Posts Tagged ‘ abortion ’

Pick a club

My brother-in-law is a hog. A Harley Hog, that is. He’s got the bike. He’s got the look. And, living in DC, he participates in Rolling Thunder every year (would that I could). Point is, he wanted to join this particular club and he was willing to pay the price of admission, as well as the membership dues. Things like a motorcycle made by one, specific company. He did not go knocking on the door of the local chapter sitting astride, say, a Honda.

Any (and all) clubs, groups, associations have requirements for membership – that’s what makes them a club. They are founded and maintained on certain, (usually) well defined interests. Political parties in the United States used to be like this. When all members adhere to and support the group’s basic tenets, rules, philosophy, the group is cohesive and is strengthened. But, clubs can often lose their focus, especially when they try to find new members. Kinda like the Democrats enacting new laws to force everybody else to be more liberal. Unfortunately, with politics (in any country), you are subject to the whims of the ruling party, whether you’re a member of that party or not. Not so I imagine, with the Hogs: if you don’t ride (or, at least own?) a Harley, you’re not welcome. However, no one will force me on to any particular motorcycle, or on to any motorcycle at all, for that matter.

So, it just defies my understanding why anyone would want to be a member of any particular church if they weren’t willing to follow its rules (doctrine, dogma, teachings). If I want to believe objects have spirits, fine; but Christians don’t worship rivers or mountains, any more than you would join a rose society because of your prize petunias. Why an animist would even consider joining a Christian church is beyond me. To my knowledge, Christian churches don’t prevent anyone from communing with nature. Christians, by definition, worship Christ, and in 2000 years, haven’t seen the need to consult tea leaves or chicken bones. If you want to stick pins into a doll, ok; but Christians don’t. You do your thing, I’ll do mine, ok? So, why is it asking too much that you don’t make it the law of the land that I have to buy pins and dolls for you? This isn’t Germany.

I want to have hot dogs on the Fourth of July, not quiche on Bastille Day. I want to pledge allegiance to the red, white and blue of the United States, not the white, blue and red of Russia. I want to observe Christmas by attending midnight Mass celebrated by a celibate, male priest. I believe human life begins at conception and procured abortion is murder. Civil law has redefined marriage and inconvenient life – but Divine Law hasn’t (unless I missed the memo that GOD takes His marching orders from Capitol Hill). You want to stand in front of the Pearly Gates and justify yourself based on the decisions made by a committee of your peers (read: politicians), go right ahead. Frankly, I don’t want my Church to conform to your society. I like the fact that Christ was the ultimate revolutionary.

I will continue to render unto Caesar, but not because I feel it is my responsibility to pay for your lack of responsibility. I will continue to pay my taxes and buy health care for my family – and yours. It is mere coincidence that the guy in the White House agrees with the guy in the Bible on that one.

Put another way: I like being Roman Catholic. Which, despite its name, doesn’t mean it is a chameleon that finds new ways to constantly reinvent itself. The more it ignores the capricious and arbitrary fashions of the hour, the better. When I need shifting sands, I’ll go to the internet; when I need something built on rock, I’ll go to Mass. There are many who say the Church doesn’t fit the times. Not able to ordain women (let’s see: Jesus was male, His first thirteen apostles were male; what am I missing here?). Not embracing homosexual behavior (doesn’t exactly embrace serial killer behavior, either). Finding that human life is not a matter of convenience, or the calendar. Ok, I’ll hold the door open for you. I am quite sure you’ll find someone to embrace your inability to have a backbone, to have values, to believe that some things – like Truth – don’t change.

Yeah, it has warts; what collection of human beings doesn’t? Jesus was divine, he did the best He could with the material He had available. Fishermen and tax collectors. The fisherman, the one who I would have thought dependable, denied Jesus not once, but three times. At the Cross, Peter was nowhere to be found. And there was that part where Jesus was telling the religious police that tax collectors and prostitutes would get into Paradise before them; doesn’t say much about tax collectors, does it? Not sure who got slammed there. Can anyone forget the Renaissance Popes? NOBODY should. I, for one, would like to rip those years out of every history book. St Peter’s Basilica notwithstanding.

