Sunday, August 25, 2013

    1. Nation states gone bad
    2. Insularity anyone?
    3. One mustn’t offend barbarians, now, must one?


But it was Cardinal George who was the most blunt. In a February video interview with the Catholic News Service, he criticized the Obama administration for behaving “as if a right to free contraception were now a constitutional right” that presumes to supersede “the genuinely constitutional right of freedom of religion.” In this, Cardinal George announced, the church “will simply not cooperate.” In the same vein, he predicted in the Catholic New World in November 2012 that “the greatest threat to world peace and international justice is the nation state gone bad, claiming an absolute power, deciding questions and making ‘laws’ beyond its competence.”

(Nicholas G. Hahn III in the Wall Street Journal)


Christianity Today seems to think that Christians living near Little Italy should “venture in” because “one out of five non-Christians in North American doesn’t know any Christians.”

Migrants move into enclaves and don’t venture out. But even Christians who live close to Chinatowns and Little Italys don’t often venture in, Johnson said.

And what “non-Christian” religion does CT think the residents of “Little Italy” do practice?

“Can you say ‘insular’? I thought you could.”


Another conservative has flip-flopped on same-sex marriage. It seems that his gay friend Jim got pissed off at the Catholic Church about SSM, and then pissed off at Catholics generally, so they’re not friends any more and it’s the Church’s fault, not Jim’s.

I’m not the first to say that I think this game’s all over but the shouting. The die was cast, I suspect, when the 1930-something Episcopal Church, for the first time in Christian history, decided contraception was okay. Less than 20 years later, Dr. Bob Jones Sr., the Fundamentalist ne plus ultra in North America, demanded that newlyweds who aspired o be dorm parents at Bob Jones University vow to contracept if they wanted the job. By the 1960s I (then Evangelical) had somehow gotten the idea that marriage was a sex license – and that “anything goes” between spouses. The nation welcomed no-fault divorce in the 60s and 70s so divorce wouldn’t be so needlessly unpleasant. And our betters don’t want to give couples the choice of again entering into unions that aren’t unilaterally dissoluble, but require fault by the responding party. That would be contrary to our fundamental value of expressive individualism.

I hope, and I suspect, that the “shouting” when it’s all over will not be the few Churches who remember what marriage is berating the broader culture, like a street preacher in the college quad. But I don’t care what J. Bottum says: losing gracefully does not require changing sides or saying “we were wrong.” Bottum’s Church isn’t wrong on this issue.

Rod Dreher did some pretty good psychological summarizing:

… Bottum and I would largely agree … that Christians are fighting a losing battle.

Bottum cares a great deal about how the rest of the world sees the Church. In the spring of 2002, he publicly rebuked me, then a Catholic, at a meeting of Catholic journalists for writing so forcefully in criticism of the bishops over the sex abuse scandal. He said that by attacking the Church’s bishops so publicly, I was serving as a “professional Catholic,” a useful idiot for secularist types who hate the Catholic Church, to help them justify their prejudices and deny the Church freedom. I thought that was an unfair and even gutless accusation, one that made being a theocon hack more important than speaking the truth about the failures of our Church. My view then was that it didn’t matter what the world thought of the Church, the scandal and the culture that brought it about had to be confronted openly, and by Catholics.

(Emphasis added)

Bottum seems to have missed something: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

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“The remarks made in this essay do not represent scholarly research. They are intended as topical stimulations for conversation among intelligent and informed people.” (Gerhart Niemeyer)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.