Thursday, May 27, 2004

I recently discovered that my link to The Mighty Barrister was faulty. It linked to one of his archives. I have now fixed it.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

I've been thinking about this for some time now, and today I'm going to do it. This is a challenge. Not for money or anything of that sort, just for bragging rights I guess.
I've often heard people say that the Bible is unreliable and not worth living because it contradicts itself.
So my challenge now is for anyone who reads this site to give me any example they can think of where the Bible completely and undeniably contradicts itself.

Fire away

Friday, May 14, 2004

I have just been to see the new movie Troy today, and I figured I might comment on it.
First of all, I'm probably only going to get one chance to say this ever, so I'll say it now: The poem was better. It was not all bad though, but I will list the cons before the pros.

The Cons
1. Diomedes, Hecuba, Laocoon, Pandarus and all the gods. That is a partial list of characters who make no appearance in the movie. The exclusion of the gods is understandable assuming that the purpose of the movie was to tell a hypothetical story of Troy as it happened historically rather than a story based directly off of Homer. Paris is saved by hector, not by Aphrodite. Achilles uses his old armor rather than having Hephaestos forge him a new set. Thetis is turned from an immortal goddess into an old woman. Although the gods are frequently mentioned, they never appear. If you have read the poem, you will realize what a handicap this is, given the part that the gods play in Homer.
Other exclusions such as Hecuba and Laocoon are understandable given time constraints, but Diomedes should have been left in.
2. They switched around a lot of other details of the story. Patroklos uses Achilles' armor without his knowledge or permission, contrary to the poem. Also, Hector not only saves Paris from Menelaos during their duel, he kills Menelaos right there, despite the fact that he is supposed to live on into the Odyssey.
3. They made Briseis into a main character who falls madly in love with Achilles and wins his heart. She only has a brief appearance and no lines (as far as I can remember) in the poem, but she surpasses Andromache and perhaps even Helen as the lead female character. After being sent back to Achilles in the poem, we almost don't hear of her anymore.
4. On the other end of that, they make Aeneas into a hey you character. Paris is trying to evacuate some people at the end, and he asks the name of a guy helping an old man along. He says his name is Aeneas, and so Paris gives him the sword that has belonged to every Trojan king. He says that as long as a Trojan owns it, Troy will have a future; a brief reference to Rome and the Aeneid. However, Aeneas is supposed to be a prince and a warrior who fights a duel with one of the Greek princes in the poem.
5. In my opinion, they make Paris into too much of a good guy. Perhaps it's just because the girls go crazy over Orlando Bloom, but they make Paris into an honorable man who goes on his road to Damascus, who cowers during his fight with Menelaos at the beginning and becomes a hero at the end who saves Andromache, Astyanyx and others. (Needless to say, Andromache and Astyanyx are not saved, but that's probably because they didn't want to film a baby boy getting thrown to his death from a tower).
6. The movie makes Menelaos partly but Agamemnon mainly into contemptible figures. They're not exactly saints in the poem, but at least their priorities are straight. In the poem they are trying to avenge honor, a concept the almost totally defined Greek society, but in the film Menelaos wants only to strangle Helen and Agamemnon wants only to count Troy among the list of cities he commands. They made Odysseus look good, however.
7. They drew a couple of blood lines that I'm not sure were there in the poem. Patroklos is Achilles' cousin rather than simply his friend. Briseis is Hektor's cousin.
8. They also pronounced some names in ways I disagree with. Meh-nah-LOUSE. PREE-yam. PA-tri-klis.
9. They shortened the Trojan War down from ten years to about a week.
10. Some rather inappropriate scenes, such as between Paris and Helen and between Achilles and Briseis.

The Pros
The movie was still worth watching though. For one thing, we have no definite idea what Troy looked like, so it is really up to the imagination of the film makers. The architecture of Troy in the movie definitely smacks of Egypt, especially the idols standing up or sitting up straight like recruits at boot camp. The armor was rather Persian in appearance except for the long lock of horsehair coming out of the helmets (put there for obvious reasons), which made it look rather Rohanian. If you look carefully in one of the early scenes, you will notice that there are at least two priests dressed almost exactly like Eastern Orthodox priests.
The moral messages are pretty sound all the way through. Hektor is portrayed as the same good guy as in the poem. The film makers clearly intend the viewer to root for Achilles even more after he stops thinking about himself and starts thinking about others. Even Paris is meant to be rooted for after he becomes a good character.
The musical score was great. There's not that much to discuss there. It was sort of reminiscent of the LOTR soundtrack, especially with the indiscernible vocal chanting.
The acting was also very good. I liked Peter O'Toole's portrayal of Priam. When you want to cast a character with white hair, go on out and get yourself a white-haired actor.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

