Shea and the NCR

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Mark Shea has been indefinitely suspended from the National Catholic Register for his vitriolic remarks directed towards others (including some priests) outside of the online magazine.

This is the official statement.

“The Register is no longer publishing blogs or commentaries submitted by Mark Shea. Mark’s writings at the NCRegister.com or published in our print edition were within our editorial guidelines. However, his writings and engagement on other forums were irreconcilable with our editorial vision or standards of charitable discussion.”

Over the years, Mark has vilified other Catholics in the public sphere including Sen. Rick Santroum (R-PA), Lila Rose, Robert Sungenis, Michael Voris, Dr. John Zmirak and Fr. Brian Harrison over one thing or another such as their style.  A lot of Catholics will know what I mean by this.  In addition Shea has been known for lumping people together into groups like the pro-lifers who are pro-torture, anti-poor, “Trumpkins”.  He is the one who coined the term “Taliban Catholic” by the way.

By the way, Mark recently tried to get the Vatican to censor The Principal for going against modern science.  Really?!  Of all things to fret about: somebody’s stance on modern science?!  Has he heard of Venerable Pius XII’s encyclical Humani Generis.

It has raised the ire of many Catholics who have raised their voice to EWTN, the owner of National Catholic Register, to drop Mark Shea or lose subscribers.  They finally heeded the request and dumped him at least until he shapes up.  I lost a friend who was close friends with Mark Shea and shared the same views as he.  I lost that friend and another friend because they both espoused Shea’s divisive attitude towards those who did not think like them on issues like lying or waterboarding.

For me this seems to be justice.  This person will not be writing for any major Catholic outlet at least for some time.  Therefore he won’t be portraying himself as the voice of the Church we must listen to.  Hopefully he will resolve this issue.

The Problem with Libertarianism

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Inspired by Budziszewski’s articles on the problem with progressivism and conservatism, I write this on the problem with libertarianism.

1.) Libertarianism is essentially secularist.  Libertarians to one extent or another oppose a particular religion having precedency over others, even in a country that is predominantly belonging to a particular religious group.  Catholics who espouse this view might believe in the same when the Church has been clear that a secularist society spells disaster.  The Second Vatican Council’s document Dignitatis Humanae even states that the document itself “leaves untouched traditional Catholic doctrine on the moral duty of men and societies toward the true religion and toward the one Church of Christ” (n. 1).  What doctrine is that?  Saint Pius X wrote, “That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error” (n. 3).  Such a belief that Church and state should be totally separate is a modernist heresy listed in Blessed Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors (n. 55).

It’s not that the Church and state should be the same entity; numerous Catholic theologians from popes, to bishops, to priests, deacons, monks and lay persons have emphasized that the Church and state must remain two separate entities for the sake of the Church.  That was what the investiture controversy was about: emperors and princes were electing bishops and appointing them, even without the approval of the pope and bishops.  Ironically this is exactly what Henry VIII ended up doing: appointing his own bishops and claiming authority over the Church in England.  So in regards to Church and state being two separate entities, libertarianism agrees with the Church, but in regards to Christianity’s role in society, libertarianism disagrees with the Church.  The latter is the problem.

2.) Libertarianism can sound an awful lot like libertinism.  Like I mentioned earlier, typical libertarian rhetoric goes like this: “If you don’t want X to be forced upon you, then don’t force Y upon others.”  Again, for the sake of the common good this may work to a certain degree.  However, you cannot use this argument for just any situation.  For example, you can’t say, “If you don’t want people to force you to believe murder is okay, then don’t force others to believe murder is wrong.”  First off, it’s illogical, because by telling somebody not to force something upon others, you are forcing them and telling them what to do.  Second, this is an extreme which cannot be taken.  Unfortunately many libertarians use this in regards to abortion, which we as Catholics should know is murder regardless when the abortion takes place.  The over lining difference between libertinism and libertarianism is that libertinism is a personal outlook on ethics while libertarianism is a political outlook on the role of ethics.  The libertine both believes that you can commit certain acts deemed immoral and the state has no right to tell you it’s wrong; libertarians may believe something is immoral but oppose the state punishing you for it.  In such cases, however, the two seem to overlap with a number of libertarians.

