Sunday, March 30, 2014

I don't understand Jesuits

I don't understand Ignatian Spirituality. It seems far too relative for me. And because of that, I have some severe problems with understanding Pope Francis. I also don't often promote ChurchMilitant.TV, but for those of us who are NOT Jesuits, this is a must-watch:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jesus Christ in the Womb

With permission of the author, Mary Rigert, I'm posting this for anybody who wishes to use it. This week marked the celebration of the 2,015th anniversary, give or take a few years, of the miraculous conception of Jesus Christ.
March 23/25, Sunday, Tuesday, 2014 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . .

Following Baby Jesus in the Womb

This year, between the Annunciation (March 25) and Christmas, we will remember the nine months Jesus spent growing inside the Blessed Virgin Mary. Everybody loves the beauty and innocence of a newborn baby. We hope to reveal the beauty of babies before birth by describing their steps of growth, as Jesus experienced. He, like each of us, lived through the amazing stages of prenatal development. While the mechanism of His miraculous conception (the Incarnation) is unknown, it is likely that His subsequent journey followed the normal milestones of early human life.

At the very moment of conception, a new and unique individual is formed. All of the inherited features of this new person are already set –whether it’s a boy or a girl, the color of the eyes, the color of the hair, the dimples of the cheeks and the cleft of the chin. He or she is smaller than a grain of sugar, but the genetic fingerprint is complete.

The first cell soon divides in two. Each of these new cells divides again and again as they travel toward the womb in search of a protected place to grow.

Follow the development of Baby Jesus in the weekly bulletin!

Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

April 6 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb Day 6 – 14

Implantation: The new life is composed of hundreds of cells and has developed a protective hormone to prevent the mother’s body from rejecting it as foreign tissue. The lifeline is secured with mother for continued nourishment. The new individual at first attaches loosely to the wall of the womb, then burrows deeply and attaches securely to it over the next week. Sensitive pregnancy tests may now show positive, but this depends on the level of hormone produced by the new life. Many women are still unaware of the pregnancy. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

April 13 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb Day 17 – 20

The tiny heart and blood vessels begin to form. The foundations of the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system are laid. The new life soon develops its own blood cells. The placenta is a part of both the new life and the mother. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

April 20 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb Day 21

The heart begins to beat unsurely at first, but gains strength day by day. The heart beats 70 times per minute initially reaches a maximum of 170-190 at seven weeks, and finally slows a bit to 160-180 at 9 weeks. A day later the eyes begin to develop. The earliest stages of the ears are now present.

Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

April 27 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb Day 28 - 32

Two tiny arms have appeared and budding legs follow two days later. Blood flows in the baby’s veins but stays separate from the mother’s blood. The mouth, nose and tongue now begin to form the baby’s unique face. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

May 4 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb Day 36 – 41

The baby’s eyes begin to develop with the retina. The baby makes his first reflex movements. The fingers begin to form, followed by the toes a few days later. Energy output of the heart is reported to be almost 20% of an adult. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb May 11 Bulletin Day 42

The baby develops nerve connections that will lead to a sense of smell. Eyelids begin to form, protecting the developing eyes. Internal organs are present, but immature. 99% of muscles are present; each has its own nerve supply. Electrical activity is detectable in the brain. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

May 18 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb Day 52

The baby has the appearance of a miniature doll with complete fingers, toes, and ears. Spontaneous movement begins. The baby then develops a collection of movements during the next 4 weeks, including hiccupping, frowning, squinting, furrowing the brow, pursing the lips, moving individual arms and legs, turning the head, touching the face, breathing without air, stretching, opening the mouth, yawning, and sucking. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

May 25 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 8 Weeks

The baby is now 8 weeks old and well proportioned -- about the size of a thumb. Every organ is present. The liver is making blood, the kidneys function, and the heart beats steadily. The skull, elbows, and knees are forming. Along with the spine, arm and leg bones begin to stiffen as bone cells are added. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

June 1 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 9 weeks

If prodded, the baby’s eyelids and hands will close. Genitalia that formed in the 7th week now become visible, indicating whether the baby is a boy or girl. However, the doctor won’t be able to tell by ultrasound until the 12th to 20th week. Early muscular movements begin. The thyroid gland activates.

Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

June 8 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 10 weeks

10 fingerprints begin to form. The fingernails start to develop. The eyelids now fuse together until month 7, protecting the delicate eyes. The number of connections between nerves and muscles has tripled since last week. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

June 15 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 11 weeks

The baby now ‘practices’ breathing, since he will have to breathe air immediately after birth. The baby urinates. His stomach muscles can now contract. Vocal chords and taste buds form. He can make complex facial expressions and even smile. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

June 22 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 12 weeks

Fine hair begins to grow on the upper lip, chin and brow so the face is prettier. Expressions may resemble those of the parents. The baby swallows and responds to skin stimulation. The baby is active, but mom may not feel anything yet. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

June 29 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 15 weeks

Rapid production of nerve cells begins and continues for a month. A second surge will occur at 25 weeks. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

July 6 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 4 months

Nostrils and toenails become visible. The baby may suck his thumb, turn somersaults and has a firm grip. The ovaries of girls contain beginnings of eggs. Baby begins to develop sleeping habits. At about 4½ months, he is able to experience pain. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014 July 13 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 17 weeks

Fetal movement, also called ‘quickening’, is usually felt between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. The time and frequency is different for every woman and from one pregnancy to another. One baby may be more active than another. Baby weight has doubled and is about 3½ ounces. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 201 July 20 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 18 weeks

Baby is continuing to grow and to develop, but the growth rate levels off. An ultrasound done at this point in pregnancy is helpful for confirming the baby’s due date and examining the baby’s anatomy. Parental bonds are strengthened with the visual picture of their baby. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

July 27 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 19 weeks

Baby weighs 7 ounces. It is incredible to think baby will increase its weight more than 15 times between now and delivery. Since week 6, the main divisions of the central nervous system have been established while increased development of the brain and spinal cord continues. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

August 3 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 20 weeks

20 weeks marks the midpoint of the pregnancy. The skin covering baby begins growing from two layers: the epidermis, which is on the surface, and the dermis, which is the deeper layer. The dermis contains small blood vessels, a nerve and large amounts of fat. Thicker hair grows from new follicles. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

August 10 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 5 months

Mother may feel the baby kick, turn or hiccup and may be able to identify a bulge as an elbow or head. Each side of the brain has a billion nerve cells. Different organ systems within baby are maturing. Baby swallows more to promote growth and development of the digestive system. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

August 17 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . .

Following Baby Jesus in the Womb

22 weeks

Baby continues to grow; the body gets larger every day. Eyelids, and even eyebrows, develop. Fingernails become visible. Baby’s organ systems begin to specialize for their particular function. The liver cleans the blood. A baby born with ‘jaundice’ results from an incomplete formation of this liver function. This yellow tint to the skin and eyes is easily treated with phototherapy. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

August 24 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 23 weeks

Baby weighs almost 1 pound. Crown-to-rump length is 8 inches - about the size of small doll. The body is getting plumper, but the skin is still wrinkled; baby will soon gain even more weight. The pancreas is developing quickly. This organ is vital to hormone production - particularly insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to break down and to use sugar. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

August 31 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 24 weeks

Baby is filling out. Its face and body look more like an infant at the time of birth. Amniotic fluid continues to increase as the due date approaches, and its composition changes during pregnancy. During the first half, it is similar to maternal plasma. Then, it changes to more of baby’s own cells. There isn’t a great deal of room to move in the mother. As the weeks pass, space gets even tighter.

Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

September 7 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 6 months

The baby will be able to hear by next week. The child sleeps and wakes, nestles in his favorite positions and stretches upon waking up. If baby is delivered now, it would have a high chance of living. No one wants a baby to deliver this early, but new treatment methods like ventilators, monitors and medication increase its chances of survival. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

September 14 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 26 weeks

Baby now weighs almost 2 pounds and will put on more weight. Baby has distinct sleeping and waking cycles. Certain times of the day will have baby very active, while other times he will be asleep. In addition, all five senses are now fully developed. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

September 21 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 27 weeks

This week marks the beginning of the 3rd trimester. Eyelids will now open. The retina, at the back of the eye, is light-sensitive. It is the part of the eye where light images come into focus. These layers receive light wave information and transmit it to the brain for interpretations—what we know as “sight.”

Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

September 28 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 28 weeks

Crown-to-rump length is close to 10 inches. Brain tissue increases. Eyebrows and eyelashes are present. Hair on the baby’s head is growing longer. The body is becoming plumper and rounder. He is beginning to fill out a little due to increasing fat under the skin. Before this time, the baby had a thin appearance. Baby has increased its weight more than 10 times in 11 weeks. Baby is growing rapidly. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

October 5 Bulletin The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 29 weeks

Baby weighs about 2 ¼ pounds. Crown-to-rump length is almost 10 ½ inches. Total baby length is 16 ½ inches. A couple of interesting factors about birth weight have been identified: Boys weigh more than girls. Birth weight of an infant increases with additional pregnancies or number of babies delivered. These are general statements and don’t apply to everyone, but they consistently reflect birth trends. The average baby’s birth weight at full term is 7 to 7 ½ pounds. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

October 12 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 7 months

Baby weighs about 3 pounds. Baby is usually quite active during pregnancy. Still have 10 weeks to go and mother’s body feels like it’s running out of room as baby grows under mother’s ribs. Still, along with increased amniotic fluid, baby continues to get larger. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

October 19 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 31 weeks

Mother’s body produces as much as 50% more blood and body fluids during pregnancy to meet baby’s needs. Enlarging baby pushes on mother’s pelvic veins, and blood flow in the lower part of her body is partially blocked. This pushes fluid into her legs and feet, causing swelling. Mother may be a bit (or very) uncomfortable, but baby is being fed and kept warm. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

October 26 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 32 weeks

Baby weighs almost 4 pounds. Total length is nearly 19 inches. If mother is carrying twins, it is important to keep babies within mother to increase birth weights and to continue maturity of organ systems. The average length of pregnancy for twins is about 37 weeks. For triplets, it is about 35 weeks. Before ultrasound was available, diagnosing twins was much more difficult. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

November 2 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 33 weeks

Mother gains more weight as baby continues to grow and develop. Mother may be gaining weight faster than at any other point during pregnancy. However, mother is not putting on most of this weight—baby is! Baby is going through a period of increased growth and may be gaining as much as 8 ounces or more every week! Baby’s approximate due dat: December 25, 2014

November 9 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 8 months

Skin becomes pink and smooth. Baby weighs almost 5 pounds and measures 19 ½ inches. The baby is really getting cramped now. “Lightening” begins - the period in which the head of the baby enters the birth canal. False labor is usually seen in late pregnancy. It seems to occur more often in women who have been pregnant before. It usually stops as quickly as it begins, and the baby is never in danger. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

November 16 Bulletin The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 35 weeks

Baby now weighs over 5 ½ pounds. Total length is 20 ¼ inches. Mother’s increasing size is due to the growth of baby and placenta, as well as the increased amount of amniotic fluid. All these factors make estimating baby’s weight more difficult. Emotional changes within mother are normal. Many changes are happening to mother’s body as baby grows. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

November 23 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 36 weeks

Baby weighs about 6 pounds measures 20 ¾ inches. Maturation of the lungs and respiratory system will enable baby to breathe on his own outside of the mother. Only 4 to 5 weeks until the due date! Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

November 30 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 37 weeks

The maximum amount of amniotic fluid surrounds baby now. In the weeks to come, baby continues to grow. However, some amniotic fluid is reabsorbed by mother’s body. This decreases the amount of fluid around baby and the room in which he has to move. Mother may notice a difference of baby movements. For some mothers, it may seem like baby is not moving as much as he had been. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

December 7 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 38 weeks

Baby weighs about 6¾ pounds and is around 21 inches. Many mothers don’t grow larger during the last several weeks of pregnancy, yet still feel very uncomfortable. Mother may not feel like eating much at this time, but it’s important to keep eating a healthy diet. Snacks are also important to keep mother’s energy levels up, nourish baby and help avoid heartburn. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

