Friday, September 27, 2002

In response to the comments of a friend who spoke on the issue of doctrinal fidelity - and in light of some of the emails I have received over the years - I decided to establish a Miscellaneous blog. Basically, anything on that blog will be matters that I do not intend to rehash here at Rerum Novarum. It is in the side margin now but for your convenience I link to it at this time. The first entry is my Profession of Faith; ergo the issue of my fidelity to the Church if ever it was held suspect may be laid to rest. So let it be let it be done...


"They're Coming To Take Me Away (Ha Ha)" Dept.

Lest anyone email me about it, I note here for the record that I know the archives are not posting at the moment. I am not sure why but my best technicians are at work trying to fix the problem. (Actually my only technician is moi and my status as an HTML expert is ... well ... not there.) Nevertheless, "Dr. Blog" will see what he can do lest conspiracy theorists think that either Blogger is trying to shut me up or that I am "destroying evidences" by deleting the archives stuff that I have reason to "hide" if you will...


My friend Mark Shea has dealt masterfully with Cardinal Keeler at his blog - summing up my views and saving my Irish temper a need to assert itself publicly. Before I get to those comments, I want to remind you all about a curse you could very well call down from heaven upon yourselves if you react to what Mark talks about at those links. (With regards to a friend of his and mine who has been accused of improper conduct.) To quote the Lord Himself on the matter:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation But deliver us from evil. For if you forgive men their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you your offenses. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offenses (Matt. vi,9-14).

Bearing in mind that you have just called down upon yourself either a blessing or a curse depending upon your willingness to forgive, you can read these statements from Mark about the absolutely disgraceful actions by Cardinal Keeler:

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Link 4

And though I do not believe in kicking someone when they are down, Cardinal Keeler's stock is lowballing Enron right now in my book. And in light of his recent actions to try to save face, I will make an exception to my usual approach and give him a swift kick in the teeth by pointing you all to what my very good friend Pete Vere noted about what the *real* title that the recent so-called "Charter for Protection of Children and Young People" document should be.

As for my stand on Gerard Serafin, I clearly and unambiguously stand with him. His links remain at this blog and if he wants to email me to talk I will keep anything he says in the strictest of confidence. Whatever wrongs were committed, God has forgiven him. Those who would not remember the self-maladictory oath you called down upon yourself above. And if that does not do it then I appeal to your own sins and failings. Ask yourself if you would want accusations made against you to be brought public to the detriment of your reputation. But then I suppose if you make a mockery of Our Lord's counsel above I cannot expect you to recognize the notion of being presumed innocent until *proven* guilty now can I???

In closing I note only to the Cardinal the following: respect for your office is all you have with many of us now Eminence ...

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Thursday, September 26, 2002

"Come All Without, Come All Within...You'll Not See A Blog Like Mi-ghty Bar-ris-ter" Dept.

Eric finally got the archives fixed on his blog. He has some good stuff on there including this entry on the problems of the Boston Archdioceses. Now some may make the argument that covering the Boston archdioceses problems at this point can be considered a "slam dunk". I agree but with one small caveat: Eric does more than "slam dunk the ball" he "hangs on the rim" if you will and puts "extra effect" with well placed references to William F. Buckley, Kenneth Woodward, Boston College, and of course E. Michael Jones' Culture Wars magazine. Despite that I have one minor quibble with the piece if you will.

In the quote of Woodward Eric noted that among Woodward's "I *personally* abhor abortion but would not impose my morality onto others" approach to Church doctrinal and pastoral issues, one of the points raised was laity having a say in the election of bishops. Eric appears to see this as untraditional and indeed a lot of Catholics do, but in Woodward's defense, lay people used to have a say in the election of their bishops.

Some of the greatest saints such as St. Ambrose were made bishop of their sees by massive popular acclaim. In Ambrose's case he went through the stages of enrollment in the diaconite, ordination to the priesthood, and consecration to bishop/investiture in the Milan See all in a seventy-two hour period: possibly record time. And secular authorities used to be able to select their own bishops with the Apostolic see having final say. This only ceased in the nineteenth century. Not to mention kings and emperors having a "veto" power over conclave papal selections: a practice that only ceased after the election of Cardinal Guiseppe Sarto (Pius X) to the See of Peter who put an end to such things.

