Saturday, February 04, 2006

"Dogmatic Theology Five Cents, The Doctor is In" Dept.
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

On occasion your host has seen a need for various and sundry reasons to expound on intricacies of theological matters as a result of variegated subject matters requiring it, circumstances surrounding certain subject matter, particular persons endeavouring to discuss them, etc. However, there is no intention to deal with specifics per se in this posting, merely certain theological presuppositions that must inform a mature and accurate elucidation of more complex theological/philosophical/geopolitical/ethical subject matters. These are matters that even those who are at times touted as presumed "experts" in any of those fields often approach myopically for more reasons than can be noted in a brief posting such as this. Nonetheless, it suffices to denote here a key factor that gets to the root and matrix of facile or otherwise specious commentaries on more complex and nuanced subject matter so here goes.

With general norms, one has to tread carefully and this is a subject not often understood even by many who are considered "experts" in these matters. This is part of the reason why your host rolls his eyes when those with partisan agendas quote too freely from certain portions of Gaudium et Spes or from any source without taking into account certain factors which mitigate against a false interpretation (and thus misrepresentation of) those sources. To go into details on this at the present time is not viewed as necessary but briefly: there are magisterial sources and there are sources which are not magisterial. Failing to make a proper distinction here is a common problem{1} another is failing to be careful in the citing of sources which are magisterial such as Gaudium et Spes. The Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium gave a not-so-subtle hint to some of the factors involved in a proper interpretation of texts when it noted with regards to the pope's statements the following points:

[R]eligious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking. [Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium 25 (circa November 21, 1964)]

These are certainly not the only ingredients involved in the equation but they are key ones and in this post, we will focus them now on the document Gaudium et Spes. To start with, it is a Pastoral Constitution which means it probably has fairly low authority compared to many of the other documents from the synod. Certainly it is trumped by the dogmatic constitutions and the declarations of teaching. It is probably more authoritative than a decree but that is to some extent speculative and cannot therefore be presumed. Nonetheless, it is certainly a magisterial text so it carries some degree of authority to it...of this no Catholic could deny. So we have established the nature of the document. And as repetition of a teaching applies to not a particular text but to a teaching across a spectrum of texts, that criteria would not be a factor here. That brings us to the manner of speaking.

A frequently overlooked clarifying note in that text explains the manifested intentions of the document and its contents in this fashion:

The Pastoral Constitution "De Ecclesia in Mundo Huius Temporis" is made up of two parts; yet it constitutes an organic unity. By way of explanation: the constitution is called "pastoral" because, while resting on doctrinal principles, it seeks to express the relation of the Church to the world and modern mankind. The result is that, on the one hand, a pastoral slant is present in the first part, and, on the other hand, a doctrinal slant is present in the second part. In the first part, the Church develops her teaching on man, on the world which is the enveloping context of man's existence, and on man's relations to his fellow men. In part two, the Church gives closer consideration to various aspects of modern life and human society; special consideration is given to those questions and problems which, in this general area, seem to have a greater urgency in our day. As a result in part two the subject matter which is viewed in the light of doctrinal principles is made up of diverse elements. Some elements have a permanent value; others, only a transitory one. Consequently, the constitution must be interpreted according to the general norms of theological interpretation. Interpreters must bear in mind-especially in part two-the changeable circumstances which the subject matter , by its very nature, involves. [Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes Preface Footnote (circa December 7, 1965)]

This is why one cannot haphazardly reference any text and properly represent the intention manifested thereof. Even with magisterial texts, there is a gradation involved and GS in particular contains this in the second part of the text not only by the nature of the material covered but even by its own textual admission.

