Saturday, July 17, 2004

Some Sites Worth Catching Up On:

Of many which could be listed, these five seem good at this time for noting:

Musings of a Pertinacious Papist -Dr. Philip Blosser

Basically, just read everything on the front page. We not sure what it says about Us in finding the story about the kitten out at sea screaming for help to be so compelling; nonetheless that and the parts about Bush's accusers being confuted (yet again) on the war subject are particularly worth noting.{1}

A Catholic BLOG for Lovers - Gerard Seraphin

Again, everything on the front page is worth reading.

The Curt Jester BLOG - Jeff Miller

Everything on the front page -particularly the posts on Dissent as an Endorsement for Bishop DeLorenzo, Prayer and Punditry, and (for a bit of levity) CJ Sports.

The HMS BLOG (Various)

The front page appears to be the "Kevin Miller Show" which as readers of this weblog know is fine with Us.

The Cor ad Cor Loquuitur BLOG - Dave Armstrong

Likewise, We recommend a review of everything on the front page.

Finally, We have a couple of Ecumenical Jihad threads to recommend here as well:

Rabbi Daniel Lapin's Toward Tradition Website

Rabbi Lapin has long been Our favourite Sunday night talk show host. And with Toward Tradition, his discourses on moral matters and engaging the culture are always worth reading. We particularly recommend Rabbi Lapin's article The Slippery Slope of Secularism and Samuel Silver's Guide to Same Sex Marriage.

Debbie Schlussel's latest editorial on the FBI.



{1} Oh, and congrats on the good news Phil.

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Miscellaneous Mutterings:
(On post volume: a digression from your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

The ironic thing about writing is that it is possibly the one area of my life where I am anything but economical. When it comes to the written word, often have I been accused (and not without justification) of tending towards the verbose in my written pieces.{1} Having posted a profile at Lidless Eye today to account for the summary of my weblog mutterings these past near two years, the sum total as of this moment is 1,405 posts totalling 980,330 words.{2} The post per weblog averages are 644 words at Rerum Novarum and its subsidiaries, and 1,383.5 words at Lidless Eye. Taken together, that is a per post average of 697.74 or 698 if we round up to the nearest word. I assure you just reflecting upon those totals gives me reason to pause and consider a greater effort towards economy of verse.

It is true that I have improved in this area on the whole with my written essays over the years. Also, this weblog medium has forced me to significanty economize over what I used to do before on discussion list forums when my prowess with the cut and paste made for quite ponderous and lengthy cogitations by my own admission. Heck, compared to the days of yore, 700 words a post does not seem like much but then again, just because a 747 is small compared to the Grand Canyon does not mean that a 747 is small if you catch my drift.

I think the time constraints of my current endeavours have helped significantly in this area. At the very least it has resulted if not in actual reduction in volume then at least in frequency of posting. Either way though, I promise to work on this aspect of my blogging to the extent that I can do so without losing the essence of the points I strive to make on various issues I muse on at my weblogs.


{1} To put it mildly.

{2} 839,213 words in 1303 posts to this weblog and its subsidiaries, 141,117 words in 102 posts to the Lidless Eye weblog.


Friday, July 16, 2004

"Confuting Conventional Wisdom" Dept.
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

[Prefatory Note: I wrote this yesterday in a message box at one of my favourite weblogs. -ISM]

The notion that two totalitarian systems (i.e. communism and fascism) could be polar opposites philosophically speaking is an example of Aristotle's Law of Non-Contradiction being violated in spades. Think about it for a moment:

---If Communism represents totalitarian control over every sphere of a society, the opposite of total control is no control. Thus, the converse of communism is not fascism but anarchy.

Fascism is nothing except a slightly more palatable form of socialism than communism. Oh and do not even bring up Nazi Germany as an "opposite" of communism. Communism is totalitarian socialism and the Nazis were the National Socialist German Workers Party. Unless the entire political spectrum is socialist, the notion that fascism or naziism could be the political "opposite" of communism is ludicrous on its face. Yet notice how many anointed "experts" trot out this false notion of political opposites.