So Woodward's comments about "the church to consult with laypeople in the selection of bishops" (according to Boston College) is hardly something to look upon with alarm. I for one would love to see such a system set up for us to do the same thing in America - we could have a kind of "checklist" of reasons for certain candidates. (Or Rome could narrow selection down to say three options and give the people of the archdioceses the right to vote.) In this scenario there would be some lay involvement but it would still have a check from higher authority.

I am sure I could find more minor stuff to quibble about but I have liked what I have read thus far Eric. Keep up the good work :)

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James Kabala apparently wants to know why the counter at his blog is not working. Here is my guess.


My good friend Pete Vere blogged a letter from the new Archbishop of Milwaukee on the pedophilia priest situation which is worth a read.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2002

"You Wan-na Talk of Ev-olu-tiooon (Wellll You Knooow)" Dept.

The following are some comments from a discussion list. After pointing out the difference between development of doctrine and evolution of doctrine the following assertions (in italics) were made. I will respond to them in order.

But, let us not quibble here. We both agree that what Cardinal Newman described in his work is mere development, which Pope Pius XII also touched upon. The evolution of dogma is a fantasy of the Modernists, as Pope Saint Pius X clearly said, and "the sythesis of all heresies" depends upon it.

Correct. But it is important to point out that all heresies have their grains of truth in them. With Modernism it was the notion that practices of the Church could be modified according to the circumstances according to the judgment of the Church. (A point I might add that Trent noted in Session XXI when discussing the norms of sacramental administration.)

You know as well as I do that Cardinal Newman's treatise was perfectly in line with what was stated by both Saint Vincent of Lerins and by Pope Pius XII...The expression of a dogma may change, but its meaning can never change.


At the same time, having talked to you for a few years now, I also understand that you hold to the theories put forward by the evolutionary scientists.

I accept certain models of evolution as viable theses. I have not made an assertion at any time which position I actually "hold" and do not intend to. It is an irrelevant and divisive subject to discuss when one dogmatizes theological opinions and goes beyond what the Church specifies are the boundaries of safe speculation.

Thus for this reason and because this does not fall within the areas where my knowledge is either substantial or extensive, I wisely observe reverent silence as a theologian is supposed to do in these circumstances. I touch on this at this blog entry though in brief. I do not intend to take it beyond that point.

Also, that you have constantly refused to seriously study the theories and discoveries of other scientists in the world --all of them with equal credentials to the evolutionists; that is, PhD's and tenures at Universities-- who uphold the literal meaning of the Holy Scriptures in Genesis.

I have reiterated many times that the literal meaning of any text is not necessarily the same one that a person reading the text imposes upon it. This is why "syllabus style" statements can be dangerous when they fall into the wrong hands. See the following blog entry for part of one of our emails that I blogged on that very subject:

The Benefits and Dangers of 'Syllabus' Style Statements

Are you, then, implying that the consensus of the Fathers on the six literal 24 hour days of creation, as well as the statement by Pope Leo XIII upholding this same belief, can be "developed" into millions and billions of years? To say as much is to merely substitute the word "developed" for "utterly repudiated". Not only that, but even though the PBC allowed one to dispense with the word "day" as a literal "day", they did not specify in exactly which verses one could do that.

Au contrare!!! The PBC in a June 30, 1909 decree stated the following (all emphasis is mine):

The first three chapters of Genesis contain narratives of real events, no myths, no mere allegories or symbols of religious truths, no legends.

In regard to those facts, which touch the foundations of the Christian religion, the literal historical sense is to be adhered to. Such facts are, inter alia, the creation of all things by God in the beginning of time, and the special creation of humanity.

It is not necessary to understand all words and sentences in the literal sense. Passages which are variously interpreted by the Fathers and theologians, may be interpreted according to one's own judgment, with the reservation, however, that one submits one's own judgment to the decision of the Church, and to the dictates of the Faith.

As the Sacred Writer had not the intention of representing with scientific accuracy the intrinsic constitution of things, and the sequence of the works of creation but of communicating knowledge in a popular way suitable to the idiom and to the pre-scientific development of his time, the account is not to be regarded or measured as if it was couched in language which is strictly scientific.

The word "day" need not be taken in the literal sense of a natural day of 24 hours, but can be understood in the improper sense of a longer space of time.

That is 99% of the decree right there. (I left off the Denzinger numbers because I tire of the way Denzinger is treated akin to how the Prot treats the Bible in "tradland".)

So that the term "improper sense" is not misunderstood, it is a reference to metaphor. See this link where the traditional 4 senses theology is discussed.

