Quote-a-palooza

“The truth is, politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality’s foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they’re sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive. A state is nothing more than a reflection of its citizens: The more decent the citizens, the more decent the state. If you practice a religion, whether you’re Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or guided by some other faith, then your private life will be influenced by a sense of moral obligation, and so, too, will your public life.” – Ronald Reagan

“Former Vice President Al Gore recently penned a book in which he rails against the current ‘assault on reason’ by the evil forces of Earth-hating right-wingery. He repeatedly invokes science as if it’s his exclusive property… Gore talks about the dysfunction of political discourse today. But when it comes to global warming, he and his acolytes insist that the time for debate is over. In other words, Gore’s ideal discourse would involve only discussion about how best to follow through on his prescriptions. But such high-minded objections sail over the chief source of Live Earth’s lameness… But the outrage and passion felt so prepackaged, you almost expected Ludacris (who rapped about the evils of SUVs) to say, ‘This moral outrage is brought to you by GE’s Ecomagination’.” – Jonah Goldberg

“There ought to be no question that declaring defeat in Iraq will encourage every terrorist organization and nation state that means us harm… Whatever political victory politicians might achieve by sustaining themselves in office will be lost to terrorists who will make sure that those who think they are secure in their congressional seats will face the ultimate insecurity in their homes and offices… At the risk of repetition, it is not enough for the president to plead for patience and understanding. He must do more- much more- and he must do it immediately. He needs to open a second front- a surge- in the propaganda battle. He should directly challenge those who want to give-up to provide him with a specific plan to win the wider war against terrorists should the defeatists prevail and Iraq devolve into chaos and become a base for launching new terrorist acts throughout the world. They don’t have such a plan and a challenge from the president would expose their empty and self-serving rhetoric. … The president expects our troops to be more aggressive, so he needs to demonstrate more aggressiveness at home.” – Cal Thomas

“As I watched the [president’s] news conference, it occurred to me that one of the things that might leave people feeling somewhat disoriented is the president’s seemingly effortless high spirits. He’s in a good mood. There was the usual teasing, the partly aggressive, partly joshing humor, the certitude. He doesn’t seem to be suffering, which is jarring. Presidents in great enterprises that are going badly suffer: Lincoln, LBJ with his head in his hands. Why doesn’t Mr. Bush? Every major domestic initiative of his second term has been ill thought through and ended in failure. His Iraq leadership has failed. His standing is lower than any previous president’s since polling began. He’s in a good mood… Is it defiance? Denial? Is it that he’s right and you’re wrong, which is your problem? Is he faking a certain steely good cheer to show his foes from Washington to Baghdad that the American president is neither beaten nor bowed? Fair enough: Presidents can’t sit around and moan. But it doesn’t look like an act. People would feel better to know his lack of success sometimes gets to him. It gets to them.” – Peggy Noonan

“Do we really need a surgeon general at all?… There are plenty of private groups that are fully capable of instructing us on how to be healthy, wealthy and wise without government involvement. The American Lung Association can tell us not to smoke. Alcoholics Anonymous can preach sobriety. The American Medical Association can lecture couch potatoes on the benefits of losing weight and exercising more. Planned Parenthood and the Family Research Council can fight it out over when and how we should have sex. Surely someone can deal with overweight children. Given the government’s track record of efficiency, being the nanny for 300 million Americans seems a little beyond its ability.” – Michael Tanner on one of many government social services that are extra-constitutional

“The eight Democratic presidential candidates assembled in Washington recently for another of their debates and talked, among other things, about public education. They all essentially agreed that it was underfunded- one system ‘for the wealthy, one for everybody else,’ as John Edwards put it. Then they all got into cars and drove through a city where teachers are relatively well paid, per-pupil spending is through the roof and- pay attention here- the schools are among the very worst in the nation. When it comes to education, Democrats are ineducable… [N]ot a one of them even whispered a word of outrage about a public school system that spends $13,000 per child- third-highest among big-city school systems- and produces pupils who score among the lowest in just about any category you can name. The only area in which the Washington school system is No. 1 is in money spent on administration. The litany of more and more when it comes to money often has little to do with what, in the military, are called facts on the ground: kids and parents. It does have a lot to do with teachers unions, which are strong supporters of the Democratic Party. Not a single candidate offered anything close to a call for real reform.” – Richard Cohen

