Thursday, July 31, 2008

None of the Above

There's a new book due out in August, and it looks very good and appropriate considering our two "choices" this election season. It's called None of the Above, and it is reviewed here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Carmelite Monks

I've added a link to my favorite sites list. It goes to the new Carmelite Monastery in Wyoming, which celebrates the traditional Carmelite rite of the Mass. They live a cloistered life of prayer, interceding for a world that greatly needs it. From their site:

The Carmelite Monks are men who are consecrated to God through the Vows of Obedience, Chastity, and Poverty. They live a life of prayer, solitude, penance, and strict separation from the world. Their lives are completely dedicated to interceding for the Church and the world. St. Thérèse proclaimed the Carmelite vocation as being "love in the heart of the Church." As the heart circulates blood throughout the whole body, so the Carmelite is called to circulate grace throughout the Church. This is the essential meaning of the vocation of these cloistered monks.

Many of the greatest male monastic orders within the Church have lived strict monastic enclosure, such as the Carthusians, the Camaldolese, the Brigetines and certain reforms within the Benedictine Order. The Church has always upheld these expressions of male monasticism as a higher means to sanctification and as supremely beneficial to her mission in the world.

The Carmelite Monks have a profound love and respect for their monastic enclosure. Indeed, their form of monastic life is challenging and austere. With the exception of extern monks who are allowed to work outside the enclosure wall, the cloistered monks only pass through the gates of the monastery when there is an explicit permission from the Bishop, for medical needs or other serious reasons.

Many people see the cloistered religious life as formidable; however, the monks experience it as an entrance into a spiritual paradise. Many see it as a separation and an imprisonment; the monks see it as a means to union with God and the truest form of freedom. Ultimately, they have a profound conviction that they are the hidden leaven within the Church, empowering her through a life of prayer and sacrifice.

Deep in the hearts of these monks there is a profound loyalty to the Magisterium of the Church. Like their holy parents, St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, they wish to always remain "loyal sons of the Church." They firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. They will forever remain firmly united to the Holy Father, the Supreme Pontiff and Shepherd of the Church of Jesus Christ, and the Bishops united to him. They are also determined to always remain in loyal obedience to their immediate shepherd, the Bishop of Cheyenne.

The Carmelite Monks adhere to all those principles set forth by the Church that determine and regulate an authentic religious life. As a sign of their consecration to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary, they will at all times wear the religious habit.

The monks are currently trying to raise funds for a 500 acre area in Wyoming that would well suit them for the contemplative life they seek. Donate here if you wish to get involved. And pray for them!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Should Catholics Vote for McCain?

That depends on whether or not Catholics believe that the Republican party can stop abortion. Now, Catholics must not vote for Obama, who is a pro-abortion politician. That much is obvious to the rank and file Catholic, although somehow there are a good deal of Catholics who feel like ending the war in Iraq is just as important as ending abortion.
To those types, let me point out that Barrack Obama is pro-war in Afghanistan, and has said "all options are on the table" regarding Iran. Obama is not anti-war. He has used an anti Iraq war stance to garner naive liberals into believing he is a peace president.
He is not.
So, back to John McCain III. Is this a man we want in office? Not really. Is the lesser of two evils a legitimate choice?
I'll leave that up to you ultimately. I don't believe the lesser of two evils is a good choice, and I'll explain. The lesser of two evils idea stems because:

1. There are only two real choices (a third party candidate will not miraculously win this election)
2. With Obama and a friendly Congress a ton of junk bills will get passed increasing government power and decreasing liberty in the United States

With regards to the first, I would like to point out that this has been said for decades. It's always the lesser of two evils we vote for in national politics. Every time. The 20th century has been a nonstop pragmatic decision. Each time we get a politician in office who doesn't deliver on their campaign promises, builds big government (yes, even Reagan did), and ultimately makes us worse off.
The less people that vote for the national candidates, the better the chance a third party candidate could make a showing. For example, approximately 60 million people voted for each of the two major party candidates. Getting another 60 million people behind a third party candidate would be an impossible endevour. But the less people who vote for the main two candidates, the more the gap is brought down to make a third party candidate more viable.

The second argument is more sound, although it is entirely possible that a rejection of John McCain and George Bush Big Government Republicans will bring about a grassroots swell of voters in the next Congressional election to bring in new blood. A hostile Congress with Obama in office might work like it did in 1994-and may bring about more sound policies.

In either scenario, abortion will not be stopped. As I have written before, it is praying the Rosary (something I've been remiss in lately) and volunteering in grassroots efforts (something I'm very remiss in) that will help end this horror. The Republican Party is not as powerful as the Catholic Church, and our loyalty is to the latter, not the former.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Discussions of Distributivism

The following continues a discussion regarding the Pope’s actions and abilities in regards to economics. My reply to the last comment is as follows:

Maybe I was a bit unclear, so I hope I can be clearer this time. I'll address your discussion with Christians momentarily.

Informing Catholics on how to make moral choices is a job of parish priests, bishops, cardinals and popes. The popes do issue plenty of statements, formally and informally, regarding things like economic theory. Papal encyclicals, for instance, have addressed everything from Communism to Birth Control to Economics and everything in between.

These encyclicals are not necessarily considered "infallible", but pastoral in nature as teaching from the Pope. These are to be taken seriously by Catholics although many of the rank and file do not read the encyclicals.

Past popes have discussed the benefits of private property. Look at John Paul II's Centesimus Annus, which discusses the benefits of free markets. If my copy of The Church and the Market, by Thomas Woods, was handy I'd quote some more, but I can't find it. Check out that book if you want to learn more.

As for infallibility, the last time a Pope has declared anything EX CATHEDRA (from the Chair of Peter, as the rabbis who used to sit before teaching did in OT times) was Pope Pius XII, defining the Assumption of Mary.

Jesus Christ did not create the papacy to be a magic eight ball to answer intellectual questions to us: he did so as a physical head of His Church. The Pope is the ultimate arbiter of difficult questions arising from Scripture as well as modern issues that may not have been addressed during Christ’s time on earth (like in vitro fertilization). And being a physical head is a full time job, as so many of Her members are in active or passive resistance of him.


As far as the Christians you know who support horrible things or turn a blind eye to injustices, keep in mind that their actions do not support the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all imperfect. The teachings, however, remain the same. The Bible has remained intact for almost 1600 years throughout the fall of the Roman Empire, and while some disciplinary things have changed in the Church, the dogmas taught have always remained the same.

If you want to find some Catholic teachers in the past that have used logic and reason, you will find more than you can ever count. However, as a primer I suggest St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas.