Friday, November 20, 2009

I love Journalists

Here is a nuanced, informed version of the Galileo "affair" in an article about finding some of the remains of his body.
Galileo, who died in 1642, was condemned by the Vatican for saying the Earth revolved around the Sun. Church teaching at the time held that the Earth was the center of the universe. In the early 1990s, Pope John Paul II rehabilitated him, saying the church had erred.

Episcopal Wall of Honor

Episcopal Signers of the Manhattan Declaration.

  • Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver, CO
  • Most Rev. Salvatore Joseph Cordileone Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, CA
  • Most Rev. Timothy Dolan Archbishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of New York, NY
  • Most Rev. Joseph E. Kurtz Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville, KY
  • Most Rev. Richard J. Malone Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, ME
  • Most Rev. John J. Myers Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, NJ
  • Most Rev. Joseph F. Naumann Archbishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Kansas City, KS
  • Most Rev. John Nienstedt Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, MN
  • Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, AZ
  • Most Rev. Michael J. Sheridan Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs, CO
  • Most Rev. Donald W. Wuerl Archbishop, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
  • Most Rev. David A. Zubik Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, PA

I'm going to assume that a couple of bishops who weren't on the list that I would expect to have been didn't get the memo in time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

St. Francis's comment on Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, etc.

"Blessed (is) the servant, who when he speaks, does not reveal all his own (thoughts) in view of (some) reward, and is not swift to speak (cf. Prov. 29:20), but wisely weighs what he ought to speak and answer. · Woe to him religious, who does not retain in his heart (Lk 2:19.51) the good things, which the Lord shows him, and does not show them to others through work, but who in view of (some) gain desires rather to show them to men with words. · He himself receives "his wage" (cf. Mt 6:2; 6:16) and (his) hearers bring back little fruit." Admonition 21.

Bravery and heroism

I have begun a wonderful novel by Lucy Beckett (Ignatius Press), whom I met at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture conference this weekend. It is about the life of a man named Max who grows up in East Prussia during the period between the two world wars. His father is seeking to imbue him with a Prussian love for the glory of war. His tutor is a Jew who has fled Alsace-Lorraine because of the French persecution of the Jews.

When Max is eight he has a conversation with his tutor about the events which precipitated World War I, which had just started. They were discussing the Serbian youth who had plotted to kill Archduke Ferdinand. In this conversation Dr. Mendel makes a very useful distinction between bravery and nobility.
"So are they good, like heroes are good? Or bad, like murderers are bad?"
"They are murderers, not heroes. They thought what they were doing was brave, which it was. They also thought it was noble, which it was not. Some Serbs may think them heroes for a while, but they will be wrong. The lives they have given up [because they will be executed] would have been more use to Serbia than their deaths will be."
Then the possibility that they are martyrs is discussed.
"But they could still be heroes when they're dead? Like martyrs?"
"A martyr is a witness to the truth. Whether Bosnia is part of Serbia or part of the Empire is not a matter of truth, but a matter of politics. Politics is about power, not about truth. And now nearly all of Europe is at war because of these foolish boys."
Terrorists, no matter what side they are on or how just their cause, have lost all understanding of these distinctions. Islamic terrorists may be brave, because they've overcome fear and danger, but they are not heroes. We need to be clear and direct about this, and about any contemporary or historical act of terrorism. Bravery and a just cause does not make you a hero if you engage in ignoble acts.

I think this also applies to those who would promote a totalitarian state. Terrorists and totalitarians are cut from the same cloth. The difference is that one has the reins of state in hand, and the other does not. Neither is consistent with the Catholic faith. That is why Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were not genuinely representative of the Catholic religion. Nor are those who commit acts of murder in the name of the pro life movement.

I think it interesting, by the way, that some of the earlier instances of both errors appeared in England--Fawkes and Cromwell.

I also think that burning figures of Fawkes in effigy doesn't rise much above the ignobility of Fawkes himself.