Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No Exorcisms for Toronto

From the website of Toronto's Archdiocese:

"The Archdiocese of Toronto does not have an exorcist nor does it perform the rite of exorcism."

How's that go again? Oh yes, the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he does not exist, viz this extract from an interview with Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the chief exorcist of the Vatican:

Question: You fight against the demon every day. What is Satan's greatest success?

Fr. Amorth: To succeed in making people believe that he doesn't exist. And in this he has almost succeeded. Even within the Church. We have a clergy and an episcopate who no longer believe in the devil, in exorcisms, in the extraordinary evil that the devil can cause, nor in the power that Jesus has given us to drive out demons.

For three centuries, the Latin Church - in contrast with the Orthodox Church and various Protestant confessions - has almost entirely abandoned the ministry of exorcism. As the clergy no longer practice exorcisms, as they no longer study them and have never seen them, they no longer believe in them. And nor do they believe in the devil either. We have entire episcopates who are hostile to exorcisms. There are countries in which there is not a single exorcist.... A terrifying deficiency.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Judges Too Stupid For Charter: Crown Attorney

Anyone seeking out the biggest understatement of the week need look no further than here:

When guilty people go free because their constitutional rights have been violated, there's a danger the public will begin to see the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as little more than "a game of snakes and ladders," a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal says. …"It seems to me if you get to the point where there's a perception the Charter has, in fact, become a game of snakes and ladders, where criminal trial results depend on things that have nothing to do with the merits of the case, the public perception will be these rights are not really rights that are important to us," he said.

Despite an astonishing array of legal rights, its citizens are reaching the point where few genuinely believe in those rights and don't expect them to be enforced, he contended.

My personal favourite quote is this one from a Crown Attorney:

"The Charter gave Constitutional jurisdiction to every mutt in the country,' he said, with each of those judges aquiring power to strike down laws or toss out charges for individual rights violations.

"The first thing that had to be recognized was there was going to be a huge spectrum of intellectual ability that was going to be addressing these very important questions, and that was going to lead to results that were all over the place."

For those not fully initiated into legal-speak, let me translate for you:

“huge spectrum of intellectual ability” = “lot of really stupid judges out there who are going to screw this thing up but good.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Baby Names: A Precocious Feminist War on Children

I think it’s time we stop this nonsense of married women hyphenating their names and inflicting same on their unfortunate offspring. Too many hyphenated progeny are populating today’s grammar schools and will shortly be unleashed on society at large. What an unfortunate example of the precocious me-generation, which insists on labelling their children as personal possessions without any thought of the later burden they will have to carry.

What happens, exactly, when Nathaniel Buford-Somerville weds Mary McNaughton-Hutchings and they produce children? Do they become Christopher Daniel Buford-Somerville-McNaughton-Hutchings? Shall we start producing drivers licenses on legal sized photo cards? Will Tamils end up having the shortest names?

Please. Society has had this one nailed for generations. Lineage flows through only one surname, traditionally the male’s. Bury this feminist canard now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Traditional Anglicans Defect, Seek Union with Rome

The College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) met in Plenary Session in Portsmouth, England, in the first week of October 2007. The Bishops and Vicars-General unanimously agreed to the text of a letter to the See of Rome seeking full, corporate, sacramental union. The letter was signed solemnly by all the College and entrusted to the Primate and two bishops chosen by the College to be presented to the Holy See. The letter was cordially received at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Primate of the TAC has agreed that no member of the College will give interviews until the Holy See has considered the letter and responded.

More here. Discussion here.

This is what happens when you muddle your "brand" with what you think people want to hear - gay sex and marriage is as normal as straight sex and traditional marriage, abortion is a private matter between a woman and her doctor, etc.

Roman Catholics stand for something. Many things actually. And we don't change them every time somebody starts writing editorials of a different flavour.

Welcome home Anglicans. Peace.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Causation 101: Those Wacky Europeans

Abortion is becoming commonplace and people are insufficiently troubled about terminating pregnancies, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Sunday. There were nearly 200,000 abortions in England and Wales in 2005, according to the Department of Health, and a recent survey by the medical journal Lancet reported that one-third of pregnancies in Europe ends in abortion.

The archbishop said that when the Abortion Act was passed in 1967, it was never meant to usher in a period of "easy abortion", but to provide an option for women in extreme cases.

Gee, never saw that coming.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2007

Sorry, no vote here for Tory

For the first time ever I will not be casting a vote my local conservative candidate in an election. The reasons are many:

1) I want the party led by an actual, you know, conservative and a really poor showing will bring the knives out. By “actual conservative” I mean pretty much anyone who doesn’t cry during meetings with the Toronto Star’s editorial board.

2) Tory has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and the people of Ontario will be saddled with Premier Pinnochio for four more years because he screwed up. I wish to punish him for that by, at the very least, not rewarding him with my vote.

3) Remember Roger’s attempt at reverse-billing with cable fees. Tory ran the company. I’m still pi**ed about that.

Family Coalition Party – you got my vote.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

As you were: No dead baby here, no sir

People have a sense of right and wrong, no matter how much they try to suppress it. That’s why everybody, from the police to news commentators to politicians, spoke of the stabbing murders of Aysun Sesen and her seven month unborn child as two murders with two victims. Everyone spoke of the doctors who tried to save the “child” but couldn’t. There will be two caskets at the funeral. As soon as I saw the news reports on TV and read them in the paper I said to my wife “just wait, there will be big climb down tomorrow as the word foetus crops up everywhere.”

Now, today, they are no longer speaking of two victims. There is no mention of a dead “Mother and child.” As the
Star explains today, correctly, under Canadian law even a full term baby is just a clump of cells until such time as it has the temerity to draw a breath on its own, whereupon society is immediately inconvenienced by having to afford it protection under the criminal law.

Now everyone knows this is nonsense. That’s why we all understood that two murders had taken place. But the pro-choice chill has made us once again shutter what is right and true up into the deep recesses of our consciences.

Let me make another prediction: At this scumbag’s trial, no one will be able to even mention that the victim was pregnant.

That might inflame the ordinary folks on the jury. And we can’t let a little thing like dead babies get us all hot and bothered after all, now can we?

(Hint: Maybe we should stop and ask ourselves why the fact that the victim was pregnant is so inflammatory? I mean, if the child really just was a clump of cells, no more deserving of legal protection than a cyst, then no one would be inflamed, would they? Think about it....)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tory Train Wreck in Ontario

I only seem to disagree with Warren Kinsella when he’s shilling for someone. When Warren’s just speaking for Warren, he’s usually right. Like last month, when he wrote this:

September 24, 2007 – …This thing is getting worse every day. Why doesn’t John Tory simply admit he made a mistake, and drop his private religious schools plan?

Naturally, on this - the day of the big climb down - he now writes this:

October 1, 2007 - Here's a memorable way to start October: blow what is left of your credibility to bits. Amazing. As John Tory and his desperate gang gather for a conference call at 10 a.m., they can reflect on their putative leader's own words: "I will not be backing off." That's a quote. That's what he said in the St. Catharines Standard on September 27, 2007. Now, he's getting ready to "back off." Now he's getting ready to do - to use his own phraseology - the biggest flip-flop in the history of the world. Now, I know that I should be sort-of happy, because I posted something about it at 3:30 yesterday. A promising career in fortune-telling awaits, etc. But, seriously, I am angry. Tory rips the province's social cohesion to shreds - he runs around screaming about people breaking promises for months - and now he says: "Oh, never mind." That's leadership?That's not leadership. That's the beginning of the leadership campaigns of Tim Hudak and Jim Flaherty. But it isn't leadership.

