“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

November 10, 2009

"Why Do Catholic Apologists Need to Lie?"

That's only one of several provocative questions raised, presumably by an Evangelical Protestant, on this new 3-minute video clip. If nothing else, it illustrates the kind of dense — don't bother me with the facts! — kind of mentality we "Catholic Apologists" (and you know who you are, Steve Ray, Scott Hahn, Tim Staples, Jim Burnham, Mark Shea, John Salza, Father Mitch Pacwa, and the rest of you) have to deal with, from time to time. I won't bother to try rebutting these claims. It's enough to see them leveled with a presumably straight face in public and to know the sad truth, exemplified in this video, of our Lord's words in Matthew 13:15.

Some of the other charges laid are:

Catholic apologists don't represent "real" Catholicism.

The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches are the "same" and "believe the same things."

The Catholic Church has oral traditions that came before the Bible and are authoritative.

I like the part where he claims that "We [Protestants] have no canon other than the Bible itself . . . No one has produced any transcript or recording of any definitive 'oral tradition.'" [NB: That is particularly interesting because the canon of Scripture is itself a Tradition and is not explicitly mentioned by Scripture.]

[Catholic apologists'] hate-filled rhetoric comes at a time when Evangelicals are most willing to discuss issues."

"Catholic apologist = hate-filled liar. That's just the sad fact."

Orgulho vai antes de cair (pride goes before a fall)

Iuventus stultorum magister . . .

Cocky Motorcycle Showoff Gets Owned - Watch more Funny Videos

This Debate Did Not Go Well for the Catholic Side

I just finished watching the video of a public debate recently held in England on the proposition: "The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World." As a Catholic who ardently believes in the truth of that proposition, this was an exchange that was not pleasant to watch. There was so much at stake vis-a-vis public opinion that was swayed in the wrong direction as a result. It could have had a much different outcome.

The two Catholics who defended the debate proposition were Nigerian Archbishop John Onaiyekan and British MP Anne Widdecombe. The two men denying the proposition were the accomplished homosexual actor Stephen Fry and world-famous atheist author and commentator Christopher Hitchens.

— I'm sorry for the auto-play on the video. To stop it, click the "pause" button. —

The regrettable truth is that this debate was, as atheist polemicist Richard Dawkins termed it, a rout. Fry and Hitchens are clearly vastly superior rhetoricians, masters of the English language both, and they homed in relentlessly and with devastating effect on many white-hot hot-button issues that are neither easy to explain quickly (this debate was geared for quick sound bites, a skill that Hitchens has honed to an art form, by the way) nor palatable to the majority of people today (i.e., The World).

I applaud and am sincerely grateful to both Archbishop Onaiyekan and Ms. Widdecombe for their courageous efforts to publicly explain and defend the Catholic Church and Her teachings, but they were simply not prepared for this encounter. God bless them for their willingness, though, to stand up for the Faith in a very hostile environment. I truly admire them for that.

And yet, we can do better, much, much better, than that in public debates with those who take up the cudgel against the Catholic Church. And if we're going to have any chance of winning the souls of the "undecideds," we had better set about making our case as effectively and as vigorously and as soon as possible. If we don't, the tide of opposition to Truth will continue to swell.

Which brings me to my impromptu list of Madrid's Rules for Debating.

Rule 1: Don't be afraid to fight the good fight, but understand that, nowadays, it may become a street-fight.

Rule 2: If you're going to street-fight, you had better know how to street fight.

Rule 3: Always adhere to the Pell Protocol — If you're going fight, fight to win.

If ever there is ever another opportunity to hold such a public debate with Fry and Hitchens and two Catholics, I would like to suggest that the Catholic Church's defenders include some combination of the following street fighters and rhetorical heavyweights:

Peter Kreeft, Benjamin Wiker, Robert George, Dinesh D'Souza (who has debated Christopher Hitchens quite effectively many times), Helen Alvare, Alan Keyes, Father John Corapi, or Dr. Scott Hahn. There are other worthy contenders, to be sure, but these folks are an excellent start.
Any combination of these stalwarts would result in a much different kind of debate than what we see in this video. And I'd definitely want to be in the audience for that debate!

