Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Note Concerning Abortion

While I tried to make this clear in my talk this week – and I do the same when talking to people one on one – the issue of abortion is not just a logical refutation. There a millions of women who have had an abortion and many of them are going through a lot of pain, remorse, and solitude afterwards.

Maybe some don’t feel anything – or maybe some are hostile to people who are opposed to abortion.

In any case, it is important to reach out to others who have had an abortion or who have thought about having or who are supporting abortion with Christian charity (love). The Pro-Life cause is not about winning debates or arguments but is rather about imaging the God we worship so that they can find the peace only God can give.

And don’t forget, the same is true on any issue – be it regarding the Eucharist, Confession, or Purgatory. St. Peter tells us to be ready to give a reason for our hope but to do so with gentleness and reverence.

My Final Word on the Elections (More or Less)

I find elections way too nerve wracking. I always have. And now it doesn’t help that the elections are covered for like two years in advance. But this year it’s even worse because the Pro-Life cause is a heartbeat away from their biggest victory ever… or their worst loss ever.

I say this because if Obama wins next Tuesday, he will more than likely get to nominate two or more justices to the Supreme Court. The justices he would nomination would not simply be Pro-Choice – they’d be fundamentally opposed to what it means to be human.

I gave a talk the other evening about the Catholic Church’s teaching on voting and I have reached the conclusion, based upon the Church’s reasoning, that I cannot vote for Obama.

Why is that?

Because he upholds more intrinsically evil acts then McCain. Obama supports the killing of unborn children by abortion and embryonic stem cell research. He also supported a bill that would allow the murders of children born alive due to botched abortions. He is also supporting of killing the disabled – in fact, his only decision he said he would have changed during his time in the Senate was the decision he made not to allow the killing of Terri Schiavo.

But perhaps you’re wondering about McCain as I mentioned that Obama upholds more intrinsically evil acts than McCain does. It’s true, McCain also supports embryonic stem cell research, an intrinsically evil act.

According to the U.S. Bishop’s document on voting called Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: “When all candidates hold a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter faces a dilemma. The voter may decide to take the extraordinary step of not voting for any candidate or, after careful deliberation, may decide to vote for the candidate deemed less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to pursue other authentic human goods” (FCFC 36).

In other words, a Catholic can choose the lesser of two evils (in this case McCain) or vote for another candidate altogether (this candidate, of course, has no chance of winning). So what can I say, I’m pragmatic. I’ll take the lesser of two evils.

But this is just one more reason why we need more genuinely Catholic people running for political office. So if you’re a genuine Catholic reading this and can run for office in the future, by all means please do!

I’m tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Defending the Church: In the Newspaper Twice!

It was so cool to get the opportunity to defend the Church in the newspaper twice in one week. As you may already know, I gave a talk on Monday night about the Church’s teaching on voting and the issue of abortion. The talk, which was written about in the paper, emphasized the fact that abortion (and other intrinsically evil acts which can never be tolerated) can be found to be evil by both faith and reason.

The only prerequisite to being fundamentally opposed to abortion is: being human.

This isn’t to say that every human being will be opposed to abortion, but it doesn’t take faith in a religion to be pro-life. In fact, there are many atheists that are pro-life. So below are a couple of excerpts from the article in the paper. Enjoy!

“Faith does have a role in the ballot box, according to the teaching of the Catholic church, a Catholic educator said Monday.

“‘As Catholics, our mission is to go out and change the world for the better,’ said Andrew Lynch… during a presentation Monday night on the church’s teaching regarding voting.

“An important role parishioners have in achieving that mission, he said, is voting for candidates based on their stance on moral issues such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research and social justice.

“‘It is not the role of the clergy nor the church to support a party or candidate,’ Lynch said, referring to the U.S. Bishop’s document titled, ‘Reflection on Catholic Teaching and Political Life.’ However, clergy can help churchgoers see what is morally right, he said. Intrinsically evil acts are never to be tolerated, according to Catholic teachings.

"'You don’t have to be Catholic or even a Christian to be pro-life,’ Lynch said.“He said a person — by reason and faith — ‘can reach the conclusion abortion is intrinsically evil because it’s killing a human life.

"'He said it is for that reason that abortion always ‘rises to the top’ as an issue for Catholics in regard to candidates and their stance on the issue.”

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hey You! Read This!

I hope I caught you with that in-your-face title! I’ve been doing a lot of reading about G.K. Chesterton and I wanted to share some really cool quotes from him!

So keep reading!

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.”

“Religious liberty is supposed to mean a man is free to discuss his faith, in practice it means he is hardly allowed to mention it.”

On liberal Protestants: “I grew up in a world in which the Protestants, who had just proved that Rome [supposedly] did not believe in the Bible, were excitedly discovering that they did not believe in the Bible themselves.”

“There are no uneducated people. Everybody…is educated; only most are educated wrong.”

On housewives and feminism: “…when people begin to talk about [a woman’s] domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. …a woman’s function is [indeed] laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”

“Men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”

“Take away the supernatural, and what remains is the unnatural.”

“Catholic doctrine and discipline may be walls; but they are the walls of a playground.”

“Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

No Apology For History

Some people have asked me why history is so important. The most pointed debate I had was with a Marxist. They of course lack so much common sense that they would even argue against the law of non-contradiction. Nevertheless, I believe that history is tremendously important. History is the memory of a very old and ancient people.

Ever see the movie 50 First Dates?

