Thursday, June 6, 2013



Anonymous said...

But in the "South" it is all a game of appearances...... Alas

Gene said...

Anonymous, Why just the "South?" My impression is that it is all a game of appearances everywhere...

Anonymous said...

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

“To understand the roots of American anti-Catholicism one needs to go back to the Reformation, whose ideas about Rome and the papacy traveled to the New World with the earliest settlers. These settlers were, of course, predominantly Protestant. For better or worse, a large part of American culture is a legacy of Great Britain, and an enormous part of its religious culture a legacy of the English Reformation. Monsignor John Tracy Ellis, in his landmark book American Catholicism, first published in 1956, wrote bluntly that a "universal anti-Catholic bias was brought to Jamestown in 1607 and vigorously cultivated in all the thirteen colonies from Massachusetts to Georgia." Proscriptions against Catholics were included in colonial charters and laws, and, as Monsignor Ellis noted wryly, nothing could bring together warring Anglican ministers and Puritan divines faster than their common hatred of the church of Rome. Such antipathy continued throughout the 18th century. Indeed, the virtual penal status of the Catholics in the colonies made even the appointment of bishops unthinkable in the early years of the Republic.”
- “The Last Acceptable Prejudice?” James Martin, SJ, America Magazine , March 25, 2000

We have been protected through the decades by the non-establishment clause and should not engage in promoting those who openly flout that law.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Not a game at all, Anonymous. In the public schools, millions of citizens are exposed to information and socialization controlled by government employees, and often socialization spills over into indoctrination. These employees often fail to understand things like freedom of expression, establishment of religion, and free exercise of religion. I bet that if you polled a hundred random teachers and administrators, not one of them could quote the amendment or describe for you the Supreme Court's ruling in Everson v. Board of Education, Engel v. Vitale, Tinker v. Des Moines or Lemon v. Kurtzman. I'm reminded of the school teacher in Salisbury, North Carolina who threatened a student with arrest last year when the student criticized President Obama. Look it up.

Here you had government employees censoring the content of a citizen's speech, thus arguably chilling his First Amendment rights. The citizen responded by getting around the censorship. I'm betting that given the circumstances, if a court case resulted from this he'd win hands down. More power to him.

Kneeling Catholic said...

Miss Anonymous!

"All" ? really ? Dear lady, I think you watch too much TV! What was the name of that show that just flopped on ABC?

We do have our hypocrites down here, but who gives you the right to paint us all with one broad brush?

Anonymous said...

One good thing about the South is the Bible Belt.

I was at the Perry High School graduation a couple weeks ago.
The FIRST words out of the first speaker, the Senior Class President were, "This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."
He immediately received long applause and a standing ovation!!!

His speech and the speeches of the Valedictorian and Salutatorian were imbued with many references to God, to Christ, and yes the actual name of Jesus.
There was no modifying for the sake of non-Christians who might be in the audience, there was no tone of fear of intimidation in their voices, nor any showmanship.
They each spoke from the heart in a most sincere manner.
I almost forgot that I was at the graduation ceremony of a PUBLIC high school.
There ARE times when it is good to be surrounded by our evangelical Christian brothers and sisters, such as when fighting secularism and the dictatorship of relativism as promulgated by the government.

Here in the Deep South buckle of the Bible Belt central Georgia may just be a mighty fine place to be!


Anonymous said...

And when the next student stands up, rips up his pre-approved text, and prays,

“All service is for Allah and all acts of worship and good deeds are for Him. Peace and the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you O Prophet. Peace be upon us and all of Allah’s righteous slaves. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
O Allah exalt Muhammad and the followers of Muhammad, just as you exalted Abraham and the followers of Abraham. Verily you are full of praise and majesty. O Allah send blessings on Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, just as you sent blessings on Abraham and upon the followers of Abraham. Verily you are full of praise and majesty”

you will undoubtedly cheer and exalt and him as "witnessing to the faith" too?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course in a land of multiple faiths, such as ours, the person praying should be able to pray according to his faith and freedom of speech. You seem to be advocating curtailment of free speech, if it is religious.

Marc said...

Error (heresy) has no rights. That's the difference.

Anonymous said...

Error has no rights. But individuals, who may be in error, do.

Fr. McDonald, free speech, religious or not, is curtailed every day. This is nothing new nor should anyone find this disturbing.

The question being discussed is whether the State, under our Constitution, has a right to establish a religion or religion in general.

The answer is, thank God, no.

Anonymous said...

In a democracy of peoples of various faiths..each should be allowed to respond to God's call..and express gratitude to God for the ability to achieve his/her achievements and those who helped along the way..such as at a commencement speech.

If the majority of people in the audience were of the same faith as the speaker, and expression of that faith had been recently undergoing suppression, then one could fully expect the speaker to receive applause and a standing ovation.

Anonymous at 11:58
Why is honoring God a 'bad thing' ..EVER???


Hammer of Fascists said...

The school authorities, in accordance with the Establishment Clause, no doubt removed religious references in the speech or prevented them from being inserted. Probably a constitutional action.

The student, in an act of rebellion, then put them back in, without state cooperation, approval, or action. Free speech and free exercise of religion. Again, constitutionally protected.

Find me evidence that school officials colluded in his actions (for instance, they knew what he was planning to do and didn't stop him) and I'll represent you in a section 1983 case against the school board. Otherwise, the student's actions were constitutionally protected. If someone got offended, too bad. That's why we have the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses--to protect speech and belief that others find offensive. Popular speech and belies need no such protections.

Once again, read the Everson, Engel, Lemon, and Tinker cases. And those are just to start with.

Templar said...

I'm from Houston County, in fact my wife works for the School Board. As in all things some back ground information is required.

At the 2012 Commencements for the 5 High Schools, all Schools had as an official pary of the Program an invocation, as they have had for decades. Being the Bible Belt these were generally Protestant Style but nicely done and decidedly Christian. Well after the 2012 Commencement at Veterans HS a famil which had invited out of state relatives from South Carolina lodged protests stating they violated 1st Amendment Rights. As a result, a public notice was made, and all schols notified by the HCBoE that no such invocations will be permitted at any of the commencements.

Needless to say there was an undercurrent of outrage. Many of the Sals and Vals who submitted their speeches had them rejected (oh yes they ARE approved by the Administrations) for overt references to religion, so many of the students decided to take matters in their own hands and go "off speech". The student who tore up his speech and said the Pater Noster was from SC and not GA, but apparently this issue is not localized to GA.

