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, June 30, 2015

Links for 06/30/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 06/30/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I am fairly sure the persecution they are talking about is the expectation that government will somehow mandate their celebration gay weddings.  The truth is that the families of gay congregants will do that instead.  What they really fear is judgment from God for doing so or having the nation do so - and that judgment is not over the constitution and acceptance of gay families (although they bemoan the end of traditional marriage, which was patriarchal and used to compare marriage to how Christ relates to the Church - a comparison which may be oddly apt if our understanding of Church changes with marriage).  They really fear being somehow linked to the sex act in the marriage they solemnize.  In other words, its about the sex - though they know that in regard to banning consensual private sodomy, that ship has sailed forever.



Bravo to Leon on this essay.  It is the spirit of prophesy (which we Catholics capitalize usually) that impels us to speak about the harm done to the Palestinians - from land grabs in the territories, and formerly in Israel proper, to a lopsided response in Gaza to launching fire crackers that took weeks to hit anyone, to a wall which seeks to define two states on a one sided bases, seeminly without regard to the availability of resources on the other side.



Is it just political or demographic blow-back that are important?  I think not.  G_d has an opinion on this as well - and those Orthodox who wish to establish a new Temple will, at the very least, find that the Holy Ark will allude them while they trample the alien. Will Bibi have to answer to G_d. If you believe in an afterlife, I expect so - on Oren for his vigorous defense when according the prophet Ezekiel, he should join the condemnation os Bibi will repent.



Of course, as a Romani, I must join Leon in telling Bibi he has gone to far. New analysis of religious practice indicates the Roma are the Isrealite exiles - most of whom are now Catholic.   Some percentage of our people stayed and converted to Chirst and then Isalm - and probably are among the Palestinians.  What number, we don't know - but the ultimate irony may be that Bibi is actually persecuting the sons of Israel, making him the leading anti-Semite.



Myers-Briggs is based on Karl Jung's psycholinguistics.  I have always found the test fluid, meaning that if you know the measures at all, you can adjust your answers to change the resulting type.  Indeed, one might as well junk the tools and tell people what the categories are and let them pick what they feel like today.  The article itself is quite fun and only a little tongue in cheek.  As long as people don't goal seek when reading it, it may be more useful than the tool.

Review: A Partisan Church | National Catholic Reporter

Review: A Partisan Church | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: In the world of political science, a neo-conservative is one who hold liberal, if not marxist views and later in life decides that path goes nowhere and finds conservatism, and because most were Jewish - neo-conservatism was based on protecting Israel through a muscular Israeli and American military policy in the region.  Of course, that does not necessarily apply to there three Catholic authors - although the reviewer, MSW, certainly qualifies on his Zionist views.  I might say Neo-Traditionalist is the more apt term, depending on whether their conservatism is about the Church or about Israel.



The good old days where Catholic philosophy led to the enlightenment and our American ideals is what we call a convenient fiction.  While St. Thomas Aquinas did prove the necessity of human freedom of choice in the nature of his soul, there was no political connotation applied at all - at least not until Rousseu - and I doubt Jean Jacques saw the connection either, although I make it frequently to justify my view of Catholic Libertarianism.  Erasmus was the quintessetial Christain Humanist, and it will be interesting to see if the author mentions him a source for American thought, although I have not seen any of our subjects at meetings of the Illuminati (which,again was not pro-hierarchy).  I try to emulate the idea of a Christian Humanism which sources morality not in an angry God, but one who means us to be perfectly human rather shoot for some inhuman ideal of personal sanctity (while ignoring the needs of others - opposing hierarchy is a bonus).  



Is there some Catholic link to John Locke?  I doubt it, he worked in reaction to Hobbes, who was no friend of Rome. The followers of Henry George like Locke, but their movement is not Catholic in the least.  Distributists like Locke and based their post collapse world in Medievalism, but not in the American experiment.  Chesterton, Belloc and Tolkien fit the Distributist bill, but they were not American nor do they predate the founding. Their project was in reaction to Leo's Rerum Novarum, but there is nothing particularly Americanist about it.  Finally, I have not seen any of our three subjects on Distributist web sites or lists. My guess is that the neoliberal friends of George Weigel (and maybe neoliberal is the best way to describe the three) raise a loud houl about his entertaining Distributism, since it is the enemy of their libertarian philosophy, although Distributism has massive libertarian implications.



There is one source of American political philosophy that we know is enlightenment based and had an influence on our Founding Fathers. The Masons.  I am pretty sure none of the three are lodge members, although as yet I have not defied the silliest Catholic doctrine on the books and opted to attend myself.  Again, no Catholic link.

