Columns Opinion Thomas Reese: Signs of the Times

Cardinal Dolan makes good points but ignores politics of abortion

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, speaks during a news conference in New York on Oct. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(RNS) — Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York makes many good points in his response to my column calling for a new pro-life strategy, but he ignores the political context of the abortion controversy in the United States.

I am very grateful to Cardinal Dolan for taking my May 27 column so seriously and responding to it with his thoughtful June 8 opinion piece for Religion News Service. He said that he appreciated “any thoughtful conversation and counsel on this pivotal issue” and agreed with some of my suggestions for reducing abortions. I thank him for that.

But he also indicated his “serious reservations about Reese’s strategy, considering it a capitulation to the abortion culture, and a grave weakening of the powerful pro-life witness.” He argues that my proposal to give up efforts to outlaw abortion “and work only to reduce the number of abortions — is an unnecessary dichotomy.”

He writes that the pro-life “movement has advocated for public policies that seek to ensure that pregnant mothers are never abandoned to the violence of abortion and that mothers and babies receive the support and protection society can offer.”

While I agree that he and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have followed a two-pronged strategy of working both to outlaw abortion and to enact government programs to help mothers and their children, it’s hard to find other pro-life groups that do the same.

In truth, some of the loudest pro-life activists are also among the strongest opponents of government programs that provide financial assistance and free health care, day care, job training and housing for mothers and their children. They also oppose raising the minimum wage, which would help poor families.

In short, sadly, most of the pro-life movement does not support the Catholic bishops’ two-pronged approach. This includes the pro-life Republicans who vote against increasing the assistance programs supported by the U.S. bishops.

While the bishops are consistently pro-life, others are only pro-life when it comes to restricting abortion, not when it comes to government programs to help women.

There is no political party that supports the bishops’ comprehensive pro-life agenda. In the real world, voters must choose between candidates who promise to outlaw abortion but do little to help pregnant women, and candidates who support legalized abortion but also support increasing programs that help mothers and their children.

If you believe, as I do, that abortion will never be outlawed, then you are inclined to vote for the possible (fewer abortions) rather than the impossible (outlawing abortion).

The bishops themselves appeared to recognize this dilemma in “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” a document approved at their November 2015 General Meeting. They advise Catholic voters that a “Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who favors a policy promoting an intrinsically evil act, such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, deliberately subjecting workers or the poor to subhuman living conditions, redefining marriage in ways that violate its essential meaning, or racist behavior, if the voter’s intent is to support that position.”

The final “if” clause is important. According to the bishops, a Catholic cannot vote for a pro-choice candidate if the voter’s intent is to support that pro-choice position.

However, the bishops continue, “There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position even on policies promoting an intrinsically evil act may reasonably decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons.”

In other words, a Catholic who rejects abortion could vote for a pro-choice candidate for other morally grave reasons. I would argue that reducing the number of abortions through government assistance to mothers and children is a “morally grave reason.” There may also be other morally grave reasons, like climate change, economic justice and peace.

Could I be wrong in my political judgment that outlawing abortion is not going to happen? Absolutely, but I don’t think so.

Cardinal Dolan also criticizes my assertion that “contraception should be used to reduce abortions.” He argues that contraception can be medically harmful to women and that half of women seeking abortions were actually using contraception during the month they became pregnant. These conclusions are not universally accepted. The medical health issue I will leave to medical professionals. With regards to effectiveness of contraceptives, it is true that these methods sometimes fail, usually through human error, and these failures can lead to abortions. But that does not negate the fact that without contraception the number of abortions would increase. Eliminating failures, not eliminating contraception, would be the appropriate strategy.

Cardinal Dolan also repeats the church’s teaching on contraception. Fifty years ago, Pope Paul VI in his encyclical “Humanae Vitae” taught that every use of artificial contraception is morally wrong, yet the issue is still controversial for Catholics. What is clear is that while popes and bishops have continued to support this teaching, it has been rejected by most Catholic couples and moral theologians. This is a debate above my pay grade, so I will leave it to moral theologians and the hierarchy.

Finally, Cardinal Dolan, like many pro-life advocates before him, compares the pro-life movement to the movement to abolish slavery. While I grant that there are many parallels between the two movements, I don’t think it is a helpful comparison. It should be remembered that slavery was not ended by national legislation but by a civil war in which 620,000 people died.

The pro-life movement also has many parallels to the temperance movement, which in 1920 finally succeeded in outlawing alcohol in the United States. The movement ultimately failed, however, because it never truly convinced the public that this was good public policy.

Cardinal Dolan concludes by writing, “We must do everything in our power to legally protect babies and to provide for the needs of mothers.” I wish all the pro-life activists and politicians agreed with his desire to do everything “to provide for the needs of mothers,” rather than opposing government programs that help mothers.

Without that commitment, pro-life voters are forced to choose between rhetoric (promises to outlaw abortion) and results (an actual reduction in the number of abortions).

About the author

Thomas Reese

The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine. He was also a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University (1985-98 & 2006-15) where he wrote Archbishop, A Flock of Shepherds, and Inside the Vatican. Earlier he worked as a lobbyist for tax reform. He has a doctorate in political science from the University of California Berkeley. He entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained a priest in 1974 after receiving a M.Div from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.


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  • “In truth, some of the loudest pro-life activists are also among the strongest opponents of government programs that provide financial assistance and free health care, day care, job training and housing for mothers and their children. They also oppose raising the minimum wage, which would help poor families.”

    This is what you’re up against, Mr. Reese. The overwhelming number of evangelicals, conservative Catholics, and other far-right Christians show no interest in helping the disadvantaged because that’s simply not what interests them. They don’t care about helping the poor as Jesus instructed; their sole interest is in forcing women with unwanted pregnancies to give birth, period. If that has you wondering if their concern is truly for the ‘murdered babies’ (rather than, say, controlling and punishing women), it should.

  • “controlling and punishing”
    Excellent point. And it was the conservative white Christians’ frustration over their diminished ability to control and punish that fueled their enthusiasm for Trump. To make matters worse, from their point of view, That Black President was a powerful symbol of their diminished ability and proved the need to Make America White Again.

  • Still so unclear, still striving for clarity, and only end up with a mess again.

    ” to enact government programs to help mothers and their children…”

    Yet the bishops support the Republican party, which put an antiabortion plank into its platform. The very same platform that declares that government is evil, the people responsible for themselves, and the government needs to shrink as much as possible, preferably on the backs of poor and needy people, in order to function in the way the Republican Party wants it to.

    It seems to me, father reese, that you want to have your communion wafer and eat it too.

  • ?

    Actually what fueled Trump’s rise was simply his willingness to address illegal immigration, the failure of Obamacare, judicial activism and the need for jobs and economic stimulus, issues which the American people care about very much but which Democrats ignore and establishment Republicans are afraid to touch for fear of alienating their corporate backers.

    Not quite as poetic or rhetorical as your offering, of course, but then again reality seldom is.

  • LOL! You think Trump works against corporate backers? He is the epitome of them.

    The Tax plan is nothing but a huge plundering of public resources to give to corporations and ultra wealthy. All at the expense of those who work for a living. His addressing of immigration involves goon squad tactics, creating gulags for children, and ATTACKING LEGAL IMMIGRATION while employing white supremacist rhetoric. Economic stimulus evidently involves trade wars and driving up prices of goods commonly used by most Americans coupled with cutting off investment in the country. And btw thanks to Trump millions of Americans have lost access to healthcare or saw the costs of it rise dramatically.

    Trump supporters are really either pretty naive or want to see the country go up in flames.

  • “the American people”
    Trump got 26% of all eligible voters. You think 26% is “the American people”??
    Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. You think a three million vote loss is “the American people”??
    And you think reality is on your side??

  • 26% is less than the number of eligible voters Bill Clinton got i 1992. Bet you weren’t complaining then, right?

    People are not required to turn out to vote — go complain to them and not me. Presidents are elected by states. Your vote is equal to that of any other person within your state. The founders set things up this way for very good reasons. If you don’t like it, join an effort to amend the constitution.

  • I applaud your ability to rant and deflect. No doubt it serves you well and frequently.

  • We all know your likes and dislikes already. But stick with the Dem party line — the Pubs are counting on you!

  • The actual definition of “judicial activism” is “a judge issued a ruling that I don’t like”. And, as Spuddie says, Trump is the epitome of corporate backers. As I said when he was elected, the people who said that they opposed oligarchs and voted for Trump were saying, “We’ll show those nasty oligarchs by electing one!”

  • It helps when you say such ridiculous but canned things.

    All I have to say is I am not trying to pretend a reality show host who lived in a gold plated luxury apartment is somehow “against the elites”. 🙂

  • Another good deflection, but it doesn’t have quite as much rant-power as some of your other comments.

  • Fr. Tom and Card. Tim, neither one of you has believability when you don’t support making contraceptives available to women and families through health care, through government financed clinics, through Medicare and Medicaid, through employers, including Catholic affiliated employers. When you oppose the most basic methods by which women can manager their fertility (contraceptives and sterilizations) you simply have no believability when you want to talk about being “pro-life.” You are not pro-life for the woman, only pro-womb. The problem is that you confuse the importance of educating women (and men) about the (outdated) Catholic view of sexuality with some sense you have the right to control the decisions they can make with a portion of what you pay them. It is vestiges of serfdom you still hold onto.

    Have to admit, Fr. Tom, that you at least sound like you are more aware of the real life that most women in this country actually live.

    Take a look at reality, Card. Tim and stop pretending that the way the Church views contraceptives, sterilization, and even sexual expression within marriage – that the official Catholic doctrinal view have anything like acceptance among Catholics in this country, most of Europe, most of North America, South America, and even the Philippines. And you are dreaming if you think that what has happened to that view in so many countries is not going to happen in the rest of the world. Take a look at what women face today with longer periods of education, with new opportunities to pursue careers, to be powerful not just in the home, but also in business, government, society. Eventually, Card. Tim, you are going to realize that you have to make room for a women’s power within the Catholic Church, not the ridiculous “complementarianism” of JPII, but the full recognition that women can compete in mind, talent, leadership, and can represent Christ to the world just as powerfully as any male.

    Card. Tim – if you want to be believable AT ALL in talking about abortion, then support changing the teaching on contraceptives. Spend the next year really talking to women, single and married, talk to the men who love those women. Look at demographic studies of how long schooling takes, of how many women work because they have to? Look at the growth of women in positions of responsibility and authority in business and government. At what age are people getting married now? at what age are women having their first child? How many children are most families having now? How do working families manage child rearing now?

    Card. Tim – get you head out of the sand and look around you.

  • No, the definition of judicial activism is federal judges exceeding the boundaries of the enumerated powers delegated to the three branches of the federal government by the US Constitution.

    Trump, being an oligarch himself, is not beholden to other oligarchs for his financial support or his marching orders. That was part of his appeal, no doubt.

  • I’m sure he’s not against the elites, wherever that notion came from. Neither does he get his orders from them, which is more to the point.

  • From where did Rev. Reese get his phD in economics? I am assuming he must have some authority to make debatable proclamations like “raising the minimum wage, which would help poor families” without citing evidence? Is Rev. Reese certain that raising the minimum wage wouldn’t lead to fewer entry level jobs and increased automation, as some studies suggest? Who knows, maybe minimum wage laws would help poor families, but it is far from a settled question, and neither side can claim to be a pro-life position.

    There is a lot of room for debate on how to best care for each other as a society. Some believe big government is ideal…others prefer free markets…and many see a middle ground between. There is a whole spectrum of political philosophies motivated by pro-life principles. What is not open for debate, however, is the question of abortion. It is entirely anti-life, and that’s why ending the violence of abortion must always be a priority and take precedence over other prongs in a pro-life approach. Otherwise, the pro-life movement falls into the trap of suggesting that life is only worth living if it is adequately provided for by the State and not because it is a gift from God.

  • That notion comes from Trump supporters. Especially ones who think he is a bulwark against establishment Republican big money interests. Your words

    Trump apparently gets his orders from Russia and China. (See G7 tantrum, ZTE bailout and Ivanka’s Chinese copyright acquisitions)

  • So you want to “protect the unborn” but are indifferent if children starve. Not really showing much concern for life. You do show concern for your ego. Expecting power to command women to do as you say as if their bodies were your personal property.

  • Seriously, Tater, learn to read. I didn’t say he is a bulwark against big money interests — they’re not going anywhere. I said that unlike establishment Pubs he is not too dependent upon those interests to address the issues that the people want addressed. Particularly on the matter of immigration — Dems want votes and the Pubs’ donors want a steady stream of cheap labor (lots of Dems like that too). The people just want the problem solved.

    Trump wasn’t the candidate I wanted, to be sure, but it was fascinating to watch him approach the presidential race exactly like a businessman would; he saw an enormous and mostly ignored market, tapped it, and blew the competitors out of the water. You can take whatever lessons you are able to from that, or not, but these issues aren’t going away and if Trump were to fall out, someone else would show up to take up the baton — now that the people know that they don’t HAVE to sit and take whatever the establishment deigns to dish out.

  • Remember the laws which put children in these “gulags” were passed by a Democratic Congress under a Democratic President.

  • The actual definition of “judicial activism” is a judge speaking when the law is silent, or contradicting the law when it speaks.

  • Well, neither Fr. Reese nor Card. Dolan are spokespersons for whatever denomination or sect you believe they should be supporting.

    And whatever that sect is, Catholicism isn’t it.

    For those with a hankering for it, I recommend the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

  • Of course, your response is absurd, but that’s to be expected. It’s obvious you approach the issue from an anti-life perspective, so it doesn’t surprise me that you would prefer to battle straw men of your own creation than face the truth.

  • I’ll go one further: how many children even had stunted growth due to malnutrition in the US during those years?

  • Remember that the policy was enacted by Trump and only Trump…. after explicitly promising to do the opposite, to boot. But then, hypocrisy has never bothered the far right before.

  • Remove one-eighth of America, and Trump won the rest of America! Now that’s some brilliant excuse-making right there.

  • Remove you and your silly comments disappear.

    In order to have a say, you need to get off your duff and head to the polls.

    If the people that see it your way don’t, their incompetence is offset.

  • No.

    The policy is to enforce the law.

    That was the policy prior to Barack Obama, who thought he was the law.

    We’re back to the Constitution and the laws.

