It’s the Stupid Economy

Watch this . . .

. . . and then see (if you haven’t already) my earlier post about PeterSchiff’s predictions. I report, you decide.

A Catholic Case Against “Gay Marriage”

Dr. Mark Lowery is a Catholic moral theologian at the University of Dallas. In this article, which originally appeared in Envoy Magazine.  I hope you find it helpful in your own efforts to understand and explain this issue.

The Knot That Can’t Be Tied: Secular, Natural, and Sacramental Marriage

By Mark Lowery, Ph.D.

MAN’S SEXUAL ENERGIES are of extraordinary power and complexity. Is this energy something we can use however we wish, or is there some objective standard to which this energy should be conformed?

The Western tradition, like many other traditions, has consistently held that there is such an objective standard, and it is the reality called “marriage.” Today, however, many think that marriage can be whatever they want it to be. Instead of seeing marriage as an objective reality to which we align ourselves, it is seen as something that must conform to our notions and desires. Let’s call this perspective on marriage “secular marriage.”

Here’s an example of the “secular marriage” mindset. Jessie Bernard, in The Future of Marriage, describes marriage as follows:

“Both of us commit ourselves to: 1) continue to grow, each in his or her unique way; 2) retain future choices about our relationship, recognizing that the risks of growth include the risks of growing apart; 3) give room for the process of growing; 4) provide a climate that stimulates and invites growing; 5) take risks; 6) respect differences of belief or viewpoint. . . .”

According to this scheme, marriage is what one wishes it to be. All the criteria Bernard lists are subjective, and there is no hint that, by marrying, the spouses are entering into a permanent reality. It’s exactly this type of subjective misunderstanding of marriage that sets the stage for recent political and legislative efforts to legitimize homosexual relationships under the guise of marriage.

How can we effectively respond to those who promote the notion of “secular marriage,” and how can we demonstrate that marriage is an objective reality? One method is to rely on the evidence we see in God’s divine revelation. As important as such a method is, however, because of the separation of church and state we cannot base civil laws on any particular religion’s understanding of God’s revelation.

There are many people these days who deny that there are any objective truths at all, whether knowable by reason or revelation, so using religious explanations alone isn’t always sufficient to make your case.

The purpose of this article is to lay out a five-step argument about the nature of marriage, with the specific aim of showing why homosexuality (and homosexual “marriage”) is incompatible with that objective reality. . . (continue reading this article at; all rights reserved. If you wish to post a link to this article, please include a live link to Envoy‘s site).

Dominican Wisdom on How to Teach Young People the Faith

We are parishioners at St. Patrick’s, a wonderful Dominican-run parish in Columbus, Ohio. St. Patrick’s has a wide and well-deserved reputation for orthodoxy. Confessions are heard by two priests for a few hours each day. The confession lines are long, Masses are typically packed, and large families are practically the norm there. I can think of at least five families we know personally who are parishioners at St. Patrick’s, who have 10 or more children. Families with 5, 6, 7, and 8 children are inumerable.

Anyway, that’s all background for saying that St. Patrick’s and the Dominican friars who staff it are part of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, which has its headquarters in Washington, DC (just across from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception). This province is known for producing orthodox and erudite men for the priesthood. Many of them have passed through the hallowed walls of St. Patrick’s Parish, over the years.

One of the intellectual powerhouses of the St. Joseph Province is Father Augustine De Noia, O.P., undersecretary for the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has written a very insightful piece on “Clearing Away the Barriers: Preaching to Young People Today.” I’ve put in bold a particularly important passage. Enjoy!

An effective preacher needs to understand how this background shapes young people’s understanding of the Catholic faith. The influence of the beliefs and attitudes of non-Catholic friends on young Catholics also have to be taken into account. Research conducted by an evangelical think tank (the Barna Group) suggests that a significant percentage of Christian young people share the negative perceptions of Christianity held by their non-Christian fellows.

We have to respect and be willing to engage the intellectual challenges and questions young people pose in their struggle to understand their Catholic faith. “Young adults enjoy challenging the rules. They are extremely-you might say innately-skeptical. Today’s young people are the target of more advertising, media, and marketing than any generation before. And their mindset is both incredibly savvy and unusually jaded” (Kinnaman 2007, 21-22). They are “the ultimate conversation generations. They want to discuss, debate and question everything” (Kinnaman 2007, 33).

In our conversations with young people, we have to avoid the temptation to fudge-to adapt the Catholic faith so as to make it palatable to modern tastes and expectations. This so-called “accommodationist” approach generally fails, and it fails doubly with young people. There is a risk in this approach that the Christian message becomes indistinguishable from everything else on offer in the market stalls of secularised religious faith: “In the powerful yet soft secularising totalitarianism of distinctively modern culture, our greatest enemy is…the Church’s ‘own internal secularisation’ which, when it occurs, does so through the ‘…largely unconscious’ adoption of the ‘ideas and practices’ of seemingly ‘benign adversaries’” (Nichols 2008, 141).

Clearing away the barriers-whatever the audience we have in view-demands a robust sort of apologetics. No one in his or her right mind will be interested in a faith about which its exponents seem too embarrassed to communicate forthrightly. We have to be convinced that the fullness of the truth and beauty of the message about Jesus Christ is powerfully attractive when it is communicated without apologies or compromise.

Our reasoning has to be based on solid theological principles and to operate within a vision of the Catholic faith in its integrity and interconnectedness. “Apologetics is a theological art that must rest on the firm foundation of theological science. If our defense does not flow from deep preparation, deep Christian formation, it will be unconvincing at best, but merely offensive at worst” (Hahn 2007, 12). Sometimes the response “it’s a mystery” is just a cover for theological ignorance on the part of people who should know better. Especially with young people who have questions, it is a mistake to cry “mystery” when an explanation is available and needed. (continue reading)

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