Category Archives: Commentary

The Sin of Categorizing Persons

Hetro vs. Homo

Fighting Heterosexuality: The Sin of Categorizing Persons March 13, 2014 4:22 PM
My title is not a slip of the pen; it is not supposed to be “fighting homosexuality”. But what could I possibly have against heterosexuality? The problems with this term were recently outlined by Michael Hannon in First Things. The argument is imperfect, I think, but it bears close examination. We can learn from it.
What Hannon suggests in “Against Heterosexuality” is that the terms heterosexual and homosexual are relatively recent inventions which inaccurately categorize persons while stripping sexuality of its moral dimension. Hannon makes very good sense on both counts, and while his case against the normative character of heterosexual attraction is weak and just a trifle wild, Hannon’s overall position aligns nicely with that of many CatholicCulture.org readers, who would prefer that we stop using the term “homosexuality” and instead discuss that issue in terms of “same-sex attraction”.

The difficulty posed by the terms “heterosexual” and “homosexual” is that whenever we apply them to persons rather than to behaviors, they carry tremendous unwanted baggage. The terms imply three things that are universally false: First, that the human person can be defined in terms of his sexual inclinations; second, that these inclinations divide persons into simple and obvious permanent classes; and third, that our moral analysis of sexual behavior must be rooted in these inclinations.

Breaking It Down
It is in fact an enormous error to view another person through the prism of his alleged personal inclinations or temptations. In the case of Christians seeking to respond to sinful behaviors, half the battle is lost as soon as we identify another person primarily in terms of whatever personal inclinations present problems for the Christian life. This is like categorizing someone who experiences cupidity as a “greedier”; it suggests that at the very root of his nature, this person’s relationship to the saving power of Jesus Christ is fundamentally different (and in fact negatively different) from those who are not “greediers”.

In addition, Hannon’s point is well-taken that sexual inclinations are not fixed in stone, that they can and do change based on cultural norms and on what people commit themselves to personally. In support of this, he cites: (a) Widely-known examples of changing inclinations and multiple inclinations, (b) The growing movement toward unbridled sexual experimentation in the more libertine corners of contemporary culture; and (c) Changing sexual theory. Queer theorists, he says, are in the process of abandoning their push to define “homosexuality” as a fixed classification, partly because this undermines future possibilities for fun which may no longer be considered out of bounds. Sexual inclinations, especially in the dissolute, can be a moving target.

Finally, Hannon is certainly correct in arguing that the emphasis on heterosexuality and homosexuality fails to provide an adequate moral framework for handling sexual desire. The presumption used to be that heterosexuality was morally normative, but by themselves heterosexual inclinations are incapable of serving as a moral standard. For this purpose, the traditional Catholic approach works much better, the approach which ties the proper use of our sexual faculties inextricably to procreation. All sexual behavior, whether heterosexual or homosexual, must be judged in the same way against this teleological standard. In broad strokes, sexual activity is moral when open to producing new life in the family—the stable marital context which children require. But heterosexual lust is no better (and no worse) than homosexual lust. Contraceptive heterosexual sex is no better (and no worse) than homosexual sex.

For more of this article

What has happened to our schools

Good morning, good people!
From Deacon Dennis, OFS

If the school year hasn’t started in your area, it will soon. Many of us are older and no longer have school aged children, but many have grandchildren and/or nieces/nephews of that age.

If you haven’t had this experience, I have.  In fact I had the experience of having my children in a Catholic grammar school whose Religion teacher wasn’t even Catholic and later in a (very expensive) “Catholic” high school in our area run by an un-named religious order of women (Mercy me!) whose curricula both in the religion spheres and civil spheres were anything but Catholic. In fact, due to the complaints of many really Catholic families to the diocese (I wasn’t one of the school’s favorite people), the school no longer touts itself as a “Catholic” high school but simply as a “Private” high school, in spite of it’s being named after a Catholic Saint.

