Saturday, April 17, 2004

On Adoption in the Spirit:
(With Apolonio Latar III)

Hey all,

Hi Apolonio:

I'm working on Redemptor Hominis. JPII said: "All of us who are Christ's followers must therefore meet and unite around him. This unity in the various fields of the life, tradition, structures and discipline of the individual Christian Churches and ecclesial Communities cannot be brought about without effective work aimed at getting to know each other and removing the obstacles blocking the way to perfect unity. However, we can and must immediately reach and display to the world our unity in proclaiming the mystery of Christ, in revealing the divine dimension and also the human dimension of the Redemption, and in struggling with unwearying perseverance for the dignity that each human being has reached and can continually reach in Christ, namely the dignity of both the grace of divine adoption and the inner truth of humanity, a truth which-if in the common awareness of the modern world it has been given such fundamental importance-for us is still clearer in the light of the reality that is Jesus Christ." (14)

The statement "each human being has reached and can continually reach in Christ, namely the dignity of both the grace of divine adoption" bothers rad-trads.

Heck, merely rolling out of bed bothers some of those sorts Apolonio ;-)

How would you guys interpret this?

The "radtrads" who are bothered by that statement are manifestly ignorant of the Bible. St. Paul speaks of the theme of adoptive sonship in different epistles. It is arguably among his primary themes pertaining to the subject of the salvation of mankind through Christ. Here are a few examples:

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. (Romans viii,15-17)

Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace... (Ephesians i,3-7)

[W]hen the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatians iv,4-7)

As far as the reference you make above as well as the part about struggling with unwearying perseverance for the dignity that each human being has reached and can continually reach in Christ, I refer you to the words of St. Peter in his second epistle on those subjects:

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter i,1-11)

And of course on this subject St. Paul is also not without something to say:

[U]nto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians iv,7-16)

I'm trying to look for Church Fathers and theologians' work on grace to give a better answer.

Well, I think you will concur that the two most pre-eminent of the Apostles speaking on these matters is more than adequate. However, do not be so sure that even they will be able to convince some of the obstinate sorts you are trying to reach. The principle behind Our Lord's injunction in the parable about the rich man and Lazarus{1} applies in the case of those sorts unfortunately.


{1} "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." (Luke xvi,31)

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Friday, April 16, 2004

"Return Us to Defcom 5" Dept.

Okay...the red alert status is over now and the template is now about 70% completed in being properly restored. There are more links to add to various categories but most of the old links are up now. The reader will notice that most of the proposed template reconstructed categories have been utilized. Eventually the other categories not used here will be added -possibly tomorrow or so as time affords. With Rerum Novarum almost three months overdue for an update, that will take place in the coming week or so as well but not until the template is completely corrected.

There are still weblog additions/subtractions,{1} restoring the archives, and a few other areas to tend to before this is completed.{2} However, in the meantime, I redirect the readers to my response posted earlier today to Kevin Tierney and apologize for any problems accessing Rerum Novarum earlier on. After two hours taken off from work to fix this problem, I have to again focus on business matters so no more weblog fixes will take place today.


{1} Except for the weblog of a certain person who apparently is "more Ecumenical than thou" - that weblog was removed from the year old template before it was fixed to the extent that it has been thus far and republished.

{2} However, those areas are for possibly tomorrow or Sunday if I can get around to them by that time.


Red is the state of emergency. And for those who find this weblog's template looking a lot less developed than it did as of earlier today, the reason for this is that somehow the template for Rerum Novarum got lost. I had not begin updating it yet and all the material for doing a proper update is at lycos. In the meantime, I will work on this template for the next hour to get it reading reasonably coherently and start the updating process. I am afraid I cannot do anything about the archives until later on though -as that is a project in and of itself to reconstitute over eighty weeks of stuff.

In the meantime, please accept my apologies for not having the time to deal with any additional stuff at this time. I *did* complete the first of the four responses that I noted earlier would be posted in the coming weeks.{1}The others will have to wait until I get this template properly reconstituted. I hope to spent three hours on it today in the evening and maybe some time tomorrow.