Now then, there are certain themes in the second part of the the text which are touched on briefly and they include the following ones (major chapter headings in black font, subsections in blue):

Marriage and the family (GS 46-52)

The Proper Development of Culture (GS 53-62)

---The Circumstances of Culture in the World Today (GS 54-56)

---Some Principles for the Proper Development of Culture (GS 57-59)

---Some More Urgent Duties of Christians in Regard to Culture (GS 60-62)

Economic and Social Life (GS 63-72)

---Economic Development (GS 64-66)

---Certain Principles Governing Socio-Economic Life as a Whole (GS 67-72)

The Life of the Political Community (GS 73-76)

The Fostering of Peace and the Promotion of a Community of Nations (GS 77-92)

---The Avoidance of War (GS 79-82)

---Setting Up An International Community (GS 83-93)

It bears noting that much of this section from GS 46-72 probably retains its value in light of subsequent magisterial pronouncements (and further developments still) by Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II. The subjects covered in those texts were also dealt with in subsequent apostolic letters, encyclicals, exhortations, etc. by those popes. From GS 73 onward though (particularly from GS 77 onward), the text becomes more transient and speculative and thus (by theological norms of interpretation) cannot be given the same benefit of the doubt as the previously noted sections. Pope John Paul II made it very clear more than once that he viewed the UN as being in need of replacement{1} and the whole "avoidance of war" subject has been put into a new situation in light of technological advances which have mitigated the situation the world found itself in at that time viz. war armarments.

Now certainly much more could be noted than this but what is done in this brief treatment will have to suffice for now. Hopefully it is clear by what is denoted above why your host and not a few others roll their eyes and have no respect whatsoever for the manner which many ideologues misquote sources to try and fill in for the lacuna of solid arguments for their positions. This is done by neophytes as well as even many seasoned apologists, social commentators, etc so by no means is it a localized problem at all but instead one that is more universal in its scope. And while normally these factors do not come up when dealing with boilerplate issues, with geopolitical matters and more complex moral/ethical matters, there is quite a minefield out there. Far too often (and with an alarming frequency in recent years), seasoned apologists social commentators, etc. have stepped on those mines with regrettable yet predictable results.

The bottom line is that no Catholic should presume that because they may be able to adequately discuss matters with a clear magisterial sanction on them that they can likewise do so where there is a lack of similar clarity involved. Or put another way: social commentary and the analysis of more complex geopolitical factors should be left to those who know how to do it.


{1} And yes, this could be demonstrated lest anyone wonder about the veracity of this assertion by the present writer.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Points to Ponder:
(On Making an Argument in a Paper)

Once you've identified the theme of your paper, you'll frame your theme as an argument. One of the hardest parts in writing a long paper is developing and maintaining an argument.

In simple terms, an argument is the point of view that you assert and back up with evidence. An opinion is a [sic] simply a point of view. The critical difference between an opinion and an argument is the evidence. An argument is a statement or theory that someone else could disagree with, but still follow your logic.

In a Critical Biography, your best evidence is a quotation (from your interview or a scholarly source) or a specific example from your subject's life.

In other words, an argument isn't simply pointing out something that is obvious, and it isn't a statement of you or your subject's opinion on a topic. An argument is the development of a case demonstating that your interpretation of evidence, events, or situations is valid. [Katy Birckmayer Ph.D (Director of College Mission Programs at Rutgers University): Excerpt from Reading and Writing Tips on Developing an Argument]

[Note: For further reading on what a theory is and how it differs from a thesis, see this thread from the Rerum Novarum Miscellaneous BLOG circa two years ago - ISM]

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Briefly on President Bush's State of the Union Address:
(Dialogue with Kevin Tierney plus some additional musings from your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

For the first time in this administration, I did not watch a State of the Union Address last night. I also did not watch much of the Alito hearings though thus far I am batting between .800 and 1.000 on my predictions viz. that situation.{1} Before people think I am showing too much detachment on these matters, the truth is, this is an election year and I am pacing myself at the moment both for practical and tactical reasons among others which could be noted.{2}

However, I have recognized in recent years that some of my friends are quite astute on geopolitical matters (even when I do not necessarily agree with some of their interpretations of said matters). One of those persons is Kevin Tierney who sent me an email earlier today with a link in it and some commentary on his part. Here is what was sent...Kevin's words will be in black font:

Symposium on the State of the Union

So far it seems like typical Bush. Great on foreign policy, and downright scary on domestic policies in that he is supposed to be a conservative.

