Saturday, May 14, 2005

Points to Ponder:
(On a "Fixed" or "Evolving" Notion of the US Constitution and Its Meaning)

Whether "evolving standards," the "weight of international opinion" and good ideas should determine court decisions underlies much of the ongoing conflict over President Bush's federal court appointees. A federal court appointee who'd say his decisions are guided by the letter and spirit of our Constitution would be tagged by Democrat senators and a few Republican senators, such as Arlen Specter, as an extremist. They'd prefer justices who share former Chief Justice Charles E. Hughes' vision that, "We live under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is." Translated, that means we don't live under the Constitution; we live under tyrannical judges.

Many law professors, and others who hold contempt for our Constitution, preach that the Constitution is a living document. Saying that the Constitution is a living document is the same as saying we don't have a Constitution. For rules to mean anything, they must be fixed. How many people would like to play me poker and have the rules be "living"? Depending on "evolving standards," maybe my two pair could beat your flush. [Walter E. Williams: from The Law or Good Ideas? (circa March 30, 2005)]

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On Proper and Improper Approaches to Argumentation:
(A Rerum Novarum Inculcation Thread)

The purpose of this post is to remind the readers of an argumentation fallacy which was written about last year at Rerum Novarum. As there was a recent situation whereby this fallacy applied in spades,{1} it seems appropriate to remind readers of what the points covered in the previous thread dealt with.

To reiterate the crux of that thread, it dealt with the argumentation fallacy of appeal to authority and outlined five principles which were set forth on this weblog for avoiding fallacious forms of that kind of argumentation.{2} To recap them in brief, they were as follows:

--A recognized authority in one area is not necessarily worth listening to in another area.

--On topics which are of a controverted nature (or where there are disagreements among recognized experts), it is fallacious to accept the opinion of an authority.

--In areas where there is disagreement among recognized experts, individuals then have to turn to various sources. However, whatever the sources turned to, the purpose cannot be for conclusions or opinions of said authority.

--Appeals to any presumable "authoritative" source should take into account (to the extent this is possible) the trackrecord of accuracy of the source being utilized.

--Do not presume to put an unfavourable interpretation upon the words or actions of another because the same words or actions can be looked upon in different circumstances or contexts.

It seemed appropriate to remind those who followed recent controverted threads that at no time did this writer run afoul of any of the above principles. The same cannot be said for certain critics (who violated most if not all five precepts) but that is another matter altogether.

The moral of this story is simple: context-switching{3} and arguing from questionable premises{4} are very poor ways of advancing an position persuasively and it is imperative that those who want to be taken seriously actually demonstrate a logical coherence to their arguments. Otherwise, they are merely wasting webspace (and the valuable time of any readers they may have) in saying anything at all on the subjects they have pretentions of discussing with any semblence of reasonable intelligence.


{1} This fallacious kind of argumentation was utilized by certain very recent critics of your humble weblog host.

{2} The appeal to an authority approach to argumentation is not uncommon. It has both valid as well as invalid approaches -though most who have pretentions of being logical and rational in their approach to issues misuse this approach. Even in the rare situations where this approach is utilized validly, the appeal to authority is not a very strong way to defend one's position.

Some of the underlying internal methodological flaws of this approach were dealt with more recently (and in additional detail) in a recent Rerum Novarum audio post where the subject covered was the argumentation fallacy of provincialism. The latter thread intends to cover in the internal sphere the same kinds of dynamics that the thread written last year did for the external sphere.

{3} This is one of the methodologies of argumentation that those who strive to argue from authority utilize. (Much as provincialism is the faulty internal predispositions whereby such people apply any information they happen to come across.) The fallacy of context-switching may be dealt with in the coming weeks or months at Rerum Novarum if it is judged by Us to be worth pursuing. (And if there is time to deal adequately with it.)

{4} This is another key argumentation fallacy which may be touched on at Rerum Novarum in the future.

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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Points to Ponder:
(On the Problems Many Have Comprehending More Complex Weltanschauungs)

The division of the world into "liberal" and "conservative" on every topic from politics to our taste in cuisine, clothes, or automobiles is one of the really restricting developments that has ever happened to us. If we are not what is considered popularly a "liberal," then we must, by some convoluted logic, be a "conservative," or vice versa. No third or fourth option is available as is usually the case in the real world. It has to be, we are told, either this way or that. Such a view makes things very simple, I suppose. But it also reduces our minds to utter fuzziness. We are required to define everything as either liberal or conservative even when the two allowable terms of definition are not adequate to explain the reality that they are intended to describe. [Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.]

For more on these subjects, see the threads posted HERE, HERE, and HERE.


Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Some Thread Updates and Additional Notations on the Stephen Hand Saga:
(From the Webmaster of Rerum Novarum)

It seems appropriate at this time to note the recent updates on this situation from our friends and wrap up the Stephen Hand subject on Our part. To say that he has stooped to new lows privately (even beyond what he has displayed publicly) would be an understatement of immense proportions. Apparently, Mr. Hand believes he can say whatever scurrilous stuff he likes about people privately and then tries to defend his antics by threatening people (both directly and indirectly) with legal intimidation if any of it gets out into the real world. For the record, I have said nothing about Stephen Hand privately that I would not say publicly if not for the fact that I do not view some of the statements as being conducive to ever letting this thread die by its own volition. But lest that be misunderstood by some of the readers, I will give some examples of what I am referring to.

To give you an idea of how disturbed this man is, Mr. Hand sent me about seven emails yesterday and then tried to make any responses I made to his sewer-talk appear as if *I* was "stalking" *him*.{1} It is evident from such tactics that we have someone prone to conspiracy-theory approaches to reality. As a result of this revelation from Mr. Hand, I have blocked his email address and will not entertain his filth anymore privately. Hopefully he will learn from this and act accordingly. I must note though that I have serious doubts in light of what we have seen publicly from him in recent weeks that he will do this.

Nonetheless, I will take the initiative after posting this note to terminate the discussion thread but not without pointing out that Mr. Hand's failure to interact with anything that was noted by Greg (in his guest editorial), myself (in my commentary to said editorial), Christopher Blosser (in his public posts on these subjects), Dave Armstrong (on his weblog), etc. speaks volumes of how seriously we should take him. All of us considered Mr. Hand to be a friend and we took seriously the patterns that we had seen in his work the past couple of years. If Mr. Hand chooses to ignore them, that is his prerogative. We have done our part and our consciences on this matter are clear.

