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, September 01, 2015

Links for 09/02/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 09/02/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The late defrocked Cardinal is lucky the no-pathers were not in charge of his arrangements - as he would have been buried without Rites in the ideal no-pathist world.

RNS hits the Reactionary impulse where it hurts, although I like the new name. Of course, reactionaries seek a past that never was. Trump is a reactionary with his opposition to anchor babies. I don't think Francis, however, will sully his pallet by mentioning his name.

Not sure what reactionary impulse MSW is indulging in at be beating of a nun by the founding Capuchin. Still, lovely slide show.

Puerto Rico, the Fed

Puerto Rico, the Fed by MSW. MGB: For the Fed to do this now is no brainer, although the long term solution is either statehood or membership of PR in a Carribian region or nation which would have the power and diversity to cut these hedge funds off at the knees. The ability to do that is why the US is in good shape and has been, financially, for most of its existence.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Links for 08/31/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 08/31/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Trump will be no third party figure, any more than Sanders will be. Both learned the lesson of Nader and Perot and will try to win their party nomination.  Whether Trump is mentally well enough to do so is an open question, but a concerted effort to go after him by the leadership OR his victory will ruin the GOP.

OSV and MSW may or may not be overstating the impact on the Latino Church of a papal visit.  The question is whether they will take their share of ownership in thei home parishes as a result.  Whether this is the main theme depends on what he says about Family issues and the economy.  While Francis won't endorse Sanders, they may be talking the same language.

Modernists are not necessarily iconoclasts.  Indeed, it is the smart Marxist that claims religious belief.  There is little surprise that the grand son of Turin, where the shroud is kept, would have a fondness for relics.  We modernists simply won't admit that all ritual and relic is the property of the Trads, who we still suspect of power holding not for the Church's sake, but their own.  I have always said nothing would be more apt than a Tridentine gay wedding.

The Consistent Ethic of Life & Its Critics | National Catholic Reporter

The Consistent Ethic of Life & Its Critics | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The Consistent Ethic of Life was a dodge by Cardinal Bernardin to allow Catholics to remain in the Democratic Party and still be good Catholics.  It is totally at odds with the operational strategy of the Pro-Life Movement in Republican Party, which is to control both houses of Congress, the White House, the SCOTUS and three-fifths of the state legislatures so as to overturn Roe by a jurisdictional argument (the one supported by the Federalist Society that has the states decide all such issues, including gay marriage and segregation) and, barring that, propose and pass a Life Amendment recognizing life at conception (ending birth control too).

The problem, of course, is America is too evenly divided for that to ever happen. The closest the movement will ever come was the Partial Birth Abortion Act, which three Republican Justices, including the recently appointed Roberts and Alito demurred on using as a way to overturn Roe.   Of course, the Republicans could have still used their majority to settle the question of late term abortion – all of it – including the health exception (which is essential if the fetus has no chance of survival).  Of course, it would have had to face the problem of miscarriage in a personhood paradigm, one which is really impossible to resolve except by allowing first trimester abortion to continue.  Of course, that would ruin the movement.

The video question is stale and points to procedures in harvesting tissue from  advanced miscarriage.  No there there.  As for immigration, Americans like cheap food and the people who sell it like undocumented workers  who can be dismissed for making trouble.

The mention question cheapens Life into a sound bite, even in sermons.  Enough said.

Matt Abbott is trying to be more Pro-life than Chaput.  Now that is funny.  He must be keeping an extremist donor or donor base happy.

Leaving the end of life questions out of the article would have made it tighter.  It does go to the question of motivation.  Do we really care about all those aborted fetuses and the assisted suicides of the world, or is the movement really trying to defend the honor of God, who is made into an Ogre in the process?  While no one should be killed for the cost savings, stopping treatment when it is clear that death is immediate result of any path is a legitimate Catholic position which deserves further study away from the knee jerk pro-lifers.