At this point, there is no reason to delay the restructuring of the template but it is too much to do at once and will have to be phased in. Again, on behalf of this humble weblog, I apologize to the readers and exhort other bloggers to keep a duplicate temlate somewhere. If not for the fact that I have a roughly twelve month old replacement for my old template (sans the archives), this reconsitruction would take even longer and be more difficult than it would be. In short: back up your work my friends.


{1} That would be the response to Kevin Tierney which can be read HERE.


Society's Ills, the Function of Law in a Just Society, Etc.:
(Dialogue With Kevin Tierney)

This is a continuation of the dialogue thread located HERE. Kevin's words will be in black font. My previous words will be in blue font and any sources referenced will be in darkgreen.

I think we were talking past each other. Either that, or I'm completely misreading you, after reading your post three times. It could be either one, so I'm going to try and help out here.


"The redefinition of the institution of marriage is not a mere symptom of a larger issue as I see it; instead it is the root and matrix of every culture if you will. For the institution of marriage is the cornerstone of all civilization. Furthermore, marriage embodies explicitly within itself all fundamental rights of man. And history unambiguously bears witness to the fact that the existence of the civilization that succeeds in undermining that central societal structure will be extinguished. Without a shadow of doubt."

I think you are seperating the two where they need not be separated. Traditional marriage as a man and a woman is the root and matrix of every culture. Yet the liberals are attacking it by usurping the rule of law. I'll go a little more in-depth later in the post about the law.

By referring to "traditional marriage", you allow your adversaries to define the terms of debate. My references to marriage -for practical and tactical reasons- are only to "the institution of marriage" understood as heterosexual unions. It is my view that by not taking such a precise distinction, you are allowing yourself to be taken in by propagandistic semantics.

Years of dialogue with people of every conceivable outlook have emphasized to me that precision in the absence of workable definitions is needed. And this issue needs to be approached anthropologically more than anything if it is to be decisively confuted.

As far as terminology goes, the moment you use phrases such as "traditional marriage" you immediately imply that there are *other* forms of marriage.{1} Furthermore, you open yourself up to the charge that marriage has undergone many manifestations throughout history.{2}

The notion of marriage as between *a* man and *a* woman implies monogamy which is but one of the forms involved. This gives your opponents an opportunity to use the polygamy red herring and distract.{3} Obviously the Constitutional amendment as proposed by President Bush would define marriage as monogomously. And that would be fine if that can be achieved. But in the trenches, we cannot allow our opponents so much latitude. Furthermore, we have to approach this non-religiously -something that I see you are striving to do. My approach does this because it is grounded in anthropology and not in appeals to religion.

"Life is but *one* of the fundamental God-given rights of man. In a nutshell the three are life, faculties, and production. These three rights precede all legislation and all properly formed legislation must safeguard these three rights. Futhermore, these rights cannot stand independent of one another. Indeed when one is trampled upon, the others are as well -like breaking one leg off of a three-legged stool. The subject of marriage directly involves not one of these fundamental rights but definitely two of them and arguably all three. It is also the bedrock of all civilizations and history shows us that as it goes, so goes civilization."

I agree that any true legislation must safegaurd all rights of man, not just the primary ones. (Though any rights outside of those 3 primary rights logically flow from those three.)

Yes. As I noted in my defenses of Terry Schiavo and Jeff Culbreath,{4} the defense of one requires a defense of all three.

Therefore, when liberals are defying the rule of law that is currently in place, pushing their agenda through the courts when the courts don't have that power, they are using their disrespect for the rule of law to push upon society changes society would never accept. In all honesty, if anything I'm writing a "concurring opinion" to the decision. I agree with what you're saying, just tackling it from a different angle.

Here is the reason why I view your approach as problematical: there is a premise common to human sensibilities -due in large part because of the relationship that law is supposed to have with morality- that something is moral simply because it is legal. Claude Frederic Bastiat explained this presupposition in the following way:

No society can exist unless the laws are respected to a certain degree. The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.