As for the person who asked would I applaud as loudly when a Muslim does it? My answer is no. In fact, I am on record as being in favor of an out right ban against Islam in the US and I believe it's little more than a Cult followed by a bunch of camel sodomizers. Having spent some time in the Middle East I can tell you their religion, like their culture, has litle to recommend itself to the world and the sooner we get about engaging in war to the hilt with Islam the safer the world will be.

Gene said...

I am in complete agreement with Templar. Islam is the enemy of civilization everywhere, not to mention a vicious enemy of the Church and the West.

Anonymous said...

I'm not suggesting that the school authorities colluded in this student's action. I am suggesting that the Non-Establishment Clause of the Constitution is essential and must be strictly maintained. We Catholics have benefitted tremendously from it, and we should be loathe to suggest that it is not a great value to us or to our nation.

This is not about "offensive" speech at all, but about the necessity of keeping the State from establishing, promoting, or appearing to establish or promote, one religion as the preferred religion for citizens.

Banning people because they are adherents to a particular is EXACTLY the dangerous, destructive thinking that our wise Founders rebuked by adopting the Non-Establishment Clause.

Gene said...

But, the non-establishment clause does not mean an aggressive war against religion, either.

Anonymous 2 said...

Templar and Gene: I have no comment but I do have a question. How do you square your comments with the apparent position of the Church as stated in Nostra Aetate:

“3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.

“Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom."

Or with the apparent position of our Pope, who has called for dialogue with Islam in particular?

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anonymous at 6:11: Are you reading my posts?

This isn't an Establishment Clause issue. There was in no sense an Establishment Clause violation at any time in this scenario. The minute that student tore up the speech, furthermore, it stopped even having anything to do with the Establishment Clause or any kind of state action (the state may have provided the forum, but that forum wasn't used in accordance with state mandates). When the student tore up the approved speech, it started being about the Free Exercise Clause and the Free Speech Clause, which the Constitution utters in the same breath, as it were, as it does the Establishment Clause. Under the Tinker, Fraser, Hazelwood, and Morse tests, what the student said was constitutionally protected speech.

When an individual who speaks as an individual, and not under color of law or as a state actor, the Establishment Clause isn't triggered or implicated. It's crystal clear on it's face that there's no state action here, ergo there's no Establishment Clause issue.

Further, your quotation of "The Last Acceptable Prejudice" (if that was you) wasn't so much about the colonists establishing a religion as it was about their preventing Catholics' free exercise of theirs. The Establishment Clause prohibits giving public support to a religion, or to religion in general. Free exercise is about the right to practice one's faith without government persecution. So based on the tenor of your arguments, which seem concerned mainly with the protections Catholics get from the Constitution, you should be focused on the latter, not the former.

Further, if you think that the Establishment Clause is violated by an individual's criticism of the Establishment Clause, I submit that, as I've advised twice now, you need to read up on your constitutional law.

Gene said...

The Church may be wrong in this instance...

Gene said...

I was taught in school that the Establishment Clause meant that there would be no State religion, like in Denmark or other places. It was explained pretty simply. It was not intended to destroy the religious manifestations, namely the Judaeo-Christian ones, engendered by the Enlightenment culture that gave us the US Constitution. But, Rationalism, carried to its extreme logical conclusion, devours itself, as we are now seeing...

Unknown said...

Anon 2;

"Templar and Gene: I have no comment but I do have a question. How do you square your comments with the apparent position of the Church as stated in Nostra Aetate[?]"

I would respond to that with a quote from Cardinal Kasper (that bastion of liberality and staunch supporter of all things Vatican Council II).

"In many places, they had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction. [...] For most Catholics, the developments put in motion by the Council are part of the Church's daily life. But what they are experiencing is not the great new beginning nor the springtime of the Church, which were expected at that time, but rather a Church which has a wintery look, and shows clear signs of crisis."

This applies to Nostra Aetate as well as every other document of Vatican Council II.

Unknown said...


I don't know if I would couch it as the Church is wrong, but rather I might say, "the leadership of the Church may be wrong."

Let's not forget that the Church cannot err. Just a friendly reminder, brother.

Gene said...

You are correct Andy, thank you. I was using Church too loosely.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5 - You assume there was no collusion between the disobedient student and school authorities. If that is the case, this is not likely an Establishment case.

In my experience, however, public school authorities are often very aware of the violations of law that take place in their schools, yet they choose to take no action. While they do not "know" of what is going on, they know very well what's going on, and they know in advance of the actions being taken by students and/or staff.

Kitzmiller v Dover is an example of such prior knowledge.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene and Andy:

Thanks for that quote, Andy. But does it apply to this particular passage from Nostra Aetate? The passage seems rather unambiguous to me.

Also, what about Pope Francis's special emphasis upon dialogue with Islam? Here is the relevant passage from his March 22 address to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See:

“One of the titles of the Bishop of Rome is Pontiff, that is, a builder of bridges with God and between people. My wish is that the dialogue between us should help to build bridges connecting all people, in such a way that everyone can see in the other not an enemy, not a rival, but a brother or sister to be welcomed and embraced! My own origins impel me to work for the building of bridges. As you know, my family is of Italian origin; and so this dialogue between places and cultures a great distance apart matters greatly to me, this dialogue between one end of the world and the other, which today are growing ever closer, more interdependent, more in need of opportunities to meet and to create real spaces of authentic fraternity.

“In this work, the role of religion is fundamental. It is not possible to build bridges between people while forgetting God. But the converse is also true: it is not possible to establish true links with God, while ignoring other people. Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam. At the Mass marking the beginning of my ministry, I greatly appreciated the presence of so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world. And it is also important to intensify outreach to non-believers, so that the differences which divide and hurt us may never prevail, but rather the desire to build true links of friendship between all peoples, despite their diversity.”

Are we to infer that the Pope may be wrong too, like the Church leadership in general? And should we further infer that your own views, and Templar’s views, supply the criterion for determining when the Pope and the rest of the Church hierarchy may be wrong and just what the correct position of “the Church” as opposed to the hierarchy is? And does this mean that you represent the “true” error-free position of the Church? If that sounds a little too personal, let me ask it another way: What criteria do you apply to determine when the Church leadership/hierarchy is in error and when they have got it right, on this matter and on other matters regarding which you may disagree with the position of the hierarchy?

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anonymous at 9:20 AM: I make no such assumption. I'm simply looking at the facts prima facie. I invite you to look at my comment at 2:25 PM on June 7 inviting everyone to consider the possibility of collusion. To show my support of the Establishment Clause, I offered to file the suit if someone can come up with evidence of any. No one here has alleged that.

Further, Kitzmiller v Dover doesn't support your argument. The school board there very publicly and officially knew of, and in fact mandated, an attack on Darwinism and the use of a textbook authored by a creationist and published by a fundamentalist Christian publisher. Further, the court held that in light of McLean v. Arkansas, it was common knowledge that attacks on Darwinish tended to be motivated by Christian fundamentalism. See Kitzmiller, 400 F. Supp. 2d at 708, 716-21.

What I'm mainly addressing here is a flawed understanding on this blog of the meaning of the Establishment Clause in light of current jurisprudence, as well as a slighting of the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5 - Kitzmiller is a prime example of school administrators knowing what was going on. They tried to hide this, claiming no knowledge of who paid for the "Panda's Thumb" texts given to the school. But they knew all along.

They also argued that "intelligent design" wasn't creationism or creation science by another name. But they knew all along that that is exactly what "intelligent design" actually is.

This came to light when copies of their materials were introduced as evidence in the trial. When the texts had been re-written to replace the term "creationism" they had FAILED to remove the text and simply inserted "intelligent design" into the space.

So what showed up was "creaintelligent designtionism'

Ding. They knew. They were guilty. And the judge told them so.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anon: See my previous post. In Kitzmiller, there was unquestionably state action in the form of the school board resolution and the disclaimer and textbook it required to be used. The school board never tried to deny the existence of state action. The court pointed all of this out. See id. at 708, 757, 761. The opinion also contains ample evidence connecting that state action with a blatantly creationist motivation by school board members. Id. at 748-62. To the extent that school board members tried to characterize their actions as not being religiously motivated, it doesn't even pass the laugh test.

This case is fundamentally different from that one in this regard: Unlike in Kitzmiller, no evidence has been presented here--none--that any school or school board official did anything at all to do encourage (or even permit) the student to tear up his approved speech and start talking about God and praying. No. State. Action. Shown.

If you have some evidence of state action other than baseless claims, by all means produce it, since of course that would change the whole nature of our debate. If that is what really happened, I would freely concede that we have an establishment attempt here under current law. But to claim that the school had to have been in on this just because it happened (which is the substance of your argument) is sort of like Intelligent Design: you're arguing that the action, by the sole fact that it occurred, must have had state sanction even though you can't actually show any (or at least you haven't so far).

Of course, I do have to admit that students never do _anything_ without their teachers' and schools' approval, so on that ground alone this _had_ to have been a sinister government attempt to make everyone at that commencement a fundamentalist Christian. :-)

I suppose you could say that the school had to have been in on it because nobody cut the microphone. But if the school _had_ cut the mic, and the student then produced a megaphone, you could then argue that the school had to have been in on the deal because someone looked the other way when the students were searched for megaphones, or because the principal didn't club the student over the head to prevent the prayer. And so on. But this just shows how absurd and unreasoning blind faith in a theory can be.

Gene said...

Anon 2, RE: What criteria do you apply, etc, etc."

Uh, when they blow up our buildings, kill our citizens, and vow to destroy us and the Judaeo-Christian world. That good enough?

Anonymous 2 said...

No, sorry Gene, it isn’t good enough, and you should know that. Do you really think that the Pope and other members of the hierarchy “regard with esteem” those extremist radicals who commit such atrocities in the name of Islam when they emphasize the positive aspects of the religion or call for dialogue with Islam?

What is good enough, at least for me, is if Pope Francis and other members of the hierarchy think that dialogue with Islam will help combat such tendencies within the religion. If it is not good enough for you, why don’t you take it up with them? I am sure they would welcome the correction.

Gene said...

Anon 2, I have no need or desire to "take it up" with anyone. Men of good sense and an awareness of the nature of the enemies we face understand how these enemies should be dealt with...that would be summarily and violently. The Church, and your conciliatory a.., have survived this long because, on countless occasions "...rough men have stood ready at night to do violence on (your's and the Church's) behalf." If I am wrong, I will just have to cast myself upon Christ's mercy and take what comes.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: We keep on going down this road and we have agreed to disagree on some aspects of this. So, I was not even trying to argue with you about it on my own account any longer. Instead I was invoking the declared positions and policies of our Church. That, to me, seems a fairly safe and Catholic thing to do.

I do think that we would discover more agreement between us if we could get beyond dichotomous thinking. Why does it have to be a choice between dialogue with Islam and the actions of the rough men who stand ready to do violence on our behalf at night? Isn’t there a place for the rough men and also a place for dialogue? Shouldn’t a smart and faithful approach have room for both?

It seems to me that a sweeping statement such as “Islam is the enemy of civilization everywhere, not to mention a vicious enemy of the Church and the West” mirrors counterpart sweeping statements made about the West by Islamic extremists and is contrary to the position of the Church hierarchy and the Pope. Would you be willing to amend your statement by replacing “Islam” with “Radical Islamic extremism”?

I can certainly agree with your sentiment that “If I am wrong, I will just have to cast myself upon Christ's mercy and take what comes” because that is something we should all probably be willing to say.

Gene said...

Anon 2, "Radical Islam is redundant."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5 - No. State. Action. Shown. But. I. Suspect. It. Is. There. Do I have admissible evidence, nope.

But I have worked with public school teachers, coaches, and administrators across south Georgia. They "wink and nod" toward actions by students, teachers, coaches, and other administrators pretty widely.

You seem all too willing to ascribe evil motivations toward those with whom you disagree, but are all too willing to see only good in those with whom you agree.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: I started to compose a lengthy response but then I concluded there is little point. I understand that you have no reason to give my own views much weight even though I have studied Islam and Islamic Law in some depth and have known several Muslims personally. And you seem intent on dismissing the Catholic hierarchy as mistakenly misguided and naïve, even though many of them are much more knowledgeable about the matter then you or I. Perhaps you regard us all as a bunch of present-day Neville Chamberlains to your Winston Churchill. The analogy would be false, of course, but again: what’s the point?

As I have observed before, there is a reason why the first particular sin after expulsion from Eden was a violent death. It is passing strange indeed that many who are so zealous about protecting life in the womb don’t seem to think twice about destroying it by war once it gets out of the womb -- or even about destroying in when it is in the womb as happens, for example, when pregnant women are killed through bombing and the unborn child is “collateral damage.”

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anonymous: You are the one ascribing motivations here--to me. I don't think of this student as good. Why? Because I have no information about him. I don't know whether there was collusion here or not. I don't know whether this student is Catholic or the follower of a Protestant heresy or simply a rabble rouser. And I also think creation science and fundamentalism are two of the worst things to come out of Christianity in the last 150 years. I merely observe that on its face there's no establishment happening here, and that students have been known to be rebels. I wager rebellion is at least as common as collusion in high schools, and probably a LOT more so. I don't go in for conspiracy theories. They're unhealthy. I don't care whether the theorist is Christian who sees secular humanist plots everywhere or an atheist who see religious wingnut plots to make everyone pray. I deal with evidence and with reason in my line of work. Bring me some and I'll listen.

