Friday, August 29, 2008

Politics

I am prompted to write this because I am again hearing and reading the same presumptive arguments coming from some Christians.
The first presumption is that we are right because we have God on our side.
The second is that the candidate who holds our position has God on his side.
The third is that because of the first two the candidate not holding our view does not have God on his side and is in fact evil.
Finally because we are convinced of our rightness and our candidates rightness there is no need to critically examine either our assumptions or our candidates position.
This is a recipe for disaster. For example I am told that McCain is the candidate of choice for all “good Christians” because of his position on life.
However, he has publicly stated that though he is pro-life that does not necessarily mean he will use that criteria in choosing a running mate. It must then follow that he will not necessarily use pro-life criteria in selection of Supreme Court nominees or in the consideration of laws concerning life.
I fear that McCains stated position on life is out of political convenience and will change when inconvenient. For a politician this means when it costs him votes.
McCain has a habit of making statements, gauging public reaction then modifying those statements. This is what he is doing with, immigration, Bush tax cuts and bevy of other issues. It is how he is choosing his VP. Tom Ridge or Mit Romney.? He is basing his decision on which will cost the most votes rather than ideology. Based on the reaction to Ridge he may deem it more beneficial to choose a pro-life candidate a decision making process that is not admirable and does not demonstrate a strong commitment to life.
Though perhaps I am being unfair to McCain by singling him out, it may be that the RNC is not as committed to life as the DNC is committed to death if it will cost them an election. As a result he is not getting the same support for a commitment to life that Obama is for a commitment to death.
Don’t misunderstand me; I am not proposing that politics on both sides of the aisle is about anything other than gaining and keeping power. Nevertheless it demonstrates a concerning lack of conviction on McCains part. It aggravates me that a man who displays such a lack of courage and virtue will get my vote simply because he has not yet changed his stated position on a fundamental issue of life.
Related to this, given the vacillation of the current “pro-life candidate” is it very surprising that when asked about the Churches position on the matter Nancy P answered the way she did. I believe her answer was more a reflection of so called pro-life politics than any knowledge of Church teaching. The Bishops were right to correct her but for us to dismiss her statement as arrogant ignorance would be a mistake. Where did she get the idea that the “Christian view” on life was in question? From watching and listening to her Christian/ pro-life colleagues as they wonder is this fight they really want and can they live with the consequences of losing.
My point is this; McCain is the lesser of two evils but certainly not a very good choice and if we must support him we should do so grudgingly with well articulated reasons and clear boundaries knowing that our true allegiance lies elsewhere because McCain’s certainly does.
Comments welcome

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Beijing Olympiad: It Was Well, Executed

There have been a lot of giddy reports of the Chinese "coming out party" that was the just-finished Olympiad. It was their turn to shine and show the world that they could double their medal count while hosting a great olympic games. Makes sense-- they have after all, four times the population of the United States. It would appear that they were successful.

Oh, nevermind the treatment of the "ugly duckling" who officials substituted with a "cuter" little girl to Milli-Vanilli it during the opening. Here's the real singer, who deserves to be seen as well as heard:















This type of action seems pretty harsh, until you consider that China has a "One Child Policy," in which abortions are forced under a variety of circumstances. This story from NPR (hardly a pro-life forum, mind you...) is a good example of this inhumane tragedy:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9766870

We might never know how many abortions would be voluntary if China didn't force them. Unless that is, you take the number of voluntary abortions in the United States and multiply by four....

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sexy Sex

Last year I was reminding 7th graders about their baptismal promises. I was asked by one of the students what is the “false glamour of sin”? My immediate response was sex and violence. Around the same time Mrs Germanicus and I attended a series on Theology of the Body. Below is the result of those conversations. Serviam! Don’t blush.

On a related note I recently claimed that 80% of our formation ought to center on sex and violence. Given our cultures obsession with both I think this has become the obvious challenge of our age. Our ability or inability to confront, give adequate reasons for and provide well reasoned alternatives to the issues of sexuality and violence will determine if the Church is a voice involved in shaping and driving the conversation and therefore the culture of the 21st century or is forced into the background of reaction and survival. I believe we spend too much time memorizing and regurgitating pre-packaged apologetics while ignoring the crisis in our own homes. Anyway I am making lots of bold statements and I expect someone to correct me.

“[E]ach person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire conceives and brings forth sin, and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.”
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” [James 1.13-17]

“Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” [James 4.1-3]

God created both the body and sexuality as a good gift to be enjoyed but not in order to “spend it on our passions. That is the difference between “sexy sex” and “sacramental sex.”
Sexy sex is what the media tries to sell us and what we lure our selves with. The porn industry is built on sexy sex and the abortion industry is supported by it. Homosexuals practice sexy sex and so do most heterosexuals. Sexy sex is simply sex for my pleasure; sex for my benefit. Sexy sex uses the other to get what I want. Many catholic couples also practice sexy sex when sex becomes the means to satisfy the self.
Sacramental sex on the other hand is based on loving the other. It is what the church tries to teach us and what the spirit living in us ratifies. Sacramental sex is what was missing all those times sexy sex did not satisfy. It is based on totally giving yourself to the other in love. Sacramental sex is free, full, faithful and fruitful.
We have been a sold a pack of lies about sex. It is neither the ultimate good nor is it the ultimate evil. Sex is something created by God to show us who he is and what he wants to do. The human body and all its desires images God. We desire to be united to one another in sexual union because God desires to be united to us in spiritual union. A husband and wife love and cherish each other within sexual intimacy like Christ loves and cherishes the church in spiritual intimacy. The Holy Trinity is described as an eternal exchange of love. Could it be that the climax of sexual union is intended to be a physical expression of that divine mystery?

Jesus reply to the teachers of the Law when asked about divorce was “Moses allowed you to divorce because your hearts were hard but in the beginning it was not so’ Marriage and sacramental sex were created to exist within soft hearted relationships. In other words if you are selfish and hardhearted there will be divorce; Perhaps not officially but in the heart. Sacramental marriage and sacramental sex requires a soft heart and a soft heart loves. If this is true in our relationships with each other is will also be true in our relationship with God because if you will not love your wife, whom you can see, how will you love God, whom you can not see?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Brother Knights

For those of you who have just recieved this months Columbia:
Is it just me or is ET's head hovering between the "m" and the "b" on the front cover. Someone please help.