The books used in the American History curriculum, for example, completely passed over, discredited, or eradicated any mention of Catholic influences in the United States.  Catholic explorers (and Missionaries), if named at all, had their names secularized (for example, Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette who explored the upper Mississippi River was simply “Marquette” and the picture depicting him was airbrushed to have him dressed in buckskins [a la Davy Crocket] in lieu of his Jesuit habit).  No mention at all of the efforts of Blessed Junipero Serra, OFM, in California or other Catholic Missionaries or even Spanish secular efforts in the American Southwest.  American History only began in 1620 with the Pilgrims setting foot on Plymouth Rock to escape Religious (Anglican) persecution in England and later Catholic persecution in Holland (any time the word “Catholic” showed up it was always in negative terms).  Earlier Spanish explorations by DeSoto, Ponce de Leon, and other Conquistadors were mentioned only because their names were so familiar in Florida and the Caribbean, but again the concurrent Catholic missionary efforts were depicted in negative terms vis a vis the Native Populations.  Christopher Columbus was vilified for bringing Catholic missionaries to these shores.

Any mention of Catholic social principles in the Social Studies courses? – ZIP.

The Religion Teacher that they had was terminated mid-year the year my daughter began at this school (his first year of teaching) because he was “too Catholic” in his efforts to instill not only basic doctrine but also to fill-in the gaps with Catholic principles in other areas. 

As a result, despite anything we did at home, because of what they learned in school (children are so malleable at those tender school ages, they believe what they are taught by trusted adults) my children no longer practice their Faith, to the heartbreak of both myself and Cathy. (Remember also, the school has these kids longer during their waking hours than we do).

Deacon Dennis, OFS

After reading Deacon Dennis’ email, above, my research led me to “Common Core” …

Sending your children to a Catholic school? Caveat emptor…
Published Thursday, September 5, 2013 A.D. | By The Motley Monk

With the new academic year having gotten underway, it’s always good for parents to assess what their children will be learning, especially with the curriculum being nationalized.
In 2009, the National Governors Association launched the Common Core State Standards Initiative (“Common Core”) which is an attempt to nationalize the curriculum so that high school students who graduate in every state that adopts the Common Core will “be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”
Who possibly could be against that goal?

In her book, Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left’s Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom, Marybeth Hicks tells parents who enroll their children in Catholic schools they should be very wary, if not opposed to the Common Core.
Why so?
Not for the usual reasons conservatives assert: who’s really behind the Common Core (e.g., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation along with David Coleman, President of the College Board and architect of the Common Core) as well as the content it requires students to learn (e.g., social justice mathematics, using class and race conflict to explain American history).
Hicks tells her readers how the Common Core [that has infected the public school system] now is infecting Catholic schools nationwide because, although dioceses are not required to adopt the Common Core, they must do so if students are to demonstrate mastery on the tests measuring what students have learned (as that is measured using the standard of the Common Core designed by Coleman whose company makes the tests).  Hicks quotes Sarah Dalske, a Catholic school parent living in Sacramento:
My children go to Catholic school, and over 100+ [d]ioceses have adopted the [Common Core] because it’s what “has to be done” if we want our kids to get into college and be prepared and also be prepared to enter the “workforce” and earn a “living wage.”
In a letter Dalske wrote to the Diocese of Sacramento, she argued:
[Are] you telling me in future grades my kids will be reading such books as “Freakonomics” and “The Tipping Point,” learning that *abortion is one of the [things that would] lower crime…?  How would Catholic school teachers reconcile this while simultaneously teaching that all life is sacred and every baby has the right to life, that every person is given a soul at the moment of conception by God and has the God-given right to be brought into this world?….After all the new and confusing math and reading lessons, and the “literacy” lessons through science, history and technology, after all the testing, where will the time be to teach our children their faith?
The lesson for parents who send their children to Catholic schools?
Lest they believe Catholic schools provide immunity from the infection of a curriculum that’s opposed to Catholic teaching, they had better—like Sarah Dalske—investigate precisely what their children are being taught and when they are being taught it.
In Catholic schools, the goal of training the nation’s youth for the workforce is not antithetical to the goal of educating their souls in the faith of the Catholic Church.  If Dalske’s statistic is correct, in many dioceses the former may become more prominent than the latter…if it hasn’t already.
See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/09/05/sending-your-children-to-a-catholic-school-caveat-emptor/#sthash.zMUsnfEt.dpuf

Note: *About the statement that “abortion would lower crime,” isn’t it intresting that the UN believes abortion would lower the poverty level in the world.

