Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I've Been Doing This for EIGHT Years?

So, September 22nd is the anniversary of the day I first published an Arnobius of Sicca article on Xanga in 2007. I have to admit I never thought I’d still be doing this today. Nor did I expect the changes in the world that brought on so many attacks and misrepresentations to defend the Church from. You see, when I created Arnobius of Sicca, it wasn’t created as an apologetics blog. It was created as something to do while I was on work related disability.

My friend Brian was concerned I was becoming lethargic and depressed and suggested it as something to do in order to keep myself occupied. So I did. The first couple of posts were kind of a riffing commentary on whatever happened to cross my desk. It wasn’t anything serious. Then I published an article on the nature of the Church and got a reply from a member of the Quakers who was converting to Catholicism, who told me that my post was very helpful in helping him understand things he was struggling with.

To be honest, I had never thought of the blog actually being useful before and it caused me to think that maybe it could be more than just quips on different topics. That comment was probably responsible for the direction the blog took.

The next big shift came with the visit of Benedict XVI to America. Prior to that time, my blog was strongly disrespectful of the American bishops. But when he came, and I saw how enthusiastically the bishops responded, I began to realize that I was wrong in assuming bad will and incompetence in their actions. From that time on it became clear that there were a lot of bishops who had wanted to do their mission well but were not sure how to do it. Oh sure a few still frustrated me (and a few still do), but this was a reminder that the bishops were the successors to the Apostles and not an enemy political faction.

The third big shift came about by discovering how illogical attacks on the Church could be, and realizing how I needed to study logic to aid in refutation of these attacks. (In the earliest years, I tended to often commit the fallacy of the undistributed middle (A is B and A is C, therefore B is C. Something that still embarrasses me today to remember).

Over the years, my blog had to cover many different topics in defense of the faith. Some fell off the radar because they did not cross my path after the first year or so (such as Protestant anti-Catholicism and the New Atheism brought on by the spate of books on the subject).

Others seemed to be minor issues but became extremely serious (I never expected that religious freedom would become so endangered here as it has without America becoming a dictatorship). I never expected to see the Supreme Court legitimize “same sex marriage” in such a high-handed manner.

Unfortunately, one topic which has not changed is the attack of radical traditionalism on the authority of the Church. Believe it or not, the same attacks they level against Pope Francis today, they leveled against St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI—accusing both of being modernists destroying the Church. Even back then, people were asking me why I wrote against this when the attacks against the Church by modernists and liberals were so much more serious. (My answer today is pretty close to what I would have said then: liberal dissent is not likely to deceive Catholics trying to be faithful, but radical traditionalist dissent can).

I guess over the years, my rhetoric has toned down some and I’ve gained a little more tact (and coherency).

While I never thought my blog would have lasted so long, I have to say I am glad I stuck with it


As a special bonus, in case you are interested, here is the text of my first blog entry from 9/22/2007 (which is no longer available elsewhere). It’s a bit embarrassing—because it is rambling and badly written—but you can see that my outlook on life that I approach in my blog with was present here in a less refined form.

[One word of explanation, to put things in context. The link (which I think is now a dead link) in the article below referenced a resolution by the City of San Francisco condemning the Catholic Church for her stand on homosexuality and the refusal to place children for adoption with same sex couples. That struck me as a violation of the establishment clause—though the Supreme Court would later tell us it was OK. That would be a warning that it was open season on the Catholic Church]

My First Post

I don't have anything to say yet, but Xanga I guess abhors a vacuum as much as nature does, as it won't leave me alone until I write this first post.  So here you go.  Hopefully a second post will actually sound intelligent

 <Sounds of laughter from the people who know me>

 I guess you can call me a cynic.  There are very few things that are worth all the effort people put into it.  Belief in God, Moral Values, Truth and raising a family... that matters, and I am not a cynic there.  Obsessing about a pop star and how long she stays in prison, who cares?  Unfortunately the media does, which is why I tend to be skeptical about their being the so-called "defenders of freedom."

 Truth does matter however, as I said, and I find it rather appalling that so many people out there will agree or disagree on a position based on how they feel about it rather than it is true.  We see politicians posturing on various issues and nobody has the sense to ask questions of the truth of an issue... "Yes... yes fine Mrs Clinton, we know you are committed to Choice, but do you think it is a child?  If No, what proof do you have, if I Don't Know, aren't you behaving as recklessly as a hunter who fires at movement into a bush without checking to see if it is a deer?"

 If I held my breath waiting for the mainstream media to ask that one, I'd die of asphyxia.  They're too busy reporting about Brittany Spears and her drug tests and the battle between Kae-West and 50 Cent.

 In spite of this, people have the gall to tell me I left my brain at the door when I became a practicing Catholic , and the Church is anti-freedom.  Not so.  My brain is clearly functional as I find the tripe that passes for news to in fact be tripe.  In fact, the Church taught me to use my brain and trusted me to find that what they taught was true. 

 As for freedom, I think St Thomas Aquinas put it best with explanations of just laws: the just person is free and the unjust are constrained.  While with an unjust law, it is the just who are constrained and the unjust are free.  Considering that the Freedom of Speech elitists who run the Newsrooms and the Campuses and pass the laws in fact shout down those who wish to stand up their moral beliefs and forbid them from doing what they believe, which kind of laws do we seem to have at the moment?

 I guess they forgot the First Amendment also protects the Freedom of Religion

 Amendment I

 Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  When the Church is told to toe the line on adoptions to homosexual couples, give them Health Benefits and to distribute contraceptives (Catholic Hospitals) and a current candidate's former husband once tried to make it mandatory for Catholic Hospitals to administer abortions without a conscience clause, it's clear that the words of Abraham Lincoln were prophetic:

 Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except Negroes and foreigners and Catholics." When it comes to this, I shall prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy hypocrisy.

 When we see actions like this:


 it seems that the idea of the Constitution can be interpreted to be as described by Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass:

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master - that's all.'

 Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them - particularly verbs: they're the proudest - adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs - however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

 'Would you tell me, please,' said Alice, 'what that means?'

'Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. 'I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

  So, it isn't a "denial of religious freedom" because we don't choose to call it that, it seems.  And then they wonder why people consider America to be an anti-Christian country.  Could it be because of Supreme Court decisions, a crucifix dipped in Urine is free speech but one on public land is unconstitutional?  Under the logic of the Supreme Court, the only way one can legally put a cross on public land is if you plan to burn it.

  So, anyway this has gone on long enough... 

<applause from the reader>

...but you understand why I am cynical about things perhaps.

2007-09-22 15:05:14 2007-09-22 19:05:14 open Publish post 617469354 firstpost