Warren was right before and wrong now. Here’s why:

Leadership means admitting you made a mistake before the election, not after like McGuinty did. The voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots on the basis of the "new" platform, which is a heck of a lot more honest than what McGuinty did when he imposed the largest tax hike in Ontario history after getting elected by promising – in writing- that he wouldn’t.

Now the Tory campaign’s still a train wreck, of course. But I’m just sayin.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday Rants

I'm so conflicted. On the one hand, Jamaican rap music constitutes my own personal vision of hell, but on the other hand....

I've changed my mind. We can leave now....

I'm sorry, I thought we motorists paid for the %$#@ing roads?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Choose Change in Ontario

UPDATE: Amazing how two people can have identical reasoning on this issue, yet arrive at opposite conclusions, viz Urquhart in today's Star:

And, of course, existing fringe parties like the Greens (quirky environmentalists), the Freedom Party (for abolition of income and property taxes and introduction of two-tier medicare), and the Family Coalition Party (pro-life and anti-gay marriage) could also meet that threshold. Then, after the election, the major parties would have to bargain with some or all of these lesser parties for support in order to form a government.

So we might end up with another Mike Harris who becomes premier with the support of a pro-life party and/or a northern party that is against gun control and for logging in provincial parks.

That's why I'll be voting against MMP in the referendum.

And that's precisely why I'm voting for it. Thanks Ian.

My original post and reasoning is here:
I’ll be voting in the next Ontario election, but not the way you think; I’m not particularly enthralled right now with either of the two main parties or their leaders for reasons I won’t bore you with, so no vote from me for any of them will be forthcoming. That said, there’s another reason I will make the trip to the polls:

Ontario, you see, will also be holding a referendum on our electoral system.

Voters will be asked whether they wish to keep their current system (person will the most votes wins the riding), or opt for a new proposal called Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). In MMP, as proposed in Ontario anyway (there are many versions of it worldwide), our Legislature would be made up of MPPs chosen like this:

Voters would vote twice: once for the local candidate of their choice (just as they do now), and again for their favourite political party. It is possible, for example, for you to really like a particular candidate, but not their party, and you could then vote for the person, but not the party they represent. Or perhaps you know that locally it is a tight race between A and B, and while you personally support candidate C and his/her party, the local reality is that they simply don’t stand a chance. Under the new system, you would be free to help tip the balance in favour of A or B (choosing the lesser of two evils) while also voting for Party C. This would allow your votes for Party C to be be added together with all the other votes for Party C to help elect more Party C candidates, notwithstanding the fact that Party C’s local candidate will have lost in your riding.

Here’s why: Most MPPs in the Legislature will still be locally elected members, but some would now be from Party lists. If a party wins fewer seats in the legislature than its percentage of the popular vote, it will get extra seats to make up the difference. If a Party ends up with 35% of the vote, it should end up with about the same representation in the Legislature.

So, why is this a good thing? Well, as you’ll know from my previous posts, I am not a lukewarm kind of voter. I hold to be true certain moral staples that, while they have stood the test of time, are not currently in fashion. The result is that mainstream political parties tend to gravitate towards the middle and run campaigns based not on what they believe to be true, so much as what they believe to be least offensive. This leads to what I call “tyranny of the squeaky wheel”, ably abetted by their Charter-chuckling lackeys on the bench and the Op Ed pages.

Under the new system, voters like me could for the first time vote for a party that truly speaks to them, and for them – or at least comes closer to doing so than other parties. For example, the
Family Coalition Party of Ontario is a pro-life, pro-family political party. It has never won a seat in any election, and under the current system it never will. So I, and others, never vote for them. A nasty, self-fulfilling prophesy, n’est-ce pas? Under the new system, if just 3% of Ontario’s voters voted for that party, it would automatically be allotted about 4 seats in the legislature. Think about it – a tiny caucus of militant pro-life, pro-family MPPs that could tip the balance in minority parliaments one way or the other in exchange for small concessions of great import to voters like me. The same, of course, could be said of the Green Party and others who would also win leverage on behalf of voters currently on the outside of the electoral process, looking in.

So go the polls this October and, to borrow a phrase, “choose change.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Catholic Voters Guide: Ontario Election 2007

Ok, Ok, so it's not a voter's guide, per se. The Ontario Bishop's have, however, put together a number of resources to assist Ontarians at the polls in a few weeks. As expected they are a bit heavy on the social justice stuff, and tip toe around harder issues like criminal justice.

Worth a read though, especially if you're a old school type like me who needs a few edges smoothed off. Here they are:

Election 2007: Counting on Your Vote

Taking Stock 2007

Choosing a Government

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not all Conservative Candidates are Rocket Scientists

[Willowdale PC Candidate David Shiner] pointed out Zimmer presented a petition to the legislature in June 2006, titled Petition to Ontario Legislature to End Discrimination, in which he calls for government funding for all faith-based schools. "He presents a petition to the legislature in support of faith-based education and then speaks against it," Shiner said. "My question is, where does my opponent stand? He tells his constituents one thing and others something else. It takes away the integrity we all have as representatives."

I thought MPPs were required to submit petitions they receive to the Legislature as part of their duties, and that tabling a petition from one's constituents does not necessarily mean that the MPP personally supports its contents. Why is such a basic democratic touchpoint like petitions being spun is such an underhanded way? Is this seriously Shiner's best attack on his Liberal opponent? If so, perhaps Mr. Zimmer ought to be returned. At least we know our petitions would get tabled....

Monday, September 24, 2007

Reality Check: De-funding Ontario's Catholic Schools

Here’s a few things nobody’s talking about when it comes to the whole funding for faith based schools / end funding of Catholic schools debate raging in Ontario:

"Why can’t Ontario do what Newfoundland did and pass a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Catholic school system?"
Because it won’t work here. Newfoundland, pre-amendment, had two systems: Protestant and Catholic. There was no secular, publicly funded alternative, and this was a key rationale for acting at the time. Ontario’s Protestant system self-immolated years ago, and has now morphed into what we call the public system – sort of a lowest common denominator education system. Another key difference is that Newfoundland doesn’t have a middle class – at least not in the same sense as Ontario does. In Ontario, a very significant proportion of parents already send their kids to some form of private or independent school, whereas in Newfoundland that opportunity is simply not there in any comparable sense. The new secular system works in Newfoundland, therefore, because parents have no choice; they have to send their kids there. In Ontario, where private education is a thriving, mature enterprise, parents could more easily pull their kids out of a secular system and find a mature, privately funded parallel system ready to expand and absorb them at all price points. De-funding Catholic schools in Ontario, therefore, would mean that parents seeking a Catholic education could simply withdraw entirely from the public system.

"But where would Catholic kids go if their schools were secularized? There’d really be no capacity anywhere else that quickly."
Not true. Do you know who owns the schools in Ontario – bricks, mortar and land? In the public system, schools are owned by public school boards. In the Catholic system, however, it’s a mix: some are owned by Catholic boards, but many others are only run by the Board under a lease. These schools are, in fact, owned lock, stock and barrel by religious orders of the Roman Catholic Church. If a constitutional amendment were to be enacted on Monday, on Tuesday all of this educational capacity (schools, land, textbooks, and many teachers) would become de facto private schools as leases were ripped up all over Ontario. The point not to be missed here is that de-funding Catholic schools would have the immediate effect of shrinking the public system. Fewer, not more, students would be in public schools in a post-constitutional amendment Ontario.