Watch and learn:

NYT Gives False Impression That Catholic Medal of Honor Winner Was Muslim

Why does this not surprise me?

So many in the mainstream media are tripping over themselves in their haste to exonerate and extol Muslims in America, in particular those in the U.S. military, especially now, in the ghastly light of last week's terrorist attack at Fort Hood perpetrated by a murderous Muslim lunatic. Why is the American press so unwilling to report accurately on this issue?

Yes, I know. The NY Times in particular is notorious for printing "news" that's grossly tainted by politically correct spin and occasional eruptions of yellow journalism. I expect nothing better of them. But it's still irritating.

Try to imagine — I know it's hard — the NYT and similar media outlets wringing their hands in worry over the "frustration," challenges, and difficulties Catholics experienced in the military. Not gonna happen.

Andrea Elliott’s front page article in the November 9 New York Times played up the thousands of Muslims in the U.S. military and how their “service...is more necessary and more complicated than ever before,” but gave the false impression that a Medal of Honor recipient named near the end of her piece was a Muslim himself, when he was actually Catholic.

Elliott spent much of her article, “Complications Grow for Muslims Serving in the U.S. Military” (which appeared above the fold on the front page of the print edition of the Times), detailing the concerns of “many Muslim soldiers and their commanders...[who] fear that the relationship between the military and its Muslim service members will only grow more difficult” after Major Nidal Malik Hasan’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood on November 5. She later noted that “[w]hatever his possible motives, the emerging portrait of Major Hasan’s life in the military casts light on some of the struggles and frustrations felt by other Muslims in the services.”

Near the end of the article, Elliott changed the subject ever so slightly that it might have gone unnoticed. The reporter quoted Captain Erich Rahman, an Iraq war veteran and Bronze Star winner: “Too many Americans overlook the heroic efforts of Arab-Americans in uniform, said Capt. Eric Rahman...He cited the example of Lieutenant Michael A. Monsoor, a Navy Seal who was awarded the Medal of Honor after pulling a team member to safety during firefight in 2006, in Ramadi, Iraq. Lieutenant Monsoor died saving another American, yet he will never be remembered like Major Hasan, said Captain Rahman. Regardless, he said, Muslim- and Arab-Americans are crucial to the military’s success in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Elliott’s specific attention to Muslims in the military and their “struggles and frustrations” for most of her article, followed by this passing reference to Monsoor (pictured above, who was actually a Petty Officer, 2nd class), certainly gives the impression, despite the use of the “Arab-American” label, that the Medal of Honor recipient was a Muslim. However, this impression couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Navy’s biography of Monsoor, who died in 2006 after he jumped on a grenade to save the lives of fellow Seals, notes that the lieutenant “attended Catholic Mass devotionally before operations.” Another article written in tribute to the valiant officer cited his aunt Patricia Monsoor, who recalled that he “went to confession frequently.” . . . (continue reading)

Interview with the President: Jail Time for Those Without Health Insurance?

During an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Jake Tapper today, President Obama said that penalties are appropriate for people who try to “free ride” the health care system but stopped short of endorsing the threat of jail time for those who refuse to pay a fine for not having insurance.

“What I think is appropriate is that in the same way that everybody has to get auto insurance and if you don't, you're subject to some penalty, that in this situation, if you have the ability to buy insurance, it's affordable and you choose not to do so, forcing you and me and everybody else to subsidize you, you know, there's a thousand dollar hidden tax that families all across America are -- are burdened by because of the fact that people don't have health insurance, you know, there's nothing wrong with a penalty.”

Under the House bill those who can afford to buy insurance and don’t’ pay a fine. If the refuse to pay that fine there’s a threat – as with a lot of tax fines – of jail time. The Senate removed that provision in the Senate Finance Committee.

Mr. Obama said penalties have to be high enough for people to not game the system, but it’s also important to not be “so punitive” that people who are having a hard time find themselves suddenly worse off, thus why hardship exemptions have been built in the legislation. . . . (source)