Abortion and marriage equality: It’s really about the sex

Yesterday, the Supreme Court suspended Trap Laws in Texas while the case against them is being considered in federal court.  As their effective date was tomorrow, the only impact was anticipatory – and this action signals the likely outcome of the federal action – that the laws will be ruled unconstitutional under the undue burden test imposed by the Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

As you can guess from my columns, I often debate Right to Lifers in social media after they see what I write.  Of late, I have been in a debate over whether their movement is a fraud designed to win elections rather than save the unborn.

While trap laws theoretically would reduce the availability of abortion, their value is mainly to direct yet another opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court Docket.  This is amply demonstrated by the conduct surrounding the Partial Birth Abortion Act, which has not really stopped any abortion from occurring (not the dearth of prosecutions), but as you could see from the Amici briefs, was entirely about urging the Court to overturn Roe.  Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito followed Justice Kennedy in ruling PBAA constitutional under the Commerce Clause (which they were loathe to use on Affordable Care Act mandates).  Justice Scalia was all set to get rid of Roe and two new Bush Justices were going to help him.  No dice.

The Texas case is yet another opportunity, but with no new Justices on the Court, one can only conclude that the possibility of this case will be used as a campaign issue to select another pro-lifer to the Court – even though these are in short supply.  This does not matter.  What matters is that it covers the National Right to Life Committees line that abortion is a relevant issue above all others.  This keeps volunteers working and little old ladies writing checks.

Discussions with Right to Life true believers inevitably come around to the fetus as innocent life.  This is short hand for them for pre-gastrulation blastocysts, post-gastrulation embryos and second and third trimester fetuses.  It’s like arguing about killing puppies – all emotion and the resolution that there ought to be a law.  Of course, the reason abortion is legal is not due to innocence or the lack thereof, but to danger, both danger to the mother from a pregnancy that may hurt or kill her (and some chromosomal abnormalities will do that), that a pregnancy with no hope of a live birth is best ended early or that banning abortion results in such danger to the mother from septic abortions by unqualified practitioners or self-performance that restriction is a danger itself.

There is, of course, a way out.  Give a much larger Child Tax Credit, say $1000 per month per child – or more – so that having the baby is always a better option than abortion and adoption is not necessary.  Of course, if you propose this the people who say that we are buying off women to not kill their children – they can’t see it as removing a hazard.  Other provisions for young families are necessary too, like paying for the education of both parents, with marital benefits and a stipend, plus supportive day or night care.  Then these same pro-lifers really hit the roof on incentives.  These are the same folks who want welfare benefits cut so welfare mothers don’t keep popping out babies.  Keep going and you will find them talking about personal responsibility – and avoiding sex if you don’t want to get pregnant – both teens and adult married and unmarried women.

The contradiction on personal responsibility regarding abortion and regarding money and sex is lost on them.  It’s really about restoring a puritanical sexuality to women’s lives.  Sorry, but that ship has sailed – either pay adequate benefits or rest assured that God will hold you are responsible for abortion as anyone, not because you failed to enact restrictions but because you failed to do what it takes without doing so, even though that was the best solution.

You can see the same view in their reaction to gay marriage.  In reality, their objection to gay marriage is that it makes society complicit in sodomy.  All the scripture they cite against gay marriage is on the sex.  Indeed, the gospel provisions in Matthew, once you get past the restating of the Genesis passage on sexual diversity, is completely supportive of family autonomy – that is once a couple is married, they are one flesh and no longer members of their family of origin.  This speaks exactly to what started the move to marriage equality – the deplorable behavior of hospitals, particularly Catholic ones (since reversed by policy) in kicking same sex spouses out and deferring to surviving family members.  There was not just a single incident, the problem was endemic and a great many lawyers and justices, and now the Supreme Court, has solved it.

In reaction, there are is the predictable response about God reigning vengeance on the nation for what it has done, but I don’t think God cares about our system of family law per se.  They believe it’s the sex.  Of course, that case was settled ten years ago in Lawrence v. Texas and few think it’s a good idea to put government back in the business of policing gay bedrooms, even if this rarely happened and was often due to some other circumstance.  Of course, that such enforcement happened at all is what was really shameful – which is why the Reactionaries are attacking marriage.  Still, we all know it’s about the sex.