It should be noted for those who believe his public persona that Mr. Hand is guilty of making the most uncharitable statements about people who sought to help him overcome his gradual (in recent years) slide into incoherency.{2} Well, he can enjoy the ride if he likes. However, I reiterated the disclaimer of this weblog (in posting an email from Jack Benedict) because I anticipated this would happen -albeit not as bad as it actually has. Nonetheless, Mr. Hand should be warned that I consider anything he sent to me as fair game for posting if he continues to try and smear those who took him to task for his irresponsibility in the areas that Greg and I noted --not to mention Christopher Blosser and David Armstrong among others past, present or future.{3} With regards to Christopher's site, the following thread was posted recently where Christopher took the opportunity to reiterate his previous position a bit:

A Plea for Civility - And an Opportunity for Charity

There is a maze of comments in the thread attached -including a few from Mr. Hand. I repost here an entry I made there to clarify several of the points he directed towards me personally:

Shawn at the time was praising TCR in email and on his blog (why, I wonder, when our position on the war was exactly the same as it is now?)

Simple, (i) TCR used to be a very diverse site and (ii) it was not until (strangely after) the tributes stuff was posted that your site really began veering into crazyville on the war subject. Some people emailed me asking if my tribute to TCR was an endorsement of your war position and I made it clear it was not. (The reason I wrote the tribute as I did was to provide the space needed for that fact but apparently some people did not get it.)

We were not personally attacking him, as Dave, Shawn and Greg regularly attack their opponents.

This comment betrays your ignorance of Rerum Novarum Stephen. I so very rarely go after anyone that I am able to dialogue with people that many cannot dialogue with. I do not make a habit of saving the mail I get from people who notice this stuff so unfortunately I cannot post much in the way of actual reader feedback on it.

Of the 3 only Dave has some influence

You wish it was that way Stephen.{4}

What he sent, though, was odd with his scholastic imitation which is a constant in his writing, secoond only to his egoism

What was printed was intended in part to be humoruous. You certainly recognized this at the time -even noting it in an email which I happen to have on file. Apparently you have a short memory though when it is convenient for you to have.

Shawn, David and Greg are---it must be said--- reflexive and embarrassing in their hig school like apologetics. It so often amounts to little more than ego jousting and exhibitionism and for you to mingle with that odor is not a good thing. Already many are disappointed to see it.

Uh huh. You apparently have not looked into your archives at TCR then because there are about ten of my pieces which are linked at TCR -including my last essay on novelty and tradition.{5}

in an email he wrongly, and with not a little very strange paranoia, accused TCR of describing his site at our links page as one-dimensional apologetics against integrists, which it was

No it was not. So-called "integrism" is maybe 3% of what has been covered at Rerum Novarum since its founding. You were utilizing the same kind of typecasting of Rerum Novarum that I abhor -albeit you were not doing so unintentionally.

That is why I reacted as I did -having fought typecasting for five years I was not about to stand by and let people do it again -even unintentionally as you (at the time) were doing.

Alas, Shawn, Dave and Greg do the same kind of "apologetics" (note Shawn's "Shawn and Greg '1', Stephen '0'" style at his blog) which I frankly find repugnant since it is all sarcasm of the most immature kind, all arrogance, and 'win' oriented, rather than pastoral with sensitivity.

I was tallying the number of major points Greg and I made in our writings that you completely misrepresented in your responses. Frankly, if I were you I would be embarrassed at how you missed such simple and elementary stuff. A word of advice: it helps to READ something before you respond to it.

Though more could be noted, this suffices to deal with certain key points in Mr. Hand's above postings. As for the rest, I will deal with it at Rerum Novarum.

To some extent, my friend Dave Armstrong carried out on me a pre-emptive strike of sorts which is (of course) fine by me. Essentially, Dave took a hint I gave in the above text to cull the Internet Archive and found some of the stuff I was referring to above -along with past comments from Mr. Hand which commended him personally as well as Christopher Blosser. Dave's findings can be read in the following thread:

Stephen Hand's Bizarre Flip-Flops Concerning Critics of His Integrism, and Other Ludicrous Double Standards

Dave also took the opportunity in that thread to respond to various bits and pieces of a recent TCR "musings" thread which was dealt with in a previous Rerum Novarum thread as well as in the thread from Christopher Blosser which was noted above. But enough on that point and it is time to address something Mr. Hand has mentioned to me publicly in some of his uncharitable private screeds.

You see, Mr. Hand has made a big deal out of supposedly certain emails I have sent (and other materials) where I once "heavily praised" TCR. He believes that posting these would constitute an "embarrassment" for me for some reason or another. Of course if he ever paid attention to anything We do here at Rerum Novarum, he would see that there is a link in the margin of this weblog that is titled Commemorating a Recent Anniversary. For those who do not know, it is a tribute I wrote for TCR last year. Mr. Hand has posted its text in other mediums to supposedly "embarrass" me while (as is his wont) not noticing that it is in the side margin of links at Rerum Novarum!!!{6} If I was so "embarrassed" at what was written there, why do I not only not remove it but indeed I point it out to you at the present time??? It is simple my friends, you see, when what I wrote is read in context, there is nothing to be "embarrassed" about on my end. Instead, the party that should be embarrassed is Mr. Hand for reasons I will now disclose.

For you see, though I mentioned it in other mediums, I have not until now disclosed here at Rerum Novarum the verifiable fact that Stephen Hand sent me and others a letter in early June 2004 requesting tributes to mark TCR's fifth anniversary!!! As it would not be expedient to print the entire letter here, I will summarize the highlights of it for the same of contextualizing my public tribute to TCR circa June 3, 2004. The points can be summarized as follows:

---TCR was approaching its fifth anniversary and was navigating some rough waters in trying to avoid extremists on all sides{7}

---There was no intention to make this known with too much fanfare

---Nonetheless, TCR would be grateful if their friends and those whose work they supported would write a word of support or appreciation for their efforts

---A short tribute of a few lines or paragraphs would make it easier to put it all onto a single page

---Such a tribute did not mean that there was agreement in all areas but only appreciation (despite differences even some serious ones) for TCR's work.