3.) Libertarianism tends to put too much emphasis on the Constitution.  That sounds like heresy or even blasphemy to libertarians, but let’s think this logically.  As I’ve mentioned earlier, not all forms of speech are protected by the first amendment: e.g. you can’t abuse the 911 line, you can’t shout “fire” in a theater and you certainly can’t shout “bomb” on an airplane, that is unless there actually is one.  These are rules meant to protect us.  However, many libertarians fail to understand how radical ideologies like Islamism grow like a wildfire.  They grow under the radar of free speech, only to get to the point where you have Sharia police patrolling Western cities, jihadi Muslims killing civilians, law enforcement and military personnel.  It comes to a point where enough is enough.  So, just because you say libertarians put too much emphasis on the Constitution, does not mean you hate the Constitution, believe in forced conversions and other such things.  It is like progressives; just because you oppose abortion, homosexuality and Islam does not mean you hate women, gays or Muslims.

Libertarians, especially those like Glenn Beck, treat the Constitution like it comes from the mouth of God, therefore it is absolutely binding and infallible.  The problem is, the Constitution is not part of the deposit of faith, therefore it cannot be put on par with Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  In fact, the Constitution grants Congress the right to ratify an amendment to the Constitution, even one that nullifies an earlier amendment, which means the Constitution can change and contradict itself.  This is the major difference this document has to Holy Writ and Tradition; the latter two cannot change as they are part of the deposit of faith.  The Constitution is a legal document, not divine revelation.  Nor is the Constitution original; it is heavily based on earlier documents from the Magna Carta to the Articles of Confederation.

4.) Libertarianism’s emphasis on the development of the sciences is way off.  At least when you consider Beck’s comments on science before the ratification of the Constitution and the foundation of the United States.  As previously mentioned, the U.S. Constitution is not original as it is heavily based on Greek philosophy, Roman politics, the Magna Carta and the Articles of Confederation.  The same is very much for science; it is not original; it did not start with the U.S. Constitution.  It developed over time; had earlier scientists not been inspired it is doubtful we would have such a scientific breakthrough even with the U.S. Constitution.  In this regard, libertarianism tends to border idolatry with the United States and its founding document.

As mentioned before, libertarianism is just another ideology.  Its hardcore believers would not like to hear that, but it is.  In fact, their response to opposition to libertarianism shows how they are ideologues like the progressives and conservatives they oppose so much.

Libertarianism and Islamism

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This is one of the problems I have with libertarianism.  It is weak on the Islamization of the West to the point where it sounds indifferent to the situation.  You might hear libertarians say Muslims should not be deported if they promote the death penalty for non-violent violations of Sharia law because as they say it goes against the first amendment.

So, the growth of radicalism around the world including Europe and North America cannot be stopped by the state because that would infringe upon their first amendment rights?  That would be defending them to have a “right” to take away our rights.  That sounds counterproductive to the underlining principle of libertarianism.  Then again libertarianism is just another ideology like progressivism and conservatism.  Its loyal believers will accept everything it teaches like its from the mouth of God and you are not allowed to question it or you are a bad person, so they say.  Like I’ve mentioned earlier, if you oppose abortion, homosexuality and Islam, progressives call you a conservative bigot who hates women, gays and Muslims; if you support labor unions, preferential option for the poor and some environmental legislation, consersvatives call you a socialist.  In this regard, if you believe Muslims who espouse violent punishments under Sharia and jihad should be penalized, then libertarians say you’re against freedom.

Libertarians, at least the middle of the road ones, will try to say if don’t like X being forced upon you then you can’t force Y upon others.  This only works to a certain degree.  If you take it to its radical conclusion, you’d have to be okay with people killing others because you could not force your belief of killing others upon others just as you wouldn’t want people forcing you to be okay with killing others.  But, uh oh… wait, wouldn’t that be a clear and obvious contradiction?  Sounds like that would be forcing you to be okay with something because in the end you would not be allowed to impose your views on murder on others.

Libertarians can be ideologues like anybody else if they’re only defense of something is the first amendment.  First, the Constitution may be a great legal document, but it’s not part of the deposit of faith which consists of Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  Second, speech has its limits: e.g. you can’t abuse the 911 line, you can’t just shout “fire” in a theater and you can’t say just shout “bomb” on an airplane. It all has to do with the protection of people and society at large. It’s important to think philosophically about what boundaries there are instead of ideologically labelling everything as defended by freedom of speech.

It’s ironic because libertarians are supposedly all about self-defense, but when people want a certain ideology that threatens their freedom so much like Islamism kicked out of the country, then libertarians are up in arms crying out against it.

That’s the strange thing about libertarianism; one minute you might hear something you absolutely like, but the next minute you hear something that’s so far out of the realms of logical or sane that you just cannot bear it.  In short: libertarianism is just another ideology.

Stupid Things Conservatives Say

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It isn’t just progressives who say stupid things.  Conservatives have their share of stupid comments too.  Here are some common ones.

1.) If you support labor unions, environmental laws and laws caring for the poor (e.g. Pope Francis) you are a socialist.