Three Moms against Common Core Christel Lane Swasey, Renee Braddy and Alisa Ellis
http://youtu.be/Mk0D16mNbp4 By Christel Lane Swasey

Question to the Three Moms: Joanne Tolles April 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm
There is no doubt that Ayers is a scarey dude with high powered friends and a destructive agenda. However, I am looking for the connection between Ayres and Common Core. Is he directly involved with CCSSI or PARCC? Does he have some influence over specific individuals involved? I need help connecting the dots.
Reply
One of the connecting dots is that the Smarter Balanced test will replace the standardized tests in all the states. It was designed by Linda Darling Hammond, a colleague of Bill Ayers. The Common Core has it’s beginnings in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge; Bill Ayers was one of it’s 3 co-authors. Arne Duncan, United States Secretary of Education and a whole host of other individuals are influenced by Ayers. Teachers are being taught strategies by Ayers proteges. Just google Bill Ayers and the Common Core. Stanley Kurtz and Danette Clark are two excellent sources on how over the last 30 years radical Marxist communists have gained control of American education.]

Unrepentant anti-American and former terrorist Bill Ayers is highly respected in certain circles. He’s welcomed with open arms to speak to university students nationwide.  His writings are welcomed at the New York Times.  He’s gets magazine  interviews and is glamorized by Hollywood .
He’s an important associate of the powerful Linda Darling-Hammond, she who calls the big shots as an Obama education advisor and for Common Core testing consortia SBAC.
Many teacher’s colleges  roll out the red carpet for him  – it’s incomprehensible, but true.
Ayers has never swayed from preaching against Americanism and fighting for the overthrow of America and the implementation of communism. He’s never apologized for the violence he caused in America during the Vietnam War. He’s never actually discussed education much; it’s only a tool to him, a useful one to create the end of capitalism and the beginning of American socialism.
Yet people listen to him.
He was the keynote speaker at this year’s Association for Teacher Educators conference.
Here’s his University of Southern California speech: http://youtu.be/XbvKS0Adqg0?t=1m32s .
He’s been invited as a featured speaker at the University of Nebraska, Minnesota State, Georgetown University Law Center, New York University, University of Wyoming — the list is long.
At last year’s “Change the Stakes” meeting he told listeners to grab control of political power by using schools and local communities.
And here’s a super scary one: an interview about Ayers’ original plans for “re-education centers” and “elimination” of people who would not be re-educated in the Anti-American philosophy.  The interview is with Larry Grathwohl, who worked with Ayers during their violent Weather Underground days. http://youtu.be/VlN2t0oERHk
Then there’s an unbelievable Ayers in an out of control radio interview with Larry Elder that was also rebroadcast on Hannity.
What’s Ayers’ message? He wants students to help him overthrow America as we know it and become global (communist) citizens, free of the U.S. Constitution and traditional values.  His message has nothing to do with education reform and everything to do with using teachers and schools as change agents for socialist indoctrination. He’s open about it.  He says:
“The great challenge for our generation to find a way not just to live differently as individuals, but to find a way to think differently about what work means, to think differently about citizenship means, to think differently about what it means to be a ‘citizen of the world.’  One of the great dangers that we live in right now, is I don’t think there’s any question, and I don’t think any of you would question, that the American Empire is in decline–that economically, and politically, and inƒ some ways culturally, that we are in decline.  And yet, the United States remains the most powerful, weaponized military system the Earth has ever known.
That’s a treacherous combination.  A declining economic power, and an expanding military power.  And we are going to have to find ways to re-imagine what it means to live in this coun–  in this world.  And here we are 4% of the world’s population, 4.5% of the world’s population, consuming vast amounts of natural resources, consuming vast amounts of finished goods, and no politician will say that the empire is declining and that the game is over. ”
America, stop inviting this man to teach our teachers.  Please.

Like this:
Posted April 8, 2013 by Christel Swasey in Uncategorized
MSNBC Video: Your Children Belong to Us
Judy Park Introduces Common Core SAGE Tests to Wasatch School District »

Wow, pretty frightening. They’re going after our children, trying to indoctrinate them with their social agendas in the schools. How do we stop this? I guess the same way they’re trying to do it, on a local level, by getting involved, speaking out, getting informed and fighting back and standing up to it in our schools and communities.
Tom Lidiak April 23, 2013 at 6:23 pm
I had a teacher in college who used to say, “The problem with democracy is that it will eventually embrace the poison that will kill it.” Bill Ayers is just such a poison.