Just a few things to think over before October 10, or while reading anything the CCLU prints.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Man of the House: Why the Husband Rules the Roost in Christian Marriages

I was re-reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity the other day, and was once again struck by the clarity with which he articulated controversial topics in ways that illustrated obvious points we all intuitively know to be true. One of the most interesting Chapters dealt with the man’s role in marriage. First, Lewis defines his terms, starting with marriage:
The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ's words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism-for that is what the words "one flesh" would be in modern English. And the Christians believe that when He said this He was not expressing a sentiment but stating a fact-just as one is stating a fact when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on the sexual level, but totally combined. The monstrosity of sexual intercourse outside marriage is that those who indulge in it are trying to isolate one kind of union (the sexual) from all the other kinds of union which were intended to go along with it and make up the total union. The Christian attitude does not mean that there is anything wrong about sexual pleasure, any more than about the pleasure of eating. It means that you must not isolate that pleasure and try to get it by itself, any more than you ought to try to get the pleasures of taste without swallowing and digesting, by chewing things and spitting them out again.

Next, he asks this central question:
In Christian marriage the man is said to be the "head." Two questions obviously arise here, (1) Why should there be a head at all -why not equality? (2) Why should it be the man?

His answer, reproduced in full, is below. As you read it, ask yourself truthfully: does this not ring absolutely true? In my own marriage, for example, my wife has de facto charge over things internal to the family (sort of a Minister of the Interior), while everything to do with External Relations is my charge. For example, my wife may very well go out and choose, say, a new table for the living room but it is I who will then haggle the price. If there’s a return to be made, it’s me again. But which table, and where it will go, and what can be placed upon it is her purview. Likewise, if our family ever finds itself in conflict with others (a speeding ticket and trip to court, or a fender-bender in which my wife was involved), the entire mess falls to me. Another woman hit my wife in the parking lot – how do you suppose the whole thing was resolved? The two women exchanged phone numbers, and I dealt with the other husband on the phone to sort it all out. No doubt his wife was crabbing about the high cost of the repairs, while mine did the same about how we really should have used the dealer for a better (and pricier) fix. Can anyone really imagine the wives sorting this out? They call it a catfight for a reason.

Anyway, here’s Lewis in his own words. You won’t be disappointed:

(1) The need for some head follows from the idea that marriage is permanent. Of course, as long as the husband and wife are agreed, no question of a head need arise; and we may hope that this will be the normal state of affairs in a Christian marriage. But when there is a real disagreement, what is to happen? Talk it over, of course; but I am assuming they have done that and still failed to reach agreement What do they do next? They cannot decide by a majority vote, for in a council of two there can be no majority. Surely, only one or other of two things can happen: either they must separate and go their own ways or else one or other of them must have a casting vote. If marriage is permanent, one or other party must, in the last resort, have the power of deciding the family policy. You cannot have a permanent association without a constitution.

(2) If there must be a head, why the man? Well, firstly, is there any very serious wish that it should be the woman? As I have said, I am not married myself, but as far as 1 can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it going on next door. She is much more likely to say "Poor Mr. X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine." I do not think she is even very flattered if anyone mentions the fact of her own "headship." There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise the husbands whom they rule. But there is also another reason; and here I speak quite frankly as a bachelor, because it is a reason you can see from outside even better than from inside. The relations of the family to the outer world-what might be called its foreign policy-must depend, in the last resort, upon the man, because he always ought to be, and usually is, much more just to the outsiders. A woman is primarily fighting for her own children and husband against the rest of the world. Naturally, almost, in a sense, rightly, their claims override, for her, all other claims. She is the special trustee of their interests. The function of the husband is to see that this natural preference of hers is not given its head. He has the last word in order to protect other people from the intense family patriotism of the wife. If anyone doubts this, let me ask a simple question. If your dog has bitten the child next door, or if your child has hurt the dog next door, which would you sooner have to deal with, the master of that house or the mistress? Or, if you are a married woman, let me ask you this question. Much as you admire your husband, would you not say that his chief failing is his tendency not to stick up for his rights and yours against the neighbours as vigorously as you would like? A bit of an Appeaser?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Toronto Abortion Clinic Hit Hard

There was some controversy at a Toronto abortion clinic yesterday, as a group called Show The Truth blitzed the street with a photo Burma shave-style protest. For the uninitiated, this means that dozens of people lined the street holding giant (4x6 foot), full colour photographs of aborted children at various stages of foetal development. Each placard was clearly (and accurately) labelled (e.g. 21 weeks, 4 weeks). Each photo was very graphic and clearly showed what pro-abortion types call the "products of conception" as they appear when removed from the mother during an abortion.

The typical reaction this group receives (they’ve even been called terrorists) is highly negative. These photos are very disturbing (pictures of murdered babies are about as offensive as you can get, after all) and no one is more disturbed than, naturally, pro-abortion advocates.

But I do not understand why. On what basis could anyone pose any rationale objection? If they object on the basis of offensive aesthetics, the reply is that our courts have consistently ruled that people living in a free and democratic society do not have the right to live free from offence, especially where peaceful demonstration is involved. On a more subjective level, I suppose the reply would simply be that, as abortion itself is offensive, it’s quite natural that photographic records of it would also be offensive.

What if they object on the basis of truth or factual accuracy? Well, they can’t; the photos are accurate, real and correctly labelled. They are, in every sense of the word, "true".

How about an objection on the basis that these photos may deter women from having an abortion, or make their decision more difficult? Well, that’s the whole point of the exercise, isn’t it? Surely pro-choicers are in favour of an informed consumer? A woman seeking an abortion, when confronted with new, factual information about the procedure, is placed in a superior position to a less-informed one, surely? A woman so informed may indeed choose not to have the procedure. Another may press on regardless. Surely the latter would be viewed as all the more virtuous by abortion advocates, and all the more hellish by the rest of us? But at least the decision, and the moral choices involved, were all the more informed for the new information? And the associated consequences more clearly chosen?

That is the troublesome nature of truth: it can be decried as very inconvenient, or even as offensive, but it can never be successfully attacked – on any front.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Toronto Star: Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People

Or, at least their version of it:

"What killed ... wasn't panhandling; it was a violent attack with a knife."

All part of an editorial explaining why panhandling shouldn't be banned just because some people are violent while begging. The plug in support of Mike Harris' Safe Streets Act was an especially nice touch.

The case is sad, but the irony just...kills me.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Ontario (Progressive) Conservative Leader John Tory: Picture = 1000 words

Ontario Conservative (sorry, Progressive Conservative) Leader John Tory at Gay Pride festivities in Toronto.

My mother said if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all...so I'm just leaving you kind folks with the photo. H/T.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Chill of Intellectual Laziness

Of all the intellectual sins, the ad hominem attack is perhaps the greatest. For the uninitiated, this means seeking to refute or condemn an argument by attacking the personal character or attributes of the person proffering it. Many examples abound:
  • The pro-life message is attacked because its proponents are sometimes kooky-looking old men waggling their fingers while thumping bibles and carrying poorly-spelled placards;

  • Conrad Black contributes some extraordinary work on the life of FDR, or makes a speech about economic policy, and we are reminded of his vanity or piques and quarrels in the business, legal or political realms;

  • Warren Kinsella contributes insightful political commentary, and his enemies (which he collects with some regularity) respond with rather boring reminders about all the times he’s been taken down a peg (i.e. the stupid cookie cartoon, apologies on his website to settle threatened or actual defamation actions – oh heck, now I’m doing it!);

  • The Catholic Church preaches the truth about human sexuality, marriage, or the dignity of human life and our opponents remind us of the child sex abuse scandals.

