Friday, March 4, 2011

Know Thyself ---Or Show Thyself? "Virtual Friendship and the New Narcissism"

by Christine Rosen

...Although social networking sites are in their infancy, we are seeing their impact culturally: in language (where to friend is now a verb), in politics (where it is de rigueur for presidential aspirants to catalogue their virtues on MySpace), and on college campuses (where not using Facebook can be a social handicap). But we are only beginning to come to grips with the consequences of our use of these sites: for friendship, and for our notions of privacy, authenticity, community, and identity. As with any new technological advance, we must consider what type of behavior online social networking encourages. Does this technology, with its constant demands to collect (friends and status), and perform (by marketing ourselves), in some ways undermine our ability to attain what it promises—a surer sense of who we are and where we belong? The Delphic oracle’s guidance was know thyself. Today, in the world of online social networks, the oracle’s advice might be show thyself...Read it all

--->World Food Prices Hit Record Highs Amid Oil Jitters...

--->"Serious damage to the faith": Cardinals blame liturgical abuses for drop in Mass attendance, confusion among faithful...A weakening of faith in God, a rise in selfishness and a drop in the number of people going to Mass can be traced to liturgical abuse or Masses that are not reverent, two Vatican cardinals and a consultant have said...

---> Crazy Like a Foxman. Abe Foxman's "Different Vision"--- By Scott Horton, Harpers...

--->David L. Jones: Libertarian thought: One shoe size too small...

--->Michael Moore: "They're sitting on the money, they're using it for their own -- they're putting it someplace else with no interest in helping you with your life, with that money. That's not theirs, it's ours...See video

--->Hillary Clinton declares international information war ...See video..., cites Al Jazeera, Russia Today...

Good fences, Shared pastures: The immigration problem

--->Balkanization: In past past couple of months especially, I have been monitoring Far Left and Far Right Internet media and have noted the truth of what Pat Buchanan has called the increasing "Balkanization" of this country in terms of "ethnic identity" politics. What is interesting is that, despite holding some extreme positions, many (not all) of the speakers, from Cornel West on the Left, to Tomislav Sunic on the Right and others present relatively cogent, often thoughtful, assessments, suggesting that those who promote promiscuous (or neglect to put limits on) immigration, both here and in Europe, are the ones who are actually fomenting such divisions and stirring ethnic turmoil. Surely it is time to demand reasonable limits---not the rejection of the [truly] persecuted in measured numbers, where there is a moral obligation to help---lest we end up with many 'nations' within single 'countries'. These voices on both the Left and the Right are not as 'crazy' as many sometimes frame them to be, even if one must listen and assess matters critically. Each side emphasizes certain truths which should be taken seriously, even if each has its problems as well.

Note / update: Benedict XVI, while urging justice for migrant laborers, suggests that Church groups, charitable agencies, and other non-profit groups could help governments in "reconciling recognition for the rights of the individual [migrant worker] with the recognition of the rights of the person and the principle of national sovereignty, with specific reference to the exigencies of security, the public order and control of borders." ---, 5/28/2010, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Travelers (Emphasis mine). Thus Catholic universalism, rooted in charity towards all, in no wise conflicts with national sovereignty, public order, and the security of the nation reflected in the obligation to secure borders; in short a rational immigration policy.

"States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. Immigrants, moreover, have the duty to integrate into the host country, respecting its laws and its national identity."---Benedict XVI, 97th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Oct. 2010

Updated: Catholic universalism means there is, in charity and nature, one human family. What's the alternative, predator and prey nations? National sovereignty, however, is also a fundamental principle of Catholic social teaching, and these givens need to be balanced. Catholics can take consolation at least in this, that many new immigrants are Catholic, and this fact could change some very important things in this country. We often hear only of criminal elements which we all must deplore; but it is very likely the majority of Catholic immigrants and others are far from criminal and more traditionally inclined in matters of belief.

