This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Democracy For Sale | National Catholic Reporter

Democracy For Sale | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Super PACs are a problem if your billionaires are not as generous as their billionaires.  Either, the result is probably a TV ad buy designed to put your view of the facts in front of the public in a way that is not flattering to the other guy.  We used to (and probably still) do this with newspapers.  It is as old as the Republic itself - and that is why the Supreme Court is unlikely to do anything,  nor will the parties, because they both use the same tactics.  The libertarian view has always been say what you want - but minimize what government does so that ads are not relevant anyway.  Unless we can organize a really good Socialist Super-PAC, nothing will happen to reign them in.

NRA In Newtown, CT | National Catholic Reporter

NRA In Newtown, CT | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: At some point, boldness becomes stupidity.  I think the NRA is there.

The Synod: What Does It Mean? Part II | National Catholic Reporter

The Synod: What Does It Mean? Part II | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: On the second day's comments, let me first say that if Francis wants the bishops to listen to the Spirit, we must remember first and foremost that the Spirit is Love - and that solutions that do not serve Love come from somewhere else.  Love is not only for families who may need a rethinking of the Church's teachings, but also for such seemingly unlovable people as Cardinals Burke and Chaput.  Dissent must exist between both of those bounds.  We must be gentle with those who think they will be cast into Hell if they revise the prejudices of the past.



Witness must be given to the concept that morality is for people, not for God's sake.  This is usually a hard one for conservatives to handle in their hubris.  Speaking out against Eugenics, which is essential, is an entirely different witness than the project of celibates teaching married couples how to love each other (not that they don't sometimes need help).



As for Mia Farrow encouraging the Episcopal Church - at some point when the Church of Rome makes itself right in relation to the Orthodox Church, which may have taken Peter's primacy with it when it left the shores of the Tiber, there may be reason to make the western Church more like the Episcopal.  How sects and Churches relate (and the uncharitable belief that they are somehow different), is a matter of politics - not faith.  While some Protestant sects need to return to more orthodox beliefs about Eucharist - and when they take Communion it will be obvious to them, bringing them back is something that is absolutely necessary for the march of history.  To do this will take humility on all sides - which is part of Love.



The conservative bishops, with all of their rush to be covered by the media to reassure the world that God is an Orge, at best provide a useful foil to the need for change. They are as wrong today as their predecessors were wrong in the past.  Still, we must love these poor fools. Mercy cannot only be the mercy to the sinner (which even conservatives agree with), but also mercy in realizing that some people may not really be sinning at all.  That kind of stance takes faith, as well as love.



Such love will bind the wounds of the Church.  Francis is showing it - indeed, he is off the Turkey - which always makes the Romanists nervous.  If we follow Christ, through him, we may just get it right.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Silk: Is Douthat a Donatist? | National Catholic Reporter

Silk: Is Douthat a Donatist? | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: Ross makes some interesting observations and comparing his intellect with Silk's is a bit much.  The question of Communion by the remarried is not so much one of sin as practice. The Church could simply opine that receiving unworthily was never part of issues of marital law or even all but the gravest) as opposed to all, mortal sins.  Silk is clever, however, in stating that the argument dissolves into rigor - but that is the nature of the beast.  One can also be called a Rigorist by addressing the question of what kinds of marriages were Jesus talking about in Matthew - all of them or the ones where a family broke up a previously arranged marriage to form a more socially upward one?  Other marriages where the actions of one spouse toward another can be blamed for not just breaking a marriage, but for doing actual harm, should be treated differently - as leaving such marriages is not sinful - and nor would finding a new spouse if one is the victimized party (victimizes should be excluded from future marriage - and indeed the Church - until they repent and the judge of repentance should be the wronged spouse, not just the Confessor.  Is his rigorism?  Probably, but it is useful is setting a question that his been left far too open for centuries.