The nature of law is to maintain justice. This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate. This belief is so widespread that many persons have erroneously held that things are "just" because law makes them so. [The Law (c. 1850)]

This is what those who are trying to destroy our culture are using the courts to take advantage of the tendency most people have towards viewing what is legal as what is moral. This is why even arguing from the standpoint of respect for law is not the solid foundation in and of itself that you presume. Because what happens if the majority tomorrow want to sanction legally so-called "homosexual marriages"??? You are then stuck backtracking from the premise that law is to be respected to striving to argue from moral premises. If your foundation upfront recognizes this crucial link, there is no need for backtracking at all.{5}

"No civilization can continue to exist without (i) preservation and promotion of the institution of marriage which is the bedrock foundation of all civilization and (ii) a proper understanding of the role of law in society in its protection of the three fundamental rights of man. "

Yet a society that does not properly understand the rule of law in protecting the rights of man will not be a stable society, would be a society where might makes right, and a society of constant revolution.

I do not disagree with this position. However, I refer you back to what I noted above about taking the more integrated approach. To use a syllabus style format, it involves these ingredients:

---Recognition of the three fundamental God-given rights of man and their defense as a unit.

---Recognition of the proper role of law in a just society to maintain justice.

---Recognition that all asserted rights to be legitimate must conform themselves to the criteria of the "public order" and the "common good": namely (i) they must not disrupt the public order of a society and (ii) they must be in conformity with the common good.

---Recognition that the law cannot create morality but can only defend morality.{6}

Obviously, the rule of law when these criterion are met requires obedience. It is at this point of the continuum that your defenses of the rule of law can be tthe most effective. It appears to me that you are seeking to get to this point without recognizing the other above principles.{7} Obviously appearances can be deceiving; ergo I will allow you to clarify this and (if you desire) to correct my perceptions viz. your presuppositions and approach.

I believe we can extend some leeway to Justice Moore if he is a non-Catholic (as I believe he is) since the principle of "the end does not justify the means" is usually not common to the religious traditions of non-Catholics. He violated that maxim as much as the mayors of these cities who are violating the rule of law in issuing pseudo "marriages" are doing. Those mayors should at the very least be treated as Justice Moore has been but of course that will not happen. (Due to an obvious double-standard employed by the media elites.)"

I would say Catholic teaching on these manners applies to Non-Catholics as well, since it's rather universal that the ends do not justify the means. As one who combats judicial activism, and is a strict constructionalist of the Constitution (as Moore claims he is) he should've known better.

I do not disagree that it *should* apply. It is the foundation of logical thinking and embodies one of the two rules required for any meaningful discourse.{8} However, if you are familiar with my discussions with Tim Enloe on the papacy and also on historical issues, the issue of universals is at the center of the entire exchange. That is why I will be responding to his response a few weeks ago -made to two requests for dialogues on universals and foundational presuppositions that I made to him- and that will be the subject of discussion.

Reference to universals existing in reality and our being able to discern them is but *one* philosophical outlook. I happen to concur with it but there are many who do not. We cannot therefore impose on our opponents principles that they do not hold and expect to get anywhere in dialogue with them. This is why I noted that I do not hold Justice Moore to the Catholic maxim that "the end does not justify the means" in the sense of him professing that belief himself. We can argue for the veracity of that maxim -indeed I do it often{9}- but that is about as far as we can go with it in the absence of someone who does not accept that principle.

"[C]onservatives are losing the battle because they are not viewing the three fundamental rights of man as the seamless garmant issues that they are -if they even recognize them explicitly at all. Nor for that matter do they place enough of an emphasis on the notions of public order and common good which must accompany any legitimate approach to issues. (And must trump any individuals opinions in the event of a contradiction.)"

Yet an accurate understanding of the rights of man in society, ENTAIL an accurate understanding of how those laws go towards protecting them, and protecting society. You're straining at a gnat here I think.