If you don’t like my club, you are free to leave. Roses have thorns; but at the end of the day, they are roses. No doubt Harleys have issues, but what machine doesn’t? If you prefer a rice rocket, have at it. But, I don’t ask you to sing kum-bay-yah, why must you demand that of me? (yeah, I find the fact that I did, at one time, really far out).

A Brief Respite

I think my post-Vatican II head has stopped spinning. Maybe the mayhem wrought by those seeking to hijack The Church has merely slowed? In any event, the recently concluded Synod on the Family has seemingly stuck a stick in the sand; tho maybe only a small stick. Maybe only an effort to change the water and not throw it out with the baby?

When I entered The Church, the altar boys had to learn Latin. Going to Mass now, it is unusual to see any males up there, other than the priest (thank GOD, that hasn’t changed). Nobody was trying to water-down Catholicism – attack, demolish, eradicate, maybe – but not transform it into the namby-pamby pablum that other (heretical) Christian sects are trying to do. You see, for me, the “old” Church fits. I sang “kum-by-yah” at one time, I don’t now.

The quintessential counter-cultural figure of all time was Jesus Christ. He founded an institution based on the frailties of the creatures it exists to save. Pretty much a mandate of “You will come close to drowning many times; but I won’t let you. Furthermore, while you are trying to save yourself, you must also save others.” Rather much the antithesis of: “if you see someone in distress in the water (in the old days that would be “drowning,” but of course we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings now-a-days), the first thing you do is NOT jump in.” The modern version is more like: “if you want to be in distress in the water, don’t bother me.”

So, based on the Founder’s example, The Church is also counter-cultural. When it discards all it stands for, it stops being The Church. This is not religion of any kind: this is logic.

I want a corpus on a cross. I want a Crucifix. Sure, it is fabulously wonderful that Christ conquered the Cross, and celebrating the empty cross is a good thing. But, not at the expense of recalling what it took to get there. In the Garden of Gethsemane, remembered as the First Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary (for those of us blessed to pray the Rosary – sorry about you other heathens), Christ cried. Very poetically, “like drops of blood.” Why did He cry? “For being done too soon,” as Neil Diamond sang? Perhaps. Maybe more out of frustration that His sacrifice (wanna talk “mortification of the flesh”?) would not save us all. Oh, it could, of course. Let there be no doubt that, if it wasn’t up to us (us and our damnable free will), that Crucifixion would have been more than enough to save us all – all of us, forever.

And so, I wear a Crucifix on a chain around my neck. I have a short memory; I need the reminder. And, I wear it on the outside of my shirt; I don’t want anybody asking me if I’m Catholic (obviously, if I was a lot more saintly, others would know I was Catholic by my behavior and they would not need a chunk of metal on my chest to tell them. What can I say? I’m a sinner. Sue me.)

I want a Church that helps me not be just another lemming, following the crowd, obsessed with sensual gratification, instant reward (and the less I have done to earn it, the better), the accumulation of toys (news flash: the person with the most toys definitely does not “win”). Yeah, I try to avoid eating meat on Fridays; but then, I try to avoid eating meat every day. The other six days, I try to avoid meat for me, for my health, for consciousness of how little others around the world have to eat, for awareness that the American love affair with beef is not environmentally sustainable. I try to avoid eating meat on Fridays not for what I am, but for who I am. Six days a week, I am concerned about physical health, one day a week I am concerned about spiritual health. (Actually, if the truth be known, I am not a foodie: food is only a fuel, not a life altering event. Honestly, I seldom think about food. Sorry, Scott.)