A couple of new developments on the issue of my MOS, school, and that sort of thing.
After being told several times that my MOS was not splittable and that the folks up top wouldn't make an exception for me, I found out that the splittable MOS's are all taken. However, contrary to earlier statements, my NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge) told me that there is a board or committee or something that can split my MOS, allowing me to do both MCT and the MOS next summer and thus also allowing me to go to Christendom in the fall.
However it is not a guarantee. The first step is that I have to impress MsSgt. Grim (my aptly named NCOIC) and give him confidence that I will meet requirements in time. I need to drop 9 pounds, do one more sit-up, finish the run in 30 seconds less than I did today, and do three pull-ups. Of that list, the last one is the only one I'm in any doubt about. It's the only one I really have the odds against me on.
But then again, maybe having the odds against me isn't such a bad thing in the final balance. I guess I'm going for the story-I-can-tell-over-and-over-again-to-the-grandkids sort of thing.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Paladin of faith and reason had an interesting take on the issue of the prisoner abuse and what sort of societal trends might have contributed to it.
I was about to comment on his blog, but then figured I need the ratings over here more. Or some reason.
Anyway, I also have an interesting take on it. I think it is indeed possible that this is an indirect result of things like abortion. However, I think it is more a result of others things such as, most especially, pornography.
Some (okay, a lot) of military personnel attempt to make up for the fact that they can't date normally (and also to cheer themselves up) by becoming users of pornography. For many, it never goes beyond the pin-up girl stage. For others, however, it can go farther. Porn is by nature a slippery slope. I'm not an expert, but I've always heard that if left unchecked, the habit will not only stay, it will progress to ever higher levels.
One of the more serious stages is called 'bondage'. Eventually, it gets to the point where the person starts wanting to act his fantasies out. I would assume that the same goes for both gay and straight people. I was reading a story a month or so ago about a porn star murdered somewhere down south. Police said they believed the woman was murdered as part of the acting-out of some sort of bondage fantasy.
That got me thinking. Perhaps this abuse was more than anything a perverted way of acting out some similar fantasy. I didn't hit upon that theory until I heard a commenter on Mark Shea's blog say that talk show host Michael Medved recently posed the theory that most of the abusers were either women or suppressed homosexuals. If that is true, we may very well have hit on a/the cause of the whole incident.


Afternote: If it is true, it would seem that Clinton is more responsible for it than Rumsfeld.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

You all need to go over to check out this discussion in one of Mark's comment boxes. It's not very ecumenical, but unbelievably hilarious.

Friday, May 07, 2004

I'm not going to get involved in another interblog or comment-box debate for a little while. Discussions of the war and other things on Mark Shea's blog have gotten a little tumultuous recently, and the result is a lot of stress. The recent debates have temporarily drained me of my debating energy.

Besides, I'm down. I just today received the bad news that my follow-on training - the training immediately after boot camp - is not "splittable". In other words, I can't come back and do it the next summer. This in effect means that I will not be able to attend the fall semester, as I will still be training until a few weeks before Christmas. I am hoping and praying that this will not mean I have to wait all the way until next year. Some of my friends younger than me will be at least halfway through sophomore year by the time I start Freshman. I wonder if I will actually be at Christendom at all when they are there. I might wonder if I will ever get there at all.

Maybe I'm being too pessimistic - although it is a little on the hard side to be too pessimistic about my plans being delayed six months or even a year, considering this will make the second year in a row. I already sent the deposit too. A bad situation made considerably worse. I will probably have to pay my dad the $500 myself, since paying it was useless and it is non-refundable. The final cut: I received in the mail a letter welcoming me to the Christendom Fall Semester. Insult to injury.

It's times like this I'm glad I believe suicide is a grave mortal sin.

Addio, picciolo Cherubino, come cangia in un putno il tuo destino!

Farewell, master Cherubino, how your fate changes in moment.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Dagnabbit! It seems whenever I start a comment in my own comment box, it becomes so long that I end up putting it into a separate post. Once again my apologies.

