Monthly Archives: September 2007

Darwin shocked

“Fundamentalism sets you up to lose your faith over things that a mature Catholic would barely notice,” says Oswald Sobrino in his Catholic Analysis blog review of Michael Rose’s 1998 book, Darwin the Protestant Fundamentalist (Princeton), which discusses Darwin’s loss of religious faith.

If you have jettisoned Tradition and have the isolated text of the Bible only, as is common among fundamentalist Protestants, you tend to buckle when your literalism is undermined.

Catholic tradition, on the other hand, provides centuries of sophisticated biblical commentary by great (and possible the greatest) minds in the West among the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, such as Augustine and Aquinas. Such commentary and analysis can immunize knowledgeable Catholics from such shocks.

I am reminded of the non-believer I met at U. of Iowa in my ordination summer, 1963, at the Writers’ Workshop, who had noodled American religion and concluded that Catholics had a “cosmic” religion, as opposed to the narrow-scoped fundamentalist Protestant.

Taking that further, I’d say mainline Protestants have sought “cosmic” reality but without Catholic tradition such as Sobrino alludes to, which I do believe is its trump card in religious argumentation such as it is in our day.

Fr. Pfleger gets it sometimes

[Father] Pfleger recalled asking [an opponent of moving the Children’s Museum to Grant Park], “Why would you want to put a museum for the whole city in a black park?” and went on to tell her he would not listen to her racial comments. All those geographic references, he said in a later interview, were code.

“When people say ‘South Side’ or ‘West Side,’ they’re talking about the black community,” he said.

Wait.  Fr. P. knows code? but “snuff” for killing a gun seller he doesn’t get?


Jake died

To some of you on my various lists, it’s not news that my brother Jake died yesterday, at the VA hospital-nursing home in N. Chicago.  To others it’s of only passing interest.  Anyhow, it’s on my mind these days, so communications will be limited. 
He was six years my senior, a WW2 Army Air Corps vet who at 19 had to bail out of the bomber whose tail gunner he was on his 30th mission at 25,000 feet over Germany, in November of 1944.  Wounded by shrapnel and bullet, he landed all right and spent 6 months as a prisoner.  We got word on Mother’s Day, 1945, in a telephone call about 6 pm.  My father put down the phone and yelled, “Jack is free!”
When he met my father at Fort Sheridan in the following summer, he ran to see him — because he knew my parents would have been worrying about his physical condition.  In fact, that’s why only my father drove out from Oak Park to get him: he didn’t want my mother to see him banged up if that was the case.  Such was the concern they all had for each other.
Jake lived most recently in Gurnee with his loving, extremely caring wife Lynne.  They had married 23 years ago, both having lost their spouses.  Jake’s sons Mark and Dan survive him, plus grandchildren and a great grandchild.
If you are among those who want to wish him well in his heavenly home at wake and/or funeral mass and burial, the former is at Marsh funeral home in Gurnee on Friday, 5 to 9, the latter at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, also in Gurnee, Saturday, 9 (more wake) and 10 (mass), with burial at Ascension cemetery, in Libertyville.

Not so fast, McCain . . .

This Republican wants to switch, not parties but churches.  Fine, but has he been willing to take the Baptist plunge?  It

Submersion is an issue in some places.  A friend of mine has taken to Baptist church-going but hesitates at membership.  Her being sprinkled as a child won’t cut it.  Question for voters is, how did McCain do it?

Answer is, he didn’t.  “I didn’t find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs,” he said.  That must be a liberal Baptist church.

Love good things, hate bad things

Sun-Times, encouraging comment on its breakaway Episcopal church in West Chicago story — here carefully noted but not yet commented on — received and ran this wholly predictable blast at “hypcrisy”:

”We’re a close family,” said Catherine Clark, 66, of Batavia [one of the breakaways].

“Anyone can come here — black, white, gay, straight — and be loved.”

This statement contravenes this congregation’s split from the gay-friendly Episcopal Church, wouldn’t you say? Maybe it’s some of that “hate the sin, love the sinner” [nonsense].


Well Bob, wherever you are, while defending to the death your right to call something nonsense when you yourself are espousing nonsense, I must disagree.

You can’t be serious about rejecting the idea of hating sin, right?  I mean, would you decide you can love ax-murder, or wouldn’t you rather try to love the ax-wielder while hating ax-murder?  The latter, I’m sure.

Now, if you reject sodomy in all its parts, why can’t you love the poor, misdirected sodomist?

No, Bob, whatever the failing, the hypocrisy for the Christian would be to love sin along with the sinner or, heaven forbid, hate both.  The Christian can’t do either, being unwilling to identify people ineradicably with what they do.


Straight language on Sunday morning

16th after Pentecost at my old-style mass today.  It led Father G. to talk about being humble unto death by crucifixion, as Jesus was: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

G. delivers without humor or self-deprecation or self-building or irony or handly allusions to the day’s headlines or accepted practices.  It’s straight homiletics, unadorned and not too long and fitting for the solemnity of the occasion.

He goes into tradition, even to questionable stuff such as St. Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine, finding the true cross in the 4th century.  So what if questionable?  It’s not a history lesson but a homily.  You repeat myths for their inspirational value.

In any case, it beats the pedestrian nonsense you hear in most mainstream RC pulpits, delivered too often in cutespeak by holy salesmen.  That’s my church-related thought for the day.


But the night before, how about that?

Found in a sports-lover’s blog:

Can we please never talk about how dominant Bowman is going to be again?

Dude, everyone can have a crap[py] game.

See Malcolm Kelley vs. Boise St.

Bowman is very good. Just not tonight.

Aw shucks.

Maybe Notre Dame would hire him

Thomas E. Woods explaining why he’s a Catholic libertarian:

It’s not always easy these days to tell which of our two major political parties is the Stupid Party and which the Evil Party. But it remains true, as a conservative wag once said, that from time to time the parties collaborate on something that’s both stupid and evil and call it bipartisanship.

It’s hard to go wrong after a start like that, and he doesn’t.  He slams Republicans for doing nothing to scale back government, named Dept. of Ed as plan for doing from Washington what is better done at home.

Dem candidates have nothing but plans for “looting the American population.”  He doesn’t blame the Dem voter, however:

I can hardly blame someone who believes we owe our standard of living to labor unions and federal regulation: After hearing no other perspective on American history year after year, what else can the poor fellow be expected to think?

Etc.  Beware, he’s a paleo, but like others of that stripe, he’s very stimulating writer — and talker: I heard him weeks back at DePaul and he’s a hot, hot lectern-user, let me tell you.

Who he is, in part: first-place winner in the 2006 Templeton Enterprise Awards for his book The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy. I’m reading this: he’s wonderful on working over Catholics’ so-called social justice mantra.

He also has New York Times bestseller The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History plus The Church Confronts Modernity, and, most recently, 33 Questions About American History You’re Not Supposed to Ask.

For a look at a chapter of his How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization see

Capturing the man

This is lovely about the putative future first husband, Bill, here contrasted with his wife the candidate:  Bill

is an oleaginous people pleaser, a cross between Franklin Roosevelt and the guy looking for a free drink at the end of the bar.

Jonah Goldberg could have stopped right there.  We would have known what he meant.  However, for people not like us, he added:

If he sidles up to someone who loves Tito Puente, he’ll be quick to say, “Oh, I’ve been listening to him for years!” If he meets someone who hates Tito Puente, he’ll shed a single tear and bite his lip that he just couldn’t get Puente’s albums banned, because of that awful Republican-controlled Congress. And sometimes he’ll please both parties simultaneously. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, when Bill comes to a fork in the road, he takes it. But in his eagerness, you can sometimes catch the duplicity.

I give him an A-minus, which is not bad from a former Jesuit English teacher.

This Jesuit is good

Oh my.  Just caught the Jesuit Father James Martin on with Stephen Colbert discussing Mother Teresa’s dark night of the soul, and Martin is good!  Perfect, I’d say. 

“Dark night” as such never comes up, but there is repeated parrying by Martin of Colbert’s repeated reference to Mother T’s “not believing in God,” in view of recent stories based on her just published letters. 

“Not feeling his presence” was the gist of Martin’s reply, made with perfect good humor.  Look here for it.

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