That is why I elected not to watch the speech...Bush is so predictable that I could have sketched that out as his modus opperandi even before being notified of that distinction by Kevin in his email.

Wanna solve our addiction to foreign oil? Drill ANWR and build more refineries. Let's see a serious push for these two things.

Precisely. I wrote on the economics of high gas prices and what causes them last year. It is a key factor in the whole energy issue and Kevin is on target in what he says on the matter.

The training [of 70,000] teachers to be [competitive], as Mark Steyn says, "barely passes the laugh test." Make them competitive with school vouchers.

I have not written publicly on the school vouchers issue at this weblog yet (at least I cannot recall doing so) but in general, I am and have been a supporter of the idea for over ten years.

Along with the democrats rebuttal, and we have a true blue conservative on the airwaves to present what a real conservative would do?

Well, to outline what a true conservative would do would be to write a post the size of a small pocket thesarus. That is why I have always written on principles of authentic conservatism and applied those principles to situations and events as they have arisen in the public forums. But certainly the things Kevin notes are part and parcel of what a true conservative worthy of the label would do. And as I have noted many times before (including here), President Bush is no true conservative no matter how you slice it. Ergo, I am not surprised that his proposed agenda is half-baked.

For what it is worth, even on one of the key issues where he is considered "conservative"{3} that notion does not resonate convincingly with me. For reasons I briefly revisited late last year{4}, his position contains an internal inconsistency that is maddening to say the least. But that is all I intend to say on the matter{5} at the present time.


{1} Depending on how those predictions are interpreted of course. I hope with the three remaining to go two for three on them but only time will tell.

{2} As well as a general lack of time to write much due to work-related issues.

{3} Read: being in favour of strong national security. But from a fiscal standpoint, Bush has been anything but truly conservative.

{4} On the Subjects of National Security, the Patriot Act, Etc. (circa December 31, 2005)

{5} Though I reserve the right to actually read the speech and comment on it later on (depending on my inclinations of course), I think what is briefly noted in this post is adequate for the time being.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Some Brief Wrapup Comments on the Previous Guest Editorial:
(From the Webmaster at Rerum Novarum)

The editorial being commented on is the one posted HERE.

It must be noted in the interest of disclosure that your host had admittedly considered making a final brief thread in syllabus form sketching out in bulletform the various arguments made at this humble weblog which Mr. Armstrong has ignored from the very beginning. Certainly from a personal standpoint it would provide another opportunity to illuminate Our own vindication on the matter if that project were to be undertaken. However, at some point, it is advisable to recognize that an issue has run its course and the mark of a mature writer (be they an apologist or as in the case of the present writer, a commentator) is recognizing that point when it arrives. Dr. Art Sippo's counsel in that area meshes well with that of Sun Tzu from the Art of War on when one should or should not fight:

The enlightened ruler lays his plans well ahead; the good general cultivates his resources.

Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.

No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.

If it is to your advantage, make a forward move; if not, stay where you are.

What has been covered up to this point by your host conforms without difficulty to the above counsel, achieving three key and critical purposes:

---Clarifying to a reasonable degree the primary reason why this subject needed to be readdressed after Mr. Armstrong unwisely reopened it in the public forum.

---Publicly vindicating once again Our original assertions in this discussion since the subject was exited by Us last year and then recently (and unfortunately) reopened by Mr. Armstrong.

---Setting the historical record straight on a profoundly disingenuous{1} misuse of Our previous statements by Mr. Armstrong in recent weeks.

However, while those postings had solid purposes to them, your host admittedly cannot see how the project mentioned at the start of this epilogual comments achieves anything of a similar nature. For that reason, there is concern on his part that it would be too much of an exercise in public gratification to complete it.

Ergo, this writer fails to see what more needs to be covered on these subjects of a necessary import and for that reason, he will recognize Dr. Sippo's call to let the issue drop. The aforementioned stance will remain the position taken at this weblog in perpetuity from this point onward. (All things to the contrary notwithstanding.)