If you read the reaction of Catholic bishops on this and their focus on procreation – even though no marriage where the bride is older than her mid-forties – and such unions exist – will have nothing to do with fecundity.  The only Canon Law impediment is a lack of functionality (which again, for gays, they find icky – unless their gay – and they pretend by protesting loudly).  It turns out the Sacrament of Marriage is between the couple, the celebrant is merely a witness.  Gay marriage should be no different and it has not been for a long time.  On employees, the Church has never raised an eyebrow about employing heterosexuals in civil marriage, although it condemns such unions for Catholics.  There should be no difference for civilly married gay employees.  Indeed, its bigotry to treat them differently if neither form is morally acceptable.  So in conclusion, it’s about the sex.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Links for 06/29/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 06/29/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: On Accidental Beatitude: The Church is still objecting to the overturn of sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas and is thinking that if someone treats gay civil marriages the same as straight civil marriages than they have become a party to their sex act.  When you put it in these terms, the answer is that the Church is obviously wrong and indeed, guilty of bigotry.  The Church as employer should serve families and not condemn what they do in the bedroom.  It can still preach in this area, although if you really look at the biblical sourcing in this area, there really is little difference between St. Paul and St. John Paul expressing their view of homosexual relations, which is from a natural law POV, and the Rebbi for Baghdad who are largely responsible for the Old Testament writings.  I argue that natural law teaching is not privileged revelation, especially if there is natural law evidence that it is flat out wrong.


A re-examination of the tax status of non-profits is, and should be, part of the debate on tax reform.  Of course, since wealthy people fund this debate in large measure, both by funding (tax exemptly) both think tanks and legsilators, there will always be equity issues unless you can convince them that paying taxes faster is better.  As for a tax exemption over gay marriage - for employers, there administrative routes that don't involve tax exemption - and students have been having all kinds of extra-marital relations in Catholic college for a long time, just not openly.  No gay couple caught having sex in such a setting has ever sued under Lawrence v. Texas as far as I know - but that is the operative case.  Now, I personally favor, for tax reform, ending both payroll and income taxes and imposing a Subtract Value Added Tax - with no receipt visibility but with the ability to decrease the tax by giving a child tax credit to employees, health care, education at all levels and for some functions, diverting the money to Churches to adminster programs and schools.


Katherine Franke seems to have written her Slate piece before 9:59 a.m. last Friday.  Loving was used as the precident, which stated that there is a right to marry - and essentially who you marry is private regarding.  Private here does not mean secret, it means that the legislature has no business excluding people based on race.  This decision extends that privacy to sexual orietation.   This principle has already been laid out in Roe. v. Wade.  Justice Thomas' approach to ending abortion is to simply rule that privacy does not apply because embryoes and fetuses are objects of law rather than chattel to their mothers.  There are no other takers to such a position and he is among the older justices.  Scalia would put the issue in state hands, which is a stupid idea and its why we have a 14th Amendment.  The 14th Amendment itself, and seeminly the decision in Gonzalez v. Carhart (which incorrectly used the Commerce Clause) allows Congress to adjust who a person is in this matter - not 51 legislatures, but Congress.  Would Obama go along?  He indicated he would make a deal on both the Partial Birth statute (which really protects no one) and all late term pregnancies.  Even mid-trimester, I suspect.  I don't see anyone doing anything on the matter of first trimester embryoes (no one is a fetus until the second), because the equal protection problems are huge - as miscarried embryoes and aborted embryoes would have to have the same legal status - and that is perilous for both the criminal law and for tort law - and if you don't think so, you don't know many lawyers.  Dignity does not make the impossible, possible.

Supreme Court's decision on marriage called a win for love, 'a tragic error' | National Catholic Reporter

Supreme Court's decision on marriage called a win for love, 'a tragic error' | National Catholic Reporter I suspect that the concept of monogamous homosexuality is not the gay error Kurtz is concerned with - if he were to be honest, the error for this brand of Catholic is Lawence v. Texas, which ended the ability of states (and of episcopal power to influence states) to outlaw sodomy.  The legal recognition of relationships involving such sex (which can be herto or homo sexual) is a morally neutral detail.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

SCOTUS's Decision and the Bishops' Response | National Catholic Reporter

SCOTUS's Decision and the Bishops' Response | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Ten years ago and civil unions was too late - and the Church would have seen it as endorsing gay sex anyway, because the Curia is obsessed with other people's sexuality.  They understand little of family - celebacy blinds them to it.  Civil unions and doing away with religious marriage were simply attempts at Political Correctness to soothe Church sensibilities. It was always a false compromise.  The key point to act was 30 years ago when all over the country in both Catholic and non-Catholic hospitals, family members were kicking what was called then Long Term Companions out of hospital rooms and taking control of end-of-life decision-making.  If the Church had stood for Love and reconciliation then, the whole movement might never have come about.  And procreation is not necessary for marriage - family and love is.