Here is my problem: a thing is either true or it is not. It does not become more or less true by virtue of the character or personal failings of the person espousing it. We have to allow for the possibility that the world’s greatest blithering idiot may occasionally drop a pearl of wisdom from which the whole of mankind could benefit, if we only just paid attention. Since becoming a Christian, I have discovered a few things about my fellow humans:

First, they are (just like me and you) prone to sin; that is to say, they will from time to time exhibit moral failings that will hurt and disappoint others unjustly. If we take any given two people, one of whom is known to sin and another who is held in higher esteem, I submit the latter is no better than the former; his sin simply remains hidden, or he is perhaps in a phase of his life where his sin is less than it has been before, or will be in the future. The moral differences between them are largely illusionary.

Second, we can learn something from anyone. If we ever find ourselves in one of those dreary conversations with someone we consider to be loathsome, annoying or stupid, we should push those thoughts out of our heads and try – for as long or short a period of time as we can stand it – to shut up and listen to what is being said. You will learn something, I guarantee it.

There’s a reason we are called to be practicing Christians – because we'll never get right!

Monday, July 16, 2007

That would be the sound of a cracking whip....

Proving once again that to stand for everything is to stand for nothing, even The Star has noticed Pope Benedict’s quiet pursuit of a new, robust Roman Catholic brand:
"Benedict is very progressive about his brand," says Patrick McGovern, vice-president of Blade Creative Branding, a Toronto-based marketing agency, who gives the Pope credit for clearly expressing the values a core constituency holds dear. "If everybody is wishy-washy, (the institution) will wash away."

Two recent moves only reaffirm Benedict’s shrewd strategy: the revival of the Traditional Latin Mass and reaffirmation of the supremacy of the Catholic Church. In the former case, the Pope has allowed for expanded use of the old liturgy, which is very different from the current Mass which mimics many Protestant services. Benedict clearly intends that the Mass should be easily differentiated from other Christian services, while supporting a clear Catholic identity (brand). In the latter case, Benedict recently affirmed that Protestant churches are schismatic and deficient, and should only be considered “ecclesial communities,” while affirming the original church (his), as the one, true church (Newsflash: Pope Catholic!).

Both moves have sparked controversy in the media (much of it ill-informed) and the predictable Chicken Little cries from the usual quarters about how this will “split” the church and drive people away from the pews. It comes as no surprise to marketers, however, that the facts prove precisely the opposite:
The Vatican's financial statements for 2006, Benedict's first full year as pope, show a huge leap in donations to the papal charity known as Peter's Pence, ($101 million U.S. in 2006 versus $64.4 million the year before) in 2006, and the numbers of faithful flocking to St. Peter's Square in Rome are soaring. While marketing is likely the last thing on the Pope's mind, experts in that worldly field say Benedict's actions serve very powerfully to brand the Catholic Church in the eyes of the world, bringing a muscular "take-it-or-leave-it" approach to church positioning.

What should ordinary Catholics take from all this? A few things: first, being Catholic means something; you cannot, for example, be a Catholic and support abortion. The church may very well be one house with many rooms, but none of them are labelled “pro-choice”, “gay marriage” or “women priests.” Second, the Catholic Church is not going to be a cafeteria – you don’t get to pick the parts you like, and leave the ones you don’t; everyone at the table partakes of the same meal. There are to be core values around which all Catholics are called to rally, regardless of their political or economic preferences. Third, the church has very real authority that binds the whole community together through a chain of command instituted by Christ Himself, and obedience is to be rediscovered as an underappreciated virtue.

The Catholic Church. Universal. Apostolic. And kicking butt.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Perfidious Jews, and Other Lies About The Latin Mass

For those of us (like me) who care, Pope Benedict has significantly liberated the Traditional Latin Mass (also called the Tridentine Mass) for use by Catholics. One of the media “angles” often sensationalized is how this liberation of what is now called the Extraordinary Rite is that it undoes Catholic-Jewish relations because one of many Good Friday prayers calls for the conversation of “the Perfidious Jews.”

Two small problems here: First, there’s no such prayer in the approved Extraordinary Rite, and second there’s nothing wrong with calling others to conversion; if fact, if you’re a Christian, it’s actually required to do so.

What the Prayer Really Says:
The version of the Extraordinary Rite approved for use is the 1962 Roman Missal. The now approved relevant section of the Good Friday prayer pertaining to the Jews is as follows:
Let us pray also for the Jews: that God and Lord would remove the veil from their hearts: that they may also acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ.

Other prayers call for the conversion of pagans, heretics and others. The phrase “Perfidious Jews” appeared in the 1953 Roman Missal, but the word “Perfidious” was removed because its original meaning (faithless) had since garnered the unfortunate connotation “treacherous”, which was clearly far removed from the original intended meaning. So we can dispense with the anti-Semitic canard that the newly liberated Extraordinary Rite contains a slur on the Jewish people.

Convert all Nations:
Now to the second error: What, exactly, is objectionable about seeking and praying for the conversion of others to the Christian faith? I would expect (perhaps naively) that followers of any religion are persuaded that their faith is true and good and holy, and would therefore seek the conversion of others. If you consider yourself to be a person of religious faith, but do not believe others should be encouraged to discover the same gift you have received, then you should re-examine why you remain a member of your church.

Faith is not a social club; it is an acknowledgement, through grace and will, of the special relationship between you, other people and your creator. Indeed, the only allowable reason for joining a faith community is that you believe the basic tenets of that faith to be true. No other reasons could possibly justify a profession of faith.

In the case of Christians, our duty to encourage and pray for the conversion of other is made quite clear by Christ Himself:
Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. – Matthew 28:19

So let us rejoice in the liberation of the Extraordinary Rite. It is a celebration of Christian heritage and a sound liturgical basis upon which to truly seek the conversion of all nations.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Supremes Get It Right, but the Mounties Sharpen their Knives

Two very significant developments on the Justice front today; both are unbelievable, but for very different reasons:

Supremes Get it Right on Police Search and Racial Profiling:
Setting up a roadblock and searching two men in a black Jaguar was a justifiable response to a "gun call" outside a Brampton strip club, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled today in a case that helps define the limits of police powers. A 911 call reporting 10 "black guys" with guns outside the Million Dollar Saloon gave police reasonable grounds to believe a serious offence had been committed and there was risk of genuine bodily harm to the public, the court said in a 9-0 decision.

The ruling overturns a powerfully-worded judgment from the Ontario Court of Appeal in 2005 that acquitted Troy Farmer and Wendell Clayton, who were both found carrying loaded handguns after Farmer's Jaguar was stopped at the club's rear exit on Sept. 24, 1999. Ontario's appeal court was highly critical of Peel Region police, saying they case revealed the force had an "institutionally ingrained" disregard for individual liberties.

Writing for the Supreme Court majority today, Justice Rosalie Abella said requiring police to stop only those vehicles described "would impose an unrealistic burden" on officers.

Incredible – the Nine Santas coming down on the side of good old fashioned police work at the expense of gun-toting visible minorities. Sad commentary on western society though – what should have shocked us is that the lower court let two obviously guilty, gun-packing street punks walk. Oh well, score one for the good guys….

From Our Dead Man Walking File:
A career bureaucrat with longtime Conservative ties was named today as the first outsider to head the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the force’s 134-year history. Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced that William Elliott will become commissioner of Canada’s national police force on July 16. …Elliott, a lawyer who has never been a police officer, has been around government since 1988, either as a political staff member of the Conservative Party or in the civil service.