I am making a distinction here between the rights themselves and how they are properly applied for the greatest possible effect congruent with the law fulfilling the function that it always should in a just society. The area of application is where the respective roles of the criteria of public order and common good are involved. I emphasize both of them because they too must be viewed together.

In the past, there were persecutions of people even in Catholic states because the criteria of the "common good" was not recognized to be limited by what is properly called "just public order."{10} In order to be consistent in one's approach, they must be emphasized together. Otherwise, dire consequences can result.

The Catholic Church since the promulgation of the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae has recognized the connexion between these two factors. However, I do not defend the notion of public order in the matrix of a just societal government because of DH.{11} However, to avoid opening another tangent of potentially reams of exposition,{12} I will to conserve space (and my reader's sanity), relegate my reason for this to the aforementioned footnotes.

"I think we are in general agreement but not in particulars. As I see it, your premise is that it all rests on respect for authority viz. the rule of law. I see this as only part of the equation...I take the subject beyond this to the most fundamental of human rights given to us by God: rights which precede all man made laws and to which all laws were originally framed to protect.

Indeed if anything I have not blogged on these themes enough...but my reasons for refraining to the extent I have (time constraints excepted of course) is to avoid appearing to try and ram an agenda down people's throats. I get annoyed when others do that to me so I have to be careful and strive to persuade without being too overbearing. It is not an easy balancing act by any stretch I assure you."

I would say we're a lot closer on the particulars than you think, it's just we're looking at it from two different angles. Gets us back to the entire "Leo XIII, JPII" thing, both the same on social issues, just approaching it from different aspects.

This is quite possibly so. From what I have read of your Culture of Christ BLOG, there is I believe a lot of common ground between us on the ends whereby we strive to achieve. The means vary a bit but hopefully I explained adequately why my approach in light of today's contemporary problems is a more integral approach to take.

If the rule of law were upheld(in it's current form) there would be absolutely none of this mess. (That rule of law extending to when the courts started to take over this country, inventing the "right to privacy")

Again I ask, what happens if the rule of law as you outline it is followed and such perversities are instituted in the legal code??? My theory disqualifies them in advance but I do not see how your approach does this. At least not explicitly so anyway. Due to the seriousness of this issue -and the degree of brainwashing that is going on viz. this issue- I do not believe we can trust ordinary casual observer types to pick up on these kinds of nuances. That is why they need inculcation because there are a lot of faulty presuppositions out there that need to be rooted out and destroyed.

"It is not just the Democrats who are guilty of perverting the concept of law in a just society Kevin. For the Republicans are also guilty though not to the same extent. Nonetheless, we cannot let them have a "get out of jail" card since they give credence to a lot of the foundational premises from which the Democrats illogically posit their rhetorical trajectories from: foundational premises which are themselves grounded in a perverse understanding of the proper role of law in a just society."

Of course, but the issue was primarily focused on the Democrats, and abortion. Now I would agree the Republican party is not "pro-life" per se, but generally score better than the Dems do. I tend to refer to the Republicans as "socialism lite."


The Democrats will turn us into a Soviet State in 5 years, the Republicans say "We'll do it in ten." That's the sad state I think we're in today. This is also why I say such books as "A Choice not an Echo" by Dr. Phyllis Schafaly (can't remember spelling off the top of my head) should be required reading for conservatives, as she outlines the same problem, but she did this decades ago. This happens with "Conservatives" from time to time they lose base, and need to be shaken up. Her book caused such a shakeup, if one knows the history of the conservative movement of the past 50 years in America.

I have not read her book but she and I have many of the same influences in our thinking on these matters. I am not sure if you read Senator Barry Goldwater's essential dissertation The Conscience of a Conservative or not but Senator Goldwater was noting this problem in the 1950's. In short, the problem goes back further than fifty years. The so-called "New Deal" is the backdrop of a lot of this error: indeed there was nothing "new" about it. Ironically, President Roosevelt was a fan of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum and Pope Pius XI's Quadragisimo Annos - indeed using the latter as a way of justifying some of his New Deal platforms.{13}

"I have reiterated for years -either through implication or explication- that an integrated approach is needed that seeks to uphold the three fundamental rights of man as well as recognizing (i) the importance of the concept of public order of society (ii) the concept of the common good of society, and also (iii) the importance of obedience to one's superiors -be they ecclesiastical or temporal- will truly get to the heart of the problems of our society. I suppose that (iv) proper definitions of terms such as "right" and "freespeech" are also of assistance...Indeed, We at Rerum Novarum have gone over all of these aspects in sundry times and in divers manners. "

And I would argue a properly functioning rule of law entails all of these things. Therefore, one should strive to take a truly Catholic look at the rule of law, and in this country, part of it can be done, since the Framers did get many things right, for all their flaws.

Between you and I we can do this with a great degree of common ground. The same is not the case with non-Catholics though. It is true that the Framers got a lot of things right in setting forth the Constitution of the United States.{14} However, our approach must be based much more in reason and logic than an appeal to the teachings of our religion.

"It could also be noted that religious morality has a role here too but more obliquely than is commonly recognized...In a nutshell: that is how I see approaching these issues. I do not believe that the end that I have differs from what you and Pete have, only the means."

I don't even know if the means neccessarily differ between me and you, because we really haven't gotten into the means yet. As I said, either we're talking past each other, or I'm misreading you, either one is possible, and we've been guilty of both in [our] almost year of dialogue with each other.

True enough. Hopefully this response will enable a greater discernment between us.

"I will note in closing that it is not a mere coincidence that my approach to ecclesiastical matters parallel very closely with how I approach political and social issues. By contrast, I am not sure the same is the case for most others who strive to commentate on both of these spheres of subject matter. Nonetheless, I am hardly above being persuaded otherwise if someone feels inclined to want to do this. "

Well of course. I myself take the same approach, most the time since I view my politics as my religion in action. Therefore, the same principles I use for religion, I should also use in the political sphere, and vice versa.

In light of the oft-dichotomistic appraoch taken by people of various viewpoints, that you strive for consistency here is something that does you credit. Hopefully this response will supply a kind of addition to your approach.

Based on what I am discerning, our views on law are quite similar. And if problems such as what Pete outlines here are to be effectively dealt with, I submit that what I have outlined above is the best approach to take since it is an integrated one that deals with many core paradigmatic points of reference at once. (Including the subject of the rule of law of which I believe we are a like mind on.)


{1} As if to say that homosexual unions could somehow constitute another form of marriage which they cannot both morally as well as anthropologically.

{2} Indeed I have already seen in print some examples of trying to argue for homosexual so-called "marriages" on the basis of the diversity of forms which marriage has undergone throughout history.

{3} Partisans of various stripes use these kinds of tactics. For an example of this fallacious methodology from the side of self-styled "traditionalists", please go HERE. For an example of the same fallacies on the part of self-styled "progressivists", please go HERE.

{4} See the respective weblog links in the side margin of Rerum Novarum. The first post in the thread I posted defending Jeff is titled "Traditional Moral Principles" if memory serves.

{5} At that point, the entire approach is on that argues for the necessity of morality to ensure just governing in society. And of course there are not a few such declarations to be found in the writings of the Framers of the US Coinstitution.

{6} Or another way of looking at it: a law that seeks to legitimize what is contrary to the public order of society and/or society's common good is ipso facto invalid since it is contrary to the very purpose of the role of law in society.

{7} This is not to say that *you* do not recognize them. However, the faulty paradigms of most people do not look at these matters properly and therefore, they have presuppositions which work against your hypothesis on law. By nipping those presuppositions in the bud, it enables those people to be better persuaded by your arguments without a subconscious rejection in advance based on faulty presuppositions.

{8} I refer here to the "Law of Non-Contradiction" which is implied in the maxim "the end does not justify the means." The second law of course is the one which is the bane of nominalist outlooks: the "Law of Identity."

{9} Indeed this is one of the arguments I make with regards to the approaches taken by renegade so-called "traditionalists" who disregard the approved Indult and strive to do things their own way. (And of course this argument when applied to them is not just a little trenchant if you know what I mean.)

