Saturday, June 22, 2013

Patheos Hosting Ads For Contraceptives

When I was over at Mark Shea's Patheos page updating that last link, I noticed that there was a link in the "Around the Web" section entitled Female Condoms: Will women wear them? near the bottom. It was right next to an ad for Mark Shea's book This is My Body about the Eucharist. I noticed that you can also get to it from the Elizabeth Scalia's blog posts, as in this example where she talks about going to meet the "inventors" of Patheos. I don't want to provide the link to the offending ad, but you can go to their pages and verify this and click on it their. Basically it goes to a site called "LifeScript" with a big infomercial disguised as a news article on so-called "female condoms". The page is also covered with ads for Essure, another contraceptive described as "permanent and non-surgical". Here's some text from the infomercial:

Prophylactics aren’t expected to be particularly pretty, but no one wants to have sex looking like they’re wearing their grandmother’s rain slicker. That may be why the female condom, available since the late 1990s, has never caught on in the U.S. The fact that it is visible may be a turn-off for some. But women may want to reconsider: after all, the rain-gear look trumps facing unwanted pregnancies or STDs...

The female condom — marketed as the FC — may not be alluring, but it puts protection directly into the hands of women. Produced by the Female Health Company, the FC is one of four barrier birth control methods, the other three being the cervical cap, the diaphragm and the sponge. Of these, only the FC can prevent both sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy when properly used.

The page also contains links with text such as The Morning After Pill, Top 5 Birth Control Methods, etc. You get the idea. Here's what it looks like on Mark Shea's blog.

Here's what it looks like on the Anchoress's blog.

What do I make of all this? Well, one thing I did right away was to remove the Google AdSense ads from my blog. I realized that anything can be advertised there, and if I write the word "contraception" in a post, chances are pretty good that Adsense will throw in an ad for the morning after pill, rubbers, etc. I cut the one on the side and the one at the bottom. I'm working on the one at the top, but I forget how to access that one. I think I need to go into the template code, fun stuff — dusting off the HTML book....

I know that Mark and Ms. Scalia do not want to promote using contraceptives. And they never had to worry about accidentally doing so on their old blogs where they were their own masters. But this is what happens when you abandon you own little garden and start "working for the man" to make more money. You end up sacrificing control for a steady paycheck from the factory farm managers.

If Patheos ever extends an offer to me to blog there, I'll have to decline the offer based on this. Not that they'll ever ask me now.

There — got that pesky top ad out of there. Ad-free now. Maybe I'll advertise coffee made by monks now. Or something.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Young mom "comes out" as Pro-Life

Great story. She was afraid her Pro-Life views might offend her liberal parents. After all, they wanted her to get an abortion when she got pregnant at 17 years of age. Excerpt:

Sorry to break the news, folks. I’m pro-life for many, many reasons. Yes, I do believe that the Bible is clear about this issue. But for me, I just have a hard time ignoring the scientific facts. I have a hard time believing that the testimonies of people who have worked in the abortion industry are “fake.” I know that those pictures of aborted children aren’t Photoshopped. I know countless women who regret their abortions. My mother-in-law hung out with Norma McCorvey, aka Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. Norma, who helped make abortion legal, is now pro-life!

I mean, come on, guys. I have yet to meet someone who has made the switch from pro-life to pro-choice and has medical evidence to back up his or her claim.

Contemplate serenely, people

Mark Shea posted a Tom Tomorrow strip over on his blog, but I'm not concerned with the content of that, nor any metadata for that matter. What caught my eye was this "poem" in the comment box.


While the dying fighters
bleed to death all over

In Syria,

A heavy bee hangs
swaying on a stalk of clover

In the sunny garden

Contemplate serenely
the size and scale of it

The little to the

Maybe I should cut down on the amount of mockery I engage in, but stuff like this doesn't make it easy. I have produced a lot of similar material, but it was mostly in high school. Mostly, I say. Some of it was in junior high.

Just remembered a similar post.