I’m a former copper, and let me tell you how this will end: death by a thousand cuts for Commissioner Elliott. Do the horsemen need their stables cleaned out? You bet. But quasi-military organizations need to be led from the very top, by someone the rank and file know will get their backs because they share a common background. If you’ve never been swarmed at a picket line, pelted with bottles at an arrest, had the sh*t kicked out of you by bandits, lost your own cool or nerve at some point and gotten away with it (or did the kangaroo court two-step), or woken up with the night sweats over that dead baby you delivered, then you cannot and will not ever command the hearts, minds, or respect of the men and women on the front lines.

He will be set up and hung out to dry on a thousand little things, by the people who invented all of the tricks the rest of us just watch on TV.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Smug Liberal Homilies

The one thing about aging, white liberals is that they like to rage against old, irrelevant wrongdoings and ignore contemporary ones.

I attended a Mass a while back that contained a very disappointing homily. For those who don’t know, a homily is the “sermon” delivered by the priest during a church service. It is usually a short speech, tied in with that day’s Bible readings, that makes some important point or imparts a moral lesson. My local parish priests are among those, however, who don’t like to talk about sin a whole lot; I gather they consider it to be real downer or something. In any event, it’s a big deal therefore when they actually do talk about sin in a homily. So which sin did they pick?


Yup – not the metaphorically-speaking-as-an-analogy slavery – but the full-blown slave ships from Africa slavery. That one.

We actually sat through a 15 minute diatribe, railing against a sin no one in the entire parish actually commits. It was a smug, little, condescending white-guilt platitude designed to make all the old, white liberals feel morally superior.

What ever happened to that whole beam in the eye thing?

Here we had a packed Mass attended by ordinary working people who are challenged by sin every day of their lives. Present no doubt were adulterers, drug users and alcoholics, men who beat their wives, women who nag and spurn their husbands, children who swear and disrespect everyone – and we get a homily on how evil the slave trade was.

What a bloody disgrace.

Here’s a newsflash – a priest’s job isn’t just to comfort the afflicted, sometimes it’s to afflict the comfortable. Christ founded His church to bring salvation to sinners, not to make sinners happy about the status quo.

Christ told people the truth, and they chased Him out of town. We need more priests who are prepared to run fast after a good homily….

Smug Liberal Homilies

The one thing about aging, white liberals is that they like to rage against old, irrelevant wrongdoings and ignore contemporary ones.

I attended a Mass a while back that contained a very disappointing homily. For those who don’t know, a homily is the “sermon” delivered by the priest during a church service. It is usually a short speech, tied in with that day’s Bible readings, that makes some important point or imparts a moral lesson. My local parish priests are among those, however, who don’t like to talk about sin a whole lot; I gather they consider it to be real downer or something. In any event, it’s a big deal therefore when they actually do talk about sin in a homily. So which sin did they pick?


Yup – not the metaphorically-speaking-as-an-analogy slavery – but the full-blown slave ships from Africa slavery. That one.

We actually sat through a 15 minute diatribe, railing against a sin no one in the entire parish actually commits. It was a smug, little, condescending white-guilt platitude designed to make all the old, white liberals feel morally superior.

What ever happened to that whole
beam in the eye thing?

Here we had a packed Mass attended by ordinary working people who are challenged by sin every day of their lives. Present no doubt were adulterers, drug users and alcoholics, men who beat their wives, women who nag and spurn their husbands, children who swear and disrespect everyone – and we get a homily on how evil the slave trade was.

What a bloody disgrace.

Here’s a newsflash – a priest’s job isn’t just to comfort the afflicted, sometimes it’s to afflict the comfortable. Christ founded His church to bring salvation to sinners, not to make sinners happy about the status quo.

Christ told people the truth, and they chased Him out of town. We need more priests who are prepared to run fast after a good homily….

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Law and Order: The New Star Trek!

NBC’s hit TV drama franchise Law and Order is the new Star Trek.

You remember Star Trek, right? I mean the new guy in the red shirt that Capt. Kirk gushes over and invites to join the landing party every episode? You just know he’s toast – he’ll get eaten by a carnivorous plant, or killed by a Romulin. It was a sure thing.

Today, we have the same predictability on L&O. As soon as a rich/privileged white person is introduced into the plot line, you just know how the show will end – whatever horrible crime is under investigation, they will be guilty as hell. Sure, there’ll be an occasional plot twist – sometimes they’ll use their privileged connections to “beat” the charge and get away with it. I actually saw an episode the other day where a snooty, rich white lady – big hat and all, got arrested for buying a poor, black girl as a slave!

Other safe assumptions you can always make about L&O episodes:

  • If the “ripped from the headlines” plot involves terrorists, they will be white supremacists. There are no Islamic terrorists in Law and Order.
  • If the plot line involves abortion, pro-lifers will either be murderers or absolute wackos. There are no rational, articulate pro-lifers on L&O.
  • If the plot involves religion, then controlling, misogynistic, fat, kooky evangelists will be the bad guys. Unless they’re Catholic, in which case they will be self-hating sexual something or others pushed beyond their limits by a conspiring church. Christians are bad people on L&O. Other religions, even voodoo and occult practices, are afforded respect and deference.

Any others you folks can think of?

Liberals and Conservatives - Their Worst and Their Best

This excellent short essay on the best and worst of Liberalism and Conservatism was written by Ron Rolheiser, OMI and is as timely and accurate a snapshot of all of us at our best and worst:

Houston Smith, who writes textbooks on world religions, suggests that we should always judge a religion by what’s best in it, not by its more strident expressions. The same is true for ideologies. Liberals and conservatives should be judged by what’s best in them, not by their worst expressions.

With that being said, here’s a little snapshot of both, at their worst and at their best:

At their worst, conservatives are mean-spirited, narrow, and grandiose, seeing every liberalizing tendency as dangerous, godless, an enemy, a tyranny of relativity. With much of the outside world perceived as a threat, strident conservatives live a lot by fear and their primary instinct is to protect, circle the wagons, re-entrench, reduce ambiguity, and have clarity trump everything else. They have one litmus text for morality, abortion. Conservatives, at their worst, move more naturally to exclusion rather than inclusion. God becomes a hammer to defend truth. At their worst, conservatives are prone to use power and authority to shut down discussion and to actively remove those who oppose them. If a conservative doesn’t like you, he or she will try to get you fired! Conservatives, at their worst, are overly serious and grandiose - because they see themselves as the sole guardians of God and truth, and how can such an awesome responsibility be taken lightly?

And liberals return the favor: At their worst, liberals are naive, adolescent, and arrogant. For them, every secular challenge to traditional values and religion is the moral high ground and may itself not be challenged. Secular enlightenment is seen as the exclusive agent in having brought about the liberation of human freedom from superstition and false authority. Secular enlightenment is also seen as being the sole agent in the struggle against racism, sexism, and other forms of inequality and injustice. Its litmus tests for morality are pro-choice and gay marriage. As a young liberal complained recently, at a liberal political convention, you can admit that you have had an abortion or are gay, but you may not admit that you take Jesus seriously. Strident liberals tend to be secular fundamentalists and are unable to see and admit that what’s best inside of their own morality comes out of Judeo-Christian roots. If a liberal doesn’t like you he or she probably won’t try to get you fired but they will try to intimidate and shame you intellectually. God isn’t a hammer with which to defend truth, but God is excluded from public discourse.

But that’s conservatives and liberals at their angry worst, it’s not the place where they should be judged. What are they at their best?

