Pope Benedict XVI’s Christmas CD

July 31, 2009

Christmas CD  featuring Pope Benedict XVI planned (video report follows the inevitable commercial).


Summer Books – Tolkien’s Worldview

July 29, 2009

On the esoteric continuum, Peter Kreeft’s The Philosophy of Tolkien: The worldview Behind the Lord of the Rings is about medium. Of course, everyone knows about The Lord of the Rings – you’d have to have lived under a rock to not be aware of the international release of the Peter Jackson films – and much has since been written about how Tolkien’s Catholicism shows up in the story.

Before that though, The Lord of the Rings was a quiet classic, knowledge of Middle Earth passed by word of mouth, and commentary was  infrequent. I first read The Lord of the Rings the summer I was 19 and it’s been a large influence on my thinking as an adult. My first interest that summer was the action of the storyline and I literally skipped the background and songs. I went back a second and even third time before the panoramic view was clear.

With subsequent readings, the Scripture similarities began to filter through. “Stewardship” had been just a word until the part with Denethor clarified how one is a good steward or a poor steward. The kingdom split into northern and southern parts was another similarity. The battle between good and evil, the spiritual journey, the “writing straight with crooked lines” aspect: all illuminated Scripture for me.

Whenever I looked at books that claimed to describe Tolkien’s philosophy, I always felt something was missing. Kreeft’s discussion has a completeness and comprehensiveness that is greatly satisfying.

The book’s structure is 50 questions with headings such as Metaphysics, Philosophical Theology, and Ethics. I’ve never taken a philosophy class, formal or otherwise, and my first reaction to the listing of 50 questions was, “Oh, this is going to be dry and boring.” Fortunately, it hasn’t been. It’s the most painless introduction to philosophy I could imagine. One reason is what Kreeft describes as “four tools for understanding each of the philosophical issues:

  1.  an explanation of the meaning and importance of the question;
  2.  a key quotation from The Lord of the Rings showing how Tolkien answered the question …
  3. a quotation from Tolkien’s other writings (usually a letter) that explains or comments on the theme…
  4. a quotation from C. S. Lewis, Tolkien’s closest friend, showing the same philosophy directly stated.” (p. 11)

The Philosophy of Tolkien is definitely a good read.

Plug-in Perplexity

July 29, 2009

The request for the ability to preview a comment is totally reasonable.  The actual method of applying the plug in is probably fairly simple and straight-forward.  My current fruit fly attention span means that it probably won’t happen until September.  Mea culpa


July 26, 2009

The second half of Summer Books is half-written, but things came up this weekend that are limiting computer time.  Add in that I have to figure out what an Ajax plugin is and how to use one (pun there for IT people), which will take me half of forever, but I’ll get to it eventually.

Obama makes doctors and police the bad guys

July 24, 2009

My jaw literally dropped when I read this (emphasis mine; yes, it’s belated by a day; transcipt here):

Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. So if they’re looking and you come in and you’ve got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, “You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.”

Now, that may be the right thing to do, but I’d rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid’s tonsils out …    part of what we want do is to free doctors, patients, hospitals to make decisions based on what’s best for patient care.

Saying that doctors make treatment decisions based on greed – the doctor saying “I could make more money” – and Obama saying that doctors are not “making those decisions just based on whether you really need” – saying that is un-informed, clueless, downright insulting, clueless , contradicting himself, clueless – oh wait, it does fit the strategy of saying whatever to ram an agenda through.

Add that to Obama’s un-informed comment followed by insult to all police.

This country needs a lot of prayer.

Why the “Unnecessary” was Necessary – UPDATED

July 23, 2009

“It’s redundant.  It’s unnecessary.”  That was the essence of statements made by opponents to the Health and Human Services regulation proposed in August, 2008, and passed in December 2008 that required institutions that received federal funding that they complied with laws that protect health care providers if they objected to assisting with a procedure that violated their religious or moral convictions. (also here)  

Turns out that regulation was necessary after all.  A Catholic nurse was forced to assist in an abortion despite the hospital knowing of her objection on religious and moral grounds.  (h/t to Lee)

While a search found lots of posts objecting to rescinding that regulation, I couldn’t find where it was actually rescinded, but you can bet the hospital would have acted differently if federal funding was at stake.

Besides the obvious regulation/legislation, what lessons are to be drawn from this?  In the few sites I’ve looked at, there’s been a sprinkling of “she should’ve refused” comments.  Ideally, yes. (My guess is that this won’t happen again to this nurse.)  But armchair opinions are not always the same when one is in the actual situation.  How many people have a specific backup plan when faced with the loss of one’s job for something you were told would not happen?  Do you?

With “common ground in name only” Obama pushing the culture of death full tilt, it’s important that

a) health care providers who value the culture of life to seriously look at their situations and specific responses/actions (response or plan of action to do if expected to assist) and

b) those who value life do what they can (prayer, fasting, secular action) to provide support for those on the front lines (health care providers, those staffing crisis pregnancy centers, post-abortion counselors, and whoever else I’ve omitted).  Many already do so; this is simply a cause for renewed effort.

Anyone in the Rochester diocese affected by abortion can call Project Rachel at the toll-free regional number:

1-888-9Rachel aka 1-888-972-2435.  

This is  Rochester website; the national website is here.

UPDATE:  I wrote first wrote this based on the information in general news releases.  At that time I was unaware of the extent the nurse went to suggest other coverage and extricate herself from assisting at that abortion.  Since then, I’ve discoverd the Alliance Defense Fund’s verified complaint.  It’s well worth the read.

Getting snookered

July 23, 2009

John Boehner at NRO on slipping in the

striking down of conscience clauses and

imposition of taxpayer funding abortion:

how the US population is getting snookered into not objecting to

inevitably higher health care costs,

stripping of religious liberty, and

thumbing the nose at the voice of the people.  Passing it along from Rich’s blog.