Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Links Round-up

1. If you're following the whole dispute throughout the Catholic blogsphere on the efficacy of lying (springing from Live Action's stings on Planned Parenthood clinics) Brandon at Siris has, for my money, the clearest writing on the situation.

UPDATE: A friend wrote me in a message:
"What struck me the most about the Lila Rose case was not the issue of whether it's okay to lie in certain cases, but the idea that it's okay to lie to certain people because they're scum, anyway. 'We're better than you, so it doesn't really matter if we treat you like crap.'"
Also, for the sophisticate who entertains, he offers Immanuel Kant's rules for a good dinner party.

2. The Manolo is also laying down some ground rules, in regards to beauty.

3. Bearing has up a fine post on what makes gluttony gluttony.

We've been over this before: we can be a glutton by eating too expensively, too daintily ("pickily"), too much, too soon, or too eagerly. This is a nice categorization because it expands the usual definition of gluttony, but it still leaves us asking: But Thomas, what do you mean by "too" anything? If one can eat "too" expensively, then surely one can eat "just expensively enough," and so forth. Where is the line? How do we know when we've crossed over from eating promptly, to eating "too soon?" Eating with relish, and eating "too eagerly?" Selecting good food and being a glutton of pickiness?

I think the answer is that gluttony, like most concupiscence, abhors restraint; what makes gluttony different from other vices, such as sloth or lust is that the restraints it abhors all have to do with food. Different people live under different sets of restraints, some more stringent than others; and different times call for different restraints; so the boundaries of gluttony cannot be defined clearly as a set of rules that are appropriate for everyone. And so eating quite a lot of food, or eating expensive food, or eating at odd times, isn't inherently gluttonous; what makes it gluttonous is if the eater is supposed to be exercising restraint, but isn't.

She's the best food writer I know.

4. Speaking of the good and the beautiful, I want to eat this tiramisu. Because one can only take so much dieting.

5. Jake Tawney at Roma Locuta Est writes about the teachers' union strikes in Wisconsin from the perspective of a Catholic teacher in a public school.
The result of this is that I am now an outsider on the inside. I am a non-union member in a profession that demands union membership. I don’t say this with regret, and I am certainly not looking for pity; I am well aware of having made my proverbial bed. Principled stands have consequences, and if I were to whine about the consequences of my actions, I would not be living up to the iconic ideal of my father. And believe me when I tell you that I desperately want to make my father as proud of me as I am of him. It doesn’t, however, change the objective fact that I am a scab, and moments like Senate Bill 5 make that abundantly clear.
I can’t tell you what I think of the bill, because quite frankly I don’t know. I know that the Catholic Church supports unions in principle, and out of obedience I abide by that teaching. I hardly think, though, that the Church approves of what unions have become in our country, which in part includes immoral political stances.
Those interested in the new translation of the Mass that's being implemented come Advent should be reading Jake's New Translation Monday series. This week he covers the first half of the Gloria.

6. The National Catholic Register has added a number of new bloggers lately. Don't miss Simcha Fisher on Why I Love My Ugly Little Liturgy or Jennifer Fulwiler writing about 4 Tips for Using Graphic Abortion Images Effectively.

7. Emily J. at Back Bay View shares eight practical tips for protecting your marriage. Emily's family is being posted to Guam, so she knows a thing or two about keeping your marriage strong during momentous life changes.


David L Alexander said...

Sometimes my brother writes or calls to ask me about a Church teaching. When he does, he makes it rather clear that he's looking for a "short and to the point" answer, such is his mortal fear that I will provide him with anything but that.

I hope he never asks me about this issue. If what Brandon at Siris wrote is "the clearest writing on the situation," I am loathe to read what anyone else has to say.

It seems to me that, no matter how complex the subject, you either start or end with a simple "yes it is," or "no it is not," and that whatever is subsequently or previously rendered merely builds upon that. You might even add a "because" in 25 words or less to such brevity. But if you can't do that, you may impress the world with your erudition, but your chances of converting hearts and minds will be severely curtailed.

But hey, that's just me. Or maybe NOT just me.

Jennifer @ Conversion Diary said...

I love this list! (And not just because I'm on it, I promise.) I'd love to see more links roundups like this.

Brandon said...

It seems to me that, no matter how complex the subject, you either start or end with a simple "yes it is," or "no it is not," and that whatever is subsequently or previously rendered merely builds upon that.

Would that it were so. Unfortunately, in this sort of situation I am very sure this is not true. What one actually starts with is everybody throwing every argument they can think of at a subject, and since some of them make good points and some of them don't, 'yes' and 'no' will simply not help anyone. This isn't evangelization or catechesis, and it is a mistake to treat it as such; it's true that people don't need mere displays of erudition, but it's also pointless to aim at converting hearts and minds, since very little one could possibly do (esp. in a blog post!) would do anything toward that end: the problem is not unconverted hearts at all but confused minds with a wide spread of objections. What people need in such a case are not summaries of doctrine but accurate answers to the actual arguments given; and since these are legion and constantly shifting, the only summary that is suitable is for those who have already been following and just need to know where to go for deeper discussion on this or that, or what is the key point in this or that argument.

If someone is in the question of lying and not interested in the dispute over whether Augustine and Aquinas are right about it, which is where things get complicated quickly, both Augustine and Aquinas are exemplary in how clearly they lay out their position. They would be the people to look at; in any situation of this sort one should always rely less on secondhand sources and more on originals, using the former only to the degree that one finds them helpful for avoiding mistakes.

Foxfier said...

It seems to me that, no matter how complex the subject, you either start or end with a simple "yes it is," or "no it is not," and that whatever is subsequently or previously rendered merely builds upon that.

I think you actually start with:
"What do you mean when you say ____." (90% of any argument not based on differing information seems to be try to figure out what the person is actually saying-- can't count the number of times that, when both sides clarified enough, the argument didn't exist.)

Once you actually HAVE the question, then it's generally "yes (and clarify)" or "no (and clarify)".

"Is directly causing the death of another human being wrong?"
"Yes, although it can be justified in some situations, and even morally demanded."

The balancing act of morality is a major complicator. ^.^ It's almost as bad as balancing all the other requirements of life!