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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How Deep is the Racism? | National Catholic Reporter

How Deep is the Racism? | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Sadly, this is not a shock.  I doubt the Officer who shot Michael Brown had parents who were civil rights workers.  This is why reparations are so important and should be an event - to make such people understand the origins of their racism and feel some shame.  That also goes to both sides of the abortion rights movement (yes, including the pro-lifers).

On Gratitude | National Catholic Reporter

On Gratitude | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Gratitude is the means to the end of finding God.  It is not what is needed when things are good, but instead when things are bad.  Penance and mortification are the Catholic way of trying to achieve that, but the effort cannot really get to that broken place that makes the need for gratitude real.  The atheist, Russell, has obviously been comfortable - however if he gives charity, whether or not he believes in eternal life does not matter - and he is correct that we cannot know - but that is the reason we have faith.  When others die we actually get to the place where gratitude can become Grace, as MSW experienced with David.

As for the author of Pro, it is interesting that she mixes a defense of abortion rights with a description of the joy of pregnancy - but I suspect she does so to reflect that most women who procure abortions do so out of a perceived need for their health and even that of her child.  Not having a Downs child is a bit selfish, since Downs children are the most grateful of all.  Still, even the pro-choice movement is a teachable moment for those who abhor abortion.  Going back to the bad old days where abortion was a semi-criminal act (doctors got fined - the same penalty as shooting your neighbor's dog) that lead to back alley and self-induced abortion is not an option - that still kills the child but also makes the mother ill.  Instead, gratitude requires that we actually take action to stop the economic danger of abortion - which means an adequate state supported family income at middle class levels (about a thousand per month per child - twelve times what we now give) and supportive care for Downs Syndrome children AND their parents.  Do that and abortion will likely only occur for medical necessity - when the mother is in grave danger or the child would never survive to birth - which is always a difficult choice and one that rarely is done from malice to the child. Indeed, even there, we can find God - not God the Ogre who is jealous of decisions of life and death, but the Spirit of Consolation, when mothers hope their child is in Heaven, not some state called Limbo. Limbo cannot exist, because it runs counter to the mercy of God.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Latino & Anglo RCs in Climate Change | National Catholic Reporter

Latino & Anglo RCs in Climate Change | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I suspect Latinos are more in touch with global warming because they are in regions experiencing drought, for the most part.  Control for location and the answers are probably not at all different. Also, don't blame different thought patterns on some Protestant v. Catholic mindset.  Elites from both sides of the border are Masonic (the US is less so).  Visit Texas and see the dry fields, and California and you will know that Climate Change has become more than theoretical (and I am practically a Protestant in my ancestry - my ancestors being involved in founding the Baptists, the Presbyterians, the Disciples of Christ and the Friends in America - we were all mostly Masons).

More Older Son Nonsense About Pope Francis | National Catholic Reporter

More Older Son Nonsense About Pope Francis | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The prodigal son analogy breaks down because wanting reform is not a sin.  Being divorced is not a sin.  Finding love again is not a sin (unless your reason for doing so is economic advancement - read closely what Jesus says about divorce). Being gay is not a sin or is having a gay spouse.  These are the distinctions that make the analogy of the older son break down and what Cardinal Kaspar and the Pope are missing - even though they are trying to use a language they understand.  Lets not understand it that way.  Demanding that Cardinal George be answered is probably going too far, but maybe the Cardinal could get a phone call.  Giving him or Oddie (who is as much a Chestertonian as a Wardian) a public answer would be giving them more than they deserve - unless doing so is profitable for teaching others.

Wassup at EWTN? | National Catholic Reporter

Wassup at EWTN? | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Actually, I think not watching them (except when they carry the Papal News Feed, is the best solution. Don't rebut them, don't comment on them - realize that there are a lot of right wing idiots in both the Church and society who should go ahead and talk to each other.  Their numbers are shrinking anyone.  Talk about the fresh voices in the Church - and I don't mean just the young ones.  Take that as a hint.

