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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tu Quoque

Several caveats must be stated aforehand with regards to this story.  One, Estase's partner first heard this story on CNN, hardly the friend of Catholicism.  Two, a Google search led to a write up on the athiest channel of Patheos by Hemant Mehta, who is apparently still burned up by the Indian lady who died in Ireland due to the pro-life laws there.  With these caveats stated, the case of the Scranton hospitals run by Sister Keenan and the Catholic Health Association show that Catholic hospitals are often run with scant regard to Catholic human life ethics.

       The facts are supposedly as follows.  Lori Stodghill, a third trimester mother brought to St. Thomas More Hospital in Colorado, died of a heart attack, and her doctor was responsible for the death of the twins Stodghill carried because he failed to perform a caesarian section.  The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Mr. Stodghill was argued against by the hospital's parent company, Catholic Health Initiatives, on the grounds that fetuses are not people, a clear disavowal of everything Catholics believe about pregnancy.  While many would say this is merely legal cynicism, the obvious ramification is that Catholic Health Initiatives has opened the door for pro-aborts to claim (as they are already doing) that Catholics do not really believe that fetuses are people.  Estase will wait for further coverage of this story, but is not sanguine that the Colorado case will do anything but hurt the pro-life position of the Church, and will only bolster the pro-abort argument that conscience rights for Catholics are not warranted.

Estase has been thinking about the 1908 Springfield Race War again. A might-read is James Krohe's Summer of Rage. The horrible thing about this event is the impunity with which it met in the courtroom, as none of the perpetrators were convicted.  Such will probably also be the case with New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, who petasus-tip to Riehl World View, engages in sex tourism for underage girls in the Dominican Republic.  I am sure that CNN, in between coverage of The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, will make no mention of this scandal.  Incidentally, Estase is starting to think conspiratorially.  Most Congressmen are Republican right now.  But on C-SPAN the other day, it turned out that both Aurora, Colorado and Sandy Hook, Connecticut are both served by Democratic Congressmen.  Hmmm. . . almost like whoever planned these attacks did so with an eye to having gun-control friendly Congresswomen speak on behalf of the already-named bill (which, if the truth be told, was probably already written and on the shelf!).

Update:  As of February 4th, reports that after consultation with three Colorado bishops, Catholic Health Initiatives has decided not to use the argument that fetuses are not persons.  This is good news, but one wonders why it took the intervention of the episcopate to convince Catholic Health Initiatives not to make this utterly amoral argument.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Church Thermometer, from the Tatler

"The Church Thermometer, which I am now to treat of, is supposed to have been invented in the reign of Henry the Eighth, about the time when that religious prince put some to death for owning the Pope's supremacy, and others for denying transubstantiation.  I do not find, however, any great use of this instrument until it fell into the hands of a learned and vigilant priest or minister, for he frequently wrote himself both one and the other, who was sometime vicar of Bray.  This gentleman lived in his vicarage to a good old age, and, after having seen several successions of his neighboring clergy either burned or banished, departed this life with the satisfaction of having never deserted his flock, and died vicar of Bray.  As this glass was first designed to calculate the different degrees of heat in religion, as it raged in Popery, or as it cooled and grew temperate in the Reformation;  it was marked at several distances, after the manner our ordinary thermometer is to this day, viz. 'Extreme Hot, Sultry Hot, Very Hot, Hot, Warm, Temperate, Cold, Just Freezing, Frost, Hard Frost, Great Frost, Extreme Cold.'