  • Thomas Reece, as a Catholic priest, should be upholding and defending Church teaching that abortion and contraception (both born of the same spirit of rebellion) are intrinsic and objective moral disorders that corrupt the very souls of individuals and nations. He should be explaining why this is so. To argue for tacitly, if not explicitly, supporting abortion and abandoning this as an objective on the grounds of political impracticality, is abandoning morality itself. Moral relativism has been rightly described as the “heresy of our times”. It’s a keystone of Catholic moral theology that one can never justify an evil so that some good may come from it. And comparing the pro-life movement to the temperance movement is a failure of logic. Drinking alcohol is not an evil in and of itself; the misuse of alcohol is.

    Abortion and contraception is now framed primarily as a “woman’s right” to control “her” own body. This places man above God and shake a fist at our Creator. There will always be sin. Some sin, as Saint Aquinas argues, can be tolerated in a sinful world for the common good where attempts by the State to prevent it would result in greater evil. The contraceptive mentality and the killing of innocent life in the womb, are not such issues. They go to the very core of our being as rational creatures, created in God’s image. Christians are called to be counter-cultural, not to give in to anti-Christian sentiment.

  • “Otherwise, the pro-life movement falls into the trap of suggesting that life is only worth living if it is adequately provided for by the State and not because it is a gift from God.”

    Excellent comment.

  • The reality of life in the US, and almost certainly every other country in the world, is that laws are in fact enforced *selectively*. Authorities of various sorts–law enforcement, congressional, etc–have limited resources, and as well, political concerns, so they pick and choose which laws will be enforced. This is obvious to anyone who pays attention to life.

  • Pro-life should mean efficient pro-contraception but the RCC and Islam and Mormonism shun such practices since it affects their head-count. Such idiocy!!!!

  • Also bear in mind that it is illegal to treat criminals, homeless people and illegal combatants in such a fashion. But people look for excuses to treat children of day laborers that way.

  • Of course.

    I’m always trying to improve my understanding of behavior, and politics especially, and I think I’ve come up with the most likely explanation of a lot of political behavior, especially that of so many Repugnicans: they hate poor people.

  • “the definition of judicial activism is federal judges exceeding the boundaries of the enumerated powers delegated to the three branches of the federal government by the US Constitution”

    A nonsense term to attack rulings which conservatives couldn’t cough up adequate legal arguments to oppose. Largely to handwave away 200+ years of judicial review exercise and modern civil liberties rulings.

    “Trump, being an oligarch himself, is not beholden to other oligarchs for his financial support or his marching orders. That was part of his appeal, no doubt.”

    Yeah his supporters are stupid and uniformed that way.

    His numerous bankruptcies and tendency to burn fellow investors made him far more shaky and dependent on big corporate backing than the naive would have figured

  • The top down perspective is that global warming is a conflagration fueled by abortion and the LGBT which the U.S. is responsible for spreading around the world. This is known as Armageddon and no earthly power can stop it.

    God takes offences against the Rock seriously and the U.S. has struck the Rock twice.

  • He’s listening and watching you now so no need for an email, phone number or zip code. And He’ll respond soon enough when you stand before Him.

  • There has been, to borrow a concept from Friedrich Nietzsche, a “transvaluation of values” in many spheres. What is good—such as marriage considered precisely as the conjugal union of husband and wife—has been redefined as bad. What is bad—such as sexual immorality of a wide range of types—has been redefined as good. To defend the conjugal understanding of marriage and traditional ideas about sexuality and morality is to be accused of “hatred” by people on one side of the political divide today. To welcome the migrant and the refugee is to court being accused of disloyalty to your country by some on the other side. To stand up for the sanctity of human life in all stages and conditions, beginning with the defense of the precious and vulnerable child in the womb, is to risk being labeled a “misogynist.” To speak out for religious freedom and the rights of conscience is to invite being smeared as a “bigot.”

    It is not pleasant to be subjected to these types of abuse and defamation. And these days it goes well beyond unpleasantness. To speak moral truth to cultural power is to put at risk one’s social standing, one’s educational and employment opportunities, one’s professional advancement; it is to place in jeopardy treasured friendships and sometimes even family relationships. And the more people, in reaction to these threats, acquiesce or go silent, the more dangerous and therefore more difficult it becomes for anyone to speak the truth out loud, even if they know it in their hearts. Anyone who succumbs to the intimidation and bullying—anyone who acquiesces or goes silent out of fear—not only harms his or her own character and fails in his or her Christian duty to bear faithful witness to truth, he or she also makes things harder for others. We owe it not only to ourselves to be courageous, but to our brothers and sisters too. And because we owe it to ourselves and others, we owe it to God.

  • IF God is omniscient as Catholic Theologians and the hierarchy claim one would think He would have added a qualifier to the “be fruitful and multiply” line in Genesis. He, IF he is omniscient, would have added “within reason of course”! Because He IF He is omniscient would have seen into the future where overpopulation has become a world wide problem, leading to wars, poverty, spread of new diseases, hunger, all sorts of environmental issues. He, IF He is omniscient would have understood the sexual drive, the pleasure people find in sex, and that many women can’t refuse their husbands “needs” for fear of being beaten. IF that is an Omniscient God really exists.

    Oh and IF He exists and is omniscient He also would have seen the damage Catholic Theologians (and Cardinal Dolan) have done with their misguided and misogynistic rules. AND IF He is omnipotent as well as omniscient He would have stopped them before they did such harm.

  • Everything is a nonsense term to those who don’t know what federalism is, Tater. Judicial review is not the same thing as judicial activism. The former honors our written social contract; the latter amends it without representation.

    Why do you hate our constitution so much?

  • Men deal with unplanned pregnancy as if it is a woman only issue. And contraception is not the only way to avoid unwanted or problem pregnancies. Men have a family planning role to play. I never see the option of vasectomy addressed. Another way to decrease the number of abortions.

  • Rather calls to mind Einstein’s definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  • Judicial activism arguments are just terrible excuses for people who couldn’t cough up decent legal arguments to support their view. The legal equivalent of blaming equipment for a loss in a sport.

    Of course conservatives attacking civil liberties make such arguments. They can’t come up with good faith meritorious ones for their position so they make nonsense collateral attacks on the judiciary in response.

    Only dishonest folks who hate the judiciary and civil liberties can pretend literally centuries of judicial review power is somehow against the constitution.

  • Just like all the good Irish Catholics who starved to death during the potato famine! And the billions of others who died agonizing deaths from diseases thanks to your merciful god!

  • Reiterating your errors will not make them more accurate.

    Once again, more slowly: judicial review does not equal judicial activism, Einstein. The constitution states clearly that it is the supreme law of the land and the judiciary is BOUND by it until it is amended according to the procedure prescribed therein.

    You still haven’t told us why you hate the constitution so much. Other than the obvious fact of simply being a hate-filled person in general…

  • Flinging insults is not a refutation or an argument.

    I have yet to see fetus worshipers address why abortions happen beyond s1ut shaming (as you are implying) . I have yet to see them show concern for the born. I have yet to see them treat a woman as an actual person.

    Arrogance, ego and self righteous pretensions of authority characterize the anti abortion position

  • More than you are willing to research or care about. By all means lie about those in poverty and claim government food assistance to families is unnecessary. It’s not like those who know you will think any less of your moral character.

  • But a rather stupid one. Evidently concern for life only involves those gestating. Everyone else is considered unworthy or property if the state.

  • More importantly, one does not have to justify why abortions are done. The opponents are simply assuming a level of authority in the situation they do not have or deserve.

  • Your arguments are inherently dishonest and canned. Simply sour grapes over losing important cases for the last century or so. “I am not batting well, it’s the ump’s fault”. They never go anywhere because neither the courts nor the constitution respect limiting judicial power in such a way.

    Judicial activism is a nonsense phrase and position to when one doesn’t like a ruling but can’t articulate a decent counter argument. It means whatever you want it to when you want to complain. It is inherently linked to judicial review power, a claim it should never be used as it has for over 200 years. Claiming limits which do not exist and were never claimed outside of a politician’s whining.

    Much like “small government”, it posits that government has no right to do its job effectively. Despite all the history to the contrary.

    Yes we get it, you hate civil liberties and those who support it, the laws which protect it and the people who need to claim them. What else is new?

  • What you point out is important – the role men play in family planning. What I know of most Catholic couples is that the men in the family see contraceptive use as just as important as do the women in the family. Here is an example of how I know it worked in one family – my own. After five children in eight years, the doctor told my mother the next one could kill her. The priest she talked to said “no” to having her tubes tied. My mother was conflicted about what she really should do. So my father told her if she didn’t have her tubes tied he would have a vasectomy. So she had her tubes tied, saying she could not require that of my father in case something happened to her, she was not physically strong and had heart problems while he was much healthier. What if she died, he remarried, and might want more children? (as if 5 wasn’t enough for any man). Regardless, my mother lived to raise the children she already had and even outlived my father. We were very much loved and cared for my a remarkable woman.

    I think medical science needs to keep working on a male contraceptive and improving female contraceptives.

    Oh. And Card Tim needs to get his head out of the sand and really listen to couples who want to and/or are trying to raise a family in the world of today.

  • Happy Jack – You know, Happy Jack, that what you said could apply to the bishops and the Vatican who won’t talk to married couples, who refuse to relook at what they call the “truth.” They must also be courageous. And so should you. The truth of God has been interpreted within particular cultural contexts. Culture changes and so does our understanding of what the truth of God is. I think we will always be evolving our understanding of what God wants of us.

  • I make no demand, just stating historical facts and the fact that history repeats itself.

  • There are absolute and immutable moral laws, revealed in scripture and through natural law, that apply whatever the context and whatever the culture. No, what you actually mean is that man will assert his autonomy and then tell God to get in line.

  • Answer: 2.1 percent. Which, according to WHO is less than the expected 2.3 percent which may be expected as a result of sheer genetic variation in height and weight.

    As opposed to 22.2 percent for the world at large, which includes high poverty areas such as Africa, Asia and Oceania, all with percentages in the mid-30s.

    Nobody claimed that food assistance is unnecessary. What IS being claimed is that you are something of a hyperbolic propagandist.

  • No, I mean that any human who thinks he or she understands God has raised her/himself to be God. A little humility is needed. We seek … but will never really find until we are with Her. And then, I suspect we will find that we have been asking the wrong questions in a lot of areas.

  • All baptized Catholics are part of the faith. Tens of millions (hundreds of millions??) in Europe, North America, South and Central America, Australia, the Philippines and well off Catholics in most other parts of the world, make use of some forms of contraceptive that the Church frowns upon. That is reality. All those Catholics are as much Catholic as you or me, or Fr. Reese or Card. Dolan. All Catholics, Bob. The real lived experience of all those Catholics is something that the Dolan’s of the Church refuse to recognize, even listen to. The Holy Spirit speaks through all of us, not just to a few. Are you listening, Dolan?

  • What an absurd comment. Judicial activism has nothing whatsoever to do with judicial review. Judicial review is exercised within the boundaries of the constitution, and the constitution is nothing more or less than an exhaustive list of what the federal government specifically may do.

    This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the JUDGES IN EVERY STATE SHALL BE BOUND THEREBY [emphasis mine], anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. — Article VI of the US Constitution.

    Why do you hate our Constitution? Other than being a generally hate-filled person…

  • No link? How convenient if you don’t want to look credible.

    24.6% Americans have food insecurity issues according to the USDA (Est. 31.1 million people)

    “Nobody claimed that food assistance is unnecessary.”

    Besides our President and the Republican Party since the 1980’s. Pretty much anyone using the “welfare queen” and “some segments of our population get too much of our tax dollars” arguments bandied around the conservative echo chamber.

    Your lack of concern, and frankly completely dishonest response tell me all I need to know about your alleged concern for people. (Seriously WHO? Couldn’t bother to look for stats relating to our country, since I was not addressing Africa, Asia or Oceania).

  • Not even doing that. You are giving your take on things in light of what you want to happen.

  • “Someone is arguing that the Court doesn’t have the power to rule this way, therefore our prior decision is invalid and must be vacated!”
    -Words which will never be said by any judge, in any court. 🙂

  • Dolan is just a Little Sir Echo for the Paul VI/Vatican’s atrocious 1968 condemnation of contraception and abortion, which has done untold harm to women and to their rights of conscience throughout the world. Paul VI issued the Humane Vitae condemnation in defiance of the overwhelming counsel of his own advisers. Most Catholics ignore the ban, but politicians in the US and elsewhere have allowed themselves to be intimidated by the bishops, the same guys who all too often ignored or even covered up clergy sexual abuse.

  • I guess so. It makes a lot of sense given the immoral conduct and arguments made by a lot of people worshiping him.

    Good thing I do not pretend deferring to arbitrary authority on a subject is moral thinking.

    Also good to know you consider women chattel property to command as you will. It saves me the trouble of pretending you have a moral basis to your argument.

    If your religion doesn’t like abortion, its adherents can be discouraged from it. If your religion doesn’t like anyone having them and tries to make it illegal in accordance with its beliefs, tough luck. Religious freedom means nobody ever has to care what you think God commands nor can be forced to.

  • Jack may believe as he pleases, but he has no respect for the health, rights of conscience and religious liberty of women the world over.

  • You are trying to weaselword and shift goalposts as usual. You already made your indifference to the poor pretty clear. Thank you.

  • You are trying to pretend court decisions you didn’t like are unconstitutional but lacked the ability to make arguments of their merits.

    Yes you made that clear. Now you are just making strawman arguments and engaging goalpost shifting because you never hold yourself to a given view in an honest fashion. How childish.

  • Nolan and Reese need some “codomnation” before the RCC completely disappears.

  • Not in ignoramus language, of course. But many cases are refused on jurisdictional grounds for lack of a federal question.

    And the SCOTUS has reversed itself more than 200 times. Try to keep up.

  • My original post was about stunted growth, Einstein. You shifted it to food insecurity, which is a different animal.

    You already made your indifference to facts pretty clear. Thank you.

  • “You are trying to pretend court decisions you didn’t like are unconstitutional but lacked the ability to make arguments of their merits” could easily have been addressed to those who later criticized Dredd Scott and Plessy.

    Now, tell us why you hate the Constitution so much?

  • Your original post was a diversion from the outset. A snide commentary which in of itself showed your arrogant indifference to the poor. Oh well.

  • Which is not what you were talking about. You have gotten ahead of yourself in your effort to weaselword and shift the argument away from your original point.

    Thanks for playing. Have a nice weekend.

  • My original post was an admittedly snide commentary on the foolishness of your bigoted claims about others. Try to keep up.

  • LOL! That invalidated all SCOTUS power?

    Nope. Like all lawmakers, people make mistakes or their views change over time. The system remains the same.

    Much like how people like yourself used to be the front line for defending racial discrimination. Now you try to claim responsibility for its end. Yet the self-satisfied lying and bigotry remains.

  • Everyone who is baptized is a Christian.

    There are no special notches or gradations for “Catholic” baptisms.

    The Catholic Church itself doesn’t make that claim.

    It teaches from revelation, not “real lived experience”, whatever the heck that is.

    I have a feeling that when Cardinal Dolan’s predecessors ran into pagans who offered human sacrifice, they also refused to recognize or even listen to the pagans’ “real lived experience” as well.

    According to the Catholic Church:

    “It is not only through the sacraments and the ministries of the Church that the Holy Spirit sanctifies and leads the people of God and enriches it with virtues, but, “allotting his gifts to everyone according as He wills, He distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank. By these gifts He makes them fit and ready to undertake the various tasks and offices which contribute toward the renewal and building up of the Church, according to the words of the Apostle: “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to everyone for profit”. … Extraordinary gifts are not to be sought after, nor are the fruits of apostolic labor to be presumptuously expected from their use; but judgment as to their genuinity and proper use belongs to those who are appointed leaders in the Church, to whose special competence it belongs, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to that which is good.” – Dogmatic Constitution on the Church – Lumen Gentium – Solemnly Promulgated by His Holiness Pope Paul VI on November 21, 1964

    So if Cardinal Dolan is not listening to you, it has something to with his charism as a leader in a hierarchical church led by the Holy Spirit to test all things and hold fast that which is good, which your ideas apparently are not.

    Now, if you are standing outside the church he belongs to suggesting others join you outside it because your ideas are better, that is another matter.

  • Tater, until you understand what federalism is, you are never going to have any clear idea of what “SCOTUS power” or “the system” even is.

    That you would use the term “lawmakers” here is telling. Lawmakers is another word for legislators. We are discussing the judiciary. The judiciary are not lawmakers under the Constitution, which Madison and Hamilton made clear in the Federalist Papers. So you have openly repudiated the constitutional separation of powers here.

    I think you have demonstrated why you hate our Constitution so much. Because you simply don’t get it. The same reason I hated calculus while my husband ate it up.

  • “Good thing I do not pretend deferring to arbitrary authority on a subject is moral thinking.”

    So where exactly does your “morality” come from? What establishes your “morality” as legitimate and another man’s as “illegitimate”? Are the values that guide our lives social conventions? If they are not valid independently what is their foundation? Why should we act morally when it conflicts with self-interest? Or are we in some way held accountable for our moral decisions and actions?

    If God exists, then the objectivity of moral values, moral duties, and moral accountability is secured, but in the absence of God, if God does not exist, then morality is just a human convention, that is to say, morality is wholly subjective and non-binding and, ultimately, relies on force.

    if atheism is true, objective moral values do not exist. If God does not exist, then what is the foundation for moral values? More particularly, what is the basis for the value of human beings? If God does not exist, then it is difficult to see any reason to think that human beings are special or that their morality is objectively true. Moreover, why think that we have any moral obligations to do anything? Who or what imposes any moral duties upon us? Michael Ruse, a philosopher of science, writes,

    “The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says ‘Love they neighbor as thyself,’ they think they are referring above and beyond themselves . . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory … “ (Michael Ruse)

    “Religious freedom means nobody ever has to care what you think God commands nor can be forced to.”

    This is true but it doesn’t disqualify the right of the Church to present her position in the public square or to resist laws they consider illicit and campaign to change them.

  • ‘…“real lived experience”, whatever the heck that is.’

    Thanks for letting everyone know that you have no “real lived experience” of your own to draw upon.

  • “Judicial review IS in their power under the Constitution” The SCOTUS is a FEDERAL entity, and therefore limited by definition. It has original jurisdiction of an extremely limited variety of disputes, and appellate jurisdiction of FEDERAL constitutional questions. You are using the term “judicial review” without the foggiest notion of what you’re talking about.

    Tater, you’re hopeless. But have a nice weekend anyway.

  • no president has ever been able to fully enforce immigration laws because of too little workforce and resources . obama, as bush jr, clinton, bush sr and reagan before him had to pick and choose how the laws would be enforced . his quite reasonable course of action was to concentrate on those here without papers and were a danger to the country .

    trump is making is making a lot of noise about ms-13 [a gang targeted by the obama administration in 2012] and giving the impression that “bad actors” is a focus of his actions, but acts as if separating children from their parents will stop gang members from coming into the country or staying here .

    trump does not have a clue nor do those who support him .

  • That does not bode well for you since the other party does not appear to be getting any traction and appears to have no plan.

    Had the wall been built and the border closed, this discussion would be moot.

    Obama in this area simply did not enforce any of the laws.

  • That wasn’t an insult. It was an accurate description of your perverted responses, which continue to fabricate arguments that make your untenable position seem more reasonable. There is never a good reason to kill an innocent life. Society should absolutely address issues that lead women to the desperation of considering abortion, but none of the reasons (especially financial ones) are justification for having one. Any position that regards abortion as a necessary evil is, itself, evil.

  • Hilarious, no? He explicitly moves the goalposts, then accuses me of moving the goalposts. Better than Looney Tunes.

  • and mexico will pay for the wall ! the man had no plan, no clue . only a freak ability to pick up on what the crowd wanted to hear .

    no wall will or can close off a 2000 mile border . not without billions being paid . and the corporations will not give up their tax breaks to pay for it .

    how much money is in your wallet ?

    p.s. your comment on obama is unusually ignorant for you . study up. .

  • Your side lost.

    Get over it.

    Yes, you can substantially close borders: Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba.

    P.S.: A substantial number of your comments are ignorant. Would you like me to bring them to your attention when you make them?

  • Oh, He exists and when you meet Him Jack is sure He’ll answer all your questions. It’s fair enough ask questions about our Creator’s will and why He permits evil, but scoffing Him has consequences.

    “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7)

  • Who claims to understand God? How silly. However, God has revealed enough of Himself for us to understand His nature and His purposes. And, respectfully, it is the height of arrogance and pride to place yourself above scripture and the Church.

  • You are trying to declare yourself a winner in the argument without going through the necessary steps in between of providing support for your position. Declaring a position to be true or good/moral but not actually doing anything. How lazy.

    You are not refuting what I have said nor denying my description of your position or the attitudes of those who hold them.

    “Any position that regards abortion as a necessary evil is, itself, evil.”

    Because you say so or some arbitrary authority says so. Nothing more than that.

    “there is never a good reason to kill an innocent life.”

    Christians come up with many to kill. Innocence usually not a deciding factor one way or the other.

    “Innocent” is an important distinction here. Because promotes slutshaming inherent in the argument. Women being killed or severely injured in unsafe abortion procedures caused by legal bans, are worthy of their fate because they are not “innocent” in your eyes. They are unworthy of consideration. Also inherent in your view is the notion that any such decisions require your input.

    Of course your position also assumes that you have the power or right to intervene in the decision of women concerning their bodies. That alone is immoral and evil. It treats said women as your personal property to command, not as people.

  • Those Catholics are objectively living in grave sin due to rebellion or in subjective ignorance due to poor teaching and leadership from the Church. God alone will judge their culpability.

  • glad to know that your models for america’s borders are “Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba.”

    my side did not lose . my side is america with smart, intelligent policies : republican, democrat, independent . we survived the civil war, we will survived trump .

    your side simultaneously won and lost . won an election by default . lost an intelligent republican party . at some point the g.o.p. will have to vomit him out much as a drunk the day after .

    p.s. answer the point if you can .

  • You said borders couldn’t be closed.

    I pointed out that Soviet Union, North Korea, and Cuba accomplished it.

    That was responsive to your comment.

    “glad to know that your models for america’s borders are ‘Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba.'” wasn’t responsive to anything.

    It was just another of your not very well-considered and not well-grounded poses.


  • The scoffers/mockers will tell you it’s simply a particular kind of news site, when asked why they spend so many hours here talking about religion when they claim to not care about religion. Methinks the scoffers protest too much.

  • so the history of judicial activism began with john marshall in 1803 ? does then the concept of judicial activism define the role of the courts ? or is that definition wrong ?

  • Sigh. Another lib who doesn’t know judicial review from judicial activism. ?

    Advil, anyone?

  • The actual definition of “judicial activism” is a judge speaking when
    the law is silent, or contradicting the law when it speaks.

    What does John Marshall have to do with that?

  • why don’t you read the constitution more . federalism is not a term used in it nor in the end a stable doctrine for those afraid of government . the constitution begins with the phrase “we, the people…in order to form a more perfect union….” . it does not begin with ‘we, the states’ .

    the way to approve the constitution recommended by the convention of 1787 was not by the approval or denial by state legislatures, but by conventions of citizens set up independently in each state .

    the subsequent approval by those conventions and the latter passage of the bill of rights by the first congress bracketed the constitution’s initial phrase with the tenth amendment’s end : “powers not delegated…are reserved to the states respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

    the states have a real but a subsidiary role in the american idea of government .

    the power of the people to decide and make their laws are the beginning and end of the american constitutional law .

  • Bob Arnzen’s definition used was “a judge speaking when the law is silent….’ . that is exactly what john marshall began in 1803 .

    advil won’t help you if you don’t know the subject .

  • that the major way that the soviet union did and north korea is able to have closed borders is the threat of murder of huge numbers of people . those responsible for that have gone on trial in germany, at least, for those killed crossing that border .

    the point is obvious as one commentator once put it “[f]or anyone with normal intelligence and grade 8” history knowledge .

  • From the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

    Federalism: the distribution of power in an organization (such as a government) between a central authority and the constituent units.

    The Tenth Amendment which you just quoted is a distillation of that concept. Whatever was not specifically given to the federal government belongs to the general power of the states or to the people.

    The delegates to the Constitutional Convention didn’t simply get together and pool their votes. Every provision of the Constitution was voted upon BY STATE. The delegates were chosen by the people of each state, and when a state’s delegates tied their vote or enough of them didn’t show up they forfeited their vote. And the finished Constitution was ratified by each individual STATE.

    Get it out of your head that states are subsidiary in any sense; they are not. They are the default sphere of government which owns every power not expressly given away.

    When the federal judiciary ventures outside of the subject matter specifically given to the federal government, that is an improper usurpation of authority that does not belong to it. And it has done so frequently ever since the early years of the 20th century when the SCOTUS invented the bogus notion of “substantive due process” in order to help big business get rid of perfectly legitimate state social legislation, and continuing into the later 20th century when progressives demanded their turn at overturning similarly legitimate social legislation — none of which fell within any delegated federal power.

    Fortunately the SCOTUS is on track for recapturing at least some of our historic regard for separation of powers.

    If you don’t think a federalism is a “stable” doctrine then that would explain why you don’t seem care for our social compact, which is nothing but the scaffolding for a limited federal republic.

  • “It was just another of your not very well-considered and not well-grounded poses.”

    ROTFL. That’s too funny. The incredible irony continues from poseur extraordinaire BobbyJo Arnzen, whose own beliefs aren’t grounded in reality.

  • The laws John Marshall dealt with were not silent but inconsistent with the constitution.

  • Actually, BobbyJo, liberals are winning the long game and your bigoted Christian cult is fading away.

  • WHACK! There goes BobbyJo Arnzen again, taking another personal swipe at an opposing poster and being a typical spiteful, nasty Christian yet again.

  • What can we do to strike the rock a third time? I’d like to see the look on your face when nothing happens.

  • “The top down perspective is that global warming is a conflagration fueled by abortion and the LGBT which the U.S. is responsible for spreading around the world.”
    I didn’t know you were a top.
    Or an expert on climate. all of those scientists should just listen to you, and realize that it is Big gay Goliath that makes global warming a thing. Glad to hear the murder of 6 million jews didn’t get him going, the murder of 100,000 witches didn’t phase him, the 250 years worth of war between the catholic and Protestants didn’t even ping his radar. Not slavery. Not native American genocide. Not even Catholic priests and their problems keeping their hands off little boys and girls.
    But what I do with my genitalia without your permission– well, that is certainly worth a conflagration or two.
    Pssssst. your obsessions are showing,.

  • If you believe for one microsecond that we could not close the southern border in six months, you are just the kind of person the politicians are looking for.

  • Bob, show how it can be done . we are both people that different politicians look for . you right wing and i left . so ?

    don’t try to confuse the argument . make an argument . how many people ? how much money ? how much wall ? and how long before people who have loved the idea of america from afar find another way in ?

    you have no plan . no idea . so you attack . do better .

  • when john marshall defined judicial review there was no law or american tradition of the supreme court engaging in such an activity . john marshall gave the supreme court the right to tell the president or the congress that what they are attempting to do is unconstitutional.

    it was judicial activism of the first order . and it has defined the power of the supreme court ever since .

  • i am sorry . i didn’t know that the merriam-webster dictionary was in the constitution .

    my care for our social compact is such that i spend time explaining the reality to those who believe myths that linger with states rights folks long after the myth was exploded by the civil war .

    again the word “federalism” is not in the constitution . for all you who believe that “separation of church and state” does not express the reality of america because those words are not in the constitution : make up your minds :

    1) accept that there are concepts that exist that the constitution does not use the words that later became a way to explain them .

    2) “[the states] are the default sphere of government which owns every power not expressly given away.”

    no one knew exactly what was being reserved to the states and what given to the federal government in 1787 and 1791 and it is still a fight today .

    why does the right wing always talk of the states, when it comes to the 10th amendment, but never then “the people” which is how it completes its thought ?

    why does the right wing rejoice that the judicial activism of the conservative court extended the meaning of the 14th amendment to the scope of the second amendment ?

    “Fortunately the SCOTUS is on track for recapturing….” this is the mythological growth spurt of a tree before it bares its last fruit and dies .

  • This isn’t an argument. The sanctity of life is not open to debate. One does not “argue” with a person who is anti-life. They pray for them.

  • I’m afraid John Marshall did not define judicial review. It was described in detail fifteen years before Marbury v Madison by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers, which were written to explain to people of the several states why the Constitution should be ratified.

    Whatever else one says about John Marshall, he was no judicial activist. In his 34 years on the SCOTUS no other law was ever struck down. It was not until 1857, in fact, that another law was held unconstitutional.

  • Everyone knew exactly what was reserved to the states: everything that was not explicitly doled out to the federal government. That is what enumerated powers is all about.

    You mention the 10th Amendment a lot. Madison, the primary drafter of the Constitution, originally did not even want to include any Bill of Rights because he feared it would confuse people like you. To him it was perfectly obvious that if the feds were given no express power to do something then it was of course off the table. But some insisted, and he complied, while making sure to add the 9th Amendment prohibiting overly broad interpretations, and the 10th to make absolutely sure that everyone understood the concept of expressly enumerated powers. But alas, the ignorance which would prevail 230 years later would make hash of the founders’ best efforts on our behalf. No wonder they were such pessimists.