Injustice in Ferguson | National Catholic Reporter

Injustice in Ferguson | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Hopefully, Officer Wilson's department will fire him - indictment or not.  The feds certainly will and this will taint him forever.  He could only become a Tea Party member of Congress.  As for black men being in the justice system - that was intentional to keep them from voting -  it has nothing to do with public safety and health. Missouri is still part of the deep south, even though it is next to southern Illinois (which is southern in mind as well).  My relatives live in that part of the world - the ones who were in the Daniel Boone Party and kept moving - not an unracist bunch.  One hopes we will grow out of racism, but Officer Wilson is not old and there are a lot of people like him in his age cohort.  They may usually act respectfully, but their hearts and not pure.  Sadly, neither is religion.  Dr. King called Sunday the most segregated day of the week.  Indeed, while Fr. Kelly is seen as making gains, when one mentions another priest, Fr. Michael Plueger is seen as somehow disreputable.  We need more like Fr. Mike in the Church.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tea Leaves in the Windy City | National Catholic Reporter

Tea Leaves in the Windy City | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The right wing have their group of leader, who go without mention.  There are those others who are backing away from the right wing, like Dolan and Weurl and now we have a decisive leader from the left, who not coincidentally comes from Spokane and its tradition of personal episcopal humility. It takes the latter to bring out the former - which also is a peek at Pope Francis as well. He is certainly stepping into the shoes of some and not others, and it will help him if Francis finishes Benedict's work on becoming more like the Orthodox. I would hope that this will put a stake in the heart of the curial system, but I expect someone like Burke to follow Francis and become an anti-pope pushing Roman primacy. The bumpy ride is just beginning.

Pat Archbold's Alternate Universe | National Catholic Reporter

Pat Archbold's Alternate Universe | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Sadly, I don't thing Patrick speaks for himself alone.  I am sure his readership and colleagues, and even a few bishops, agree with him.  Their shrillness comes from the fact that they are really getting the sense that they are out of step with the majority of bishops and the Pope.  Unless they are willing to make confession for this, they will stew in their juices, which are not fireproof if they take them to the grave.

5 Myths about Pope Francis | National Catholic Reporter

5 Myths about Pope Francis | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Its a good piece, which the right wingers will studiously ignore, because hey already know they are playing to their bases and funders, not to the truth.  I plan to ignore that the door is closed to women priests, since I have taken Eucharist from some of them. That ship sailed with England and no one can really give a logical counter-argument without maintaining the farce that the Anglican Orders and subsequent Sacraments are false.  The question is not whether, its when, and pressure can help that one. Indeed, the Gospel of Life falls flat if only from a male voice.

Benghazi or Bust | National Catholic Reporter

Benghazi or Bust | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I would rather Fox demure and never mention this again - since not doing so and defending itself means full on war against Secretary, now Candidate Clinton. I am not sure the GOP could handle not having the attack machine in full operation.  What would happen to their fundraising??!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gomez Reacts to Obama Speech | National Catholic Reporter

Gomez Reacts to Obama Speech | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: It is good the Archbishop is publicly on board and wants more. Sadly, there will not be more while the Republicans are in town.  As for the Senate bill, not only will it die, it should.  It was a mistake, both moral and political, to not start with something less punitive and make the GOP reject in the Senate.

Ratzinger, circa 1972, on Divorced & Remarried | National Catholic Reporter

Ratzinger, circa 1972, on Divorced & Remarried | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Its amazing to me that none of our discussions of divorce compare modern divorce to the divorces Jesus mentioned in the Bible - which seem to have more familial involvement than today.  As for Ratzinger and those who argue now against change, it seems that their main motive for not changing is the belief that it would offend God and the Church.  Since God is not an Ogre who has a stake in this and its none of the Church's business either (and I doubt most parishioners care if the person in the communion line with them is divorced and remarried, the concern should be on the families left behind and how they feel.  This concern should start as soon as a couple stops going to Mass together. Its time to quit worrying about the rules and worry about the people.

Camosy on NJ euthanasia bill in Star-Ledger | National Catholic Reporter

Camosy on NJ euthanasia bill in Star-Ledger | National Catholic Reporter by MSW,  MGB: I can see this debate forcing the alternatives of medical cannabis for cancer patients and more generous benefits for the elderly poor. That is a good thing - especially if suicide does not pass - and frankly, even if it does, most doctors will not participate just like most will not perform and abortion.  What Camosy avoids, and I guarantee that the Church does not, is the argument that when you die is God's choice, not your doctor's or your own.  Of course, that argument devolves into God the Ogre who will damn you if you do this. Let us forever keep such arguments off the table, even in sermons.  Actually, put them on the table, because if they are in the background, it will poison the whole debate. If its the only real argument against it, then there is no argument worth making.

