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Archive for February 23rd, 2011

Meeting Wendell Berry

From Front Porch Republic:  http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2010/09/hearing-wendell-berry/

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Plutocracy in our Times

Some very interesting charts from Mother Jones: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph#

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In the Western churches, Lent isn’t exactly eased into; there is the big blowout- Carnival or Mardi Gras, when you live it up- and then bam! Ash Wednesday hits you like a brick to the hungover head.

In the East it is not like that. Not only is Great Lent more ascetic than in the modern West- at least in principle- but it begins slowly. This week is Meatfare Week, the last week meat may be consumed. Next week is Cheesefare Week, the last that other animal products may be used. Then the next Monday begins Great Lent, which traditionally means no animal products, fish, wine or oil for forty days. Of course even the strictest adherence to the fast is meaningless unless it is accompanied by deeper prayer and a softening of the heart.

Here is a fine pre-Lenten meditation, from the Orthocath blog: http://orthocath.wordpress.com/

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Beyond Left and Right

I have  become aware of a new antiwar organization that is attempting to forge a movement that transcends the Left/Right ideological divide. They call themselves a coalition of unlike minded people, and they are off to a good start: http://comehomeamerica.us/

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Yesterday I posted a link to a document written by a group of Catholic scholars arguing that union busting is a mortal sin. In the combox a reader noted that one of the signers had some years ago signed a proabortion ad, and said that therefore he cannot take the prolabor document seriously.

Now, I had never heard of any of the signers of the thing and had no idea that one (or more?) of those who wrote or signed it were vocally prochoice. Indeed, I find it incomprehensible that anyone could call himself a follower of Christ, let alone a Catholic, and be blind to the evil of abortion.

But that does not mean that the argument in favor of labor unions is wrong.

Indeed, as anyone who has been reading this blog or the magazine that preceded it knows, such moral inconsistency has driven me crazy for years. I link to people who write from the left and right, and regularly overlook their flaws. Neither side of the ideological divide has a monopoly on good will or good ideas. Or on moral blindness.  I recently posted a Tom Tomorrow cartoon that I thought was insightful and funny, for example. Yet his most recent is a proabortion rant (find it yourself; I am not going to soil this site with it). It is rare to find anyone, let alone a Catholic, who is whole, or wholly consistent in his or her outlook. And this tendency is only magnified in these highly partisan times. No need to think, just look for signs that indicate whether someone is on the right or wrong side, and accept or dismiss what he says based on that.

I was once reprimanded by a fellow prolifer for commenting that a certain Democratic congressman was a decent man. “What? How can you say that? Don’t you know that he supports legal abortion?”

Yes, I know that. And I also know that in spite of this he has worked for much that is right and good, and to all appearances he is a man of personal integrity. I do not hesitate to call him decent, in spite of his blindness to one (great) evil, any more than I hesitate to call decent many antiabortion Christians, who in spite of their work to defend innocent unborn babies are blind to the evils of belligerent nationalism, torture, or shock and awe bombing campaigns.

What are the options? To assume that I myself have no areas of blindness, and to denounce everyone on the Right, Left or Center that is blind to some glaring evil?

That seems prideful indeed, and not at all good for the soul.

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Let Me Recommend

In the world of blogs, blowhards are many, contemplatives are few. Here is one of the few: http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/

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