Therefore, to be prudent, one should rely on the Text to determine where this allowable. Leaving aside all of your evolutionary bias, can you make the case, using only the Text of Genesis 1 itself, as well as any documents of the Church dealing specifically with this Text, that the word "yom", day, should not be taken as a literal day?

I refer you to what I have already said. I have made no stated position on this subject and all I will say on it publicly is that my position is full conformity with the binding decree from the 1909 PBC commission - which I might add was an arm of the magisterium at the time.

Again, are you, by your continued defense of evolutionism, implying that the dogma of an actual Adam, formed from the slime of the earth on this sixth literal day, can now be "developed" into a theology that sees Adam as a brute caveman, or as a metaphor for many such brutes, one and all subject to death and disease whether they sinned or not? To say as much is to not only go against an express teaching of the Church, but to bring down the penalty of anathema upon yourself!

I have told you time and time and TIME again that I endorse monogenism. I really wish you would quit inferring that I do not. How many times do I have to repeat myself before you GET it??? (This is about the twentieth time in three years I have told you this. My fuse with you on this subject is used up now so stop it please.)

And why is it that whenever there is a conflict between this so-called "science" of evolutionism and divine Revelation, the Holy Scriptures are always offered upon the altar of sacrifice, while the foundationless philosophies which drive these neo-pagan theologies are left sacrosanct?

There can be no conflict between faith and reason. And if reason presents to us a situation where the faith has been silent, then there is nothing wrong with adjusting the glasses through which we presuppose that we understand the Faith in the areas where dogma and doctrine are not settled.

We are not fideists and fideism was condemned by Vatican I. Because of this, I really wish you would not advance notions which are akin to fideism.

It is high time you and the Mark Shea's and the SAM's and the Bill Bannon's of the world took stock of this situation.

We already do.

The Church stands or falls on the Second Adam.


Make the First Adam a myth, and the Second Adam becomes a myth as well.

No one has made the First Adam a myth.

Jesus said: "I have come to restore all things." A worthless statement if all Adam fell from was the trees!

Adam's soul was specially created by God. The Church has left the issue of creation of the body open as do I and all faithful Catholics. Please do not go beyond the boundaries set by Holy Mother Church.

The evolutionists understand this principle well, and have said so on numerous occasions.

I do not care what these "evolutionists" you refer to say. Because (a) not all pagan knowledge is false or without worth as Church history shows us (b) there is more than one theory of evolution so your constant references to a monolithic entity is really quite facile and (c) you should not be so quick to presume that anyone or everyone that stays within the boundries of Church-transcribed theological speculation who does not agree with you is either wrong or not entitled to their opinions.

I am saddened that men of such intellect as yourselves cannot see all the damage these philosophies of naturalism and uniformitarianism are doing to the Christian philosophy.

I reiterate: you have used up my last bit of fuse on the issue of polygenism. Neither, Mark, nor SAM, nor myself profess a belief in polygenism. Nor does Bill actually do this if I am not mistaken. (He simply points to Grisez' position on the subject. I have told Bill that Grisez - as good of a theologian as he is - is in error on this point.) To my knowledge Bill has not actually embraced this notion.

Please stop erecting straw man viz my position on this issue. Your constancy in doing this would wear on the best of saints and I am not of that calibre. (Yet, God-willing in time I and all on this list will be.) I do not like having to chastise good friends on these matters but when my position is egregiosly misrepresented in public, they must be rebuked in public. And I serve notice to you now that on this one issue I will not rebuke you politely in the future if it is raised again either explicitly or by implication. Consider this note to be a monitum on that score.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2002

"If Not For the Courage of Lou's Fearless Crew, the Mariners... Would Be Lost" Dept.

Well, actually they *are* lost. In light of their inevitable failure to make the playoffs (basically one more loss and they are toast) a song comes to mind which I will modify a bit to fit the circumstances:

Its quite a story of the Mar-in-ers fate,
the team the sports shows would cas-tig-ate,
for trades that would never come,
into the offseason they go ... oh
they could-a been the champions of the world.

There is always next year guys cause this year it will not happen. PERIOD. See my Recipe for a Successful 2003 for more information.

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Monday, September 23, 2002

I am wondering what Gerard Serafin did to his blog as of late. I cannot access it for some reason and the past few days all attempts to go there have been thwarted...could it beee.......SATAN!!! Inquiring minds want to know...