December 14 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 39 weeks

Baby weighs a slightly more than 7 pounds, yet baby continues to gain weight even up to the last week or two. Baby doesn’t have much room to move inside. At this point, his organ systems are developed and in place. The lungs are the last organs to mature. Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014

December 21/25 Bulletin

The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb 40 weeks

Baby weighs about 7 ½ pounds. Total length is 21 ½ inches. There is little room for baby to move. Mother feels as big as she could ever be, and is more than ready to have baby The child triggers labor and birth occurs -- an average of 264 – 270 days after conception. We have followed baby’s development from conception to birth! Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus!!!


Curtis, Dr. Glade B., OB/GYN and Schuler Judith M.S. Your Pregnancy, Week by Week. Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA 02142. 2004. “Milestones of Early Life/How You Began Your Journey” (brochure). Heritage House, 919 S. Main St. Snowflake, AZ 85937. 2007.

Each week we will show the Baby Jesus’ development with Our Lady of Guadalupe’s picture in the same place in St. Cecilia’s parish bulletin.

Parishioners may more understand the meaning of Our Lady’s visit to St. Juan Diego in 1531 and also become familiar with the placement within the bulletin of “Baby Jesus in the Womb.”

Bulletin Insert:

**********************************************************The Word was made Flesh . . . Following Baby Jesus in the Womb THE WEEKLY ENTRY . . . . . . .

Baby’s approximate due date: December 25, 2014. ************************************************************ We are going to keep it simple. We are not going to talk about abortion ~ just leave it with “Jesus in the Womb”. We want to focus on God made Man.

We ordered holy cards and put them in the pews after each Mass. We are being very careful to keep things tidy and easy for the parish priests and staff.

Father Pat and Nancy, our Office Manager, have been wonderful.

Holy Cards – 3 suggested options:

1. English - This is a bookmark that we ordered. We liked the Holy Family picture.

Bookmark Prayer Card.
2. Our Lady of Guadalupe cards (English and Spanish) – I ordered Spanish from Arthur Maes of Denver, Colorado. He prints and distributes cards with a lovely full color image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the front, a brief description of the program and the short prayer composed by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen on the reverse.

11142 Osage Street, Northglenn, CO 80234. Phone: 720-977-9150

Both men sent the cards express mail. They came in two days. They both took credit card numbers. Great to work with.

3. Make your own Our Lady of Guadalupe cards.

Make your own Our Lady of Guadalupe Cards


email Mary Rigert

St. Cecilia Catholic Church

Mary would LOVE to chat with you with ideas or suggestions!
Permission to use however you wish!!!
Have fun and may God bless us and our efforts!
Special thanks to our son, Nicholas Rigert, 214 Weeks old, for the excellent editing job!!
Love, Mom More BEAUTIFUL pictures:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Arbitrary made up rules governing speech

And now back to the Autistic Asylum portion of this blog. Earlier this week, while complaining about a right winger using violent terms, a left winger insulted my paticular mental illness. I like Caelum Et Terra- Heaven and Earth- because while I am a horrid social conservative, in fine Catholic fashion I am a fiscal liberal- and the counterculture magazine this blog is a revival of was a staple of midwest distributism in the 1980s and 1990s. I also wasn't offended by the insult. if anything, it shows the great strides we've made as autistics to at least be noticed by society rather than locked away in asylums. But it does bring up an interesting point that people like me, with Asperger's, are extremely bad at.

There are a lot of unwritten, arbitrary rules governing what neurotypicals think is civilized behavior. I say think- because some of these rules actively destroy civilization. Not talking about sex in the 1950s, led to the sexual revolution of the 1960s (well, in part, I'm working on a post for the other part, a new theory about the cold war, economics and the sexual revolution that will likely appear sometime next week). And the violence of the protest in the 1960s, clearly led to the unwritten rule Daniel was talking about to not use violent analogies. As the use of asylums has led to the unwritten rule not to insult the mentally ill.

