. And it WAS created for adults, not for children. As I point out in my book, the Catholic school system actually encourages adults to leave the Faith, and this is one of the ways the schools do it: they put the smallest children at the front of a school Mass, the oldest at the back.

Over the course of years, this rotation teaches the oldest children an important lesson - as you get older and more mature, you should move closer to the door. Really mature adults stay as far away from the Mass as possible. 

You want to get the little kids? Don't let them see the Mass. Put them in the back. Tell them they aren't old enough, mature enough to really fully participate. Only adults get to sit near the front. Then watch the kids clamber over each other trying to prove they are big enough to do it.

Unfortunately, Catholic schools subtly teach a meta lesson.
Catholic traditionalists teach a complementary meta lesson.

Both lessons are designed to destroy the Catholic Faith.

Good job, Catholic traditionalists - you are driving home the very point made so subtly by the Catholic schools you so adore. Another home run for you both.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In Praise of Welfare Queens

Are conservatives born hypocrites, or do they study to become so? Consider the frequent outrage visited upon those individuals who accept government welfare via the food stamp, WIC, or similar government programs. From whence comes this outrage? Are not the people who scream about welfare also the same people who burble with praise at the new highs the stock market has reached? And therein lies the hypocrisy.

What has the Bush-Obama "Quantitative Easing" (tm) nonsense accomplished? That money was not sent in checks to taxpayers. It was ladled out to banks and corporations, who promptly used it to inflate stocks and real estate prices. Given the economy, do you really think the endless rise of the stock market to repeated new highs since 2009 actually has anything to do with the underlying fundamentals? Seriously?



All that money had to go somewhere. It went into bidding up the price of existing assets - this is called asset inflation.  How is the rise in my stock portfolio NOT the result of government welfare? How is it NOT government money poured directly into my 501K in one of the most enormous contribution matching programs in the history of the country? Anyone who has a home loan at under 5% is receiving government welfare. The federal government does, after all, set the interest rates.

Same goes for Social Security. I will take out more than I ever put in, as my parents did before me. It was always and will always be a Ponzi scheme. It is accepting a government welfare check. But who turns it down?

Do you think Con Agra, Shell Oil, or any other large corporation got where they are by refusing to take government subsidies? How many colleges - many of whom employ professors preaching against welfare - have fattened their coffers and continuously raised the price of their tuition at rates far exceeding inflation? How do you think they managed that? That's right: it is due solely and only to the government welfare checks they receive in the form of government education grants and loans.

Everyone takes government welfare, but the high and mighty launder the money. They look down their noses at those who receive it via a direct government check. The rich much prefer that their welfare checks first be laundered through their stock market picks or corporate subsidies. That way, they can pretend they actually had something to do with the rise in the value of their chosen asset. It makes them feel important, smart. But it is government welfare, all the same.

How to Earn Your Welfare Check
200 years ago, if my only skill was knocking a small white ball into a hole in the ground, I would have starved. Today, I would be paid millions for my golf game. If it was a large orange ball that went through a hoop, it would be millions for basketball. There is no rhyme or reason to why these skills pay millions today apart from the fact that people perversely enjoy watching someone else do it.

But there are all kinds of skills that are worth money. Perhaps you're good at filling out paperwork. That might win you a lot of college scholarships. You might make a profession out of it as a grant writer. Or that skill might win you a lot of welfare checks. As long as you didn't lie when you filled out the forms, where's the moral problem here? It's a skill. It brings joy to thousands of mid-level government bureaucrats. Those lovely men and women feel like they are doing a very nice thing by getting you your welfare check after you successfully pass their vetting. In fact, without you they wouldn't have jobs. They need you in the same way that the people who run a scholarship trust need college applicants. The same way that grant-funding organizations need grant writers.

If Keanu Reeves can earn millions for acting (which I still don't understand how that's possible - Reeves must playing to a very niche audience), then why can't a welfare queen earn millions for pleasing a different niche audience, government officials?

I hate Keanu Reeves acting, you hate the welfare queen's paperwork skills, but somebody somewhere really likes both of them, which is how they earn their money. As long as no one is lying, there is nothing wrong with that. It's like winning a scholarship for left-handed red-heads. Luck of the genes, but you still get the money, right?

And why shouldn't you? You're red-headed and you're left-handed. The money was set aside for anyone like you who had the sense to fill out the form.

Whose Money?
But consider further. Once Keanu or I actually get that money for our respective skills, who are you to tell either one of us how to spend it? We earned it, him by acting, me by filling out the forms. It may have been your money once, but it was given to us and now it is ours. When you hand out Christmas presents, do you make the recipients urinate in a little cup first? They pass drug tests for you before they get birthday presents, do they? When you give Keanu Reeves your money at the theatre, do you tell him he's not allowed to buy mansions with it?  Do you follow your friends around to make sure you approve of the way they spend the money they got from you?

Because that's part of the job that comes with filling out the forms for government money. Government uses welfare as a form of control. Government is happy to get outraged at the idea that a small business might put restrictions on purchasing birth control through the business health plan, but government is quite happy to tell welfare recipients exactly where they can live (HUD), what they can eat (WIC), it puts a thousand restrictions on how welfare recipients can spend their money. When churches give money to the poor, they don't put restrictions on it - they just hand out the cash. But government uses it as a means of social control. It becomes a way for bureaucrats to manage every aspect of someone else's life.

