Category: Catholicsm

When the Spotlight’s Not So Bright

By , March 1, 2016 8:49 am

Neil Goldschmidt_5629lFor a whiff of why the press is dumping on Trump—as well they should—and not so much on Hillary (and maybe Bernie), you only need read this.

Sunday evening, Spotlight won best picture for its portrayal of the Boston Globe’s coverage of the Catholic Church’s cover up of sex abuse. Abuse such as that should be exposed—and I say this as a fan of the Catholic Church. The light of day prevents rot. So where was the Spotlight in the case of the Mayor of Portland, then Governor of Oregon, Neil Goldschmidt as he cavorted openly with his 14-year old babysitter? Well, some people turned it off because, well, Goldschmidt was such a good governor.

Unless and until we have an equal opportunity Spotlight, things will only get worse. That Trump is leading in the polls is, in part, a response to partisan cover ups like this.

Here’s my take on Trump voters: They’re not responsive to all the well-sourced and factual mud being slung his way because they’ve learned that there’s mud to be slung at the other side, and it’s not being slung. The Spotlight was turned off on Bill Clinton’s shenanigans. Yes, I know the press covered Monica Lewinsky, but grudgingly. But it was all Juanita Broderick who? Kathleen Wiley who? Paula Jones? “If you drag a hundred dollar bill* through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.” It’s just sex after all.

And in President Obama’s case, the Spotlight was used only to create a halo at photo ops.**

“So what the hell!” the Trump voter cries, “I’m voting for Trump!”

I’m not. But I know at least one reason why they are.

The Ursula Le Guin reference at the beginning of the second story deserves repeating:

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,’ is set in the ultimate Shining City on a Hill, a place of joy and happiness, full of educated, creative types who spend their days frolicking at festivals and occasionally indulging in (non-habit-forming) drugs that reveal the secrets of the universe while ‘exciting the pleasure of sex beyond all belief.’

There are ‘fast little trains and double-decked trams’ in Omelas. And a farmers’ market.

‘If the child were brought up into the sunlight, … all the prosperity and beauty and delight of Omelas would wither and be destroyed. … The child’s torture is no secret. The good people of Omelas know.’

How great is Omelas that we look the other way? Have a nice day.

*Only just now did I notice Carville’s Freudian slip.

**I won’t bring them up here, but I’m not oblivious to the fact that Right has done its fair share of covering up as well, the only difference being that the media is largely liberal, so such cover ups are less successful.

UPDATE: @MZHemingway_2016-03-01_1244

This Neighborhood’s Apparently Doing Just Fine

By , September 26, 2013 2:21 pm

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral, begun in 1882, is slated for completion in 2026:

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

By , March 20, 2012 11:25 pm

Can’t wait to see this:

And I’m soon going to get to. Wherever I go, I take time to visit important religious buildings. For example, no visit to Washington D.C. is complete without a visit to the National Cathedral.

Sunday Music on a Monday

By , March 19, 2012 9:54 am

I drove from Cody to Orem on Sunday and didn’t have time to post, so this is a make-up.

Nothing says peaceful better than a chant. This one by the Benedictine Monks will do just fine:

If you’re ever in Utah, take some time to visit the Abbey of Our Lady of the Holy Trinity, home to some very kind monks who make some great honey.

Well, You Win Some and then You Sometimes Lose Them

By , February 23, 2012 9:58 am

Senator Marco Rubio was once a Mormon.

I’ll Be Watching This

By , January 31, 2012 4:17 pm

Today on The Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru writes about the move by Republicans in the House and Senate to restore religious liberties abrogated recently by the Obama Administration, which

has decided to require religious institutions that offer insurance to cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients, whether or not they object to covering them. Churches would be exempt but not, for example, Catholic universities or hospitals.