---Those who received the note were sent it because their work and/or friendship was special and a tribute from them would be especially appreciated.

---A request for the tribute to be dealt with speedily so they could assemble them all for the occasion of the anniversary itself

Now then, how readers could view my public tribute in light of the criteria noted above{8} as an "embarrassment" to me personally --or anything else I said in appreciation or support which presupposed many of the points noted above-- is a mystery to me. So that should suffice to deal in short order with one of Mr. Hand's public threats. Others (such as veiled and not-so-veiled threats at bringing attorneys into the mix) are not worth saying much about here except to note how absolutely pathetic Mr. Hand has become during this entire sequence.

All of this means that I suppose I am going to have to concede to certain parties who shall not be named at the moment{9} that the theory they have proposed about Mr. Hand being no different in substance than Christopher Ferrara is one that looks more viable with each passing day. (And not just because they are both in the legal profession to some degree or another.) Those individuals if they want to construct a dissertation of sorts on that very subject need not concern themselves with any future input from me disputing it. Having noted that, it seems appropriate to wrap up this thread.

Basically my friends, the interactions with Stephen Hand seem to mirror much too closely the battle with the black knight in Monty Python. Therefore, since I tire of lopping limbs off of Mr. Hand's pathetic attempts at "responses", I will with this post terminate from this side continuing this entire episode -but not without reminding the readers of two "points to ponder" segments posted in the past two months. The first was posted about two months ago and read as follows:

"Ideologues embrace a worldview that cannot be changed because they admit no evidence to the contrary." [Bill Moyers]

Some have written me about the irony of Bill Moyers saying that (since he is an ideologue himself in not a few respects) but the statement itself is true. It also applies to many people with pretentions towards being serious commentators -one of whom is Stephen Hand. The second "points to ponder" thread was posted last month and with Stephen Hand specifically in mind. It was an observation from psychiatrist C.W. Socarides and it read as follows:

[A] great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. [C.W. Socarides]

There has been no shortage of Mr. Hand showing his ideological colours in the interactions (both public as well as semi-privately and privately the past couple of weeks). And there has been a tremendous amount of ignorance being displayed by him (of whom I used to think was reasonably intelligent) for the sake of maintaining illusions on his end. But my friends, I must admit that I have had some illusion of my own as well. One illusion on my end was that Stephen Hand would honestly interact with the arguments of others who were critical of positions of his. One good friend told me I was "wasting my time" to even entertain such a presumption about Stephen Hand -let alone attempt what Greg and I attempted to do. And they were right: Mr. Hand by his actions and statements (publicly as well as privately) has dissipated that illusion on my part definitively.

Other illusions I bought into were likewise dissipated in the public and private statements of Mr. Hand. And those were the illusion he tries to maintain about being "more 'compassionate' than thou"{10} and of being a charitable and fair individual generally speaking. Such scenarios are the occasional casualties of trying to approach people under the canons of traditional charity: sometimes we can be made to look the fools by doing so. This is a good insight into the biblical injunction about "the wisdom of God being foolishness to men." I was a fool as was Dave Armstrong and Christopher Blosser. Greg Mockeridge to some extent was too but (I must disclose this) he was onto this from the beginning far more than the rest of us were. But enough on that for now.

I am with this post concluding this exchange in perpetuity all things to the contrary notwithstanding. And barring any extraordinary developments over the coming days/weeks/months, etc. which may necessitate a re-evaluation of that stance, that is what it will be. I will be praying though for Stephen and that he may realize the depth of what he has done -not only to his own reputation but also to TCR. And it was all because of him taking a stance of public intransigence towards those who sought to correct him for mistakes already well documented at this weblog as well as others. Let his plight be a lesson to us all about the dangers of unfettered private judgment and being a slave to an ideology rather than seeking the truth.


{1} And yes, I can back up this assertion much as I can any others I have made. (Unlike Mr. Hand.)

{2} Witness to this is not only the emails exchanged privately in recent days but also an email Mr. Hand sent me to send to Jack Benedict which was so disgusting in its statements and inferences that to publish it here would be to seal the casket on Mr. Hand's public persona as "Mr. Compassionate." In that light, my reposting of the disclaimer from Rerum Novarum on posting public emails was prescient to some extent because it noted what I do as a rule.

I may have to make an exception in the case of Mr. Hand's private note to Jack if Mr. Hand continues to posture publicly without interacting with the arguments we raised in our attempted public intervention. Or (if he so chooses) he can ignore them completely. But let it be noted publicly that this writer highly doubts Mr. Hand can do that...time will tell if that hunch is correct or not.

{3} I noted to Mr. Hand privately that a friend of ours (meaning Greg, Chris, and Dave) who opposed the war was going to weigh in on this matter in support of us; ergo my reference to "or future" in the thread.

{4} As an aside, if this assertion is true then why was Mr. Hand making such a ruckus out of three people with little influence??? As for the rest, I refer the reader back to what is noted in footnote two which further undermines the assertions made by Mr. Hand as to the "influence" of those who have taken him to task as of late.

{5} Have a look if you doubt is under the subheading On 'Traditionalism' (Properly So-Called). I may have to reclassify or drop that thread from the margin in the coming weeks. (Or at the very least add a retracting clarification to the thread itself.) At the moment though, it is still there and the thread reads as it did last June. I did change the margin title last October removing TCR's name from it but that is all...and as I never change the substance of past posts, the most I would do in updating it is add a retracting or qualifying clarification.

{6} Later in correspondence (either on that thread or in email circular), Mr. Hand mentioned he had to go "burn" the stuff in his archive where I am mentioned...He can try and run from the past all he wants but there is always the Internet Archive -which both Dave Armstrong and I know how to operate (particularly Dave). What Mr. Hand has said in recent weeks does not square with what he said and what he did for about five years previously.

{7} For those who wonder if I saw these tendencies in TCR at the time, the answer is yes. I did not however view it as prudent to raise them at that time since (i) the bulk of TCR's site had not been infected by them from what I could discern and (ii) I genuinely liked the site overall and felt that addressing such things in a tribute --which I was quite happy to write by the way-- would have been improper. As we have all made clear in our recent public statements, the issue was never Mr. Hand's positions themselves but instead how he chose to express them as well as what his manner of expressing them implied about those who disagreed with him.

