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Archive for June, 2013

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“She loves much because she has been forgiven much.”

The words of Jesus regarding the woman who washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. That’s how to build a civilization of love. Forgiveness leading to redemption. Only in a redeemed life can love take root and bloom.

In the past week, celebrity chef Paula Deen has come under withering fire for revealing in a deposition that she used a racial epithet DECADES ago, specifically, the N-word. In the ensuing hysteria, many of Deen’s corporate sponsors have jettisoned society’s newest leper. It is a travesty on many levels.

To begin, America has grown over the past half-century. Collectively, we have renounced the racism and bigotry that first enslaved blacks, and then left them destitute and marginalized after they gained their freedom. Many, black and white, paid for this growth with their lives. That’s a point worth remembering, as the blood of the Civil Rights martyrs makes certain demands on those of us who enjoy the level of civilization wrought by that blood.

The first duty we have to the martyrs is to live our lives honorably, to look within and expunge any vestige of bigotry that may have crept in, or have been inculcated by our elders growing up. They purchased this enlightenment with their blood, and we need to earn that by the decency of our lives.

The next duty we have to the martyrs is to ensure that the cause for which they sacrificed their lives is never, EVER, trivialized or coopted by groups with trite or nefarious objectives. The martyrs are the civil equivalent of the saints, and in fact they are saints. But here is precisely where the witch hunt against Deen drags us all down.

Decades ago, a great many people used all sorts of language and humor that just doesn’t fly anymore. I see movies that I once thought hilarious as a youth and cringe at what I was laughing at.

We’ve all grown up.

However, when do we destroy a person’s name and reputation, and for what reason? If it had been revealed that Deen privately holds blacks in desdain today, that would be cause for her corporate sponsors walking away from her. However, how can the use of boorish language have a greater statute of limitations than crimes such as rape or manslaughter? Worse, the standard seems to be applied rather unevenly.

The late Senator Robert Byrd served in the U.S. Senate for more than fifty years. In the 1940’s he recruited 150 men to start a new chapter of the KKK and was elected Exalted Cyclops. As a senator, he voted against the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. He went on to become an elder statesman in the Democrat Party. But foul language from decades ago is enough to undo a celebrity chef?

We are now witnessing the use of race to destroy people for resons entirely unrelated to race. The result will be a new distancing of demographic groups from one another. Given the increasing slaughter of blacks through abortion, and the genocidal program aimed at the black community, it will become increasingly difficult to rally non-blacks to the cause when such McCarthyism is deployed against the very folks we need to recruit as allies.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Paula Deen came to the grill my Knights of Columbus council ran, the Comfort Grill. She showed with a tractor trailer filled with Smithfield hams, and hugged everyone in sight, including several blacks and hispanics. She came not as a diva, but with a warmth, humility, and sincerity that everyone fondly remembers.

Is that not the fruit of redemption?

In Christianity, who we are is all, not who we were. The Deen saga is just the latest chapter in the de-Chritianizing of America. The power and beauty of the civil rights movement continues to be sullied by those who really don’t care to preserve the love purchased by the blood of the martyrs.

Mrs. Deen, and we, deserve better.

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srvr

“Enemies of the human race.”

Justice Scalia points out this characterization of faithful Christians, Jews, and Muslims by the majority of the Supreme Court in today’s gay marriage ruling. Not having read the entire decision, if these are indeed the words of Justice Kennedy, then impeachment proceedings are in order, for such demagoguery gives the government ample ammunition to attack churches, synagogues, and mosques. This was precisely the language used by Hitler, and has been a staple of gay activism going back to the 1980’s and the attacks on Cardinal O’Connor .

“Enemies of the human race.”

These are the kinds of words spoken by tyrants who know that they have no moral or legal authority and seek to eliminate the opposition by incarceration, intimidation, and slaughter.

“Enemies of the human race.”

Remember “tolerance” and “diversity” ??

Me neither.

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If today’s Supreme Court decisions on gay marriage were tough to swallow, this post will be even more of a challenge to accept. On the merits of the cases, dissenting Justice Scalia got it exactly right. No argument there. It’s where the blame ultimately lies that separates me from many fellow conservative and orthodox Catholics.

It’s many, if not a majority, of us.

It’s hard for me to blame the gays and lesbians here. They are a tiny minority of the population who have managed to swing some 55% of the nation their way. Today was a hard-won victory for them, in a 5-4 ruling whose split on the Court mirrors the split in the nation. They have fought for years (along with cohabiting heterosexuals) to share in all of the goods and privileges of marriage, and they won them, one at a time while many of us were too busy with work and recreational activities to get politically fired up. By the time the Churches got serious, the game was already over.

Enjoying all of the goods and privileges of marriage: sex, adoption, child-bearing and rearing, shared benefits, etc…, the only thing missing was the piece of paper that labeled the lived reality.

