Miscellaneous Meanderings on the signs of the times (Vol. 8, No. 90)
Dr. Mark S. Latkovic
July 1, 2017
~The comedienne Kathy Griffin says she went “went too far” (see http://www.stltoday.com/news/kathy-griffin-says-she-went-too-far-in-video-showing/article_462edefc-8d31-5f93-bdd9-e0fd75197204.html) in posing with a decapitated, blood-soaked “head” (It was a mask) of President Trump. As if having the decapitated head would be okay as long as there was say, no blood.
~With her constant and ever more extreme Trump-bashing, Jennifer Rubin’s WaPo blog shouldn’t be called “On the Right,” but “From the Left.”
~It’s okay it seems to poison the secular culture with actions that are known to incite hatred for the West among Islamic radicals (e.g., wearing immodest clothing or promoting LGBTQ issues). But it also seems that we can’t call the terrorists “Islamic” for fear of inciting their hatred for us.
~Madii – the pregnant high school senior at a Christian school, whose authorities would not let her walk in the graduation ceremony for having broken the school’s code against pre-marital sex – has generated tons of commentary from pro-abortion and pro-life advocates alike. One can surely see – and should see the matter in all its complexity – from both sides, but I think Austin Ruse gets it just about right on the controversy in his column (see http://www.crisismagazine.com/2017/let-us-now-consider-maddis-baby).
~The first chapter of C.S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man is titled “Men Without Chests” (see https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9MmcPqIiEnKNC05d1c0clAweXM/view?pageId=102317673787424775806). These words would probably be labeled today “hate speech” for implying that women don’t have chests (Well, okay, they do, but I think you know what mean).
~The Archdiocese of Detroit’s new Coat of Arms (see http://www.unleashthegospel.org/#new-identity) has been getting its fair share of criticism on social media. When I first saw the new design – rolled out to coincide with the Archbishop’s post-archdiocesan synod pastoral letter – I must admit it reminded me of the characters in the Lego Batman movie, as well as many of the pedestrian signs you see on our city streets.
~James Martin, S.J. is at it again, or better, he’s still at it (see https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pro-gay-vatican-consultant-catechism-teaching-on-homosexuality-needs-to-be. Instead of the term “objectively disordered” for the homosexual inclination, Martin favors the term “differently ordered” – a term drained of all moral content; it’s neutral. It thus can’t serve as a substitute for “objectively disordered.” The former is on a par with “differently abled.” That’s okay for talking about the handicapped, for example, but not the homosexually-inclined person. But for Martin and others, this seems to be the point: introduce a term that implies a homosexual orientation or same-sex attraction is on a par with a heterosexual orientation.
~I think a better name for Reality Winner would be Fantasy Loser (see http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/15/senators-call-for-answers-on-reality-winners-security-clearance.html).
~We could hit the “pause” button on all things “entertainment” in our culture and still have enough of it to last us until kingdom come.
~I’m offended by the LGBTQ community’s “cultural appropriation” of the English alphabet, i.e., the letters LGBTQ.
~Speaking of which, if the LGBTQ community keeps expanding their list of “sexual identities,” they’re going to run out of letters in the alphabet.
~If Muslim men get 72 virgins in heaven, what do the Muslim women get?
~So let me get this straight: Whites are not allowed to use the N-word word (and I agree!) but blacks, especially black rappers such as Jay Z, can (and I disagree!)? But whites are allowed to use it only when singing the lyrics (I use the term loosely for many songs) of the many rap songs that use this despicable word? Do I have that right or wrong?
~It’s a funny thing how Facebook – obviously a form of technology – may have a role in reviving an art form often thought far from technology, namely poetry, of all things.
~I have serious doubts that our toxic political rhetoric (mostly coming from the Left) will improve after the shooting by a leftist loon of Republican congressmen in Washington, DC. After 9/11 we said “everything is changed” – only to get back to “normal” after a few months.
~I always find it fascinating to know what books have influenced – for good or bad – an individual, especially a famous person. You can tell a lot about a person from their favorite/influential books. For example, I learned that one of two influential books on the new CEO of Ford Motor Co., Jim Hackett, is Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, 2005 (see the Detroit Sunday Free Press, June 18, 2017, 10A). This is a bible for the transhumanist movement. Hopefully, Hackett, known for his expertise and fascination with technology, artificial intelligence, and his connections with Silicon Valley, doesn’t accept any of Kurzweil’s anti-human views, at least insofar as it may affect his work at Ford.
~At a recent Sunday Mass, it hit me: Have you ever noticed how the Mass often seems to have been reduced to the “Our Father” for some Catholics? That’s the one prayer that everyone prays, that everyone gets into, holding & raising hands. As for the rest of the Mass? Well, closed mouths or mumbles. Just one Catholic’s observation.
~Who needs voodoo when your 8-pound grand baby gets her vaccination shots?
~Our society has largely lost the concept of the innocence of children, e.g., of adults not saying or doing or watching or listening to things in front of children that they should not be exposed to at their tender young ages.
~“Truth” ain’t what it used to be. It’s been reduced to a kind of thing “out there” that is rooted in ideology and that ideologues use to beat people into agreeing with them.
~Men and women today don’t know how to dress, especially for special occasions: weddings, wakes, church services, and graduation ceremonies come to mind. As Trump would put it, Sad!
~Gone are the days when parents would tell the babysitter where they are going and give the phone number where they could be reached. Cell phones changed all that.