    What is the big mystery about “the people?” If a state chooses not to exercise its police power by legislating on any given subject matter then the people retain their liberty to act on it as they please — it doesn’t become fair game for the feds without being enumerated to them. What part of that do you not understand?

    We were assigned reams of the Federalist Papers to study when I was in school. I’m sure it is too much to expect the current generation of young people to focus their minds on logic that sophisticated for very long, but Federalist 78, at the very least, ought to be required of everyone.

    And do not come to me complaining about the incorporation of the 2nd Amendment. The 14th Amendment was intended by its framers and ratifiers, and so ruled by the SCOTUS of that generation, to do nothing more than to extend citizenship to former black slaves and to end the “black codes” that held them to different laws and penalties than whites. It was never meant to be the power grab that the early 20th century SCOTUS made it out to be, and “selective incorporation” is pure bs — but it is bs of your ideology’s own making and for the time being you are stuck with it. I often laugh about how, if the tyranny-mongers had not mangled the 14th into something it clearly is not, you could have your gun-free states now and show everyone what crime-free paradises they are — like Illinois, perhaps. ?

    —this is the mythological growth spurt of a tree before it bares its last fruit and dies.

    Sounds a lot like the crowing I heard around here on the eve of the 2016 election.

  • You’re right. Its a self-righteous harrange from a narcissist who thinks they have the right and power to control women as if they are his property. 🙂

  • Ah, well, then you’ll have ample time to reflect on His answers once you’ve met Him.

    “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

  • Only in your imagination Happy Jack! IF God is so great, good, loving, perfect in every way then He can’t be mocked.

    Advanced souls are sure enough in themselves that they don’t need to be worshipped (and would prefer not to be, knowing how that turns into idolatry), they can’t be demeaned, mocked or belittled by people smaller than themselves.

  • Close the border – easy-peasy.

    Don’t close the border, stop kvetching about what happens.

  • B.S., as usual. There is no law that requires separating children from their parents vis-a-vis illegal immigration.

  • My experience with our fellow blogger is that he seldom offered anything of substance in our exchanges. Lots of ad hominems, not much anything else.

  • The ACA’s problems, its overall success notwithstanding, were due to the GOP’s deliberate efforts to sabotage it.

  • Instead of advising Dolan to “talk to” women, I’d suggest you advise the good cardinal to “listen to” women. Being a hierarch and a “Prince of the Church”, he may find it difficult, very difficult. Sucking up, being a loyal “company man” is part and parcel of climbing the career ecclesial ladder in the Church of Rome.

  • Construing and applying the “natural law” is an ongoing process, one not limited to the Church of Rome’s hierarchs and theological advisors.

  • “Everyone who is baptized is a Christian.”

    Faith precedes baptism. It is faith that makes one a Christian. Baptism admits one to a Christian community.

    “Extraordinary gifts are not to be sought after, nor are the fruits of apostolic labor to be presumptuously expected from their use; but judgment as to their genuinity and proper use belongs to those who are appointed leaders in the Church, to whose special competence it belongs, not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to that which is good” (LG-12).

    The key word is “competence”, from a historical root meaning “sufficiency to deal with what is at hand”. How often have hierarchs demonstrated “competence” in recent times? Simply invoking the Spirit to rest on the ordinand’s head does not per se make one “competent”.

  • Pro-life should mean efficient pro-contraception but the RCC and Islam and Mormonism shun such practices since it affects their head-count. Such complete idiocy!!!!

    And to bring reason to it all, The Great Kibosh again comes to mind:

    Putting the kibosh on all religion in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    “The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother’s womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. “

  • Happy Jacky has said nothing. It’s all him. It’s always him. Jacky is kept in a box most of the time.

  • While situation ethics is not Christian morality, the latter does not overlook context.

    Strongly recommended:


    + Lawler and Salzman’s “The End of the Affair? ‘Humanae Vitae’ at 50”, available free at, and

    + Cathleen Kaveny’s “Intrinsic Evil and Political Responsibility: Is the concept of intrinsic evil helpful to the Catholic Voter?”, available free at

  • If you were a deity, you would have added “within reason of course” because you support abortion, contraception, and buy the Malthusian predictions.

    The actual deity, who is apparently a lot brighter than you are, can see the future which you can’t, and seems not to support abortion, contraception, and does not buy Malthusian predictions did not.

    Obviously humility is not a virtue you’re familiar with.

    “Oh God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust.”

  • Neither you nor any cleric/hierarch is qualified to judge whether a Catholic is “objectively living in grave sin.” Furthermore, “subjective ignorance” per se does not make one morally culpable. Context comes into play.


    “1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

    “1793 If – on the contrary – the ignorance is invincible, or the moral subject is not responsible for his erroneous judgment, the evil committed by the person cannot be imputed to him. It remains no less an evil, a privation, a disorder. One must therefore work to correct the errors of moral conscience.”

  • You said: I’d suggest you advise the good cardinal to “listen to” women.

    And you are quite right. Much better to tell Dolan to listen then to suggest he talk. Silly me, I tend to think that “talking to” also means “talking with.” Dolan really does need to not talk but to really listen to the real lives of Catholic men and women of today. Families use contraceptives so they can provide for the children they do have. In the chaos around the world today, contraceptives could help many families who live in dire circumstances. And, contraceptives are important to women managing their lives today, since so many women are part of the working world, sometimes by need and sometimes by choice. They need to plan their child bearing.

  • No, he does not ignore “the unconditional immorality of abortion.” You’re engaging in eisegesis.

  • In fact, “our desires” can correspond perfectly with “God’s design”. Context.

  • “Thomas Reece…should be upholding and defending Church teaching…blah, blah, blah.”

    He is.

    Faith *and* Reason.

  • Homosexuality is not sinful. Neither are same-sex truly relational acts.

    (being straight, i’ll decline your invite)

  • “Silly me, I tend to think that ‘talking to’ also means ‘talking with.'”

    As I’m sure you’d agree, not true with JPII and B16 hierarchs, at least most of ’em.

  • yes it is….if you miss mass because your sick or have to take care of a sick child,there is no sin or if you lie to nazi soldiers who are rounding up jews for execution,as to where there existence is…no sin. Situation ethics have always been a part of morality

  • situation ethics have always been a part of morality…missing mass because your sick or to take care of a sick child…no sin. lying to the nazis as to where jews are hiding,to protect them from execution…no sin. Situation ethics have always been involved with morality

  • I do support a woman’s right to choose. But you are wrong about the “deity” who obviously isn’t brighter than me or as enlightened as me since he has made so MANY grave errors in judgment.

  • I hope you realize that “the ‘deity’ who obviously isn’t brighter than me or as enlightened as me since he has made so MANY grave errors in judgment” confirms that humility is not a virtue you’re familiar with.

  • he is, i tend to think, either a person home bound with nothing else to do yet a boundless estimate of his opinions, or a troll paid by the word .

    the result in any case is shut down conversations by driving them away from the topic of the article .

  • And you think He is humble, demanding to be worshipped? Nothing humble about that! Grow up Bob.

  • Assume, for a moment, that an all-powerful being created the entire universe that we know from nothing at all by an act of sheer will.

    We’ll exclude for a moment any possibility that you could perform such an act, nor could anyone that you happen to absolutely adore.

    If that being told me to worship, I would be all ears.

    You, on the other hand, are all mouth, confirming that humility is not a virtue you’re familiar with.

  • “Silly me, I tend to think that ‘talking to’ also means ‘talking with.’”

    Certainly it does not involve “listening to” at your end.

    No, your mind is made up, and nothing Dolan or any other member of the hierarchy has to say is of the slightest interest to you except as segue to your next missive.

    This was Mao Zedong’s tactic of “fight fight, talk talk (da da, tan tan).”

    Mao would negotiate, not in order to “get to yes” and reach a compromise solution, but to buy time, color his opponent’s views, and influence third parties. The ultimate goal never changed, whatever the negotiating positions.

    And that is your approach as well.

  • Edd, other than using “the health, rights of conscience and religious liberty of women the world over” as stepping stone to peddling the same agenda you’ve been peddling for four decades or more, neither do you.

  • if it is “easy-peasy,” as you said above, that suggests someone has a plan . or they have no clue .

    if they have a plan, someone knows what actions they are going to take . or they have no clue .

    if they know what they are going to do, then they know the personnel and the materials they need . or they have no clue .

    if they know that, then they’ll have a budget proposal to get it done . or they have no clue .

    so what is it Bob ? no clue ? or do you or the people you support have some idea of what to do, and how to do it, and the cost ?

    or did you buy a pig in the poke ?

  • I believe we’re done.

    Despite the fact that zero has been done on closing the border, that borders have been closed all over the world for centuries (e.g., the Great Wall of China), you’re now fixated on having a detailed plan.

    Only the deity knows why.

    It beats admitting that the border is sieve.

    It beats admitting that your party made things worse.

    Well, have at it.

    With someone else, of course.

  • Most Catholics agree with me on this. Then there was the May 25 referendum in vary Catholic Ireland, where voters supported women’s rights and freedom of conscience by 2 to 1.

  • More accurately, a majority of nominal “Catholics” agree with you, an ex-Catholic.

    Since they disagree with their church, that puts a question mark on their “Catholic” bona-fides.

  • That’s the No True Scotsman fallacy from BobbyJo Arnzen there.

    BobWorld is all fallacy, all the time.

  • Sigh, Shawnie5 being another typical nasty Christian takes another snide swipe at a poster.

  • WHAM! BLAM! Our typically nasty Christian poster BobbyJo Arnzen takes yet another personal swipe at a poster.

    Better take l’il BobbyJo’s guns away before he gets even more angry.

  • God is not an “advanced soul” – He is the Creator of all souls.

    Mocking and scoffing God doesn’t affect Him – it affects the blasphemer. It’s a rejection of God’s Goodness and Majesty. To mock God is to disrespect, dishonour, or ignore Him. Mockery is a dishonouring attitude that shows low estimation, contempt, or even open hostility. In the Bible mockery is a behaviour and attitude shown by the fool (Psalm 74:22), the wicked (Psalm 1:1), the enemy (Psalm 74:10), the hater of knowledge (Proverbs 1:22; 13:1), the proud (Psalm 119:51; Isaiah 37:17), and the unteachable (Proverbs 15:12). A mocker goes beyond mere lack of judgment to making a conscious decision for evil.

    Get that: the fool; the wicked; the enemy; the hater of knowledge; the proud; and the unteachable.

    And those who mock God will also mock the people of God. The prophet Jeremiah “became the laughingstock of all my people” and was mocked “in song all day long” (Lamentations 3:14). Mockery of God’s prophets was commonplace (2 Chronicles 36:16). Nehemiah was mocked by his enemies (Nehemiah 2:19). Elisha was mocked by the youths of Bethel (2 Kings 2:23). And Jesus was mocked—by Herod and his soldiers (Luke 23:11), by the Roman soldiers (Mark 15:20; Luke 23:36), by a thief on a cross (Luke 23:39), and by the Jewish leaders who passed by the cross (Matthew 27:41).

    There are repercussions for ignoring God’s directives and wilfully choosing sin. Adam and Eve tried and brought sorrow and death into the world (Genesis 2:15–17; 3:6, 24). Ananias and Sapphira’s deception brought about a swift and public judgment (Acts 5:1–11). Galatians 6:7 states a universal principle: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

  • don’t be afraid, Shawnie5, you are right that alexander hamilton noted that judicial review was a tradition of courts and could be expected to be used in american courts . in fact he alluded to colonial courts that had done so .

    yet you are not recognizing that john marshall made it part of american government under the constitution . it is not in the constitution and made not have been made part of american legal tradition, alexander hamilton–who was dead by this time and never a judge–if marshall had not done an amazing court opinion .

  • “To speak out for religious freedom and the rights of conscience is to invite being smeared as a “bigot.”

    My “right of conscience” should mean that I don’t live in a “nation under god”, our money should not say “In God we trust”. Our president should not have an Evangelical Council. Religious prayers should not be performed in government activities. Christians or Muslims or the members of any religion should not be able to use their religious beliefs as an argument for cultural morals.

    Does that make me a bigot for claiming my rilghts of conscience?

  • Neither you, nor I, can apply natural law. It must be determined from human nature through reason, discussion , and agreement.

    It is independent of the laws of a state.

    Areement would be very difficult for the morals you mention.

    If your arguments come from your theistic belief, I would not be able to agree with you unless you also came up with what I would consider a valid secular argument.

  • What law reqires the seperation of children from parents while waiting for asylm claims to be adjudicated?

    You better check with the writings of Ivan Ilyin before advocating “rule of law”.

  • He may very likely be working for the Kremlin . The purpose of their tactic is to increase ignorance, anger, and hate between bloggers. often their trolls have multiple personalities.

  • To clarify, it is incumbent in the Church of Rome to study and consider official moral teaching in forming one’s conscience. In the end, presuming good faith, one’s conscience is supreme.

  • any could be . the solution is to respond civilly and intelligently and never to let anger and emotions dictate our reactions .

  • Faith and Reason. The word ‘tradition’ (upper or lower case) is a loosey-goosey term.

    “Not everything that exists in the Church must for that reason be also a legitimate tradition; in other words, not every tradition that arises in the Church is a true celebration and keeping present of the mystery of Christ. There is a distorting, as well as a legitimate, tradition….Consequently, tradition must not be considered only affirmatively, but also critically” (Joseph Ratzinger, “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation”, Herbert Vorgrimler (ed.), COMMENTARY ON THE DOCUMENTS OF VATICAN II, Herder and Herder, 1969, Vol. 3, p. 185).

    “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth- in a word, to know himself- so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves” (John Paul II, Fides et Ratio: On the Relationship Between Faith and Reason).

    Faith and understanding [CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH]

    156 What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived”. So “that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.” Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability “are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the mind”.

    157 Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie. To be sure, revealed truths can seem obscure to human reason and experience, but “the certainty that the divine light gives is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives.” “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.”

    158 “Faith seeks understanding”: it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. the grace of faith opens “the eyes of your hearts” to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God’s plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the centre of the revealed mystery. “The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood.” In the words of St. Augustine, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.”

    159 Faith and science: “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. the humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.”

    Theology is faith seeking understanding (St. Anselm)

  • I agree with your examples. The problem I have with “situation(al) ethics” is the term itself, which can lend itself to applications/examples that I suspect neither of us would support. In other words, different people can have different understandings of the term. This is why I referred earlier to “context”. Thank you.