Well, for starters, I didn't just say that the Church has never issued an official doctrine regarding a specific event. I said that the Church has never claimed infallibility in transient matters, like those pertaining to a specific war. There have been times when bishops have been regarded as a source of sound direction, such as when the bishop of a Mexican diocese told the Christeros that they would be fighting in a just cause. But judgments like that have never been regarded as binding without a papal or episcopal document specifically saying that this was binding. I still maintain that although anti-war Catholics say that the World Bishops' opposition to the war is conscientiously binding, the bishops themselves have yet to say so clearly and unequivocally. The fact also remains that the Pope maintained dialogue that he would not have done if he were trying to broadcast a binding and above all, unambiguous, condemnation of the war.

I firmly believe that he was trying to forestall a war, not pronounce the discussion closed.

Glad to hear you set me apart from dissenters who are simply looking for any excuse to ignore, say...Humanae Vitae. But Humanae Vitae specifically said that He was speaking officially as pope rather than as a wise priest. John Paul II has written many encyclicals and other things, but all he gave against the war was speeches. To put this in context, Pius XII said "No more war! War never again!" in a 1950 address to the United Nations. I hardly think he meant that as a piece of conscience-binding guidance.

I do not know if the repeated and widespread pronouncements about the injustice of the Iraq war by the bishops and the pope are manifestations of the ordinary Magisterium. I do know, however, that given the above considerations, you cannot simply and lightly dismiss them by saying that because they were not declared in a council and "because these are prudential judgments, then the existence of a majority means nothing."

I came to realize that myself, which is why I partly revised my comments into discussing whether this was covered by ordinary Magisterium, rather than simply dismissing it in the above manner.

A big thank you to Chris for pointing out the typo. I will hack into the matrix and change it soon.

Yes, the Church does intervene in current events to give moral guidance, and I for one get driven bonkers by people who say that such guidance is a violation of the oh-so-sacred and wildly misinterpreted "separation of Church and State".

Catholic politicians could argue (and the likes of Kerry are always doing this) that the correct position to take on a specific proposed law is always a "specific event" for which we are allowed to make a prudential judgment. They claim the bishop's prudential judgment on a particular law is not binding. They are wrong. In what way is a decision to go to war in different from the "specific event" of voting for or against a proposed law?

The thing is, laws are specific events, and that is why, rather than addressing individual laws (the specific event), the bishops simply state that Catholic politicians cannot in good conscience vote for a law that deprives one of the right to life (the eternal conept). It is not binding or morally certain because the bishops said so, it is so because it has been defined as such. Also, there can be no doubt about the conditions of an abortion law. There is no such things as "just abortion theory" as I pointed out a while ago on Mark's blog. A law permitting abortion does not have to be evaluated, while a decision to invade is conditional. That answers the second question.

So why is the bishops judgment on a particular law morally certain but their judgment on the morality of a proposed war uncertain?

Voting for a pro-abortion law is wrong because you are facilitating murder, not because you are contradicting the bishops' morally certain pronouncement. For years, one of the main Catholic responses to Protestant objections to infallibility is that the Pope's (and bishops') personal opinions and statements are not to be regarded as binding senza official proclamation. We may be coming close to eroding the line between personal conviction and binding proclamation. We have had heretical patriarchs and Bishops, mostly of the Monophysite heresy. We need to learn to separate the personal opinions of clerics and their official teaching.

The infallibility of the Holy Father doesn't depend on whether or not he claims infallibility. It doesn't even depend on whether or not he thinks he is infallible on a particular point.

Whether or not we know we are bound to believe a certain thing does indeed depend on whether or not we are specifically told that this is the real thing. Otherwise, we must start accepting every moral opinion the pope or bishops express as being completely binding. See above re. Monophysite patriarchs and bishops.

I'm claiming the Church proclaimed a teaching on the Iraq war in a way which makes it morally certain that the war was unjust...

Except there was no proclamation. There was simply a common opinion. What I've been saying throughout this is that we need something far more concrete than many quotes. If the bishops of the world intended to make their opposition obligatory, I think they would have made it official, rather than simply apparent. It is not out of disrespect for Church teaching power, but out of a respect for the same, that I am attempting to be very scrupulous in the difference between binding teachings and personal convictions, however deeply held.