       It is well known that Toricellius, the inventor of the common weather-glass, made the experiment in a long tube which held thirty-two feet of water;  and that a more modern virtuoso finding such a machine altogether unwieldy and useless, and considering that thirty-two inches of quicksilver weighed as much as so many feet of water in a tube of the same circumference, invented that sizeable instrument which is now in use.  After this manner, that I might adapt the thermometer I am now speaking of to the present constitution of our Church, as divided into High and Low, I have made some necessary variations both in the tube and the fluid it contains.  In the first place, I ordered a tube to be cast in a planetary hour, and took care to seal it hermetically when the sun was in conjunction with Saturn.  I then took the proper precautions about the fluid, which is a compound of two very different liquors;  one of them a spirit drawn out of a strong heady wine;  the other a particular sort of rock-water, colder than ice and clearer than crystal.  The spirit is of a red fiery colour, and so very apt to ferment that unless it be mingled with a proportion of the water, or pent up very close, it will burst the vessel that holds it, and fly up in fume and smoke.  The water, on the contrary, is of such a subtle piercing cold, that unless it be mingled with a proportion of the spirits, it will sink almost through everything that it is put into;  and seems to be of the same nature as the water mentioned by Quintus Curtius, which, says the historian, could be contained in nothing but the hoof, or, as the Oxford manuscript has it, in the skull of an ass.  The thermometer is marked according to the following figure;  which I set down at length, not only to give my reader a clear idea of it, but also to fill up my paper.
       The reader will observe that the Church is placed in the middle point of the glass, between Zeal and Moderation;  the situation in which she always flourishes, and in which every good Englishman wishes her who is a friend to the constitution of his country.  However, when it mounts to Zeal, it is not amiss;  and when it sinks to Moderation, is still in a most admirable temper.  The worst of it is, that when once it begins to rise it still has an inclination to ascend;  insomuch that it is apt to climb up from Zeal to Wrath, and from Wrath to Persecution, which always ends in Ignorance, and very often proceeds from it.  In the same manner, it frequently takes its progress through the lower half of the glass;  and when it has a tendency to fall, will gradually descend from Moderation to Lukewarmness, and from Lukewarmness to Infidelity, which very often terminates in Ignorance, and always proceeds from it.
       It is a common observation that the ordinary thermometer will be affected by the breathing of people who are in the same room where it stands;  and indeed it is almost incredible to concieve how the glass I am now describing will fall by the breath of a multitude crying 'Popery;' or on the contrary, how it will rise when the same multitude, as it sometimes happens, cry out in the same breath: 'The Church is in danger.'
       As soon as I had finished this my glass, and adjusted it to the above-mentioned scale of religion, that I might make proper experiments with it, I carried it under my cloak to several coffee-houses and other places of resort about this great city.  At Saint James's coffee-house the liquor stood at moderation;  but at Will's, to my great surprise, it subsided to the very lowest mark on the glass.  At the Grecian it mounted but just one point higher;  at the Rainbow it still ascended two degrees;  Child's fetched it up to Zeal, and other adjacent coffee-houses to Wrath.
       It fell in the lower half of the glass as I went further into the city, until at length it settled at Moderation, where it continued all the time I stayed about the Exchange, as also while I passed by the Bank.  And here I cannot but take notice that though the whole course of my remarks I never observed my glass to rise at the same time that the stocks did.
    To complete the experiment, I prevailed upon a friend of mine, who works under me in the occult sciences, to make a progress with my glass through the whole island of Great Britain;  and after his return, to present me with a register of his observations.  I guessed beforehand at the temper of several places he passed through, by the characters they have had time out of mind.  Thus that facetious divine, Doctor Fuller, speaking of the town of Banbury near a hundred years ago, tells us it was a place famous for cakes and zeal, which I find by my glass is true to this day as to the latter part of this description;  though I must confess, it is not in the same reputation for cakes that it was in the time of that learned author;  and thus of other places.  In short, I have by now by me digested in an alphabetical order all the counties, corporations, and boroughs in Great Britain, with their respective tempers, as they stand related to my thermometer.  But this I shall keep to myself, because I would by no means do anything that may seem to influence any ensuing elections.
       The point of doctrine which I would propagate by this my invention, is the same which was long ago advanced by that able teacher Horace, out of whom I have taken my text for this discourse:  we should be careful not to overshoot ourselves in the pursuits even of virtue.  Whether zeal or moderation be the point we aim at, let us keep fire out of the one, and frost out of the other.  But alas!  the world is too wise to want such a precaution.  The terms High-church and Low-church, as commonly used, do not so much denote a principle, as they distinguish a party.  They are like words of battle, that have nothing to do with their original signification;  but are only given out to keep a body of men together, and to let them know friends from enemies.
       I must confess I have considered, with some little attention, the influence which the opinions of these great national sects have upon their practice;  and do look upon it as one of the unaccountable things of our times, that multitudes of honest gentlemen, who entirely agree in their lives, should take it in their heads to differ in religion."

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Looking for the Himmler

The one person in the entire Third Reich who was a more loathsome, vile monster than Hitler himself was Heinrich Himmler, the onetime chicken farmer who headed up the S.S., an organization of war criminals, none of whom should have been suffered to draw breath at the end of the war.  So one asks, if Obama were Hitler, who would be his Heinrich Himmler, the person who outdoes the chief himself in pure villainy?  I have some candidates.

1)George Soros   A billionaire who funds repulsive left-wing causes, Soros already has engaged in many deeds worthy of Bond villain Ernst Blofeld, including making himself wealthy at the expense of the British people by currency speculation.

2)Kathleen Sebelius  It is not terribly surprising when the denizen of a Marxist black church violates the conscience rights of Catholics and other Christians, but it is truly bizarre when a supposed Catholic is the architect of that policy.  Sebelius, before bringing her dubious services to the Federal government, acted as the promoter of abortion as Governor of Kansas.  Perhaps more like Judas Iscariot than Heinrich Himmler, Kathleen Sebelius is one of a number of Democrats who turned on their own.