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Sunday, September 22, 2002

"As the Yearrrrrs ... Go Passinnnng Byyyyy" Dept.
(aka "A Trip Down Nostalgia Lane")

My sister and I were talking the other day about a teacher we had in grade school who did not stick out as much at the time as he did later. (Kids who have to sort type at recess for fighting do *not* remember the teacher in a good light at the time generally. But I digress.)

Anyway, we were talking about how good a teacher he really was with the 20-20 vision of hindsight we now have looking back into the distant past at the situation. For Mr. Mangels was a Rennaissance man of sorts. In his class we learned how to operate a printing press (and we printed our own stationary, etc), we learned how to weave with one of those spindels with wool on it, and as a class we were taught how to use surveying equipment and we surveyed the entire upper and lower fields of our elementary school. Those are just a few of the many things we did in the 6th grade. But perhaps most fondly was our exposure to classic literature and poetry.

Mr. Mangels did not take the attitude that since we were in grade school that somehow we could not understand the significance of literature. This was a problem with some teachers who thought a first grader should not know how to read; that a second grader should not be reading Readers Digest's "The World's Lost Civilizations"; that a third grader Huckleberry Finn; that a fourth grader Greek Mythology: all of which I heard from teachers at the time.

Unlike other teachers, Mr. Mangels never talked down to his students - either deliberately or by implication. Instead he would bring us up to his level if you will, as close as we could get to it anyway; he did this in many different ways. One of the ways was that he would read a story or poem to us twice - the first time pausing at various points and asking if we knew what certain parts meant and if we did not (which was often) he would explain them to us until we understood the meaning of the words or the symbolism involved. After going through the story in this fashion he would read it again without comments and we would see it clearly if you will.

To this day my sister and I can rattle off whole stanzas of "the Battle of East and West", "the Cremation of Sam McGee", and other such classics. (And several short form movies like "An Occurrance at Owl Creek Bridge" which looking back was very deep subject matter - especially for grade school kids.) I think this is the reason why in large part Mr. Mangels was among the few teachers that stick out in our minds was that he would teach in ways unlike how other teachers usually did. And no doubt understanding the words of the poems and short stories makes them stick that much more firmly in the mind.

Just last week we were discussing Kipling and some of the other poems that Mr. Mangels read to us when I started quoting Danny Deever to my sister. She did not remember this one at first until I started explaining the concept and then you could see the penny drop if you will. Anyway, since I am in "nostalgia mode" right now, I thought posting Danny Deever to the blog would be in order. Here is the text of that poem - remember this was read and explained to sixth graders:

Danny Deever

"What are the bugles blowin' for?" said Files-on-Parade.
"To turn you out, to turn you out", the Colour-Sergeant said.
"What makes you look so white, so white?" said Files-on-Parade.
"I'm dreadin' what I've got to watch", the Colour-Sergeant said.
For they're hangin' Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead March play,
The regiment's in 'ollow square -- they're hangin' him to-day;
They've taken of his buttons off an' cut his stripes away,
An' they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'.

"What makes the rear-rank breathe so 'ard?" said Files-on-Parade.
"It's bitter cold, it's bitter cold", the Colour-Sergeant said.
"What makes that front-rank man fall down?" said Files-on-Parade.
"A touch o' sun, a touch o' sun", the Colour-Sergeant said.
They are hangin' Danny Deever, they are marchin' of 'im round,
They 'ave 'alted Danny Deever by 'is coffin on the ground;
An' 'e'll swing in 'arf a minute for a sneakin' shootin' hound --
O they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'!

"'Is cot was right-'and cot to mine", said Files-on-Parade.
"'E's sleepin' out an' far to-night", the Colour-Sergeant said.
"I've drunk 'is beer a score o' times", said Files-on-Parade.
"'E's drinkin' bitter beer alone", the Colour-Sergeant said.
They are hangin' Danny Deever, you must mark 'im to 'is place,
For 'e shot a comrade sleepin' -- you must look 'im in the face;
Nine 'undred of 'is county an' the regiment's disgrace,
While they're hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'.

"What's that so black agin' the sun?" said Files-on-Parade.
"It's Danny fightin' 'ard for life", the Colour-Sergeant said.
"What's that that whimpers over'ead?" said Files-on-Parade.
"It's Danny's soul that's passin' now", the Colour-Sergeant said.
For they're done with Danny Deever, you can 'ear the quickstep play,
The regiment's in column, an' they're marchin' us away;
Ho! the young recruits are shakin', an' they'll want their beer to-day,
After hangin' Danny Deever in the mornin'.

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