Immigration: Love is, politically, a non-aggression pact, and an ever-willingness to help, especially the persecuted, the weak and the poor. It is not the disassembling of tribes and peoples, much less the promiscuous mixing of irreconcilable principles. Love believes in good fences as well as shared pastures.

--->George Weigel: An Immigration Debate Primer...

--->Mayor Rahm's Next Move on Immigration Policy, Chicago. "On the campaign trail, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel faced tough criticism from opponents for his inaction on immigration policy issues. Immigration advocates, on the ground and in Congress, claimed that he stood in the way of progress on comprehensive immigration reform during his time as White House chief of staff. It didn’t help that... (click)

[Note: then the writer goes on to suggest he continue to do nothing to curb illegal immigration except to throw lots of money into directing---like Nanny Bloomberg's NYC--- "all city agencies to provide language services in the city’s six (!!) most commonly-spoken foreign languages.."[and, for starts] "loans for community colleges and four-year universities at low interest rates"---Qui bono?

--->Unemployment Rate Falls In February, U.S. Adds 192K Jobs..., But labor force is shrinking...

--->Plutonium-fueled Mars Hoppers headed for orbit...More taxpayer money blown away...

--->Radical Chic: NY Times Relaunches Magazine with Hagiography of Marxist Terrorist Helper [sweet looking] Lori Berenson...(click) who assisted helped groups "which took part in assassinations, kidnappings, and bombings during the 1980s and 1990s".

--->Dan Nichols on Muslim Brotherhood and Jews: An Islamic Threat? Nichols waxes, I fear, a tad naive on Egypt's Brotherhood which formed some of bin Laden's background (click)--- and certainly his right hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri (click)---and as if most revolutionary groups do not have their 'front' operations for public consumption.

Nichols continues: "The Muslim Brotherhood is not a terrorist group? No, actually they condemned the 9/11 attacks. So did Hamas, Hezbollah, and every major Muslim organization. And, according to polls, 97% of Muslims worldwide...Christians have more in common with Muslims than with Jews. Judaism has traditionally held that Christ was a false prophet, and that -it pains me to even write this- He was born of an illicit union between His Mother and a Roman soldier. That is what the Talmud alleges, though thankfully there are Jews today who have a more positive view of Our Lord. Muslims, on the other hand, believe that Christ is a true prophet, that He was born of a Virgin, that He ascended into heaven and will return to judge the world. Christians may mock and condemn the founder of Islam, but Muslims always speak respectfully of Christ and His Mother...

Note: Well, er, no, yes, er, no, part yes, part no..."Bin Laden paid attention to Muslim Brotherhood members in after-school sessions. In these sessions, they taught Islam both as a religion and as a political system that could be achieved through violence...(click). Note also "Egypt’s Christians keep wary eye on Muslim Brotherhood..." (Click)

Too, every virulent anti-'papist,' from the Jehovah's Witnesses to the the wackos who say the Jesuits run the world say they revere Jesus. That 'don't stop no attacks' of one kind or another.

--->Past US medical testing on humans revealed...(click)

"Shocking as it may seem, U.S. government doctors once thought it was fine to experiment on disabled people and prison inmates. Such experiments included giving hepatitis to mental patients in Connecticut, squirting a pandemic flu virus up the noses of prisoners in Maryland, and injecting cancer cells into chronically ill people at a New York hospital. Much of this horrific history is 40 to 80 years old, but it is the backdrop for a meeting in Washington this week by a presidential bioethics commission...In widely covered congressional hearings in 1973, pharmaceutical industry officials acknowledged they were using prisoners for testing because they were cheaper (!) than chimpanzees...As the supply of prisoners and mental patients dried up [due to outrage and reform], researchers looked to other countries."

Note: All those infected here or in other nations [or their surviving loved ones] should sue to the high heavens for reparations. And persons in all (esp. poor) nations, & especially in prisons, the military, Nursing Homes for the elderly, etc. should be made thoroughly familiar with the Nuremberg Code [click] which makes criminal all involuntary medical experiments on all human beings. St. Paul's teaching is axiomatic, that we are not to do evil under the pretext that good may come. For doctors or other researchers to engage in grossly unethical Nazi-and-Communist-like behavior for the sake of money and international prizes, even with a good end in view, was and remains more than reprehensible; Nuremberg showed it was / is criminal, a crime against humanity.