My Twitter feed has been alive with conversation about what the Administration has done, but I’ve paid scant attention. I’ll be more attentive from now on because this disturbs me. At one time, I was anti-abortion but pro-choice. No longer. Over the years, I’ve changed my views to anti-abortion, give-the-child-up-for-adoption-if-necessary. To me, if there is any doubt about whether that life begins at conception, then the doubt should favor the possibility of life. Moreover, if Jefferson’s wall separating church and state means anything, it means something here in the domain of all things sacred to religious folk and institutions.

Two Thoughts to End the Year On

By , January 1, 2012 12:36 am

As per my usual routine, I went into my office to shut down my computer. It was 11:00 PM, and Janet and I were going to bed before the New Year. For one, Janet followed me in to see if her print job was finished. It wasn’t, and so here I sat, waiting for it to begin, let alone finish. And because I was sitting at my computer, I began to surf. My surfing was rewarded.

First, by a link on Instapundit that led me to a post on Chicago Boyz of an excerpt of a Tennyson poem, The Passing of the King:

The stillness of the dead world’s winter dawn
Amazed him, and he groaned, ‘The King is gone.’
And therewithal came on him the weird rhyme,
‘From the great deep to the great deep he goes.’


Then from the dawn it seemed there came, but faint
As from beyond the limit of the world,
Like the last echo born of a great cry,
Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice
Around a king returning from his wars.

Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb
Even to the highest he could climb, and saw,
Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand,
Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King,
Down that long water opening on the deep
Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
From less to less and vanish into light.
And the new sun rose bringing the new year.

The second was a post by Michael Potemra on The Corner about Father Baron’s comments about the late Christopher Hitchens. I’ve posted the Father Baron video below, but I first want to quote Potemra,
I had my problems with Christopher Hitchens — who didn’t? — and Barron mentions some of these issues in the video. But he puts those disagreements in a very realistic context, in what I think is an attempt to see our brother Christopher with God’s eyes. That is what we are called to do even with our outright enemies, never mind people who might say an unkind word about (or to) us now and again. Now there’s a resolution for the New Year: Try to be as charitable with people who disagree with me as Father Barron is in his comments on Hitchens. (One hell of a challenge; but then, so, of course, is Christianity. In fact, it’s the same challenge.)
Poterma’s thoughts compliment those of Chicago Boy Lexington Green, who posted the Tennyson poem:

The strifes and sadnesses and laughter and joy and work and play and songs and silences of another year are now sealed up and put aside and stored away in the attic of memory. And now the new year with its prospects and menaces, its and tediums and discoveries, its old friends and new ones, comes faintly into view.

2012 will be a contentious and eventful year. Be good to each other. Keep your sense of humor. Don’t personalize the political, and correct or avoid those who do. The personal is too valuable to be debased in that way. Be hopeful. Have gratitude. Fear God and dread nought.

Thus my surfing paid off in a challenge to be a better person in 2012. May you feel so challenged as well. And now, as promised, is Barron on Hitchens:

Mormonism’s Moment?

By , February 10, 2011 8:58 am

Is the time ripe for a Mormon to be President, or will religion get in Mitt Romney’s or Jon Huntsman Jr.’s way? Sally Quinn asks the question in On Belief, her religious bailiwick at The Washington Post. Eight panelists, including the likes of Barry Lynn who writes,

There really is only one question that needs to be answered: can you faithfully execute the laws of the United States or is there some religious view you hold that you believe transcends that duty?

Which begs the question: Would he, or anyone else, accept the answer, “Yes, I can,” and move on? Or would that question actually be an open door through which the inquisitor would parade his even deeper-held beliefs that “there ain’t no way a Mormon President won’t do the bidding of his (or her) hierarchical superiors in Salt Lake!”

I’ll be back for further comment on this subject.

Religion in the Public Square

By , February 5, 2011 11:13 am

Elder Dallin H. Oaks recently gave a speech on religious freedom at Chapman University School of Law. He also gave an interview on the subject. Both are worthy–very worthy–of our attention.