{8} I emphasize that these are summations of the main points from the email he sent and not verbatim lines. (Though they are eminently faithful to the proper understanding of the text that was sent of course.)

{9} They know whom they are.

{10} This illusion was probably due to Mr. Hand's public profile as someone who works at shelters and the like: usually there is compassion as well as charity in such people but obviously not always (cf. Luke xviii,10-14).

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Monday, May 09, 2005

I received an interesting email recently from someone whom I had no idea was following the recent disputations posted to this weblog with regards to Stephen Hand.{1} Having obtained permission from the writer,{2} I post here one of the emails from a person who had frequent contact with Stephen for a couple of years:

Dear Mr. McElhinney,
I read with interest your May 4 post on Stephen Hand and TCR. As the former assistant editor of TCR (until 9/11 when the depth of Mr. Hand's hatred for his own country became evident to me) I can tell you that his journalistic ethics are on a par with The New York Times and network television news.
You have an interesting blog here. I'll have to read more of it.

Best regards,
Jack Benedict

Now, I have mentioned Jack Benedict before at Rerum Novarum -indeed the original link to TCR{3} was credited as follows:

TCR News --Stephen Hand/Jack Benedict

I was unaware when originally adding that link (circa October 2002 or so) that Jack had left TCR in late 2001. I noticed later on when I went to restore the TCR link to the side margin that he was not mentioned at the site as an associate editor any longer -and thus only used Stephen's name when readding the link. Nonetheless, the above note from Jack was appreciated and it lends yet more credence (as if any more was actually needed) that what we are seeing in Stephen Hand's responses to his critics has a probable explanation to it: and not one that is to his credit. But enough on that subject for now except to publicly thank Jack Benedict for his email and his readership of Rerum Novarum.


{1} The most recent installment of which was posted earlier today:

On the Abyss of Private Judgment that has Engulfed TCR's Stephen Hand

Whether anything else is posted after the above installment remains to be seen.

{2} As readers of Rerum Novarum are aware, I do not need such permission technically speaking. To quote from the margin disclaimer of this weblog:

Any correspondence will be presumed eligible for blogging unless the sender otherwise specifies. This is referred to as the Welborn Protocol and is a policy that will be followed at Rerum Novarum. (Though name and email information will as a rule not be posted without explicit request to do so by the sender.)

I say "as a rule" because there are times when exceptions need to be made. Because of the subject matter we are covering here -and the person who sent me the email- I formally requested publicly to use the above note (which Jack gave me) and will respect any requests he makes for confidentiality in whatever else he should send me.

{3} The link to TCR was suppressed in January or February of 2003 (I cannot recall exactly when) during one of my weblog updates. The reason was that Stephen had gone on sabbatical a couple months earlier and the site was not being updated. The link to TCR was restored in May of 2003 only to be dropped in October of 2004 -when the proliferation of imbalanced statements and hyperemotionalist shrieking on the part of Mr. Hand (and those whose work he was promoting) on certain subjects had gotten impossible to bear any longer.

For those who may be interested, it was at that time that the first pieces of the Rerum Novarum recapitulation thread on the war subject were gathered together in draft form. The original idea was contemplated as far back as late August of 2004 but was not actually completed until shortly before the death of Pope John Paul II.

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Points to Ponder:
(On the Vatican and Americanism)

It would be an exquisite irony of history if, when war is declared on the Christian West by those inspired by a possibly perverse but undeniably Islamic ideology, the Vatican refused to take sides; thus, willy-nilly, taking the other side. The Curia's cosmopolitanism, sophistication, devotion to dialogue, and long-term perspective shaped by centuries of diplomacy can all be assets. They can also induce a blindness to the fact that an enemy has declared war and sides must be taken. The Europeans who run the Vatican are right in believing that the Vatican must not be a chaplain to American hegemony; a critical distance is required. When that distance becomes disdain, however, the credibility of the Church's political guidance and the defense of our common civilization are gravely weakened. [Richard J. Neuhaus]

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On the Abyss of Private Judgment that has Engulfed TCR's Stephen Hand:
(Musings of the Webmaster at Rerum Novarum)

Apparently the post prior to my last post about Stephen to this humble weblog stirred something up in him and certainly *not* repentence for his prevaricating in recent years on (among other things) the war subject. Nonetheless, a quick review of this offering and highlighting (yet again) why he fails to actually read the work of those critical of him is in order. Stephen's words will be in black font.

The War Hawk Bloggers Are After the Popes Again

...but pretending to attack only TCR.

Notice the disingenuous manner whereby he titles his response. To point out errors and oversights by Stephen Hand and TCR necessarily means that those critical of Stephen are "after the popes again." First of all, I challenge Stephen to point to actual examples where those who have been critical of him and TCR have in any manner whatsoever attacked the popes. He will not find any such examples; nonetheless he starts this thread off with those words to try and give the impression that his assertions are true. But such a response bereft of actual interaction with the trenchant criticisms of others is interesting. After all, why would Stephen spend one minute answering us if he did not know his paper castle was on fire???{1}

A good rule of thumb is that one can know that their adversary's arguments lack substance when they resort to this kind of approach at the beginning of their responses. Let the rest of this post illustrate further the utter bankruptcy of Stephen's credibility on these issues. The moral of this story is instructive: one should actually READ a text before deciding to pass judgment on the merits that it possesses (or its lack thereof).

They suggest, absurdly, that we don't know the difference between dogma and the prudential judgements of the Popes.

I apologize for what will follow but the readers need to be reminded of what was actually said; ergo it will necessitate quoting from the sources themselves to address these assertions. First of all, we have Greg in his editorial stating the following:

...I had e-mailed Stephen inquiring as to why would he allow an article that was so devoid of a fundamental grasp of Catholic teaching and a lack of charity toward Mr. Keating and requested that he remove it from his site. Not only would Stephen not remove the article, he defended it and amplified what Ms. Hall said in her attack on Karl. He buttressed his case (and Ms. Hall’s) by pointing to how many in Europe found capital punishment “regressive.” As the continent of Europe has become a moral sewer that that makes America (its serious moral problems notwithstanding) look like a paragon of virtue, why should anyone care what Europe thinks on matters such as this?