“A young Air Force airman is fighting for his life in Camden, N.J. He was shot on Independence Day by a crazed gunman who reportedly had a beef with the military and the U.S. government and ‘wanted to make a statement’ on the Fourth of July. Have you heard about the plight of 22-year-old McGuire Air Force Base loadmaster Jonathan Schrieken? Probably not. The shooting got no mention in The New York Times- not even a squib in a back section… Now, imagine the scenario flipped: What if a soldier had attempted to murder a peace activist over the holidays in order to ‘make a statement’? The Times would be holding front-page vigil, and Katie Couric’s brow would be furrowed for a week. The yakkity yaks on ‘The View’ would be clucking their tongues about the culture of violence bred by the military- and who knows what Rosie O’Donnell would be dressing her poor child in to exploit the story on her website. Funny how the Root Causes crowd becomes so incurious about the root causes of crime when the suspects are anti-military nutballs and anti-war protesters.” – Michelle Malkin

BREAKING NEWS: The Pope is Still Catholic!

Side bar
While I was typing this up, my girlfriend sent me the following joke:

Q: Does light have Mass?

A: Only if the photons are Catholic.

There was much to do abouta document released by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith last week. Given the media’s usual lack of understanding of Christianity in general, and Catholicism specifically, I figured there was much heat and little light generated over it. After finally getting the opportunity to read it last night, my suspicions were confirmed.

The proper headline for this (if it was even news) would have been “Vatican Agency Reaffirms 2,000 Year Old Teaching.” After all, this belief that the Catholic Church is the one true Church goes back to the earliest days of the Catholic Church. The “Vatican II” Catholics seem to be the most upset, but as the document points out in its first Question/Answer, this is exactly what Vatican II taught and was consistent with “[w]hat the Church has taught down through the centuries,” to quote Paul VI. Given the Church’s consistent teaching, back to the earliest Christians, that Christ founded His Church on the Rock of Peter, it follows logically that those Churches not in complete union with that Church (the Catholic Church), are in some way lacking something that comes from full union with the Church of Christ. This “lacking” was expressed through the use of the word “defect,” which the press reports failed to note came in a quote from Vatican II. (Again we see that those Catholics who most often appeal to Vatican II really don’t understand the Council at all.)

It is argued that this document sets back the cause of ecumenism. What truly hurts the cause of ecumenism is for Catholics not to acknowledge what we truly believe. Before we can hope to effectively discuss theology with our separated brothers and sisters we must understand what we believe. If we reach unity on false pretenses, we don’t reach unity on the truth. And as Christ is “The Way, the Truth and the Life,” if we don’t reach unity in the truth, we don’t reach unity in Christ. It would be a false unity and harmful to all our souls.

I put the joke in the sidebar because it is a nice way of pointing out what this document really says: the sacrificial priesthood with roots back to the apostles is what makes a community of Christians a Church. Virtually all Protestant Churches lack this, as they separated themselves from the Catholic Church back in the 1500s. (As my girlfriend told me on Saturday, Baptists don’t even have priests. There is a limited exception to this apostolic succession rule among some Anglican priests in America as in the colonial period some Anglican priests were ordained by Eastern orthodox bishops, as I understand, which gives those Anglicans who can trace their priesthood back to those priests an authentic and apostolic priesthood. There are most likely other limited exceptions as well that I am unaware of.) So, the Eastern Churches not in union with the Catholic Church are Churches due to their apostolic succession, but Protestant Christian communities are not Churches in the truest sense. They are definitely Christian, as long as they have been validly baptized (using the Trinitarian formula), and are definitely Christian communities, but are not Churches in the true sense.

Do those who object to this document really expect the Church, after 2,000 years of saying that we are the one, true Church, to reverse course? There are really only two reasons to be shocked that the Church would say such a thing: ignorance of Catholicism or a fake outrage in an attempt discredit the Church.

Also: Mark Shea, a convert to Catholicism, discusses how in his Evangelical days, distinctions about what was and wasn’t a Church were made all the time.

Quote of the Day

“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.”

— George Washington (Fifth Annual Message, 3 December 1793)

Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (488)

Quote of the Day

“There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.”

— George Washington (Fifth Annual Message, 3 December 1793)

Reference: George Washington: A Collection, W.B. Allen, ed. (488)