I've worked with educators a great deal myself, being one of them for the last 30 years. In contrast to what you've seen in the field, I've seen teachers suppress free speech and free exercise rights, largely because they don't understand the meaning of those rights, so forgive me if I approve of some freewheeling exercise of those rights.

You want to suspect something behind the scenes? Go ahead. Be my guest. I've already said, repeatedly, that when you come up with something solid I'll be on your side here and I'll file the 1983 suit for you. I'm a civil libertarian. Till then, I think our conversation is over.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - First, we are not in a courtroom here, so the rules of evidence are not germane.

On the face of it there is no establishment here - no one disagrees. But we also know that "all that glitters is not gold."

Regarding the changes in the mass, you are all too willing to conclude that those who supported the changes were out to destroy the Church. You offer no evidence for this assertion. When evidence to the contrary is presented, you overlook it.

The conversation, if not here and if not on this topic, continues...

Gene said...

Anon 2, You are becoming hysterical (in the psychoanalytic sense). Why do you consider it a feather in your cap that you have studied Islamic Law? To me, that seems like a silly waste of time. Do you believe we should institute Sharia law in this country?
"I have known several Muslims personally..." What a hoot. So have I. You sound like the old sixties liberals who were so proud because they took a black person to lunch, then sent their kids to private schools. LOL! Then, there was George Wallace who said that some of his best friends were negroes.
Your analogy is false. I certainly do not mention myself in the same breath with Churchill, and you guys don't rise to the level of poor misguided Chamberlain...more like Mr. Rogers or Dr. Phil.

I wonder how many lives in the womb were killed in 9/11 or how many young mothers died. Protecting life in the womb does not mean diddley squat if they are born into a country that has sold out its sovereignty, scorned its own birthright, and that will not protect them from terror and socialist destruction of their rights and freedoms. You know, if the Muslims were holding you down and starting the cut on your throat, you'd be rationalizing and analyzing until they hit your vocal cords. Are you turning out a lot of lawyers that think like you? God help us...

Anonymous 2 said...


“You are becoming hysterical (in the psychoanalytical sense).” This statement seems like projection (in the psychoanalytical sense).

I suspected it would be a mistake to argue again with you on my account and I was correct. But just to clarify, I have studied Islamic Law because I teach Comparative Law, Moreover, because it is so important to our national interests I also offer a specific course called “Islamic Law in Comparative Perspective.” Many law professors now offer a specific course in the area of Islamic Law. Ignorance is no basis on which to make good policy or, increasingly in our interdependent world, even good law or good citizenship. I use a book by a devout Roman Catholic, Raj Bhala, who draws many comparisons in the book with Roman Catholic teaching and with American law. Here is a review of the book:

The reviewer states: “I just want you to know that if you have questions about Shari'a and want to get information about it that is clear and not the kind of poppycock you're likely to hear from certain talk show hosts or radio preachers, this is the book to consult.”

Moreover, as I suspect is Raj’s intent, I am also able to use the opportunity to dispel my students’ ignorance about our own Faith by having them actually read extracts from Humane Vitae, for example, which Raj includes in his book for comparison, when we study the Shari‘a rules on contraception and abortion. BTW Raj has also taught his course to the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth (see Preface at vii). I suppose_they_want to introduce Shari‘a Law in the U.S. too.

As for your comment about the lives in the womb killed on 9/11, well, of course, that goes without saying (which is why I did not say it – it is obvious). Remember, too, that in addition to some in the Islamic world (consisting of 50 Muslim majority countries, 1.6 billion people, and only 20% in the Middle East) who celebrated the attack, there was widespread condemnation of the attack in the Islamic world as being contrary to Shari‘a Law.

Gene said...

It does not surprise me at all that many law profs are offering courses in Islamic Law. LOL! I wonder how they will like the way their wives and daughters look in burkas? You are the Platonic form for what is wrong in this country.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene: I have been called many things before but “Platonic form” is a first. However, I will accept it and I will also take it as a compliment since Platonic forms are forms of perfection that give us true knowledge. =)

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene and any others who are still following this thread:

I am an educator, which means I am also a student because there is always so much still to learn. If you are also interested in learning some important facts about the Islamic world and their possible implications for a wise response on the part of the West and the Church, I offer the following links to some very useful sources. Some of this, such as the latest Pew Surveys of 39 Muslim majority countries, which are quite recent, is still new to me and I still need time to digest them myself (yes, as discussed in an earlier thread, I am cautious about polls but Pew seems to be one of the more reputable ones, although unfortunately neither Saudi Arabia nor Iran could be included in the surveys). I do include a couple of Wikipedia links too; although they are not perfect, they seem to be mainly accurate:

(1) On the nature and content of Shari‘a:

(2) On the current very wide variety in the Islamic world regarding the actual application of Shari‘a:

(3) On attitudes regarding the appropriate role of Shari‘a in 39 Muslim majority countries as reported in the Pew Survey just released, indicating a trend in many countries towards a desire for greater application of Shari‘a or various aspects of Shari‘a:

(4) On some evaluations and critiques of this Pew poll:

(5) On attitudes in 39 Muslim majority countries regarding other aspects of the Islamic faith, including openness to multiple interpretations of the faith, as reported in an earlier Pew survey, published in 2012:

One thing seems crystal clear to me: What many have called “the struggle for the soul of Islam” is very real. The West and the Church need to be smart in responding to the extraordinary complexity of the situation, both to protect their legitimate interests vis-à-vis the Islamic world and to play their appropriate role in the above mentioned struggle for the soul of Islam, remembering always that Muslims too are created in the image and likeness of God as Pope Francis has recently reminded us.

Finally, Gene, although we have disagreed, I appreciate the opportunity our exchange has give me to do some additional and updating research, in particular regarding the Pew surveys.

Hammer of Fascists said...

First, the legal rules of evidence were developed, over centuries and by the experience of many brilliant thinkers, because, by and large, they work. They help us to discover the truth. Many of the rules of evidence have principles that apply very nicely in this sort of situation even though (gasp!) you've just made the stunning revelation that we aren't in a court here. And while I have a law degree, I also have a doctorate in history and political science, and I work extensively with historical evidence, which is much like investigative reporting. (And I've invited you to investigate here but you already seem to have your mind made up). My use of the term evidence thus wasn't in the narrow legal sense.

