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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Different World

I was watching Rachael Ray this morning. She's a celebrity chef. She still cooks on her show, but you can tell she is trying to branch out. Anyway, she had a financial planner on to give advice. The planner asked an audience member she was helping about expenses. The young woman offered that she was engaged. As the planner began describing one of her savings plans, she said, "You can keep this in your room, you and your fiancé." An innocuous comment about a money jar got me thinking.

I live in a subculture where unmarried people don't live together. They don't have sex, unless they mess up. Think about this for a second: it's not even about mercy and compassion; people like you and me mess up all the time. But the whole point of naming sin is to say that sin is part of a culture, a way of being, that we don't want.

If you are one of those people who fears being "judgmental," ask yourself if you are witness to a behavior that you would accept in your own life. If you answer "no,"--or you at least know you shouldn't accept whatever it is--then it's at least very possible that the most merciful thing you can do is to tell someone that what they are doing isn't right.

You'll take some heat, most likely. What else is new? But if you spoke the truth without rancor or malice, then you actually loved your neighbor as yourself.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Another Cross-Examination

I learned long ago that you had better bring the goods, if you are going to argue with Bryan Cross. Actually, I hope he has a good spiritual director, because I just assume I'm wrong, at this point, and it may not help in his cultivation of the virtue of humility!

In general though, have you noticed how little actual argument is in the public square? Once you realize it, that data point may be distressing. I believe that our lack of reason is the presenting problem in public discourse.

One could argue that the common good is the beating heart of the social doctrine. Any philosophy which denies that the common good even exists is incompatible with the Catholic social doctrine.

It doesn't help some people to tell them the Church is our mother, because they don't listen to their mothers, anyway. They react as though the Church said, "I don't want you hanging around with Tommy Pandolfo from down the street! He's always in trouble!"

"OK, Ma! I'll talk to ya later, aright?"

I try to remember the story of some former Pentecostal converts, who weren't much for complicated theological discussions, but if you said, "Jesus says..." whatever comes after that, they'd do or believe. You'll save yourself a lot of grief realizing that essentially, "The Church says..." and "Jesus says..." mean the same thing.