Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More editorials

So my last post went a little long and I was unable to blog about the next lovely letter to the editor (LTE) in the Blade . This one deals with the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and centers on the idea that two-parent families are best for kids. Then it goes this way:

--"we could go ahead and allow gay marriage but simply prohibit gay couples for raising children.
--"shouldn't we also ban single-parent households?"
--"why don't we amend the Constitution to ban divorce, since it is one of the leading causes of single-parent households?"

Oh sheesh. Come on. Well, if you're Catholic, then yeah, you should be raising kids in a two-parent house b/c that's the way you get them! Single-parent households aren't the way to go, neither is divorce. Kids needs two parents. Why mess with thousands of years of something that's worked? You need that female/male exposure. The Church is, one occasion, right about these things (OK, so I think they're right about most everything, but y'know)....

From the editorial pages...

One of the great parts about my job is that I get to read all the major state papers every morning. Occasionally they have stuff that I feel compelled to blog about, so I clip them and save them for later. Here's today's round-up (these are a few days old...I've been sitting on them):

From the Akron Beacon Journal : "Abortion is a matter of belief"
....we do not know when life begins and [I] am impressed that another physician admits this belief as a fact. I disagree with his conclusion that this fact makes aboriton unjustified.
From their religious and other life experiences, people believe differently about whem life begins. This belief can vary from the time of conception to anywhere up to the time of birth.
Also, the public has never come to a universal agreement on the question of if or when an abortion can be done. Since it is a fact that we do not know when life beings, one must make one's own descisions from one's own beliefs whether one has had an abortion or not.
Abortion is an emotionally disturbing and traumatic event. It is a decision not to be taken lightly. However, the procedure should be available to those women who would find continuing a pregnancy an overwhleming problem.

Well isn't that just peachy? Let's debunk here. First, we don't know when life begins. Well, OK. I guess you can have a point. I'm Catholic so we say conception. But if you don't buy that, or want to be medical, then let's look at is. It is when the heart starts beating? Well that happens pretty early on in fetal development. Brain functions? We know babies in utero can feel pain and they move around, so obviously there's some brain function going on. Babies have bodies, obviously, because they're born with one. Lungs are developed around what? 7 months or so? What is the exact criteria for life that an unborn child doesn't posses? Speech? Well there are plenty of people who can't talk. Higher brain function? Same thing. Are these people not human? I don't want to get into that, because some people (amazingly, horrifyingly) will say that they actually aren't. But really, when does life begin, if not at conception?

When I was in college I took a class called Psychology of Religion. There we learned about Paschal's wager, which basically said that it's better to believe in God just in case he actually does exist than to not believe in God and find out later that He does exist. It's sort of hedging your cosmic bets. So if we don't know when life begins, then shouldn't we be too cautious rather than not cautious enough? That seems to make sense to me.

As for "the public has never come to a universal agreement on the question of if or when an abortion can be done", if that was criteria for deciding anything, then nothing would get done! I work in politics, and I know! Geez! Enough of us can agree on enough that we should be able to move on. This is a democracy. Not everyone has to be in agreeement. We have majority rules in America, for better or worse. And the majority of the American people are against some, if not all, abortions. The AMA even says that partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary. So what else is this guy looking for? Americans don't all agree on capital punishment, either, but the last time I checked we still had it.

The movies I have seen....

time for some popcorns...

Since I'm not seeing DVC (!), that doesn't mean I haven't been haunting the loca theater...

-- Mission: Impossible III : OK, I'll admit I don't really have a strong memory of the last two (probably b/c I was on dates when I saw them...heh heh) but this one I thought was pretty good. Not a lot of plot, other than stop the bad guy, save the world, on a crazy romp that takes us to Berlin, the Vatican (see I can tie this all in!), and Beijing. Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt who is engaged (and eventually marries in the film) a nice nurse who thinks he works for the Va DOT. Yeah, right. Keri Russell, Ving Rhames, Joanthan Rhys-Jones and Phillip Seymour Hoffman also co-star, with hoffman being a fantastic villian. Good movie if you just want to follow a loose plot and watch things blow up; it's like one long Alias episode, which makes sense since J.J. Abrahms, the creator of the show, is the movie's director.

-- X-Men: The Last Stand : But is it really? Just as good as the other two, with a few too many characters and waay overbearing music. But other than that, a good movie w/ a high body count (but mostly vaporizations, so don't freak). Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart (yay!), Anna Paquin and everyone's favorite mutant/wizard/etc. Ian McKellan are back to fight another day. The scenes on Alcatraz a pretty cool and the movie's very well-paced.

More to come as I see them: Cars (yay Pixar!), Superman Returns , The Devil Wears Prada and possibly The Lake House and Click .