Education News

LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND, BILL AYERS, CSCOPE, LUCY CALKINS, CCS

Posted by Donna Garner Education Policy Commentator EducationViews.org on January 6, 2013 in Commentaries, Daily, Insights on Education, Teachers | 1 Comment
Linda Darling-Hammond and Bill Ayers are closely associated with Columbia Teachers’ College where the social justice agenda is heavily enmeshed throughout the College.

1.6.13 — Info. on Linda Darling-Hammond, Bill Ayers, Lucy Calkins, CSCOPE, Common Core Standards – from Donna Garner:

Linda Darling-Hammond is listed in CSCOPE materials (Ector County ISD website) as one of those who developed CSCOPE. Darling-Hammond is Obama’s education consultant who helped to establish the parameters for the Common Core Standards and is shaping the national assessment.

Early in Obama’s presidency, it looked as if he was going to appoint Linda Darling-Hammond as his Secretary of Education. Instead, Obama decided to empower Darling-Hammond to complete the federal takeover of the public schools by authorizing her to help develop the national tests (i.e., assessments). These assessments are the centerpiece in Obama’s plan to put the federal government in charge of what gets taught each day to public school students.


Guest Post by Dr. Gary Thompson

Forward by Christel Swasey: Dr. Gary Thompson is a valiant defender of children, (if you don’t know anything about him you must go to Goggle) not only in his clinic, but also in the public square. He’s written and spoken extensively about the damages to children via Common Core testing and standards.

Dr. Thompson took on a reporter at the Deseret News, calling his reporting on Common Core “a case study of deception and lies by omission.” He points out that the reporter has omitted key facts such as the biggest elephant-in-the-room: the fact that huge financial interests are driving the marketing of Common Core in Utah. Thompson points out that the reporter did not follow up to fact-check the School Improvment Network’s (Common Core proponents) claims that opponents of Common Core are “misled”.

Thompson points out that Deseret News readers deserve to know what’s motivating Common Core proponents who throw out accusations against those questioning Common Core: they’re defending their financial interests, tooth and nail. They fight the idea of allowing full and legitimate public debate about Common Core to happen. It’s their rice bowl.

But it’s OUR KIDS.

The fact remains that there are serious questions about Common Core that remain unexplored by the general public despite the fact that the Common Core standards, tests and data collecting now governs their children’s lives.

Many more dots to connect. … Dennis

http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/08/27/various-sundry-82713/
Few people are talking about common core, but we should be, as it poses a serious threat to American education.
Common Core, now adopted by 45 states and DC, is a set of national standards and goals related on the surface to English and math that have far-reaching implications into who controls curriculum (teachers teaching to the national test), along with implementing data-mining for a jaw-dropping universe of facts provided to the federal government about your children and you. Can I implore you to watch this video of a Common Core creator celebrating the collaboration with Obama’s data team and how to use data to achieve political ends?
Common Core has dismal quality, puts us behind other countries, views teaching as job training and not the development of our children’s minds, and has backers that would make your head swim were you to conduct even a perfunctory search.
– See more at: http://the-american-catholic.com/2013/08/27/various-sundry-82713/#sthash.F2FEJ2Ll.dpuf

Papa Francis.

