Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Happy and Holy Christmas to You and Yours

We are in that quiet time at the end of the Christmas repast. The few remaining guests are playing Rock Band with my oldest. Shovelling the driveway was a worthy workout. The same will happen tomorrow as we have our large gathering to end our social year. Momma's turkey soup will be the centre of the feast. More casual, more children. All the best to you and yours.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Once in a While...

you get to use a good line to great effect. I was talking to a co-worker about a report of sexual abuse amongst teachers locally. So I sighed and said:

If only teachers could marry...:

According to Worldnet Daily:

According to a major 2004 study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education – the most authoritative investigation to date – nearly 10 percent of U.S. public school students have been targeted with unwanted sexual attention by school employees, and in those cases, 40 percent of the perpetrators were women.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Lex Communis.)

She did a double-take, so I had to point out that this was a standard comment during the Long Lent. The look of enlightenment when she made the connection was reward enough.

I'm Dreaming of...

Global Warming. We're snowed in and have been enjoying freezing weather for the last week or so. It looks like we'll get our first White Christmas in many a long year. How does the global cooling trend since 2002 affect the Chicken Littles of the Al Gore school of pseudo-science? Not al all, apparently:

“Denial is No Longer an Acceptable Response.”:

Well, whether or not the denial of human-caused global warming is “an acceptable response,” the voices of dissent are growing louder everyday. As Bob Carter at the Australian wrote quite bluntly last Friday:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model of dangerous, human-caused climate change has failed. Independent science relevant to supposed human-caused global warming is clear, and can be summarised in four briefpoints.

Read the whole thing.

(Via First Things.)

Friday, December 19, 2008 - The Future of the Catholic Voter? An InsideCatholic Symposium

More intelligent ideas to absorb before reaching any definite conclusions: - The Future of the Catholic Voter? An InsideCatholic Symposium:

With Election 2008 in the history books, we asked a diverse group of faithful Catholics to respond to the following question:

Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic and Enjoying It!.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is Religion Necessarily Irrational?

Read the article linked to below for a cogent, well-argued answer:

You should read it too...:

Tony Esolen at Touchstone links to The Christendom Review, in the process heaping extravagantly well-earned praise on Lydia McGrew's article therein, "The Irrational Faith of the Naked Public Square" -

Read the whole thing.

(Via Apologia.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Blogger After My Own Heart

Too lazy to do my own posts:

Some Days . . .:

(Via Patrick Madrid.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A little bit more on Newsweek

Some more erudite comments on that article:

A little bit more on Newsweek:

Really, what do you call itthat thing featured on the cover of the December 15, 2008, issue of Newsweek? It's not journalism. It's not news. It's not coherent, logical, well-argued, or well-written.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Insight Scoop | The Ignatius Press Blog.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Sola scriptura minus the scriptura » GetReligion

Those supporting things like Same Sex "Marriage" are caught in a confusion about the arguments against the same. They believe that their opponents are arguing a Divine Command kind of morality. The philosopher, following Socrates, wants to know, are things moral because God says so (ergo morality is arbitrary) or does God command it because it is good (ergo morality is superior to God). Saint Thomas answers "that God creates moral norms that reflect his own essence, meaning that his demands are not arbitrary...". All of this is covered in Professor Kreeft's book, of course. And this is the foundation for Natural Law reasoning . Which lead us to Professor Finnis' book. Aren't we glad that I read and shared?

So are senior editors up to Philosophy 101? Well, not everyone:

Sola scriptura minus the scriptura » GetReligion:

Newsweek’s cover story when I read the first line. It was just that bad. It was written by senior editor Lisa Miller who oversees all of the magazine’s religion coverage. Which is pretty shocking when you look at the unbelievable ignorance on display in her grossly unfair first paragraph:

Read the whole thing.

(Via GetRelgion.)

Immaculate Conception

Something appropriate from Clayton:

Immaculate Conception:

Hail, bright star of ocean,
God's own Mother blest,
Ever sinless Virgin,
Gate of heavenly rest.

Read the whole thing.

(Via The Weight of Glory.)

Saturday, December 06, 2008


We have honoured Saint Nicholas on his feast day these many years. This year the maturity of our children means that some chocolates are waiting outside their bedroom doors this morning. But when they were first introduced to him twenty-some years ago, the major gift of the season came on this morning. Christmas gifts were limited to gift exchanges.

So, in honour of Saint Nick:

Saint Nicholas:

It is believed that Nicholas was born in Patura, Lycia, Asia Minor, although the exact date is unknown. He was bishop of Myra, known for his great zeal and holiness.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Catholic Exchange.)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Reading and Thinking

So I've just finished Philosophy 101 by Socrates, an excellent introduction to Philosophy. As the title implies, this is the stuff of a basic introduction to the idea and practice of the Socratic Method. Professor Kreeft's goal is to seduce the student into falling in love with Philosophy. He is successful as far as I can judge. Read it for yourself and see.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Catholics and catholics

I've progressed in my thinking about catholics and voting to the point where I have identified four categories of catholics: Nominal, Unchurched, Weekly and Observant. Nominal catholics self-identify for polling purposes and are probably canonically Catholic (i.e., baptized). But they do not participate in the Liturgy of the Church, even at Christmas. Unchurched catholics haven't attended Liturgy "within the past six months 'excluding special services such as Easter, Christmas, weddings or funerals'". Weekly Catholics attend Mass every or almost every Sunday, but routinely miss all or most all Holy Days of Obligation. Observant Catholics attend every or almost every Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation. (This last are a "grave obligation" for the Faithful and, thus, potential matter for a mortal sin.)

I'm not sure what the relative sizes of the four groups are. Between a quarter and almost a half of catholics attend weekly Mass. Being a pessimist by habit, I tend to believe the first number. Christmas swells the attendance considerably--from four Masses more than half full to at least six Masses, two or more of which are standing room only. Holy Days of Obligation, reduce the attendance to half or less of regular Sunday attendance (That's a week after Christmas, here in Canada; the feast of Mary, Mother of God.).

From these numbers I guestimate that of people self-identifying as catholic, 10% are Observant, 15% Weekly, 30% Unchurched and 45% Nominal. This isn't a simple grade from "best" to "worst". For one thing, the Catholics who are causing the most scandal in the Church in the last few decades (Professor Kmiec and catholic priestesses, for example) almost surely fall into the Observant category. Attendance at Mass isn't an indication of "thinking with the Church".

What does any of that mean? I'm not sure. But it seems that evangelization and catechesis are the answers to the scandal of catholics voting for an extremely pro-abortion candidate, when moral alternatives exist. And each group broadly considered has specific needs: Evangelization for the Nominal and the Unchurched; Catechesis for the Weekly and the Observant.

Here's a start on that project:

Reaching Inactive Catholics: For those of you interested in evangelization, I'd like to recommend this upcoming on-line offering by the Paulist National Evangelistic Association.

Keys to Reaching Inactive Catholics (January 2009)

Read the whole thing.

(Via Intentional Disciples.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

What He Said

I'm still puzzling over who, exactly, are "catholics" that we can thnk and talk about when it comes to voting. In the interval wiser heads are adding to the post-election reflections.

Professor Reno makes some interesting points about the nature and effects of the Reagan Revolution. From these he reaches this conclusion:

FIRST THINGS: On the Square » Blog Archive » The Challenge Facing Conservatism: On this point, it seems to me that American conservatism must recognize the primacy of social mores over economic philosophy and foreign policy. We need to expand an old argument. A democracy depends upon citizens capable of ordered liberty. And a culture that seeks economic vitality and is committed to global leadership also requires citizens who can distinguish responsible autonomy from a life of anomic desire. We can endure the inevitable risks of marketplace and battlefield—but only if we have some confidence about the stability of the deeper, more fundamental things of life. [link added]

Read the whole thing.

(Via FIRST THINGS: On the Square.)