Monday, November 7, 2016

No Easy Choices

I have a stellar record at choosing presidential elections. With two exceptions (Clinton in 1992 and 1996), I have voted for the LOSING candidate in every election since 1988.  Prior to that, when my political views closely resembled my parents' (as might be expected), the only bright spot was Carter's election in 1976.  You will note, therefore, that somewhere in the past two decades a political shift occurred on my part.  That's a blog post for another time.

So with that losing streak in mind, here is my endorsement for the 2016 presidency:

at least not Trump

That's about the best I can do.

Given the realities of American politics, not voting for Trump will have the effect--not the only one, but a significant one nonetheless--of supporting Hillary Clinton.  That is an unfortunate, but in this case unavoidable, reality.  Secretary Clinton's record contains several aspects which make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to recommend supporting her candidacy.  With any other candidate running against her it would be easy to recommend that other candidate.

That is not the election we face. The one we do face offers only poor and poorer choices.

So, cue the humor:
The Sweet Meteor of Death!
Sweet Meteor of Death 2016

Source: Imgur

There's a pretty funny Twitter feed for SMOD2016 here.  

Or...H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu!

Cthulhu for America
Source: Cthulhu4America (Twitter)

Or even:

Source:  Imgur

Monday, October 31, 2016

FWIW, blog acronyms

For What It's Worth...

occasionally issues emerge on which I'd like to comment, but only for one post.  Anything more seems to take a step towards that slippery slope and then this issue--which is passing--becomes THE.ONLY.THING.THIS.BLOG.IS.ABOUT.

Image result for blogging
source: Window Incident Response blog via Google

Thus:  TOTISSAT:  The Only Time I'll Say Something About This.

Fair warning:  I have been working on one such post for about two months.

Then there's:  "OKFIBAT": "OK, Fine, I'll Blog About This."  -- for those times when an issue, which once seemed a passing fad, has demonstrated some staying power.

Finally, WISWN:  What I'm Struggling With Now -- perhaps more self-explanatory, an occasional excursion into theological/spiritual conundrums still challenging us.  These pop up all the time.

These acronyms will also help categorize this blog's accumulating posts.  Can you believe it's been FOUR YEARS already?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

On cue, somebody takes the bait

Wikileaks:  Here are some John Podesta emails.  Some of them involve plotting against the Catholic Church's teaching.

Some liberal American Catholics:  We.are.doubling.down.

source:  Google and Internet

That's right, in a hole and still digging.  Writing in Commonweal E. J. Dionne, Jr. asserts that it is actually those liberal American Catholics supposedly caught by the Wikileaks release fomenting change within the Church...those are the real good guys.  After all, they're the ones who really support Pope Francis.  Dionne:

Ironically, a “Spring movement” did arrive in the church—but from the top, with Pope Francis’s election in 2013. Also ironically: Many of the conservative Catholics inclined to denounce the Clinton camp have been critical of Francis—it gives new meaning to the term “more Catholic than the pope”—while more liberal Catholics like Podesta have championed him.

and then in conclusion:

The factual bottom line is that in private correspondence, the two Clinton campaign officials said nothing anti-Catholic, although they did not reproach the critical comments of their friends.
As a progressive Catholic myself, here are the lessons I draw.
Liberals are free to criticize religion in general or particular religions, but they should resist casual put-downs of Catholics and Christians that they’d condemn if they were directed at other faiths.
Conservatives in the Catholic hierarchy need to pay attention to Pope Francis and ponder the high costs of tying a church with a rich tradition of social teaching to the right end of politics.
Finally, this episode is part of an ongoing argument among more liberal and more conservative religious people, and it will long outlast this election.
Read it all here.


Monday, October 17, 2016

Light of the Righteous

Rabbi Jacob Neusner died Saturday, October 8.  The American Academy of Religion, which Neusner served as President in 1969, posted a lengthy memorial written by Aaron Hughes, Professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Rochester.

Hughes concludes: "Zekher tzadik livrakha. May the memory of the righteous be a blessing."  Amen.

Read it all here.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Did They Really Think That Would Work?

OK, so a couple recent posts have staked out the reasons for not supporting Donald Trump's campaign.  There has been one reviewing an article criticizing Democratic vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine.  Now it's time to heave a few large stones at the Democrats generally.  Thanks to Wikileaks, we now know


Not only that but Democratic party leaders created their own Catholic advocacy groups to foment their changes from within the Church.  Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good?  Yep.  Catholics United? Yep, them, too.  

Let's repeat that:  these groups were created to bring about change within the Catholic Church--changes that corresponded nicely to mainstream Democratic Party politics.

Let that sink in. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Finitude Strikes Again

So about eighteen months ago I blogged about Indiana and its governor, Mike Pence.  In 2010 then U.S. Congressman Pence had been the only Republican, House or Senate, to attend the Faith & Politics Institute's annual Civil Rights Pilgrimage to Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama.  I mentioned all this because, at the time, Pence was cast as one-dimensional, cardboard reactionary.  I haven't lived in Indiana since 1991, so I am neither a supporter nor critic of Pence.  I simply thought the then-descriptions of him were woefully incomplete.

Well, since then, obviously, Pence has become Donald Trump's vice-presidential candidate and therein lies the problem.

We are all human.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Paging Julian Felsenburgh

Blogger note:  Just recently this blog took on discrepancies between Tim Kaine's political stances and his affirmation of his Catholic faith.  This post, working from material composed earlier this year, provides balance with a critical view of the Trump campaign.

Robert Hughes Benson's Lord of the World.  Folks, you need to read this book.  It matters not that the book was published in 1907, the same year as St. Pius X's Pascendi, five years before the Titanic sank, seven years before Gavrilo Princip shot Archduke Ferdinand, thirty-two years before Hitler invaded Poland.  The novel features euthanasia, the loss of religious liberty, anti-Catholicism (because they're two different things), globalization, total war, martyrdom, demagoguery, and the miraculous.

Bradley Birzer, author of illuminating studies of Christopher Dawson and Tolkien, earlier this year  posted this brief article at The Imaginative Conservative.   I myself was reminded about Benson and this particular novel by this Crux article by John Allen, Jr.  Both Benedict XVI and Francis have recommended the book.  Benson (1868-1914), whose father had been Archbishop of Canterbury, was a celebrity convert and priest.  Once quite popular among English-reading Catholics, his reputation has vanished since the Second Vatican Council.

Lord of the World follows the parallel trajectories of Father Percy and his doppelganger, Julian Felsenburgh, a senator from Vermont (no, I am not making that up) who is clearly the anti-Christ.  Secularism has pushed all religion to the fringes as the masses chose instead this world's pleasures (euthanasia and what amounts to physician-assisted suicide are readily available).  Only Rome the city itself resists as it has, through international treaty, become the sole earthly haven for Catholics.  Martyrdom awaits any Catholic who dares declare the Faith openly.  Meanwhile a worship of divinized earthly powers spreads like wildfire.  Amassing this new awakening, and yet remaining above it all, stands Julian Felsenburgh.  Traveling across the world at record speeds, Felsenburgh successfully unites the entire planet, save Rome, under one government.   Meanwhile, Father Percy sees his clerical friends lose their faith and the Church lose even what little it retains on earth.  The impending victory of Felsenburgh's atheist materialism seems complete.  The conclusion, though, must be read all the way to its very last words.  No spoilers here.
(Pic credits:  Ave Maria Press & Wikipedia)