Marriage.

Having permitted non-married persons of same-sex, or heterosexual pairings to cohabit with all of the privileges of married people, we have been reduced to a semantic argument. What to call it?? For a time, “Domestic Partnership” sufficed. But thinking people knew that was just a stop-gap measure. Incrementalism always works that way. So, really, where did the train leave the tracks?

Perhaps married people haven’t appreciated the goods of marriage as such. Perhaps we forgot somewhere along the way that society valued marriage so much because society recognized the complementarity of the sexes and the need of children for both their mother and father living under the same roof. It was always understood that the strength of society required stable children growing into stable adulthood, and the social scientific data have repeatedly borne out this pairing of stability with being raised by one’s mother and father under one roof.

With divorce hovering around 50% for two generations, with sex being dissected and reduced to mere pleasure-seeking through the help of artificial contraception, with children completely commodified, this was bound to happen.

Specifically, on the commodification of children, everyone makes money on them. Need to adopt because you became sterile from abortion, or STD’s, or because you are a homosexual couple? It will cost upward of $40K, often higher than $60K. Want a baby that’s genetically your own, but fall into one of the aforementioned categories, or are infertile for other reasons? There’s in vitro fertilization costing into the tens of thousands of dollars. Too old to use your own eggs? Pay some young woman $10K to juice her body full of hormones to facilitate egg donation. Then pay tens of thousands for IVF; or pay tens of thousands to hire a surrogate mother. Don’t want that baby? Abortions range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

The wheeling and dealing over children as a commodity is ghastly, to the tune of billions of dollars each year. That’s because marriage isn’t about them anymore. It’s all about the adults. Were it all about the stability of children, today’s rulings never would have happened. The sad truth is that untold married couples fit into every one of those abusive categories just mentioned. We have made a real hash of marriage.

Instead, today motherhood was declared as entirely unnecessary in the lives of children adopted by homosexual couples.

Instead, today fatherhood was declared as entirely unnecessary in the lives of children born to/adopted by lesbian couples.

But that was just the codification of a lived reality ceded many years ago. So, no, today came as no surprise; no moreso than the diagnosis of lung cancer to the person who has smoked for decades. I was one of those smokers, too busy with work, school, family to get involved. So where do we go from here?

First, we should use great restraint in directing our anger at a tiny fraction of the population, the gays and lesbians. They have sought out recognition of their love as they understand marital love. And they do love each other, many with a greater devotion than many of our failed heterosexual marriages.

Next, we must put our own house in order; strengthening our marriages and churches, subordinating our marriages to God’s wise design. Only when that is done can we, or will we be in a position to evangelize others and change this course we have been on for decades. That won’t happen anytime soon. And what of prayer? Many have said we need to pray for a miracle.

I don’t see that happening. It hasn’t happened with forty years of abortion.

As my grandmother used to admonish: God helps those who help themselves. We, in the aggregate, have been asleep at the switch for decades. A miracle Supreme Court decision only compounds that laziness. In working to redeem marriage we grow as individuals, as churches, and as a society. Just as Adam and Eve would have to earn their living by the sweat of their brow, so it will be with abortion and marriage.

The redemption of lives and marriage itself will have to be the result of an awakening in society, or else it is cheap grace that will not endure.

Time to get to work.

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Requiem for the Ballerinas

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The corruption of innocence is a deadly sin, because it corrupts the innocents. Better a millstone be tied around the necks of those who corrupt the innocent and they be flung into the sea, said Jesus. He really never pointed out too many particular sins attaching to them a ‘woe betide’. About the only other one was at the Last Supper when He said it would be better had Judas never been born than to betray Him.

So the corruption of the innocent ranks pretty high on the list of deadly sins.

This all comes to mind after attending my children’s dance recital this weekend. Their school has begun to drift from its wholesome moorings, as evidenced by 5-6 year olds in hula skirts turning their backs to the audience, placing one hand on a hip, and shaking their bottoms for a good 15 seconds to the hoots, hollers, whistles and cheers of the audience. It was the loudest and most raucus applause of the show. My three who collectively dance Irish step, tap, modern, and ballet were repulsed.

I was nauseated. Why the cheers for that, and why so demonstrative? It is not disconnected from the societal implosion in the Western World. Little girls don’t aspire to be “hot,” or sexually sophisticated. Left to their own natural development they like pink things and dolls, girly and feminine stuff. They want to be admired and courted, not lusted after and groped. (Left leaning types need not argue with me here. I’ve endured the stupidity for decades and am at the end of my patience with it.)

Yes, girls are different. They are softer when that ground is cultivated and fertilized. There are plenty of orthodox Catholic colleges, as well as Protestant and Mormon schools filled with such women as living testimony and stunning rebukes to the culture that sexualizes young girls.

What I witnessed on Sunday was tame compared to several of my older nieces’ recitals where girls dressed and danced like pole dancers. But the question remains…

Why?

