May 31, 2002

a story
The smell of aged tobacco lay in every crease and corner of the 40’s style dance hall. It was there dreams had begun, chance meetings to marriages, and where adulterous boundraries were crossed, the juxtaposition of their physical geographies seemingly without penalty – just the unreal sense gratification of the sword in a new sheath, a key and a lock not supposed to fit – but they do! His humble body, nothing special, not something held dear – what is it that its part fit another lock? Every seven years every cell in his body would be swapped - in seven years it would be as if he hadn't done it, another self had.

What to do with that awful knowledge that locks and keys fit without consequence? But what if the impossible happened – a baby? Well you can prevent those. But skin on skin is intimacy! And she hates the pill...But anyway there was that a fellar he knew in Birmingham who knew of a clinic. They’d do it for cheap, just the sudden removal of tissue, another geographic boundary crossed without consequence. Her body, her tissue. Moved to another location. He thought, what is her husband but tissue grown big? What would it mean if he were missing? What if it be if he speeded up the process, arranged his death-date a little sooner on the tombstone, that stone all march to? He puzzled over it. He couldn’t figure where evil’s geography really lay. The law says you could kill that baby minutes before it was born. The law doesn’t make sense…He wondered if the law knew what it was doing, and if it could be wrong about it all, even that fatal juxtaposition of his body in hers...
“I know what you mean about being repulsed by the Church when you have only the Jansenist-Mechanical Catholic to judge it by. I think that the reason such Catholics are so repulsive is that they don’t really have faith but a kind of false certainty. They operate by the slide rule and the Church for them is not the body of Christ but the poor man’s insurance system. It’s never hard for them to believe because actually they never think about it. Faith has to take in all the other possibilities it can.” - Flannery O’Connor “Habit of Being”

May 30, 2002

Islam intellectually bankrupt? go here

Eve Tushnet rates the charities: here

May 21, 2002

I love that there is a Cardinal Ratzinger fan club. And boy do I want one of those kitschy "Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club" coffee mugs with the slogan "putting the smackdown on heresy since 1981". But alas the link to buy is broken...

A quote:The loss of joy does not make the world better -- and, conversely, refusing joy for the sake of suffering does not help those who suffer. The contrary is true. The world needs people who discover the good, who rejoice in it and thereby derive the courage and impetus to do good. We have a new need for that primordial trust which ultimately faith can give. That the world is basically good, that God is there and is good. That it is good to live and be a human being. This results, then, in the courage to rejoice, which in turn becomes commitment to makng sure that other people, too, can rejoice and receive good news. -Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth, pp. 36-37.

May 20, 2002

My brush mit greatness (alias D. Connaughton) on Eve Tushnet's blog. Also: who knew?

Interesting blog-o-rhythmn from Amy Welborn:
Feminist Brenda Walker is arguing that multiculturalism is a threat to liberal values and social freedom and refered to current and future immigrants such as 'conservative Catholics and Moslems'."
Conservative Catholics? Gee, she couldn't mean Hispanics could she? Why doesn't she just come out and say it then: "You know, our right to get our unborn babies killed might just be threatened if we let in too many Mexicans." I hate to bring this up, but one of the dark sides of 19th century women's suffrage movements was a distinct nativist tone to much of the argumentation. The push was for middle class Anglo-Saxon women to be able to vote in order to balance out the waves of African-Americans and mostly Catholic and Jewish immigrants.

May 15, 2002

To those who loathe the bourgeoisie,
I offer this advice to thee:
Get very rich or very poor,
And you won't be bourgeois anymore.
- Clifford D. May

A happy childhood leaves you hideously unprepared for life. - Kinky Friedman

May 13, 2002

Entertainment Uber Alles
"Day was turned into night, and light into darkness: - an inexpressible quantity of dust and ashes was poured out, deluging land, sea, and air, and burying two entire cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii, while the people were sitting in the theatre." - Dion Cassius, lib. lxvi in preface of Lytton's "The Last Days of Pompeii"

May 01, 2002

good stuff from Mark Shea's blog:
"I Have Said Elsewhere...
that mercy, in addition to being God's greatest quality is, when demanded of us, his most appalling one. We love the idea of mercy for ourselves. We hate it and regard it as a travesty of justice when applied to others, especially others whose sins hurt us. I recently wrote that part of the duty of laypeople is, of course, to extend forgiveness to the priests and bishops who have so agonizingly betrayed us. I got complaints back from folks saying, in effect, that we are under no obligation to forgive if they don't acknowledge their sin. This attitude, in addition to being flatly against the model of Jesus Christ and St. Stephen, who forgave their unrepentant murderers, is a formula for modeling the American Church on that happy land known as the Balkans, where people remember everything and learn nothing.

Yes, the perp may go on living in denial till the day he dies. But if we forgive, we do not have to live with his having endless power over us till the day we die. Refusal to forgive is like taking poison and expecting the other guy to die.

And from another Sheaite entry:
A priest I know once pointed out to me that one of the marks of the satanic is that it claims to see right through you, to identify you with your sins and pin you to the wall like a bug on a card. The devil, in speaking to Jesus, says "I know who you are!" He does the same to us. He says "I see right through you. You are your sins. This is who you really are!" In contrast, Jesus never does this. Indeed, in the miracle of grace he distinguishes us from our sins and frees us from them. Peter says, "Go away from me, for I am a sinful man" and Jesus doesn't say, "You're damn right you are! You sicken me!". He liberates Peter from that. He calls him by a new name and gives him a new life.
Something that troubles me about the way in which we treat sin is this tendency to speak as though our sins name us. "Now we know who Jesse Jackson--or Cardinal Law--or Whoever--really is." The answer of the Faith is, "No you don't. Not when you are naming people by their sins." Sin is what destroys persons. It's not what constitutes them. To the degree that we sin we are not who we really are. Doesn't mean that we can't sin, of course. Radical evil is a reality. Nor does it mean that we should not speak clearly of evil when it is committed. But when we say that "This is who X really is" we are in fact delighting in evil and rejoicing in a lie. The point of the gospel is not that our sins name us, but that Jesus comes to free us from our sins and really name us. It's a reality we as Catholic will have to cling to, not least because of the temptation we will feel to indulge it as more betrayals from our clergy come to light.