Regarding Centesimus Annus. I think he was talking about Saddam, who after all started the war. As far as the U.S. response, it gives us no such assurance nor moral certainty. The Pope specifically says "I myself...repeated the cry..." Can we at least agree that that signifies a personal conviction rather than a binding teaching? Because if we can't, then it's time to simply admit that we're not even using the same criteria for what is binding and what is not. I'm beginning to wonder how informal a statement has to be before it is not considered binding.

The Pope's remarks about the whole thing have since the beginning been oriented towards avoiding a war. They have never been for the purpose of pronouncing a binding teaching, and they have never claimed otherwise, nor have they claimed to present a moral certainty.

Now if Ronny is going to give me a quote, I will give him an example. Ronny's quote is meant to illustrate that when people deny that a certain thing is a definite teaching, they are usually trying to justify some evil like cloning. My interpretation of the quote is this: Fr. Paris is right and he's wrong. Right in that we can't be sure the specific statement was automatically given Divine assistance, wrong in that it was simply an opinion. I'll reiterate the line I drew earlier: Abortion, cloning, whatever, are unconditional, and the bishops are simply reaffirming Church teaching as already spelled out. The directives were meant to be clarifying and a guide. The actual binding effect has been in Church teaching for a long time. The pleas for peace, however, were interpretations of just war doctrine, which of itself is conditional.

The example I wish to give was my CCD teacher last year. He was under the opinion that the death penalty had gone from conditionally justifiable to being always unjustifiable, citing "the opinion of the current Pope."

It's a slippery slope. We go from hearing a lot of anti-war statements by bishops and reading a binding teaching into them to eventually not being able to tell the difference between a binding teaching and an opinion by a goofy bishop on some welfare-related issue. I don't deny the Church's ability to give guidance on current affairs or teach in a way other than ex Cathedra. I am simply waiting for them to say so before I believe that there is a mandatum against catholics supporting the war.

It must also be pointed out that while the Pope calmly condemns a long series of social evils, he argued against the war with a passion not seen in any of his other teachings. This actually supports the position that he was arguing against it as an intellectual or a strong opponent of war in general rather than issuing a morally certain assurance.

This J. D'Hippolito keeps coming back. How many IP addresses does he have? I've banned at least three! Just yesterday he got on Mrs. Dashwood's blog as well as Mark Shea's blog. Ah well, each time he tries to continue what Mark Shea calls his "jingoistic honking and blatting", the answer is really very simple.

Mark opines that Mr. D'Hippolito will not start his own blog because he knows no one will read it. Prove him wrong, Joe. After all, you're the only person you can be certain you won't be banned by.
There is a discussion going on aboard Mark Shea's blog (of course there is, there always is) regarding, as is our wont, the war and Just War Doctrine. Up til now, Most of it has been actual productive thinking about the war itself. But recently, things have changed into one or two people now claiming that opposition to the war is Church Doctrine. Ok, he didn't use those exact words, but when he claims that the bishop's opposition to the war points to "moral certainty" that the war was unjust, then it comes to the same thing. It may be very tempting (especially for supporters of the war) simply to laugh it off, but remember, the people who have been arguing this theory take it very seriously, and the arguments they make are not simply hot air. They require a calm and engaging answer. If this isn't it, I hope someone better than I will formulate one.

The most important claim of all is the claim that the Catechism gives the bishops authority to declare God's opposition to a war by supermajority. First of all, the cited passage in the Catechism specifically says "without arriving at an infallible definition". On the other hand, it also says that the faithful should adhere to these teachings with "religious assent". Seems pretty damning, doesn't it?

Well, there are two things. First of all, The Church has never taught a doctrine or claimed infallibility for any teaching regarding a current event. Teachings must be eternal, and they cannot regard a specific event.