  • You do not know what I have listened to and what I have lived, experienced, prayed. I do listen but I do not kowtow. Perhaps that is the difference between us.

    Odd argument – that I am manipulating like Mao Zedong. I would suggest it is the bishops who are not even arguing, not even willing to listen to a viewpoint that doesn’t fit their predetermined conclusions.

    We live in different time, with much more knowledge. Imagine! the sun does not circle the Earth, the sun and Earth and the universe were not created in six days, and we eat shellfish and the meat of cloven hoofed animals who do not chew the cud. Much follows from the realization that what we once thought was God given truth was not given by God at all.

  • What you have listened to and what you have lived, experienced, prayed do not appear to be relevant to anyone but yourself.

    You don’t listen and call it “not kowtow(ing)”.

    The real differences between us include:

    – I think you need to know what you’re talking about before offering advice.

    – I think if you no wanna play by the rules, you needa leave the game.

    – I recognize authority.

    I didn’t argue that you are “manipulating like Mao Zedong”.

    I pointed out that like Mao, “dialogue” is simply a pretext for you to keep on truckin’.

    The bishops shouldn’t be willing to listen to a viewpoint that doesn’t fit their predetermined conclusions if their predetermined conclusions are within their competence and reflect the faith they purport to hold.

  • I can read and, unlike you, I am not a shill for a variety of organizations with anti-Catholic axes to grind.


    “Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children.”

    “That’s because of something called the Flores Consent Decree from 1997. It says that unaccompanied children can be held only 20 days. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit extended this 20-day limit to children who come as part of family units. So even if we want to hold a family unit together, we are forbidden from doing so.”

    So, it is Federal Court order that creates that problem.

    Btw, a potential recipient of asylum status has to apply at the border. They cannot enter the country illegally, and then “launder” the illegal entry by claiming asylum.

  • As usual, Bob, you simply picked up some mantras from your favorite media sources and repeated them like a parrot.

    “Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children.”

    “That’s because of something called the Flores Consent Decree from 1997. It says that unaccompanied children can be held only 20 days. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit extended this 20-day limit to children who come as part of family units. So even if we want to hold a family unit together, we are forbidden from doing so.”

    Get some facts to go with your opinions.

  • So, you’ve a priori assumption and will listen to nothing else.

    You do know, don’t you, the difference between an open mind and an empty head?

  • No, your right of conscience means you can complain about living in a “One nation under God”, kvetch as much you like about “In God we trust”, gripe until your gums are sore about the Evangelical Council, whine as often as you care about religious prayers at government activities, and suggest that the Constitution be amended such that Christians or Muslims or the members of any religion not be able to rely on their religious beliefs as an argument for cultural morals.

    What you can’t do is enforce any of that on others without amending the Constitution.

  • I’d say a being which can create reality from nada by will has every right to expect to be worshiped.

    It’s certainly more than anything you or anyone you endorse can do.

  • People can use religious arguments with those who believe in the same religion. Secular discussions require secular arguments. This does require open minds for agreement.

    Secular = denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis.

  • Actually as our Constitution was written and interpreted, people can use religious arguments for any purpose they wish, public or private.

    So, if you don’t like that, you have the task in front of you of amending the Constitution.

  • John Marshall did not make it part of the American government.

    It was either inherent in the American government (and it was) or it was not.

  • If your arguments come from your theistic belief, I would not be able to agree with you unless you also came up with what I would consider a valid secular argument. This process would be futile without open minds.

  • The process of reason, discussion, and agreement would be impossible without open minds.
    To attain agreement through reason and discussion would be futile without open minds.

  • “…inherent in the American government….”

    you are starting to sound like a judicial activist and a liberal . what happen to your insistence that the exact words must be in the constitution or it is not constitutional ?

  • Nice hedging there, you slippery Bobber, but as usual your argument fell apart.

  • “As usual, Bob, you simply picked up some mantras from your favorite media sources and repeated them like a parrot.”

    Now, there, you are really only speaking of yourself, Bob Arnzen.

  • No, I am sounding like I actually read and understand the Constitution.

    What is the job of the Supreme Court?

    “Article III”

    “Section 1. The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.”

    “Section 2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority;–to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls;–to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;–to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;–to controversies between two or more states;–between a state and citizens of another state;– between citizens of different states;–between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects.”

    So, this is the only court fashioned by the Constitution itself.

    And its power extends to all case arising under this Constitution, in law or in equity.

    What is the Constitution?

    It is the fundamental law of the land.

    “The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body.” – Federalist Paper 78

    I fail to see activism in reading and interpreting these plain words to mean just what they say.

  • So, by your own definition, your a priori assumption about a deity means you lack an open mind.


  • The question is not whether you agree.

    You have some rather zany ideas (e.g., military weapons are bad unless you own them yourself).

    The question is whether others can present arguments from their own perspective.

  • History shows that your god does not care. Your god has been silent for thousands of years. Silent and non-existent forever, actually.

  • Such “energy” invested in denying and mocking God and those who believe in Him. Hopefully, you’ll come to your senses before you die.

    Mocking and scoffing God doesn’t affect Him or those who believe in Him – it affects the blasphemer. It’s a rejection of God’s Goodness and Majesty. Mockery is a dishonouring attitude that shows low estimation, contempt, or, in your case, open hostility. In the Bible mockery is a behaviour and attitude shown by the fool (Psalm 74:22), the wicked (Psalm 1:1), the enemy (Psalm 74:10), the hater of knowledge (Proverbs 1:22; 13:1), the proud (Psalm 119:51; Isaiah 37:17), and the unteachable (Proverbs 15:12). A mocker goes beyond mere lack of judgment to making a conscious decision for evil.

    Get that: the fool; the wicked; the enemy; the hater of knowledge; the proud; and the unteachable.

    And those who mock God will also mock the people of God. The prophet Jeremiah “became the laughingstock of all my people” and
    was mocked “in song all day long” (Lamentations 3:14). Mockery of God’s prophets was commonplace (2 Chronicles 36:16). Nehemiah was mocked by his enemies (Nehemiah 2:19). Elisha was mocked by the youths of Bethel (2 Kings 2:23). And Jesus was mocked—by
    Herod and his soldiers (Luke 23:11), by the Roman soldiers (Mark 15:20; Luke 23:36), by a thief on a cross (Luke 23:39), and by the Jewish leaders who passed by the cross (Matthew 27:41).

    There are repercussions for rejecting God, for ignoring His directives and wilfully choosing sin. Adam and Eve tried and brought sorrow and death into the world (Genesis 2:15–17; 3:6, 24). Ananias and Sapphira’s deception brought about a swift and public judgment (Acts 5:1–11). Galatians 6:7 states a universal principle: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
    Jack will waste no more time on you.

  • So, first… “there was no law or american tradition of the supreme court engaging in judicial review…”

    And then, “Alexander Hamilton noted that judicial review was a tradition of courts”

    And when Hamilton died and whether or not he was a judge matters because…?

    It appears to me that you are attempting to clean up after some ill-advised and inaccurate assertions.

    Jefferson, president at the time of Marbury, was not a fan of judicial review, to be sure, because he did not feel that the constitution had provided adequate checks upon the judiciary (a situation which it is by no means too late to remedy). However, Jefferson was not involved in the creation of the constitution and was not even in the country during the drafting and ratification process. Marshall, however, WAS involved in that process.

    The fact remains that the framers of the constitution took judicial review more or less for granted, and the states ratified the constitution understanding its importance via the Federalist Papers. That Marshall both understood and acted upon this did not make him and activist and he would be horrified at how 21st century tyranny-mongers are misrepresenting him today:

    — To say that the intention of the instrument must prevail; that this intention must be collected from its words; that its words are to be understood in that sense in which they are generally used by those for whom the instrument was intended; that its provisions are neither to be restricted into insignificance, nor extended to objects not comprehended in them, nor contemplated by its framers; is to repeat what has been already said more at large, and is all that can be necessary. — John Marshall, 1827

  • As I said, determination of natural law must be determined through reason, discussion, and agreement. This would be futile without open minds. There is nothing a priori about that.

  • If good faith in the teachings of the Church of Rome is required, then only morals based on religious belief are discovered. You may not believe it, but secular morals can include those of differing beliefs.

  • What is a priori is that there is no possibility of an Author.

    That leaves us with:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are xxx equal, that they are endowed by xxx xxx with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    And there is your a priori.

  • Except our planet and the universe weren’t created from “nada”! And the Bible even tells you so.

    In Genesis the creation account starts with “In the Beginning the earth was an endless void”. Ignorant people don’t understand that “void” has two meanings. The meaning here is that of useless and without effect as when we say a contract was null and void.

    In the Beginning what was there was useless and without effect until it took on form (what we now call matter)!

    And what was there? John 1 tells you. In the Beginning was the Logos. The Logos has been mistranslated as word in an attempt to lead people astray. Logos, to the Greek that coined the word, meant the principles and processes at work in the world (what we now call Scientific laws-gravity, thermodynamics, etc, AND the atomic and subatomic particles that are the building blocks of everything in our world and the Universe).

  • I love it when you copy and paste from sources without understanding their content.

    Bereshis 1

    1 In the beginning Elohim created hashomayim (the heavens, Himel) and haaretz (the earth).

    2 And the earth was tohu vavohu (without form, and void); and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Ruach Elohim was hovering upon the face of the waters.

    The“tohu vavohu”, “chaos” and “desolation”, were themselves created.

    In the Talmud tractate Chagigah: “Rab Judah further said that Rab said: Ten things were created the first day, and they are as follows: heaven and earth, Tohu [chaos], Vohu [desolation], light and darkness, wind and water, the measure of day and the measure of night.”

    In other words, Elohim created chaos and desolation and then shaped them.

    As to the Logos, the Septuagint use of the Logos in Psalms 33:6 relates directly to the Genesis creation just discussed.

    This use of Logos is personal and could be better translated than”the Word was God” by “the Word was God Himself”.

    Your suggestion does serious violence to the plain meaning of the text, but it reflects the sort of thing that Gordon Clark, a Calvinist theologian, attempted by translating Logos as “Logic”.

  • I’m not referring to “good faith in the teachings of the Church of Rome.” I’m referring, instead, to considering church moral teaching and other sources in good faith, i.e., wanting to make morally responsible decisions. Big difference.

  • Bob, I actually think that my experience is not unique at all, but is representative of that of millions. It is that real life experience, the reality of living day to day, that I don’t think is recognized by the Church. So many rules are written out of some concept of an idealized world that doesn’t actually exist – and never has. What we have now that was not available for so many centuries is people telling their stories, sharing their stories, being aware that the idealized picture is pretense. More, maintaining the pretense requires a deliberate ignoring/ignorance of real lives, real people, and the affect/effect of the games playing on people being able to make real and good choices.

    One of those choices is in family planning – how many children to have, when to have them. It isn’t rocket science. And it is desperately important for the welfare of women, couples, families, even the ability of the Earth to sustain life.

  • Just think, when Christianity began the experience of almost the entire world ran contrary to Christianity.

    Now it is down to millions like yourself.

    What I can’t quite follow is why you think experience should inform the church rather than the other way around.

    And, if religion is important to you – and I do not get any impression that it is – why are you not touting the Episcopal Church or some other denomination whose beliefs and practices are compatible with your views?

    Could it be that you what you really want is to destroy a particular denomination, and so by misusing the name “Catholic” much like the ex-Catholics over at “Catholics” for Choice (Catholics for a Free Choice), founded by a former Catholic?

    Experience … it seems to synonymous with what you want, and nothing more.

  • Pro-life should mean efficient pro-contraception but the RCC, Islam and Mormonism shun such practices since it affects their head-count. Such idiocy has no bounds when it comes to these religions.

  • Everyone wasn’t concerned about Illegal immigration, judicial activism, economic breaks for the rich, the destruction of the Palestinians, the continued genocide of the people of Yemen, and the support of the world’s dictators.

    It was those, mostly Evangelicals, Who Tramp calls his people, who all have the same values.

    These values are also those of Putin’s followers

  • Yes, that was Hillary’s miscalculation as well. As you have just demonstrated, nothing has been learned from her mistake.

    Funny how one day the evangelical boogeymen are dwindling into irrelevance, dying out, headed for the proverbial dustbin of history…and the next they are numerous and powerful enough to flip the swing states that Obama took quite easily in 2012.

    Or maybe… the Dems have simply lost touch with the mainstream electorate.

    Imagine an out-of-work midwestern steelworker of ANY faith hearing Hillary offer “equal pay for equal work” and “clean energy” as a plan to stimulate the economy, and you might have an inkling of why the Dems are floundering.

  • The mouth of bob insists that it is HE that is being humble by asserting that his deity does not care for Malthusian predictions, as if he knows what is to found within his deity, and which can be found nowhere in his Holy Boble, but only in the head of the Most Holy Bob. Surely, you don’t understand that when the Mouth of Bob speaks, It is with the Voice of God?

    Shame! shame!

  • The way to change the economy to benefit those 90% with the least wealth is to go back to progressive taxes. Neither party wants to do this and both are to blame.

  • I know Ben BUT I just can’t help myself! His pomposity is ALMOST too much to bear! It requires a response!

  • “…Repugnicans: they hate poor people.”

    So, we’re back to the “basket of deplorables”– the ignorant attitude that lost you he last election, on full display. Some people never seem to learn…even when the lesson gets rubbed in their faces. Keep it up through 2020, and you’ll get the same result. I say, “Go for it!”

  • The reason neither party wants progressive taxes is that in the long run the evidence is that they have perverse effects, particularly on capital formation.

  • I notice you are not worked up about the millions of children deprived of citizen parents in the United States due to the parents’ incarceration or because of the miserable custody laws in domestic relations courts.

    I take it they don’t play into any current political mind game of yours.

  • If you ignore him, he will follow you around excessively. Then the Moith of Bob will deny he is obsessing over you, and explain in great detail how he “did the math” by going through hundreds of comments, to obsessively “prove” that he isn’t actually obsessing over you. He did that just today.

    However, if you pay him any attention, he will also follow you around excessively, but you then also get the joy of having the Mouth of Bob tell you that you are a big poopy head for daring to disagree with him. Of course, he will deny actually every using the words big poopy head, which is true, but rather besides the point, since he does everything but use the words big poopy head. He thrives on technicalities.

    So it’s really a matter of choosing which poison you prefer to drink. Cyanide or arsenic?