Both of these are completely arbitrary and ahistorical- so why worry about one and not the other?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The President meets the Pope

I'm posting this newsmax article for a reason because I'm hoping it is true that Obama is a fan of Pope Francis, and not vice versa like previous reports have claimed.

I really don't expect Obama to listen to Pope Francis any more than Bush listened to Pope John Paul II's warning that Iraq would be an unjust war. But maybe, just maybe, Obama will read the part of the Papal Mission Statement about the unborn being part of those we habitually exclude from the global economy, and from life.

The homily I wanted to hear for the Feast of the Annunciation

I didn't hear the homily for the feast of the assumption. For one thing, the closest thing my parish had to a Mass for this holy day of obligation was our standard Tuesday Night Soup Supper & Communion Service. We didn't even have a priest, and the reflection concentrated on Mary's example of saying yes. Likely due to time limitations, as well as the charism of this inner city urban and liberal parish, it didn't touch on three other items that could have been said and talked about.

The Gospel for the Feast of the Annunciation is Luke Chapter 1- the angel coming to Mary to try to encourage her to keep the child that the Holy Spirit is planting in her womb. The interesting first thing I noticed was that even God recognizes the need for consent to parenthood- Mary is asked, she could have said no. But also, her consent, once given, is final- there's no going back on this choice. God isn't a rapist- but contraception and abortion are a form of reverse-rape, for they frustrate the procreative intention of the act. Mary's yes should be a sign to all women- that motherhood brings grace far beyond what you think you are capable of, and that strange greeting, Hail Mary, full of Grace, is talking about the Word become Flesh in her womb- the conception of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this gospel reading is wrapped up ALL the church teaching on procreation- for in each unborn child, says Pope Francis, we are to see the face of Christ himself. And on this day, we begin the 9 month journey to Christmas.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Who creates jobs?

An interesting idea from Business Insider indicates that perhaps, no, rich people don't create jobs. Or at least, not lasting ones. Return on investment sucks up cash into investment accounts, instead of using it to buy goods. Give 9000 poor people $1000 each, and you'll get more economic activity than one man earning $9 million.

Conceived in the Holy Spirit

We say these words in the Nicene Creed- but modern science gives new meaning to them. Today is the Feast of the Annunciation in the Roman Catholic Church, the 2,015th anniversary of the conception of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a profound statement for Pro-life Catholics that is. Ok, I'm well aware of the controversy surrounding the date of Christmas, and this feast by necessity is symbolically tied to that- December 25, minus nine months, is March 25th. But what a gesture of belief in the sanctity of human life, from conception until death, this is, especially in a culture where youth is idealized to the point that many refuse to celebrate their birthday, let alone their conception day. And yet, here we are, the Church is asking us to celebrate the conception day of Our Lord.

Monday, March 24, 2014

There is a loss, when things become automatic

I've spent most of my life looking for a more automatic world, but now, I just want my child to learn that we didn't always have it so easy.

Two views of Pope Francis

I haven't had time for my reading of Papal Economics lately. But two recent blog posts about Pope Francis, One suggesting a sign that the Pope really should have over his desk and the other from Economist magazing going in depth into Pope Francis' economic and governmental history in Argentina are most certainly on topic for the discussion, and suggest that maybe, democratic capitalism alone can't save the world. This Pope had a good deal of formation as a Bishop and Archbishop under the vagaries of Peronism. General Juan PerĂ³n was to Argentina what Ronald Reagan would become to the United States- he entirely reformed the economic discussion in his country. Just as another article that crossed my e-mail this weekend suggested that much of American thought about sin, right, and wrong was formed in the "ahistorical" 1960s, so too much of our economic thought in the United States was directly ingrained in the 1980s and all economic thought since then has been in reference to that touchstone. Argentina too, has the touchstone of Peronism- the concept that the state can create social justice by acting as a mediator between the interests of capital ownership and labor.

In reality of course, both these ideals failed. Ronald Reagan's cutting of the top marginal tax rates has resulted in an economics dominated by the rich and a market run for their interests, just as Peron's state investment turned into an indirect class war against the poor.