Friday, May 26, 2006

DVC in USA Today

USA Today had a whole section of their editorial page devoted to DVC responses from around the country. I didn't want to make my last post too long, so here are some of the wonderful things the nation's editorial pages are saying...

From Newsday :

The (movie) critics hated DVC, and many churches have boycotted it - but audiences flocked to see it...To put it bluntly, for all its flaws, Code has one saving grace. It's About Something. It's not car chases in Los Angeles, or guys chasing after girls in Manhattan. It's about Christianity, whcich has dominated the past 2,000 years of Western Civilization."

Oh, and gee, the Passion was about the same thing. But somehow I don't recall Newsday saying it was good b/c it was "about something."

Jay Ambrose, a columnist for Scripps-Howard, compares DVC to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" saying that it's "another thrilled with religious overtones but not a single theological thought anyone should take seriously."

You're right Jay, they shouldn't. But some do. Just ask enough Catholics who have had people ask them "Is this stuff true?!" And it really doesn't matter. If this was a movie about Jews or Muslims, people would be mad.

Saul Rosenthal in The Rocky Mountain News writes, "...those who think that thoughtful Catholics and Protestants will abandon their respective churches or ask that the Gospels be revised after seeing DVC are also wrong. Let's give people more credit. They know it's a movie. "

Um, no Saul, they don't. Because people who read the book thought a lot of it was real. And that's because, as Alan Cochrum, a mebmer of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said, "Dan Brown didn't use his turn signal...There are unwritten rules for how you treat history in fiction, and our boy Dan broke's a suggestion for future authors: if you like to jerk chains when it comes to history and religion, at least use your literary turn signal. People might be a lot less likely to learn on the horn when your book suddenly takes a corner or two on the wheels."

Thank you, Alan! Thank you!

From the editorial pages: DVC

I keep telling myself that I'm not going to waste any more brain power on DVC, but the media just won't let me keep my own promise...sigh....

Here's a letter from the Toledo Blade :

I have not seen the movie The Da Vinci Code nor read the book, and I don't intend to. This much I have in common with many of the protesters.
Why is it that the religious of the world think everyone else must be "portected" from "deviant" ideas whether fact or fiction? If their teachings are correct can't we see it?
In the less tolerant countries of the world "protection" takes the form of bombings, shootings, and kidnappings. Here in the enlightened USA the "protection" is only protests, demonstrations, and boycotts. So far.

Well, jiminy frost!
Like I said in my last post, if this were about Jews or Muslims, there wouldn't be any discussion about being "enlightened" or "tolerant." Why do Christians, and Catholics especially, have to be tolerant of other people always trashing their faith? Why can't we protest and stand up for it, as is our right? Huh? Why do we just have to sit quietly and be "tolerant"? I don't think so. I'm sick of it. That's a weak argument and it's just not fair to us. We have a voice, too, and when our views are being smashed and defamed on movie screens around the world, that's not cool. We just have to be tolerant of it, hmm? No. I don't think so. We're not going to burn things and kill people a la the Muslim world over a cartoon. But we are going to protest and tell you what's what. Because it's just dumb.

Monday, May 22, 2006

No, no, more no

For those that have asked:

1) Have I seen DVC? No
2) Will I see DVC? No.
3) Will I read DVC? No.
4) Wait, so you haven't read it? No. I have read it--exactly three pages. The first page which is emblazoned with the word "FACT" and then procedes to give you ones that um, aren't, and the first two pages of the novel, which was just horrifically bad writing. I'm sorry, but this was the kind of stuff people wrote in my ENGL 210 Creative Writing class and we all thought, hmmm, how late were you up last night trying to throw this together? I was not impressed. DVC doesn't sell because of it's style, it sells because it's bashing the Church and Christianity in general.

And I'm sick of the people who say it's fiction, so what's the big deal? Well let's see. Let's write a book saying the Holocaust never happened, but let's call it 'fiction'. Let's write an inflammtory book about the Propher Mohammed and call it 'fiction.' You don't think the Anti-Defamation League and Muslim/Islamic groups wouldn't be all over them? Fiction doesn't get you anywhere. Plenty of stuff can be fictious and just plain bigoted. That's what DVC is. It's a bunch of anti-Catholic, anti-Christian diatribe that takes the Church for a ride. Not cool, and not fair. At all. And honestly, I don't even understand how Christians of any stripe can see it, given that it presents the premise that Jesus wasn't even divine. Even the heretics of the Early Church didn't go that far!