But what about this non-definitive yet conscientiously binding form of instruction spoken of in Catechism 892? Doesn't that mean that the Bishops are given divine assistance in preaching about the war? Not necessarily. The Catechism is not as clear as we might wish it to be on the exact definition of this, in a sense, secondary form of teaching. The best way to know what it is would be to look at it in context. Humanae Vitae used more or less this same form of teaching (not definitive like the "Consubstantionem Patri" teaching but Divinely assisted and conscientiously binding none the less). I think that the form of teaching in question is the one popes and the community of bishops use when they write encyclicals like Evangelium Vitae. I can't think of a single time when the Church has claimed Divine assistance or morally binding authority for a single current event such as a war, an election, an appointment or an economic plan. We may presume that with the possible exception of Great Britain, none of the nations that went into the Great War in the year 1914 were really justified in doing so. Benedict XV made his hair white with all the praying, fasting, and pleading to stop the endless, pointless killing, but I don't think he actually claimed divine assistance. Well that he didn't, because it was a single war, not an indefinitely extended moral issue like abortion.

their is no proscription in the tradition against the pope and bishops teaching magisterially about particular matters.

If you mean "specific contemporary and transient matters", then no, but the fact remains: They never have. Sam makes a good point about the pope fostering discussion of the Iraq war. I don't think he is likely to have done that if he had already made a conscientiously binding condemnation of the war. Like Sam said, the pope has declared the female priest issue closed.

Secondly is the issue of teaching in communion. I argued that the remarks made by bishops were made by individual bishops. Mr. Sullivan has a point when he says that these were actually remarks made by the conferences of the bishops of different countries, i.e. the USCCB and it's equivalents in European countries and others around the world. So I was wrong there. Still, consensus in individual countries does not amount to communion. They were still not issuing their statements universally. See next.

I agree they "require unanimity and universality". This appeared to be close to the case (I don't know if every bishop was consulted or expressed an opinion). There certainly appeared to be communion.

When bishops teach in communion, either an "infallible definition" or teaching enjoying "Divine assistance", their communion is obvious. It doesn't "appear", it simply is. We shouldn't have to look at it and wonder whether they were in communion or not. We shouldn't have to guess. He said that bishops can teach when dispersed and that they don't have to be in the same place. I'm not sure if that is correct (it may very well be) or incorrect, but I can't remember a defined doctrine that was not taught by bishops in official council or communion, even if they were dispersed. Councils are usually called. Their beginning is marked by the Universal Bishop signing some sort of Document of Convocation. There is usually a mass of dedication or something like that. There is widespread agreement on this issue among bishops, but there is no official communion.

Paul VI began Humanae Vitae (indeed, almost all papal encyclicals are begun in this manner) with a statement of this being in his official capacity as Successor of Peter. No such statement of officiality was ever made by the Pope on the issue of the war. In fact, I don't think any of the Church Hierarchy have claimed that opposition to the war was conscientiously mandated. Ronny and Chris seem to be taking the initiative here in giving that episcopal opposition to war a level of obligation their authors didn't claim.

This is not a discussion of whether the war was just or not. In short, the upshot of this is the following: Catholics are not bound in conscience to oppose the Iraq war. They will simply have to come up with a different argument. I realize that it must be very tempting for opponents of the war to use the agreement among bishops as some sort of pseudo-infallible teaching, but the worldwide Episcopacy never claimed such authority, Divine assistance or conscientiously binding effect, they simply said the war was unjust.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Today I had an informal meeting with my recruiter (actually, my NCOIC preempted the meeting and took charge of me himself. He outranks my recruiter.) We did a lot of hard exercises, and I learned an important lesson in hydration. Everyone knows that dehydration leads to premature fatigue, but what you don't often hear is that it can also cause temporary blindness. I'm serious. At one point, after doing arm circles (an exercise in which you keep your arms in the air and circle them around until your shoulders start to give off smoke), I could seriously not tell how many fingers you had up. My NCOIC could have sucker-punched me and I would never have seen it coming. All I could see was a blotchy light blur, sort of like a seriously overdeveloped photograph. He assisted me in typical marine style: since I was so dazed that I couldn't see, I got to do the next exercise with him guiding me so I wouldn't fall. They take malingering very seriously. I wouldn't even try it if I were you.

For all that, I had the opportunity to see something that gave me a good laugh. A poster in the office advertised the French Army Knife. It comes in a yellow case with a peace sign on it. It includes such features as a butter knife, a comb to keep his pompadour in good condition, a compass to aid in hasty retreats, a "whine corkscrew", a yellow stripe down the handle, and of course, a pop-up white flag to aid in emergency unconditional surrender. All things the modern French soldier would be nowhere without.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

I just found out that in the Shire, I would be called Olo Boffin of Whitfurrows.

What's your Hobbit name?