Second, I have agreed with you that all that glitters isn't gold. But given the lack of evidence of not only collusion, as well as lack of evidence of evidence of the symnpathies or predilections of the administrators in question (unlike in Kitzmiller), all we have is probabilities. I have never, in 30 years of teaching, known school authorities to collude with students to defy school board policy, which in this case has undoubtedly has been drafted by school board attorneys to ensure no Establishment Clause violation. On the other hand, I've seen, literally countless times, students from grade school to graduate school take on the system, challenge authority, undermine authority, and circumvent rules, sometimes with fatal or otherwise tragic consequences.

I don't deny that there are Kitzmiller-style administrators out there. If you read my posts carefully, I haven't even denied that they're involved here. But in the absence of evidence, even in light of your experiences, I can't agree that it's more likely than not that the administrators colluded in this. Your mindset, on the other hand, seems to be "There was a prayer, so there must have been state action, ergo thi prayer was a horrible, evil thing." But I'm not so terrified of hearing a prayer uttered at school--even a Muslim one, mind you--that I'm prepared to condone an overreach that chills free speech rights here, any more than I'm prepared to ban flag-burning or approve of college hate-speech codes. If you want to know more about where I'm coming from, read Brandeis's dissent in Whitney v. California--a subversive activity case rather than one involving school prayer, but it will give you the general idea. The Establishment Clause, on the other hand, has been very broadly defined in the past 50 years. It's quite healthy.

My final point on "legal technicalities" like evidence: It's also my experience that people who blow off things like "evidence" and "due process" and such are typically both likely and eager to abuse their authority. Much easier to assume this was state action and sanction the student and administrators rather than make an investigation. Much like it would be easier for traffic cops to shoot people they pull over rather than go to the expense of a trial with due process and evidence and such. Read St. Thomas More's "giving the devil the benefit of the law" speech from _A Man For All Seasons._

To be continued . . .

Hammer of Fascists said...

Regarding changes in the Mass; let's don't stop there. Let's look at the whole of Catholic culture achieved in the wake of VII. I've offered ample evidence. I'll repeat some of it here:

A) During and after these changes, we've seen a) catastrophic decline in Mass attendance; b) catastrophic decline in priestly vocations; c) catastrophic decline in Religious vocations; d) big decline in Confessions. We've seen open dissent from and challenge to authority in such things as 1) the Land O' Lakes Conference and Statement and the subsequent refusal of "Catholic" schools to abide by the mandatum established by Ex Corde Ecclesiae; 2) the Winnipeg Statement of 1968, issued in challenge to Humanae Vitae. 3) The current situation at Georgetown, to cite one specific example, as recounted here: and 4) The debacle at Notre Dame in awarding the pro-infanticide Obama an honorary degree.

B) The bishops cannot be trusted, not individually having the grace of infallibility, not to promulgate error. The following heresies, among others, were all begun or advocated at an early stage by Catholic bishops (or priests in one or two cases): Marcionism, Sabellianism, Apollinarism, Docetism, Arianism, Nestorianism, Donatism, Protestantism, and Feenyism.

C) Many of the propositions condemned by Pius IX in 1864 are running rampant in the Mass and in the Church today. Much of this either began or became highly visible around the same time as the Mass was changed and in the wake of VII.

D) I also have plenty of anecdotal personal evidence of the same sort as you cite in your dealings with school officials. I've heard priests publicly denounce Catholic doctrine and the pope, and urge his congregation to do the same; I've heard priests deny and the and blaspheme the Real Presence; I've seen EME's dressed up as Satan at Mass during Halloween. I've had to teach whole cradle Catholic families who've gone to Mass for decades a) how to say a Rosary and b) the meaning behind it. I could go on ad nauseam.

In light of a) the utterly drastic changes that occurred in the liturgy, in theology, in catechesis, and in Catholic culture/identity and b) the declines in Mass attendance and vocations I've already mentioned, a causal connection seems likely. Certainly the liturgical changes took place by episcopal mandate. Often those mandates went beyond or actively contradicted what was specified in VII documents.

To be continued . . .

Hammer of Fascists said...

So we have drastic short-order change, and sometimes simple trashing of, liturgical, theological, catechetical, and cultural practices that were based on centuries of experience and fine-tuning--certainly the most dramatic in Catholic history--both accompanied and followed by events and trends that were condemned a century and a half ago and are nothing short of disastrous.

My conclusion: Either the bishops who brought about these changes were either a) grossly negligent in failing to consider the dangers involved in such drastic change (and quite possibly, if not probably, motivated by arrogance that they knew better than all of the previous 100 generations of bishops combined); or b) intentionally attempting to promulgate, within the Church, teachings contrary to the Catholic faith, in which case "evil" is by no means out of the question. If they weren't motivated by a desire to destroy the Church, then they must have been motivated by a belief that they knew better than the Church, in which case we have arrogance again, as well as a fundamental dishonety--if a bishop disagrees with Catholic doctrine that much, why not go off an found his own religion rather than try to use my church to indoctrinate me in his erroneous faith? It was not I who said "from some crack the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God."

So. I haven't given you any evidence here that Bugnini was a Mason. What I've listed above is largely circumstantial. But there's a heckuva lot of it. You may disagree with my evidence, but please don't ever tell me again that I haven't supplied any. And if I'm wrong because this evidence isn't good enough for you, then a fortiori you are also wrong about administrator collusion in the prayer case,because you've offered nothing but a "suspicion."

Gene said...

Anon 2, I really don't give a damn about the "soul" of Islam. I am far more concerned with the soul of America and how it has been lost to progressivist/academic sophistry, a ridiculous worship of "globalism," and a facile implementation of failed egalitarian philosophies.
I have ceased having lunch or discussions with a number of former acquaintances and at least one friend because I simply cannot relate to anyone who would support these things or who would vote Democratic. I increasingly believe that these people are enemies in our midst, hidden behind social niceties and the camouflage of casual interaction. I do not trust them and I hold therm in contempt for either their naivete or their ideology or both. I do not really suppose there is any reason for you and I to have further discussions unless it is about the weather. There is a 60% chance of rain this afternoon.

Templar said...

Sorry, didn't check the Blogs over the weekend so I'm late to answering Anon2's direct question.