At their best, conservatives keep us aware of some important truths:

First, that energy isn’t friendly and we shouldn’t be naive to that fact. Karl Jung once suggested that it is naive to think that energy is friendly, it isn’t. It’s imperialistic, wreaks havoc with our lives and our relationships, and often beats us up like the playground bully. Taboos exist for a reason and the release of energy is in fact often a slippery slope. Next, conservatives highlight: the truth that every kingdom needs to be protected. From our countries, to our neighborhoods, to our marriages, to our families, to our private relationships, something or someone will invariably encroach on our boundaries and it’s naive to think that what’s precious doesn’t need to be protected. Importantly too, conservatives point out that sexuality is not an exempt area within morality and politics. It too has consequences. Finally, conservatives rightly point out that there are some absolutes. Perhaps we can’t always know what they are and perhaps we sometimes draw our boundaries too tightly and live with too much fear and timidity, but there are absolutes that we cannot ignore without seriously hurting ourselves and our world.

At their best, what do liberals bring to the table?

Liberals rightly highlight that freedom is a divine gift, that it has been bought at a great historical price, and that it should never be denigrated or reduced in God’s name. God wants us to be free, and free from fear. The opposite of a liberal is not the church but the Taliban. Next, liberals rightly point out that there are as many dangers in being too safe as there are in taking risks. As Goethe points out, and every parent knows, the dangers of life are many, and safety is one of those dangers. Liberals too rightly point out that historically the golden age of the church was not as golden for non-whites and for women. Finally, and importantly, liberals at their best, challenge us to “catholicity”, namely, to an ever-wider embrace, to an ever-widening openness to what’s other, to the truth revealed by Jesus that God’s heart is not a ghetto but a house with many rooms.

Sadly though, mostly liberals and conservatives fight each other when in fact they badly need each other. Both carry important truths and our culture and our churches would be far healthier if would accept that.

(c) 2007 Ron Rolheiser, OMI

Monday, July 2, 2007

Dimwits can be right wing too....

So, I posted this little ditty the other day about how the Rule of Law was being suspended for Canadian Aboriginals, and lo and behold my comments section gets filled with raving-lunatic hang-the-injuns crap (I deleted most of them).

My post simply suggested that the protesters should have been arrested just like everyone else, and that this Canadian double standard allowing natives to break any laws they like for the sake of protesting was not an appropriate way to go. I also posted excerpts from Ontario's Police Services Act to argue that police who allowed this lawbreaking to occur were in violation of their very own Code of Conduct.

So what do I get for arguing that the laws of this Country should be upheld (insert liberal shock, gasp)? A bunch of people who think even more laws should be broken by them.

Shut up. You people embarrass me.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Don't Get Mad at the Natives (Updated - Police Neglect of Duty)

"We're going to have that expression of strength and solidarity across this country," Brant said in an interview near Deseronto, west of Kingston. "Then we'll step back and say: 'You absorb this.' Because the next time we come out, it's going to be harder, it's going to be longer and it's going to have an impact on this economy that Canada can't imagine at this point.
Shawn Brant, Mohawk Leader

Shawn Brant is absolutely right. He is planning to lead, as he has so often before, illegal protests that will include criminal mischief, trespassing, common nuisance and other unlawful acts. He will close the 401 Highway. He will disable rail lines. He will occupy other people’s property. He will cause millions of dollars in lost productivity, jobs and corporate revenues.

And he will absolutely get away with it.

And – this is the kicker – none of this is Shawn Brant’s fault. He is simply engaging in tactics that we have let him use. It is well-established, as a matter of record, that unlawful, criminal activity organized and undertaken by aboriginal groups will not result in any significant intervention or enforcement action. The OPP may have hired tough-guy Julian Fantino as their new Commissioner, but his testicles clearly weren’t included in the deal. At Caledonia, native protesters occupied land, beat people up, used bulldozers to knock over hydro poles – all in the presence of OPP officers who did absolutely nothing except watch it happen.

So, when your travel plans are disrupted this holiday weekend by native blockades, or your shift gets laid off at the auto parts plant, don’t get mad at Shawn Brant for doing what he clearly has permission to get away with.

Instead, take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask yourself why your government and police services have decided that the laws of this country don’t apply to aboriginals.

Self-emasculation is the new "I am Canadian."

Update: As of this morning (June 29), native protesters wearing balaclavas and some carrying shotguns have closed several highways and rail lines. The OPP are "negotiating" with them. When our society has been reduced to pleading with armed thugs to pleeeeease obey the laws (you know, the ones we don't actually enforce), I'm not sure our society is worth saving anymore....

Update #2: "First Nations protesters are again blocking CN’s rail corridor and the OPP continues to refuse to intervene," said a statement issued by the railway early today. Brant, a 43-year-old Mohawk, is out on bail on previous charges of mischief, disobeying a court order and breach of recognizance in connection with a 30-hour blockade of the nearby CN line April 20. No, he has not been arrested although a warrant has been issued (worthless if not executed).

From the Code of Conduct for Ontario Police Officers: 2. (1) Any … police officer commits misconduct if he or she engages in, (a) Discreditable Conduct, in that he or she (i) fails to treat or protect a person equally without discrimination with respect to police services because of that person’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap, … (c) Neglect of Duty, in that he or she, (i) without lawful excuse, neglects or omits promptly and diligently to perform a duty as a member of the police force, … iv) fails, when knowing where an offender is to be found, to report him or her or to make due exertions for bringing the offender to justice,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Abortion Clinic Pics and Lost Irony

Yes, yes, I know – abortion is no laughing matter. But sometimes, the pro-aborts have their heads shoved so deep in the sand that even their most painfully obvious double-speak is lost on them. Take the website of Toronto’s Bloor West Village Women’s Clinic as a prime example of just how forked a tongue can actually become.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Check this out – the abortion clinic’s website offers a slideshow tour of the clinic, pictures of which I’ve reproduced here with “stating the bloody obvious” running commentary. The headlines below are the photo captions exactly as they appear on the website (click photo to enlarge):

Reception; where you’ll meet some of our friendly staff
(Gee, they must be hiding behind the desk. Don’t these kinds of “welcoming” reception area photos for “health clinics” usually show smiling faces, waiting to greet the customer?)

Have a seat in our waiting room
(What? No smiling, happy customers? No proud women extolling “My body, my choice!”?)

All questions answered by our counsellor
(She must be on the speakerphone. Do the pretty bags help the guilt go away? Do you get two if you abort twins? And take note of the tissue box…it becomes a theme as you’ll see)

Enjoy the view
(Anything but think about that baby you’re about to snuff out. Gee, aren’t those pretty houses…the kind families live in, right? At least there’s more tissue!)

Ultra-sound and procedure room
(Hey, do they get to see the baby’s heartbeat too? Before I mean? Those machines can do that you know….)

Enjoy a variety of snacks and beverages
(Cause there’s nothing like the munchies after offing your kid, right? And just why, do you think, do they seem to need so much tissue? Every recovery chair gets its own box. These women – they’re not, you know, upset and crying are they? Whatever for? It’s just a clump of tissue, a mass of the products of conception, right? Gee, you’d think someone had died or something….)

Seriously folks, if you're about to undergo a procedure at a place where no one will show their faces, and the clients needs counselling and endless boxes of tissue to get through the process, maybe you want to think just a little longer about this irreversible thing you're about to do. (Hint: Women who have had abortions it
regret it, but those who didn't, don't).

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wanted - Best Local Confessors!

It’s time to publish a list of the best confessors in our own dioceses. Please submit in the comments section the name, parish and (arch)diocese of any priest you feel possesses extraordinary pastoral capacity in the administration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance/Confession).