On the question of individual autonomy, the Court is correct (and Chief Roberts is wrong).  Society can decide some things, but not the rights of individuals.  I believe the concept of rights being higher than what the group wants is why martyrdom is celebrated, so this faux concern about autonomy is misplaced.  As for creation, again, foster parents create. Marriage is not just about making babies - my niece Christian is still my nice even though her father is married to my brother.  Its about family.



As for Casey, it is about privacy, just like Roe, which says the public cannot legislate everything - or use legislation to form lower classes.  Granted, the ultimate lower class is the unborn, but there really is no way to fix that without dealing with the fact that the aborted embryo and the miscarried embryo would have to have the same legal protections.  Won't work.



Legal scholars who know 14th Amendment Law, like Garrett Epps - probably the best at it - agree with the majority on both subjects.  You can read his column in The Atlantic at http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/same-sex-marriage-supreme-court-obergefell/396995/   If you are not convinced, you are defending a position, not exploring truth.



As for the bishops, I am sure that Bishop Kurtz's statement was mostly staff driven and designed to shore up the coalition between other religious conservatives on opposing Roe v Wade, which by the way the Church is wrong on too - not the abortion part but the privacy and 14th Amendment part.  Indeed, until the Church is advised by someone, like say Epps, who does understand how equal protection meant that there are some issues that inevitably are beyond the legislature, even if the legislature is not wrong - then any solution on abortion is out of reach.  Actually, its out of reach anyway, because the current strategy is not about solutions, its about making right-wing fundraisers rich and getting pro-lifers to work for Republican candidates.  Frankly, the bishops should have used this as a moment of contrition and apologized for the conduct of Catholic Hospitals three decades ago (which at least has been corrected now by CHA).  That would, of course, involve putting grace and faith before partisanship and coalition.



The doctrine is wrong too.  When I was in pre-Cana at St. Ann's in D.C. and had a marriage course at Regis High School in Iowa, we were told (both times) that the spouses made the marriage and the priest was a witness.  Same rules have to apply. We were also told, and a few marriages by uncles affirmed (even the one in the Disciples of Christ) that fecundity is not required to marry.  Anyone who really does not understand that should turn in their Theology degree for a refund.  Oh, as far as Cardinal Wuerl goes, marriage can give grace, even without baptism.  Jesus also taught that the married (and there is no difference in gender preference in this) become one flesh.  That is a little about sex, but its mostly about unity and being a family - and having that family status be unquestioned by anyone, including the Church and legislative majorities.  It is actually a wonder that this letter is out now (unless its a retread), DC and Maryland have had marriage equality for some time now.  Nothing at all is new in this Archdiocese.



The whole same-sex attraction this is bunk.  People are gay or not - or in the middle some place - based on biology from before they were born in a process known as Epigenesis.  Any repartative therapy must be considered assault and all commentary (and it is commentary, not teaching) about such attraction being disordered must be stricken as simply wrong - not because of human preference but because natural law must actually comport to nature or it is simply formalism based on authority - and can be rejected as such by thinking people - indeed, the misuse of natural law along those lines is why many have become atheists.  Hate the sin and love the sinner does not apply either, because people made by God to be gay have a right to sexual love.  There is no sin unless we force promiscuity onto them, and then the sin is ours.  As for how we treat employees - we need to restore spousal benefits in the Archdiocese and realize that if we treat heterosexual civil marriages one way and homosexual civil marriages another, then we have committed the sin of bigotry. There is no sugar coating it.  I did not find the Cardinal's restatement of teaching beautiful. I found it ugly, and I'm heterosexual and (for now) married.  The example I will give is loving my brother and his husband.  Maybe that will sink in among my fellow Catholics.



Archbishop Gregory and his call to civility is a good letter.  I suspect he won't be grandstanding on employee health benefits.  Aymond is not correct, since the natural law case supports gay marriage if you sever the theistic link.  If you disagree, read Faggothy again.  Hartmayer is correct, the decision does not teach what the Church teachers.  Perhaps the Church needs to be the one who changes.  The coda to the decision is fitting:



"No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right."



As for McElroy, marriage is defined by society.  It is the basic unit thereof. (See above). Without it, we are all wards of the government.  It defines that a married couple is one person under the law, which Jesus taught.  Rejecting gay marriage as non-doctrinal is a sin, pure and simple, against both the Word of God and those couples who deserve the dignity of being family (and yes, even raise children, their own or those fostered to them by family, society and even the Church (once it quits its homophobic sin).   Agreeing with this bishop continues that sin.