UPDATE: Tom just pointed out that I didn't click the SEE MORE link to see the "Rrrrrrrrrrrest of the poem" as Paul Harvey might say. I think the poets lack of punctuation is at least partly to blame for my missing this. So here it is the rest so you can read it in all it's glory:

And if some grave misfortune troubles you a bit

Feed it to the pigs

For nothing is a bother or too serious

Until it reaches where you are

There may be spreading and malignant crisis

But it is afternoon and it is far

But I say watch and listen if you come awake

From your late June sleep

You may think a false alarm is only a mistake

But the strong and fearless weep

June 19, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013


R. I. P., James Gandolfini.

Really Insightful Thoughts from Tom

Our friend Tom at Disputations has some great insights into the somewhat misguided reasons that some non-Catholics are "into" Pope Francis currently. Here are my favorite parts:

Of course, it's not only younger Evangelicals. Plenty of older Catholics think Pope Francis confirms them in their ignorance of liturgy and deprecation of tradition. And it's certainly better for Evangelicals to be favorably disposed toward the Pope than not.

This article, though, makes the reasons for the favorable disposition sound pretty shallow:

As Pope Francis accepts his role, a new generation of evangelicals accepts theirs. As young evangelicals have rejected the megachurch and the televangelist and embraced a more rugged, grassroots Christianity, these actions by the pope fit perfectly. He has refused to live in the massive papal quarters in Rome and has chosen to live in the guesthouse, instead. One of his first actions as pope was to cancel his newspaper subscription at his home in Buenos Aires.

They sound, in short, just like the superficial reasons so many Catholics give for their own favorable disposition.

One of our parish priests praised Pope Francis, not from the pulpit but in a private conversation, for "fundamentally changing the Papacy" within 48 hours of becoming Pope. There's a word for that kind of rhetoric: hysterical. And I like that priest; he doesn't generally say nutty things. I think one of the problems is that he is letting the news networks tell him how to view anything newsworthy with regard to the Catholic faith, e.g., the election of a Pope.

Yes, I get that you have to start somewhere. I am merely pointing out that if you start at "I understand what this guy is doing," then you are at great risk of remaining there. If Evangelicals like Pope Francis because he seems more like an Evangelical to them than other popes, then they are at great risk of either not really hearing how he is not like an Evangelical or of falling back to disinterest or worse when the honeymoon ends and he turns out to be Catholic. (I've already used the expression "the Spirit of Pope Francis" in connection with the disillusionment Catholics who speak wistfully of the Spirit of Vatican II will come to feel as this papacy continues. And, God help us, the Church is still recovering from a generation of young Catholics who knew which rules shouldn't exist.)

Sad, but true. People who see discontinuity between PEB16 and PF1 are headed for a huge disappointment down the road, I'm afraid.

Moreover, he refers several times to Pope Francis's humility as a feature that attracts. But it isn't his humility as such that attracts; otherwise every humble pope would be popular. Anyone who is unaware of Pope Emeritus Benedict's humility wasn't paying attention -- which, yes, is part of the point: Pope Francis's actions draw the attention of Evangelicals in a way Pope Benedict's did not. But the author doesn't merely like that Pope Francis exhibits humility, he likes that Pope Francis exhibits humility in a way that Evangelicals notice. He seems unaware that there are other ways of exhibiting humility, in particular that it can take just as much humility to follow a papal tradition as to break it, or that Christ-like character can be found in leadership styles Evangelicals might not wish for.

Emphasis mine. Truth is I'm trying really, really hard to like Pope Francis, and I don't dislike him; I don't find anything wrong with him. It's just that I really, really miss Pope Benedict. I guess I need to "leave some room for the Holy Spirit", right?

Important SCCB News Items

Erin Manning/Red Cardigan has a couple of news items everyone should be aware of. First of all, her lawnmower died. So if you have an extra one, please ship it to her primary residence immediately.

Secondly—and she begins this one with the word "CAUTION", so pay attention—she is going on sort of a summer blogging partial semi-hiatus vacation kind of thingy. So I'm designating myself to pick up the slack for And Sometimes Tea here at Est Quod Est. If you've been reading her blog and you need an extra dose of blogginess, kick in on over here where we're just getting started with Summer Party 2013, 24/7.

So "clench up" everybody!

Refresher course.

What a Wonderful World

That's what WWW stands for. What a Wonderful World.

This tune came out in October 1967. I was four months old, man.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

For no reason that I'm aware of...

Space Mosquito by Los Straightjackets.

They possess a sort of crazy genius, IMHO.

"Pray to your Father in secret."

