Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I read a nice note at The Corner yesterday from a Englishman who had settled in the USA...
The ills in Britain are far deeper and more profound than many people realize. Britain seems to have entered, some time in the mid-1960s, a period of social and moral decline that has continued unchecked by Thatcherism, New Labour, entry to the European Union and any other political development. It really is a country unfit to live in or raise children in, which is why the birthrate is so low, the population is ageing so fast, and so many people feel that their generation should not create the next one.

The contrast between America and Britain could be best illustrated in a conversation I had with some Brit friends who I met up with recently. We were discussing the upcoming presidential campaign and the political issues of the day. They were mystified that abortion was in any way a political or moral issue. hadn't that argument been resolved long ago, and wasn't abortion OK? They were fatalistic as to the deeper meaning of a declining and ageing population (“but what can be done about it?”) And they were largely dismissive of the effect of Christianity on America, as if Christianity were some kind of social mistake or aberration that Europe had thrown off but America still laboured under.

Whom do I blame? Well I would start with the Anglican Church which has since the mid-20th century shown nothing but cowardice in the face of shrill atheism, feminism and liberalism. In trying to retain its membership, it has compromised its principles and now it has lost both….

The Conservative Party also has to take a considerable blame. It has abandoned most of its Judeo-Christian roots and is trying to build an ideology anew based on... well its not quite sure, which is why its agenda is a ragbag collection of populist policies and vague promises to cut taxes. Compared to the Republican party, which bases its agenda in American Judeo-Christian values and builds its policies up from that base, the Conservatives have no foundation, no moral compass from which to operate.
I found the letter very interesting. The Corner is sometimes, for me, hard to follow since it's a pasting of thoughts from many different people throughout the day, but sometimes it has gems.

About abortion, I remember believing, "I trust the women I have met throughout my life to make their own decisions about their own bodies." And then, sometime when I was around thirty years old and read about the vast number of abortions taking place, "Even though I trust the women I have met to make their own decisions, there is something larger going on here with this number of abortions taking place. Something larger and more important than individual women and their individual choices." And now, now when science is investigating cloning and embryos are being set up for harvest like wheat, like so many crosses in Flander's Field, now I'm becoming hardened against the selfishness of these individual woman and their individual choices. We each and all of us have freedom of choice, unencumbered by any law of man, to hang ourselves or slice our wrists or throw ourselves off tall buildings, but abortion... what did Clint Eastwood say in Unforgiven? "It's a hell of a thing killing a man...to take away all he's got...and all he's ever gonna have." So, too, for killing in the womb. Some might say the baby has nothing so we're taking away nothing, but that isn't true, is it. If the baby in the womb has nothing, they why did California just pass a $3 billion proposition to take what they have? No, just like killing a man, we take away all they have and all their ever going to have. Too, when an embryo is destroyed we take away the potential (vocation) of the coming child and all that child would have given to the world.

What is law for if not to curb the social ills of individual people and their individual choices?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


The Catholic Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is flexible and adaptable. As a rather involved Methodist who has always enjoyed reading about other religions, I'm sure I could have pressed for a shorter initiation into the Catholic faith. I could have, after all, joined this RCIA class nearer to Lent and cut out months of classes. The thing is, though, this is serious business. I'm going through all the stages of RCIA, beginning with the Precatechumenate in March, where we informally questioned all things Cathlolic. I underwent the Rite of Acceptance in June where our sponsors, at the direction of the priest, performed the sign of the cross over our eyes, lips, ears, hands, heart feet to claim us for Christ. I've been going to RCIA classes ever since and have, at each week's Mass, been dismissed by the priest to study the gospel. In February I will undergo the next step, "The Rite of Election," where we will meet with the Bishop to become one of the Elect to be joining the church at Easter at the Rite of Initiation.

As we went through these steps again last evening at RCIA, I found myself still unfocused. I have not centered myself with the idea that the Eurcharist is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and that I will be consuming it as if I were with the apostles at the last supper. I have not prepared myself yet for confession and the renunciation of my past life. I don't seek a shortcut out of these serious preparations, just the opposite, I need to spend more effort on coming to grips, coming to prayer, with my faith.

Monday, November 08, 2004

A Soldier has a Choice 

On a long drive yesterday, we were listening to Dr. Dean Edell. I don't listen to Dr. Dean much anymore, but yesterday he was going on about embryonic stem cell research. He, or when of his co-workers, said something to this effect: "Our nation honors the sacrifice of the American soldier when he or she dies in battle in the service of our nation, in the service of a higher cause. Why can't our nation also honor the sacrifice of a small cluster of human embryonic cells giving up its life for the betterment of all Mankind."

Because the soldier has a choice.

RCIA tonight: Chapter thirteen, "Two Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism and Confirmation."

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