Argentina Cardenal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, ha sido elegido por sus pares como el nuevo Papa, convirtiéndose en el primer pontífice de las Américas.
El ha escogido a ser conocido como el Papa Francis.
El 76-años de edad, ha pasado casi toda su carrera en casa en Argentina, la supervisión de las iglesias y los sacerdotes de cuero de zapatos.
Francis, el arzobispo de Buenos Aires, al parecer consiguió los votos el segundo mejor de los 115 cardenales Joseph Ratzinger después de las elecciones de 2005 papal, y él siempre ha especializado en el tipo de trabajo pastoral que algunos dicen que es una habilidad esencial para el próximo Papa .
En toda una vida de enseñanza y dirigir los sacerdotes en América Latina, que tiene la mayor participación de los católicos del mundo, Francis ha demostrado una sensibilidad aguda políticos, así como el tipo de modesta humildad que los cardenales compañeros valoran altamente.
También lo conocen para la modernización de una iglesia argentina que había sido uno de los más conservadores de América Latina.
El humo blanco salía de la Capilla Sixtina del Vaticano el miércoles temprano, lo que indica que los cardenales Francis seleccionados tras dos días de votación.
La votación se produjo después de Benedicto XVI sorprendió al mundo católico el mes pasado al convertirse en el primer papa en 600 años que renunciar. Multitudes de embalaje Plaza de San Pedro se vieron banderas y aplaudían el anuncio como campanas tocaban.
Los gritos de “¡Viva el Papa!” surgió de la multitud de fieles, muchos de ellos con lágrimas en los ojos. Multitudes se volvió loco como el Vaticano y las bandas militares italianos marcharon por la plaza y por las escaleras de la basílica, seguido por guardias suizos con cascos plateados y vestido de gala.
Francis apareció en el balcón de la Basílica de San Pedro después de la votación. Anteriormente en el mismo lugar, un funcionario de la iglesia anunció “Habemus Papum” – “Tenemos un papa” – y dio el nombre de Bergoglio en América.
“Señoras y señores, buenas noches”, dijo antes de hacer una referencia a sus raíces en América Latina, lo que representa alrededor del 40 por ciento de los católicos romanos del mundo.
Bergoglio a menudo montamos en el autobús al trabajo, cocinaba sus propias comidas, recorrió los barrios bajos que los de capital anillo de Argentina. Él considera la proyección social, en vez de batallas doctrinales, a ser el negocio esencial de la iglesia.
Antes de ser anunciado como el nuevo Papa por el cardenal francés Tauran Protodiácono Jean-Pierre Louis, Francis le ha pedido dentro de la Basílica de San Pedro “¿Aceptas tu elección canónica como Sumo Pontífice?”
Después de dar su aprobación, Francis le preguntó entonces qué nombre le gustaría ser llamado, y otros cardenales le habría acercado a hacer actos de homenaje y obediencia.
Francisco también tuvo que ser colocado en ropas nuevas, y todos los cardenales tomó un tiempo para la oración y la reflexión.
Elegido en la quinta votación, Francisco fue elegido en una de las más rápidas cónclaves en años, notable, dado que no había un favorito claro entrar en la votación y que la iglesia había estado en crisis a raíz de la conmoción desatada por sorpresiva renuncia del Papa Benedicto XVI.
El cónclave también jugó en contra de las revelaciones de la mala gestión, las disputas pequeño luchas internas y la corrupción en la Santa Sede burocracia. Esas revelaciones, expuestos por las filtraciones de documentos papales del año pasado, se habían dividido el Colegio de Cardenales en campos en busca de una reforma radical de la gobernanza de la Santa Sede y los que defendían el statu quo.
El portavoz del Vaticano, el reverendo Federico Lombardi, dijo que era “una buena hipótesis” de que Francis se instalaría el próximo martes, en la fiesta de san José, patrono de la Iglesia universal. La misa de instalación es atendido por los jefes de Estado de todo el mundo, lo que requiere una antelación mínima de unos días.
Benedicto XVI no asistiría, dijo.
Miles de personas desafiaron la lluvia fría en la mañana del miércoles para ver la chimenea de cobre de 6 metros de altura sobre el techo de la capilla para las señales de humo que les dicen si los cardenales habían asentado en una elección. Las monjas rezaban el rosario, mientras los niños chapoteaban en los charcos.
El Vaticano el miércoles divulgó la receta secreta utilizada: perclorato de potasio, antraceno, que es un derivado de alquitrán de hulla, y azufre para el negro de humo; clorato de potasio, lactosa y una resina de pino por el humo blanco.
Las sustancias químicas que figuran en cinco unidades de un cartucho que se coloca en el interior de la estufa de la Capilla Sixtina. Cuando se activa, los cinco bloques de encender uno tras otro durante un minuto cada uno, creando el flujo constante de humo que acompaña el humo natural de las papeletas quemadas.
A pesar de las grandes penachos de humo blanco y negro que brotaba de la chimenea, ni los frescos Sixtina ni los cardenales dentro de la capilla sufrido daños por humo, dijo Lombardi.