I agree, these are hard questions, but they will not be solved by a knee-jerk appeal to the Magisterium any more than to giving license to the uninformed conscience.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Links for 08/28/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 08/28/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Talk to a Catholic hospital O.B. about preserving fetal parts for tissue donation or analysis after a later term miscarriage and they will say the same thing, and as casually, if over a glass of wine and dinner.  I think an apology is in order from the pro-life Catholic press.  I want video.

To be clear, Trump is going after the Huckabee crowd of right-wing southern culturally conservative (PC for racialist) Evangelicals.  There are plenty of Evangelicals who are not all of those things.  Some support Sanders.

MSW's protege' is correct that Francis is not a Relativist in the terms Benedict uses, although I would call them both relativistic because the Magisterium is nothing if not a skewed version of natural law applicable to one group (rather than everyone).  That is the textbook definition of relativism.  Indeed, any time a group gets together and agrees on something, it applies to the group.  Universal knowledge does not need authority.  Once you add authority, you have relativism in reference to that authority - which has no affect on those who do not recognize the authority.

Happy Feast of St. Augustine | National Catholic Reporter

Happy Feast of St. Augustine | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The best biography of Augustine was by Gary Wills.  It is hardly hagiography, which is why it is so good.  He does not gloss over the misogyny of the time nor does he peg the pastoral Augustine to his earlier writings, which seem to pale by comparison to the mercy shown on some of those issues the Saint is known the best for.  My comments are my own, not Gary’s.

That sin exists is obvious.  Assigning it cosmic origins seems less so today.  Theologians have traded in references to our “First Parents” because modern science has abandoned Adam and Eve as historic possibilities.  We have also drawn the wrong lesson from the Genesis parable as it relates to Jesus and His teachings.  The Genesis myth was about blame, not sin.  Forgiveness is the answer to that, starting with the example of the Cross, which was a vision quest where Christ meets us in our pain rather than a cosmic blood sacrifice to God the Ogre.  If we understood that, this would be progress.

Oh, there is nothing liberating about making sex a sin, especially for women, who seem to come out the worse for the deal.

As for the city of God built by the Holy, I prefer the kingdom of God as outlined by Jesus, which is a bit less respectful of civil and Church authority than Augustine could ever be comfortable with.  The kingdom will never be perfectly ordered, indeed, the Catholic Middle Ages with the equally Christian Tartars to the east were hardly the City that Augustine spoke of.  Winthrop got it wrong too.  The kingdom of God is more a protest against power in any age, not an urge to exercise it.

Does this make Augustine less of a giant?  Hardly.  Just need a tune up.  He was a product of his time in the Church and he did his best to define and consolidate what was in need of consolidation – but we still do not have to end there.  Teaching for our time is as worthy a gesture for all of  us saints, who celebrate this feast with Augustine.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Links for 08/27/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 08/27/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The Atlantic piece accuses the Pope of Machiavellian humility.  I hope this is not true.  Humility is a charism.  It comes from loving yourself exactly as you are and as you are not.  Of course, maybe the effort is not fake in that case.

Thank you MSW for giving me enough to not have to read Weigel myself.  I am not sure what universe or time George inhabits, but the all-in-Catholicism will be all about reform, forgiveness and especially anti-capitalism.  Is he planning on going to Purgatory or worse?

Archbishop Alexander must have a conservative flock to sing such a depraved tune.  The Cathechism reflects the spiritually cowardly language of Ratzinger, who thought that gays and lesbians could not possibly be given any quarter by the Church or God would would punish us all.  In reality, there is no natural order beyond what we invent.  Call it Catholic Karma.  Forgiveness is the only Karma and in homosexuality, provided it is as monogamous as heterosexuality, there is no sin to forgive.  The only sin is intolerance here and may God have mercy on this Archbishop's soul.

Run, Joe, Run! | National Catholic Reporter

Run, Joe, Run! | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I see nothing in this editorial disqualifying Bernie Sanders, who is surely the most similar to MSW on the Palestinian question (and the farthest from me).  Indeed, Joe and I probably agree on reasonable accommodation to Palestinian Arabs and Samaritans (there are more of us than anyone thinks and we have a right to be there).  I wonder if Joe would go as far to the left economically as Bernie - indeed if not farther.  One can hope, although I am still convinced we need a Democratic Socialist in the White House - and if that gives MSW disquiet, that is a bonus.