I’m all for priests not marrying. I do love the irony: looking at my life, it is clear the only way I could have kept my jeans zipped was to die trying. So, it’s something else? Yeah: lack of distractions. I have tried keeping one foot in the secular world: being married, providing for a family (i.e., having a job, even a job I detest); and trying to put the other foot into the camp of salvation: more prayer time, more study of the Bible and other writings (sometimes called “commentaries,” or Tradition – no, the capital T is not a typo; old Catholics know what I’m talkin’ ‘bout). The day just is not long enough for me; but then, I’m slow.

Y’know, when your tooth aches, you want your dentist right now. You don’t want to hear an answering company say that he/she is taking a much deserved holiday in the Bahamas. When you get a letter from the IRS, you don’t want you accountant to shuffle thru his calendar and tell you he’s got an opening on April 16th. When you go to the emergency room at 2 o’clock in the morning with a racing, pounding heart, you don’t want the single on-duty receptionist (in the old days, that would be a fully qualified nurse) to take her time finding the right forms for you to fill in. I don’t want my priest, my spiritual advisor to have other things on his mind. Laser-focus, that’s what I’m after.

GOD love him if he wants a wife and kids; Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding (yes, beyond doubt, a heterosexual wedding). GOD love him if he just can’t devote every moment of his life to the greater glory of GOD (GOD knows I haven’t). But, if he’s going to claim to be a priest, I want a priest of the old school – the order of Malchizedek. He’s going to be dependable. Maybe not instantly available; but when I call (e.g., every Sunday), I know what I’m getting. And what I’m getting, I’m getting only in a Catholic Church. The last thing I want to hear from the pulpit is “I’m ok and you’re ok and that’s ok.” For Heaven’s Sake: I’m a sinner, you’re a sinner, now what are we going to do about it?”

I want to be associated with an institution that says that ending human life is always a bad thing. Bad, bad, bad. Period. End of discussion. As a Marine, this is the most difficult Teaching I have to deal with. But, I never killed a child, or to my knowledge, an unborn baby. Small consolation perhaps; but also reality. So, it makes me want to reach for my Kabar when someone wants an abortion because that human life yet unborn is inconvenient. You want “inconvenient”? You might find your blood on the floor terribly inconvenient.

Who you fuck is your business, just get it out of my face. Dunno which is worse: current society’s obsession with sex, or making it the most important thing in the world. Beyond the constant reminder that some people define themselves by their “sexual orientation,” I find homosexuality both revolting and interesting. Kinda like the “mad scientist” who enjoys watching rats in the maze he’s constructed, but would never want to be in that maze himself.

Revolting because as a supremely devout heterosexual, I can’t imagine anything more disgusting than having sex with another man. And this, keeping in mind that GOD did not make every woman to look like Angelina Jolie. I mean, projectile vomiting comes to mind. Ok, so you say po-tay-to and I say po-tah-to. Fine, just get it out of my face. Puh-leez.

Interesting in that supposedly intelligent people can think it could possibly be intelligently rational. Whatever else you might think, each and every species of every living thing there ever was needed to reproduce itself. (The opposite of reproduce is “extinct” – in case you slept thru 9th grade biology.) Granted, some species don’t need other members of their species to reproduce; but it might be safe to say those species were, um, shall we say, anomalous? Statistically, there just aren’t many of them. And, scientifically, there might be some justification for that ability (like: simple lack of mates – something I submit is not the case with human beings).

Which leads us to the question of how homosexual human beings propagate. Physically, they don’t. Pretty simple. Absolutely irrefutable. If homosexuality is somehow “normal”; how come they can’t “normally” make more of their own kind? Think about it.

Birds fly, fish swim. This is called “natural law.” Every creature, plant or animal, has characteristics, or attributes. Human beings are intelligent enough to fabricate flying machines and swimming machines, but it is still a machine with a human in it. And, frankly, I kinda like that. And, I think my wife kind likes the idea that when we go to bed, I’d rather be with her than a goat. Or, duck-billed platypus. I like a church that says I might enjoy observing, or preserving spotted owls, but I am not one.