First and foremost, Pope Paul VI was a disaster on so many levels why would I put any credence in anything he did? If he hadn't penned HV I'd probably be open to entertaining the notion that the Sede's are onto something. But for the sake of debate, let's say there's nothing wrong with the document. Well then, I guess in 1965 when he wrote it was a noble and open minded gesture, but 30 years later the Salafist Jihadi's made it all a moot point by declaring war on the West and on non-Muslim's in general. Liberal academics such as yourself pollute the minds of our children by sitting them down and discussing Islam in the smae context as other religions, none of which have declared war on their way of life. You might as well teach that cancer is just another way of your body interacting with the world too. The US, is blinded by PC-ness to the point where we can't even recognize a threat when it is spelled out. We want to pretend it never happened becasue we can't square it with our egalitaian minds. War to the hilt between Islam and the west is not only inevitable, it is already underway although only one side is currently on the field. And what about all the good Muslims you may ask? If they do not speak out against the Salafist Jihadi's they are guilty by association and deserve whatever comes their way.

The Anti-Establishment Clause means no State Religions, it doesn't mean we have to tolerate direct threats to our way of life in the name of political correctness.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5 - On the obedience due to bishops, from an essay by David G. Bonagura, Jr., an adjunct professor at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, New York:

"What, then, are the parameters for obedience to bishops? First, we must recognize that bishops are sinners just as we are. By their office they are called to a higher standard, but their authority does not remove the effects of original sin. Fallen bishops cause grave scandal; so they need our prayers and compassion even more, rather than condemnation. Besides, the media slings more than enough of this.

Second, bishops teach us and govern us from their authority as successors of the apostles and representatives of Christ, not from their own personal character. When they are instructing us in matters of faith and morals, it is Christ’s teachings, not their own, that they bid us to keep. Thus by listening to them, we actually obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29), and in doing so, the will of God is fulfilled: our sanctification. (1 Thess 4:3)

Third, most of us encounter bishops not only by instruction in the faith, but in practical judgments that have no assurance of divine guidance: appointment or removal of a priest, refusal of a legitimate request, closing of a church or school. Here obedience – along with charity and patience – is truly tested. This instance requires two further clarifications.

On the one hand, according the will of Christ the apostles and their successors the bishops have legitimate authority in all ecclesial matters down to the most mundane dealings. By virtue of the duties incurred by the great gift of our baptisms, we must obey the juridical decisions of bishops, even if we disagree.

On the other hand, our duty of obedience does not mean we cannot communicate our opinions, ideas, and reservations to our bishops, in private or public. But because of bishops’ ecclesial dignity, we must do so charitably and with deference. We can seek recourse to the Apostolic See if we believe a bishop has decided contrary to canon law, but we must never seek to embarrass or insult him in the process – doing so only further disturbs the whole flock.

“A bishop is bound to belong to all, to bear the burden of all,” writes Chrysostom. As members of the same Body of Christ, we must help our bishops bear the burden of souls by bearing our burden of obedience to them. Obedience never has been easy, and it never will be. But like all things truly Catholic, obedience is worth the sacrifice."

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene and Templar: I do understand the strength and depth of your feelings about Islamic extremists and Islamic terrorists. Remember, not only have I lived in America since 1980; I lived in Britain (and Europe) before that and thus experienced the “terror” perpetrated by the IRA (who, it should be noted, received support from certain quarters in the U.S.). So, please do not assume (if you do) that I am somehow “soft” on terrorism. From where I stand, America is just playing catch up.

But both of you do tend to “leap to conclusions.” If you were in my class, I would not let you get away with that, and I won’t let you get away with it here. I know it is a short cut for the hard work of thinking and seems to make life, and the world, much simpler, but it is an illusion. It is not a short cut but short change for those who do it and for others.

Specifically, Gene first: You assume that I support “progressivist/academic sophistry, a ridiculous worship of ‘globalism,’ and a facile implementation of failed egalitarian philosophies.” I do not, but I will not convince you of that unless and until you are willing to think beyond labels and slogans, or perhaps are willing to audit some of my classes or have a proper conversation.

And Templar: You assume that I am one of those “liberal academics [who] pollute the minds of our children by sitting them down and discussing Islam in the same context as other religions.” I am not and do not. But again, I probably cannot convince you of that, subject to the same conditions as for Gene.

In fact, my positions are based in sound conservative principles and in our shared Catholic faith. Neither of you can understand this because (a) I think you assume that anyone who disagrees with you must be a “liberal” or a “liberal academic” and that you have the corner on “conservatism.” I was opposed to the Iraq War from the beginning. So was Pat Buchanan. I rest my case; (b) as I understand it, the documents of Vatican II and the pronouncements of the Pope require at least “religious submission of intellect and will” and you do not seem to be willing to give that when it comes to the question of the magisterium’s position regarding Islam. (BTW please explain why this is not an instance of “cafeteria Catholicism”?).

Your analogy with cancer is a good one, Templar, because how you treat cancer, and prevent its spread, always depends on the facts – the type of cancer, its rate of growth, whether the body’s own defenses can be enlisted to help fight it, etc. If we make this a “war with Islam” we play right into the hands of the extremists and feed the cancer. As a result, we are likely to kill the patient to cure the cancer. The Pope and other members of the magisterium know this, I am sure. They are not stupid. Nor should we be. Perhaps this treatment of the topic of “Islamic terrorism” will help to explain the complexities involved, although I doubt you will bother to read anything sent by a “liberal academic”:

Gene said...

Nothing infallible came out of Vat II. It does not require a submission of intellect and will.

Maybe the fact that you are a part of the Europe we saved while we kicked the a.. of the other part is the problem. Brits and Frenchies generally have always preferred a diet of the hand that fed them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5 - I don’t agree that a causal connection exists between the “drastic changes” in the liturgy and the declines in mass attendance, priestly and religious vocations, and confessions and here’s why.

First, if these changes cause the declines you cite, then these declines would have been experienced everywhere in the Catholic world where the changes were implemented. But they weren’t. While they were the experience in the West (Europe and the United States), they were not experienced in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, or South America. These places all had “drastic” changes in the liturgy, but the numbers held on pretty well. That’s why the US and Western Europe are importing priests from Africa, SE Asia, and Eastern Europe.

And second, if the declines followed, as you assert, from things that happened in the Catholic Church, then such problems would not have been found outside the Catholic Church. A non-Catholic is certainly not going to be impacted by the switch from Latin to the vernacular, by the revision of the Eucharistic prayers, or by the re-introduction of musical instruments other than the organ in Catholic worship. In fact, in the West, we have seen a drastic decline in a sense of sin across the culture, not just among Catholics. We have seen a decline in “service” attendance in most Christian denominations, with the Evangelical congregations being a notable exception.

The causes, I believe, have far more to do with changes in Western culture than with matters that are specific to Catholics. And simply returning to the Catholicism of the 1950’s is not going to effect a change in the culture beyond the Catholic Church. Personally, I don’t think such a reversion would result in much of a change within the Catholic Church either, because I think that that “remedy” is based on a pretty serious mid-diagnosis of the causes.