On a related matter, when the jury in the Scott Peterson murder case handing down a death sentence, Stephen wrote a musing about how Scott Peterson is “now toast”. And in that same musing he basically equated the manner with which we administer capital punishment (lethal injection) to euthanasia. I e-mailed him pointing out that the chances of Scott Peterson’s chances of actually being executed are about one in six, and that’s a worst-case scenario if you are opposed to the death penalty. I also objected to his equating capital punishment to euthanasia. His response was that he was following the logic of John Paul II: an absurd notion if ever there was one.

After all, anyone who actually knows what the pope has actually said in this matter is aware that Stephen's dog won’t hunt. The Holy Father never equates capital punishment, something that is not intrinsically evil, with euthanasia and abortion, which are intrinsic evils.

Such actions on the part of Mr. Hand conform to precisely what Greg said in his editorial. As far as what I have said on these matters, here are the relevant texts:

Karl Keating, Michael Novak, George Weigel and others (including Greg Mockeridge and the present writer) have in reality done nothing but reiterate the same kinds of distinctions on these matters that Stephen and his allies have deliberately sought to obfuscate.

At that point, there is a footnote that includes the following text after examining an actual example of Stephen's distinction-blurring approach to the issues in question:

That Stephen does not make these kinds of simple distinctions is troublesome. In the opinion of the present writer, he can do it (as he has in the past) but he simply does not want to when the subjects involved are peculiar to his particular agenda.

So much for the idea that either Greg or this present writer claimed that Stephen could not make the necessary distinctions. As far as Christopher Blosser goes, he made the following comments on the matter in question:

...The point of Greg's debate is a simple one, a matter of common sense, but lost on some parties to such a degree that it bears reiterating:

One may have legitimate differences of opinion over the war in Iraq, the application of capital punishment, and various economic policies.

One may also marshal the support of the Holy Father's encyclicals and the vast body of Catholic tradition in the defense of one's position on these long as the Church has not spoken authoritatively on these matters -- so long as these issues, however controversial they may be, remain in the area of prudential judgement, about which one may have a "legitimate diversity of opinion" -- one may indeed respectfully disagree with a fellow Catholic, or priest, or Bishop, or even the Pope for that matter -- and yet remain squarely within the bounds of Catholic orthodoxy...

Greg's editorial, and I. Shawn McElhinney's commentary, address the excessive speech and grave distortions of one particular member of our online Catholic community, Stephen Hand of TCRNews, who appears "unable or unwilling to engage in any substantive discussion" on these issues, forgoing "passionate, intelligent and charitable dialogue and debate" to instead engage in deliberate misrepresentation and calumnious attacks of a nature that mimic the very 'radtrads' he had so deftly criticized in the past...

Essentially, Stephen (i) made these kinds of distinctions before in criticizing certain extreme factions who call themselves "traditionalists" and (ii) is failing to make them now. From the logic used it is clear from Christopher's comments that he sees it as a case of Stephen lacking the will, not the ability to make these kinds of distinctions.

Gregg the Obscure made the following comments in response to part of Greg's editorial (covered in the excerpts above):

It is odd and sad that so many good people fail to see the distinction between approval of one limited course of action taken as a response to a particular situation (e.g. the war in Iraq) as opposed to a general policy to be applied in any circumstance (e.g. euthanasia). Similarly, reaching a different conclusion regarding the available facts and the guidlines given by the Church when applying them in good faith is a vastly different matter than rejecting a clear teaching of the Church since time immemorial.

As in the case of Greg, Christopher, and this present writer, Gregg does not say that Stephen is incapable of making these distinctions, only that in the subjects we are discussing that he has "failed to see" them.{2} I have opined that it is willfull blindness or unwillingness to publicly acknowledge it which is the reason for this. Thus far, Stephen has provided nothing whatsoever to controvert that theory.

All that Lane Core Jr. did was link to the threads under a topic at his weblog as being "worth reading." How Stephen could construe anything in this response from that small action is of course a mystery to anyone with a normal intact functioning brain. As far as Dave goes, all he did was link to the editorial and commentary and preface the links with the following heading:

Needed Corrective of a Good Man Who Has Gotten Legalistic About Certain Catholic Moral Teachings

And those who have followed these threads can well see that the above heading is spot-on accurate.{3}

While there are others who plan to weigh in on these matters, at the present time, all the parties Stephen sought to caricature stand vindicated on the point just covered (i.e. that we claimed Stephen was incapable of distinguishing between doctrine and prudential judgments). The overstepping and outright errors in assessing the positions of his critics keep mounting up. The question of when Stephen will recognize what this is doing to his credibility as a result comes to mind.

How foolish and yet how predictable!

Yes, Stephen's constant commenting without actually READING what he is purporting to comment on is both foolish and increasingly predictable.

The point is we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 2,000 years of Catholic principles, and Gospel mercy, over the imprudential judgements of these fellows.

It is nice to know that Stephen Hand (if he lived in the past) would have stood by the following "prudential judgments"{4} of":

---Pope St. Peter for not extending table fellowship to the Gentiles (Gal ii,11).

As an aside, can you just see a first century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the [Pope] which [is] steeped in 16 years of Catholic principles while accusing St. Paul of being "against the pope."

---Pope St. Victor's treatment of some of the oriental churches (excommunicating them for refusing to abdicate their ancient traditions on celebrating Easter and adopt the Roman traditions). Though well within his rights to act in this way, it was profoundly problematical for a number of reasons.

This time it would be a second century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 190 years of Catholic principles while accusing St. Irenaeus of Lyon and St. Polycrates (and other critics of Victor) of being "against the popes."

---Pope St. Zephrynus' apparent aquiscence to Modalism via negligence in addressing it.

This time it would be a third century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 210 years of Catholic principles while accusing St. Hippolytus and other critics of Pope Zephrynus' negligence of being "against the popes."

---Pope Liberius excommunicating St. Athanasius.

This time it would be a fourth century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 359 years of Catholic principles while accusing St. Athanasius' supporters of being "against the popes."

---Pope St. Zosimus accepting at face value the innocence of Pelagius and his collegue.

This time it would be a fifth century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 418 years of Catholic principles while accusing St. Augustine and other opponents of Pelagius and his associate of being "against the popes."

---Pope Vigilius showing some weakness rather than a firm stand in a key Christological dispute.