Wilton Meets with Parents with LGBT Children | National Catholic Reporter

Wilton Meets with Parents with LGBT Children | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: I wonder if some of the gay children (not a good term, as I am sure some of the children described are in their 20s and 30s, if not older) will be at the retreat the Archbishop mentions - and how some of the not so welcoming bishops will howl if they come forward for and receive Christ in the Eucharist.  At least this pastor is listening and seeing - may he be useful in opening the eyes of others.  I like his Charism.  Perhaps Phili should loose its red hat to Atlanta.

Dionne on Dems & White, Working Class Voters | National Catholic Reporter

Dionne on Dems & White, Working Class Voters | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: About Udall, bringing up the war on women only works when the other side is actually lobby grenades at their own feet - especially in a purple state.  He could have done a better job by promising progress on legalizing weed, since those in opposition are not voting for him anyway.  There is also time for the GOP to make some comment on legitimate rape - but Udall should have kept his powder dry until they do.

The Synod: What Does It Mean? Part I | National Catholic Reporter

The Synod: What Does It Mean? Part I | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: It seems the Pope was an equal opportunity scold, saying things about not judging by the letter of the law alone - but also not making change for simply the cause of mercy.  Of course, in looking to be surprised, one need only look to gay marrieds, who can model love sometimes more intense in its care in adversity than straights.  Also, some of us liberals are not pleading for mercy in some cases, but are saying mercy is not necessary if there is no sin.  Indeed, the first place we encounter God is in the family, not the Church (to answer Cloutier).  I suspect that the real work of the Synod is for the bishops to listen to us as to how we encounter God in the family (and when we do not).   Sadly, of course, Cloutier is also wrong about the Church staking out positions for politics sake.  It has done so far to often, especially on gay marriage, rather than encountering gay couples to see if, indeed, there is sin present.  Such would be more profound revelation than any prophet (and it takes no credential in Theology to see it or be a prophet).  As for MSW  on consumerism, he needs to know that consumerism is what prevents workers from a Marxist revolution.  The ball is now in the court of the bishops - which in the US is the USCCB, who meets so.  Let us see if they can get one over the net.

Friday, October 17, 2014

EJ Profiles Next Gov of PA | National Catholic Reporter

EJ Profiles Next Gov of PA | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I agree that he is much better than Corbett, who I am glad will lose. I am also glad he is the kind of boss who gives a share of profit to his employees - although as a socialist I would hope he eventually gives them a shae of the shares (if not the controlling shares). More importantly, I hope that, barring crisis, he governs in the same way.



There would be a lesson for the Synod fathers in doing this as well.

EJ Profiles Next Gov of PA | National Catholic Reporter

EJ Profiles Next Gov of PA | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I agree that he is much better than Corbett, who I am glad will lose. I am also glad he is the kind of boss who gives a share of profit to his employees - although as a socialist I would hope he eventually gives them a shae of the shares (if not the controlling shares). More importantly, I hope that, barring crisis, he governs in the same way.



There would be a lesson for the Synod fathers in doing this as well.

Gomez on Brittany Maynard | National Catholic Reporter

Gomez on Brittany Maynard | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Lest we forget, St. Thomas More, in his Utopia, made a case, which some call a natural law case, for terminal patients ending their lives like this. We can all certainly agree that continuing with more procedures is not obligatory. Indeed, we do believe in a resurrection - and not just any - but one with the Lord. The thing is, there is a natural law thesis that God is in control of both death and life and that we should not be. While it is true we cannot kill others, unless they pose a danger to us our our loved ones, the fear of killing ourselves a midst great suffering is ultimately a fear of God's judgment. It is only a valid fear if we believe God has an opinion on this issue. I am not so sure he does and is not the Ogre that many bishops see on both medical suicide and late term abortion for medical necessity. Indeed, I sometimes get the impression from such clerics that they believe that their souls are in mortal danger should they reject the concept of God the Ogre. (they certainly fear loss of position - but that is no valid reason for the rest of us).

Graduality at the Synod | National Catholic Reporter

Graduality at the Synod | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: The truth is quite liberating, including a sexual doctrine that offers integrity (it must be offered, it cannot be demanded). Still, Burke's insistence that there is certainly in the Gospels about divorce or gay marriage is simply not true.