I found today's Gospel commentary from Daily Gospel edifying.

Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy « Sacrosanctum Concilium », § 10-12
"Pray to your Father in secret"

The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows... From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way.

But in order that the liturgy may be able to produce its full effects, it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with divine grace lest they receive it in vain (cf 2 Cor 6,1). Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects.

The spiritual life, however, is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. The Christian is indeed called to pray with his brethren, but he must also “enter into his chamber to pray to the Father, in secret” and yet more, according to the teaching of the Apostle Paul, he should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5,17) . We learn from the same Apostle that we must “always bear about in our body the dying of Jesus, so that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodily frame” (2 Cor 4,10-11). This is why we ask the Lord in the sacrifice of the Mass that, "receiving the offering of the spiritual victim," he may fashion us for himself "as an eternal gift" (cf Eucharistic Prayer III).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

View from my Desk Chair

Working lunch today, people. And now I'm blogging during my digestion time. Isn't that efficient of me?

The sandwich is sliced ham and orangish-yellow cheese and green lettuce on some kind of wheat bread. The tiniest bit of mayonnaise topped it off. (Warning: you might vomit if you read that link with a full stomach.)

The yogurt is Oikos brand Greek Yogurt with some type of fruit flavor. The color was orange so I think the flavor was as well.

Topped off with a Lake Erie Highball on the rocks.

So... what are all y'all eating? Keith, I'm hoping nothing strange has flown into your mouth recently, no antelope heart tartare or perhaps Iron Man's kneecap?

Eternal Vigilance

After reading this horrible, but unfortunately accurate, description of one of the books on the required summer reading list for Saint Ignatius High School, I sent the following email to both the President (Father William Murphy) and the Principal (Daniel Bradesca). The private Catholic grade school which my children attend currently has a 100% acceptance rate for its Eighth Grade boys who apply to Ignatius.

Dear Father Murphy,

I have always considered that St. Ignatius High School would be a great place to send some or all of my sons – I have six of them – assuming any or all could get accepted there. That was before I read this article in Catholic World Report, which literally sent chills up my spine. I question the judgment of a Catholic educator who would assign a book like this over the summer, a time during which a young person may not have a chance to discuss the moral implications of the many problematic passages with a responsible adult.

I also question the choice of the book altogether, seeing that there are many books to choose from which do not contain such infantile blasphemy, praise for the act of self-abuse and tolerance for the deviancy of homosexuality. This assignment of Alexie’s book is an example of why many people whom I know and trust conclude that certain faculty members at St. Ignatius are actually intentionally leading young people toward a modernistic view of religion and morality.

I realize that many of the classics contain adultery, fornication, prostitution, sacrilege, murder, bad language, prejudice, etc. – I’m neither a prude nor a naïf. Most of these same books show the consequences of such sins. When you read critically the quote page for Alexie’s book, you realize that this man has a relativist and cavalier attitude toward morality which epitomizes the hellish maxim, “If it feels good, do it.” I realize that the book won an award, but that is meaningless to anyone who believes in the possibility of gaining the world and losing one’s soul.

Please consider dropping this book from your list and replacing it with something more worthy for a young Christian man to read. Also please consider having someone trustworthy verify the choices made by the person or committee which assigns books like The Privileges and The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The Pope—who is also a Jesuit—recently attacked a tendency he said was rampant in our world which he called “adolescent progressivism”. These books seem to be illustrative of this tendency and assigning them to high-school kids over the summer can certainly endanger their souls. And those assigning them should not be teaching in a Catholic school.

I remember talking to a respected Catholic theologian who said to me "There is only one institution which is guaranteed by Christ to stand, and that's the Papacy—and it will barely stand." Then he quoted Luke 22:32, "... when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." Saint Ignatius High School is an institution which appears to have a lot of good things going for it, but it needs to be pruned to be healthy. If you check out the English faculty page, you can pick out the professor who teaches the obligatory "multicultural" course. My sources say that he is one of the culprits behind material like The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie being assigned at St. Ignatius.

I advise anyone with concern for St. Ignatius to write an email to the President and the Principal of the school. See, I'm making it easy for you by linking their emails. And, of course, pray that the malevolent forces would be pruned out of our institutions. To protect what is good, beautiful and true in the world requires eternal vigilance.