{1} As Mr. Armstrong has publicly retracted and apologized for his usage of the aforementioned statements, your host hereby retracts the assertion of that usage as being disingenuous in nature and chalks it up instead to the kinds of excesses that can sometimes happen in these kinds of disputations. These are excesses it might be added that your host has with reasonable certainty not been completely exempt from and for which he apologizes for at this time to Dave and to the readers of this weblog for any such excesses on Our part thereof (be they real or perceived). -ISM 2/1/06 12:40pm]

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A Followup Guest Editorial on the Atomic Bombings, the Continued Emphasis on it Publicly by Certain Apologists, and the Goal of Catholic Apologetics:
(Written by Dr. Art Sippo)

I am very dismayed that Dave Armstrong continues his ranting about the American use of the atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. To support his claims he takes quotations from non-magisterial papal documents which mention the incident but which are irrelevant to his point. He also takes blanket condemnations of the horrors of modern warfare from Catholic sources and then inappropriately applies them retrospectively to the atomic bomb issue in order to render his own magisterial statement on the matter. While he is entitled to his opinion, I am disappointed that he feels the need to manufacture support for his position where it does not exist.

I would be very surprised if the Popes would ever give support to any specific military action without decrying the loss of life associated with that action. If you remember, the Vatican stayed neutral during World War II despite the overwhelming evidence for Nazi aggression and the horrible policies that the Germans pursued both at home and abroad. Pius XII always sought a peaceful solution that did not involve bloodshed and offered himself as an intermediary towards that end. Yet anyone who knows the period realizes that a peaceful solution was not feasible and that the Vatican's position was ideological, not practical. Nevertheless, I do not think that the Church could have done otherwise.

Likewise the decrying of the destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the Popes in private correspondence or in speeches during a visit to Japan were ideological and in fact inevitable. How could they praise the destruction of life during those and other bombings? The Popes decried the whole of World War II because of the death and misery that it caused, but which of us would dare to say that fighting against Nazism and Japanese aggression was not morally justifiable?

As to the comments Dave used allegedly from the Church Magisterium against "Total War," these are similarly irrelevant. These were directed against a "counter-values " nuclear policy during the Cold War in which nuclear armaments could be used indiscriminately to destroy both valid military targets and non-military targets of no tactical or strategic import. This was not the case at Hiroshima and Nagasaki both of which were valid military targets selected specifically to demonstrate the power of the atomic bombs and to coax the Japanese into surrender without further loss of life.

In fact Dave has not produced a single Magisterial document that condemns the specific use of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki as immoral. He has just shown that the Church opposes the indiscriminate use of weapons of mass destruction (with which all civilized people will agree) and that she also decried the suffering caused by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan (with which again all civilized person will agree). This is a far cry from condemning President Truman for his decision and denouncing him as a war criminal.

I think that the following paragraph from The Challenge of Peace: God's Promise and Our Response written by the American bishops in 1983 sums up the true Catholic position on this matter:

12. This passage acknowledges that, on some complex social questions, the Church expects a certain diversity of views even though all hold the same universal moral principles. The experience of preparing this pastoral letter has shown us the range of strongly held opinion in the Catholic community on questions of war and peace. Obviously, as bishops we believe that such differences should be expressed within the framework of Catholic moral teaching. We urge mutual respect among different groups in the Church as they analyze this letter and the issues it addresses. Not only conviction and commitment are needed in the Church, but also civility and charity.

I think that enough time and effort has been wasted on this issue. This issue has nothing to do with Catholic apologetics and a valid diversity of opinion exists within the Catholic fold about it so that no one has the right to claim he holds to THE Catholic position on it.

Adults often must agree to disagree so that they can get on with the truly pressing business at hand. I have no desire to argue any further about this issue. Mr. Armstrong may continue to hold his opinion. I remain unconvinced by his arguments and continue to hold my own. Nothing more needs to be said.

