Now that the Pope's body has been laid in its temporary resting place, I return to blogging. By tomorrow I hope to have posted the following --
Some random thoughts on the next pope. Not on who he may be, but on the fact that he will no doubt be a dud and a boob compared to John Paul II and why that's something we shouldn't worry about.For now, I'll just take potshots at random headlines from the Drudge Report.
Breaking news from the Tongue-in-Cheek Newservice about the Society of Pius X, the Sedevacantist movement, and the Papacy of Michael I.
Another installment of the Plus ca Change, Plus C'est La Meme Chose series explaining the curious parallels between some Catholic responses to the Nazis and modern Catholic responses to the latest eruption of the Culture of Death.
Musings on the Remnant's inability to comprehend the mysterious following of Palm Sunday by Good Friday, and thereby, self-styled Traditionalism's inability to fully live the Catholic faith.
Hopefully, I can complete my essay, "Why George Bush's America Creeps Me Out." And -- even more ambitious -- a fuller presentation of my views on the invasion of Iraq.
I also have other things, bits, tidbits, and replies to reader emails. If I have time, I'll also include questions/notes for the reading group's upcoming discussion of Canticle for Liebowitz
Item: What are you willing to bet that the guys who saved all this garbage took heat from their Edwardian counterparts? Turns out they did a great service to everyone. It raises an interesting question. What would happen if the documents contained Paul's Second Letter to the Romans? The one in which he gives us a thoroughly "Augustinian" view of sola fide? Or the one in which he cautions the Romans against asking the departed for intercessory prayer?
Item: Now there's a website tallying the number of times the F-word is used in the HBO series Deadwood. (No, no link. If you know the F-word, you know everything on the site already). So far it's 1,519 times, an average of 1.45 times per minute. In a related story, TV executives are meeting to discuss their indecent programs. I wonder how many times they'll use the F-word?
Item: The teeth are poking out from behind the world's smile. The AP reports that the conclave is a "historic gathering steeped in intrigue." Already? I mean, the Cardinals haven't even poisoned anybody yet, and since they're blocked from the Internet I don't see how they're going to wire-transfer the funds needed to buy each other's votes. More interesting is the AP's decision that the Catholic Church doesn't have anyone in it.
The AP claims there's "an exodus of the faithful" from the Church, a veritable "stream of people leaving a church whose teachings they no longer find relevant." The juxtaposition of these claims to the sex-abuse scandals shows that the reporter, William J. Kole, means an exodus of bourgeois Americans and effete Europeans. News for Mr. Kole -- they were "exodusing" the Church long before the sex-abuse scandals. Pat Buchanan was right on that score, although wrong to attribute it to John Paul II. Or maybe not, because we also have this story from the AP about Ted Nugent addressing the NRA convention. Here's Ted, shouting to applause and cheers:
"To show you how radical I am, I want carjackers dead. I want rapists dead. I want burglars dead. I want child molesters dead. I want the bad guys dead. No court case. No parole. No early release. I want 'em dead. Get a gun and when they attack you, shoot 'em."I've been a member of the NRA, and I can hyperventilate with the best of them when discussing so-called "gun control." But this is sick, and that the NRA would provide a congenial audience causes me to rethink continued support for that organization. Nugent's rhetoric is an example of the same dehumanizing litany that killed Terri Schiavo. A common denominator marks Terri's case and the cases of rapists, murderers and child molesters. That thread is not what they did or did not do, it is not the causes for which they were subjected to remedial violence.[****]
The fact that links Terry Schaivo and Nugent's targets is the relegation of a human person to a zone in which he or she is regarded as being unworthy of law, and unworthy of life. Like Judge Greer and Michael Schaivo, Ted Nugent is vehemently opposed to maintaining lebensunwertes leben -- "life unworthy of life." The trick in Nugent's case is to place the sole responsibility for de-humanization, exclusion from the mutual obligations of respect which bind the human family, on the subject rather than the community which dehumanizes him. Human solidarity involves the recognition of an intrinsic dignity which cannot be removed by anyone but its divine author; to use the parlance of the founding, human solidarity demands the recognition of inalienable rights, rights which cannot be deprived except as God Himself may will. The Christian tradition has been relatively clear that the only acceptable justification for the taking of human life is the protection of the community. But even then, the Christian tradition has been equally clear that what occurs is the violent end of a human life which is fundamentally identical to the human lives of everyone else. It is that particular consciousness which observes rights and extends legal protection to criminals, because it means that they too are members of the community who may appeal to the mutual human obligation to do justice.
The AP claims there's a veritable "stream of people leaving a church whose teachings they no longer find relevant." I think that's probably true, in the West. The West has become so infected by the Culture of Death that Christianity really is "irrelevant" to life in our society. The conservatives rail about liberal judges "killing Terri," and then go off and applaud as Ted Nugent urges them to kill "the bad guys." The liberals rail about right-wingers like Nugent and their abusive views on crime and punishment, then go off and applaud the courage of Michael Schaivo for putting Terri down like a sick dog. Each side thinks it has a principled position, but the only principle involved is the Culture of Death, and all the arguments are about which part of it to implement first. In the end, we won't get a society where the right-wingers are killing all the criminals or the left-wingers are killing all the elderly. We'll get a society where we kill everybody -- babies, carjackers, old people, child molesters, sick people, rapists -- we'll get a society that's continually scouring itself free of "life unworthy of life." No longer relevant? One can only wonder at the hubris behind such a judgment, and fear the desolation it will cause mankind.
[****] By which I mean the deprivation of liberty or health/bodily integrity without the subject's consent in response to a decision or condition of life which is unacceptable to the community.