On the subject of Catholic gay marriage, I addressed this yesterday. I think the bishops really are reacting from fear.  Fear that families with gay children, parents or siblings will start approaching priests, especially gay priests, to bless such marriages or even do the full Catholic wedding.  Some will say yes, at least to private blessings. They are likely more afraid of priest wantinng to marry other men or priests, or sisters other women - or even other sisters.  They mostly fear young people giving up on self-loathing and rejecting the idiocy of finding homosexuality disordered and will instead marry according to their God-given sexuality and not even consider Holy Orders.  This will kind of force their hand on who gets to be in ministry.  Under Hossanna Tabor gays, women and the married cannot sue, but they won't have to.  Profound change will be in the air.  This has probably broken the camel's back.  That is not liberalism, its modernism - and it always wins because the older trads always die first.  9:59 am will never come again.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Links for 06/26/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 06/26/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: On marriage equality, I don't particularly care what the USCCB has to say.  Its their fears I find interesting, the unstated one being that killing self-loathing will hurt the recruitment of priests and that gay marrieds will approach their likely gay priest for a blessing and it will be given.



I like La Stampa's style in going after Acton with a full frontal attack on Capitalism.  Acton would have been better off staying quiet and telling their capitalistic funders to lay low for a while.  Of course, rich people don't think they ever have to lay low.



It is true that Archbishop Wenski lives where the water meets the shore.  Still, he has a lot of Cubans in his See who like Rubio, Cruz and Bush.  Encouraging them to engage rather than to rant is a good idea, but one which I doubt they will take him up on.  Any Republican agreeing with what is one of the best condemnations of capitalism since Marx is unlikely.



Jessica Wrobleski's column on Francis, David Brooks, Rheinhold Neibur and her undergraduates is intersting.  How do you reconcile Laudato Si' with the modern world?  How do you get your orange juice, which I confess I just drank, without peonage in the fields?  Does he really mean that Capitalism must change?  Must one be a revolutionary to be a good Catholic?  In a word, I say yes.  What he is seeking is what must become, and maybe a bit further than what he is seeking - where workers not only get a better deal, but as I suggest, that they own the operation and cooperatively make or buy what they need, rather than acting as individuals in the marketplace.  Francis offers the choice between destruction, exploitation and death or life and love.  Until people get how stark that is, no one will move beyond the familiar and chose life and the future.  Its that serious.



Camosy's story is interesting, although one should understand that the protection of women against criminalizing abortion (and under equal protection principles, if you prosecute the doctor, you really must prosecute the mother too - and the father if he is involved) is a fairly serious issue - even though both sides have largely allowed it to become entwined with electoral politics, the pro-life side most shamelessly in their corruption of the Catholic Church in a massive fraud (that their stated approach is even possible).  The Pope is correct that children should never be a throw-away commodity, including in Catholic adoption agencies.



Society and the Church must come forward to make sure every child can be born and receive a life where a little conspicuous consumption every now and then is a privilege.  That means assisting teens to get married and funding their school (paying them to attend - both parents) and not condemning what is evolutionarily logical sexual activity. It means a $1000 per month per child tax credit distributed during the tax year, mostly with pay or as part of a stipend rather than with a refund.  It especially means that we must up our game in helping Downs children succeed and grow into adulthood and in providing assistance to parents as well - especially in cases which are not as easy to deal with where disability is profound and likely fatal in years rather than decade - or profound and not fatal.  This needs to start now, before the public funding is available.  Each diocese must act to show we put our money where our mouth is for all Downs children in the diocese and all Catholic employees with children.  We can lobby for the public funding too - but both kinds of socialism are necessary - especially as the government cannot constitutionally intervene to simply ban such abortions without wreaking havoc on families with usuccessful first trimester pregnancies.

6-3 = 6.4 Million | National Catholic Reporter

6-3 = 6.4 Million | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The ACA is essentially the Heritage Foundation approach to health care reform (the liberal approach is single payer, or a public option that will lead to single payer), but with taxes on unearned or the PC term, non-wage income acrued by the wealthiest taxpayers.  Since then, these financial worthies have been funding any and all approaches to overturn the law, since a corrections bill that simply repeals the taxes would either have to install a larger VAT or be ruled out of order under the Budget Act.  Of course, any corrections bill would not pass this Congress anyway, even to correct the flaws in the language.



That kind of partisanship is the source of Justice Scalia's dissent.  The definition of a rigged process would be a Congress that cannot function or compromise and a judiciary that will not act.  Luckily, we have gone beyond that in this country.