2.) If you disagree with the War in Iraq, then you must like Saddam Hussein.

3.) Vladimir Putin is a communist who wants to revitalize the U.S.S.R.

4.) If you criticize the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, then you must either be unaware of Japan’s brutality or support imperialist Japan.

5.) If you criticize Israel at all, then you must support the jihadis of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

6.) There were no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil before Barack Obama’s advent.

The latter seems to be said by a lot of conservatives in attempts to discredit Obama… and believe me I’m no fan of Obama.  But you have to criticize him on a legitimate point, not a fake one like this.  The latest one I know who said this is Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City.  Seriously, remember the two World Trade Center attacks?  The first one in 1996 and the other in 2001, the latter being far bigger than any individual terrorist attack on U.S. soil since then?

They might shift the blame from George W. Bush to Bill Clinton though for not capturing Osama bin Laden when he had the chance.  The more I think on this, it would not make a difference regardless had Bin Laden been caught or not, seeing that Bin Laden did not personally hijack the planes and the September 11 attacks were planned years before it happened.

East Side & West Side

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Saint John Paul II spoke of Christendom having two lungs: the Western and Eastern Churches represented by Rome and Constantinople.  He said the Church “must breathe with” both (rf. Ut Unum Sunt, n. 54).

Many Eastern Christians have been readmitted into the Church after almost 1000 years of schism, but many still remain outside of full communion with the Church.  Those are the Orthodox.  The Eastern Orthodox, like us Roman and Eastern Catholics, are Chalcedonians, meaning they profess faith in the hypostatic union of the Jesus Christ’s divinity and humanity as two natures in one Person.  Interestingly enough Catholic apologists have noted the schism was not formal until the 15th century after many Byzantines refused to accept the terms of the Council of Florence regarding the Filioque, the use of unleavened bread for consecration, and the dating of major feast days.

Many of these Eastern Christians accepted the terms of the Council of Florence and were admitted into full communion with the Roman Church mostly in the early modern period.  They accepted that the Filioque is a legitimate expression of the Nicene Creed, that the use of unleavened bread does constitute for a valid Eucharist, have accepted doctrines which were later defined as dogma such as the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption and papal infallibility.

These dogmas, divinely revealed truths, are stumbling blocks for the Orthodox in their reconciliation with the Holy See, especially papal infallibility and papal primacy.  They say the pope’s scope of power went too far somewhere in the Middle Ages.  Initially this was not an issue for the Orthodox as the Great Schism first started as an issue between the Normans and the Byzantines.  The Normans conquered Byzantine Sicily and soon afterwards were demanding priests to say Holy Mass in Latin, not Greek.  The patriarch of Constantinople did not like this, so he demanded priests Constantinople to say Holy Mass in Greek.  Eventually three papal legates were sent to give a bull of excommunication to the patriarch who in turn excommunicated the legates, not the pope who had already passed away.

Eventually there was the massacre of the Latins and the sacking of Constantinople which for a short time made relations between the two bitter.  There was bad on both sides and neither one was exactly innocent.  Catholics and Orthodox have learned that we share the same faith albeit are not yet in full communion.  We have learned especially through hardships with Protestants who think the same about the Orthodox as Catholics, not to mention the Islamic persecution of Catholics and Orthodox, that Catholics and Orthodox have a lot more in common than what divides us.

This is unlike anything Catholics and Protestants share: Protestantism is heresy, Orthodoxy is not.  Protestantism has no valid priesthood and therefore no valid Eucharist, Confession, Holy Orders, Confirmation, or Anointing of the Sick.  Orthodoxy does have all seven Sacraments and the Orthodox too believe there are seven Sacraments, no more, no less.  The similarity makes it pretty easy for Catholics and Orthodox to dialogue, not so much for Catholics and Protestants.  We must hope and pray more Orthodox will come into full communion with us.

Muslims in a Church

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Muslims decided to once again disrupt Christians during Divine Liturgy.  This time they used bullhorns, shouting “Allahu Akbar” at Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox Church in San Luis Obispo, California.  This comes just a few weeks after two Muslims killed a Catholic priest while he was celebrating Holy Mass.

It is clear these Muslims (not all individual Muslims), but the jihadi, radical ones, have no respect for the Holy Mass.  They do not respect our personal space.  Yet the government keeps letting them come here and stay.  Then there are the government’s supporters trashing anybody who criticizes the government on this key point.  How many more priests need to be killed, churches vandalized and Masses disrupted before people start getting this into their heads?

You can find more here:

California: Muslims screaming “Allahu akbar!” through a bullhorn terrorize church during worship service