More Reflections on Francis' First Year | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: A nice summary of the past year with Francis, including underlying his humility. The Pope;s second Tridium should be as interesting as the first. Reform should be interesting and I suspect what the Council of Cardinals propose will be taken seriously and any changes run by them before the reforms go final. One wonders whether he will both adopt an Orthodox model of either national or linguistic Patriarchs (say with O'Malley the English speaking one). Given that such patriarchs are autocephalus, this may indicate the way we deal with modernizing some of our moral dilemnas. Of course, how he deals with Constantinople and Alexandria will be equally interesting - especially if he can get Canterbury (and Rome) to strip off their domination of the African diocese and give it to the Copts, as planned in ancient times.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Pope Francis' First Year | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: How Francis takes on moral issues is greatly indicated by how he handles the personnel issues. Getting rid of Burke and Rigali on the Conference of Bishops is huge, although Wuerl is hardly a run away liberal. Benedict was much more liberal than he gets credit for, although he likely does not see the irony in his remarks on the Tyranny of Relativism where the truth comes through the hierarchy (rejecting arguments, which may be better, but which the hierarchy does not share - which seems to be very relativistic to me). The principal teaching on morality must be when the Lord said (from an online source that seems Protesant but is still accurate) "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Try applying this test to teachings on contraception in families and on gay marriage. I don't think Catholic doctrine passes the smell test.
LA Labor Leaders Invite Pope Francis to Visit Their City | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: A higher minimum wage would be a good thing, either locally or nationally - although a higher child tax credit is also essential for families - what is $1,000 should be $6000 if matched locally and $12000 per child if not. If Francis would help us get that, so much the better. It is sad that we want it all to go to the breadwinner rather than because of family size. Francis underlining this would be good too as there is a long history in living wage discourse that says larger families need more. As for unions, now that the NLRB is fully staffed, it is time to exploit this fact and organize, organize, organize - not waiting for the next visit from the Pope (although such a visit would be a boon to low wage workers in hopsitality). We really need a visit from SEIU.
Review: "A Catechism for Business" | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: As a catchism, its lacks are thos which are present in doctrine. There are some things lacking. On the living wage, the market cannot fund a family size sensative wage, but that does not mean such a wage should not be paid so that each family has the same standard of living, dependent on its size. The employers should not make these decisions, however - the government should and should fund additional subsidies to families (even if it is paid through wages). Making more children lead to a lesser life style encourages both contraception and abortion - two words that this review did not mention. The Church itself should endeavor to pay such a family size sensative wage - even before the public credits for having children are expanded. I would also go so far as to say that it should excommunicate Catholic shareholders and business owners who do not demand such provisions and pay them if they can. As for Abela's essay on stock holding, Abela is correct and MSW is wrong. It is better to have influence - but then one must use it.
As for businesses buying care for gay partners or spouses - health care should be provided - and probably must be. This is in no way an evil thing (although it would be unneccasary if single payer health care were enacted. I don't expect the authors, however, to give the right answer because they are searching for the truth in doctrine - which is in ERROR on this issue. I would refer them to Fagothy's Right and Reason (edition 6) and the discussion on homosexual unions. The authors only side with the Church because they are theistic - which means that they must obey the Church and let this decide for them rather than sticking to natural law solutions, which would favor gay marriage.
Take That, Robbie George | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: What is scaring the fanatics is that this is an Agrentinean theologian who likely has the ear of the Holy Father. From how Francis speaks and writes, I am like simply speaking the obvious.
Helping the Poor in Spokane | National Catholic Reporter by MSW (you should read this). MGB: The Church of Spokane has always been well lead and wise enough to ignore the NCBC, which is trying to rewrite end of life ethics by press release.
Sunday, March 09, 2014
"Why the Economy Sucks" | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Its not the corporations, its the capitalists. Mitt Romney was a vulture capitalist in a non-corporate firm. Its as much the CEO class as the owners - many of whom are owners through a mutual and pension fund and who receive a normal rate of return while the CEOs make a killing. How could this be made better? Raise the minimum wage and watch lower wage workers get a raise too, and so on up the wage scale. The other thing we could do is raise the top marginal tax rate - doubling it would not be a bad thing. Low marginal tax rates gave CEOs an incentive to cut labor costs because they could now keep the money instead of giving it to the government. The problem is that the CEO class essentially owns Congress - the Republicans more so than the Democrats - who are hardly pure.