Omnes semper - ad Jesum, per Mariam, cum Petro!


Our comments on this editorial and its recommendations can be viewed HERE.

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Naked Anticipation:
(A Poem by Albert Cipriani)

A silver blemish in a cloudless sky
moved slow as all the minute hands about
Hiroshima in 1945
to stop. It crawled too high to make a sound
that’d prophesy their baptism of fire,
making them a chosen people by
our high command which set aside, till now,
their un-bombed town to better showcase ground

zero. Some looked up and saw the speck,
a spore, descending from the apogee
of science, from mankind’s intelligence,
the germ of military brilliancy
and radiation sickness, saw what we
just fear, like Jews beneath the shower heads.


Monday, January 30, 2006

"Tracking the Ever-Elusive So-Called 'Neo Con'" Dept.

The previous installment in the series can be read HERE while one would go HERE to start from the beginning of the thread.


Thanks for responding to my note. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the terminology of "neo-cons" with you. You pretty much hit the nail on the head with the characterization:

"Would you be referring essentially to those who see conservatism in some kind of reactionary and static preservationism as opposed to those who see conservatism as something pro-active and vibrant???"

That is precisely the kind of person I was thinking of.

I thought so...that is a common division made by people when discussing the subject of conservatism. I have long argued that conservatism properly understood is ressourcement oriented and thus not strictly speaking reactionary or preservationist in its essential nature.

To answer an indirect question, I am Catholic, and note that none of the people I cited as "deep-in-the-bones" conservative are Catholic, at least to my knowledge.

Indeed. Those I am being critical of with this challenge happen to be Catholics who try to use the "neo-con" label to essentially deadagent those whom they do not agree with rather than interact with their arguments. I can conclude nothing else in light of their cowardice to respond to this very simple challenge as I have set it down to define their use of terms.

Those three people have attitudes (again, to the best of my knowledge) that range from ambivalent to mostly positive towards Christianity, but nothing like the integration of faith and practice I see in Father Neuhaus, George Weigel, or Michael Novak.

Well, with Neuhaus and Weigel they are ressourcement oriented in their approach. I think Novak is too but I have not read enough of his stuff to pronounce on the matter with certainty. For that I recommend asking either Justin Nickelson or Christopher Blosser. I firmly believe they are in a much better position to talk about Novak than I am...particularly Justin from a theological ressourcement perspective and Chris from a geopolitical one.

It is clear that the tradition and doctrine of the Church demands of us a active commitment to building a just social order.

Yes...this understanding was recently reaffirmed by Pope Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est.

I read a lot of Chesterton on my way to joining the Church, and I had to agree with him that if I merely loved my country because it was just and fair, I would keep it unchanged. But if I loved my country and my countrymen because it is my country and they are my countrymen, I would lay it waste in order to create the New Jerusalem. (Orthodoxy, pg. 75, Ignatius Press 1995)

Well said. One can have a firm love for their country and recognize at the same time that it is imperfect and in need of purification. That has always been my approach to the matter and is part of the reason I noted in my weblog profile that I support "nationalism (within limits)." There are many things in this nation that need fixing and I have not been shy to discuss a number of those factors as they pertain either to the contemporary issues in question or my particular mood to discuss them around the time they are blogged.

While there is a touch of hyperbole in that,

Hyperbole in Chesterton??? Surely you jest ;-)

I'm guessing that may be why I might be flattered to be perjured as a "neo-con".

Makes sense to me...assuming for a moment that these so-called "neo-cons" actually exist. Assertions by certain public critics without supplying proof (or by explaining what they mean by their usage of that term) is essentially petitio prnncipii; ergo I reject such assertions without hesitation.

To be Continued...

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Christopher Blosser gives a roundup of varied responses to Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical letter

Thus far, I have not said much about the document publicly except linking to it earlier. However, I did quote certain passages of it in the most recent installment of the "tracking the elusive so-called 'neo-con'" series pertaining to matters of church and state as well as the church's role in political life. Beyond that,{1} I am likely to follow my usual pattern of letting others "get the scoop" on the matter first so that I can respond with a less-hurried and more penetrating analysis of the contents of the letter should I have the time and inclination to do so in the coming weeks.