Saturday, May 01, 2004

I have now included to the right of your screen two new links. The Mighty Barrister, who is very enthusiastic about fisking the remarks of ignorant columnists, and Zorak the embittered mantis who keeps a watchful eye on all that is bizarre or stupid in public life.
I'll keep this up as for as long as it takes, although I'm sorry if Joseph thinks I am being too...I don't know, showy or something by responding to remarks from a comments box with a separate post, but I had an awful lot to write.

I reiterate: You don't seem to understand the connection between how the media shows an issue and how people see it. My point still stands that people are unlikely to view the pro-life position any differently because they would be unaware of these centers in the same way most are probably unaware of CPCs.

Apparently, Jonathan, you've forgot the meaning of offering a witness of Christian values to the world.

Carry your song and dance to another theatre. I have had nothing but respect for those who bear witness with their sidewalk counseling and their work in CPCs. I don't oppose private solutions in addition to political ones, as should be obvious from reading my remarks. You're not proposing something revolutionary; you're proposing a thing that differs in scope only slightly from something we already have. I criticize your idea for the same reason some Catholics criticize the war in Iraq: We agree on the goal, we disagree on the methods. Your claim that my disagreement with your proposed method amounts a disagreement over our common objective (saving lives) is stupid, because you're indirectly saying that yours is the only method.

A lot of people disagree over the war in Iraq, but I never claim that opponents of it oppose the fight against terrorism.

As far as adoption is concerned: Did Absp. Chaput mention it as an option in his criticisms of Sen. Kerry? When was the last time you heard a priest advocate such an option from the pulpit?

If you must know, I live in the diocese of Richmond. It's been a long time since I've heard a priest criticize abortion from the pulpit at all, and even then, it's mainly a passing reference. Also, News Flash to Joseph: Priests aren't the only Catholics. The Catholic pro-life movement, like the Church itself, is made up mainly of lay people. I don't know if you've ever seen pro-life bumper stickers, but one of the most common ones I've ever seen was "Adoption: The Caring Option". So what was this you were saying about the pro-life movement not advocating adoption?

Mahony is a pig who will, I believe, burn in Hell

Okay, so we can list dislike of Mahoney as common ground. But be careful, we're not supposed to reach conclusions about people's eternal destiny, at least not while they're still alive. It is reasonable to assume that some people (Hitler, Nero and others) are in Hell, but let's leave the living alone on that.

Are you willing to put your faith and your money where you mouths are? Are you willing to truly explore alternatives that will help people?

This goes back to what I was saying earlier: We agree on the objective: Saving innocent lives and helping unwed mothers when and where possible. But we disagree on the method. You are being very unfair and narrow minded by claiming that yours is the only way to help mothers. I will repeat myself: CPCs have existed for a long time. They perfectly fit the description of "alternatives that will help people", and the pro-life movement has gone to great pains to multiply these centers and keep them running. Additionally, pro-lifers have even taken to the sidewalks outside abortion clinics in the (sometimes vain) hope that they can dissuade prospective customers at the last minute. And you say that the pro-life movement is interested in nothing other that political grandstanding!

Many "pro-life" activists (including the seeming preponderance of Catholic bloggers) are really "pro-political power."

Well gee, if the abolitionists cared about freeing slaves, they would have supported programs that encouraged and promoted manumission, rather than engaging in political grandstanding. The same principle applies here. No amount of private solutions could have made up for a change in the law which recognized the humanity of the Negroe man. Even CPCs, for all the good they do, are not an "alternative that might be more effective" than just changing the law so that is says, in effect, "hey, give the kid a break. He's a person too, and you can't kill him even if you do think your helping the mother by doing so."
You say my quote proves your point. That might be true if I mocked and deprecated all attempts to prevent abortions privately and bear witness. But I haven't, and everyone whose computer monitor is set to the the proper contrast can see for themselves that I don't oppose private solutions, I just don't think: a) your idea is a good one, and b) that private solutions alone are sufficient.

Now down to the final point: Why do I disagree with you and think that your idea is a poor one? Well, I've already listed the reasons. These centers you suggest would not really provide anything that is not already provided elsewhere. They would also take up a lot of money considering they wouldn't be very different from CPCs.

why would you mock a suggestion that aims to save the lives of the unborn?