It is no surprise that Chief Justice Roberts led an approach in upholding the provision of the law that he has taken since his service on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  His respect is for the law, not the current regime.  If it all possible, he will find a construction that makes a law passed by Congress constitutional or uphold the workability of a statue rather than going with the unworkable alternative.



Sister Carol's remarks show why the ACA exists.  Hospitals care for everyone, especially in her Association. Formerly, public hospitals did the same thing - but they have largely been overrun by for-profit hospital chains and HMOs, which may not treat patients beyond stabilizing them if they don't want to.  The ACA means that all of these hospitals should have someone to bill, rather than sending collections departments and agencies after their patients. It also means that, at least in theory, individuals can see a primary care doctor before their disease becomes an emergency - although perhaps sick leave reform is necessary to make that possiblility a reality.  Still, it was a good day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Links for 06/24/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 06/24/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I suspect that his All Holiness does not care what comes out of Grand Rapids one bit.  I am sure that all who agree with Acton on papal infallibility would like them to get a new name, although in this case it does seem to fit their M.O. with Francis. That name is the same kind of Big Lie as the Susan B. Anthony Fund, as no feminist would ever be coopted by the pro-life movement, even a century ago.



I suspect the conference on Padre Serra's canonization points to the need to bring back the Devil's Advocate - although I suspect no CDF DA's would use forced conversion as a bar to sainthood, even now. It also points to lingering injustices and allows an examination of exactly who the Church is serving in Latin America and who it is ignoring and leaving to the Pentacostals.  Are we for the poor or the capitalists?  In a world where the Trans Pacific Pact is a major issue, perhaps this is the perfect time to ask such questions.



The House Democratic Leader's job is to pass the President's program, which is hard to do because she is no longer Speaker.  She knows she ticked some folks off, like most of the Sanders supporters (apparantly Hillary likes TPP), but I don't think her seat is in danger - besides, her next job is to fight off the inevitable Constitutional Amendment to undo what the Supreme Court will do to traditional marriage this week - pull the plug.  As for TPP, it is much more a shift of political authority than of economic reality, which happens anyway. It is visiting the worst features of NAFTA on the world, outside of China, anyway.  Hopefully we don't become more like China in order to compete with them.

The Synod Starts to Take Shape | National Catholic Reporter

The Synod Starts to Take Shape | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I am comforted by the shephard who will preside over the Synod, but I hope that the people were actively solicited to give our input, including those who do not attend Mass regularly or cannot do to night jobs and all sorts of other things, like lack of transporation.  These are the very people who need help in their marriage and family life, or in picking up the pieces when it falls apart.  If you want renewed evangelization, start there, but not with an invitation to go to Confession - that puts guilt into it and won't attract anyone.  Taking the guilt out is what I hope this Synod accomplishes for both gay kids and remarried adults.  This will let grace in.  If pastoral focus can do this, then let pastoral focus work.  I suspect some doctrinal change is necessary.  This may be too much for a Synod, but it is exactly why we convene Ecumenical Councils - and the fact that we seem to be pastorally moving into unity with Constantinople will make such a Council interesting.



Gay marriage will wait for the demand from families for Catholic ceremonies for their kids, siblings and parents, but that will come.  As for Gender Identity issues, transgender and intersex identity issues are not new, no matter how much some want to blame these things on modernism.  Regardless, they are the realm of medicine and psychology, not religion.  The best we can say about them is nothing at all, save that any treatment, like treatment for cancer, is no barrier to worship and be Catholic.  Indeed, inclusion of these children of God, like gay teens, is one sure preventative to suicide.  We can go with acceptance or self-euthanasia.  Choose.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Links for 06/23/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 06/23/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: I never read Herman Cain and my spam filter knows better than to admit his ramblings, or those of his equally shady staff, into my in-box.  I won't respond to such incompetence and insaity either.



Working Class Perspectives must give Sanders equal play or the name is fake.  I suspect Hillary is more concerned with middle class persepectives, since they vote more.  Such is the tragedy of the current Democratic Party.



Professor Ospino is correct about the Latino vote.  Its is not monolithic, especially among families with over a century of US Citizenship (as compared to the newcomersb from Cuba or Central America, who vote entirely differently).  I wonder if Cuban descent is used as a category in most surveys.  Given two Cubans in the race, I would hope so.



I though sexual assualt had been removed from the chain of command.  I think because is was debated, everyone assumed it had been done.  Its going to be harder now with a GOP Senate.  If commanders in the field treated rapists like they treat disserters or cowards, you would see the ranks demand this. Sadly, they turn the other way when a comrade is raped.  While an assist from the Archbishop for the Military Services would help, indeed, the entire chaplain corps, I don't see them making this as important as their Fortnight for Freedom.