Imagine if we treated history like that. Every year or so we’ll just wipe our slate clean and forget anything happened before it. But no society can really work that way. It’d be a great tool if Obama gets elected… But seriously history is remembering our own past, helping us to look to the future.

What’s more important is that history is His Story. The Story of Christ,

Think about it. Anyone who is eternally saved is saved by being in Christ – by being incorporated into his body, the Church. And if those before Christ could be saved by the graces of the cross in advance (like Moses or Abraham), then the whole of human history is the history of Christ.

So just as ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ (St. Jerome), ignorance of history is ignorance of Christ.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Taking Back America!

When the Founding Fathers created this great country we call America, they founded it on a key idea: human beings have rights that were given to them by God. As a result of this belief, human beings have a right to self-rule.

The problem today is that American self-government is a joke.

In 18th and 19th century America, families were the bedrock of our country. Communities took care of their own, making their own products, caring for their own buildings, and policing their own streets.

Today our country is ruled by big government and big business. The Far Left and the Far Right. Local schools have been told not to allow students to express their faith because someone a thousand miles away was offended by it. Churches cannot be allowed to enter the public sphere because their belief in a loving God is just too "radical" and "irrational" to be believed. Big businesses like Target and Wal-Mart enter our towns and suck up whatever local identity the community once had. Small businesses die away because of new laws imposed upon them from the federal government.

What's worse is that our own individuality is being wiped away as well. People talk about "being yourself" but what they really mean is that we are to be just like everyone else. Our TV shows teach us to be irresponsible while the commercials tell us to be self-indulgent.

G.K. Chesterton said that: "Self-denial is the test and definition of self-government."

If we are to really rule ourselves, we must band together as families and communities, reject the ill-notions of our secular culture, embrace the faith we have received, and fight for the things we love. This will not be easy! It will take passion! Think about that word: passion. It can be used to describe both pain and love! If we love our family, our country, and our God, we must have the passion to do what is necessary to uphold them.

And just remember one other good quote from Chesterton: "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." If saving civilization and the souls of our neighbors was easy, it wouldn't be worth doing - so when you fail or make mistakes, keep going!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Quote of the Day!

Dale Alquist, an internationally known scholar on G.K. Chesterton, had some interesting Chestertonian-style words (indeed, he drew his idea from the writtings of Chesterton) about jounalism and the application of words to things and concepts.

"We live in a world of journalese. The very language that we are forced to use attacks our traditions, our morals, our faith. Things that are degenerate and sinful are called 'progressive' and 'liberating'. Good words that were once pure and noble, like 'choice' and 'gay', now have reprehensible meanings. Everything done inside a house is called 'drudgery', while anything done inside an office is called 'enterprise'. Modern doubt, which has engulfed us in the fog of agnosticism, is called bold and broad. Traditional religion, which has given light to millions across the world and across the centuries, is called dull and narrow."

And if you're unaware, Chesterton was himself a journalist! Neither Alquist nor Chesterton think journalism to be bad - they both just think words ought to be used to express both high and mighty ideas as well as practical truths about our everyday world. Chesteron loved to point out the things we've seen a thousand times but never really noticed.

And even tough he was a journalist, Chesterton wouldn't hide from criticizing the problems in his own field. He said: "The higher critics are wholly dificient in the highest form of criticism, which is self-criticism." Someone once told Chesterton that he acted as if he knew everything. His response: "I know nothing, Madam. I am a journalist."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Entering the Second Quarter

Well I’m not really having a quarter-life crisis – it’s just something I heard a few years ago that I thought sounded really cool – and I of course wanted to say it when I turned 25. And if I die tomorrow I’ll be really P.O.ed that I would have had my official quarter-life crises when I was in first grade…

In any case, since I’ve been too busy to blog much (and won’t have much more time in the near future), I thought I’d start putting up quotes from people much smarter and wiser then myself.

The first quote is from my favorite living author, Dr. Peter Kreeft. In this passage, he explains an important teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas on knowing versus loving:

“St. Thomas says that it is better to know a stone than to love a stone but better to love God than to know God, because love conforms the lover to the beloved, while knowledge conforms the known object to the way-of-knowing of the knower (S.T. I, 82, 3). When we love a dog, we become more doggy, but when we know a dog, we raise it up to our own level: thought. When we know God, we drag him down to our anthropomorphic level, we make God more humanoid than he really is; but when we love God, we are raised up more closely to his level, we become more God-like than we were…”

The second quote is from the Pensees of Pascal. To me, this passage is a good description of Socrates as well as of Pascal. In case you’re wondering, the quote points out the mystery of the human person – and the philosopher’s mission to make sure each person knows there is something different about himself and all other humans. Rocks are always rocks, angels are always angels – but humans can be inhuman! And we do this through every sin! When we recognize this with humility, we become wise. Okay, so here’s the passage:

“If [man] exalts himself, I humble him
If he humbles himself, I exalt him
And I go on contradicting him
Until he understands
That he is a monster that passes all understanding”

And while I’m talking about Dr. Kreeft and Pascal, I’ll link them with two final quotes. The first is from Pascal and the second is from Kreeft in regards to the quote of Pascal:

“To make a man a saint, grace is certainly needed, and anyone who doubts this does not know what a saint, or a man, really is.”

“The world thinks men are good and saints are better. Pascal knows that men are sinners and saints are miracles.”

So as I enter the second quarter of the game, I certainly hope that I’m more than a quarter of the way to sanctity!