{10} As a Catholic, I accept it of course as pertaining to divine revelation. (As this is what the Declaration quite clearly taught on the matter.) However, when discussing the subject with non-Catholics, I appeal to the principle only as a logically sound principle. (Because it is.)

{11} Indeed it was inconsistency on this subject which was the problem with the original curial schema on religious liberty which was defended at the Council by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani. His reasoning was faulty but Fr. John Courtney Murray's opposing view was not without its problems too. See footnote twelve where this will be addressed via the magic of weblog links.

{12} See the following weblog thread from 2003 for more information on this subject:

A Few Notes on Dignitatis Humanae

{13} In light of how supposedly "perspicuous" the pre-Vatican II magisterial documents were, this attempted "allegience" is mildly amusing to me. (For Pius XI's encyclical did not countenance the New Deal philosophy at all: if anything it directly confuted it by reiterating the ancient subsidiary teaching which is anathema to the socialist approach to government.) Neither Pope Pius XI in his Magisterium (nor Pope Leo XIII in his) advocated socialist methodology. (Indeed they were quite adamantly against it.) But I digress.

{14} The Framers were not unfamiliar with such documents as the Magna Carta or even Catholic writers such as Robert Cardinal Bellarmine whose writings also exerted some influence on the intellectual formation of the Founding Fathers.

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Oh, lest I forget to mention it, I will be blogging a response to Kevin Tierney tomorrow on his last email to me in our dialogue. The previously posted link from Pete Vere may or may not factor into my response at that time. It certainly is a real-life example of why I approach social issues and the subject of law as I do but that is all I will say on the matter at this time.

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"Abomination of Desolation" Dept:

Pete Vere sent me this link earlier today. Pray for Canada my friends, they desperately need it.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

I have the new template schemata about fifty percent of the way completed. Even when completed, it will not categorize all of the various subjects covered as would be ideal. I hope in the next few days when I have time apart from work related activities to get it in somewhat decent shape for promulgating later in the week. The whole process has had me thinking that sometimes I am my own worst enemy viz. the breadth of subjects that I discuss here at Rerum Novarum my friends. I guess it is a small price to pay to make the weblog categories easier to access and follow in a systematical fashion.

Admittedly it will not remotely cause me to change my oft-reiterated position on this subject. However, it *will* give me food for pondering in the days and weeks to come when thinking about this weblog's format...


Monday, April 12, 2004

Weblog Restructuring Ideas Currently Under Consideration:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

Though Rerum Novarum has gone through many permutations in its twenty months of existence, major structural adjustments have been rare.{1} Indeed, it is usually only when the previous format no longer succeeds in coping with the expansion of this weblog into various kinds of subject matter that adjustments of this kind are undertaken. Even then though, they are usually indistinguishable except (perhaps) to the eyes most attuned to minor matters.{2} Nonetheless, it became acutely perceptible to this writer last year that the categorizing format of Rerum Novarum was no longer capable of sustaining the growth in which this weblog sustained throughout 2003. To note a couple of those areas in brief:

---New subjects had been treated on which defied or stretched beyond all reasonable limits the current classification of weblinks.

---Older projects or weblog categorizations became either obsolete or needed tending to in other ways. (Either by different categorization or removal thereof.)

With regards to the first point, whatever structure was constructed to replace it had to be more proactive to possible future subjects of discussion -and less reactive- than the format still in use. With regards to the second point, those aspects needed tending to for the sake of pruning the list of links at Rerum Novarum.

After musing on how to best approach this subject matter -particularly since the much needed weblog update of March-April of 2004 will only make more obsolete the format currently in use- this writer has come up with a schemata for grouping the links already in the weblog margin. (As the archives and everything preceding it will remain untouched, they will not be noted here.)