{1} And it does bear noting in brief that those who like to claim that a certain group of "neo-cons" exist will not be too happy with the parts of the letter I quoted in the aforementioned series installment on trying to find these so-called "neo-cons" and if they even exist or not.

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Arguments Opposed to the War in Iraq As Sent By Us to Our Dialogical Opposition For Their Development Thereof:

This is a continuation of the subject of an upcoming dialogue on the war in Iraq -the previous installment of which can be read HERE. (The first part of which explains the genesis of this idea being accessible HERE.) The arguments themselves will be in black font and some of the words of Our humble interlocutor in response to the thread will be in darkgreen font.

I have not found the time to compile all the arguments yet and am not sure I will at this stage. (They are in my other gmail account somewhere but with about 5000 threads, they will not be easy to find even with the built in google searcher.) Nonetheless, here are seven which I either recall previously or have thought up on the spot including (arguably) the most trenchant one of all...

1) The war was not a just war according to just war criteria.

This argument is one with a lot of variables to it which could be interpreted in different ways. Certainly a good case can be made for it not being a just war (and I have no doubt you will make a good case should you go that route) but it will not be an incontrovertible one anymore than my case for it being a just war would be. In short, this one will at best end in a stalemate though that should not discourage you from making this argument if you are so inclined to.

I will argue this.

2) There should not have been an invasion because there were no WMD's as previously claimed.

This is not the slam dunk that it may appear for your side so I would argue it carefully if I were you. (Cause I know how to respond to it.)

This has no value other than as an adjunct to #1.

3) Bush lied about WMD to go to war, etc.

I have (and would once again) nuke this argument should it be presented. Certainly you may touch on it in your piece but it should be peripheral at best so that your main theory is not harmed when I decimate this thesis.

My opinion is "who gives a damn"? Are we supposed to change our policy based on the subjective moral dispositions of our leaders?...Nobody thinks we have to repeal the First Amendment because Thomas Jefferson constructively raped a slave, and the morality of invading Iraq isn't contingent on Bush being a liar or a stupid opportunist.

4) The war in Iraq was a violation of international law.

I have argued the converse before and would do so again; nonetheless, this is a far stronger foundation than the third example given and a good argument can be made for this view.

Bingo, but this is tied into #1 insofar as the UN Charter allows unilateral military action in just-war scenarios.

5) The popes and their representatives condemned the use of force in Iraq without the concurrence of the UN; ergo Catholics could not support the war as it was undertaken by the Bush Administration.

You know presumably that I will vaporize this argument...and I doubt you would try to make it anyway in anything but a peripheral capacity. Nonetheless, it is one which has circulated so you may have to at least touch on it in brief contra the Stephen Hand's/Zwicks of the Catholic world.

Yes they did, but they did it on terms that leave it open to question whether the theories about just war they're using are obligatory magisterial teachings (this is true even for His late Holiness). Don't want to make an argumentarium alla vericundimicelli, do I?

6) Those who oppose the war in Iraq are defacto supporters of the old regime and by logical extension its innumerable atrocities against human rights and violations of international law.

I could possibly argue the third point above but would not bother with the first two because I think they are examples of overly jingoistic approaches to this matter which do neither side any good. (The converse from your side would be the Handian "those who support the war have no conscience about broken bones and crushed lives, yadda yadda yadda": an argument as equally absurd as the first two attempted arguments in the paragraph above.)

I plan to spend some time on this, since [someone] tagged me with this one about a year ago. It's nonsense.

7) Apprising the past and considering the delicate geopolotical situation with attempting to overthrow existing governments in general (and the particular tinderbox that is the Middle East in particular), there is always a risk that the medicine proposed for such a cure would be worse than the disease itself. If one looks at Czarist Russia in 1917, the Czar was overthrown by a provisional government headed by Lvov and then Kerensky but that provisional government was overthrown by the Bolshiveks in its infancy; thus creating a far greater problem than there was with the original Czar.

