Wednesday, 11/5/14

  1. Love of things saccharine
  2. Father, Son, and Spirit of Inclusion
  3. Tough-minded integrity
  4. Life as a Lab Specimin


David Mills gives us an important reminder:

One of the tendencies of our age is to use the suffering of children to discredit the goodness of God, and once you have discredited his goodness, you are done with him. . . . Ivan Karamazov cannot believe, as long as one child is in torment; Camus’ hero cannot accept the divinity of Christ, because of the massacre of the innocents. In this popular pity, we mark our gain in sensibility and our loss in vision. If other ages felt less, they saw more, even though they saw more, even though they saw with the blind, prophetical, unsentimental eye of acceptance, which is to say, of faith.

In the absence of this faith now, we govern by tenderness. It is tenderness which, long since cut off from the person of Christ is wrapped in theory. When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced-labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chamber. [Flannery O’Connor]

I have noticed more than once in life that a taste for the ineffably twee can go hand-in-hand with a distinctly uncharitable outlook on the world. I once shared an office with a woman who had covered the wall space behind her desk with pictures of fluffy kitties; she was the most bigoted, spiteful champion of the death penalty with whom it has ever been my misfortune to share a kettle. A love of all things saccharine often seems present where there is a lack of real warmth or charity. [J.K. Rowling]


They’re dropping like flies.

Creighton, like nearly all American Catholic institutions, is run by upper-middle-class Americans. They are more loyal to their class and its values than the Catholic Church, which over the last fifty years has for the most part renounced its own intellectual and moral culture. This doesn’t mean Catholic leaders lack faith. What it means is that it’s existentially painful for them to be out of sync with dominant opinion.

Contraception, sleeping around, co-habitation, and gay sex are done in private. By and large, over the last few decades the Church in the West has adopted a don’t ask/don’t tell policy. Marriage is different. It is by definition a public institution. You can protest that recognizing gay marriage does not mean approval, but actions have symbolic meaning whether we want them to or not.

I’m sure Pius XII would have denied that signing a Concordat with Hitler’s Germany meant he approved of Nazism. But it conferred legitimacy and dramatically undercut any basis within the Church for resistance. The same goes for the concordat many Catholic institutions are signing with gay marriage. It confers legitimacy on the sexual revolution and undercuts resistance.

(R.R. Reno) You may now solemnly and mendaciously report that Tipsy “compared gays to Hitler” if that’s how superficially your mind deals with analogies. I’m disappointed to see someone of Alan Jacobs’ stature bungle it so badly. As Reno rejoined to Jacobs, he’s not “making an analogy between Nazism and gays” but “between the Church in the 1930s and the Church today.”


Luma Simms, of whom I don’t believe I’d ever heard before, converted from Calvinism to Roman Catholicism, and also divorced and remarried. I’m uncertain of the order in which those things occurred, but I infer that you could substituted “then” for “also” in the prior sentence.

With that background, it takes some tough-minded integrity (known these days as “self-loathing”) to take the position she introduces thus:

The day my soul became Catholic was the day I found out that as a divorced and remarried woman I could not receive Communion. Tears of sorrow and joy flowed. Sorrow because I had by then grasped the truth of transubstantiation, only to find I couldn’t consume, and joy because at last we found the ground of real authority—his Church, the one he founded, the one tasked to keep all he taught her Apostles.

Read the whole thing here.


I thought I was the only one with misgivings, but I’m not:

I was five years old, folding clothes in my bedroom with my mom. She told me that my dad was not my biological father. My biological father was an anonymous sperm donor about whom we knew nothing and whom we could not locate. I was told I was very loved and wanted, and that this is just simply what infertile couples must do. We were different, but we never did anything “wrong,” so to speak.

A few years later my mom divorced that “dad” and I never saw him again. She remarried, and so I was quickly and suddenly given a new “dad.” But neither the first nor the second man ever made me feel safe in my own home. I grew up thinking that there was just something inherently evil and suspicious about men. I truly thought they were either all incapable of love, or that there was something disordered with me; I was simply not worthy of love.

I got older and started spending more time with friends and seeing how their dads treated them. I realized that there are actually great dads out there. But the number one predictor of child abuse is a child living with a non-genetically-related guardian, especially a non-genetically-related male.

(Allana Newman at Humanum. H/T Doug Mainwaring at the Witherspoon Institute.)

Both Newman and Mainwaring get Tough-Minded Integrity shoutouts, too.

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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.