  • I happen to read and post at:

    If she, or you, post there in the comments, there is a fair chance that if I read something you posted – and I likely will – and think it bears comment, I will comment. This is consistent with Religion News’ Commenting Policy:

    “We understand that people feel passionately about religious belief and other topics we report on, and we fully encourage debate and disagreement – including criticism of our articles. But comments are expected to be civil and respectful. We will delete material that is defamatory, abusive, bullying, harassing, racist, hateful, violent, sexually explicit or obscene; we will block commenters who post material that is deemed to be of this nature, and we will remove anything that is itself or is a link to something that is vulgar and obscene. Also not permitted are ethnic slurs, religious intolerance, homophobia, and personal attacks.”

    You need to wear your big boy and big girl pants.

    That only constitutes following someone around excessively if your cheese slipped off its cracker.

    Now, suppose you find a person’s comments offensive, annoying, or otherwise distasteful? Disqus has a cure:

    I can think of only two reasons someone would not use it:

    – The individual in question is a professional victim who wants to yell “I am being put upon, aggrieved, stalked, followed!” consistent with a lifetime of playing the victim.

    – The individual in question wants to make sure that she or he is not contradicted or, if that is not feasible, wants to know who contradicted and what was posted.

    In your particular case both seem to be operating.

  • I am concerned about all of the suffering that we tolerate in this country. I am surprised if you are concerned.

  • Odd, is it not, that these millions of children have been separated every single year you have been alive and not once has the topic come up until your favorite politicians began their kabuki dance of misrepresentations and crocodile tears over a few thousand children who are not citizens in a situation that results from a court order and the law in preparation for the mid-term elections?

  • The mouth of First Name: Ben Last Name: In Oakland is getting more frenetic as facts close in on his unreality.

  • And there you go again, posting a lengthy comment about me in response to something not addressed to you. In short, obsessing over me and following me around.

    I knew you would.

    Obsess much?

  • And there I go again, commenting consistent with Religion News Commenting policy:

    despite your impression that you can use the Comments section as your personal private email delivery.

    As to “not addressed to you”, I believe it’s fair to assume the topic himself might comment.

    That only constitutes obsessing if your cheese slipped off its cracker.

    If you find a person’s comments offensive, annoying, or otherwise distasteful Disqus has a cure:

    I use it.

    I can think of only two reasons someone would not use it:

    – The individual in question is a professional victim who wants to yell “I am being put upon, aggrieved, stalked, followed!” consistent with a lifetime of playing the victim.

    – The individual in question wants to make sure that she or he is not contradicted or, if that is not feasible, wants to know who contradicted and what was posted.

    In your particular case both seem to be operating.

  • I’m not concerned about capital formation. Since the wealthy control both parties they are.

    Evidence shows that we had immense inequality in this country in the late 1920’s This decreased considerably to a much lower value when progressive taxes were in acted The inequality index remained at a low level until 1980. Reagan reduced the tax rates for the wealthy and the inequality index has now climbed to above the level in 1929. We are on top, just under Russia, in the world as far as inequality is concerned.

  • I don’t have any favorite politicians. They will not solve our problems. It will take a change in heart of our population first.

  • Whatever you’ve been reading in the last week or so is the source of your sudden concern.

  • We’re all concerned about capital formation since without capital we have no manufacturing, no high tech, no super agriculture, none of the things which allow us to increase productivity and thus pay good wages.

    Yes, we have had inequality in this country since it was founded.

    Our country is based on equal opportunity, not equal distribution of the wealth.

    I can’t think of any reason why inequality is, per se, an evil.

    Nor have any of the various schemes to reduce poverty done one thing they were intended to do.

  • Try The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder
    However I’ve been concerned for many years.

  • Are you familiar with Ockham’s Razor?

    I’m just stating what looks to me like the best explanation for the actions of Republicans.

    It’s clear that Trump supporters don’t care what he actually says or does. This is simply not arguable. There is something about him, about his character, that is what supporters like.

    Resentment is a powerful emotion, and it looks to me like a lot of his supporters are filled with resentments of some kind. PLEASE NOTE: I said “looks to me”. I cannot state that as a fact, since I don’t know, and don’t know of any research on the matter. But that is a plausible explanation.

  • Odd, that book has nothing at all in it about the millions of children, also citizens, separated from their parents each year.

  • I do know. And I’m thoroughly getting off on it. And if you were paying attention, you would be too.

  • “Looks to ME” is indeed the operative phrase in your statements. And you iron-clad the ignorance behind that appearance by affirming that “I don’t know, and don’t know of any research on the matter”.

    Yet, despite that lapse of knowledge, you claim this as a “fact”: It’s clear that Trump supporters don’t care what he actually says or does. This is simply not arguable. There is something about him, about his character, that is what supporters like.”

    Unless you’re claiming divinatory powers that enable you to penetrate the secret subjective lives of millions of Trump voters, that is simply prejudice piled on top of self-confessed ignorance (they always seem to go together, don’t they?).

    Point made (by me).

    Point affirmed (by you).

    Good luck counting on that “plausible explanation” to float in 2020, when it sank like a lead weight in 2016.

  • 1. It *is* a fact, because no matter what Trump does–his clearly impossible promise to get Mexico to pay for a wall, his hypocrisy, his clear lying, his inability to bring back coal jobs, his violation of conventional standards of behavior like not mocking disabled people, and so on–his supporters love him. So it’s clearly something about his personality they like, not his policies–indeed, some of his policies are hurting his supporters (e.g. rural supporters and Obamacare).

    2. I have a hunch that at some point, Republicans will rebel and do what they did in 1954 with McCarthy.

    3. I wonder: how much curiosity do you have? Looks to me like not too much.

  • Indeed, I pay as little attention to your stuff as possible without blocking you outright. But lately you’ve become too much of a throwback to the 7th grade girls lunch table to ignore.

    A little too hot in the kitchen, it appears.

  • Feel free. I’m certainly not stopping you, any more than I am stopping the Mouth of Bob.

  • I have curiosity to spare. What I DON’T have is “curiosity” about things I was once curious about, but investigated in order to SATISFY my curiosity.

    But back to the substance of our discussion:
    “…it’s clearly something about his personality they like, not his policies…”

    Clearly, you have no clue what you’re talking about (more ignorance to support your prejudice). To the contrary, there are some things about his personality we ignore, because we like his policies.

    “Trump is a bad man, and his supporters are bad people” – that’s the extent of the Progressive political platform. It worked like a charm – for Trump – in 2016; it should work equally well in the case of whoever runs against him in 2020.

    So, by all means, keep it up.

  • What’s your answer to that problem? I would say we should incarcerate fewer parents. I’m not a Christian Nationalist so I don’t have less concern or respect for children who are not citizens.

    You asked what I was reading recently that increased my concern. I assumed you meant concern about our future.

    “The Road to Unfreedom” is a compelling analysis of the geopolitical direction this administration is taking us on. It seems that Trump, or whoever pulls his strings, is using the same methods that Putin used to create a fascist kleptocracy. If you look at the history of the last 10 years of Putin’s rule. you can’t help but see that Trump is trying to replicate or exceed Putin’s success.

  • My answer is “What problem?”

    Every child whose parents have committed an illegal act and been incarcerated has been separated from their children outside of a few places like North Korea and Nazi Germany.

    Lost in this shuffle is the fact that the illegal entries are criminal acts.

    “The Road to Unfreedom” is a paranoid fantasy by someone whose knickers got in a stupendous twist from the election in 2016.

    I was more afraid of the lawless Administration which preceded it.

  • Even his “friends” agree that Trump has lots of unpleasant, downright nasty traits–inveterate lying, hypocrisy, racism, extreme narcissism, stunning ignorance about important matters (e.g. economics), many more. That is simply beyond dispute.

    As to his supporters, I have learned very little about them. I do suspect many of them are naive about many aspects of politics; and based on recent books I’ve read, from serious scholars, about entirely unrelated matters, it does appear that resentment and rage are important drivers of support.

    Finally, it’s interesting that you appear to believe it’s mainly (? only?) liberals who oppose him. In fact, anyone who follows the news know that there was lots of opposition to him in the run-up to the election from other conservatives, and he’s getting lots of criticism from conservatives and fellow republicans who are not running for re-election. .

  • I always wanted to be the type of woman that men obsess over! He does seem to have a particular problem with me. I appreciate your support, even if we don’t always see eye to eye!

  • My pleasure. we don’t always need to agree. Agreement or disagreement can be done, but not on BobWorld.

    If you think he has a particular problem with YOU, you ought to be ME. I simply don’t read but one comment of his in 20. Now I’ve probably hurt his feelings by saying that, It’s just delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete the notification emails.

  • This is a predictable response of yours. Your comment about Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale is ridiculous and, as usual for you, offensive.

    “The Road to Unfreedom” gives a very credible account of the philosophy of Ivan Ilyin who supported both Hitler and Mussolini. Putin has currently made him a hero in Russia and has followed this philosophy to construct his own autocratic kleptocracy. Watching the policies of the Trump administration unfold shows the striking resemblance and gives us a good idea of this administration’s goals.

    Just one current example is why Trump would call to congratulate Hungary’s current prime Minister’s election win. Viktor Orban looks fondly on the period of fascism in Germany and Italy as one of healthy national consciousness. Jonathan Freedman of the Guardian has an article about the 1930’s that presents a similar story.

  • Inequality is evil because it causes human suffering about which, I guess, you don’t care.

  • This is a predictable response of yours.

    It does appear to mime your own wild theories about the world in significant ways.

    “Just one current example is why Trump would call to congratulate Hungary’s current prime Minister’s election win.”

    Probably because Orban is a pain-in-the–ss to the lefties in Western Europe.

  • If you live in an expensive neighborhood, drive a Mercedes, and are in the lower 10% of your country’s wealth, it would hard to make the case “inequality is evil” or that “it causes human suffering”.

    Inequality, in and of itself, is neutral.

    You seem to focus on pie slicing.

    First there has to be a pie, and these various taxing and distribution schemes bake not one.

  • I love #157. Faith is actually above knowledge, and not dependent on translation, understanding, context, knowledge, compassion, or any of those liberal elite thingies.

  • I myself cannot explain faith. I was brought up in the Church of Rome. Over the years (especially more lately), I’ve been able through my reading to distinguish actual history from doctrinal fiction presented as history. Thus my support for women’s ordination, interfaith relations, and ecumenism. Back to faith, I simply believe in a God who is Love itself and no longer believe in the toxic god that is two-faced: a supposedly loving god who will nonetheless send us to hell if we die in serious sin. I think how one is raised, what one experiences in early life and thereafter plays a major role in whether one believes and, just as important, what one believes.

  • Bob, There are billions of people in the world. There are billions who do not accept any or all Catholic teachings. That billions includes hundreds of millions of Catholics, who don’t necessarily accept what the Church “teaches” as doctrine on LGBT marriage or sex, on contraceptives, on women priests, or on a number of issues. Teachings that don’t address real complex human experience are empty of application and purpose.

    Here is something to think about. An article in National Catholic Reporter discussing how Catholics make moral decisions is here: One of the most telling points in the article that directly addresses what you have written is this: “Weekly Mass-goers are twice as likely as others to consult with a priest (17 percent) and read the catechism (15 percent) and in general to turn to official Catholic sources. Yet even for such highly committed Catholics, these sources do not eclipse the significance of prayer and of family and friends (see Figure 2).”

    Now notice that even among weekly Mass goers who are struggling with a moral decision only 17% consult a priest and 15% read the catechism. Rather, they talk to trusted friends and family members. And mostly, and most importantly, they pray.

    As for the importance of experience in forming conscience – try this: “Catholic theological ethics accepts a quadrilateral of sources of ethical knowledge, the so-called Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, tradition, reason and experience. Any Catholic moral theology seeking to be normative has to prioritize, interpret and coordinate these four sources into a comprehensible moral theory.” here: READ the whole thing, Bob. The Church recognizes the importance of experience in forming conscience. Looks like most Catholics get that pretty well given that they talk to trusted friends and family in facing moral questions . They talk to others who may have faced the same dilemma.

    Good talking with you.

  • By pie, I assume you’re talking about total national income. The size of this pie depends on production and sales which must increase to cut larger slices. A larger economy requires increased production and sales.

    Ecological considerations limit the amount of human production and consumption. Economic growth can only be had by stealing from the well being of the impoverished and our future generations.

    The capitalist myth of constant economic growth becomes a zero sum game on a planet whose resources are being depleted much faster than they are replenished. We are living off of our natural capital.

    This capitalist system is concentrating income at the very top where it is not needed. Instead of more billionaires we need a decent life for everyone. This will also mean we must decrease consumption.

    By the way the annual income of the bottom 10% varies from $0 to $10,500. Not many Mercedes.

    If you meant the wealth pie, 1% of that pie must be divided by the bottom half of the population.

  • I agree. I have often said, and probably to you, that how one reads the bible is dependent on the kind of person one is, and not the other way around.

  • By pie, I mean the goods and services that people need and want.

    Total national income includes items other than that – for example, it includes weapons of war.

    We have yet to hit ecological “considerations” that significantly limit the amount human production and consumption. Economic growth has allowed for populations well beyond what were predicted thirty years ago, let alone a hundred years, and provided for the well-being of future generations. This has been accomplished due to technology.

    Were economic growth a zero sum game, we would not have had exponential population growth without mass starvation.

    The capitalist system is the very best and most efficient way to advance technology because it is the very best and most efficient at capital formation and allocation.

    That is why the Chinese, for an example, have incorporated capitalism into their economic system. It works.

    If, and I don’t necessarily buy it, the the annual income of the bottom 10% varies from $0 to $10,500, then we’ve done a good job of providing a floor under those less fortunate, since death by starvation or freezing is almost unheard of in this country.

  • You seem to be a follower of Ayn Rand and Malthus. Your economics are not rational in this reality.
    Human well being is more important than acquisition of capital for many of us.

  • The notion that “(t)eachings that don’t address real complex human experience are empty of application and purpose” might get some traction at a Unitarian meeting, but it is meaningless in the context of a revealed Trinitarian religion like Catholicism.

    Your article makes it clear that years of poor catechesis have led some nominal Catholics to erroneously believe they are Episcopalians.

    Rather than suggest that this indicates some urgency in redirecting efforts to actually acquaint these folks with their own denomination’s teachings, you seem to think this endorses the errors.

    The primary obligation in correctly forming a conscience is acquainting one’s self with the teaching of the church. Let’s be honest: if the church teaches without authority, visiting it weekly is simply a social event, and the smart person could save the weekly stipend and use the time more effectively engaging in real complex human experiences.