Garnett on Hobby Lobby Case | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The interesting question of this case is whether the religious liberty rights of employers trump the religious liberty rights of employees. I think not. Since the question is Obamacare, which includes federal funding, the employer is acting in the place of the state (in concert with the insurance companies which, by the way, have no problem funding contraception from the savings of a smaller birth rate). To allow such employers to use state largesse to essentially infringe on the right of their employees to use contraception would do extreme violence to the privacy rights of the employees (and by privacy, we mean autonomy, not secrecy) - essentially undoing Grisswold v. Connecticut. Hopefully some Amicus made this argument because it is a slam dunk on this case and will put an end to all of this nonsense.
Crisis in Ukraine | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Putin or no Putin, Russia is as it was - a backward third world country that always seems two steps behind. Its backwardness is not judged by who is there but by the fact that the best they have usually leave at first chance. We've always known this, which is why the Cold War was a farce to enrich U.S. military suppliers and their investors. I am sure they are lining up greedily at the trough, even as we write. If you have any doubts, just look at the last Jack Ryan movie.
Saturday, March 01, 2014
Is Tea Party Binge Over? | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: In the Commonwealth of Virgina, we in the Independent Green Party found that the Tea Party here was essentially the core activists of local GOP organizations. I suspect that is true in most places, which is why in election years they shift from issue activism to working in the GOP structure. Of course, that means that in the House GOP being in the Tea Party is for the most part checking a box to win the primary and not worry about the general due to gerrymandering. In the Senate, though, Tea Party activism is a death wish for the GOP unless the entire state is akin to Alabama or Idaho.
Cong. Steve King's Counter-Narrative | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Remember, Congressman Steven King of Iowa is the idiot (and I hope he is being challenged this year, as this part of the state used to be reliably Democratic) - while the Congressman from New York, Peter King, is a stand up guy. Steven King is unwilling to actually build coalitions, so all he has is outlandish rhetoric. Peter builds coalitions. If Steven build coalitions they might have had more input in the American Taxpayer Relief Act - which raised taxes on the wealthy or at least stopped renewing the Bush Tax cuts aimed at them - and affecting the Affordable Care Act - although again, I can hardly think how the bill could have been made MORE Republican than it is - have been first enacted in Massachusetts by a GOP Governor (Remember Mitt?) and been developed the the Heritage Foundation. Again, such bluster only comes when one is willing or too weak to deal, at the House Tea Party Caucus is.
After The Brewer Veto of SB 1062 | National Catholic Reporter by NSW. MGB. This response is better if you reat MSW first.
The reference to a cultural elite is an evolution from the concept of the New York City Jewish Liberal Elite, which did self identify. Since mentioning Judaism is no longer, well, kosher in PC circles, it has evolved from the liberal elite to the cultural elite - which is oddly owned in major part by Fox, who also owns FoxNews and manages the GOP message. Because, with the exception of Palestinians (and then, not always), Jews tend to be very much in favor of non-discrimination - having felt it themselves. I am sure there are even those who equate what they think of as the cultural elite attack on traditional marriage as Christ killers. Such idiots still live in Arizona.
As for employment of gay people, I very much favor passage of ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act) and without a religious exemption for non-ministers. Further, the Church should too and provide full services to gay families in the same way as others who are civilly married. The Church condemns both gay marriage and civil marriage, but recognizes the latter for employment law and benefits purposes - to not treat gay civil marriage in the same way IS bigotted.
As I said earlier this week, the kind of religious liberty sought in the vetoed will was equivalent of yelling fire in a theater. It is moral scorn, not moral judgement or religious practice. People of conscience must rise up against such things, including in the Church. In this case we have.
