Seven cuts for a cold and snowy Friday:
Did you know that most, if not all, of the troubles in the Catholic Church can be traced back to one group of people? Yep. The offenders are commonly called “converts”, but they are really the pawns (and spawn?) of Satan:
Protestant invasion (Hahn, Ray, Shea et al) has made Catholics
sceptical of their own tradition. … Until the Protestant invasion, “the
first seven years were the ones that count”. Every Catholic possessed
the short pithy responses of the Baltimore Catechism as their lifelong
possession. Newman in the Idea of a University tells the story of three
Anglican ministers traveling in Ireland. They were guided by a 13 year
old youth who surpassed them in his knowledge of the Catechism.
one commenter noted, “Here's a pointer: to maintain the least modicum
of internal consistency, avoid citing Newman in polemics against
converts.” I suspect that St. Paul would agree.
You've likely read about the January 31st report, “Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Holy See” (PDF)
issued by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. Many
have described as an attempt to bully the Catholic Church about her
teachings on sexuality, abortion, and contraception, and, after having
read the document, I think that is an accurate and fair description.
Although the text is bureaucratic in tone, the hubristic condescension
and arrogance is quite thick. For example:
The Committee is seriously concerned about the negative consequences of
the Holy See’s position and practices of denying adolescents’ access to
contraception, as well as to sexual and reproductive health and
With reference to its general comments No. 15 (2013) on the right of
the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health,
No. 4 (2003) on adolescent health and No.3 (2003) on HIV/AIDS and the
rights of the child, the Committee reminds the Holy See of the dangers
of early and unwanted pregnancies and clandestine abortion which result
notably in high maternal morbidity and mortality in adolescent girls, as
well as the particular risk for adolescents girls and boys to be
infected with and affected by STD s, including HIV/AIDs. The Committee
recommends that the Holy See :
Assess the serious implications of its position on adolescents’
enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and overcome all
the barriers and taboos surrounding adolescent sexuality that hinder
their access to sexual and reproductive information, including on family
planning and contraceptives, the dangers of early pregnancy, the
prevention of HIV/AIDS and the prevention and treatment of sexually
transmitted diseases (STDs)...
And then, having issued that amoral-laden lecture, the committee has the temerity to state:
Take measures to raise awareness of and foster responsible parenthood
and sexual behaviour, with particular attention to boys and men
right. The United Nations has, for quite some time, been promoting or
aiding irresponsible sexual activity, contraception, and abortion
throughout the world. Mary Jo Anderson, writing fifteen years ago,
reported on how the United Nations Hague Forum was attacking “parental
rights, national sovereignty, and religious freedom while it thrusts
forward universal access to abortion under the cover of 'reproductive
health and rights.'” That February 1999 meeting was hosted by the
government of the Netherlands and the United Nations Population Fund
(unfpa), “courtesy of the Bill Gates and Ted Turner foundations.”
issue are globally guaranteed "freedom of sexual expression," access to
contraceptives and abortion for the world's youth (defined by the UN
World Health Organization as 10-18 year olds) without parental consent,
and the demand that abortion and "gender equity" be granted status as a universal human right.
yet, for some reason, this most recent attack by the United Nations on
Catholic teaching came as a surprise to some Catholic leaders, as reported by the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute:
Silvano Maria Tomasi, who represents the Vatican at the United Nations
in Geneva, told Vatican Radio his first reaction to the observations was
committee took a negative approach and was “very wrong”, he said with
consternation, “the Church cannot simply give up its beliefs” because
all Church teaching on human dignity is ultimately geared towards
preserving the common good.
committee’s observations “contradict the spirit and letter of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child,” Tomasi added. The treaty
preamble in fact states that children should be protected before and
lamented that the committee failed to take note of how advanced child
protection mechanisms in local churches throughout the world have become
in response to child abuse scandals involving clergy. He said the
Church is now a “leader” on best practices for the protection of
said the observations of the committee were not up to date a polite
way of saying the committee did not do its job properly.
Catholic is surprised by all of this, they surely haven't been paying
attention. The situation will likely not change; if it does, it might
only be for the worse. For instance, consider this directive from the
… While also noting as positive the progressive statement delivered in
July 2013 by Pope Francis, the Committee is concerned about the Holy
See’s past statements and declarations on homosexuality which contribute
to the social stigmatization of and violence against lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender adolescents and children raised by same sex
In other words, Catholic teaching is allegedly
contributing to hatred of and violence against “lesbian, gay, bisexual,
and transgender adolescents and children raised by same sex couples.”
That's a very serious allegation, but also a slithery one: How does one
prove it? Or, more to the point, how does one prove it false?
In somewhat related news:
Fernando Sebastian Aguilar, appointed by Pope Francis I to be Spain’s
newest Cardinal, is under investigation for “inciting hate and
discrimination” which is an offense against Spain’s constitution.
whose appointment to archbishop is not official until February 22, made
the mistake of airing his homophobia in an interview with the Diario
Sur newspaper immediately after news of his appointment broke.
And what, exactly, constitutes homophobia in this instance? What horrific, nasty things did Abp. Aguilar say? Here you go:
lot of people complain and don’t tolerate it but with all respect I say
that homosexuality is a defective way of manifesting sexuality, because
that has a structure and a purpose, which is procreation.”
have a lot of defects in our bodies. I have high blood pressure. Am I
going to get angry because they tell me that? It is a defect I have that
I have to correct as far as I can,” said Sebastian, who is archbishop
emeritus of the northern city of Pamplona.