    In fact, in the Catholic Church an individual who does not acquaint him or herself with the Church’s teaching documents in forming her or his conscience is culpable for the errors in behavior that result.

    So, in summary, I believe your position can best characterized as “Pay no attention to the teaching of the Catholic Church (which from some of your comments I rather assume you are at least a nominal member of).”

    If you’d add some advice on where they might go after that, it would probably be useful.

    I keep abreast of most of the major denominations and can usually point folks to a place where they won’t have to spend their time being in unhappy conflict with their own leaders, or worse become mini-Quislings in a denomination which they basically reject.

  • No, and your economics are not rational in ANY reality.

    Your first error is you disregard human nature and what motivates people. This is, of course, the basic error of all socialists, including the Marxist varieties.

    Your second error is that you almost completely clueless on how the ingredients for a pie are obtained, how the labor to make the pie is trained and acquired, how the oven to bake the piece is designed and built, where the fuel to heat the oven comes from.

    All you seem to note is that you like pies and you like even slices.

    And it goes downhill from there.

    I assume this is a result of your college experience in California, where you apparently encountered a classic bean sprouts and sandals lefty who never worked for a living.

    Btw, your “(e)“conomic growth can only be had by stealing from the well being of the impoverished and our future generations” is basically Malthusian.

    I am an anti-Malthusian.

  • You are anti-science, if you actually believe that a virgin gave birth, you crazy person.

  • First, there has to be a brain, and your various trolling schemes indicate that you don’t have one.

  • Malthus just explained that when our consumption exceeded the resources, increased consumption would cause starvation and death. I actually do accept that position.
    I called you, probably inappropriately, a Malthusian because youj were pleased that with the 1% income that low it was going to happen.

    There are different human natures than you and your friends understand. Some of us are motivated by cooperatively improving our well being together. Instead of striving for how much we can have, or how much power over others, we strive for respect and interaction with others.

    Your attitude is not due to your human nature. You have developed that outlook by competing in a capitalist society.

    I didn’t know that you knew I attended Berkeley. I didn’t learn about social/political/economic systems there. In the 50’s I worked at the S F Naval Shipyard, and also as a pole lineman. I spent the firs half of the 60’s in Japan and Korea. The army sent me to Huntsville, Alabama. I’ve been East since then. I have learned what I know about these things as an activist mostly in DC.

  • Malthus believed that sustenance grows arithmetically while population grows exponentially, and that therefore bouts of starvation to correct overpopulation were inevitable.

    Regarding the possibilities for avoiding this, Malthus argued against a variety of quite imaginable solutions, such as the notion that agricultural improvements could expand without limit. As it turns out, he was completely wrong.

    Dickens had Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” represent the ideas of Malthus, illustrated by his explanation as to why he refuses to donate to the poor and destitute: “If they would rather die they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population”.

    I am not “pleased” “that with the 1% income that low it was going to happen”.

    In fact, I believe it will not happen because Malthus’ assumptions, like your own, are erroneous.

    While some of us are motivated by cooperatively improving our well being and together, planning an economy on that (beyond running – say – a monastery) is a recipe for disaster, as has been demonstrated repeatedly in actual economies of the world.

    Venezuela and Nicaragua are two of the latest examples.

    Since most people are not motivated by cooperatively improving our well being and together, trying to run that way requires increasing coercion.

    You’ve mentioned a number of times attending Berkeley.

    It shows up in your posts.

  • Name one “friend” who agrees that Trump is guilty of “inveterate lying, hypocrisy, racism, extreme narcissism (and) stunning ignorance about important matters.” (Are you talking about “friends” like John McCain?)

    “As to his supporters, I have learned very little about them.”

    That’s obvious.

    “…in fact, anyone who follows the news know that there was lots of opposition to him in the run-up to the election from other conservatives…”

    Trump is a disruptor. His “populism” is re-aligning the political forces and alliances in this country…and there are plenty of people in the aging political establishment – from both parties – who don’t like the changes, because they threaten the cozy political arrangements they have set up to perpetuate their own power. So the threatened “old-order” liberals joined with their “old-order” conservative counterparts to “resist” the transformation.

    But the changes are happening anyway – whether they like it or not. In fact, they’re just getting started. Fasten your seat belt.

  • Forget Malthus he lived under different conditions. In my own opinion when consumption of the necessary resources for human existence are being decreased at a rate faster then they can be replaced or substituted for. the result is suffering and death. According to science this is what is happening. We can either reduce consumption and share, or go to war for what is left.

    A society as I was describing is quite compatible with human nature. It is incompatible with a society where each individual is motivated to secure what ever they can get from that society. You are correct in stating it won’t work unless the society so motivates itself. You can not construct a social system that will cause this change in attitude. Only when and if people actually understand this and are individually motivated to create and support such a society would it happen. Coercion would be counter productive as you understand.

    This will probably not happen which means we are doomed.

    Venezuela and Nicaragua are two examples of the result of U,S. imperialism. If you’re interested in finding out what’s actually happening there. check out “Empire Files” on the web. This situation is one in which the globalist “leftist” press is producing the same false news as the administration’s press.

  • While if consumption of the necessary resources for human existence are being decreased at a rate faster then they can be replaced or substituted for, the result is suffering and death, this is not what has happened. Multiple disaster dates have come and gone and technology has consistently proven them wrong.

    The society you were describing is quite compatible with a homogenous society with an independent source of wealth, such as Norway or a monastery.

    It will not work in a multi-cultural diverse society where folks actually have to produce things to make it all work like the United States.

    Venezuela and Nicaragua are two examples of loonies gaining control of previously productive functioning countries.

    Daniel Ortega, Nicaragua’s president, travelled to Cuba to receive training in guerilla warfare from Fidel Castro’s Marxist–Leninist government. He played a crucial role in forming the Insurrectionist faction, which united the FSLN and sparked the mass uprisings of 1978-1979. After the Nicaraguan Revolution resulted in the overthrow and exile of Somoza’s government, Ortega became leader of the ruling multi-partisan Junta of National Reconstruction.

    As a Marxist–Leninist, his first period in office was characterized by a program of nationalization, “land reform”, and wealth redistribution – not very different from what you advocate – and the results were disastrous to the economy.

    Amnesty International and the IACHR of the Organization of American States state that Ortega has engaged in a violent oppression campaign against opponents.

  • You don’t have to read ANY comments.

    Of course if you did that, you couldn’t strike an aggrieved pose – rather like you do about being homosexual – and write:

    “If you think he has a particular problem with YOU, you ought to be ME. I simply don’t read but one comment of his in 20. Now I’ve probably hurt his feelings by saying that, It’s just delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete the notification emails.”

    Boo hoo hoo.

    The only reason you don’t solve the problem with the tool available is because you can’t stand the thought that something you posted might be critiqued without your knowing it.

  • Do you think that Humanae Vitae is revealed truth? Revealed by whom and to whom?

    I am not in unhappy conflict with the Church. I think it is important that those who love the Church but disagree with some of what it teaches should stay and keep dialogue going. Change is possible. If it wasn’t the Church would still think slavery was okay, charging interest on loans was a sin, marriage would not be a sacrament.

  • There is no dialogue.

    Move on and stop kvetching.

    No, the Church does not oppose “slavery”, it opposes treating others as non-humans.

    No, the Church never held that charging interest was a sin. It held that being put in a better position because of someone else’s misfortune was a sin.

    No, the Church never considered marriage anything but a sacrament, although it was slow in actually enumerating the sacraments.

    The reason why Cardinal Dolan et al are never going to listen to you is because you get your information from the National Catholic Reporter.

    Vatican II was over a half century ago. The revolution failed to occur. Get over and move on.

  • To be even more specific, if I were gay and constantly being reminded by the Church of Rome that:

    (a) “homosexual acts [are] acts of grave depravity,

    (b) “tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’,

    (c) “[such acts] are contrary to the natural law,

    (d) “[homosexual acts] close the sexual act to the gift of life,

    (e) “[t]hey do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity, [and]

    (f) [u]nder no circumstances can they be approved,”

    I’m not sure I’d remain a member of this church.

    In spite of the above, official doctrine says homosexuals “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”


  • Suggest you read what is now available on the upcoming Synod on Youth. Here is a sample: “Knowing that authentic faith cannot generate an attitude of presumption towards others, the disciples of the Lord are called to value all the seeds of goodness present in every person and in every situation.”

    The working document also notes young people want a chance for greater engagement with the church, a chance to be heard, to talk about issues that they find important, even issues with which they disagree with church teaching. The instrument labors also refers to the LGBT community by that acronym, the one they prefer. More, it also speaks of the concern of the youth for a greater voice and a greater role for women in the Church.

    Now, I know not to expect big things. But I do expect more steps forward from the constant drum of voices who speak out when they don’t just buy whole-sale all the Church has to say. Of course, we won’t get much from the U.S. delegation, given that DiNardo, Chaput, and Barron are the selected representatives – hard to get a more backward bunch. But I have some hope that Pope Francis will choose some additional U.S. hierarch who is open to listening.

  • For some reason you believe “they don’t just buy whole-sale all the Church has to say” transmits information beyond “they are either going to be unhappy or they or going to change their minds”.

    It does not.

    Yes, there is a contingent who thinks otherwise: Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, Call To Action, Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, and so on. Some of their leadership shows up in multiple organizations

    I have followed them for years.

    The most recognition they’ve received in the 50+ years I’ve followed them is some excommunications.

    The Episcopal Church already has what you want.

    There are very few rules. About the only thing that can get you excommunicated is trying to abscond with the church and parsonage over a theological issue.

    It has a democratic governance. When it comes to revising beliefs, apparently the sky is the limit. Every single thing you dislike is gone: annoying positions on abortion, same sex marriage, contraception.

    Liturgically it is remarkably close.

    The only reason to remain, then, is for the sheer enjoyment of complaining.

  • This is a reasonable request. However, to respond properly will take a bit of time, and I am about to leave on a short vacation, so your answer will have to wait a few days.

    A few points, however:

    1. I used the term “friends” in a sloppy fashion. I was thinking about his nominal political allies. I doubt he has many true friends.

    2. I’m sure you will have objections to any examples I cite, since you appear to be a die-hard supporter.

    3. Why is it unacceptable to cite politicians such as Flake, Corker, McCain, who are retiring, and thus unafraid of rousing his ire? I will remind you as well of statements about him made by many Republicans prior to his nomination, such as Ted Cruz.

    4. It would have been nice if you’d given *explicit* acknowledgement of my point about opposition to him.

  • That may be a formal definition, in actual usage, it means “a judge did something that I, personally, disapprove of”.

  • What my comment does say is that this picture you try to project of all Catholics believing everything is a false picture. What we need room for is that space that recognizes that those who disagree with some parts of the Church can still love the Church. What also really must be acknowledged is that the Church can be wrong. The Church is made up of humans who do the best they can to interpret the Divine. But they are all still human.

  • No, I have never suggested that Catholics run about with checklists or are remarkably familiar with their own church’s teachings.

    What I have suggested is the notion that ignorance and/or error is normative in that denomination is doomed from the inception.

    You can simply dismiss any notion that “we need room for …. space that recognizes that those who disagree with some parts of the Church” can do so and claim to be acting in good conscience. That church itself dismisses that notion in its own teaching documents and has explained it in both detail and at length.

    Nor is it realistic to expect an acknowledgment from it that “the Church can be wrong” on anything that constitutes an actual teaching, e.g. abortion.

    If you read Lumen Gentium you find that “(t)he Church is made up of humans who do the best they can to interpret the Divine. But they are all still human.” runs headlong into its own understanding of itself as more than a group of humans.

    I take it from all of this you’ve been at it since the mid-to-late ‘60s.

    It rather amazes me to find superannuated individuals who after a half century of no success at all still swinging.

  • I’ll wait. But I’m baffled by your complaint that I haven’t “explicitly acknowledged” your “point about opposition to him.”

    My next-to-last paragraph, beginning with “Trump is a disrupter” was about as explicit an acknowledgement (and explanation) of the issue as you’re going to get: the “Republicans” who are part of the Resistance don’t like him because he’s upsetting their cozy little apple-cart. The ones who are “retiring” are doing so because they recognize (and they know Trump recognizes it too) they will have no place in the ”Trumpified” Republican Party. Good riddance.

  • The fact that multiple dates for the return of Christ have come and gone is not a valid argument that He’s not coming. The fact that we have survived many obstacles so far does not have any effect on our chances of surviving the sixth extinction.

    There is no reason to claim that a multi-cultural diverse society can not learn to live and work cooperatively. Especially if they understand that their survival depends on it.

    The failure of the economies of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, are the result of U.S. imperialism. This country has shown it will use any means necessarily to control the governments of the southern American nations. These measures include proxy invasions, supporting military coups. Training military leaders who support the right, propaganda and election fixing,

    In Nicaragua, we mined their harbor, killed, raped, and assassinated civilians, especially if they were teachers, doctors, clergy, and anyone who was considered useful to society The death toll was 30,000. When I say “we”, I mean the Reagan Administration. They sent a proxy army to invade and financed it with arms sales to their enemy, Iran, and supporting drug dealers. This was illegal and against Congressional law.

    The U.S is powerful not only militarily, but in global politics, and economically. Any country that tries to leave the neo-liberal market can expect pressure from the United States. In Venezuela Hugo Chavez won a democratic election and began to establish a socialist economy. Two years later, the U. S, supported a military coup. The people rose up and ran that government out. The price of oil went up and the country gained profit from the nationalized oil industry. This profit was used furnish medical care, food , and shelter to the local poor. The government financed educational success was impressive.

    The U. S. ran, and is running, a constant propaganda campaign in Venezuela, the United States, and Internationally. It has sanctioned Venezuela and is pressuring all of the countries it can to also refuse to trade with Venezuela. The CIA has been assisting dissidents with propaganda and weapons to destabilize the country. The drop in the price of oil and what has become essentially a blockade of the country is causing starvation. In spite of all this suffering, the majority of Venezuelans still support the Bolivarian government. CIA Director Mike Pompeo expects to achieve regime change soon. It is absurd for an autocrat like Trump to call President Nicolás Maduro a dictator. If he were he could be one of Trump’s friends like the rulers of Saudi, Philippines, China, India, North Korea etc.

    I don’t know about Ortega’s current policies, but I do know that the OAS will usually say what the U.S. tells them to.

    I am against Marxist-Leninism, because it is hierarchical and usually has a populist leader. Like capitalism it tends toward totalitarianism. Democratic socialism shows promise. I would prefer direct democracy

  • The fact that multiple dates for the return of Christ have come and gone indicates that the predictors failed to read their scriptures.