I do not believe that the Church should be forced from the outside to perform gay marriages - however as pressure builds on the inside for such celebration - the Church should yield. I expect that the opposition to civil gay marriage comes from fear by the bishops that this will occur and that gay priests will seek marriage as well (and leave if they don't get it). They also fear gay priests doing those gay weddings secretly and they hate disobedience. If they cannot even respond to internal pressures to treat gays equally - and to recognize that God does - then they indeed are as bigoted as the Arizona bill supporters.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Nullification? | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The American Legislative Exchange Council, the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove strike again and only succeed in making fools of themselves and in seperating foolish old people from their money. The odd thing is that no President seems to be more pro-gun on principle than Barack Obama. The only restrictions he proposed were quite reasonable given several high profile shootings of children, theater goers and a Congresswoman. Of course, if the NRA, et al, told the truth they could not raise any more money - especially in the post-Heller world, where personal gun ownership is now an enshrined right. I think the worst thing that could happen to the NRA and ALEC is a GOP victory in 2016 - which is why they are supporing idiots who can't win. Only a Democrat in the White House will give them any viability.
Wuerl, Other Religious Leaders Send Letter to Obama | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: A rather mainstream letter. It mentions the religious liberty rights of our citizens. They did not mention the religious liberty rights of denominations to dictate to their employees based on religious dicta. I am glad they did not try to lie with a straight face, as religious employers have no such right - even though the USCCB would love to revoke Griswold v. Connecticut and the right to privacy (which would also extend to Roe, consensual sodomy and marriage equality). As for the religious rights of individuals not to pay for other people's contraception - the cost that they bear is so minor that the impact is too trivial for them to claim a relgious liberty right to not pay premiums (or taxes). I do find it curious that A/B Lori (my provincial) did not sign the letter, but not surprising. If we elected our own provincials he would still be in Connecticut.
The "Freedom to Worship" Canard | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I usually expect better from a Jesuit. Interesting the four freedoms are mentioned by MSW. Health care comes in under the Freedom from Want in a big way - even contraception - not for family size regulation necessarilty (which would be unneccessary if we had a tax supported family wage - although that may offend certain Calivinists in their freedom to workshop in their Social Darwinist view of the world) but for the health of women who simply CAN'T get pregnant and NEED hormone regulation.
Kudos to Crisis Mag | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Crisis published an article about contraception coverage that largely agrees with MSW's position - so he largely agrees with the article. This means that I do not because contracepton is not necessarily wrong unless it is eugenic or as a means to not address social justice issues like family pay. Indeed, if the Church addressed the latter issue, none of its employees would use contraception except for health reasons - which is no employer's business. Indeed, the real issues are the religious freedom rights of the group versus the individual (Jan Brewer just vetoed that proposition in Arizona). Gone should be the days when employers can meddle in employee personal (and yes, religious) decisions. Now that health care is largely a matter of public policy - especially insurance coverage - not providing contraceptive coverage would be equivalent of reversing Griswold v. Connecticut by an end around, and thus eliminating privacy rights in all things - including non-discrimination of gays. The Church wold like this but I will not stand for it.
Robert Christian on the Inconsistent Consistent Ethic of Life | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: An excellent article by Robert Christian (who commented on comments when he was covering for MSW). I agree with including Just War - and I suspect non-Catholic pro-life Republicans would too (sorry Robert). I would go farther and add that some capital punishment is necessary if the condemned will become a predator in prison - and if you prevent that in a life of solitary confinement in a SuperMax you are making the State his cause of death anyway after first destroying his mind - which is more cruel than the needle. Of course, if the pro-life movement goes down such a slippery slope (it won't, as its real purpose is still Republican voting - the shades consistent ethic of life are simply cosmetic to hide this fact), it may see that the issue is danger, not the innocence of the victim. Suddenly it makes no sense to NOT abort some late term pregnancies that will never survive to birth but are dangerous to the mother to carry (and some no so late pregnancies). While I would insist on induction rather than dismemberment, the slippery slope has been crossed - because economic danger and social danger are then open to consideration. The question for pro-lifers would then be not how to ban abortion or end the death penalty, but when to allow the amelioration of physical danger with abortion as a last resort and how to remove economic and social danger by public policy and by changing how we teach young people about sex. If being caught pregnant is a cause for shame, then it is the Churches who are indirectly promoting abortion. Robert and MSW could never say these things, nor would they be likely to - even though they are true.