Showing posts from July, 2016

Morning in America

The first Presidential election I remember even a little bit was 1984.  In 1984, Republican President Ronald Reagan was running for re-election against Democratic former Vice President Walter Mondale, and Reagan crushed him in one of the most lop-sided contests in American history.  I was six, so I don't really remember lots of the details (for '88 I remember watching the debates and following the primaries), but when you don't remember facts you tend to retain feelings--almost like ghosts of the things that you can't quite recall.

What I remember about the Mondale campaign was a certain dour, pessimistic tone--things are bad, we are heading into a ditch, and only by kicking Reagan out of the Oval Office can be get this thing back on track.  By contrast, the Reagan campaign was positive.  Sure, there are problems and challenges, but we are working on them, and if we keep working on them we can fix them.  America is the greatest country on earth, filled with good, norma…

An Open Letter to the US Catholic Bishops

Your Excellencies and Graces,

As you know, we are in the midst of an election season here in the United States; on November 8, 2016, we will elect a new President.  With all due respect to former Governor Johnson of the Libertarian Party, the two primary choices we are presented with are Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  It is my view, and I am not alone in this opinion, that this choice represents a monumental turning point in the history of the United States, one that will have profound consequences for not just our country, but for the world.

It is with this in mind that I write this open letter to us, as a Catholic and a US citizen deeply concerned with the fate of my Church, my country, and my world.  My aims are modest.  I am not asking you to directly weigh in on the election, as that would be unwise of you, even improper.  Nor am I asking you to speak out against the overt racism exhibited by Donald Trump and his supporters during this campaign—racis…

Back from Vacation

I'm back from a family vacation to Hawaii, and ready to start writing again.  But, before I get to that, here are some diving pictures.  Enjoy.

Book Review--Epiphany by Michael Coren

The best part of Michael Coren's recent book, Epiphany, is the last paragraph:

Never stop looking at Jesus, as a baby, a child, an adult, a man dying on a cross, a God restored to life, a savior with us until the end of time. Never stop looking at the world as a place of love and never stop embracing and accepting that love. If two men or two women commit to one another in a devoted, sacrificial, committed, faithful marriage, the Christ-centred world of love is made deeper, wider, and better. As Christ Himself says in the first word he utters in the Gospel of Mark, we must open our hearts and believe the Good News. The Greek word used here is actually metanoeite, literally to change your minds but is usually translated as repent or convert. I prefer the more accurate translation and know that a transformation to what is true and good is a gift from God. Being open to change. Yes, that’s it. That is my epiphany, that is my heart and mind changed, a Christian’s heart and mind changed…

In Defense of Feelings

1.  I mentioned before that one of the biggest changes in my outlook in the last 10 years or so has been a move from a singular focus on what is in my head to a broader perspective.  One of the concrete ways that this has manifested itself is in decision-making.  In my 20s and early 30s, in situations small and large, I fell into a predictable pattern.  Some situation would crop up, and I would get a feeling about it.  Call it intuition, call it a hunch, call it Someone trying to tell me something, but I would get a strong sense that one particular choice in front of me was a bad one and that I shouldn't do it.

But then I would interrogate that feeling--why did I believe that?  What evidence did I have to support this supposition?  It was almost as if I felt I had to justify my decision to some public review board, and if I couldn't martial enough evidence to support my feeling, then I could not in good conscience take it to the board.  Because it was usually the case that I …

Betwixt and Between

I continue to maintain that Melinda Selmys is the most interesting voice coming from the conservative Catholic end of the pool (notwithstanding that many on that side think that she is Not a True Conservative).  What I like about her is her willingness to push on some of the neuralgic points of Catholic philosophy and theology, moving beyond the "happy talk" style of many on that end.  In doing so, she often points out questions and problems that I had not seen before or thought about in any depth.  Often I do not agree with her conclusions, but her formulation of the problem is usually very helpful.

Over the holiday weekend here in the U.S., she produced a pair of articles that are examples of why she is an interesting voice.  Her first post, entitled "10 Reasons Why Homosexuality Is Not a Natural Law Issue," is actually mis-titled.  Her argument is not that traditional Catholic natural law has nothing to say about homosexuality, but that what it does have to say …