Miscellaneous Meanderings on the signs of the times (Vol. 8, No. 96)
January 1, 2018
Dr. Mark S. Latkovic
Feast of Mary, the Mother of God
~If the soundtrack of the Vietnam War was rock n’ roll, what is (was) the soundtrack to our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? I hope it hasn’t come to saying rap music.
~Whenever I hear the term “a band of joyful missionary disciples,” I want to break out in song and sing, with apologies to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album , “It was 20 years ago today, God taught the band to play… to form a band of missionary disciples.”
~I’m amazed how many people don’t realize that The Babylon Bee is a Christian satirical website. It’s the religious equivalent of The Onion.
~Bruce Thorton’s insightful article (see http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/268528/sow-free-love-wind-reap-sexual-debasement-bruce-thornton) is one of the best I have seen on the all of the awful sexual harassment stuff we’ve been reading about in the media. It’s well worth your time.
~“Getting divorced shouldn’t be seen as failure,” pleads the headline from The Times (see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/getting-divorced-shouldn-t-be-seen-as-failure-dfbd2ws53). Well of course it shouldn’t. We wouldn’t want people to feel bad about themselves, i.e., to feel guilty. Don’t we ever learn? I guess the people of the country we split from have to (re)learn our mistakes in the U.S. with no-fault divorce.
~Actress Tracee Ellis-Ross, guest-hosting on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on December 5, 2017, read her fake children’s book guide to dealing with sexual harassment (see https://youtu.be/KXRYlfjlFLk). Here is the last line: “If she doesn’t consent – the answer is NO.” Well, even if she does “consent,” then the question is (or should be), “Are you two married?” If you answer “no,” then you shouldn’t be having sex in the first place.
~An observation on manger scenes – for those who still have them: Catholics wait until Christmas Day to put the Baby Jesus out, while Protestants put him out whenever the manger goes up. I think that’s generally true, although Catholics are now often doing what their Protestant neighbors have been doing. I guess we should be thankful that at least some Catholics are still putting up mangers at Christmas.
~When will the culture go after rock and rap musicians? So far, they’ve been spared the sexual misconduct purging going on in the news media, the movie industry, and the sports world. But for how long? That will be the true test of whether the #MeToo is consistent, comprehensive, and here for the long-haul [After I wrote these words, an article appeared with an explanation of sorts: “The most powerful men and companies in popular music have thus far gone largely unscathed in the national reckoning over sexual abuse. A major reason: Sex and debauchery are built into the music industry, where the boundaries between work and play blur in late nights at clubs and studios, and many women have scant power or incentive to complain about being mistreated.” (See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/13/arts/music/russell-simmons-rape.html).
~Speaking of sex and music… From The Big Bopper’s “Chantilly Lace” (1958) and the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” (1966) to Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen” (1980) and “Cousin Dupree” (2000), to Robin Thicke, et al.’s “Blurred Lines” (2013), the list of misogynist rock songs is truly endless. They are often as ubiquitous as they are unnoticed for their sexism and other offenses.
~“A major NHS survey has found that women are unhappier than men for almost their entire lives. Only after the age of 85 – by which point many will be widows – does the pendulum swing the other way, the research found” (see https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/women-more-unhappy-than-men-until-they-reach-mid-80s-j868mxzkv). Do you think that they are implying something about husbands?
~“New technology could produce babies from skin cells – and that’s a problem” (see https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/this-new-technology-could-produce-babies-from-skin-cells-88038). Of course it’s a problem. This December 20, 2017 story indicates that bio-reproductive technology will stop at nothing to push its anti-human agenda forward. It might someday soon make Brave New World seem like a Tame Old World.
~“The Catholic Church used to be like Silicon Valley. Can it be again?” (See https://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2017/12/13/catholic-church-used-be-silicon-valley-can-it-be-again). Although this article has many great insights and is necessary reading for the program of the New Evangelization, in my opinion, it is flawed in some ways. One obstacle the author does not really come to grips with? It’s this: The secular culture hates the Church – unless of course she’s feeding the homeless; and even then, she better hand-out condoms with the crackers – and desires her destruction.
~In similar Brave New World news, we read this headline: “Woman, 26, Has Baby Born From Record Breaking 24-Year-Old Frozen Embryo”
(see http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2017/12/19/oldest-frozen-embryo/). I wish I could say that this frozen embryo story fully warmed my heart – especially at Christmas – but I can’t; at least not fully… While I have been in the camp of those who think adopting frozen embryos is a morally sound act (under certain conditions), this case raises some troubling questions. In the final analysis, it’s simply another argument for why we should not be doing IVF and/or freezing embryos under any circumstances.
~I’ve always had a soft spot for those end-of-year reviews, lists, columns, etc. that are common especially during the last week or two of December. Here’s a good example of the genre but with a slightly different twist (see https://townhall.com/columnists/lindachavez/2017/12/29/happier-new-year-2018-n2427927).
~Well, while closing out the year 2017 with a small kidney stone on New Year’s Eve was not my idea of a good time, I did enjoy all the Facebook responses to my post of me in the ER. Some hoped that the stone would “drop” with the ball at Midnight. Others responded to my wife’s post about “celebrating” the New Year and my kidney stone with songs that had the word “stone” in them.
~“Only a well-formed conscience can decide: Cardinal Marx on sexual morality” (see https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/only-a-well-formed-conscience-can-decide-cardinal-marx-on-sexual-morality-38040). So says the German cardinal, a noted progressive. In the interview, Marx said, correctly, that a person “has to be guided into the full reality of the faith and heed the voice of the Church.” It was good to see him continue and affirm, “It is not sufficient to say that one knows by oneself whether something is good for you, or not. That would not constitute a conscientious decision-making process in the context of the Gospel.”
~On this Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, let us re(commit) ourselves to the Virgin and the Rosary. “Devotion to Mary is not spiritual etiquette; it is a requirement of the Christian life,” Pope Francis said in his homily for the feast on Jan. 1. “The gift of the Mother, the gift of every mother and every woman, is most precious for the Church, for she too is mother and woman.” (See https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-on-new-years-day-devotion-to-mary-is-a-must-10900).
~Here’s to a happy, healthy, and holy 2018!