The report says that
when the archbishop was “reminded” of Pope Francis' recent statement,
“If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to
judge?”, he replied:
is one thing to show welcome and affection to a homosexual person and
another to morally justify the exercise of homosexuality.”
None of this, of course, is contrary to what the Catechism (pars 2357-59) says about homosexual acts, homosexual tendencies, and the avoidance of unjust discrimination.
The private funeral of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who died earlier
this week of a suspected heroin overdose, “will be held on Friday for
400 people at the Church of St Ignatius Loyola in Manhattan,” reports The Guardian. The Huff-and-Puff Post reports:
who died at age 46, was baptized and raised in the Catholic church but
did not regularly go to church as an adult. Recalling his upbringing to
the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest who worked with Hoffman when he
directed “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" at the Public Theater in New
York, Hoffman said that Masses "really turned me off" and were
repetitive, "boring and sometimes really brutal."
May God have mercy on his soul and grant him eternal rest.
Congratulations to the brilliant and gracious poet and critic Dana Gioia:
Dana Gioia, the USC Judge Widney Professor Of Poetry And Public Culture, has been named the recipient of Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry.
celebrated for his poetry, criticism and arts advocacy, joins a who’s
who list of the greatest contemporary American poets who have already
been bestowed this national prize honoring lifetime achievement.
wanted to combine the past and the presentto take the richness of
literature and combine it with the energy of movies and popular song to
create a new sort of poetry,” Gioia said. “I was not interested in
writing just for academics or intellectuals.”
If you've never read any of Gioia's poetry, please do so. I recommend beginning with his most recent collection, Pity the Beautiful (Graywolf Press, 2012), reviewed by Ann Applegarth for CWR in June 2012. Also visit his website and, if you've not seen it, read my October 2013 interview with Dana and his brother, Ted, a brilliant writer, historian, and critic.
Amy Glass's post, “I Look Down On Young Women With Husbands And Kids And I’m Not Sorry”
(Jan. 15, 2014), has already gotten too much attention, so I apologize
for adding anything at all to her dubious fame. My three immediate
thoughts, upon reading it, were: “She's a very poor writer”, “She's a
lousy thinker”, and “She's a coward.” Here is evidence for the both
people really think that a stay at home mom is really on equal footing
with a woman who works and takes care of herself? There’s no way those
two things are the same. … Women will be equal with men when we stop
demanding that it be considered equally important to do housework and
real work. They are not equal. Doing laundry will never be as important
as being a doctor or an engineer or building a business. This word play
is holding us back.
Jonah Goldberg nails it:
about word play! You see the sleight of hand, right? “Doing laundry” is
a single, discrete task, a subset of a vast realm of responsibilities
that often come with running a household and being a mother. Being a
doctor, engineer, or business-builder are total careers or vocations. In
other words, it’s a false analogy. Like saying being a chef isn’t as
worthwhile as being a truck driver because chefs “cut vegetables.” Every
career or calling involves unpleasant or tedious tasks (“Tell me about
it” -- The Couch).
My wife, who has a college degree and has
worked for both a major department store chain and a state university,
is a “stay at home mom” who not only does laundry, but is:
a teacher (of our three children)
an engineer (she fixed the washer last week and saved us $200)”
a doctor (she handles a constant flood of cuts, scrapes, flus, colds, and other ailments)
a chef (we both cook, but she handles the majority of kitchen duties)
a business consultant (for me and for others, always informally but always helpfully)
a farmer and rancher (six chickens on site and one horse off site)
a management guru (three kids, animals, house, and a work-at-home, often-clueless husband)
could go on. But, see, Glass is a coward. She thinks that doing one
thing well is a sign of greatness, when my wife does many things
welland does so with love and a spirit of sacrifice, qualities I cannot
see in Glass's screed. Oh, and “Amy Glass” turns out to be a pen name.
Nothing wrong with that, of course. Still, if she is going to throw
rocks at glass houses, I wish she'd start with her own Glass house.
I'd be remiss if I didn't point you toward G.K. Chesterton's essay, “The Emancipation of Domesticity”, which contains the following:
must be a cook, but not a competitive cook; a school mistress, but not a
competitive schoolmistress; a house-decorator but not a competitive
house-decorator; a dressmaker, but not a competitive dressmaker. She
should have not one trade but twenty hobbies; she, unlike the man, may
develop all her second bests. This is what has been really aimed at from
the first in what is called the seclusion, or even the oppression, of
women. Women were not kept at home in order to keep them narrow; on the
contrary, they were kept at home in order to keep them broad. The world
outside the home was one mass of narrowness, a maze of cramped paths, a
madhouse of monomaniacs. It was only by partly limiting and protecting
the woman that she was enabled to play at five or six professions and so
come almost as near to God as the child when he plays at a hundred
trades. But the woman's professions, unlike the child's, were all truly
and almost terribly fruitful; so tragically real that nothing but her
universality and balance prevented them being merely morbid.
that said, I am not at all against women working outside the home. What I
am against is a narrow-minded blogger demanding that others be exactly
like her without even fairly or accurately assessing what she is
ignorantly mocking and condemning.
Rolling Stone magazine
put the Pope on the cover!!!!! So what. Who cares. Blah. Wake me up
when said magazine writes an intelligent article about music. God knows
it cannot produce or publish an intelligent article about the papacy.