Thursday, February 18, 2016

Quick Quips: "Wait, What?" Thoughts on Dubious Things I Have Seen Online


Once more it’s time for quick comments on topics where I don’t feel the need to publish a full blown article, but the topic irritates me enough to want to say something. This time, it’s involving some dubious (to put it charitably) things I have seen on the internet and what bothers me about them.

Papal Press Conferences

I’m not going to talk about THIS press conference. I want to say something about all the press conferences Pope has already done and will continue to do.

I’ll be honest. I would not mind at all if the Pope announced he was putting a moratorium on press conferences. But the reason I dread them has nothing to do with what the Pope says. I dread them because it is becoming more and more clear that we have a secular media which is either incompetent in doing research or willful in misrepresentation and we have a growing number of Catholics who are willing to assume that the reports from the secular media are accurate. Either they think the Pope is a political liberal and approve, or they think the Pope is a political liberal and disapprove. The problem is, neither group tries to start with the assumption that the Pope is speaking as a Catholic, and try to read his words through that assumption. They should.

Every time this has happened, the content shows he said nothing against Church teaching, but people believe the falsehood instead. Personally I think the media needs remedial courses in logic and ethics, while Catholics could stand to relearn the teaching on rash judgment.

The Supreme Court Brouhaha

After the death of Antonin Scalia, a huge debate emerged over the issue of whether Obama, being a lame duck president with less than a year before his successor takes over, should be able to nominate a new Justice or whether we should wait until 2017. Both sides are accusing the other of hypocrisy and both sides are citing the precedents of previous partisan behavior. A number of internet claims have led to people doing research and discovering all sorts of curious historic facts in attempts to debunk the other side. Because I try to make this blog about the Catholic position and not my own personal views (to avoid leading somebody into thinking my personal views are the Church view), I don’t intend to make this an article advocating one side or the other. Rather, I hope to consider what a just approach to this instance should look like.

Catholics have a right to be concerned about the state of religious freedom when it comes to the Obama administration and the decisions of the Courts. Both have come out in favor of things we believe are intrinsically evil (evil always, regardless of circumstances or motive) and have tended to be hostile towards our oppositions on the grounds that we cannot do what we believe to be wrong. So, when a President with a record of hostility towards the Catholic Church intends to nominate a Justice for the Supreme Court, Catholics are not wrong to ask what kind of nominee is intended and what position he holds on these issues. If we find that the nominee holds views which we find offensive, we have a right to oppose that nomination, and those with the responsibility to consider the nomination have the responsibility to reject it.

That being said, we have to do this in a just manner. I think that the current presentation of “We should wait until the next president is inaugurated before nominating a new justice” is problematic. It gives the impression of acting out of partisan motives—the approach of “I won’t support any nominee that comes from this guy!”

It doesn’t help that both parties would adopt the opposite position if their circumstances were reversed.

The Devil Hates Latin?

So, I saw an article claiming that the Devil "hates Latin" because it is the language of the universal Church. I had two thoughts...

  1. The Eastern Rites might have something to say about the “language of the universal Church” bit...
  2. Latin was also the language of the Roman Empire which sought to destroy Christianity.

I suspect what was the actual case was that an exorcist found Latin more effective because translations into other languages were not as good (not being an exorcist, I cannot say). But to turn the language itself into something holy is kind of bizarre.  Let's not turn Latin into some sort of magical incantation like they do in the TV show Supernatural where some guy can play a recording of a Latin exorcism and expel demons.

Besides, does one really want to say that the Devil would prefer “Faith of Our Fathers” sung in English over this?

(How to drive a Latin Mass enthusiast insane?)


  1. Reminds me of the exchange in A Man for All Seasons: "And how much longer shall we hear that holy tongue on these shores?" "It isn't holy, Your Excellency. It's just old."

  2. Nicely put. I had forgotten that quote.