Why do schools teach this, and why do parents pay for, approve, and cheer for it? Why have so many eschewed the femininity and physical strength of ballet for hip hop and jazz with x-rated moves danced to equally disgusting lyrics?

It has something to do with a sexual revolution that is 50 years old, guilty parents, a divorce rate over 50%, and 55 million abortions with 1 in 4 American women having had an abortion by middle age. Add to that empty churches on Sundays and we have the recipe for the cancer that is consuming the greatest, most enlightened civilization the world has ever known.

In short, the innocence of the innocents stands as a howling rebuke of their parents’ past and present sinful lifestyles. Adults, cut off from God, lost and without hope of personal redemption find it easier at some level to inculcate their licentiousness in the children than to clean up their own acts. And what a show it is.

CDC reports that 25% of American girls will contract at least one STD before the age of 19. It goes up from there. For African American girls the percentage is a stunning 48%. Girls are pressured into appearing “hot” for the boys and must endure this added burden during the normal confusion and growing pains of adolescence. The dance schools begin the commodification as early as age three.

And we wonder why for the first time a majority of women prefer cohabitation to marriage. Perhaps because we have trained our sons to value girls as sex objects and not persons with a great intrinsic dignity.

Perhaps because the boys see the parents buying the micro-shorts, mini skirts and revealing tops for the girls.

Perhaps because the boys see the parents getting breast enhancements for the girls as teens.

Perhaps because of all of this the boys no longer fear the girl’s father as they once did.

Perhaps the girls see this betrayal as normative and we have succeeded in defining their dignity down.

By the end of college, many girls have been had by boys well into the double-digits. They have been used, diseased, impregnated, and abandoned. Repeatedly. By their early twenties.

Corrupted in their own fertility and youthful promise.

Spent.

On Sunday I got a good insight into where, and how early it all begins.

We have become a wicked, wicked people.

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SO001396

When tsunamis make landfall they can be rebuffed by mighty cliffs of granite, or accommodated by soft sandy beaches which allow the mighty waves to strip them, leaving them disfigured and littered with the tsunami’s wasteful debris and shattered bodies when the floodwaters retreat back into the abyss from whence they came. So it seems that the Church in America, once a towering giant, has become increasingly accommodating to the Culture of Death as it washes over her with impunity.

The examples over the past year alone abound. Revelations in last week’s New York Times that the Archdiocese of New York has been paying for union employees’ contraception and abortion benefits, “under protest,” are just the latest in a string of surrenders.

In this latest disaster, the Archdiocese claims that there is a difference between fighting the HHS Mandate and the union contracts inherited when they got into the latest arrangement. Read the Archdiocese’s refutation here.

Indeed, there is a difference between an illegally imposed government mandate to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion, and willingly staying in the healthcare field where the powerful union drives such services being mandated in the insurance plans.

To what degree is the Archdiocese compelled in all of this? From their statement it is clear that they feel the greater need to remain in the healthcare field because there is a proportionally greater good to be done. The larger moral question is how much good done by the archdiocese washes the blood of a single aborted baby from the diocesen hands that paid for the abortion? How is this argument different from the woman who feels the pressure from family to abort? Or the woman who pervceives the great good that will not be accomplished in her life if the baby prevents her from getting a college education? Is the emotional plight of the abortion-minded woman under duress not more compelling? Yet she incurs automatic excommunication if she knows the penalty. What of those in diocesan offices who maintain the involvement with the unions and write the checks?

Undoubtedly great arguments can be made for all of the good that would not be done if we abandoned the field, but it’s still a proportionalist argument being deployed against moral absolutes. Unfortunately, our opponents have been handed a PR win on this one.

In other matters, the silence of the bishops in the run-up to the scheduled vote in February regarding admitting gay scouts in BSA was deafening. When BSA rescheduled the vote, we had a second chance to speak out against this disastrous move, but neither the bishops, nor the Catholic Commmittee on Scouting condemned it.

A year ago when New York State voted to adopt gay marriage Cardinal Dolan rued that he was caught flat-footed. What can be the excuse of the USCCB on the Boy Scouts? My observations on what is so wrong with that move here.

Through it all, we have witnessed Cardinal Dolan welcoming Vice President Biden to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, going out of his way to assure that he does not declare Governor Cuomo, who is seeking the liberalization of New York’s abortion laws, a Catholic in bad standing. Which means that he is regarded publicly as a Catholic in good standing; abortion and gay marriage notwithstanding.

Are we surrendering on all of these issues? We welcome the “Catholic” politicians with open arms who are at the same time accelerating the implementation of a diabolical agenda.

In this Year of Faith, as our churches continue to empty, an unsolicited thought for our leaders. If fundamental moral truths and goods are not worth fighting for, then don’t be surprised when many find that there isn’t much worth staying for.

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