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A little background on Elder Oaks, currently an Apostle in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Oaks graduated from the University of Chicago School of Law; clerked for Earl Warren, then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; taught at Chicago; and served as interim dean of that law school, as president of BYU (where he also oversaw the establishment of the J.Reuben Clark Law School), and finally a justice on the Utah Supreme Court. He was considered for the U.S. Supreme Court by both President Ford and Reagan.

In his speech, Oaks gives a number of troubling examples of what he is concerned about and why he is calling for religions to join together in protecting religion’s place in the public square:

In New Mexico, the state’s Human Rights Commission held that a photographer who had declined on religious grounds to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony had engaged in impermissible conduct and must pay over $6,000 attorney’s fees to the same-sex couple. A state judge upheld the order to pay. In New Jersey, the United Methodist Church was investigated and penalized under state anti-discrimination law for denying same-sex couples access to a church-owned pavilion for their civil-union ceremonies.  A federal court refused to give relief from the state penalties. Professors at state universities in Illinois and Wisconsin were fired or disciplined for expressing personal convictions that homosexual behavior is sinful. Candidates for masters’ degrees in counseling in Georgia and Michigan universities were penalized or dismissed from programs for their religious views about the wrongfulness of homosexual relations. A Los Angeles policeman claimed he was demoted after he spoke against the wrongfulness of homosexual conduct in the church where he is a lay pastor. The Catholic Church’s difficulties with adoption services and the Boy Scouts’ challenges in various locations are too well known to require further comment. (see sources in transcript)

As Elder Oaks made his case that we–religious believers–need to stand up and speak out, I was particularly impressed by his quotation of his fellow Apostle, the late Neal A. Maxwell:

My esteemed fellow Apostle, Elder Neal A. Maxwell, asked:

“[H]ow can a society set priorities if there are no basic standards? Are we to make our calculations using only the arithmetic of appetite?”

He made this practical observation:

“Decrease the belief in God, and you increase the numbers of those who wish to play at being God by being ‘society’s supervisors.’ Such ‘supervisors’ deny the existence of divine standards, but are very serious about imposing their own standards on society.”

Elder Maxwell also observed that we increase the power of governments when people do not believe in absolute truths and in a God who will hold them and their government leaders accountable.

Hadley Arkes and Encounters to Flip Over

By , January 20, 2011 11:52 pm

Hadley Arkes spoke this evening in the Harold B. Lee Library Auditorium at Brigham Young University. Until I saw a poster on campus advertising his up-coming speech on Constitutionalism and Its Presupositions, I had never heard of him, even though he is apparently at the front in the battle to save traditional marriage and to abort abortion.

Afterwards, I did the obligatory Internet search on his name and also visited a new webzine he and others just launched. The Catholic Thing is now bookmarked on my computer.

His most recent contribution is titled Ave Maria University: A Challenge Among Friends, a piece in which he recounts a conversation he had recently with a friend, a Harvard grad, who now has two daughters at Ave Maria and promises never to send his children to Harvard because, according to Akres,

The new sexual ethic, whether on pornography, promiscuity, abortion, homoeroticism, is so pervasive, touching every aspect of life, that there is little room for those who will not pay homage to that reigning ethic.

I understand the man’s concern. I sent a daughter to Berkeley. However, I find myself more in agreement with Akres:

He may indeed be right. But I think of Fr. Benedict Ashley, a central figure in teaching on the theology of the body. Ben Ashley, in the 1930s at the University of Chicago, was a flaming atheist and perhaps a Communist – until he met Mortimer Adler, who confronted him with Aquinas and natural law, and flipped him. That flipping produced a writer who has educated several generations of Catholics.

Substitute Mormon for Catholic–or don’t–and I must thank the many intelligent and eloquent believers who labor in Babylon to shepherd God’s stray and sometimes confused lambs back into the fold, turning some of them into intelligent and eloquent defenders of the faith in the process.

By the way, as Adler did to Ben Ashley, Akres did to me. No, I’m still Mormon, but I am a Mormon who will be reading much more about natural law, beginning with Arkes’s book Natural Law & the Right to Choose.

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