This time it would be a sixth century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 553 years of Catholic principles while accusing those who favoured a stronger stand on The Three Chapteers of being "against the popes." (Presumably when Pope Vigilius changed his mind and his judgment on the matter, that same Stephen would reiterate the "steeped in 553 years" principle.)

---Pope Honorius refusing to proscribe the monogenism position (offered as a compromise by the Emperor and supported at least tacitly by Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople) and thereby flaming the monothelite heresy.

This time it would be a seventh century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 638 years of Catholic principles while accusing those who opposed the Hentotikan (i.e. St. Sophronius of Jerusalem) of being "against the popes."{5}

---Pope Stephen III was manipulated into supporting the persecution of his rivals -many of whom were blinded and/or mutilated in other ways. This same pope, after blinding one of his enemies (a Frankish bishop named Constantine) then persuaded a contingent of Frankish bishops assemble in Rome and ratify the deposing of Constantine from his see.

I wonder if this pope was not rightfully named "Stephen" the sense of how he was manipulated by others much as Stephen Hand has allowed himself to be manipulated by his ideology in this entire situation.

Nonetheless, this time it would be an eighth century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 767 years of Catholic principles while accusing those who opposed this treatment of political rivals as "against the popes." (A position that would probably be reiterated for the deposing of the blinded Constantine in 768.)

---Pope John VIII gave what appears to have be an acknowledgment of the Photinian synod which reversed all the judgments of Constantinople IV. There is evidence to suggest that he was deceived into doing this but the point here is not to look at other factors but only in the judgment itself.

And this time it would be a ninth century Stephen Hand supporting Pope Adrian II's approval of Constantinople VIII saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 869 years of Catholic principles. Then, when Pope John VIII give an apparent acknowledgment of the Photinian synod which reversed all the judgments of Constantinople IV, the same ninth century Stephen Hand would support that decision with words akin to we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 879 years of Catholic principles.

And (of course) both times this particular Stephen would accuse those who supported Constantinople IV (and believed that John VIII was being deceived by Photius into acknowledging his synod against the former synod) of being "against the popes" much as he would those who opposed Constantinople IV ten years earlier.{6}

---Pope Stephen VII's reversal of all of his predecessors decrees, coupled with exhuming his predecessor's body, dressing it in pontifical robes, and holding a "trial" for the corpse whereupon he excommunicated his predecessor. Then Stephen's successor anulled all of Stephen's decrees and reinstated those of Stephen's predecessor.

I also wonder if this pope was not rightfully named "Stephen" this case with throwing reason and common sense to the winds in how he has addressed the criticisms aimed at him by Greg, Christopher, Dave, Gregg, and myself. (Albeit to a less gaudy physical fashion than how Pope Stephen VII addressed his disagreements with Pope Formosus' prudential judgments.)

Nonetheless, in this case it would again be a ninth century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 896 years of Catholic principles and then (after Theodore II reversed all the decrees and reinstated those deposed by Stephen VII) reversing course with the statement that we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 897 years of Catholic principles to justify changing his mind again. (Not to mention both times declaring those opposed to these policies as being of being "against the popes.")

---Pope St. Gregory VII's Dictates Papae and some of its explicit statements.

This time it would be an eleventh century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 1070 years of Catholic principles including (presumably) the one which said that every pope, no matter how much of a sinner "was immediately made a saint by the merits of St. Peter." Even though there is no indication that the Dictates Papae was ever promulgated; nonetheless, Gregory VII at the very least was supportive of its statements. Ergo, those who disagreed would (by Stephen's "rationale") have to be "against the popes."

---Pope Urban III's arrogance and temper caused King Frederick to order his son to invade the papal states, subdue them, and as a result a fiscal crisis of no small magnitude developed. In response to Pope Urban III's obvious blunder, a twelfth century Stephen Hand would probably stand up and declare we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 1186 years of Catholic principles and criticize anyone who thought Urban III allowed his temper to goad him into a poor judgment call of being "against the popes."

---Pope Innocent III giving his concurrence to the decisions of Lateran IV about all Jews having to wear marks on their clothing to separate themselves from the Gentiles.

This time it would be a thirteenth century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 1215 years of Catholic principles to justify this stance and those who thought that this action was deplorable would be "against the popes."

---Pope Boniface VIII's treatment of his predecessor Pope St. Celestine V:

Boniface VIII...before leaving Naples, ordered Celestine V to be taken to Rome in the custody of the Abbot of Monte Cassino (Catholic Encyclopedia).

Again, it would be a thirteenth century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 1294 years of Catholic principles to justify this stance. Meanwhile, those who thought that Boniface VIII's treatment of Celestine V was improper and obscene would be "against the popes."

---Pope John XXII proclaiming in a few sermons that the just do not see God until the final resurrection.

This time it would be a fourteenth century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 1330 years of Catholic principles on the above issue while accusing most theologians of the time as being "against the popes." There is an actual parallel here in that the statements of Pope John Paul II on the war have about as much magisterial authority as the sermons of John XXII did: none. Yet Stephen has referred often to those statements as "the pope's teaching" and then has the temerity to take offense when people point out how he has muddied the waters on doctrinal judgments and prudential judgments. But there is more...

---Pope Nicholas V's position on slavery for criminal Saracens.

This time it would be a fifteenth century Stephen Hand saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 1445 years of Catholic principles and those who disagreed would be and those who thought that Nicholas V's idea of slavery for the Saracens{7} was improper would be "against the popes."

---Pope Sixtus V's Bull promulgating a faulty Latin Vulgate "in perpetuity."

This one has an amazing congruity with the late John Paul II's statements on "modern penal systems" being adequate for detaining criminals (as well as his statements viz. the lack of a just war situation in Iraq). For in all three cases, there is a judgment made which does not fall within the competence of the pope to make merely by virtue of his office. In the case of Pope Sixtus V, he sought to declare that his version of the Vulgate was a "true and accurate" translation when it was anything but that. Judgments of fact do not enter into the sphere of papal competence unless they are what are called "dogmatic facts."{8} And nothing that John Paul II said about an "unjust war" in Iraq or the adequacies of the modern penal systems falls into this area. Nor for that matter did Sixtus V's declaration of an error-free Vulgate in 1590 fall under the realm of dogmatic facts.