Many of Pope Francis's more controversial statements come from a backdrop of the Church being the last resort against these forms of fascism where the class war is dominated by an "economics of exclusion". Beyond the insistence that even the greatest sinner is human and deserves the ability to participate in the marketplace, the twisting of these statements in first world press to support the lies of the sexual revolution are only spin; Pope Francis merely wishes us to feed the adulterer and the homosexual dinner, he doesn't want us to suddenly accept cheating and same sex marriage as normal.

And I for one, can go that far.

Now besides this, I saw something *very interesting* in the article on infallibility: Throughout much of the third world, the non-governmental entity, or maybe the governmental entity, providing universal health care isn't the government at all, it's the Church. Given the mass failure that is Obamacare, perhaps we should consider that model again.

Friday, March 21, 2014

A backhanded compliment?

Knights of Columbus made ethisphere's top 144 World's Most Ethical Companies which I thought was pretty neat, until I started looking at the rest of that list. They must have a very morally relative method of judging ethics.

Though, it's nice to know my shady India based consulting company is using Paychex for my Paycheck- and they also made the list.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Prudence- the virtue that if you're not careful, can turn into Greed

This is a Papal Economics Book Club Post

Prudence is normally thought of as a virtue. It's a virtue of stewardship, and it is an absolutely downright necessary skill to have if you are living under democratic capitalism. Being Imprudent is often seen as a sign of weakness by Democratic Capitalists.

But I would say, and Blessed John Paul II seems to say in Centesimus Annus, that generosity is a higher virtue than prudence. This means of course, in the language of Pope Francis, that occasionally there will be accidents, ministries that go bankrupt from being too generous, but that is the price of radical, indiscriminate charity.

But shall we consider the other situation? It is said that a heresy is a virtue taken to absolute- and I believe Prudence is a virtue that for many materialists in the United States, has become an absolute. Climbing the wage ladder to get to a point where one has a sustainable lifestyle takes a lot of ambition and just plain hard work; the habits gained don't magically disappear once one becomes financially comfortable. It's easy to slip over the line and let generosity die in this situation; not realize that one has met all the material needs of one's own household and then some. What little is given away, is often too little. It's said that if every Christian actually tithed, and the funds were then well used, we could eliminate hunger and homelessness worldwide.

A Marxism I can live with

Once again, Cardinal Reinhard Marx finds a path where few could. How do you still teach that divorce is wrong, yet be merciful to the divorced? By making lack of the eucharist truly penitential, and setting a time limit on it after the person has acknowledged that the divorce was a sin.

Monday, March 17, 2014

1964 called, they want their news back

More evidence of God's fingerprints today as better data analysis from recent (well, in cosmology terms, within the last 12 years is very recent indeed) experiments on CMBR prove the Big Bang theory correct- especially the controversial expansion period that Fr Spitzer uses to refute the New Atheist view of cosmology.

Ok, Steven Hawking, use your worship of gravity to explain THAT.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Why can't I get Pregnant after 30 years of taking Birth Control Pills Generation

Has produced the Who-Am-I generation of children biologically unrelated to their parents. They're now telling their heartbreaking stories of why we should have paid attention to Pope Paul VI, who warned us this would come to pass.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fulton Sheen on Lonliness

Because Understanding- requires Truth.

The American Religion of Pontius Pilate.

John 14:6 identifies Christ as "The Way, The Truth, and The Life.". An early catechism, the Didache, puts it even more strongly "There are two ways, the Way of Life and the Way of Death". When faced with a man who is "The Truth" himself, in John chapter 38, Pilate's retort is "What is Truth?" and the musician Andrew Lloyd Weber expanded upon that in Jesus Christ Superstar with "Are Mine the same as Yours?

Recently, in an online discussion, I ran into the odd comment "Christianity is my truth I choose but it's not everyone's truth".

That's quite the American Pluralistic sentiment there- what I call the Individualist Christ- Jesus is for me, but he's not necessarily for you.

One of the things that separates out American Protestantism from Catholicism is exactly that individualistic attitude, that Christ isn't the Universal Truth he claimed to be, that in fact, other people choose other truths.