Obama's Immigration Speech | National Catholic Reporter

Obama's Immigration Speech | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I think the President's defense tone had to do with the fact that he had to demonstrate legal justification for what he was doing.  The sad thing is that this is not the opening act, it is the closer. The GOP will do nothing, which is likely a good idea, because what they would do is veto bait.  The Senate bill was sent over not to pass but because it never would. It would have been better to have a Senate bill without the punitive measures included - letting McConnell block it and getting credit with the Latino community for proposing progress rather than compromising with the Tea Party Nationalists who roam the border even now.  I am glad that the Bishops got on the right side of this, but its sad who they rolled it out in a way that had their most conservative members able to distance themselves from it and maintain their contacts with the GOP sponsored National Right to Life Committee (which is compromised morally for not issuing their own statement of support).

Curran: Papacy should admit some of its teachings are wrong | National Catholic Reporter

Curran: Papacy should admit some of its teachings are wrong | National Catholic Reporter by TF.  MGB: Fr. Curran speaking clearly on the truth - no hedging hear.  Still, I go farther - when the matter is regarding natural law, we have an obligation to listen to the Church - but reason cannot admit tradition without becoming formalism.  Indeed, if the Church had to actually use reason rather than tradition on sexual issues, its arguments would undoubtedly improve.  You always do better without the guaranteed win.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Review: Walking God's Earth, Part III | National Catholic Reporter

Review: Walking God's Earth, Part III | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I would have been interested in the scriptural picture Cloutier weaves together, whether it is applicable to the carbon crisis or not.  As lovely is as the poetry is in the Bible about God, the Earth and the people of God, the more important parts of the Bible have to do with how we deal with the poor, the widow and the orphan.  The problem of our ecology is a problem of uneven impacts - with the poor getting the short end.

Big systems changes are required to deal with this issue - but they go beyond national change or the current global system to an expanding nation consisting of all those countries that share our belief in freedom and equality, excluding all others from the polity, and possibly from our commerce - although that may make their poverty even worse so maybe not.  A larger government can fix these issues, both financially and authoritatively, where the current regimes can only be overrun by global capitalism.

As for consumerism, it is the necessary outgrowth of global capitalism.  It keeps us in a gilded cage - without it would simply be a cage and we might do something - like demand shares in our workplaces to eventually kick the capitalists to the curb.  Such a system is also necessary to afford the kind of closed system habitats that will take care of our pollution crisis having to do with growing our food.  Will that reduce our obesity problem?  Only if the habitat contains no systems for producing sweetened carbonated soft drinks.  That is what has made us fat, not the availability of food.  If we eat less well, it won't create an economy that allows the poor of the world to eat better - we must raise them up, not bring ourselves down (just don't sell them Coke).

On fuel, necessity is the mother of invention.  Until whale oil ran out, no one was looking for something else until gasoline showed itself the miracle fuel of the twentieth century.  When it becomes scarce, the oil and coal companies will stop pushing the Department of Energy to slow down Helium3 Fusion research - although the necessity may be the carbon crisis.

These, of course, are not religious issues.  Indeed, on one world government, Dante was very specific in his tome on the subject to insist the Catholic Church have not role.  None.  Zilch.  Nada.  Dante was right.  While the Church and Cloutier certainly have a place in rallying the troops and focusing on the poor - as the Holy Father already does relentlessly, as did his predecessors, the solution must be governmental and probably a bit socialistic as well.  It is a good argument, however, for those who think the free market will solve our environmental issues on its own.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cupich on Immigration Proposals | National Catholic Reporter

Cupich on Immigration Proposals | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I suspect the Conference is trying to have it both ways - they want to do what is right but they don's want their Republican allies to know about it - it would be bad coalition politics for the right to life movement. Also, certain members could not stand to publicly associate themselves with anything Obama does, like many other old white guys.