jump to navigation

St. Augustine on Authority December 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery, Society.
comments closed

One of the most misunderstood, or perhaps understood but rejected, concepts in the Church today is that of Authority.  The Church Christ instituted on Earth was profoundly hierarchical, with men directly invested by him with the Authority to speak His Truth, bring people to accept it, spread it far and wide, and celebrate the Faith in a manner intended to save souls.  This Authority, grounded in Scripture and expanded through Sacred Tradition, is inherent in the Magisterium which constitutes the bishops and others in union with the Bishop of Rome.  But many people reject the dogmas proclaimed by that Magisterium.  Many have determined that the Faith is more about freedom to “follow their own conscience,” which, in reality, is a conscience shaped not so much by the Faith as by the world and its “wisdom.”  Hence, we have a situation of mass apostasy, where a huge majority of Catholics in this country and many others reject Church Doctrine on one issue or another, but in particular on the sexual issues. 

As I said, however, it is evident from the beginning that the Catholic (universal) Church was intended to be the one source of Truth, and that all Catholics are obligated to accept that Truth.  St. Augustine discusses this in his Confessions, Book XIII Chapter 23:

You are God and we are your design, pledged to good actions [Eph 2:10].  So ti si that your Church, by reason of the Grace which you have given it, has the power of spiritual judgement, which is given both to those who have spiritual charge of others and to those who are in their spiritual care.  Your grace does not discriminate according to sex anymore than it draws distinctions between Jew and Greek, or slave and freeman [see Gal 3:28].  Those who have the gifts of your Spirit, then, have the power of spiritual judgement, whether they are in authority over others or are subject to authority.  They do not pass judgement on spiritual truths, which are like lights shining in the firmament, for it is not right for a man to call such sublime authority in question, or upon your Book (Sacred Scripture), even if there are passages in it which are difficult; for we submit our intelligence to it……a man must obey the law, not pass judgement on it [see James 4:11]……..

The man who has spiritual gifts [such as the priesthood – ED] also judges the faithful, approving what he finds to be right and blaming what he finds to be wrong in their deeds and morals.  He  judges them by their almsviging, which is like the earth bearing fruit, and by their passions, which, in the living soul, are tamed into submission by the practice of chastity [including such areas as sex outside marriage (fornication), following Church Doctrine regarding the fecundity of the sex act (do not use contraception), etc – ED], by fasting, and by the soul’s regard for its duty to God when it refelects upon the sensations of which it is conscious through the body.  For he judges those things which he also has power to correct.

Thus, Augustine.  The Scriptural and Traditional arguments for the Church’s model of Authority are exhaustive.  I don’t know if these arguments have much effect….I think they confirm those who already accept Church Authority, but as for those who don’t perhaps they have some effect.  Do most Catholics know that the Church has had a hierarchical model of Authority since the earliest founding of the Church, when Christ gave the keys of the Kingdom to Peter?   Do most Catholics care, or do they just accept what the culture tells them about a medieval Church with monarchical desires?

Priests do have fun! December 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic, silliness.
comments closed

That crazy Order of Preachers!  Taking time off from fighting a world lost in heresy and rejection of Truth, some Dominicans have a little fun.  I think the cape is cheating.

Who would win a snowball fight between Dominicans and Benedictines?

What to do? Global “warming” halts December 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in foolishness, General Catholic, scandals, Society.
comments closed

Well, it’s good to see some of the media catching up to reality.  Global warming cooling climate change (aka, weather) has apparenty stopped.  There has been no significant warming over the last 15 years, and many places are again experiencing a very hard winter (such as the UK, which happens to be one of the, uh……hotbeds, of global warming hysteria). 

Actually, with the exception of 1998 – a ‘blip’ year when temperatures spiked because of a strong ‘El Nino’ effect (the cyclical warming of the southern Pacific that affects weather around the world) – the data on the Met Office’s and CRU’s own websites show that global temperatures have been flat, not for ten, but for the past 15 years…

Other research is beginning to show that cyclical changes in water vapour – a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide – may account for much of the 20th Century warming.