And we conservatives get upset if the welfare queens figure out how to get around that level of micromanagement? Seriously?

The welfare queen deserves her check just as much as I deserve my stock portfolio. In fact, she probably worked harder to get her check than I did to get my stock increase.

I don't want to hear another word about the horror of welfare queens.
As long as they didn't lie, they earned their money and it is their money.
Quit telling them how to spend it.

If the reception of welfare really upsets you, then mind your own business so well that not even the smallest aspect is government subsidized. By the time you manage that, you'll be living in a cave somewhere in the Rockies, too busy growing your own food to be outraged at anything.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Inconceivable!

Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction, Study Finds

I think what the Huffington Post meant to say is that religious people have rich imaginations while atheists have none. Think Miracle on 34th Street, with Maureen O'Hara. That was a very sad child, who couldn't even imagine or embrace Santa Claus.

I especially like this quote:
"religious teaching, especially exposure to miracle stories, leads children to a more generic receptivity toward the impossible, that is, a more wide-ranging acceptance that the impossible can happen in defiance of ordinary causal relations.” 
Religious people went to the moon, because it was impossible. Now that we know it's possible, we don't go anywhere at all. As Humpty-Dumpty might say, "That's cause and effect for you.!"

Atheism has to be wrong if only because it's so boring.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Stirring the Pot

Fr. John Zhulsdorf is a man with a mission. Unfortunately, his mission has very little to do with Catholic Faith. Like Father John Corapi before him, Fr. Z has discovered the secret to making money - get people angry. If they are angry, they will give you money and treats, they will beg you to keep feeding them things that will keep them angry.

When you are angry, you feel powerful, important. You feel like the world should shake at your company, because you shake. We like it when people make us angry, especially if we can be made to think we feel righteous anger. So, Fr. Zuhlsdorf highlights things like this. Then he questions what is happening, as if he has the right to question. And when you see a priest question this, you think you have the right to question it as well.

But you don't have that right. Neither does Rev. John Zuhlsdorf. The Church is not a democracy. As long as the parish boundaries aren't changed, bishop and priest have the right to do whatever they want in a parish. The Church is not a democracy.

There are certain areas where you simply have no rights. Liturgy is one of those areas. Your voice is not only not important, it can be positively scandalous (in the mortal sin sense of the word).

It. Does. Not. Matter. if you like communion on the tongue versus on the hand or if you prefer Raphael to Dali. Liturgy comes from Rome, not from lay people, not from priests, not even from bishops. If Rome approves something, then I have no further right to complain. Period. End of sentence.

This is why I can still kneel and receive in a church that has no altar railings. This is why, technically, a Catholic can demand communion in the hand at a Tridentine Mass. It is permitted. I don't care if you like it. I don't care if I personally hate it. You and I don't have a voice. It is not our business. The Church is not a democracy. The conversation is done.

Bishop does what bishop wants in his own diocese. As long as he is not infringing on anyone's canonical rights, he has complete authority to do whatever he wants. Parishioners do not have a right to decide what they think constitutes a beautiful church (as if you could ever get parishoiners to agree if you were so foolish as to allow them their opinion). That right belongs to the bishop and the bishop alone. He delegates some of this to his pastors, but even there pastors generally have to get all major church changes approved by the bishop's diocesan liturgical committee.

If pastors deign to listen to your opinion, count yourself unusually blessed. They are under no requirement to do so. This is bishop's church, not yours.

Now I am the person who designed every poster at BestCatholicPosters.com and www.zazzle.com/bestcatholicposters. I have very definite ideas about what kind of art I like. But my opinion is my opinion, and no bishop is under a canonical requirement to listen to me or even to allow me to speak publicly on the matter. I can make known (privately) my thoughts to the pastors, but he is not required to seriously entertain anything I have to say.

As long as no canonical rights are infringed, I have no business yelling about what a pastor is doing in his own church. Rev. Z has the habit of getting outraged about things that are really none of his business. That's why I stopped reading him years ago. All he does is foment dissension. Catholics need to recognize boundaries. Traditionalist Catholics don't like boundaries, they like anger. Rev. John Zuhlsdorf is in the business of stoking anger. Rev. John Zuhlsdorf keeps throwing his opinion around like somebody should care. No one should care. His opinion on church art and fifty cents won't buy you coffee at Starbucks.

But, speaking of coffee, coffee pretty much seems to be the purpose of his blog.

As far as I can tell, his blog exists solely in order to encourage lay people to pay for his bird feed, coffee, sweets, and favorite books. Because most of what he says is not really Catholic, it's just stirring the pot.

He is part of the reason that trads have a reputation of being angry and mean. Trads read him and like him. Trads get angry and yell at or about or around the bishop. Bishop decides he can be treated like this by the secular press - why encourage Catholics who do the same? And thus trads are ignored, relegated to the back burner and treated like red-headed stepchildren. Because all trads do is throw tantrums. They like standing around the pot as it is stirred. And then they cry when it is ladled out to them.