Want to know why traditionalists and conservatives lost the sexual revolution and the culture war? You need look no further than the Americanist Religion of Pontius Pilate- that there is no universal truth, no right and wrong on which we can base our lives. Pluralism is, in and of itself, the problem, not the solution.

Give a hoot, Buy Local, and Don't Pollute

Since I was trying to slow down my reading (that, and due to a stubborn bug at work, I don't exactly have the spare brain cycles for the rest of Chapter 2 of Papal Economics right now) I've slowed down on posting to this blog. But a comment in another forum linked to these posts, did give me a good idea. Remember "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute"?

Woodsy the Owl, back between 1965-1985, taught us an early form of subsidiarity, the fact that local action could make a difference in pollution.

But a libertarian posting to my slashdot journal on how to be Marxist of the Reinhard Variety pointed out to me what we really need is a market that gives a hoot- ordinary consumers, voting with their dollars, buying as locally as possible to keep markets small and local. I think that's exactly what the Popes have been urging us to do all along. Give a Hoot, Buy Local, Don't Pollute, and we can keep America Looking Good.

There's only one problem with it, we may be too late already.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I have no respect for anybody who has no respect for Catholic Teaching

And from here on out, a link to this statement will be my response to those promoting fornication and atheism. I just can't be bothered with the lies anymore.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Time out for a joke about logic

Who said that the Scholastic School of Theology wasn't Based on humor?

2. Again, if sacred doctrine proceeded by argument, it would argue either on the ground of authority or on the ground of reason. But to argue from authority would be beneath its dignity, since “authority is the weakest kind of proof,” as Boethius says (Topica 6), and to argue by reason would be unworthy of its end, since “faith has no merit when human reason proves it by test,” as Gregory says (Hom. in Evang. 26). It follows that sacred doctrine does not proceed by argument.

I think that Thomas Aquinas would have had the same opinion about the New Atheists that I do- that when arguing online, they often accuse the Catholic of Appeal to Authority, insisting that this is a logical fallacy because it's on a list at (or some other such nonsense, doesn't matter whose list it is on).

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Terry Pratchet and Pope John Paul II

“Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.”- Granny Weatherwax, I Shall Wear Midnight, By Terry Pratchet

All of this can be summed up by repeating once more that economic freedom is only one element of human freedom. When it becomes autonomous, when man is seen more as a producer or consumer of goods than as a subject who produces and consumes in order to live, then economic freedom loses its necessary relationship to the human person and ends up by alienating and oppressing him.-- Centesimus Annus 39, Pope John Paul II (is it too soon to call him St. Pope John Paul The Great?)

In Chapter two, Fr Zieba begins to redeem himself somewhat in my eyes, by identifying, along with Pope John Paul II, the central problem of economics as a science- that it treats human beings as THINGS rather than PEOPLE. As old Granny Weatherwax said in Terry Pratchet's novel, that's the beginning of evil, right there. Price signals aren't enough to tell you if the grapes you buy at the supermarket were raised by drug lords in Chile enslaving local populations as a cover crop encircling an interior of cocaine production- and such things have been known to happen.

Catholics have begun to fight back with "Eat Local" campaigns and "Fair Trade" for that stuff that can't be grown locally; but the majority of the world's consumers are kept in the dark as to the moral implications of the decisions they make in the marketplace every day. They have been reduced to mere consumers- trying to get the most value for the cheapest price- no matter what moral evil may lurk behind their purchases. Even environmental pollution has been exported, leading to massive pollution problems in China and Mexico, and even more so in the rest of the developing world.

So I begin this Lent with the urge that we don't need a free market- what we really need is a THINKING market.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Well, the Jesuits are asking for it now

But the real question is, will any Atheist be able to pick up this gauntlet without Running afoul of the comments policy that I've already told them makes reason impossible?

