Monday, May 26, 2008

I Write Letters

Here is a copy of an email I sent to the White House from the web site. They must receive thousands of emails. I wonder if anybody will ever see mine. If I were the sysadmin for this administration, all incoming email would be immediately piped to /dev/null.

"Dear Sir or Madam,

I have noted with approval the recent willingness of the White House to "fire back" at NBC News and the New York Times. As a conservative who has supported the President and his war policy for the past seven years, however, I must ask you why it took until the President's eighth year in office to begin to do so? If only the President had simply been willing to consistently fight back against his domestic critics over the years, I cannot help but wonder if the present public approval ratings of the administration would have been higher? Might it not also be the case that six years of silence in response to the constant rhetorical pounding by the press led to the Democrat takeover of the Congress in 2006? Nevertheless I continue to support the President and the war on terror. I hope that the next President will also continue that war to a successful conclusion."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Third Man and the Insignificance of Others

In the latest issue (June/July 2008) of First Things magazine Fr. Richard Neuhaus delivers a sledgehammer blow to the face of the proud and the strong in his monthly "Public Square" article. It is so perfect, so precise, and so devastating, it made me sit upright when I read it. He aptly juxtaposes scenes of people who just know they are right, or least want to make others believe they are right ... I want quote it in full:
The taxpayers of California are paying for a multi-billion dollar Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which specializes in embryonic stem cell research and other cutting-edge technology of the brave new world. Alan Trounson heads up the project and says in an interview that he was at first 'very uncomfortable' about dissecting human embryos. But then, on a trip to Naples, he talked with 'members of a Vatican university who persuaded me that if I felt that what I was doing was designed to address some problem of human misery, then it was acceptable.' He means well, so that's all right then. Too bad about the very little human beings, but you have to look at the big picture. Says Trounson: 'In a big-picture sense, I want to be up on the mountain looking down on the Serengeti, watching all the animals move through.' You may remember Orson Welles in The Third Man, standing at the top of the ferris wheel, watching all the people moving through the square below, and explaining why this is the perspective in which to judge his dealing in diluted penicillin. When you're doing bad things to little people, keeping the big picture in mind is a moral comfort.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Vatican letter directs bishops to keep parish records from Mormons

This is creating a churn in the genealogy world:

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In an effort to block posthumous rebaptisms by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Catholic dioceses throughout the world have been directed by the Vatican not to give information in parish registers to the Mormons' Genealogical Society of Utah.

This is unfortunate but it had to happen some time. This same topic came up a few months ago and I recall hearing a priest at Catholic University interviewed. He said something to the effect that the practice of posthumously baptizing faithful Catholic ancestors of faithful Catholics "is inappropriate but ultimately harmless". I tend to agree with him although I also understand the emotions motivating cutting off access. I hope there will be an agreement some time soon, with both sides giving some ground. The Mormons could start things off by agreeing to weed out "baptisms" of "Mr. and Mrs. Eugenio Pacelli" for crying out loud.