~I think Church Militant’s Michael Voris (a former student by the way) is trying to become the Catholic version of Bill O’Reilly, with his “The Vortex,” where “lies and falsehoods are trapped and exposed,” and all of the Church Militant products are for sale on their website.
~What did people do for “Hitler analogies” before Hitler?
~Homophobia is one of those made-up terms of the Left to make it seem that opposition to gay marriage and other same-sex acts is always motivated by fear rather than some sincere principle.
~When our country’s hostages were released from Iran in January of 1981, there was a national celebration. After the ridicule Otto Warmbier was subjected to both before and after his release (and in his death at age 22) from North Korea (e.g., see http://www.nationalreview.com/article/448796/otto-warmbier-lefts-hate-problem), I doubt those hostages, were they taken today, would receive the same positive welcome home they did over 36 years ago.
~Vatican II’s emphasis on testimony and witness of Christian life (cf. René Latourelle, “Testimony,” in Dictionary of Fundamental Theology, The Crossroad Pub. Co., 1994) and the more traditional apologetic arguments for the truth of the Catholic Church will need to be harmonized as the Church goes forward with its program of the New Evangelization.
~“Marriage is indissoluble when it is a sacrament.” These words from Pope Francis are correct, as far as they go; but they leave out the fact that natural, non-sacramental marriage is also indissoluble – albeit without the same depth and firmness of a sacramental marriage.
~I’m just waiting for Hollywood to turn the Transformers film series into a transgender story line.
~Have you noticed how many stories about the Detroit riots of 1967 speak of the “rebellion”? For this author (see http://www.freep.com/story/opinion/contributors/2016/07/23/1967-riot-rebellion-no-question-what-call/87438880/) it was clearly a rebellion. Whatever it was, it made things much worse for the city of Detroit.
~The iPhone turned 10 years-old on June 29. I won’t be lighting any candles. I have a “love-hate” – but mostly hate – relationship with my smart phone.
~“Is there a pontifical commission to reinterpret Humanae vitae?” (See http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/is-there-a-pontifical-commission-to-reinterpret-humanae-vitae-94702/). How about this question: Will there be any more insanity coming out of Rome that we have to put up with? I think we can answer that in the affirmative.
~“Using Texts as Lures, Government Spyware Targets Mexican Journalists and Their Families” (see https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/19/world/americas/mexico-spyware-anticrime.html). After I read stories like this one, I think to myself: Technology is going to kill us all.
~A preemptive strike against North Korea is not an option, says former Pentagon chief William Perry (see http://m.dw.com/en/preemptive-strike-against-north-korea-not-an-option-says-former-pentagon-chief-perry/a-39376198). If you read this interview, you’ll discover such brilliant strategy for ridding NK of its nuclear weapons as this: “So today I think more how we still want to retain the goal of eliminating the nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, we have to do it in two stages. First stage would be to get a freeze on the nuclear weapons and their long-range missiles, and we can do that verifiably by controlling the testing. And the second goal then, once we have achieved that, would be to start a rolling back the nuclear weapons. So it’s a complicated and slow process, but that’s how we would have to approach it today.” Gee, thanks for that bit of wisdom. It’s like saying how can we solve the problem of running out of money? Let’s simply print more of it. Or how can we reduce world hunger? Feed more people. Duh.
~The title of this Catholic priest’s article is, “‘Accompany’ LGBT community, then what?” (See http://www.northjersey.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/06/04/accompany-lgbt-community-then-what/363753001/). Then what? Well, for this Hoboken, NJ pastor, accompaniment is to be followed by acceptance. For example, he writes of how John McNeill’s 1976 book, The Church and the Homosexual (a book condemned by the Vatican) “tackled the real implications of a fixed orientation, which requires a new moral and theological paradigm. His reasoning offered gay men and lesbians hope and affirmation to lead a moral life.” No, what’s required is a call to chastity.
~“What Bishop McElroy told theology school graduates” (see http://cal-catholic.com/what-bishop-mcelroy-told-theology-school-graduates/). Yes, what did the bishop tell them? “Pope Francis, he said, ‘points to an understanding of pastoral theology which is far more robust. It demands that moral theology proceed from the actual pastoral action of Jesus Christ, which does not first demand a change of life, but begins with an embrace of divine love, proceeds to the action of healing and only then requires a conversion of action in responsible conscience.’” That’s right, I guess Jesus didn’t first say “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” (Mk 1:15). The piece continues: “Noting that people are confronted with ‘overwhelming life challenges’ that prevent them from following the Gospel, [the bishop] added, ‘The pastoral theology of Pope Francis rejects a notion of law which can be blind to the uniqueness of concrete human situations, human suffering and human limitation.’” Here we go again, with law being the bad guy. In Catholic moral theology, law is always connected to the truth and to the good of the human person. Moreover, what the bishop says about “overwhelming life challenges” that prevent them from living the Gospel is a denial of Catholic teaching. As the Council of Trent taught in its First Decree on Justification (Chapter 11): “But no one, how much soever justified, ought to think himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one ought to make use of that rash saying, one prohibited by the Fathers under an anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God commands not impossibilities, but, by commanding, both admonishes thee to do what thou are able, and to pray for what thou art not able (to do), and aids thee that thou mayest be able; whose commandments are not heavy; whose yoke is sweet and whose burthen light. For, whoso are the sons of God, love Christ; but they who love him, keep his commandments, as Himself testifies; which, assuredly, with the divine help, they can do.” [My emphasis]