My Writings and Reviews:

Return of the Inquisition:

Weblog Retrospectives:

My Political/Social Musings:

---On Political Subjects in General

---On Social Subjects in General

---On the US Constitution and the Fundamental Rights of Man{3}

---On Political Election Topics

---On the Recent War and War in General

---On Miscellaneous Political/Social Matters

My Theological/Philosophical Musings:

---On General Theological Subjects

---On the Mystery of the Church

---On Church Authority Topics

---On Particular Theological Subjects

---On Particular Philosophical Subjects

---On Church History Topics

---On the Second Vatican Council

---On the Counter-Reformation Period

---On 'Traditionalism' (Falsely So-Called)

---On 'Traditionalism' (Properly So-Called)

---On 'Progressivism' (Falsely So-Called)

---On Certain Controverted "Hotpoint" Subjects Pertaining to Doctrine

---On Ressourcement Methodology

---On Other Controverted Subjects

Semper Fi{4}

Other Recommended* Web-Sites:

Shawn Tested, Shawn Approved* Catholic Weblogs:{5}

---Most Frequently Read

---Less Frequently Read But Still Highly Recommended

---The Occasional Indulgence

Ecumenical Jihad:

Approved* Weblogs of a Predominantly Political/Social Nature

Inactive But Still Reader-Worthy BLOG's{6}

Shawn's Eastern Catholic Corner Approved* Links:

Spiritual Instruction:

Other Approved* Sites or Links of Interest:

After this categorization would be the disclaimer and it will remain as it is now without adjustments. In short, this is the proposed outline of Rerum Novarum to be implemented in the coming weeks. (Probably concurrent with the next link update if not prior to it.) Anyway, it seemed appropriate to note this to you all.


{1} Though in the first couple of weeks they were frequent but that is to be expected when a weblog is "finding its feet" so to speak. (And the author of said weblog does not intend to limit themselves on particular subject matters of discussion.)

{2} To note a few examples in recent months:

---The disclaimer was revised in April of 2003 in its first paragraph making what was once an ironclad policy into a more general one admitting of exceptions. (And of course the current disclaimer is applicable retroactively in case anyone wondered.)

---The disclaimer was expanded around October of 2003 account for the addition and promotion (within certain parameters) of non-Catholic websites. As the desire to be more authentically ecumenical called for some adjustments in how certain weblog links were to be viewed viz. their endorsement at Rerum Novarum, and as such additions would require additional clarifications to avoid misunderstandings, the disclaimer received its most thorough overhauling since this weblog's inception. (Essentially, the parts of the disclaimer after the first sentence of the third paragraph were all added at that time.)

---At various times searching the archives for particular subject matter (usually to link to a post being written), this writer will find a post in the past where the paragraphs are cluttered or too long. In cases like that, the post will be spread out a bit by making more paragraphs of the original material. (Sometimes moving original material from the body of the text to footnotes.)

---Back in early February of this year, the author of this weblog sought to make the footnoting procedures in the post archives more uniform. This was done by going backwards through the archives and checking for inconsistencies in this area which were corrected. (Usually by moving original material to footnotes to unclutter a post text or making longer paragraphs easier to read by dividing them into smaller ones.)

---A major paradigm shift took place roughly around March of last year when the weblog writer moved to numbers in footnoting and away from astrisk markings. In uniformizing the weblog, this meant changing those notations to the number format that had evolved over the course of time and working backward until everything but roughly the first month or so was altered. (Time constraints preventing that from being tended to at the time.)

---The occasional misspelling being corrected or the occasional phrasing where either (i) a word was found missing or (ii) which read a bit convoluted -usually due to being typed in haste- have of course been corrected as they have been discovered either by this writer or by others. (Unlike some weblog personages, this writer never sees a reason to revise previous texts from the archives viz. the arguments advanced. For this reason, Our occasional warts and blemishes -and even occasional errors or the occasional posts (in retrospect) imprudently made remain in the archives. However, because there are some who latch onto the kind of glitches as noted above as excuses for avoiding the arguments advanced, the above kinds of adjustments are made to force such people to interact with actual arguments and stop straining the gnat to swallow the camel (cf. Matthew xxiii,24).