3)Harry Reid  As Senate Majority Leader, this soft-spoken Nevada Mormon has been waging a vicious and highly partisan campaign to back Obama spending in the Senate.  Not above using false accusations of racism against Republicans, even other Democrats like Kent Conrad who wish to pass a budget cannot get any traction with Reid, who was also one of the advocates of turning tail and running with regards to the Iraq War.

I am sure that many are fuming at the comparison of Obama with Hitler.  If so, then tough, because a long line of liberals starting with Linda Ronstadt and progressing through Michael Moore pioneered the art of comparing Bush 43 with Hitler.  Obama, unlike Bush 43, has chosen to make freedom of conscience a thing of the past, so in that respect anyway, Obama is a tyrant.

With a tip of the petasus to Creative Minority Report, NPR's Louise Schiavone compares the Catholic League, Catholicism's version of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, to the KKK.  This only a couple of months after "Wait, Wait. . . Don't Tell Me" refers to Papa Ratzinger as a gay rights icon.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Kindness of Providence

"So little do we see before us in the world and so much reason have we to depend cheerfully upon the great Maker of the world, that He does not leave His creatures so absolutely destitute but that in the worst circumstances they have always something to be thankful for, and sometimes are nearer their deliverance than they imagine;  nay, are even brought to their deliverance by the means by which they seem to be brought to their destruction."Robinson Crusoe,Daniel Defoe, Bantam ed., p.227.


"Let no man despise the secret hints and notices of danger, which sometimes are given him, when he may think there is no possibility of its being real.  That such hints and notices are given us, I believe few that have made any observations of things can deny;  that they are certain discoveries of an invisible world, and a converse of spirits,we cannot doubt;  and if the tendency of them seems to be to warn us of danger, why should we not suppose they are from some friendly agent, whether supreme, or inferior and subordinate, is not the question;  and that they are given for our good?" Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, Bantam ed., p.225.

Meditation on Human Potential

"This frequently gave me occasion to observe, and that with wonder, that however it had pleased God, in His providence, and in the government of the works of His hands, to take from so great a part of the world of His creatures the best uses to which their faculties and the powers of their souls are adapted, yet that He has bestowed upon them the same powers, the same reason, the same affections, the same sentiments of kindness and obligation, the same passions and resentments of wrongs, the same sense of gratitude, sincerity, fidelity, and all the capacities of doing good and receiving good that He has given to us;  and that when He pleases to offer to them occasions of exerting these, they are as ready, nay, more ready to apply them to the right uses for which they were bestowed than we are.  And this made me very melancholy sometimes, in reflecting, as the several occasions presented, how mean a use we make of all these, even though we have these powers enlightened by the great lamp of instruction, the Spirit of God, and by the knowledge of His Word, added to our understanding;  and why it has pleased God to hide the like saving knowledge from so many millions of souls, who, if I might judge by this poor savage, would make a much better use of it than we did."  Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, Bantam ed., p187-88.

Limits of Natural Reason

"'Well, well," says he, mighty affectionately, "that well;  so you, I, Devil, all wicked, all preserve, repent, God pardon all.'  Here  I was run down again by him {Friday} to the last degree, and it was a testimony to me how the mere notions of nature, though they will guide reasonable creatures to the knowledge of a God, and of a worship or homage due to the supreme being of a God, as the consequence of our nature, yet nothing but Divine revelation can form the knowledge of Jesus Christ and of a redemption purchased for us, of a Mediator of the new covenant, and of an Intercessor at the footstool of God's throne."Robinson Crusoe ,Daniel Defoe, Bantam ed., p. 96.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Bullying the Church

Liberal Canadian education minister Laurel Broten announces that Catholic schools may not teach abortion is wrong without violating anti-bullying Bill 13.  Broten claims abortion is a settled issue, and claims that opposing abortion is a form of misogyny.  Estase thinks it should only be about ten years before it becomes illegal to oppose abortion in the United States.

Update:  Facebook suspends comedianne Victoria Jackson for posting a grisly abortion photo.  This brings Estase back to a point he has made before.  Why is it OK for ASPCA to use footage of abused animals to raise money, but the same television networks that make it possible for ASPCA to use photos of sick and mutilated animals would NEVER, NEVER allow a pro-life advertisment to use pictures of mutilated fetuses.  Why the double standard?  Also, Robert Spencer's engagement to speak at a Catholic college canned by local Bishop of Worcester McManus at behest of Boston Globe's Lisa Wangness.  Apparently, all one needs to do to get a Catholic bishop to cave is make a few phone calls accusing some one of Islamophobia.  When will the Saudis allow a Catholic Church to be built there? Or any other Muslim country, for that matter?