For the purposes of nominating, please suggest any priest who:

  • Makes himself available to administer the sacrament outside of regular hours or conventional settings;

  • Warmly welcomes the penitent into the sacrament;

  • Has an unusual capacity to ‘tease out’ sin, and assist the penitent in identifying his/her particular occasions of sin;

  • Makes astute and probing inquiries of the penitent, without being voyeuristic;

  • Appears to have a firm grasp of the moral challenges facing today’s families and youth, and is able to correctly articulate sin and its occasions for the penitent;

  • Provides firm guidance, advice and tools that are of practical use to the penitent;

  • Discerns sometimes unusual (and maybe difficult), but relevant and appropriate penance tailored to suit individual circumstances and needs;

  • Removes the sense of despair from penitents who feel they cannot escape sin, or who are weak in faith;

  • Creates an atmosphere of trust, hope, love and forgiveness that can sometimes cause a penitent to reveal past sins previously concealed; and

  • Fosters an understanding that the conquest of sin may be a long journey, and that neither he nor the church will ever give up hope for the penitent.

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of what makes a good confessor. A sound knowledge of sacramental theology and scripture, personal spiritual health, affective maturity and other factors contribute significantly to the character of priests who administer the sacrament.

That said, it is time to make a list of priests known for their extraordinary abilities in the confessional generally known so that the faithful can avail themselves of the best pastoral resources in their own communities. Too many have been away from this sacrament for far too long, and need to experience this extraordinary gift at its very best.

Comments Note: Due to the sensitive nature of this post, anonymous comments have been enabled to allow those who wish to post without attribution to do so, but my preference is for attributable comments. Also, please take the time to hyperlink the parish or priest name so that others can more easily track them down (which is the whole point here - to embolden others to take advantage of the sacrament). Thanks!

Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.

Friday, May 11, 2007

SSPX in the Jewel of Victoria, BC

The Society of Saint Pius X in Canada holds monthly services in the historic St. Ann's Academy in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. I had the pleasure of visiting this historic landmark, officially deconsecrated by the Roman Catholic Church after Vatican II but preserved by the BC Government as a historical site.

The chapel has often been referred to as "The Heart of St. Ann’s". For the Sisters, their lives as Postulants and Novices began in the chapel, and ended there, when they passed away. For students, it was a place of beauty and music, that put them on their best behaviour. Many of the girls received their first Holy Communion there. The chapel became part of St. Ann’s in 1886, when it was added on to the newly built wing of the school and Convent. However, the history of the chapel begins long before that date.

Please enjoy my photos!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Dad vs. Puberty: Part 1

Actual conversation with my 12 year old son:

Dad, boys like to look at girls’ apples, don’t they?


You know…their apples.

Uhhh…son, do you mean melons?

Yeah, that’s it – their melons.

Son, it’s normal for you to be attracted to girl’s body, but it is rude to refer to body parts that way. They’re called breasts, not melons.

OK Dad.



Yes son.

Mom’s are more like apples though, aren’t they?

Friday, April 27, 2007

Victim-bashing, Right-wing Nutcase Answers Stupid Liberal Question

So many folks have begun saying aloud what I have been thinking myself, that a pattern of squishy-left responses has become clear. When anyone dares ascribe cowardice to victims (a la Virginia Tech) who fail to fight back, the retort is almost always “What do you know about it, you keyboard warrior? If you’re such a big man why don’t you go to Iraq and fight terrorists? Until it happens to you, you can’t possibly know how you’d react, so how dare you blame the victims?”

I think I’ll answer that, actually.

What would I do? I would respond with maturity, fortitude and do whatever was required. If, for example, I was accosted on the street by a mugger with a gun who declares "Your money or your life," I would dutifully hand over my wallet and let him be on his way. I would obtain as best a description as I could, then call the police and cancel my credit cards. Rushing my attacker in this case could escalate a non-lethal situation into one where bullets would be flying and any number of people could get killed. Neither my wallet nor my XY vanity is worth it.

Not so with other situations, however. In the case of school shootings, we are all well acquainted with the Modus Operandi: a suicidal maniac, armed to the teeth, will calmly roam the hallways killing as many people as he can until he is either stopped or runs out of bullets, save one, which he will then use on himself. He will, in other words, continue killing for as long as he is permitted by others to do so. Liberals may not like to hear this inconvenient truth, but an obligation falls to other human beings in the area, through no fault of theirs, to actually do something about it. In every situation these victims (those being shot at right now) and potential victims (those who will be shot next) have a choice to make. They can flee, defend or attack. All are appropriate reactions depending on the tactical situation at hand. Three guys barricading a classroom to save twenty others may be a good move in one area of engagement. Five guys rushing the attacker after he passes your doorway, or when he reloads or is firing in another direction, would have also been a good idea at many points. Lining up like cattle while he shoots you one by one will always be a very poor tactical choice. It is called "cowardice".

Please don’t misunderstand me: everyone, and I mean everyone, is entitled to freeze up for a few moments – to be temporarily overwhelmed by disbelief or frozen by shock and terror. As the moments pass and the disbelief fades, however, you will have to make choices about your behaviour – and these you can control. You will be held accountable for them in any event.

This notion about having to have special training or leaving it to the professionals in law enforcement is nonsense. Before 13 year old
Marian Fisher was executed by her school shooter, she asked to be shot first so as to protect the younger children. Maybe the shooter would run out of bullets, leaving the youngest to survive, or may be he would have a change of heart after killing her, she must have thought. This child knew a lot more about courage than a lot of the students at Virginia Tech.

Airplane hijackings are, of course, another classic example where the rules are now universally understood by passengers everywhere: If the hijackers get control of the plane, you and lots of other people on the ground will die. There are, depending on the size of the aircraft, always somewhere between 60 and 300 passengers. Ever if there are dozens of well armed hijackers, they don’t stand a chance of getting control of that aircraft if everyone leaps out of their seat and rushes them. I sincerely doubt that there is a single person who would support the idea of going along for a final ride on Jihad Air, just so they could live long enough to see a national monument or F-14 up close. In this tactical situation, cowardice is simply no longer an option.

We are left, really, with simple math:


Every single crime requires two things: a perpetrator and a victim. If either of those factors is absent, a crime will not occur. Victims are as much part of this equation as the suspect, and like it or not will therefore have a say in the outcome. This say means making a choice.

I’ve made mine. What’s yours?

PS: I have deliberately left the whole Christian perspective aside, as my post deals with universal morality and realities. For those asking WWJD however, you just have to read Kathy’s take:

Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friend."

That stupid Jesus guy left out all the stuff about being "properly trained first", the differences between this or that caliber gun, and following our "natural instincts".

What a loser, huh?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Are there even any real men left anymore?

Kathy’s point is well taken; I call them Grief Groupies (or GGs for short) – just a bunch of misery-loving, misguided humanity wallowing in the grief of others to give their empty, pathetic lives some fleeting meaning. Get. A. Life.

One question among many unanswered ones: How did over 50 people get shot without anyone taking the shooter down? Did everyone just hurtle themselves out windows and hide under desks? Would there be over 50 shot and 30 dead if after 2 or 3 victims a few guys with actual testicles rushed the shooter? Flight 93? Anyone? Anyone…?

Seditious cowards, the lot of them. They castrated a once proud nation with twinkles in their eyes, and treason in their souls. Wall. Against. Put. Shot.

Last real man get the lights on your way out….

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Giving up Blogging for Lent

An interesting discussion has started up here and here about the virtue of giving up blogging for Lent. Certainly, a certain amount of satisfaction comes from shooting my mouth off now and then, even when I fail to first load my brain. Perhaps depriving myself of such an outlet would indeed be an appropriate Lenten sacrifice?