I believe the reason this is done is because if people believe that extremities of either liberalism or conservatism are both totalitarian -as communism and fascism so obviously are- that it will consciously shove a lot of people incapable of solidly logical thought towards the presumed "safer ground" of the political middle: those who often identify themselves as "moderates."

With regards to the so-called "moderates", most people who situate themselves here are precisely the sort of people who are incapable of making decisive judgments -indeed they often impugn people who do this. And as a result, they set themselves up as lambs for the slaughter by those who can make decisive judgments and who lack the moral grounding to render such judgments in accordance with any standard of morality except the subjective morality of the individual.

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Ecce Homo

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

On NFP and a Unique Contribution to the Arena of Ideas:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

[Update: I cannot believe I forgot the title and footnotes for this post yesterday. But then again, if you take into account that it was "Friday" for me yesterday all the way until around 6pm, hopefully these oversights can be understood. (What occasioned this is in retrospect rather hilarious but I have no time to discuss it at this point.) Nonetheless, I have added the title and footnotes to this post that were intended and apologize for their omission. -ISM 7/16/04 11:07am]

Though I have not said much of anything on my weblogs about the matter thus far,{1} the subject of NFP{2} is one which I have approached in some of my web writings -particularly my treatise which was promulgated to the web four years ago last D-Day. In that work, I dealt with the subject as it pertained to certain Jansenistic outlooks on sexuality and also certain contemporary realities that were often not taken into account by those who were of the "traditionalist" persuasion. (In the case of NFP, the "traditionalists" are not infrequently quick to scoff at this practice.) Here is some what I noted on the matter then -though this section received a little touching up in last year's revision viz. the approach taken towards this position (though not the arguments utilized to sustain it):

There are also an often very rigorous (often fanatically so) attitudes of 'traditionalists' with certain warped concepts of modesty. A woman not wearing slacks is one concept that comes to mind. Never mind the degree of modesty that a given pair of pants may have (there are after all, immodest and modest pants), comments such as "the Blessed Mother never wore slacks" are thrown out which are indicative of a gross stupidity. First of all, in apostolic times both men and women wore long flowing garments. In fact, the actual attire was quite similar between women and men back then (except women covered their heads often time of course). Another warped concept is one of an exaggerated Puritan concept of marriage and also the relationship between the spouses. When it comes to husband and wife relationships, 'traditionalists' take an exaggerated view of the submission owed by a wife to her husband and makes it equivalent to a near-servitude (if not explicitly stated as such).

Then there is the subject of conjugal love and procreation. Ignoring the manifold factors that make excessively large families less congruent to modern society, there is the condemnation of NFP and other family planning methods (that are intrinsic ally congruent to the Divine Law) by the 'traditionalist' movement both implicitly and explicitly. The facts that (i) we live in a more urban and industrialized culture so (ii) the need of large families to support an agriculturally based society is no longer necessary are not factors that are ever taken into consideration. Further still (iii) with the death rate being overcome in the late nineteenth century, the same degree of emphasis on the need to preserve the species is not in existence. This is due in no small part to (iv) numerous advances in medicine that aid in the cure of many ailments that were fatal to infants and young children even a century ago along with (v) a lower degree of miscarriages today primarily since we have greater knowledge of the types of stress that causes a miscarriage: knowledge that did not exist in previous centuries. In other words, the same number of conceptions today would result in a vastly higher rate of both births and survival to adulthood of many children who due to the particular circumstances in previous centuries were either miscarried, stillborn, or died before the age of five.

The Church in her timeless wisdom has recognized in certain situations (because of the changes in times and circumstances and the advance of medicine and knowledge) there are natural God-given means of addressing these matters. There is of course nothing wrong with having a large family of course. (Nor is it being implied in this paragraph that there is.) However at the same time it is not and never has been a Catholic understanding that one was to have as many children as they could. The difference in the industrial-technological society of today is that family sizes that were common in centuries past are often not as practical as they once were and (because of our advances in medicine and knowledge) it is often necessary to be regulated as long as such regulation is conducted in a morally licit manner. There are legitimate and illegitimate means of limiting and/or spacing births and the judicious use of NFP is just such a means, which is in no way contradictory to the Divine Law. Nevertheless, many 'traditionalist' groups erroneously ascribe such methods to "Modernism."

