Thursday, May 31, 2007

Abortion is Genocide

22-week-old aborted baby As demonstrated in some previous posts, I take a dim view of changing the definitions of words to suit an ideological bias. Words mean things, and their accurate and honest usage is important. So I do not lightly make the statement equating abortion to genocide, or to the Holocaust.

I recommend the Abortion is Genocide article by Mick Eugene Hunt and this CBR page as providing good insights into why this is a fair statement. Another thinker made this succinct observation:

Abortion will continue to be trivialized until the American people understand the parallels between historical genocide and abortion genocide which is happening now -- contemporary genocide for which we ourselves are responsible.

And while we're on the subject of using words properly and honestly, how about naming abortion what it really is - the killing of a defenseless human being (and the maiming of another), rather than the euphemistic "termination of pregnancy". And start calling abortion clinics the slaughter-houses of pre-born human beings, rather than "centers of reproductive health".

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dogpatch, Ergo Sum

As you can see, I have given my blog a new title, one that reflects the ideological and philosophical tenor that it has come to possess. The change comes with the addition of two new Dogpatch sites, as seen in the sidebar, "Dogpatch Journal", the true story behind Dogpatch of the North (the name of my homestead in the north woods), and "Dogpatch for sale" (Yes, I would like to move on to something else soon).

This, my original blog, will continue as before. Only the title has been changed.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Catholic publications: Embrace diversity of thought, or teach Catholic truth clearly?

Lenore and I recently wrote the following letter to our diocesan newspaper, the Catholic Herald of Superior, WI. The letter was printed in the May 3 edition:

In this information age, we can easily experience information overload. TV, Internet, books, all combine to create a cacophony of ideas and opinions on every subject imaginable. This may be quite suitable for political and ideological controversies, but the truth of our Catholic Faith must surely rise above such mere subjectiveness and speculation. The highest purpose of Catholic journalism must be seen in this light: to shine the light of the true Faith as a sure beacon and reliable guide in the midst of the chaotic and confusing cacophony in our world.

By publishing the left-leaning and often heretical ideas of Fr. Richard McBrien and Fr. Ron Rolheiser, the Catholic Herald is failing to achieve this high calling. Weighing their own supposed academic prowess and subjective opinions against 2000 years of consistent Church teaching and billions of believing saints, these two priests have no problem preferring the former. But such insufferable hubris is not the primary problem. To give these two a podium is to undermine one's own reliability as a source of Catholic teaching. Such has been the Catholic Herald's error.

Surely more authentically Catholic writers can be found -- writers such as Matt C. Abbott, Amy Welborn, or Russell Shaw, to name a few -- who have consistently written intelligent reflections on our Faith without departing from its truth. We call upon the Herald to replace McBrien and Rolheiser with real Catholics. Enough cacophony!

The May 17 edition contained 6 response letters, all of them opposed to ours, although we also received many favorable responses in person. Regretfully, The Herald does not include letters to the editor in its online version, so links to the written responses cannot be included here.

In light of the interest shown, this blog post is an invitation to engage in a roundtable discussion on the proper role of Catholic publications in the marketplace of ideas. Feel free to click here or on the comment link for this post (below) to read the roundtable discussion, and to add any comment you like. No comments will be edited or deleted unless they are obscene or exceedingly uncivil. The first comment is our letter as sent to The Herald in response to the 6 unfavorable responses.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

World Congress of Families

World congress of Families logo This just in from C-Fam, (a Catholic presence at the U.N.): The World Congress of Families in Warsaw, Poland successfully concluded this past Sunday. Among other items, I found this part of their report especially interesting:

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Ellen Sauerbrey touched on one of the more controversial debates in international law, and one in which the U.S. and Europeans have diverged during debates at the UN. She affirmed the position found in foundational human rights documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares that the family is legally above the state. More recent human rights treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) have been used to argue that the family is just one of many institutions and does not deserve special protections by the state. Sauerbrey noted that "more than 2000 years ago Cicero spoke of the family as 'the seedbed' of the state. The state did not create the family; rather, families created the state."

A ray of hope, and Poland is truly a bright spot in the E.U.

Read the full text of the C-Fam statement, and visit the World Congress site for more info.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Healing the Culture: A book review

If you want to buy Healing the Culture, try this Life Principles link. You can also order it through, or call 1-800-651-1531.

The faculty of reason should be seen as the common denominator uniting people of various beliefs and persuasions. As rational beings, we have an obligation to use the discipline of logic and reason in addressing human difficulties and controversies.

Healing the Culture, by Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D., qualifies as a work of reason. Spitzer employs a step-by-step common sense approach to construct a framework of timeless and universal principles, and applies those principles to current cultural crises, namely, abortion and euthanasia. While disputes over these two issues are typified on both sides by political posturing, anecdotal arguments, and emotional pleas, Spitzer's reasoned and methodical approach is both refreshing and extremely important. It is an example of good philosophy that is practical, rational, and engaging.

The book: Healing the Culture Spitzer begins by defining four levels of happiness. The first level is characterized by immediate gratification, of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. The second level is typified by the comparison mentality, of achieving competitive advantage and bolstering one's ego. The third level goes beyond self, toward seeking the good of others. The fourth and highest level of happiness is derived from giving and receiving ultimate or transcendant goodness -- Truth, Love, Justice, Beauty. These four levels move from the immediate to the enduring, from the shallow to the profound.

Next, Spitzer draws connections between one's view of happiness and one's view of other principles: success, self-worth, love, suffering, ethics, freedom, personhood, rights, and the common good. He treats each of these in depth, but perhaps personhood, when looking at abortion and euthanasia, is the critical point. Using rigorous logic, Spitzer concludes, quite reasonably, that every being of human origin should be considered a person, as I have noted in my previous post entitled "Persons". It is important to note that Spitzer does all this in a way that even an unbeliever would find compelling, providing that said unbeliever is honest, willing to think, and is a person of basic good will. It is also important to note the legal and cultural ramifications of these simple but profound ideas.

Pope John-Paul II repeatedly called upon Christians to build a 'culture of life'. Benedict XVI has emphasized the importance of using reason in our dealings with the culture. In my opinion, Healing the Culture fulfills both of these mandates, and is well worth reading, digesting, and sharing.