What Joe could bring to the table is the ability to use his office to educate the public, the bishops and MSW on the true nature of the Right to Life Movement - it is still a Republican scam and until it gets behind a $1000 a month Child Tax Credit and away from controlling female sexuality (and its related opposition to marriage rights for gays and lesbians, which are now recognized in law), I will continue to view it as such and will consider its defenders to be fooled.  If Joe makes the same case strongly, even if he does not win, his campaign would be worth something.  We need a Catholic who can stand up to the hierarchs, like Francis.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Links for 08/26/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 08/26/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Good for the inmates and for Francis for accepting the gift.

It is inhumane to abort Down’s children, but many parents fear the alternative.  It is up to us to fully fund solutions that will fully support these people for life, not just maturity, and to support the parents as well.  Even without federal funding.

Secularism is a more acceptable version of atheism, because it has no reference to any deity as a counter-point.  Its less scary than claiming Marx.   There is nothing wrong with it and the constitution is secular enough.  The problem is those who would baptize the Constitution in the Great Awakening, which is untrue.  A Masonic initiation would be more correct in describing the founding ideology.  Last I checked, of course, lodge membership was not a requirement of Democratic Socialism.  Neither is Secularism, although the latter is common.

Wrapping up the Curtain Raisers | National Catholic Reporter

Wrapping up the Curtain Raisers | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The Spanish talks will be off putting to Catholic nativists who forget their immigrant roots.  This is a good thing.  It is time for Latinos to be as valued for their Spanish Masses as the Polish language attendees are. That is as important as what he says, which is also vital.  Let’s see how the conservatives (as opposed to the Trads) deal with any hint of liberation theology.  Viva Maximo! Viva Francisco!  Don’t even mention the name of the candidate for a haircut with our beloved Pontiff!

Let us hope that liberation theology also goes to the labor movement.  In both cases, of course, the job of Francis is self-empowerment for both Latinos and Labor.

On affirming the faithful, in the civil rights movement we have a phrase about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.  This sounds about right.  On some issues, of course, there are those who hope Francis does this to the man in the mirror (and wonder whether Pope Joan will be our only female pope).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Links for 08/25/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 08/25/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Saying to focus on all the issues, like the fraud of the RTL movement which often rejects ecoomic justice solutions, can be ignored. Its time for the Church to set an example for all employers with how it pays its workers.

The actions of this priest show the grace of the Cardinal who ordained him. Lets hope it works on the bishops too.

These buildigs are only a possession of the poor if they are allowed in, even if unwashed.

How Pope Francis Challenges the Catholic Right | National Catholic Reporter

How Pope Francis Challenges the Catholic Right | National Catholic Reporter

by MSW. MGB: The traditionalists believe that preserving the message as passed to
them is their sinecure. Without that, if people think for themselves,
they have nothing of value. They also really believe that God is the
Ogre that he has to be to enforce all of these rules. Of course,
stressing forgiveness without examining whether the rules are correct is
kind of the coward’s way out in dealing with what God really wants for
us – which is happiness in this life as well as the next. As for Luke
16, that is bad proof texting – if you go literal you must add
“immorality is an exception.” So should spousal abuse, alcoholism, etc.
– even if it showed up after the marriage.

The Trads are tied
to a Magisterium, which is about their power, on the Natural Order,
which is a sophistry where even though God is not harmed by sin some
kind of metaphysical balance is thrown off. Pure imagination – but who
has the stones to get rid of both? They don’t let that morality is for
man, not God, period.  Jesus is gentle and humble of heart, not as the
Christ but as God. The Trads are not gentle, at least as a group and
certainly not humble of heart.  Especially about sex. Nuff said.

Americanism is not a phantom heresy, but it has nothing to do with the
military industrial complex. It has to do with our delightful freedom
of religion and the inability of the Church to impose morality under the
guise of religious power on everyone else. Of  course, they are trying
with birth control, but this has nothing to do with Central Command
sending people to die in the Afghani meat grinder. Militarism is the
sin here and while the Trads can be on the wrong side, mostly they
cooperate with peace initiatives, at least among the bishops.

