Thursday, April 21, 2005

Crusader Against Evil

"The best man for the job" by Daniel Johnson (
(via RealClearPolitics)

The task for the new Pope is not to take sides between liberals and conservatives. Nor was that the choice the cardinals faced in this extraordinarily rapid conclave. All cardinals are, by definition, conservative.
No, the great issue for Pope Benedict XVI is the one that he set out in his remarkable sermon at the preconclave Mass in St Peter’s. Does he wish to lead the Church down the primrose path of secularism, following the Christian heartlands of Europe in their descent into moral relativism, or does he intend to turn towards the new missionary Church of Latin America, Africa and Asia, to reaffirm the faith of Christ, the faith of St Peter, the faith of John Paul II? That is the real choice.
He grew up under the Third Reich, witnessing at first hand the coercive and corrosive effects of a political religion. Though his father was no Nazi, Joseph was obliged to join the Hitler Youth and was fortunate to avoid military service. Far from this experience being an obstacle to his elevation, it was this dark night of the soul that qualifies him for it.
The revelation of the diabolical nature of the Nazi system, above all the murder of the Jews, confirmed in him the determination to devote his life to God. This was his form of atonement, and he has accompanied John Paul II on the spiritual journey that brought about the reconciliation of the Church and the Jewish people that was one of the greatest achievements of the past pontificate.
We cannot expect this Pope, of all popes, to abandon the “deposit of faith” which it is his sacred duty to preserve. There will be no change on issues such as contraception or the ordination of women, no legitimisation of gay marriage, no slackening in the determination to protect the unborn child or to stop the destruction of human embryos by scientists. The Nazi experience has taught Benedict XVI the dangers of eugenics and euthanasia, and we can expect an even more vigorous crusade against these evils.

Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Mark Steyn: "The Splendor of Truth"

Another great Mark Steyn piece:
"The Splendor of Truth"

The root of the Pope's thinking - that there are eternal truths no one can change even if one wanted to - is completely incomprehensible to the progressivist mindset. There are no absolute truths, everything's in play, and by "consensus" all we're really arguing is the rate of concession to the inevitable: abortion's here to stay, gay marriage will be here any day now, in a year or two it'll be something else - it's all gonna happen anyway, man, so why be the last squaresville daddy-o on the block?


You don't have to be a Catholic or a "homophobe" to think that the spread of Aids is telling us something basic - that nature is not sympathetic to sexual promiscuity. If it weren't Aids, it would be something else, as it has been for most of human history.

What should be the Christian response? To accept that we're merely the captives of our appetites, like a dog in heat? Or to ask us to rise to the rank God gave us - "a little lower than the angels" but above "the beasts of the field"? In Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), the Pope wrote: "Sexuality too is depersonalised and exploited: it increasingly becomes the occasion and instrument for self-assertion and the selfish satisfaction of personal desires and instincts. Thus the original import of human sexuality is distorted and falsified, and the two meanings, unitive and procreative, inherent in the very nature of the conjugal act, are artificially separated."

Had the Pope signed on to condom distribution in Africa, he would have done nothing to reduce the spread of Aids, but he would have done a lot to advance the further artificial separation of sex, in Africa and beyond. Indeed, if you look at the New York Times's list of complaints against the Pope - "Among liberal Catholics, he was criticised for his strong opposition to abortion, homosexuality and contraception" - they all boil down to what he called sex as self-assertion.

Thoughtful atheists ought to be able to recognise that, whatever one's tastes in these areas, the Pope was on to something - that abortion et al, in separating the "two meanings" of sex and leaving us free to indulge in one while ignoring the other, have severed us almost entirely and possibly irreparably from traditional impulses, such as societal survival. John Paul II championed the "splendour of truth" not because he was rigid and inflexible, but because he understood the alternative was a dead end in every sense.

Read the whole thing here.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

"An Ugly Poem for an Ugly World"

By Cameron Wood of Way Off Bass

An Ugly Poem for an Ugly World
The Circus Ascendant

She died in inconvenience to the law
And with her went the balance of shame and awe
A paltry yield, for shame was just a husk
And awe long since retreated to the dusk
They have no place to breathe in modern mores

Such concepts canker on our lips, ripe sores
To pick and scratch so scabs can form, to pick
Them off, to bleed again, to keep us sick
Sick with fear or spite, but with that need
That constant terrible hunger that makes us feed
On dark, acidic medicines, the drink
Distilled by spleen until it’s as black as ink

We dab it on our eyes and call it clear
And wipe with grand display each black false tear

We dance at hospital beds, tied by strings
To each calliope note that screeching sings
Of clowns with scabrous mouths and death-black eyes
And failing hands that weakly brush at flies

Until a coma spreads to claim us all
In vegetative state, all while the call -
A whisper of shame or a clangorous shout of awe -
Dies upon the deafened ears of law.

-Cameron Wood
02 April, 2005
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