---And it bears noting that this writer is considering deleting from the archives all post links which referenced sources no longer active -such as many of the references to materials written by this writer or others at Steve Ray's Catholic Convert message board from when We were participants there. (Our involvement at which to varying degrees spanned from March 1999-December 2002 when Our password was revoked and they moved to the awful Novus Boardo format.)

{3} Your humble servant is still debating whether to make the lengthy series on Claude Frederic Bastiat's magnum opus The Law into a category of its own or to categorize it under this subheading.

{4} This writer is considering dropping this categorization completely and changing that weblog into a weblog of "Inactive But Still Worth Perusing BLOGS."

{5} The manner of categorizing weblogs that this writer reads is also being reconsidered. However, that is not likely to be changed with the upcoming restructuring except (perhaps) some of the categorizations of particular weblogs and the possible addition of some new ones.

{6} See footnote four.

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Sunday, April 11, 2004

On the 9-11 Commission:
(An Ultrashort Dialogue With Greg Mockeridge)


In keeping with the new McCain-Feingold campaign laws and truth-in-advertising laws, John Kerry needs to begin his ads with the disclaimer " 'Dis is Osama bin Laden and I approve of 'dis message." Since Mr. Kerry is as about as exciting as watching paint dry, he can mix it up by subsituting OBL with Jacques Chirac, Kim Jong (Mentally) Il, Momar Qadafy, and Saddam Hussien.


Speaking of undermining the War on Terror, those 9/11 committee hearings are, as Tony Snow correctly pointed out, another example of the Democrats, ala the schizophrenic Richard Clarke, being able to sandbag the Bush Administration , who should have stuck their guns and told them to pound sand.

I think these hearings may well backfire on them. Clark has already been thoroughly discredited and Condi Rice pimpslapped her interrogators (including Senator Bob Kerry) quite nicely. One of her interrogators actually said explicitly that it would be "game, set, match" if Condi simply admitted that the Bush Administration was wrong in their handling of security before 9/11. Of course since the Bush Administration was basically following the pattern of the Clinton Administration in many respects at that time, this could very well bring the eight years of the Clintons under scrutiny.

A significant question is this: will Clinton and Gore testify under oath and on TV too??? And of course how do we know that even if they do that they can be believed??? (Particularly the ex-Purjurer in Chief.)

These hearings, besides being a waste of time, eat up much resources needed to fight this war.

This is one area where the government actually has constitutional grounds for operating. What is spent on this commission is but a drop in the bucket of what is being spent on the war so that part of it does not concern me. It would be good though to suspend this commission until 2005 to remove the appearance of political grandstanding by either political party. (Particularly the party of Lenin Democrats.)

Now I do think we need to get to the bottom of finding out why we weren't able to prevent 9/11 viz. government dropping the ball, but not while we are still in the thick of fighting the war on terror. The congressional hearings on Pearl Harbor didn't begin until November 1945, after the war was over.

True. However, since (i) there is no discernable timetable for this war unlike WW II -where it was reasonably clear in late 1943-early 1944 that the tide had definitively turned and (ii) the short attention span and questionable lack of fortitide of most Americans to endure a long war effort,{1} I am not sure we can wait for an indefinite period of time on this subject. However, removing this commission from the election year would be a reasonable thing to do for obvious reasons.


{1} And need I mention that though the Republicans savaged fdr prior to Pearl Harbour that afterwards they suspended all polemics -recognizing that the danger the nation faced was to take precedence over partisan squabblings??? The unwillingness of the Democrats to act in the same way after 9/11 -if anything they have gotten more shrill and polemical- is a testament to their true concern about this nation when it is at war: in short, they have none if there is not a political advantage to it. (In the opinion of this Independent voter.)

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Though We still have a purple colour, that is in appearances only. (As the Sovereign Thane and Lord High Executioner of Rerum Novarum has a holiday from juridical decisions today and cannot change them from his main blogging computer.) May all of you have a blessed Easter or (if you are Evangelicals) a blessed "Resurrection Sunday." Either way, celebrate the Lord's love for you today.