We are not being "mean"

Last week, Equality Ohio, the GLBT lobbying group here, held it's first "lobby day" at the Statehouse to try to bring more attention to the whole GLBT issues thing and essentially - I am not kidding - to make sure that lawmakers "get to know" some people who are, actually, gay (or whatever). I suppose this is in an attempt to try to get lawmakers to back off on some of the "anti-gay" bills that we've been hearing here, but I don't know how well it worked.

First of all, it's not lawmakers trying to be "mean", as one parent said (not about lawmakers, but people in general, because the law lets them be "mean"). It's about good societal policy. And Christians (which most of these "mean" lawmakers are) are supposed to treat everyone with love and respect. But that doesn't mean that we can just gloss over what they do. We're called to love everyone, but St. Paul and the Gospels are kinda clear on how you just can't say "well I'm supposed to love you, so do whatever!"

That's what really get me about these liberal Christian denominations, like the United Church of Christ. I'm sorry, but (everyone in unison!) Jesus didn't come to Earth for us all to hold hands and sing Kumbaya!! I'm sorry! The Gospel of Matthew is full of places where Jesus says "I have not come to bring peace, but the sword" and the section about dividing brother against brother, father against son, etc. How many times do we read about the people saying "this teaching is hard", or whatever? Christianity isn't meant to be easy. It's meant to be hard. And yeah there are certain things we can't do. But we've been through all this before, here. This is just a rehash. It's a lot easier to say we're "mean" than to say we actually have a point, but that's not acknowledged, either. Because we're mean. So there.

deep thoughts on bumper stickers (or not...)

Today's round-up of weird bumper stickers:

--Seen in the statehouse garage: "My voice, my vote" on a NARAL sticker. Um, not so much. There's another "voice" there, too, but we like to forget about that one.

--On I-70: "I love God...I just hate his fans." Well, hmm. Isn't there scripture about (paraphrasing here) "how can love God, who you cannot see, if you cannot love your neighbors, who you do see?" Hmmm. Or, um, "love one another"? I don't know. I mean, I get the point, it's about religious "extremists" or "fundamentalists", or (horrors!) the "religious right." But I think it would be better to not try to express political points more complicated than "vote Democrat, it's easier than working" or whatever on a bumper sticker. Especially when it comes to the central tenents of Christianity....

Still working on the there was a lot more to read than I originally thought...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My Cousin the Archbishop!

My cousin (not like really close, 3rd or 4th, but whatever) has just been named Archbishop of D.C., replacing Cardinal McCarrick (woohoo!). Bishop Wuerl of Pittsburgh is a great guy, a JPII man (huzzah!) and will do great things for the D.C. kids who could use, um, a hand, shall we say, getting in line with what the Church teaches. This is really, really cool. Chances are also very high that he will be named a Cardinal, since the archbishop of D.C. is usually made a cardinal. Too bad he's American and therefore, I am 99.9% sure he will never be Pope, but how cool would that be?? :)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Working on it...

I've begun researching for my first post in the Christians and contraception "series", but as usual I am finding a wealth of things of th subject that require reading and consideration. So I will hopefully be able to work on it tomorrow and have something written up.

If you're interested in checking out some sources ahead of time, this is what I'm currently looking at:

-- Humanae Vitae
-- Love and Responsibility by JP the Great
-- Gauidum et Spes (Vatican II constitution)
--CCC passages
--Scott Hahn-- First Comes Loves , Rome, Sweet Home and Swear to God , his book on the sacraments.
--Thomas Howard, On Being Catholic

There may be more...I'm also going to consult BXVI's encyclical, because I'm sure I remember something there. We'll see. But it is coming!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Abortion and contraception, part one

OK I know I've talked about this before but I've decided it is time to go in-depth about it. Today I was at a NARAL and Planned Parenthood press conference at work, due to the fact that one of the D senators is introducting a bill that is sort of like their greatest hits-- "scientifically accurate" sex ed, emergency contraception (EC) on demand, forcing pharmacists to provide EC even if it's against their moral values, stuff like that. It's a winner. The sponsor is, of course, a Catholic woman, which just irritates me even more. They say that having EC and more contraceptive options will reduce "unwanted" pregnancies and abortions. Well sure, because we're getting "rid of the problem" before it's really become "a problem", right? There's no talk or morality, personal responsibility, etc. As Andrea said, "it's not like a baby jumps out at you from the bushes!" Until 1930, every Christian denomination was against the use of birth control?

What happened? Why isn't that the case today? Why is the Church so "old-fashioned" about birth control? Can we blame all this on Martin Luther (actually, in a way, you could...)? These and other things are topics I'll be discussing as we go through this. I think it's time for some clear discussion and explanation of the history of birth control and Christianity. Now this will , by no means, be exhaustive, so if you have something to contribute, feel free to post as we go along.