While I make my way thru this thing called Life, and I am assaulted with things that just don’t feel right, I like the rock that is my Church. Was it ever perfect? Did it ever do everything right? Hell, it doesn’t now. But, as a believer, I believe there is more than just “this Life.” Unlike an atheist who spends his life looking at this shoes, I spend by life looking at the stars. Unbelievers believe in the finite; I believe in the Infinite. Meanwhile, I have to roll up my sleeves; I have work to do. Thanks for reading. I hope to see you again. All comments are always welcome – life is a dialogue. And, eternity is a long time.

Choice

I could see the next step when I wrote my posting, “Appetite,” but I couldn’t quite make the leap.  Then, my good friend Ben Sirach reminded me that we human beings have the ability – far more than any of our animal colleagues (or avocados) – to make choices.  We have the ABILITY to choose.  All that we lack, most times, is the DESIRE.

We are all familiar w the old (tired and tedious) story of the frog that is placed in a pot on a stove.  If the water is cool and is warmed up gradually, our poor froggy will stay put and let himself be boiled.  If the pot contains boiling water when he’s dropped into it, he will leap out immediately.  There have been several refutations, all of which seem plausible; where the truth lies, I know not (and I will not sacrifice a frog on whimsy).  But, I dare say we humans are that frog in the lukewarm, comfortable water.  I further say that the temp is rising.

No, I don’t mean global warming.  If you live east of the Rocky Mountains, you would be hard pressed to give any credence at all to the notion that temperatures are rising.  I just read an article that the Great Lakes – all of ‘em – are very nearly frozen shore-to-shore; something most people can’t remember ever happening before.  Record cold and snowfall do not seem to be what Al Gore had in mind with his inconvenient truth (at least I don’t see him w a snow shovel).

What I do mean by “the temperature is rising” is more along the lines of “it’s later than you think.”  I am no Paul Revere: I do not much care about trying to wake the populace (I am, of course, referring to the myth we were taught in school, not the reality).  Oh, I do wish values, decision and discipline, rather than gluttony, sloth and debauchery were rampant.  But, I am reminded of Horace Walpole, and would rather laugh than cry (“This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.”).  I do pity the frog in the pot, for he doesn’t know any better; but what am I to think about my fellow, sometimes sentient, beings?

Not much, evidently.

I understand that the number of abortions performed in this country is slowly declining; is that good news to Planned Parenthood, or Big Pharm?  Maybe people are finally beginning to understand that abortion is murder and that babies are precious?  You mean we can choose love, and we can choose life?  Won’t find that on the front page of the NYT.  The current Administration (faithful readers will note that it is anathema to me to actually use the name of the current resident of the White House who has the conceit to call himself my president) has deported roughly 2 million illegal immigrants, far more than his predecessor, and at a rate roughly nine times that of 20 years ago.  Wow, now THAT is something to be proud of.

I haven’t yet seen that the UN has sent “peacekeeping troops” to Rome to protect the indigenous peoples from the horrors of the Roman Catholic Church; unlike the countless other countries that are murdering their peoples at a horrific rate (yes, Syria leaps to mind).  Let’s see: the UN pushes abortion on the “developing” countries (mostly Africa, because, well, whites have a very long history of imposing their will on Africa), and then condemns the biggest, oldest church that hasn’t yet morphed itself into pop culture for what, condemning abortion?  Excusify me.

“Real love is an act of the will; a sustained choice that proves itself not just by what we say or feel, but by what we do for the good of others.”

 

Thanks to:

Sirach 15:15-20

“Barak Obama, deporter in chief,” The Economist, 2014 Feb 8

“Deported Mexicans, bordering on cruelty,” The Economist, 2014 Feb 8

“Excusify me, but is ‘refugeed’ a verb?”  By Jeffrey Shaffer   from the September 23, 2005 edition – http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0923/p09s03-cojs.html

“A City Upon a Hill: Augustine, John Winthrop and the Soul of the American Experiment Today,” Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/a-city-upon-a-hill-augustine-john-winthrop-and-the-soul-of-the-american-experiment-today

Revelation 3:15-20