Sin & Grace in Charleston | National Catholic Reporter

Sin & Grace in Charleston | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Sadly, Dylan Roof almost did not kill those people.  We was almost moved by their faith, but something urged him on, which was racism.  He was seeing them as people and stopped.  The interesting reaction is from older white people who thought they had given up on racism (against the descendents of slaves), which is likely why Roof could not find anyone in the CCC to give him guidance (and talk him out of his stupidity).  White racists, north and south, made this mess and have not cleaned it up, so we have Roof and the Ferguson PD.  Sadly, racial overtones still do exist among the white elite.  Look at the Tea Party or listen to Limbaugh or watch FoxNews and they are not subtly hidden when they speak of Obama.  If ony he had joined his local Republican Committee he would be picking candidates rather than picking of the faithful.



Racism, by the way, is artificial, but it did not just spring up.  It was essential to Cotton Capitalism in the South, both to justify slavery and to create for poor whites, look Roof, and excuse for the planter aristocracy to have it all while they lived on the margins of society.  Today, it exists against Latinos, especially the immigrants, who pick our morning orange juice and grind our sausage (both pork and turkey) - and I could go on.  Its no accident that the same people who were sold on racism against blacks are now so virulently against immigration in a way that can only be descirbed as racist.  Indeed, their plea that the immigrants have broken the law could be used to justify the convict labor after the war where unlucky freemen were sentenced to work farms or mines for the profit of the white elite.  Indeed, I am not sure that robotics could suceed in the South - there would be no one for the poor whites to hate but the rich capitalists.  Only then will racism go away and unity commence.  Of course, the rich Southern capitalists fear socialism most of all.  They should.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Links for 06/22/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 06/22/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: Neal Dewing of the inaptly named Federalist (more like Confederate) did not seem to get the point of capitalism being part of the moral issue, or he absolutely does not want to.  For Heaven's sake, they have an E-Trade ad on their banner!  They are not just in bed with capitalism, its leaving a C-note for them on the dresser.



Bowles' research is interesting, although his cooperative experiments actually form a different egalitarian culture. The market individualists aka libertarians are still there, as are the hierarchs in the Church and the Despots who are in charge of more than you think.



I doubt his Eminence is on the John Ellis Bush Christmas card list.  I am shocked JEB knew who he was.  I am fairly sure that FoxNews is lying whenever their lips are moving, but especially when they are misrepresenting what Cardinal Wuerl says about the encyclical being not definitive.  Now we know how the right wing is responding, with lies!  Not shocked.

The Trade Bill Gets Even Worse; GOP Spits in Pope Francis's Eye | National Catholic Reporter

The Trade Bill Gets Even Worse; GOP Spits in Pope Francis's Eye | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The canary in the coal mine on capitalism ruining workers lives to the point of revolution is the advancement of trade and the firing of workers whose jobs are not necessarily less productive, but less costly when currency markets and low cost country wages are included.  There are a few solutions. One is to actually tame trade rather than trying to win every point. It cannot happen as the Republicans are constitionally incapable of that kind of subtlety.  The second is a Marxian revolution.  People have been predicting one for over 150 years, but like the Rapture, it might actually occur. Three is to start with employee-ownership in the US (moving to full bore financial and consumer capitalism) and then bringing the same deal to overseas workers in the same company or in the supply chain - with the promise of wages that buy the same amount in the US and overseas, regardless of what the currency markets are doing.  I like option 3 myself. Option 1 only leads to option 2.  I suspect Pope Francis would agree with me if were briefed on it.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Links for 06/19/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 06/19/15 | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The gold pens are out at Milleniel.  I suspect there no red ones.  Still, not sure there is any momentum to the Encyclical after this week, unless something happens that can only be warming.



Henneberger's story is interesting.  I think she nails the situation pretty well.  If the conservatives want to keep the story alive, of course, they are free to - as it keeps global warming in the public eye.  I suspect they will let the story die and not try to crash his party, as I hope security will be good enough so they cannot.



Bishop O'Connell and Archbishop Cupich say the right words (and there are links to some video remarks), which is good.  Hopefully all American bishops will, even if it hurts.  Lets hope they also head off any attempts to lobby the Pope on this issue.  If this teaching is going to be more than a media event, it is the bishops who must keep it alive by discussing it and having PSM do workshops on it. Of course, Parish Social Ministry (I refuse to use new titles), can also move forward systematically even before the bishops ask them to.