Even Phil Jones, the CRU director at the centre of last year’s ‘Climategate’ leaked email scandal, was forced to admit in a littlenoticed BBC online interview that there has been ‘no statistically significant warming’ since 1995.

A funny thing happened on the way to enviro-extremism orthodoxy……..How does that old commercial go?  You can’t fool mother nature? 

I’m an engineer.  One area I’ve been involved with quite a bit is thermal analysis of essentially closed systems on the scale of a 2 ft by 2 ft by 2 ft box, roughly.  Even with modern 3-D computational fluid dynamics software, pretty good code, getting closer than 10% margin of error, even in general terms, is very difficult.  We basically run the simulations and look for a great deal of margin, and then test to confirm we won’t fry our equipment.  This is a small, closed system, under fixed conditions, and trying to look at some (in the aggragate) pretty easy to analyze situations, and we can’t even be very accurate.  Even with supercomputers, I cannot imagine any code that can accurately predict a planet scale open system (because we radiate energy out, energy radiates in, is anyone taking into account variance in density, of, say, interstellar dust, or cosmic rays, or any of another 1000 or more factors?) even at some static point like now, let alone looking at impacts 100 or 1000 years in the future.  It’s a fools game, even with petaflop processing (quadrillions of calculations per second) you could never even begin to model the complexity of a planet wide system, with actual weather and ocean effects causing incredible complications.  One factor that has never been addressed, and it is fundamental, is the fact that warmer weather tends to lead to more cloud formation, which reflects more sunlight, leading to cooling.  Where is the balance point…..temperatures won’t just keep increasing ad infinitum, at some point the system will balance itself out, but I have seen no predictions from warmists that seriously take this effect into account, and they will even admit that, because it is almost impossible to model cloud formation and its effects.

Slow day…….more aerospace geekery December 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Society.
comments closed

Or, I would say, awesomeness, but my wife would say the latter.  It’s not just military aviation I obsess about, no, I also love golden age NASA.  Here’s a rare video of a Saturn V launch, this one from Apollo 8, and I don’t know what camera they had going for this, it almost looks like a high altitude airborne camera, but check out the super high resolution on the Saturn V, all the way up to SIC burnout and ignition of the SII second stage.  Awesomeness.

You can clearly see the blue-white exhaust from the LOX-Liquid hydrogen J-2 engines, same color as the Space Shuttle Main Engines, not orange like the first stage engines.

Anyone know of a higher resolution video of staging?

Keep in mind, staging occurred at an altitude of ~40 miles and about 100 miles downrange.

Palin criticizes “Kennedy Catholicism” December 6, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Ecumenism, foolishness, General Catholic, Society.
comments closed

……and the Kennedy clan isn’t taking it lying down.  In the runup to the 1960 presidential election, a remarkably close election that was most likely as corrupt as any in modern American history in terms of false voting, candidate John F. Kennedy gave a “famous” speech in which he stated that he was not “the Catholic candidate for president” but was the “democrat party candidate who happened to be catholic.”  He expanded on this, assuring an almost uniformly protestant audience that he would never allow his faith to determine his political decisions (apparently, some people argued at the time, in particular here in the South, that the election of a Catholic president would make the Pope the de facto head of the US executive branch).  Sarah Palin, in her new book America By Heart, criticizes this viewpoint, stating that what Kennedy in fact did was not insure a reasonably separation of one’s personal religious convictions and one’s policy choices as an elected official, but to completely subordinate religion to policy and essentially make one’s Faith a very minor ornament on one’s life.  Due to Kennedy’s great influence, especially on the democrat party, this view has come to be aped by numerous elected officials since then, from Joe Biden to the late president’s brother, Tedrick.  To Palin’s mind, this has resulted in religion being progressively forced from the public sphere, with very serious detriment to the body politic and public discourse.  Archbishop Chaput of Denver, of course, strongly agrees

Well, we can’t have an impertinent, provincial, unrefined state college grad criticizing American royalty, and so the Kennedy camp has responded.  In particular, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend directed her patrician facade Palin’s way, and did not like what she found (see, I can play pseudo-populist rabblerouser, too!):

Palin’s argument seems to challenge a great American tradition, enshrined in the Constitution, stipulating that there be no religious test for public office. A careful reading of her book leads me to conclude that Palin wishes for precisely such a test. And she seems to think that she, and those who think like her, are qualified to judge who would pass and who would not.