For the same reason I would mock the suggestion that by simply putting lots of computers and TVs in classrooms, we can lift grades and educate better. We all agree on the goal, but we disagree on the method. To bring up the War on Terror one last time, those who opposed the invasion of Iraq will say that they are not ipso facto anti-American, unpatriotic, or uncommitted to fighting terrorists. Although I disagree with their position, they are still right on that point. A disagreement over method is not a disagreement over objective. But try telling that to our friend Joseph here, who will most likely continue to throw accusations of not-commitment or ulterior motives at anyone who disagrees with his Big Think ideas.

Update: Hmmm...Interesting. I've been doing a little research on this Joseph D'Hippolito chatacter on the web. He certainly is quite a character. He's controversial. He's brazen. He's outspoken. He's dynamic. He will also not be posting comments on my blog in the future.

I think I heard somewhere that barnacles are easier to get off if you nip them in the bud before they fully take root. You're gone, loser.
Mrs. Dashwood has a discussion going on on her Blog which is taking up a lot of space. In the interests of keeping it freer, I am now posting my comments and responses on my own blog.


who gives a bloody fig what the media thinks? Is this about helping women and their unborn children or isn't it?

You're missing my everlovin' point (you're good at that, you know). I don't care what the media thinks, and neither do most of the pro-life movement. I was just disproving your ridiculous notion that all we needed was more Crisis Pregnancy Centers or similar institutions and everyone would realize what we're all about.

Such would offer an excellent witness to the rest of America about what truly matters to Catholics you said.

I responded: no it wouldn't. The media aren't suddenly going to start portraying us differently because we start opening a bunch of halfway houses for single moms, and the rest of America have a hard time seeing what the media chooses not to show.

It would also put take the "pro-choice" factions aback and further expose them for what they are: criminal narcissists.

It might embarrass them, sure, but would it change them, expose them, or lead to widespread awakening to the fact that they are, as you say, "criminal narcissists"? No. No one gives up that easily in politics these days. All they'd do is ignore it, and so would the rest of the media. When I made a similar point recently, you changed the subject, threw saints at me, and told me that I shouldn't care what the media says. I reiterate: You were one who originally revealed that you cared what the media thought by suggesting a way of appearing better in their eyes. As for the strictly humanitarian aspect of it, sure, it might help some women, but not very many, because they already have a place to give birth (a hospital), and they can "take time to make decisions about their lives" in their own homes. "But what if she doesn't have a home, or at least not one she can go back to (maybe because of an abusive family)?" you might ask. I might answer: "There already are shelters for people who have no homes or are victims of abuse. Some are Church run, some are secular, and some are interfaith."

I'm beginning to think that for many of you, the quest for political and societal influence outweighs your desire to help the innocent.

What do you mean "beginning to"? You've thought that all along, as you have made very clear. Incidentally, "outweigh" would suggest that the "quest" and the "desire" you speak of are mutually exclusive.

That's why I suggest an outreach to those wealthy people who would likely be interested.

Which people? You named Mel Gibson, but who else is there who would likely be interested? Look, ask yourself: "Is it really likely that there is a very simple fundraising idea which the Church hasn't picked up on that I've now come up with?"

- You understand that the Church doesn't have a lot of money, but why do you seem to think Orthodox Jews and Evangelicals do?
- How do you know they haven't been trying to get donors?

I also think it's time to point out that establishments you speak of are rather pointless. The difference between one of these things and a Crisis Pregnancy Centers is that CPCs don't act as surrogate hospitals (as far as I know. I defer on that point to those who have actually worked in them). You can give birth in a regular hospital, and you don't have to live in a CPC in order to "take time to make decisions about their lives", which you said was the purpose of these centers.

Cdl. Mahony, if he really cares about abortion, could talk to Gibson (among others) about funding the kind of centers I propose.

Or, if he really cared about abortion, he might work towards it's legal elimination. Besides, Mahoney is a fairly liberal Cardinal. If he ever publicly condemns abortion, it is only because he feels obligated to do so by higher-ups (as it were). Even if these centers are a practical and good idea, there is no way on earth that their implementation could be regarded as more important than illegalizing abortion, which you seem to think it is.

You also describe adoption as "an option I hear Catholics hardly ever talk about, let alone advocate publically". Are you deaf and blind? I'll leave it to the Catholics who are reading this to see for themselves how fatuous this is. It is remarks such as these which betray that you know almost nothing about the activities of the modern pro-life movement.

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