Reverting to Latin isn’t going to make Johnny want to be a priest or Jenny a nun. Cooling the pope with ostrich feather fans isn’t going to have any impact on the number of people going to confession. Lifting the hem of the chasuble (you knew I’d get this one in !) isn’t going to make one iota of difference in people deciding to join religious communities. (A related note, the data indicates that social service organizations (Jaycees, Lions, Rotary, etc), whose membership may be entirely non-Catholic, have also seen a severe drop in membership.) These are not specifically Catholic problems with Catholic causes.


Anonymous said...


Individualism – individualism in the extreme – is, I believe, the root cause of many of our cultural problems in the West. And it is the root cause of the problems we face in the Church because we are influenced by our culture. We were founded by people who believed strongly in the ideas of social obligation and group formation. But over time the idea that Individual Good, not the Common Good, is came to be seen as the highest goal for a human to aim for. The importance of the individual and the importance of individual rights are blessings that come to us from the thought of the Enlightenment and I am not prepared to condemn the progress we have made as a human race due to the influence of this era. But when individualism becomes the highest goal, then the social fabric, woven on the loom of mutual dependence and recognized obligations between people, is lost.

Eastern European, African, and Asian cultures did not experience the development of the ontological individualism that we have had in the West. But, it is beginning to happen on those cultures now as they adopt the Western values of consumerism and materialism. These were the great evils that Pope John Paul spoke of often when he addressed Western audiences. We have exported not only our goods, but our way of understanding the world – a way that includes a dangerous individualism.

And if you have to teach whole families of cradle Catholics how to pray the rosary (a Catholic problem indeed), I bet you’d also have to teach the same families what the Emancipation Proclamation was, who stayed a winter at Valley Forge, and why Gettysburg was of signal importance in the maintenance of the Union. These are not specifically Catholic problems. Therefore, specifically Catholic remedies won’t work.

What say you?

Hammer of Fascists said...

Anon: That's nice. Does Adjunct Professor David G. Bonagura, Jr. have magisterial status that's binding upon me as a Catholic? Forgive me if I see things a bit differently from him and don't feel myself bound by his pontifications.

I'm sorry if you think I'm being insulting. And if you equate charitable with nice, you're mistaken. There's such a thing as false charity, and there's such a thing as tough love. The bishops have long sought more lay participation: well, they've got it. I'm participating. If they wanted yes men, they shouldn't have taken us down this road. If my bishop wants to silence me in the name of Holy Obedience, he has that authority, though I doubt if the Currans of the world would feel themselves similarly bound by it.

I recognize these people as bishops. I recognize their authority, and I recognize that that authority a) can be abused and b) has limits. Sometimes I believe that the bishops are being grossly negligent in the exercise of that authority, and that they sometimes intentionally abuse that authority. "Well-meaning" doesn't exclude the possibility of gross negligence. And I've spoken about the motivations--evil or otherwise--of no particular bishop, although the actions of particular bishops I've discussed are hard to explain without evil motivations. (And, keep in mind, you seem to think me rather evil, so are you really any better than I?) When I hear of a bishop threatening one of his flock with excommunication because th latter wishes to kneel to receive communion, I would be dishonest if I said I didn't see evil in that action, and it's more than possible that the bishop is _not_ well-meaning.

Consider this also: if you believe in quaint ideas such as the fact that the Church is a divine institution established by God, and that Satan is real and that he prowls about the world seeking the ruin of souls, and that Satan is the natural enemy of the Church, then doesn't it stand to reason that he would target clergy, and especially bishops, and that some of them (Judas for one, just to show it's unquestionably happened before) may allow themselves to be co-opted?

Further: Things are in such a state that respectful as opposed to blunt statements are ignored, or get lost in the roar. Case in point: Let's watch what becomes of Blatty's petition re Georgetown to Cardinal Wuerl. He spent a year putting it together with the help of some first-rate canon lawyers. nearly 200 pages and 400 footnotes. Would you care to wager ten dollars that Wuerl buries it? Perhaps he has the authority to do so, but if he does, and if such burial is unreasonable in light of its contents, then what recourse do we have other than to call attention to the fact very bluntly?
In this regard, I'll see your adjunct professor and raise you a Flannery O'Connor. "To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."

Finally, a legal quotation for you. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., once observed that "To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man." You may not see it in my comments, but I constantly subject my principles and statements to doubt. I doubt myself a great deal--my conclusions as well as my motivations. Can you say the same of yourself? Have you stopped to consider that you may be the one who is wrong in this debate? Were you to make some concessions and meet me in the middle, you'd find me astonishingly reasonable, for I don't have all, or even most, of the answers. But when I find an entrenched position, I attack it, and I don't care if it's on the left or right. If you think I'm unyielding (and I'm the one who's offered to file a suit if you turn out to be right here; you've conceded nothing), remember that in me all you are seeing is a mirror of yourself and your position. Change your position and watch me change.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5 - And if you, as an individual believer, claim to have the authority to judge a bishop or a group of bishops or a group of bishops gathered in council with the pope, then you have adopted - or should I say, reverted to - Protestantism.

Hammer of Fascists said...

Well, Anon, you're finally making reasonable arguments. I'll stipulate provisionally to your statements regarding lack of impact due to drastic change in the non-Western world. I don't know enough to comment on things there and I'd be interested to see you cite your sources. But it's quite possible to have a reverent Mass in the vernacular. The Anglicans did it for centuries, and still do in places, except for the small detail that their Masses are invalid. I'd prefer Latin, but if you do it right in English it isn't strictly necessary. The Bugnini version isn't doing it right.

Speaking of necessary, though, it's very likely that the changes of the '60s and '70s were necessary for catastrophe but not sufficient, hence the (arguendo) different results in different cultures. If society was coming apart (civil rights movement, New Left, Counterculture, sexual revolution, Vietnam, Roe v. Wade), all the more reason to move cautiously and avoid knee-jerks. You thus strengthen my case. And just because Protestants succumbed to modernism doesn't mean that a) Catholicism should have tolerated modernism too or b) that by changing in such a way as to open the door to modernism Catholicism wasn't courting disaster. If Catholicism had stood its ground, instead of making such changes, I doubt that the world could ever have made such inroads. There may have been problems still, but it's hard to imagine that they could be any worse than (or as bad as) what we in fact got. The hierarchy, plain and simple, let it happen and at the very least negligently contributed to it--and in some cases various bishops and priests wanted it, and not always out of good intentions.

