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.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vigano Faints at Close of Holy Thursday Mass | National Catholic Reporter

Vigano Faints at Close of Holy Thursday Mass | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: If he is diabetic, I hope he takes care of himself - including ignoring fasting.  Mortification need not be fatal.

Fr. Kiley at St. Matthew's Tomorrow | National Catholic Reporter

Fr. Kiley at St. Matthew's Tomorrow | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: For the more athletic, the Franciscan Monestary has outdoor Stations of the Cross, a Good Friday service and a burial ceremony of the Lord which must be experienced at least once.  As for the seven words, they are key - especially as they are linked together and in relation to the Eucharist from the night before and the promise not to drink of the fruit of the vine until He does so in the Father's kingdom.

"Pange Lingua" | National Catholic Reporter

"Pange Lingua" | National Catholic Reporter  by MSW.  MGB:  While Francis Aquinas never saw a Monstrace (these were stolen from the central Americans - either the Aztec or Maya), he did have the greatest understanding of Jesus for anyone in his era (and a love to match, which is why he is a saint). Click the link to NCR to get the video

Our Sacred Triduum | National Catholic Reporter

Our Sacred Triduum | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: The Triduum is what defines our Catholic and Christian faith. The pity is that we do not see its lessons year round.  Sadly, the washing of the feet by the Pastor or Bishop is essentially an empty gesture that happens once a year only.  The real meaning of Golgatha is lost in a vision of Divine vengence that is in no way appealing and not really true.  Easter is lost in eggs and bunnies (which were part of the pagan celebration coopted by the Church) rather than the miracle the our Savior lives and so do we upon death. One last thing.  One of the most important parts of Holy Thursday is the promise that Jesus will not drink of the fruit of the vine until he does so in the Father's kingdom.  However, the Gospel of John has him doing just that.  Understanding why is the key to understanding our salvation.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wittes on Pulitzers | National Catholic Reporter

Wittes on Pulitzers | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: If New Republic says it, I am immediately suspicious.  In this case I suspect that the Pulitzer is for both getting access to the information (although this may have come for free) and publishing it in the face of official pressure not to do so.  This seems worthy to me.  Of course, many of us who have been following this story since the Patriot Act was reauthorized think it is not really news.  Indeed, the objectionable activity is about the same as going to a judge for a search warrant.  There is never an opposing side in such hearings.  The recent change in policy is as much about PR as anything else.

The shootings in Kansas | National Catholic Reporter

The shootings in Kansas | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: The key feature of both hate speech and hate crimes that flow from it are that they are an attempt, often an organized attempt (and formerly with the assistance of local law enforcement and citizens) to intimidate the targeted group to either behave or leave.  The battle over using police or military force to stop such intimidation and terror goes back to reconstruction (and should have gone back further against the slave power had Madison had his way).  Sadly, such enforcement is more honored in the breach than in actual enforcement.  Voter ID laws are an attempt to go after Hate Politics, which is not protected and which is why the right wing kooks so hate Eric Holder for enforcing what is left of voting rights law.  I suspect some feminists would call Trap Laws designed to close abortion clinics as Hate Politics.  Can't say I disagree.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Very Big News for ACA | National Catholic Reporter

Very Big News for ACA | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: This is good news, but I am still unconvinced that some people will not wait until they are sick to sign up - causing a downward spiral and leading to single payer, which is preferable anyway.  Of course, if we put in a public option financed by some kind of payrol or consumer tax to fund people who cannot be covered cheaply elsewhere, such a spiral may not occur.  Still, let us hope the CBO is correct as this will have an impact on all health care programs, including Medicare and Medicaid.  If health costs are no longer the whipping boy, high interest costs and too low taxes on those who get the interest will become the locus of deficit reduction.  And yes, I mean the rich.

Review: Rekindling the Christic Imagination, Part II | National Catholic Reporter

Review: Rekindling the Christic Imagination, Part II | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: This passage part of the review is more interesting than yesterday and on the surface jibes with my own, although not out of triumphalism but because of how the Crucifixion was an act of communion with the sinner.  As I wrote in 1990 and published in 2004, in the Last Supper, Jesus said he would not drink of the fruit of the vine until he did so in the Father's kingdom.  Attempts to get him to sip it are all found in the 3 synoptic Gospels.  John adds a bit more.  Even without the infancy narrative, which clearly sites Mary as its source (she reflected on all these things and kept them in her heart) - at least for Jesus, when he gave his mother unto the care of his nephew, John,  he abandoned his mission to save the world by trusting John to simply care for his aunt.  My imagination has Mary look away at this, unable to bear the grief of Jesus immediate death and in the mind of Jesus severing his connection with this infancy narrative - his first experience of his own divinity.  This is what causes him to call out to the Father in despair - joining us in communion where we are - not where he is.  He then calls for wine and John says he drank some (which is the source of the debate on the nature of slavation - it is either the moment of despair or there is none (with either John or Jesus lying).  The Ressurrection confirms that neither was lying - that the bloody sacrifice of the Cross was more about killing Jesus psyche than his body.  In retrospect, it is impossible to envisage an angry God or accept the Church adopting a morality that assumes such anger (especially over sex).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Xenophobes in Europe | National Catholic Reporter

Xenophobes in Europe | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: One would think this would be alarming - and it is if they win.  I don't think they can, however they may spur a pan European liberal or democratic socialist party (even better) that will win and will do for Europe what Hamilton did for the United States (common debt, common taxation, stronger continental government).