--->Obama gives strongest indication yet U.S. forces may be deployed in Middle East rebellion...

--->Weak faith cannot compete with modern 'idolatry,' Denver archbishop
in Paris warns...

--->Harvard Law Reviews WikiLeaks Censorship. "In the 66 page document, Benkler suggests the U.S. government has attempted to falsely frame the WikiLeaks revelations in a way to discredit WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. The false framing begins with what Benkler calls the 'hurt America' argument..."

It sometimes seems to me that the problem of immigration vis a vis the "one human family" is the political extension of the old philosophical problem of the "one and the many". Clearly this problem has not been resolved, though temporarily the tendency to prefer the "one" is crushing the legitimate "many" at present. We need to recover a proper sense of the "many" and find its realistic balance with the "one".


  1. That's more cherry-picking by some bored media when it comes to a book by a church prelate, as was so for even the Pope's recent book (which is not exclusively in Italian) which was actually NOT about condoms! It's a good thing I don't have to live according to subpapal prelates' desires in every Rite -- so far, I'd have had to (re)consider peopling my community with more kids, there'd have been that whole new responsibility toward aliens, I'd be whipping off the chapel veil as fast as I was putting one on, moving to the desert one week and moving back to the city center the next. I'd feel unfaithful attending a non-TLM one week, and I'd feel untrue in doing the exact opposite the next. Such as this isn't Christ's desire for us.

    It's okay to want and ask for more reverence in Mass (for HIS sake, not ours!), but Vatican II did not encourage askewness. To say so is to call the Holy Spirit askew. That is the last thing one ought to consider doing-- and only after one has lost one's marbles. Mankind's failure to guard against its own inherent lackadaisicalness and weakness is what changes the culture around us, just as Jesus warned Peter first: "Remain alert. Satan has asked to sift you like wheat." Our great snore rises to Heaven; we're mere wheat powder, now.

    I know an old woman who probably blames Vatican II for acid rain as well as sin, and thus drives 90 minutes one way to a TLM. Good, because I am sick of such spoiled, proud, judgmental people. On the other hand, I know another but younger lifelong Catholic elsewhere who is parish shopping for her family since their new uber-traditional pastor came, and may end up bringing them to the friendlier and more alive Protestant church just down the street. That's not good, is it? People hate change, whatever it is; most of them likely aren't making a choice for their greater holiness. An accurate gauge of our "desire for more reverence" comes after deeply sounding our hearts late on a Tuesday night after a ridiculously hard day at work when we're coming down with something and there's a kid's tonsillectomy coming up along with that new bill, and the spouse is being a prick of misery. Whatever we think of Christ THEN is what He sees in us at Mass.

    Vatican II sought deeper connectedness with the Lord for the children of the Church, while also desiring to institute a greater effort to answer Christ's final prayer for His followers' unity--via His final commandment.

    I myself would trade in both pastor and Bishop for more Christ-centered clergy, but I am not the Holy Spirit nor the Diocese of Carol. If they threw on pleats and lace galore, had 12 altar servers, incensed us individually, prostrated themselves every few minutes, and sung the entire Mass in Latin, I would not be salved on anyone's behalf--His, mine, others'.

    What is Essential is invisible to the eye. So, although I'm certainly praying for patience (spiritual duct tape for the mouth of my heart), I'm not going anywhere.