At Outside the Autistic Asylum, we have no comment policy, and I don't delete arguments that call into question the sinful behavior of other Catholics or myself. I do moderate from time to time, but the worst I ever do is delete completely off topic posts trying to sell something in Korean or Chinese or other non-European character sets. And I've been known not to delete those either, and ridicule their Engrish instead.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Decentralization and individual initiative, the Duty to the Common Good

I'm not that far ahead in this book club- I only just now made it to chapter 2. Which means I'm about to start reading the market based encyclicals, beginning with Centesimus Annus, the hundredth anniversary of Rerum Novarum, backing up one from the last encyclical we discussed in Chapter 1, Solicitudo Rei Socialis. For the entire timeline, I'd refer you to my post History of Evangelii Gaudium, refreshed from my original history of encyclical links.

Ok, now that I've placed my thought process in the book, on to an insight I have had from my position in the lay order, Knights of Columbus.

At present time, the church, especially the last 120 years worth of Popes, have been calling us to specific actions in the economic realm. Three separate potential actions for any individual stand out, and I'm going to list them in order of what I feel is their importance:

  • The Preferential Option for the Poor- This is the chief duty that every Pope in all the encyclicals keeps repeating. It is primarily a duty for business owners- that if you use a person's labor to earn money, you owe them enough in return to not only survive, but to engage fully in a culture of life. It is also a duty for governments and banks that lend to third world countries- against usury, making the interest so high the loan can never be paid, and for debt forgiveness for past loans that have proved to be usurous. But a secondary duty exists here for every consumer- to know the businesses you are buying from, and support those businesses, particularly small businesses, in your community that pay a just or living wage. These businesses can't survive without your patronage, and it is up to each of us to, all else being equal, ignore price alone when making buying decisions and buy from businesses that pay a just wage.

  • Charity Is a Duty- Many libertarians, even good Catholics like Michael Novak and Fr. Zieba, will tell you that charity is optional; that you're free to decide whether to give or not. In fact, that's one of my main critiques against democratic capitalism that I can't seem to get past. To me, and to Knights of Columbus, Charity is a Duty- a tax imposed upon us by Heaven and the State- and those who ignore it are not good citizens of either. Charity is not just gifts of money though- Charity is about caring enough about another person to engage in the corporal works of mercy for their sake and for the sake of Christ. We are free to choose what charity we will do, but we are NOT free to refuse to do it. As Pope Benedict XVI points out in Caritas in Veritate, providing for the food, clothing, and shelter of the poor is the duty of everybody who has the means, it is not and cannot be optional.

  • Almsgiving- which leads us to Almsgiving, which in that same document Pope Benedict XVI points out are gifts, primarily of money or other goods, given in addition to that which is due, in addition to charity. This is the generosity which gladdens the heart of all who give; Almsgiving is what makes living in any given society bearable.

  • But what does this all have to do with decentralized government? And why can't welfare replace these three items (as the Western Democracies are attempting to do with adding welfare to capitalism)? The missing ingredient that makes subsidiarity necessary is that all three of these need an intimate knowledge, an intimate friendship, with the receiver of the common good. All three are dangerous- all can create a dignity-destroying sense of dependency. But when given in Truth and Love, in Charity and Truth, they create a relationship- a relationship between giver and receiver, and when that relationship becomes reciprocal, it creates a more just society, one in which it is easier to trust others- which is always more profitable in the long run. ----Edits above. One discussion on the Frontline PBS website reminded me of another "Preferential Option for the Poor" activity for governments and banks.

    While I'm waiting for the rest of the bloggers to catch up

    I have found a way out of my despair.
    I'm going to start preaching indiscriminate charity. It occurs to me that the appropriate response to the world turning its back on Christ, is to bring Christ to the World.
    And I have an idea how to do it. Just needs some research into a disruptive technology idea.
    A quick google shows that the main machinery would cost about $3000. So for $6000, I could start experimenting with pill sized vegetable seed bombs.
    Take a relatively small seed, like carrots or some other high calorie, high nutrition density vegetable. Mix with dirt, run through the pill press into little pills, easy to carry anywhere. Scatter these pills in urban areas and in the third world, where there are people. Repeat every year as often and as large as possible.
    Truly indiscriminate charity- anybody can harvest, anybody can eat.
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