Holy Week review: 'Rekindling the Christic Imagination' | National Catholic Reporter

Holy Week review: 'Rekindling the Christic Imagination' | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: Yes, the we is quite necessary in getting to salvation and going into community.  No alcoholic acting alone ever got sober, however neither alcoloholics or Catholics can confess the other person's sins, noly their own.  The we is both an end and a means - however it is also true that we are usually born and usually die alone, although the latter can be in Christ as well.  On the distinctly political side of this column, economics should function the same way.  We need the we to become educated and get what we need in the world, but the purpose of adulthood is a certain level of self-sufficiency - which used to include self-gardening and may one day mean this again.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sen. Gillibrand's Common Ground for Pro-life & Pro-choice groups | National Catholic Reporter

Sen. Gillibrand's Common Ground for Pro-life & Pro-choice groups | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: Common ground is touchy to find, since the more you do for young parents, the more likely to right wingers in the right to life movement will call you a socialist, especially if you help these young women actually raise the child to adulthood with a large tax subidy and higher minimum wage (for both parents) and education to enable even more productive work.  There are far too many in the movement, and in the Church, whose goal is to prop up these girls until they can adopt out their kids (preferably to a Catholic family who can't have their own).  I consider this to be kidnapping and it is no wonder these girls get an abortion instead of cooperating with such a scheme.

What Diocesan Renewal Looks Like | National Catholic Reporter

What Diocesan Renewal Looks Like | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: How one of the best bishops in the national does things.  Of course, there is a tradition of good bishops in this area, at least one of whom I know personally.  Even back in the 1970s the bishop drove an old care and lived simply, not in the palace.  Indeed, I am not sure when the last time that residence was used.

Sayonara Sebelius | National Catholic Reporter

Sayonara Sebelius | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: Michael Sean Winters continues to operate under the delusion that Secretary Sebelius was out to offend the bishops.  In truth, it was Valerie Jarrett who called for her to gode the GOP and the bishops (who sadly seemed joined at the hip before Francis) into their war on women.  Very sadly, they took the bait as predicted.  Secretary Sebelius engineered the drafting, the passage and implementation of the biggest new federal program in decades.  She should get the medal of freedom, not the scorn of MSW.  Indeed, she deserves a medal for opposing the Bishop (I think it was A/B Burke) who told her not to go to Communion because she obeyed her constitutional oath and vetoed an clearly unconstitutional abortion ban as Governor of Kansas.  Again, medal of freedom.  For Burke and any bishop who pulls such nonsense should come a Sedition Trial - although I've got to hand it to the Vatican for getting Burke out of Dodge.  I hope he likes is Vatican Passport, his U.S. Passport should be withdrawn.  Hopefully the former Governor can go home and go to Communion - and Burke does his civic duty and avoids going to any polling place or requesting an absentee ballot (what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander).

Divorce and Remarriage, Part II | National Catholic Reporter

Divorce and Remarriage, Part II | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: Firs, read MSW then the comments, which follow:

This is where it is useful to remember that the Gospels were written decades after the Ascension of our Lord to Heaven and may have been addressed to first century Church problems as much as universal Truth.  I suspect that the Jesus who berated the Pharasees (of which he was one) and the Scribes for what we would now call their obsession with Ruberics would want a solution that serves the people, not the words attributed to Him.

As for the first case mentioned, remarriage should be an easy matter because of the violence in the first marriage.  Such violence is worse than adultery. It is sad the Lord did not mention this or it was not put in his mouth - but in that day women were almost like livestock in the eyes of the world.  It is time to correct this ommission.  As for the second case, the better option is not to dispense the priest from his vows but to allow him to marry.  While we will spend much more for married priests, we probably should anyway and the investment in making a priest is substantial.  Of course, I can guess that some who are in favor of letting priests go easily probably looked at pension fund trends and were relieved.  Such bean counters in the clergy should be treated as Our Lord treated the moneychangers in the Temple.

In the case of the former Mrs. Kennedy, she has a point. There is really no reason for an annulment but his adultery.  She should be free to remarry without procedures, but as I said yesterday, he should have been forever banned from remarrying (as a Catholic).  Since converting would ruin him politically, such a practice might have forced him to honor his wife and not seek greener pastures.

Jesus does tell us to carry our crosses (which is a double entendre considering he was a house builder) but he also says his yoke is easy and his burden is light.  I think this is what Francis gets in his core and hopefully he can transmit it to the rest of the Church (or get rid of those bishops who won't).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Study indicates wide rejection of new translations by US clergy | National Catholic Reporter

Study indicates wide rejection of new translations by US clergy | National Catholic Reporter   When the Congregation started switching to "And with your Spirit" rather than "and also with you" the new (pseudo-Tridentine) translation had taken hold.

"Dictatorship of narrow-mindedness" | National Catholic Reporter

"Dictatorship of narrow-mindedness" | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: So much for Benedict's fears of a Dictatorship of Relatvism.  If the heart of responding to God's grace, love and morality is the human heart itself, there is less room for the Magisterium to replace the Old Law and the Curia to replace the Pharasees, however they many attempt to.  Francis has the right perspective.

LBJ's "Comeback" | National Catholic Reporter

LBJ's "Comeback" | National Catholic Reporter by MSW.  MGB: This article, as well as some TV retrospectives on cable news (specifically MSNBC) come as we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act (which some libertarians still disagree with on public accommodations - not realizing that state violence is necessary to enforce denials of service by private entitites).  Of note is the fact that he knew this would cost the Democrats the South.  Our current politics is an echo of this most necessary action - including the immigration debate which the GOP obstructs to keep alive on its own terms.  This is also about race and civil rights.