Nonetheless, after that Constitution was promulgated, I am sure there was a sixteenth century Stephen Hand or two saying we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 1590 years of Catholic principles to justify supporting it. Meanwhile, those who criticized Sixtus V's faulty Vulgate would have Sixtus' Bull thrown in their face by the sixteenth century Stephen Hand. And (of course) that the latter would have to reverse himself some months later with the same mantra (when Sixtus V's successor abrogated the Bull Sixtus V issued "in perpetuity") should be instructive for those with eyes to see.

---Pope Benedict XIV's suppression "in perpetuity" of the Chinese rites as "superstitious": a move that absolutely crushed the Asian missions. Nonetheless, if Stephen Hand was around in the eighteenth century, it would have been we at TCR prefer the prudential judgements of the Popes who are steeped in 1742 years of Catholic principles and anyone who criticized the prudential judgment of Benedict XIV would have to be denounced as "against the popes."

---Pope Pius XI was basically taken in by Benito Mussolini and the claims that he was a great leader and friend of the Church. Presumably, clerics like Monsignor Montini (Paul VI) who noted publicly that this approach was unwise were "against the popes" too. Better to schmooze with fascists in the minds of the Stephen Hand's of the 1920's and 1930's presumably...that would have been the more "wise" thing to do.

---Pope Paul VI's "truce of 1968" effectively neutered the ability of local ordinaries to enforce his encyclical Humanae Vitae.

Now then, if Stephen sees in anything that is noted above as an "attack on the popes" then he is essentially denying a straightforward reading of the historical record which is (unfortunately) not always edifying.

Note also that I chose to utilize a mix of great popes, good popes, and bad popes in the above schema to show that poor judgments are not germane only to the bad popes. And while many more examples could be noted from the historical record than those (including more recent ones), these suffice to make it evident that the above "2000 years" schtick is not something Stephen actually believes unless he claims he would stand by all (or at the very least, most) of the above circumstances of papal non-dogmatic judgments throughout history. But enough on that point for now.

They prefer the powers: George W., Karl Rove, as well as Michael Novak, George Weigel and John Neuhaus---the American hawk theologians--- over John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

See my previous comments.

“Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). Wisdom is the prudential application of Church teachings in particular situations.

Again, see my previous comments. Not all applications of church principles to particular situations have been wise ones. And in areas where there is not doctrine being promulgated, there is room for a divergence of opinions. Though if Stephen wants to be consistent in his bold statements as of late, presumably he aligns himself with all (or even most) of the historical examples of papal judgment above and sees them as "wise and prudent"???

This we consider sad.

What is truly sad is the paragraph that follows the above statement. One of the readers of Rerum Novarum upon reading it sent me a note with the following comments:

Unbelievable. I guess there's a good indication that one has emerged on top in a debate when the other so blatantly refuses to engage your arguments directly and resorts to this manner of speech and slanders to one's character.

My interest here is not in "winning" the argument; nonetheless, the above comments are certainly worth considering since the observation that Stephen Hand has continued to refuse to engage my arguments directly and has resorted to trying to slander my character.

And to prove the veracity of my words above, I will give Stephen the benefit of not posting the actual paragraph he wrote at this point in his screed. As I am past the point of expecting that he will actually apologize for his libelous statements, I will nonetheless out of charity provide this opportunity for him to save at least some face publicly.

As for their preaching on the differences between the Church's teachings on abortion, euthanasia, or war, they are raving to the choir. We don't need their instruction on matters so elementary.

See the quotes from Greg's editorial above. Apparently Stephen and TCR do need this kind of instruction because they sure have sought to blur the lines on these kinds of issues.

They just don't understand that these distinctions are besides the point where the Popes' teachings on this war, on our creeping totalitarianism and imperialism, and the death penalty (revenge killing) are concerned.

Again, (i) there has been no magisterial teaching on the Iraq war and (ii) Stephen has misrepresented the actual teaching of Evangelium Vitae on the death penalty.{9} That is sufficient to confute the above statement. Nonetheless, Stephen's criticism of us for supposedly misrepresenting him when he continues to refer to the popes's statements on the war as "the popes' teaching" -implying that those statements are a part of the papal magisterium- show themselves to be groundless assertions on his part.

Their implicit attack on the Consistent Ethic of Life, the seamless garment, is bizarre considering that no one disputes fundamental distinctions which were the Church's even before these blogsters could articulate them. They have simply failed to grasp the Gospel wisdom behind the Church's critique of this war and revenge killing.

The readers can review the bits of historical record above about the "Gospel wisdom" of non-magisterial statements and consider any preceived wisdom (or lack thereof) in the positions taken by many church prelates on the Iraq war and capital punishment (including the popes) in that light.

Some of us differ with the Pope in some important areas as anyone who reads TCR knows (e.g., mandatory celibacy, reviving women deacons, etc)

But Stephen, what about the "Gospel wisdom" of those positions??? Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessors are very clear on this point. And on this point, they actually have the competence to prescribe a policy which requires assent by faithful Catholics. The readers can take note of just how "faithful to the living magisterium alone" Stephen Hand and TCR really are by viewing how they go against the directives of Pope Paul VI on priestly celibacy: directives that Paul VI's successors up to and including Benedict XVI all unanimously endorse.

Nonetheless, you will not see Us at Rerum Novarum (or anyone who has supported this intervention) accuse Stephen Hand and TCR of the same kind of scurrilous stuff that they have no shame about vomiting from their keyboards.

but we are docile to the teachings of the Church even as we suggest change.

And he claims to not blur the distinctions!!! Again, priestly celibacy is a church directive and the views on application of the just war criteria and the death penalty are not. This is "Magisterium 101" and Hand is not getting a very good grade thus far...

And we never turn suggestion into agitation or dissent.

I challenge Stephen Hand to point to one single post to this weblog (or those who joined me in this intervention) where we have done anything but respectfully make cases for a change of outlook on these issues. And as differences of opinion on these issues does not constitute "dissent",{10} again Stephen's claims miss their mark by at least three country miles.

(See my article below on Ultramontanism, the meaning of which these fellows don't understand I gather).

I have already destroyed this pathetic comment in my commentary. Perhaps if Stephen actually READ things before critiquing them, he might see the forest for the trees.