In Jesus' time, marriages were arranged (and apparently unarranged) by families, not individuals and people took it for granted that homosexual relations were a pagan thing - something from outside. I suspect that gay Jewish lovers may have disagreed but would not come forward - although one does hear of gay cults and even gay unions in early Christianity. Perhaps the Magisterium is a bit more muddled then Burke believes.



As for gradualism, it is hard because of resistance, but what must be gradually and then radically changed is that the bishops, the Roman Curia or even the Holy Father, have some monopoly on natural law reasoning. It is just not true - and its claim to experience is laughable. Truth is what it is, regardless of the Synod. Hopefully it will become the instrument of freeing the truth so that those actually making moral decisions can be guided by the Magisterium but feel bound by their own consciences.

Land Grabs in Africa | National Catholic Reporter

Land Grabs in Africa | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: It is a constant since colonialism arrived.  For all its western claims of progress, it never gave native Africans the tradition of land titling, as this would interfere with their own ambitions.  The dividing of colonies without regard to tribe also means that the liberated nations are less likely to enforce tribal rights - and may even turn a blind eye when the territory from a rival tribe is grabbed.

More Great Churchill Quotes | National Catholic Reporter

More Great Churchill Quotes | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I suspect that Queen Anne would not have put up with reading some of the non-sense the Tory's have put in The Queens Speech read by Elizabeth during her reign.  Parliamentary democracy does have its drawbacks, especially when dealing with rights and the disregard thereof.

Ebola & Fear: Two Crippling Diseases | National Catholic Reporter

Ebola & Fear: Two Crippling Diseases | National Catholic Reporter It is not fear of indifference that is on FoxNews, but fear of the different - so this story was made for them. The amazing thing is the body count.  Before American deaths, we published the death tolls in Africa in our news stories.  Now, we act as if only Americans were sick.  The good news, however, is that the current strain does not have the sever bleeding experienced in past years (sadly, this is a cyclical disease, like the flu).  We are also sending people to Africa, even though reporters are too afraid to go with them - and that there is a possible serum and maybe a vaccine.  If so, these benefits can be brought back to Africa - hopefully with public or contracted public manufacture so that American pharmaceutical companies treat the elite only and not everyone.  That is where solidarity could mean something (not in denying me a much needed iced decaf Americano, which is the best anti-depressant I take - for some its not just a jolt).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wieseltier's Unflinching Look at Ebola Crisis | National Catholic Reporter

Wieseltier's Unflinching Look at Ebola Crisis | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: This has been bad for decades (and is not the exaggerated disease where everyone bleeds out everywhere at the end).  Exaggerations are why the world has kept away.  Now that we did not come to the sick, the sick will be coming to us in due course.  Still, I wonder why TNR is always featured and the Nation is not.  So much for MSW's leftist cred.

USCCB Elections | National Catholic Reporter

USCCB Elections | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I suspect that staff does most of the committee work - it is the hardest nut to crack.  As for the Secretary, this is the first round in who will be on track to be the eventual President.  I am hoping that Aymond wins rather than Broglio, since the latter is the obvious choice of the right-wingers.  It will certainly be a test.

Reactions to the Synod | National Catholic Reporter

Reactions to the Synod | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The key teaching that the conservatives are protesting is not about either gay marriage or second marriage.  It is about people making their own decisions about their own moral circumstances.  In essence, it is about defanging the Magisterium - turning it from an iron law - to which the ability to go to Communion is the punishment, a guide to be used in forming moral decisions.  Nothing is more radical or as much an affront to religious conservatism as this.  Of course, even the gentle teachings of the Archbishop of Washington will still require more modification.  A modern society demands no less.  The Church, however, is smart enough to adapt - that is what the Lord was talking about when He said He will always be with us. As for Call to Action, they simply said they are still praying - I would challenge them to realize that a newly repurposed Magisterium means their prayers have been answered.   I would add that Cardinal Burke, Professor Weigel and Fr. Z are out of luck because they are praying for the wrong thing - indeed, it could almost be called black magic.