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Showing posts from May 29, 2016

The Greatest Is Gone

I have stolen my title from that Time magazine cover and story, probably from the aftermath of the champ getting knocked out by Larry Holmes. I imagine it was hard for his fans to see it, and that's an understatement. When I imagine him in the ring, it's always the kid who destroyed Sonny Liston. I love those quick feet; to hit, and not get hit in return is the goal, the nirvana of boxers and their trainers, and for a time, no one was ever better. And I have always admired the man, even if I shouldn't. To me, he is the symbol of unvarnished blackness, that which I must reckon with, even if I don't agree with it, or it makes me uncomfortable. The whole nation had to learn that, and we did. When you see the unfailingly flattering remembrances, bear in mind that we are doing penance for those 3 peak years we took from him, still. We owe everyone he ever represented that, I daresay. And there was no better man to speak out against Muslim extremism in those later years

Why I Won't See (Or Read) "Me Before You"

I'm sure you're starting to hear about it. Emilia Clarke is obviously beautiful, and the guy is handsome. Fair enough. And I would normally love a story about a person with a disability finding love, especially with an "able-bodied" person. (But...) Suicide is not a morally acceptable choice.  We need to be clear on how we have been infected with utilitarianism, the idea that the value of our lives is determined by our usefulness to others. As these paragraphs make clear, God alone is the Master of life and death. We can be useful and helpful to one another. As I've said before, I'm cheered every time Roger Federer walks on a tennis court. But when it's all said and done, 17 major championships doesn't mean much to the Lord. Let's just say, He values different things. The inviolable dignity of the human person is affirmed and known by virtue of his or her destiny. Our purpose in life is eternal communion with God, who is Life without end.

Christians Don't Need Tattoos

I'm not saying it's a sin. I'm not even saying it makes for bad aesthetics. And I know many fine people with tattoos. I will say that a Christian has already been marked, by something stronger than ink under the skin. If you folks in the helping professions, like counselors, don't sit in front of the people with tattoos over nearly every inch of their body, and ask yourself, "I wonder what went on here?" I will give you a thousand dollars, for being such a good liar. I know some people--whether they realize it or not--feel they need a visible sign of the scars they carry on the inside. It is altogether appropriate to note that many Old Testament prohibitions ceremonial and civil have been set aside in the New. It's also wise to recall that God knows us better than we do, and he does nothing or commands nothing without a reason, even if we don't know what it is. I can understand the draw (pardon the pun) of an evangelistic tattoo. Then again, if

All Jesus, All The Time

It struck me in Mass today just how many times we mention Jesus. There's a stereotype about Catholics, that we're not really "into" Jesus. I guess it's fair, depending on who you talk to. But if you truly understand your faith, you can't get enough of Him.  Also, Mary and the saints don't change that. The thing about agape is, it's not a pie that runs out. Love--supernatural love--multiplies, and spreads like wildfire. Some people say that we embrace inclusivism, the idea that there is more than one way to God. That's not true. It was Jesus who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father, except through me." You can grip a person or thing so tightly, as if you are afraid they or it will slip away. By contrast, Jesus the Truth invites, embraces, and convinces, by the power of His love.

Final Thoughts On The Atomic Bombs

I will not waver from the conviction--expressed here, and elsewhere--that dropping the bombs on Japan to effectively end the Second World War was a morally unjust act. It had been a question that, frankly, I had not even considered until recently. I was vaguely aware that the Allies had done other things that didn't seem in accord with us being "the good guys," and that may have been troubling if I had spent a great deal of time reflecting on one thing or another, but I didn't. For most of my life, it was enough to know that Nazis and Imperial Japan (also, Italy and Russia, at the beginning) were evil, and we beat them. It's not just that consequentialism is in our culture; it's embedded in the fabric of our civil religion about the war itself. It's as if the only two criteria for judging the war's morality have been whether we are not as evil as "them" (in some vague, undefined way), and whether we won. This isn't good enough, in term

Situation Ethics America

It does take a fair amount of courage (or hubris, if you like) to say that America should not have done x, or y, specifically, drop the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As patriotic Americans, we're used to thinking in a strict binary: America and Americans, good, America's enemies, bad. If you claim Christ as Savior and Lord, though, there is in consequence a higher piety and loyalty, and the application of those principles may be challenging in some respects. I think it is here. In fact, because the argument is so embedded in the American consciousness that "we did what we had to do," and, "A land invasion would have cost more lives, etc." the consequentialist argument must be confronted. Ethically, it's very simple: we are never permitted to do evil, that good may result. Here's the Catechism on conduct in war . If we understand the principle, then the entire argument that dropping the bombs was more "merciful" dies on the vi