    There is no reason to claim that a multi-cultural diverse society cannot learn to live and work cooperatively except for experience over a few thousand years.

    Obviously for some folks hope beats eternal (and Santa Claus is real).

    The failure of the economies of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, are the direct result the failure inherent in Marxist-Leninist economic theory.

    In Venezuela Hugo Chavez won a democratic election and began to establish a forced socialist economy which depended on abnormally high oil prices and cooperating with Cuba. He built nothing lasting, his economy tanked when oil prices dropped, and his successor found only force held democratic sentiment against continuing at bay.

  • Marx was a philosophic economic geniosu. He explained how Capitalism would destroy our humanity. The system he desired was one of cooperation and compassion, He was wrong it his plans to get from where we were to where we could be. He mistakenly thought that a dictatorship by workers could force a system like that. Much can be learned from his writings.

    Marxism is much more than a bad label as you use it. Lenin was an opportunist who used the concept of the workers dictatorship to create capitalism of the state with himself in charge. In both cases the problem is not socialism, but hierarchy. A socialist system which is hierarchical evolves into an autocratic oligarchy which can be called Marxist-Leninist, As Marx saw, an uncontrolled capitalist system concentrates wealth in the control of fewer and fewer wealthier and wealthier persons. The result is also an autocratic oligarchy called fascism This is the weakness of both a capitalist democracy and a capitalist republic, Both lead to an oligarchy.which can become a fascist dictatorship like Russia,

  • Marx actually was a pretty nasty bit of work.

    Although raised Jewish, he was anti-Semite as an adult and considered blacks the enemies of civilization.

    No socialist system has ever transitioned to his predicted state, capitalism has been remarkably flexible in repairing itself, and he completely failed to understand how capital formation is critical to increased productivity, which IS the engine of progress.

    His sole success was in noting the deficiencies of the conditions in place during his life, but Charles Dickens did a better job of motivating people to correct it.

  • “…he completely failed to understand how capital formation is critical to increased productivity”

    To say the least. He certainly failed to form any capital during his own life and career, despite the needs of his own numerous children.

    I am always amused at how Marx and Engels called for the abolition of inheritance, while both of them lived off parental inheritance and subsidy their entire lives.

  • I”m don’t think that to be called nasty by you is really an insult. Marx was raised Jewish by secular Jewish parents. His problems with Jews were not racist, but cultural. He did not want to destroy the Jews but improve their relationships with themselves and others. Their glorification of gaining and saving wealth was an actual characteristic of their culture at that time and he detested it. Although he was excited about the potential of the United States, I believe he would have the same problem with our current culture. He was no more anti negro that Abraham Lincoln. He congratulated Lincoln on his re-election and said that the abolition of slavery was an important advance in civilization,

    What do you mean by “capitol formation”? I see it as increasing the means of producing the things that people need and want. The difference between Capitalism and Socialism is that capital belongs to private persons in capitalism and belongs to everyone in the society in socialism. The owners of this capital allow others to use it for a price. This causes the amount they own to increase. The ownership of capital gives its owner power over the people that need or want to use it.

    In a socialist society the people would control the use of capitol. The problem that would need to be solved here is how to create a non-hierarchical democracy. It would require people that are compassionate and cooperative.With each individual citizen being responsible for government decisions.

    The use of capital can be the engine of progress. Who can decide how to use it for what determines the direction of that progress.

    “No socialist system has ever transitioned to his predicted state”. The future is not limited to the accomplishments of the past. There has never been a successful flight to Mars. With determination we could possibly accomplish both goals. Another world is possible.

  • So, I’ve been banished – with nary a word of censure to that poor creature, pobjoy.
    And for a comment which was hardly THAT controversial: other than reminding him of his knee-jerk anti-Catholicism, manifest in the Spielman piece.
    Anyway, would appreciate keeping a line of communication open with you – either on this site or elsewhere.
    Keep the Faith!

  • Good to hear from you ardenjm! Your excommunication was inevitable but I was saddened by it nonetheless even though it was long expected. I learned (after 3 expulsions, no less) that Hilton has a love-hate relationship with Catholicism. To call him a “bigot” is the sin that cannot be forgiven. One can get away with saying almost anything but attack him personally and its curtains. Fragile ego – and, you were quite right, he is effeminate and bitchy. That’s why I write in the third person, btw. It’s means a certain discipline in imposed whereby I can refrain from being too personal.

    You’ve given me great spiritual substance during your all too short time on Cranmer – from your comments and most especially in following up on your book recommendations. I know Cressida feels the same way too.

    I post as “Happy Jack” occasionally on Lifesite. I recently tried this particular site but its proving way too abusive towards orthodox Catholics for my liking. It seems to have collected a group of ex-Fishwrap commentators well known to me from a previous incarnation. (I was banned from there too). I enjoy Cranmer because of the range of opinions – and also because there are some Catholics in embryonic form waiting to be converted. One just can’t leave them to the likes of “No Popery” Stockford and the contingent of Puritans and Calvinists.

    God Bless you ardenjm (or is it Jean Pierre?) and Jack will keep an eye on your posts as he is a “follower” on Disgus.

  • I am upset you have been banished. I had to inject some sweetness and light to get you a reprieve before:) Don’t think this will work a second time. Jack and I have both been banned and I am only here under sufferance as well. I feel sad for Jack managing the battle on his own now. I am only useful as a cheer leader and diverting a few slams from him every now and then 🙂 I hope you will continue a communication with Jack in some form. Your combined knowledge of Catholic theology is ( I am not going to use that over misused word awesome) just think of an equivalent svp:)
    Jack is a good person and will be a very good friend to you .No worries about Jack keeping the faith. He could not be prised away with a monkey wrench.

    I should have told you to zip it. I knew this would happen. .Jack and you do not do what I say anyway…Catholic boys..God preserve us !

    The Catholic contingent will miss you. It wont be the same
    without you. Thank you for all your wonderfully well researched posts. I don’t believe I am the only person who holds this view

    God bless you always.

  • Thank you, Cressida. Adrian Hilton has many qualities (not least his consistently pro-life position) but his adolescent paranoia about the Catholic Church and his Little Englander skewing of the story of our country is ill-informed and a classic case of confirmation bias. His actions in St Peter’s, Rome a number of years ago were reprehensible and he has never apologised for them – which reveal how wilful he is. The fact that he has never once corrected pobjoy for the (possibly illegal) incitements to violence against Catholics on his blog is frankly shocking.
    He thinks he exemplifies “middle way” Anglican tolerance by allowing a wide-range of commentators to comment on his blog – so in a sense the Catholics who disagree with him are massaging his ego. The fact that we’re expected to go along with his role-playing of one of the least pleasant prelates of the Reformation period is, well, just weird. Let’s pretend works when you’re 5 or 6, less so when you’re a man in his 40s.
    All of that adds up to a pretty accurate definition of bigotry to me – as his Caroline Spielman piece revealed (yet again). That his thin-skin doesn’t permit him to accept personal correction (which is pretty typical for the kind of homosexual personality type which he has) all adds up to a deeply conflicted individual.
    I have no personal rancour against the man. My presence on his blog was to correct errors and slanders against the Faith and the Church. I had no other reason for being there.
    The poster who was, in fact, Cressida, far more erudite and learned (and calmer) than I was Albert. It’s a shame he doesn’t post any longer. I wonder if he left of his own volition… Happy Jack is more than able to hold his own on every level. If Cranmer ever gets round to banning him far more scales will fall from people’s eyes about the reality of Hilton’s animus against the Church.
    Anyway. We pray for the salvation of souls, right! What else counts in the end. We are only here for a brief instant. Onwards and upwards: Christus vincit and all that!

  • I noticed this last night ardenjm and was very disappointed. I was hoping you’d continue blogging on other sites as I’ve always found your posts informative and helpful. I have cut and saved many of your contributions.

    You may have noticed I put up a somewhat half-hearted effort to defend you on here against Hilton. When it became clear to me he was looking for an excuse to ban me too I held back. I’m more of a pest to him active!

    If you ever resume blogging, or change your avatar, do let me know. Just cool that passion of yours! I have a blog site of my own that’s open but rarely used these days. You can leave me a message there if you prefer. Do have a read of William Most some time and find a way of letting me know what you think.
    Meantime, God Bless and I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve known you.

  • Oh I’m sure the right place will present itself. Thanks for your reply. Definitely keep up the good work on Cranmer’s blog. And do check out that link to Magdalen College that I gave you.
    Onwards and Upwards!

  • Yes, I did and interesting it is too. It fits with his preoccupations and the knowledge he displays. What’s sad is that he actually poses some interesting questions but always reverts to hatred and bitterness. If only he understood God’s Providence. I’ve already written this to him: “Mark, do calm down. It is Mark, isn’t t?
    To Infinity and Beyond!

  • Hi, you appear to be correct about p-j. He’s non-responsive when called Mark which is very out of character for someone who goes off the deep-end when his moniker is capitalised. He also seems to be pulling back from his more outrageous assertions about Catholics.

  • Yes! He does! I noticed that, too. Try it again. But if you do, you’ll have to make your account private. For the timebeing anyone (including the man himself) can check all your posts – including this one. Given where the eponymous man teaches you might ask him if there were any special celebrations on the feast day of July 22nd…

  • I look forward to reading your remarks on July 22nd. BTW I did send an email but never got a reply saying, “no, that’s not me”.
    Busy man I guess…

  • Gone private for now. Our friend is not responding which is significant. I won’t goad him too much. I suspect he’s experiencing a crisis of faith linked to his studies of pretty traumatic events in the life of the Church. When this happens people frequently direct their rebellion and confusion at the one true faith. That, or blogging just gives him a way to vent his hatred and bigotry.

    Once you’ve read this comment (uptick it), I’ll delete it.

  • He mentioned 4 months ago that he’d come across a group of Catholics in an educational establishment and asked them if they believed the Catholic Church was the one true church…
    And his knowledge of latin and greek and early church history corresponds to his academic profile.

  • I agree with you.

    Nosy Anton has gone and spoiled the fun! I was going to gently drag it out a bit longer. My question about him being a Greek scholar blew it. It’ll be interesting to see how pobjoy reacts now! Have you noticed how the more blatant hate from him has mellowed?

  • Hi, John. I just heard about your wife’s passing. I’m so sorry. You will be in my prayers. – Monica.

  • Translation: “You disagree with ME!” Which is the great cry of the Catholic conservative, who almost unanimously declare themselves to be infallible. In the old National Catholic Reporter blog, Tridentinus said, more than once, that his beliefs were “congruent” with those of the Church. He continued to do so even though I demonstrated that on the subject of salvation, he flatly disagreed with Catholic teaching.

    Arrogance is also a hallmark of Catholic traditionalists.

  • Arrogance is also a hallmark of whatever the h-ll you are.

    Yes, bedraggled former National Catholic Reporter comments addicts wander through here periodically with eyes rolling in their heads and mouths going carp-like.

  • Sure am.
    Isn’t it astonishing? And it will only get worse. Watch and pray.
    The “justified” persecutions of the Church will begin when the district attorney reports start rolling in as they did from Pennsylvania.
    And then there’s the smoking gun of the Pope’s involvement in all of this. I suspect, though, that for him the discrediting of the papacy is in fact part of the design to re-create the Church in a new “paradigm”.
    In other news – the mysterious silence of our possible Oxford classicist friend. What do you make of it?

  • Great the hear from you!

    Pope Francis is a disaster, however, we understand his shenanigans. His new plans for Synods confirm his intention to break-up the universality of Church doctrine and practice. Thank God for the public exposure of McCarrick and then Vigano’s late bout of conscience and courage. Francis has seriously damaged the See of Peter and the integrity of the Papacy. We have a very weak episcopacy with bishops and cardinals apparently allowing Francis to bully them! The scary thing is he’s now appointed nearly 50% of those who will be electing the next pope.

    The good from all of this is that we are now much more aware of the enemies within. Nobody can seriously deny the moral corruption at the highest level of the Church anymore. I don’t know whether to be excited or apprehensive about the fact we’re living through a critical and long prophesied crisis in the Church. As you say, one can only remain vigilant and pray.

    Pobjoy departed pretty sharpish once his identity was disclosed. Too much of a coincidence for any other explanation. It’s confirmation your research and hunch was accurate.

    We’ve had a cyber-suicide here! Len, who you may remember, suddenly deleted his account after a run-in. This has upset Adrian, saying it was as a result of constant “bludgeoning” by “theological revisionists”, whoever these may be. Ironic really as all protestants are revisionists. At least the Catholics on board cannot be accused of that.

    Good to know you’re still about. Cressida sends her regards too. You’re missed.

    God Bless.

    Ps – Jack has reverted to incognito for the time being.

  • I believe the crispy-fried apostate was in prison right, before becoming a very bitter flambé?

    So see you around then, I guess, little by little…

  • Hi, I’m using my blocked identity because Cranmer had a little outburst at me (Happy Jack) yesterday. He really hates Catholics reminding him the Anglican community isn’t a Church. I’m sure he wants me to say something that will justify him blocking me.

    Funny, isn’t it, how you find it so intolerant, unacceptable or ‘bigoted’ when people question the authority and infallible precepts of the church that calls itself ‘Catholic’, yet here you are declaring that the Church of England has no valid orders and, therefore, no valid sacraments, which is to say, in your opinion, it is not a church, or any part of the Church catholic. This is an Anglican blog. You may view it as your personal mission field – and you are certainly not obliged to believe what we believe – but, in all fairness, if someone called your church a false church or the Whore of Babylon, or intimated that your pope was the antichrist and the Mass an outrageous blasphemy, you’d doubtless find it quite offensive. The Church of England is Catholic and Reformed: it is a valid church and part of the Church catholic. Please get over it.

    Of course, as I informed him, it isn’t Jack’s “opinion” that the Church of England has no valid orders or valid sacraments but a judgement of the Magisterium.

    Thought the exchange might give you a chuckle.

  • Yes. I saw that. I can visit his blog – I just can’t post on it.

    Perhaps you can ask why he insists that the Church of England is in continuity with the pre-Reformation Catholic Church but no-one makes such a stupid suggestion about the Church of Ireland. Because THEY KNOW it isn’t.
    And, yes, he is itching to block you.
    BTW Lain is a great find. She sounds like a more prudent version of me!
    Anyway, be seeing you…

  • Yes, Lain is an excellent poster. It made me laugh when Cranmer posted this to her:

    “May His Grace just mention, in passing, what a beautiful and fragrant presence you are: please ignore the belligerent, ungracious and obtuse who frequent this space. Bless you.”

    He may come to regret that comment.