  2. Oh, I don't know about that, Mam. I prefer to trust this assessment, fully in line with the two Vatican Cardinals---and home many more:

    See Cardinal Ratzinger's assessment

  3. I'm sick and tried of hearing the Muslim "respect" Jesus and Mary lie all the time. Islam is anti-Christian in it's beliefs and actions. It denies Jesus is the Christ. It denies the Father having a Son. It denies Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is how the Apostle John defines anti-Christ. So Islam can't have any "respect" for Jesus as God, which he claimed to be. And this claim that Islam has sooo much in common with Christianity is horse hocky. Judaism is the religion that Islam has a lot in common with. Both reject the claims of Jesus divinity in their scripture. Both teach hatred of Christians in the same. Both have a clean/unclean food law. Both claim that their teachings (Talmudic/Koranic) are superior to the New Testament. Both have unjustly persected Christians because they refused to accept their false religions. I could name more things these sects have in common, but these are the basic ones.

  4. Carol, that last phrase was supposed to be "and how many more..." My brain and fingers are not always in sync these days, even if, from a young married man, they have been in the sink often.

    And Scotju, I cannot help but agree. And, alas, Islam is very polite when a minority, but when it becomes a majority, well...

  5. Too, every virulent anti-'papist,' from the Jehovah's Witnesses to the the wacko's who say the Jesuits run the world say they revere Jesus. That 'don't stop no attacks' of one kind or another.

    Actually it does, at least in the case of Jehovah's Witnesses. They are well-known for being non-participants in warfare that sucks in most persons, whether religious or no.

    And I do not read enough C.K. Chesterton, I admit it. Not for lack of interest, but for time. I should rectify that, someday. Is there a work of his you especially recommend?

  6. Tom sheepandgoats: That's why I referred to attacks "of one kind or another".

    Jehovah's Witnesses are not physically violent, very true, but their raison d'ĂȘtre, from the time of Charles Taze Russell and Judge Joseph Franklin Rutherford, is neo-Arianism, combating the doctrine of Trinity and deity of Christ, from door to door. They also denounce the Church as the Great Harlot, ad nauseum. Thus they seek to make the Floor drop from under Christ and the Church.

    So that's all the attack with reference to them I meant. On the doctrine of the Trinity, if you are interested, see here

  7. PS, Forgot to answer about Chesterton. So many wonderful works, but if I had to take only one to my catacomb I'd take either his book on St. Thomas ("The Dumb Ox") or "The Everlasting Man". Amazon has many of his works; and of course the American Chesterton Society; Ignatius Press too.

  8. My introduction to C.K. Chesterton began when I was on a "whodunit" kick, and came across Father Brown. Only later did I learn of his main body of writing. Thanks for the suggestions. I'll put one or two on my reading list.

    I will concede that JW publications have been, at times, uncomplimentary toward the Church.

    Regarding Jesus' divinity:

    For me, the "dealclincher" verses are those in which God speaks to Jesus, or vice versa:

    Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

    My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? (Matt 27:46)

    This is my Son the Beloved, whom I have approved. (Matt 3:17)

    These seem to me unambiguous verses. I don't know how the two could speak with each other if they were one and the same. Far more reasonable, it seems, to believe they are intimately close, like an ideal father and son, so that beholding one might be said to be beholding the other. Most of the other verses you cite readily lend themselves to that interpretation, some more readily than to a Trinitarian one.

    As you have offered me a link on matters Trinitarian, which I've read, so I do likewise for you this comment with my return link.

  9. Tom sheepandgoats: You write,

    These seem to me unambiguous verses. I don't know how the two could speak with each other if they were one and the same

    But "One and the same" is itself ambiguous because it could smack of the heresy of sabellianism which John 1:1 preempts ahead of time, as it does Arianism also:

    Jn 1:1 "with God" = against sabellius, see distinction;

    then "was God" =, see the deity of Christ against the Arianism or semi-Arianism you seem to advocate.

    That "most of the other verses [I, SH] cite readily lend themselves to [your] interpretation, some more readily than to a Trinitarian one" is a baffling statement since both distinction and sameness are clearly shown in the verses I cite, woven through the New Testament

    I could have written considerably more there, but since I write at this blog mostly for homeschooling parents I left it at that, sufficient in my view. But we won't debate. I am grateful for your input.