If there is no religious test, then there is no need for a candidate’s religious affiliation to be “reconciled.” My uncle urged that religion be private, removed from politics, because he feared that making faith an arena for public contention would lead American politics into ill-disguised religious warfare, with candidates tempted to use faith to manipulate voters and demean their opponents.

Actually, the Constitution says no such thing.   With respect to religion, the 1st Amendment actually states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

For nearly the first 200 years of this constitutional republic, there was no debate on the meaning of the above, so called “establishment clause;” it meant that the US government would not set up a single, preferred national church, as was the case in England and Scotland, from which the vast majority of the founding fathers had come by way of their families.  It meant absolutely nothing regarding the influence one’s religious views may have had on one’s policy decisions – in fact, throughout the 19th century and well into the 20th, it was accepted as a ground truth that one’s religious views would of course have a profound influence on policy decisions.   However, in the mid 20th Century, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, a former (was he actually former?) klansman, shaped the Court to deliver several decisions that severely limited religious liberty in this country, providing the contextual basis for Kennedy’s statement – Black famously used a single phrase written by Thomas Jefferson in one letter, that a “wall of separation” should exist between church and state, to form these opinions (in spite of copious statements from other Founding Fathers that religion should and MUST play a huge role in the effective governance of this country – this was one letter written in a narrow sense against a gigantic volume of writing and verbal statements to the contrary). 

No one is arguing for a “religious test,” and Kennedy Townsend knows it – Palin is arguing, as Chaput did, that Kennedy set American political discourse on a course of destructive rationalism and self-serving practicalism that has gravely injured political discourse in this nation precisely because universal moral truths have been driven almost completely from the public sphere, with the religious voice increasingly being viewed that is something that can at most be tolerated in private, when it can be tolerated at all. Hence, we have “practical” arguments in favor of abortion, or in favor of fake gay marriage, or in favor of whatever “progressive” cause that violates the natural law and universal moral truth. 

The idea that “If there is no religious test, then there is no need for a candidate’s religious affiliation to be “reconciled.” is ridiculous.  Again, no one is arguing for a “religious test,” and no serious voice ever has, or at least not for a very long time.  This is a straw man, intended to deflect debate to a ridiculous extreme.  The most important point is that far too many involved in public discourse either have no guiding moral principles informed by faith, or that they have allowed their life in the faith to be so marginalized in furtherance of their political career as to be essentially meaningless – which is more or less what Kennedy put forth in Houston 50 years ago (Houston?  Has anything good ever come out of Houston?).  That is the fatal flaw in Kennedy’s argument.  When she that her uncle made this decision “because he feared that making faith an arena for public contention would lead American politics into ill-disguised religious warfare,” she is both being disingenuous (he did it for naked political ambition, assuring a majority protestant audience that they need not fear a Catholic president), and illogical – when the faith of various public servants DID more profoundly guide their policy decisions (such as a women’s suffrage movement whose philosophical basis was informed primarily by fundamentally Christian views of rights and freedoms), that did not result in endless religious sectarian strife.  As I said, for the first 170 or more years of this republic, religious views played a huge role in public discourse (read any number of speeches from the 19th century or early 20th), and yet this nation somehow avoided the terrible strife of “religious balkanization.” 

The whole rest of Townsend’s piece, the individual examples of Palin’s horrid religious fundamentalism notwithstanding, is based on that logical turn taken in the quotes above, and hence, largely meaningless.  The entire piece is a complete misrepresentation of the proper view of the 1st Amendment and the impact religious faith has had on public discourse in this country.  As that impact has steadily decreased over the past 50 years, the result has been a concommitant increase not only in a huge number of societal problems, but also in an inability of government, even when it should, being able to do anything about it, precisely because governmental decisions are no longer based on universal moral truth and the wisdom given us by God, but on frail man’s extremely imperfect reasoning.  And, hence, we get what he have today – an increasingly imperfect, troubled culture.