We never said those Catholics who support this war of "American empire" (Pat Buchanan) are not Catholic, only that they are tragically wrong for doing so.

I did not say "not Catholic" Stephen. Nor did anyone else. If you bothered to actually READ what was said, you would realize this if you are of good will.

And where death and destruction for all the wrong reasons are concerned we are especially keen to "hear the church".

See the above examples of what "hearing the church" would constitute by this kind of "logic." Now Stephen could probably counter by saying that the above are almost all disciplinary directives or diplomatic judgments and not actually magisterial ones. But by doing that, he would step right into a trap since most of them are about as "magisterial" as Pope John Paul II's position on the war in Iraq and also on how the death penalty should be applied. (And some were actually more so.) So if Stephen is going to continue to disingenuously refer to the pope's statements on the Iraq war and on applications of the death penalty as "the pope's teachings", then he had better be consistent and give the same recognition to the areas noted above. Otherwise, his position contradicts itself.

No, we'll take the prudential judgements of the popes over these guys any day, for the prudential judgements of the Popes are intimately related to the dogmas of the Church and are expounded in the light of them, with the Gospel of peace and mercy, not war, topping it off at all costs.

See my previous comments.

"Blessed are the peacemakers," John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Woe to the warmakers, blogsters and all (who at least are lending even more publicity to our causes at TCR ---which does very well without them--- by their reflexive attack on us for which we here thank them.

Reflexive actions imply a lack of actual thought. Might I suggest that with the above comments Mr. Hand is engaging in what psychologists refer to as "projection"??? After all, the only one reacting to what has been said is Stephen Hand, not Greg, not Chris, not Dave, and certainly not myself.

People will come and decide for themselves as they read our massive archives (it is hardly only I who have written!) on the issues of war, economics, the nature of freedom, the death penalty, etc. The material speaks for itself).

Yes, the shoddiness of a good amount of it is evident to those capable of actually approaching issues and utilizing the tools of reason and logic rather than the emotionalism of blind reaction.

P.S. One sarcastic fellow said the above was "over the top," showing that even blood and bone cannot stir some hearts. Sarcasm and ad hominem froth are a poor substitute for thought and heart.

Since Stephen's entire approach to the criticisms of Greg and I (and others) has been ridicule and slander (both of which are far worse than sarcasm and ad hominem approaches), he had better take a good look in the mirror before he goes after possible specks in the eyes of others (cf. Matt. vii,1-5).

We do not constantly publish email applause---patting ourselves on the back--- for our convictions as our critics do, preferring to save our space for substantive material.

Readers can review the archives of Rerum Novarum to find the supposed "constant publish[ing of] email applause." What they will find on that score is pretty sparse actually -and not because of a lack of email received by the webmaster at Rerum Novarum.{11} But whomever Stephen directed that towards, at the very least if someone out there *is* publishing email applause, that is better than posting "tributes" that you had to write to other people to obtain. And as far as "substantive material" goes, there used to be more of it at TCR before Stephen started making his misinformed screeds on the war, on the death penalty, on bashing people who disagree with him and TCR on these areas.{12} A once very excellent site has been slowly losing its way and is more and more becoming a habitat for fringe sorts.

But there are more wise women and men "out there" with Catholic hearts than our critics realize, thank God, even in their own circles.

Well, if we consider what Stephen has demonstrated on (i) his pet issues and criticizing with uncharitable tones those who do not agree with him and (ii) his responses to Greg, myself, and the others who sought to bring to the forefront the latter deficiencies. If those constitute examples of a "Catholic heart", then the latter is not a good thing to have. But in reality, the latter is fine, it is a Remnant-like rash judgmentalism that is the problem. And apparently there are still traces of the latter in the heart of Stephen Hand. Hopefully, in time they can be removed through prayer and reflection on his part.


{1} To utilize some verbatim rhetoric Stephen posed against certain parties who were in the same position with him a few years ago that he is now in with us.

{2} One can "not see" something without being necessarily "ignorant" of the distinctions involved.

{3} If you question my veracity, then review the excerpts from Greg's editorial that precede that part of the thread.

{4} Some of the material used in this sequence was previously blogged about eighteen months ago in a different context:

Musings on Common Problematical Catholic Approaches to the Ordinary Magisterium (circa September 11, 2003)

{5} Incidentally, this is a position that found itself on the wrong side of a condemnation by Constantinople III -a synod which viewed *any* wavering on Christological issues to be tantamount to heresy. (This was a judgment that was confirmed -albeit with some nuancing- by Pope Leo II.) For those who wonder how what Pope Honorius did actually squares with the doctrine of papal infallibility, it is not difficult to address but this is not the time to do that. (Except to note briefly that Pope Honorius' approach to this matter was about as magisterial as Pope John Paul II's non-magisterial statements on the war in Iraq were.)

{6} It must be noted that in this entire thread sequence, I am making the assumption that the various Stephen Hand's would have maintained consistency in their approach throughout history. That is not a minor presumption to be making by my own admission but it is a charitable one since I am presuming that Stephen's position is at least one that is logically consistent (consistency being an important element of truth after all).

{7} The Saracens of that time are in many ways akin to today's islamo-fascists throat-cutters in Iraq. For a thread covering various posts on that very subject from this weblog, go HERE.

{8}This is a subject beyond the scope of the present thread to deal with.

{9} See these threads for details:

On the "Alteration" of Death Penalty Teaching With Professor Kevin Miller (circa October 03, 2002)

On the Death Penalty and its Application With Professor Kevin Miller (circa October 28, 2002)

Briefly on the Death Penalty and Saddam Hussein (circa December 14, 2003)

More on the Death Penalty With Greg Mockeridge (circa December 16, 2003)

Dialogue on the Death Penalty Redux (circa January 09, 2004)

{10} Again, this was something that was made clear by Cardinal Ratzinger in his official capacity as CDF prefect last year.

{11} A small sample of which is posted to the weblog and interacted with as time allows and as the subjects mentioned are of interest to this writer at the time to do.

{12} See the examples in Greg's guest editorial and in my commentary -particularly the editorial and Stephen's uncharitable and scurrilous comments about Fr. Pavone.

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Sunday, May 08, 2005

On the Argumentation Fallacy of Provincialism

this is an audio post - click to play

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