While these methods of consistent natural regulation were not unheard of in previous centuries; using philosophical approaches predating the twentieth century to analyze discoveries of the twentieth century is what is known as a "non sequitur." These methods only became known with enough information to be reasonably consistent in their application around the turn of the century (becoming better known in the 1920's), it involves having recourse to more recent decisions of the Magisterium in this vein to have a proper perspective on these matters. Initial methods of natural regulation (such as rhythm) were not as efficient as the more advanced ones developed since the early to mid 1970's (and refined since then), but the principle is the same. It appears to be God's answer to the contraception mania that has erupted this century since Lambeth in 1930. (Since reasonably consistent natural regulation was only discovered before the evil of contraception became more prominent.) This is not to say that a contraceptive mentality should be employed in utilizing NFP of course, but there are legitimate reasons for its usage which the Church has approved of. Even predating Vatican II we can find this principle outlined in Pope Pius XI's Encyclical Letter Casti Connubii:

Nor are those considered as acting against nature who in the married state use their right in the proper manner although on account of natural reasons either of time or of certain defects, new life cannot be brought forth. For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved. (Pope Pius XI: Encyclical Letter Casti Connubii §59 circa December 31, 1930)

The intrinsic nature of the act is not deterred through sexual abstinence; therefore methods such as NFP which utilize period of abstinence cannot be accused of acting against nature. However, there are many so-called 'traditionalists' who would mark such people as 'untraditional' and demonstrate in doing so the very kind of rigorism that is another parallel to Jansenism. [I. Shawn McElhinney: A Prescription Against 'Traditionalism' Part XIII (c. 2000, rev. c. 2003)]

I never presumed that those were the only arguments to sustain a cogent support for NFP mind you; however, I *did* in the context of that multisubject work find them adequate for dealing in short order with that matter. Some who identify themselves as "traditionalists" would give at most a grudging acknowledgement of NFP as a kind of "lessor of two evils." However, as I have often noted when it comes to the almost pathological nature of many people to try to box people into various categories, that this can work on the other side as well -with the way those who call themselves "traditionalists" are approached by other people.

With this subject, I have an opportunity to demonstrate my assertions in this vein{3} with a real life example.{4} That therefore is what this weblog entry will endeavour to do in pointing out a person who identifies in many respects with the "traditionalist" weltanschauung but who has shown that they can think outside the box. That personage is one Charles De Nunzio.

When surfing over at Charles De Nunzio's weblog yesterday, I found him supporting NFP for many of the same reasons I noted in the writing quoted above. He also posted additional reasons -some of which to a degree go beyond the ones that I noted in my treatise of four years ago.

Now, my concern in writing the material above was to explain this from predominently the area of modern physical issues which pertain to the matter -advances in science, adjustments in the economies of scale, and preservation of the species essentially. Charles goes beyond this and advances the theory that the spiritual climate of society since (roughly) the mid twentieth century is a good argument for the judicious usage of NFP. I am not sure I completely concur with his analysis but I find myself intrigued enough to ponder this point further. And having noted that, a development that has long been latent has come to fruition in my mind.

For I have been monitoring Charles' site for a while with considerations of adding it to my scroll of links. This line of argumentation he has set forth on NFP -being very original and presenting some rather compelling points to ponder- was the cincher for me on that matter. Henceforth, you will find after this post is added, Charles' weblog link added to the side margin under Ecumenical Jihad all things to the contrary notwithstanding.


{1} If you check the archives, you may find a post or two on the matter but I do not believe I blogged on this particular subject before prior to now.

{2} Natural Family Planning in case you are unfamiliar with the term.

{3} The assertion that the indiscriminate usage of labels is a woefully inadequate (and often inaccurate) way of trying to separate various distinctions of outlook from people with differing operative presuppositions.

{4} Mr. De Nunzio is far from "garden variety" in his particular views on this or numerous other matters.