I'm thinking the series will go like this:

1) The Church and birth control
2) Christian denominations and birth control
3) What happened after 1930?
4) What Christians believe today
5) How this can all be traced to the Reformation
6) My will be done, or God's will be done?
7) Contraception and abortion

That's at least the rough outline. I'll probably post Part II: The Church and Birth Control tomorrow or Friday, so stay tuned. Any ideas, send to

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ryan's First Communion

I can hardly believe that my godson is old enough to receive Eucharist, but here we were, last Sunday, watching him go to Mass with us, like normal, except this time he got up and received Jesus, instead of sitting in the pew moving his legs so we could all get by. On Saturday he and my cousin Courtney both made their first communions, and what a party it was. Lots of fun (too many games of Sardines), but awesome. It's great to know that Ryan and I can share this now, too. He's such a good kid. He had to receive First Confession first, and I was thinking, what does a seven year old have to confess? Probably just the "norm"--I fought with my brother, I disobeyed my mom, I told a lie. Stuff like that. At least I hope it's stuff like that! I don't want to think about it getting any more serious!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

While we're on the subject...

OK, so bishops that don't like to be in vogue with church teaching....why do some of them hang out with Sr. Helen Prejean, of Dead Man Walking fame?

Let me clear something up. I'm against the death penalty, which drives my conservative friends NUTS. Apparently I am deviating fromt he Sacred Scripture of the Republican Party, but they can live with it, y'all. I'm pro-life all the way b/c I hate inconsistencies.

But these bishops don't see a problem, apparently. I'm sick of hearing people praise Sr. Prejean, without mentioning that she's pro-choice. I was reading an article in Ligourian that mentioned she's good friends with Justice Ginsberg. She's a pro-choice nun, and yet no one ever mentions that. That is a HUGE inconsistency for someone who's supposted to be all pro-innocent life. What is more innocent than a baby? But this doesn't make anyone else upset....sigh.

Immigration, part trois

It never ends, does it? Every time I think it's done, it's not. So here we go again.

So how did yesterday's "Day without Immigrants" affect you? I'll tell you how it affected me--not a whit. My day was not impacted at all. According to my office mates, it would've been had I visited a Chipotle, but I didn't, so therefore no impact in my day.

you know what really gets me mad about this whole argument? The idea that we who oppose illegal immigration are somehow anti-immigrant. Now obviously I cannot speak for all of us, and there are, surely, people who are anti-immigration, no matter how foreign that idea is to me. But we're not anti-immigration. We're anti- illegal immigration. We're against people coming into our country by way of breaking our laws and then wanting to be good citizens. Um, hello? If you want that, then come legally. Come like the immigrants did in the 19th and early 20th century. Don't sneak over the wall. Come the right way, and we'll take you in happily. America is a big tent. But we don't think too kindly of those who come in illegally and then demand all sorts of things. And yes, these are demands . There's no other word for them. Let's be real. They want acceptance, they want health care, they want citizenship, they want schooling for their kids. They're marching with wrong-way American flags and chanting "yes we can." Well, we don't doubt that. But do it legally!

And the whole national anthem thing? That is probably one of the worst PR moves of the century. You want to be an America? Learn the National Anthem in English! Can you imagine an Arab immigrant in Europe, say, learing the Marsellaise (French National Anthem) in Arabic? Not so much. Would not fly. At all. And yet....

Let's call a spade a spade. They are illegal immigrants. The crime is inherent in the name. I am sympathetic to the idea of coming for a better life. But you're not making your life better by sneaking into a country. I'm sorry.

And the bishops who are against the law? I wish they'd actually study it and then talk. If they were only so vocal about, say, abortion! You know, things the Church can actually speak with authority and intelligence on! What an idea! But that's for another post....sigh. I wish Church leaders would speak up consistently, and not only when precious liberal matters are being discussed.

Bookshelf update

Currently I'm reading God's Invisible Hand by Cardinal Francis Arinze. It's actually b unch of interviews with Irish journalist Gerard O' Connor, which makes for interesting and quick reading. It's really, really good so far, and it's good to keep tabs on him...he was considered papabile in the last conclave, and was ecstatic when B XVI was elected. My kind of Cardinal (as opposed to, say, McCarrick, Mahoney, Rigali.....grrr)! Ignatius publishes the book, so you can it at their website or most Catholic bookstores (if you're in Columbus, both the Cathedral Book Shop and Catholica in Westerville have it.). I'm also going to be reading Ramesh Ponnuru's (of National Review fame) new book, The Party of Death as soon as I can get a know how I feel about anything related to abortion policy. :)