In the case of Iraq, one could argue that the idea of overthrowing Saddam Hussein and installing a democratic government in Iraq both (i) in a country where Shi-ites are the majority population and (ii) within such a close proximity to a fanatical Shi-ite theocracy like Iran is a gamble that (if it fails) would pave the way for a Shi-ite theocracy in Iraq which would closely align itself with Iran and create a Shi-ite theocratic powerblock in the Middle East with potential nuclear capacities in the near future. The latter scenario would be a far greater problem than the retention of Hussein in power. For this reason, I judge it as an unwise and potentially catastrophic policy to invade/have invaded Iraq with the intention of overthrowing the Hussein government and attempt to replace it with a democratic government as the Bush Administration has done and is in the process of seeking to do.

I had to sketch this one out a bit to explain it for those who do not know their history. (Obviously historical ignorance does not apply to you XXX.) I will disclose up front that the above argument (based as it is in an examination of the past ala Santayana's dictum) is by far the strongest argument against what the Bush Administration have sought to do in Iraq since March of 2003. I almost have anxiety actually sending it to you but heck, I have wanted to see good arguments for the contra-the-war stance so I am obligated out of conscience as well as a innate sense of fair play to do so.

I've argued this before, the invasion is just plain stupid because (a) we've actually forfeited any long-term chance to do anything valuable with the Arab and Muslim world, (b) we're gonna get an Islamofascist state or a Biggie-Size-It version of Lebanon / no-man's land existing between Greater Turkey and Greater Iran.

Anyway folks, the cards have been dealt and We at Rerum Novarum anticipate (based on the trackrecord this person has have had in dialogue with Us over the years) that this will be a good vigorous and (most importantly) charitable dialogue. Furthermore, We anticipate an authentic dialogue rather than a sham one so wherever you stand on this issue, stay tuned to this same Bat blog for the aforementioned event when it materializes. (Read: whenever Our most humble of interlocutors finishes the draft of his opening comments...since We had the last word in the previous war dialogue, it seems fitting that they have the first word this time around.)

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A Minor Rerum Novarum Update:

The webmaster's comments will be interspersed in purple font.

Shawn's Eastern Catholic Corner Approved Links

Orthodox-Catholic Relations: An Orthodox Reflection -Fr. Chrysostom Frank [>>>]

Seldom have We seen such a well-written and balanced article on the subject of ecclesial reunion that coheres so well with Our own knowledge and sentiments on the matter and written from an Orthodox perspective at that. (We also learned some new knowledge from the article which is always a good thing is worth reading more than once for those interested in ecumenical matters.)

33 Articles Concerning Union With The Roman Church [>>>]

Those who find disturbing the degree to which the Roman Church will go these days to faciliate a reunion of Christian churches and ecclesial communities should consider the above late sixteenth century example of propositions accepted by the Roman Church under Pope Clement VIII to foster reunion of the Ruthinian Church with the Catholic Church.

As the above thread is actually an Orthodox thread, it seems appropriate to rename this category title henceforth as follows: Shawn's Eastern Corner Approved Links.

Fixed Links

Anamnesis, not Amnesia: The Healing of Memories and the Problem of Uniatism - Fr. Robert Taft, S.J.

Other Recommended* Web-Sites

The Chronicles of Hand [>>>]

In light of the hypocritical double standards of a certain party whom shall not be named, it seems appropriate to have a place to chronicle the rash and intemperate ad hominems of his new comrade; ergo the purpose of the above weblog. To facilitate insertion into this category, the title of the section will be changed henceforth to refer to recommended sites.

[Update: I changed the title of my Launchcast radio station to Radio Enslaved Washington. -ISM 1/31/06 1:15pm]

These matters are hereby confirmed for a perpetual remembrance all things to the contrary notwithstanding other sites and threads worthy of special mention.