The above compendium is courtesy of Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities. Oh, and lest I forget, this link was brought to the attention of St. Blog's patrons and visitors via Dominico Bettinelli's Bettnet BLOG to which I was directed by my friend Mark Bonocore at a discussion list that we both frequent. Thanks for the headsup guys but I am not at all surprised at this double standard.{1}

For bringing down Bush and promoting liberal idiocy is not a minor bagatelle to these kinds of people. Rather, Moore's movie it seems is being viewed by them as yet another sacrament in their secularist "religion."{2} Again, this is no surprise at all but thanks Jeff for compiling the list for us all to see.


{1} As longtime readers of my musings at this weblog can attest to.

{2} Abortion is the most obvious "sacrament" in their "religion." I am left to wonder if ousting Bush and Moore's movie are actually "sacraments" or are mere "sacramentals" to them.

Readers of a pious nature who think I am being sacrilegious with this terminology apparently do not realize just how integral such things as abortion, gay marriage, pornography, and public funding and/or promotion of these and other abominable matters are to people of this mindset. They are core pillars to their particular weltanschauung akin to the sacraments in Christendom. For that reason, they are properly referred to in that context as their "sacraments" (or "sacramentals") if you will -provided that one shrouds those words in proper quotation marks when doing so.

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Monday, July 12, 2004

My Public Profile Is Now Released:

Okay, it is not much of a profile but I decided to put a little bit of information about myself in cyberspace.

Regular readers of this weblog since its earliest of days will probably see very little that I have not explicated or implicated before at this humble weblog. Nonetheless, there are still some additional bits of information here and there that may be of interest. I also dug up the only web photo of me that there is and added it as well.{1}

One should bear in mind that these figures do not include postings to The Lidless Eye Inquisition or any of my web essays but only what I have blogged since August of 2002 from my Rerum Novarum weblog and other direct affiliates to it.{2} Having noted those things, the following statistics are interesting:

On Blogger Since August 2002

August 23, 2002 to be precise. (Yes, Our two year anniversary is a little over a month away.)

Recent Posts 22

By "recent" I presume they mean in the past month.

Avg Posts Per Week 13

Based heavily on my blogging overall prior to February of this year I am sure.

Posts Written 1,298

All but ten of those are posts from Rerum Novarum.

Words Written 836,630

If we divide number of words by number of posts, we get an average post length of 644.55 words...geez.{3}

Outbound Links 2,831

Presumably that does not rule out double and triple counting of the same links at times. (Either way, it is quite a lot but no Amy Welborn, Mark Shea, or Instapundit that is for sure.)

Profile View 0

Well, I just set it up so there should not be any profile views yet. Anyway, I hope that you find this information to be of some interest.


{1} It is posted to my two Journeyman e-zine entries from September of 2001 and November of 2001. I still resemble in some ways the person in the picture even though the latter was taken 35 months ago today. I will try to get another one taken in the next few months to replace the one on this profile.

{2} Meaning the Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG and also the Rerum Novarum Comments BLOG.

{3} None of those stats include this current post of course.


Sunday, July 11, 2004

"Anathema Sit" Dept.

Though I commented on the most recent Boston Heresy Case HERE, there have been some additional developments since my aforementioned comments.

For example, apparently the founder of De Fide (one Marc Balestrieri), has probably lost his job as a result of this action.
Over at Envoy Encore, my good friend Pete Vere (he with the JCL) assesses the current situation HERE. He also goes into some of the background elements in the equation including the issue of what could be constituted as a kind of "canonical tradition" in the sense of certain unwritten rules that differing sides in a dispute are expected to follow.

Apparently, canon law like baseball has its own version of "The Book" which is unwritten but which the major players are expected to follow. Between that and the various behind the scenes machinations, I think I am starting to see why canon law can have such die-hards like Pete, Edward Peters, and others. Anyway, see the above link to Pete's commentary for more details on the matter.

Also, I exhort you all to offer some some prayers for Mark and anyone else involved in this enterprise that they are successful in their endeavours. Whatever problems there were with overzealous and rash suspicions viz. canonical "investigations" in days of yore, in recent decades the opposite extreme has happened.

In closing, the correct approach is balanced between the two and at the moment, the scale needs to be tipped towards more discipline being meted out.

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