I don't think a reversion to the 1950s would help either, at least not in the sense you mean, but I have different reasons. The jinn is now out of the bottle; it's far easier and faster to wreck something than to restore it. You see "progress;" I see crisis. (What is it we're "progressing" towards, anyway?) Were the pope to mandate ad orientem worldwide at all Masses, no ifs, ands, and buts, and forced the jettisoning of bad and heterodox music in favor of Gregorian chant, and required kneeling and reception on the tongue, the Church would lose many, many members (or at least Massgoers), possibly on the order of millions worldwide. But I think the people who would leave fail fully to grasp Catholicism in the first place; they're in church but not of the Church, to paraphrase--and I think those who remained would be the ones who were very strong in their faith. But if you want it to be a mere numbers game, by all means don't change anything.

Please don't put words in my mouth re the Catholicism of the 1950s. I simply believe in a Catholicism that transcends both the 1950s and the 1970s and any other age. The faith that is being taught, at least in the US and Europe, is in many ways not that faith.

I would dispute with you that we have progressed as a result of the Enlightenment. I think it's a very near thing at best as to whether the individualism you mention, and the technological advance that has occurred, has caused more good or ill. By uncritically adopting the standard whig view of history, you're showing that you're infected by the same disease you complain of.

Yes, I may have to teach Cradle Catholics the Gettysburg Address, but I'll be you any amount of money you care to wager that I wouldn't have to teach them the pledge of allegiance. This is the _Rosary_ we're talking about here, not some obscure novena you hear about but have never personally said. They of course know the Lord's prayer because 1) that's ecumenically safe and b) it's still said at Mass. I submit that knowledge or ignorance of the Rosary is one of the best non-ecumenical litmus tests you could find for knowing how strong/weak Catholic culture is.

Anonymous 2 said...


“Nothing infallible came out of Vat II. It does not require a submission of intellect and will.”

I think you are mistaken in that submission of intellect and will is also required for certain types of non-infallible pronouncements. However, I hope that Father McDonald will clarify the details regarding exactly which types of pronouncements, and specifically the position regarding the Council’s and Pope Francis’s pronouncements regarding Islam.

“Brits and Frenchies generally have always preferred a diet of the hand that fed them.”

I imagine you took this comment out of another of your nicely labeled pigeon-holes, but I do not know what you are talking about. Perhaps you can clarify.

It is very interesting to observe your rhetorical techniques, Gene. You seem to have several for avoiding real discussion and argument when that’s what you want to do. The technique currently being employed seems to be “reasoning by label and pigeon-holed stereotype.” In this technique, when one label (liberal or academic, or the combination “liberal academic”) and its associated stereotype do not work, you skip to another (e.g., Brits and Frenchies). I am curious about the psychology involved. Why do you do that?

More generally it is my observation that much of the country seems to be losing its collective mind, as well as its soul (to echo your earlier comment). The ability to engage in critical thinking has been greatly weakened over the past few years. I see it on many of my students (not all to be sure) and I see it in everyday communication. Personally, I blame the media and information technology to a large extent. The Founding Fathers, including Ben Franklin (“A republic if you can keep it”), must be spinning in their graves.

Anonymous 2 said...

Anon. and Anon. 5: I have been preoccupied with my own exchanges in this thread, but I have now read yours. I am posting now just so you know that at least one other person is still reading, and appreciating, your very interesting and high level exchanges.

Gene said...

Anion 2, You may read my "rhetorical techniques" as being dismissive. It is going to be 97 degrees on Wednesday. Dress comfortably and wear a hat...

Anonymous 2 said...

I can handle the dismissive comments, Gene. Even if you think I am, how do you say, an “enemy of the Church,” I console myself with the thought that you must consider the Pope and the other members of the magisterium to be enemies of the Church too given that my positions reflect theirs. I am okay with that. And, depending on how the reporting evolves, perhaps you can even look forward to labeling and pigeon holing the pronouncements of the Pope as, how did it go again, the “the pre-senile babbling of someone lost at the mall.”

Gene said...

Well, Anon 2, I do not think you are a deliberate enemy of the Church, merely an inadvertent one, as if you cared. The Pope's remarks sounded pitiful and confused. Hopefully, it was the reporting. No more rain until Sunday.

Anonymous 2 said...


Any conscientious Catholic should care about possibly being an inadvertent “enemy of the Church.” So let’s explore the logic here with a simple syllogism:

Major premise: Anon 2 is an inadvertent “enemy of the Church” because of the positions he holds.

Minor premise: Those positions are the same positions articulated by the Pope and other members of the Church hierarchy.

Conclusion: Therefore, the Pope and other members of the Church hierarchy are inadvertent “enemies of the Church.”

This is an interesting conclusion, to say the least. So please explain either:

(a) why you think you have the right to call the Pope and the other members of the Church hierarchy inadvertent “enemies of the Church"; or

(b) why I am an inadvertent “enemy of the Church” but the Pope and the other members of the Church hierarchy are not, even though our positions are the same.

Once we have got this out of the way, perhaps we can explore exactly what you mean by “enemy of the Church,” and how Gene may be an inadvertent “enemy of the Church.”

BTW the forecast for Macon calls for thunderstorms on Thursday.

Gene said...

Indeed so. I will be in Darien on Thursday, where there is only a 30% chance of showers. I will be scattering my best friend's ashes in the sound around Sapelo Island as he requested. A good Baptist, we discussed the prot/Catholic thing many times. My last joke on him will be the Rosary I pray and the Fatima prayer...

Anonymous 2 said...

I am sorry about your friend, Gene. But that “joke” is a lovely thing to do. I am sure that when he meets our Lord he will understand just how lovely it is and thank you for it.

Anonymous said...

Advances flowing from the Enlightenment include, but are not limited to: the right of a people to change its form of government or the people exercising power (Locke); the concept that power should not be concentrated in the hands of any one person (Montesquieu); rights are ours by nature, not by grant of government (Locke); we have a right to be free in thought and expression (Voltaire); torture is wrong and should be abolished (Beccaria); people are free in conscience in matters of the religion they profess (Voltaire); women are equal members of society (Wollstonecraft); the notion of a "social contract" (Hobbes); the idea that legitimate powers come from the people governed (Rousseau); etc.

These advances gave the impetus to the beginnings of the work of "natural philosophers" who, understanding that Church doctrine was not the proper starting point for research in the natural world, began to develop the scientific method in use today.

Serfdom ended, feudalism was undone; absolute monarchs were deposed.

I think this is indeed progress that, while not without some nasty bumps and backsliding along the way, has given us a much better life.