Laudato Si' - Magistra No | National Catholic Reporter

Laudato Si' - Magistra No | National Catholic Reporter by MSW. MGB: The right wingers have been looking for ways to distance themselves from Catholic Social Teaching since Leo XIII.  I suspect they will not be allowed to do it for long, especially against this Pope.  While they think he is all warm and fuzzy, the people who write them checks (the little ones, not the big ones, love Francis).  Sadly, I suspect a short news cycle on both sides.



Acton's Jayabalan talks non-negotiables, as if the capitalism we practice now is somehow blessed by God (I suspect they think it is) or is not entirely exploitive.  Sadly, Francis did not go far enough in condemning it.   If Acton is referring to abortion, then it could go a long way in fighting it if it supported a child tax credit of $1000 per month per child distributed with payroll.  I bet if they even heard it, their response would be crickets.  As for markets, let me repeat - capitalism is not a free market system, its a rigged game.  Hopefully that part will be emphasized further, by both the Pope and a certain presidential candidate I know from Vermont.



Acton's Samual Gregg talked to Business Spectator. I did not even know that rag existed.  It can only go worse from there.  He does not like what Francis says about markets either.  Of coure, it takes monopolistic structures to have a coal economy and an industrial sector that is capable of polluting and of depending on the demand for goods by consumers (who, I must emphasize, will get all Marxian if they can't afford to live on their wages).



Weigels piece is bizarre (although I like the title) - in infering that the Encyclical should be a cost-benefit analysis of climate policy.  That is about as nutty as it gets because the answer is, of course, no.  Oddly, George's Trinitarian comments seem to jibe with those of MSW.  I am sure that was fun to read.  Weigel resists the replacement of God with science, as MSW does.  Of course, that does not mean we should not use reason in determining the rightness of economic or environmental policy, especially if you admit to a humanistic Deity and moral system that follows from that.  



The mythical story of Adam and Eve is about blame based thinking. Its why Eve at the apple (she blamed God for not making her think like Him) and Adam blamed Eve and Eve the serpent.  The knowledge of good and evil we inherit is ulitmately what we must use judge capitalism and global warming.



The solution has to be creative and must deal with both capitalism and the environment, as I wrote yesterday to suggest that food producing homes paid for through employment in cooperatives, which do the financing as well.   Such employment conditions will also solve life issues at both ends.  (and someone tell Francis that the moral standing of extracted stem cells is the same, regardless of whether they come from adults or blastocysts (not embryos).  That is a fight for another day, however.  Weigel seems to have gotten this right, although he did not stress the problems with capitalism, he did give a pretty good summary from his point of view. There were no red and gold pens here. He certainly did not follow the lead of the Acton Institute and argue economics, which is why he probably did not mention them.



Greg Gutfeld is an idiot.  Francis is more Marxist than Malthusian (which he is not, by the way).



Sadly, I suspect that the shelf life of this story is about over, except to the extent the Encyclical is used as a reference by Catholic writers and a a whipping boy by the right wing.  Still, next week will bring some other story.  We got a lot of mileage out of the run up and unless someone makes noise eitherway, there is not much more to say.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Links for 05/18/15 | National Catholic Reporter

Links for 05/18/15 | National Catholic Reporter MSW. MGB: Meghan Clark's five takeaways are interesting.  Some of them should bring great comfort to the followers of Henry George (who took it upon himself to answer Leo in Rerum Novarum).  I think everyone likes the St. Francis references.  The abortion mentions are important.  I wonder if the  right wingers who are paid to discredit the global warming findings will even notice them?



The Deneen interivew on Vatican Radio is interesting as citing the encyclical as a challenge to think differently about morality and the environment, and not just Catholics.  Of course, my response earlier today was about thinking differently about authority, but I think we get to the same place.



The Spectator stuck its head out, mockingly of course, saying that the Pope was saying the science is settled (kinda is) and they should talk to their confessor - of course it is more that they should talk to a scientist.  Or maybe an economist (hard to want to do when you have been bought off like most of the conservative talking heads and politicians).  I am not sure it will be possible to keep track of all the negative noise from that sector for the rest of the week.



American Catholic is calling the Pope a leftist.  He might be.  Actually, the term modernist used to be more appropriate.  Perhaps it still is.  Of course, there is plenty in the encyclical for liberation theologists like me to be happy about.  I am also both American and Catholic and challenge that web site's right to monopolize the term.  Of course, more and more American Catholics are not bothering to wake up on Sunday morning until its time for brunch.  Perhaps the page fits right in.