Miscellaneous Meanderings on the signs of the times (Vol. 8, No. 93)
Dr. Mark S. Latkovic
October 1, 2017
Feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux
~I’ve always hated the word “foodie.” It’s right up there with “fondle.”
~“Cardinal Sarah offers critique of L.G.B.T. book, Father James Martin responds” (see https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/08/31/cardinal-sarah-offers-critique-lgbt-book-father-james-martin-responds). This is big news, but it shouldn’t be. More bishops should be critiquing Fr. Martin’s pro-gay stances.
~Some good news on the legal/judicial front: “Richard Posner announces sudden retirement from federal appeals court in Chicago” (see http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-judge-richard-posner-retires-met-20170901-story.html). Posner may be an influential federal judge and a prolific author, but when your entire legal philosophy is bogus, all of that doesn’t amount to much.
~“The iPhone X Confirms the Unabomber Was Right” (See https://townhall.com/columnists/stevechapman/2017/09/14/the-iphone-x-confirms-the-unabomber-was-right-n2380954). I have often said the same thing myself, i.e., the words of this article’s title. Just because the Unabomber was mentally and morally unstable, and his means for effecting change totally evil, doesn’t mean he didn’t have some valid ideas about technology’s many downsides.
~“Diversity Can Spell Trouble” (see http://www.hoover.org/research/diversity-can-spell-trouble). This point should be self-evident – and it would be in a saner time – but it isn’t. We actually live with people wrongly thinking its opposite: diversity spells peace and harmony.
~I wish that taking minutes for a meeting took only minutes to put together.
~Some people – I’m not talking about obvious candidates like boxers – seem to be almost brain-damaged. They think, say, and do things that only a profoundly brain-damaged person would think, say, and do.
~Stephen Colbert interviewed Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) recently on The Late Show (9/20/17). The “comedian” said this as their discussion turned to the Graham-Cassidy [Republican] health-care bill: “When I think about the objective of Obamacare, it was to provide as much health care to everybody as you could. When I hear about the arguments over taking Obamacare away, often they’re ideological arguments about the role of government. So, the goal [sic] is over an ideological difference, not getting health care to the most people you can.” (See the video here: http://theweek.com/speedreads/726153/aaron-hernandez-posthumously-diagnosed-severe-cte). Well, one man’s ideology is another man’s common sense. Obamacare is also based on an ideology – it’s not ideologically neutral. It too presupposes a particular view of the world and the role of government. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous. But it shows how secular liberals simply assume that their positions and ideologies are self-evident. Because these liberals see their views as simply “facts” and “science,” they can’t be, by definition, ideologues.
~The headline: Bishop Robert W. McElroy, “Attacks on Father James Martin expose a cancer within the U.S. Catholic Church” (See https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/09/18/bishop-mcelroy-attacks-father-james-martin-expose-cancer-within-us-catholic-church). Of course the real cancer – the one that will kill you spiritually – is the homosexual agenda, not the “attacks” on its ideology.
~On Facebook, a good priest I know asks: “Why hasn’t Benedict XVI spoken on Amoris Laetitia? A great response someone gave me when I asked about the hermeneutic of continuity he promoted.”
Here’s my response to the response: Well, of course! They both have had the office of Pope! It’s almost a tautology. Still, [1.] is not saying much. Many, other than Benedict, have far better theological credentials than Francis. But now, who can match Benedict?! So [1.] is far from true. [3.] is ultimately the only one that counts (in this discussion). Again, they share that designation, so of course it’s true! It’s simply pointing out the obvious. But we have only ONE pope at a time and that’s Francis right now. Even the term “emeritus pope” is confusing. It’s too bad we all use it. As for [2.], it seems to be a factor simply because of [3.]. It wouldn’t amount to much here except for [3.] In other words, it just simply “piggybacks” on [3.]. Nonetheless, it’s a vague term and it doesn’t necessarily imply any kind of authority, much less infallibility. So, I really don’t see the point here of this post/response. It’s sort of pointing out the obvious, but not.
~There’s so much one could say – and many are saying a lot – about the National Anthem protests going on in the NFL. It seems that morality equals social justice for these overpaid players and many others in our society. There’s no other morality for them. Those in the media and the NFL accuse President Trump of “politicizing” the NFL and sports in general because of his comments. Now that’s real chutzpa. In fact, it’s the other way around: QB Colin Kaepernick started this last year and now the players and owners and even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are saying that politics has no place in sports – at least politics that they disagree with! (They actually say this with a straight face). The New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft stated (see http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/news/robert-kraft-donald-trump-reaction-patriots-owner-nfl-news/a0egnhazqqs21gv2ahz4kf93n) that he is “deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday…There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. [My emphasis] I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal…I support [our players’] right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.” So, by Kraft’s crazy logic, there is a place for politics in sports after all – but only the “right politics,” or should I say, the “left politics”?
~There has never been a time where more unserious people suddenly act as if they’re very serious people.
~I’m old enough to remember a time when music was released, not dropped. It seemed to matter more back then.
~As a graduate of the John Paul II Institute, I was saddened and shocked to hear the news of its “reboot” (see http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-establishes-new-theological-institute-for-marriage-and-family-33701/. Many alumni have reflected on how it influenced us (see http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/how-the-jpii-institute-helped-alumni-become-more-fully-and-radically-human-94935/). And I have written an essay for Catholic World Report that goes into more detail on my serious misgivings about this move on the part of Pope Francis (see http://www.catholicworldreport.com/2017/09/23/farewell-to-the-pontifical-john-paul-ii-institute-for-studies-on-marriage-and-family/). Oremus.
~Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner passed away on September 27 at age 91 (See http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hugh-hefner-dead-playboy-founder-sexual-trailblazer-was-91-708796). Many of the same people condemning Trump for his coarseness are celebrating Hefner as a hero.
~The following is taken from Carol Glatz’ Catholic News Service story (see https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/09/28/pope-francis-engaging-peoples-real-lives-does-not-bastardize-theology): “To those who maintain that the morality underlying the document is not ‘a Catholic morality’ or a morality that can be certain or sure, ‘I want to repeat clearly that the morality of [the Apostolic Exhortation] Amoris Laetitia is Thomist,’ that is, built on the moral philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, [Pope Francis] said. ‘I want to say this so that you can help those who believe that morality is purely casuistic,’ he said, meaning a morality that changes according to particular cases and circumstances rather than one that determines a general approach that should guide the church’s pastoral activity. The pope had made a similar point during his meeting with Jesuits gathered in Rome for their general congregation in 2016. There he said, ‘In the field of morality, we must advance without falling into situationalism.’ [And] ‘St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure affirm that the general principle holds for all but – they say it explicitly – as one moves to the particular, the question becomes diversified and many nuances arise without changing the principle,’ he had said. It is a method that was used for the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Amoris Laetitia, he added.” After reading these words, I thought: Sometimes Francis talks like a casuist and acts like a Thomist, whereas other times he talks like a Thomist and acts like a casuist. He also seems unaware, if I may, that those “particulars” involve at times absolute moral norms.
~On this day eleven years ago, my father Mark passed away of lung cancer at age 64. RIP