Done, then! I will immerse myself in Lenten reading and my ongoing independent study of Ecclesiastical Latin, in lieu of blogging.

And as they say this Ash Wednesday, "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return."

Till Easter folks.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Flipside of the Autism Breakthrough

Perhaps I am the only one, but I greeted the recent breakthrough in autism research with more than just a little trepidation. My concern, located in the bottom paragraphs after the turn, relates directly to the following snip:
Every week parents of autistic children ask Wendy Roberts, a developmental pediatrician and co-director of the autism research unit at Sick Kids, whether there are prenatal tests to screen for autism. “At this point, we say that we can’t.” The study won’t have any immediate impact on clinical practice, said Roberts, a co-author of the study. It will take time to design a prenatal test for autism, precisely because there are so many genes involved.

Now, you ask, of what possible value could a prenatal test for autism be? To treat it in the womb with some kind of as yet undiscovered gene therapy? Not likely. No, the purpose of prenatal testing for autism would be exactly the same as the reasons behind prenatal testing for cystic fibrosis and Downs Syndrome – to allow the parents to abort the baby and save themselves from a lifetime of having to care for a special needs child. That this so-called "breakthrough" will lead to a cure for autism is probably true enough – but only if you think you ought to cure a disease by killing everyone who has it.

I recall my wife being told to go for an
amniocentesis during her pregnancy and upon being told why (her age and the risk of birth defects) we asked what good the information would do – and were told it would allow us to terminate the pregnancy. We looked our doctor right in the eye and told her that we weren’t terminating anything, and where she could stick her needle. You should have seen the look, as if to say "What do you mean you wouldn’t abort a Downs Syndrome child?" All through the pregnancy we constantly had to explain to various medical professionals that the reason the amnio test wasn’t in our file was because we refused to allow one to be done.

Our child, thankfully, is fine. I say thankfully, not because we would not have loved a disabled child, but because we wanted a healthy, happy baby just like every other parent. And what of those parents of autistic children? Would they turn back the clock if they could and abort their child? Their answers are, emphatically, "No."

So, yes, all hail the god of science, but pardon me for not jumping on the eugenics bandwagon to Hell. Call me a simple minded Catholic, but that’s how I feel.

Cure autism? Good. Aborting autistic children? Bad.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Catholic Blog Awards 2007

Well the Catholic Blog Awards are underway again and I would like you to nominate...no, not me actually. My blog is too Mickey Mouse - 30 hits a day, etc. Or, as Kathy Shaidle has been known to say, "There are blogs, and then there are blogs. I'm just sayin."

Or something like that.

Anyway, just do as I did and stop by and nominate a whole bunch of truly worthy blogs. If you need a list, may I humbly suggest to look to my sidebar. They are all worthy.


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Woodcut Defence League vs. Warren Kinsella

Warren Kinsella had gone too far. His vicious attack on Norm Spector (to wit: that he "has a web site that resembles a fourteenth-century woodcut, and has the mental acuity of one, too.") is an insult. To woodcuts.

First of all,
woodcuts were used in the 15th and 16th centuries, not the 14th. Secondly, they represent an outstanding contribution to literary art and were used extensively to illustrate the connection between the intangible supernatural and the liturgy of the Christian faith. Woodcuts were used throughout the Missale Romanum, the book used by priests for centuries to celebrate the Mass.

About Woodcuts:
The process of creating a woodcut has changed little over the intervening six centuries. Although the quality and shape of the knives used today are somewhat different, the action of making a woodblock is essentially the same.

Choosing wood for the block is the first step in creating a woodcut. In the fifteenth century wood from fruit trees, especially pear trees, was used because of the strength of the wood's grain. These hardwoods could withstand the pressure the printing press exerted on the block and insured that the woodblock could be used repeatedly. Hundreds of legible images could be produced before a new block had to be cut.

Once the block is planed and sanded flat, an image is either drawn directly onto the surface of the block or transferred from another drawing or print. The woodcut artist then uses the lines of the block as a guide, cutting away all the wood that surrounds the lines and leaving the lines in relief. The woodblock is then set onto the bed of a printing press along with type, and ink is applied to the lines on the block and the type. Finally paper is set on top of the block and the action of the printing press forces a transfer of ink to paper, revealing an image which is the reverse of the image on the block. The areas that have been cut away read white, and the lines in relief read black.

Given the obvious contribution of woodcuts in the development of printing throughout the ages, and their pivotal role in the beauty of the Catholic liturgy, I must insist that Warren Kinsella cease and desist immediately his continued defamation of woodcuts by associating them with something
so obviously trailing edge as Norm Spector’s website.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Truth About Rape

One of the great things about blogging is the ability to tackle explicit subjects shunned in even the most modern mainstream media. As a former police officer, as well as a husband, brother and father, I have something very explicit, but very important, to say to women who have been raped.

This is taboo to discuss, but so be it: Many women fail to report rape because they feel complicit in the crime. The reason? During the rape her body reacted sexually – the vagina produced the usual secretions to ease penetration, the clitoris was stimulated and maybe she even achieved orgasm.

Let’s set the record straight: your body reacted on a purely physical level, and the production of vaginal secretions and related signs of sexual arousal does NOT mean that you liked it, really wanted it or asked for it. And it most definitely does not mean that you encouraged your own rape. Ever.

In the City of God, St. Augustine crafts his own consolatio, an attempt to assuage the suffering of women raped in the sack of Rome. He wrote that women raped in Rome’s fall do not lose their chastity which is a virtue in the soul and does not depend on how others use the body. Even if the body responded mechanically, that does not matter if the soul withheld consent.

Rape is not a crime against a vagina; it is a crime against a person. That crime is not defined by the normal anatomical reactions of masses of nerve endings or other physiological reactions to the sex act. Rape is an assault against a person’s will and dignity; against their will, because the act did not involve a choice on their part, and against their dignity because the act treated them as an object, not a person.

Now you know.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Shaidle v. Kinsella

Well for those who follow such things, the internet is chalk full of pi**ing matches between bloggers. When two heavyweights decide to go at it, it actually gets a little…entertaining. Which brings is to the current battle between two Catholic bloggers – Warren Kinsella and Kathy Shaidle.

I feel particularly complelled to comment because:

1. I read and like both blogs
2. I am not myself any kind of significant blogging presence, and if either of them links to this I’ll get more hits in one hour than I usually get in a year, and
3. I feel like it.

The bottom line is that Kathy doesn’t think Warren is a particularly good writer and ego alone shouldn’t qualify him for a writing a gig at the Post. She also thinks him thin-skinned and a liberal hack. Warren thinks Kathy is a gnome and her blogging goes a bit too far in dissing the Religion of Peace (my interpretation). Both have also insulted each other’s physical appearance.

I’ve never met either of them, but I think I would like them if I did, because:

  • As someone who’s not a professional writer, I can enjoy both styles without assessing relative literary merit;
  • I like Warren’s family nature - his dedication to his family, his respect for his obviously amazing Dad, his time at the rink and so on. I’m a Dad and a son, so I get it. And I prayed the Rosary for his father.
  • I like Kathy’s public commitment to her man, and her struggles with befuddled church hierarchy to achieve more formal recognition for what is obviously an amazing pairing; trust me, this Arnie fellow is a lucky guy. A woman with passion…it’s all any man really wants, and who cares if the boots don’t fit? (couldn’t find the link, but avid Relapsed Catholic readers know what I mean.)
  • Both are political warriors, and not particularly fond of taking prisoners.
  • Both write what they mean and mean what they write. Like you can find that in the MSM anymore. Not since Steyn left anyway.

So what do you say guys, Pax?