Mass declined because teenagers work on Sunday or Saturday night and
can’t make it to Mass. There is a bigger Sabbath problem here than Mass
– I know I was run ragged by all I had to do in my high school years.
Maybe school should close one day, Monday?  With the Malls staying

The Commentariat’s views of Francis and Obama are
irrelevant. One good line that everyone sees and they waft away toward
the ash heap of history.

Monday, August 24, 2015

How Pope Francis Challenges the Catholic Left | National Catholic Reporter

How Pope Francis Challenges the Catholic Left | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Left is not the appropriate term.  Modernist is, especially about pelvic issues.  That does not signify a lack of faith, but it rejects the idolization of the sexual act and in particular the male part of it (when in fact, billions of sperm are created and die frequently, used or not).

Modernism has a different aspect on abortion, as Catholic Modernists don’t approve of abortion (unless the fetus is doomed anyway on its own – and we fail to see how that is a problem), but we accept that much of the who-haw on this issue is about sexually controlling women, not protecting life.  Nor do we respect those who say they respect life but don’t offer a program which will work.  We object to being lectured to on how we vote by a movement that has no real plan other than get elected.

Some Modernists are against increasing population.  Those don’t understand economics.

On marriage and divorce, we are baffled by those proof-texters who won’t allow divorce because Jesus said so, but won’t go deeper into the same text when Jesus talks about families being unbreakable as one flesh and how this can be easily applied to gay families.

This is not being a do-gooder, this is seeking the truth – especially in how women and gays are treated.  This is not a good-dead for the day, it is resisting evil in curial robes.  Curial robes which sometimes don’t join us in condemning a more equal wage for families, so the CEO and the Janitor can both feed, clothe, house and educate their kids with equal quality accommodations.  Its not good works we seek, its justice.  Its not sociology either.

Just because the Church is ancient does not mean that it has a license to live in the past.  Not on Episcopal selection, not on women and not on diocesan governance or pastoral attention.  That is not social science, it is reform.  All of these things can be changed, they are not doctrine. A change in clerical culture is simply not sufficient here and Francis needs to realize it.  The change is inevitable.

As for theology, seminary theology and university theology are and should be different.  Indeed, the right to search where the Clergy do not want us to is the essence of Modernism. We have an opinion on the Devil and whether he exists or not as well.  Of course, the question is not settled, but we will examine it.

We are not being snide, by the way, about the pro-life movement.  There is very real fraud going on and it must be rooted out for the movement to have credibility at all.  One need only look to the Planned Parenthood video to see how depraved the Movement has become (as miscarriages have the same procedures for extracting tissue for research and diagnoses).  Comparing the outrage over this to the righteous outrage over sex abuse is the kind of false equivalency that you usually find on CNN.

We do love Communion, of course and many of us believe everyone should get it all the time.  Give the Baptists Catholic Communion and they won’t be Baptists anymore.  The reluctance to do so is sociology (group dynamics) and excess pietism.  Its time to stop both threads on the Eucharist.

On Carnality, the problem is not that we don’t support teaching to keep people from enslaving themselves to sex, the problem is the pietism of the enterprise, as if God has a purity agenda for people that serves his interests over and above human psycho-sexual health.  Again, this is a modernist change, not a liberal one.  The fetishism of Catholic sexual teaching in days past is a nightmare that drives many young people out.  Its is time to escape it and get those youth back.  Health, by the way, is not an ideology.  When gay young men suicide because of the messages they are receiving from Church and family, someone is teaching error and it’s not the Modernists.  We will wrestle with these questions and with the Church leadership until we no longer have to, but make no mistake, we will age out the Trads.

Links for 08/24/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 08/24/15 | National Catholic Reporter  by MSW. MGB: I would not call the Homily a barn burner, just what is appropriate for a new pastor over a flock (note that in biblical days, bishops werepastors, not medieval lordlings like today).  I love the fact that his All Holiness sent representatives to this major event.  Is
reconciliation with New Rome accelerating to its inevitable conclusions(loss of papal primacy claims) or what?

