Praying the Post

Reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee in one hand and a rosary in the other.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008
Lebens unwertes Leben

Dear Uncle Sam:

We have some children we have no use for. We were going to incinerate them, but if you want to use them for medical experiements instead, that's fine with us.

The Parents

This tomorrow brought to you by Ronald M. Green, chair of the Ethics Advisory Board of Advanced Cell Technology.

Thursday, October 23, 2008
Not only can we say "both/and," it's our moral imperative

As a Roman Catholic, I am disheartened to see the communications coordinator of a national Catholic social justice lobby miscommunicate Catholic doctrine on the single most important social justice issue of our time.

Stephanie Niedringhaus of NETWORK writes, in a letter to the Washington Post:
People of all political persuasions can agree on basic moral principles while disagreeing in good conscience about how to apply them. Catholic teachings about the dignity of every human life and the tragedy of abortion are clear. Some of us would address abortion by outlawing it. Others believe that a more realistic response is to ensure that all pregnant women have access to affordable health care and other support systems that encourage them to carry their babies to term.
Bad timing for Ms. Niedringhaus, as just two days ago Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Murphy released a joint statement saying:
Some argue that we should not focus on policies that provide help for pregnant women, but just focus on the essential task of establishing legal protections for children in the womb. Others argue that providing lifeaffirming support for pregnant women should be our only focus and this should take the place of efforts to establish legal protections for unborn children. We want to be clear that neither argument is consistent with Catholic teaching. Our faith requires us to oppose abortion on demand and to provide help to mothers facing challenging pregnancies.
This is not Compton scattering in a non-homogeneous fluid, people. This is not that complicated. Why can't people who do this for a living get it right?

Let me also draw attention to the first sentence I quoted from Ms. Niedringhaus's letter. I would be thrilled if people of all political persuasions actually did agree on basic moral principles. But they don't. Obama, Biden, and the Democratic Party do not agree with the basic moral principle that you cannot intentionally kill innocent life. Vote for them if you like, but do so in the clear understanding of what they believe.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Commercial strength anti-Catholic bigotry

Naked, unalloyed contempt for the Catholic faith, five days before Christmas.

What makes this news? It's introduced into a column of naked, unalloyed contempt for conservative Episcopalians.

Saturday, April 15, 2006
Because Good Friday in Rome is all about secular America

How can something be so unbelievable and so predictable at the same time?

The front page of today's Post has a nice Reuters picture of Pope Benedict XVI from Good Friday's Celebration of the Passion of the Lord. This is the caption, adapted from a Reuters article written by Philip Pullella:
Pope Benedict XVI presides over the ceremony of the Good Friday Passion of the Lord Mass in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. He led a procession around the Colosseum and heard 14 meditations, one lamenting a "diabolical pride aimed at eliminating the family," an apparent reference to gay marriage and abortion.
Let's set aside the "Good Friday Passion of the Lord Mass" solecism; perhaps all the copy editors took Friday off.

There were fourteen meditations, comprising more than seventeen hundred words. Yet the Post chose to quote just seven of them on page A-1, seven that the Post could fit comfortably into the narrow rut of acceptable journalistic perspectives on the Catholic Church.

Again I wonder, are there no actual practicing Catholics at the Post? Someone to say, "No, really, there's more to the Church than socially conservative politics."?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Regarding the Post's editorial on torture:


Friday, November 04, 2005
A bad idea from a bad novel

Eugene Robinson says it for me:
Why does it matter how we treat a bunch of Islamic radicals who are sworn to bring death and destruction to the United States? It matters because the United States draws its strength and its moral authority in the world from its ideals. We preach about due process, we preach about the rule of law, we preach about humane treatment -- and now we're ignoring our own pronouncements.

But there's more at stake than American standing in the world. Our ideals are the heart and soul of this nation. We are not an ancient nation united by language or blood. Our ideals, rather than ethnicity or even territory, hold us together and make us a nation. When we betray those ideals, we weaken America.
The original news article includes this alarming description of the environment in which these black sites were created:
"We never sat down, as far as I know, and came up with a grand strategy," said one former senior intelligence officer who is familiar with the program but not the location of the prisons. "Everything was very reactive. That's how you get to a situation where you pick people up, send them into a netherworld and don't say, 'What are we going to do with them afterwards?'"
"Everything was very reactive" is a recipe for moral disaster, unless all those reacting are wholly virtuous people. Good ends give rise to dodgy means, which bleed into bad means, which lead to bad ends.

When played for laughs, it's called farce.

Friday, April 22, 2005
Fundamentalism, American-style

Do you know what, according to Maryland NOW, women's most fundamental right is?

You didn't guess, "The right to life," did you?

In today's Post, there's a letter to the editor, set in its own box, with a nice big headline reading, "Endangering Women's Rights."

It's a measure of how screwed up this country is that all the above is a clue that something good has happened.

The letter concludes:
The passage of this legislation underscores why a strong and unwavering reproductive-rights coalition is needed to preserve women's most fundamental right.

Maryland NOW
Silver Spring
What is the legislation that sends Duchy Trachtenberg to her typewriter to warn the reproductive-rights coalition to be strong and unwavering? Maryland House Bill 398, "Murder and Manslaughter-Viable Fetus," which allows that "a prosecution may be instituted for murder or manslaughter of a viable fetus."

Yes, it explicitly states that "nothing in this... applies to or infringes on a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy," and "nothing in this... shall be construed to confer personhood or any rights on the fetus."

Yes, even my own reliably pro-abortion state representatives voted for this bill.

But when your whole professional career is based on preserving the legal right of women to kill their children before birth, anything that even hints that a fetus should be treated any differently than a wart must be strongly and unwaveringly resisted.