MSW at Cato?  When will we see references to Daniel in the lion's den?

I hope that Craig gets a bill for his house being saved and offers to buy and destroy it by FEMA.  No one needs to live in the forest nowadays

Friday, August 21, 2015

Links for 08/21/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 08/21/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Gerson is being funny, but when elites start pointing at enemies, the banal acceptance of totalitarianism is actually possible.  Someone should ask Trump if he is at all familiar with Hannah Arendt.

Immigration should be one of those things decided based on law and justice, not public opinion.  Sadly, it is mostly decided based on economic advantage for the people who bring you your chicken nuggets and your orange juice.

Lewis makes an interesting point.  One wonders if Francis has read Hannah Arendt. More seriously, if Francis has us in the grip of popularity (and remember, Benedict co-wrote The Joy of the Gospel, then now is the time to scold – although at that point the magic was broken, much like when Jesus said to his hearers that they had to eat his flesh.

Raising the FICA cap is half the answer.  The other half is to credit the employer contribution equally to each worker so that higher revenues don’t lead to much higher benefits for management and executives.

Pope Francis is Coming, Part III | National Catholic Reporter

Pope Francis is Coming, Part III | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The Holy Spirit has surprises.   Francis is the vessel.  That he is likely to have strong words on immigration is a blessing and a curse (on conservative politicians).  Excellent.  If he can enter from the south, it will top the Mass at the fence.  I expect the congressional address to be in praise of social welfare spending and maybe eve what we call socialism.  Double hurrah!  (and I see no reason for him to measure his words, and I expect him to discuss abortion with Obama.  Hopefully Obama will not engage in patronizing silence and will instead put on his constitutional law professor’s hat and explain why, whether desirable or not, is essential law.  As for the bishops, they don’t have to like him, they have to either follow his example or expect to be replaced – and not with a cushy job in the Curia.

Laudato Si’ will be the show stopper.  It may upset the right wing in this country more than any comments resembling socialism.  Eco-socialism will be harder for them to take, but it is necessary unless we want the poor who live by the sea to have to tread water – or put them up in new and better digs.  The responsibility to do the latter will be much more expensive than a carbon tax – but the right wing is not known for such forward thinking.

That Francis will have an interreligious event at Ground Zero is bold.  It will be an affront to everyone who fought the “Ground Zero Mosque.”   Good!

In Philly, Francis may just preach on the gospel of the day, but he got to pick the day.  He knows he is entering failed marriage ground zero.  Since I resemble that remark, I am looking for some hope.  While he cannot show real solidarity with those in failed marriages, he can with prisoners just be being there.  I hope this also provides a scold to Obama to accelerate clemency, regardless of any impact on Democratic Party candidates for the White House.  On religious liberty, I hope he talks more about freedom of religion and delineates it from religious power.  That would be a nice change.

The best part of this trip is that EWTN will be pre-empted by it.  The worst is that they will comment on it – but that could prove interesting if the Pope says things that they don’t want to hear.  Either way it could ruin them, as some will simply want straight reporting, not ideology, while other viewers will want red meat.  Vive il Papa!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Links for 08/20/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 08/20/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Bishop Flores use of the Newman quote justifying thinking outside the box is just what the Church needs, including and especially in the are of families.  Gives me high hopes for the second Synod on the Family.

I always thought the Cathedral at Galway would be a good Seat for a Galatian Patriarch for the English and Gaelic speaking world.  Now that would be Orthodox, resurrecting the old Galatian Church.  How long do you think such a Church would take to ordain women?   I suspect not long, including ordaining a Matriarch.  You want an authoritative voice on life?  Make it female.

People misunderstand the RFRA.  It is supposed to be a safety valve against state governments restricting the religious freedom of individuals to practice.  Making it an ethical check against civil rights of others should not be part of the deal.  It should not be repealed, but it should be clarified - else it is the foot in the door for religious power, not religious freedom.