No, I’m not back to regular blogging. But I had approximately seven things to say, and it’s a Friday, so that makes this Seven Quick Takes, right?
1. Why yes, that was us you saw at the National
Vocations Meet-Up March for Life.
Low point: Children in tears due to experience of being a southern-person whose mother does not know how to dress them for cold weather.
High point: Making a brief retreat into the National Gallery to go potty, rest, and warm-up, then re-emerging to a gentle made-for-TV snow flurry, taking up our signs, and falling into line with these guys. Who sing beautifully.
Weird Point: The Metronome, as my 3rd-grader calls it, is determined not to take my money. I kept trying to pay full fare, but the machines refused me at every turn. Fortunately the kind metro-ladies are apparently used to clueless tourists with five children in tow, and sorted me out with a combination of generosity and exasperation that I think must be the hallmark of the metro system.
2. Petersburg National Battlefield is a good place to run the kids and get your history fix all at once. The ranger does come around checking to see if you’ve paid.
–> Touring tip: Always ask if you’re supposed to pay. Because they expect you to pay, even if they never ever tell you that. And the ranger lady has a gun. Luckily I had asked.
Discussion Question: Any Particular Reason the Union had to engage in war? Why not just let the Confederacy secede, and work on patching things up diplomatically? Put another way: Did the US Civil War meet just war criteria for the Union?
My boy says yes. I’m playing neutral professor-person.
In other US history topics: The essay “Smuggler Nation” in this month’s Harpers is really quite good. One more shovel of fodder for that pirates-vs.-privateers topic that’s always coming up around this household.
Our other airline-miles magazine subscription, Western Horseman ran a great piece a month or so ago on the troubles ranchers along the US-Mexican border are having with Mexican smugglers, and the lack of cooperation from some of the US border patrol in keeping their lands safe. I can’t seem to find an article link. But let me just say right now, that if you purchase approximately one plane ticket every five years, and want a family-friendly periodical to purchase with your miles before they expire, WH is the one.
3. My son objects to the strong language in Dorothy Sayer’s Lord Peter Views the Body. It pleases me greatly to discover I’ve reared a middle-schooler who complains about words like “damn” and “hell” improperly used.
4. My January New Evangelizers column was 10 Ways to Support Evangelization Even When Your Parish is Falling Apart.
Apparently it grabbed someone’s attention, because the Catholic Vitamins people invited me to do an interview for their podcast. Which is exciting, in an I-hope-my-phone-battery-doesn’t-die-while-we’re-talking kind of way. I think I can bribe my kids into being quiet with the promise of Krispy Kreme donuts. Also, presumably this is just one step on the long road towards true fame? By which I mean, of course, being on Rhett & Link’s Good Mythical Morning? My son doesn’t think I’ll ever be quite that good, but he puts on an encouraging face all the same.
Let me observe once again that there would be no moral objection at all if the government merely required employers to pay workers a sum sufficient to pay for the desired contraceptive services — for example, by putting the necessary funds into a healthcare savings account that employees could then use to purchase supplemental insurance if they so chose.
And how exactly is it “freedom of religion” if insurance companies and self-insurance administrators must sell (or give away, per the new iteration of regulations) products they may themselves object to? Is there no legal right to sell insurance for some but not all health care services? Will insurers eventually be required to pay for euthanasia as well? Apparently there is a religious test required in order to enter the insurance industry.
6. Speakin’ of that constitution thing . . . my boy observes that 2/3rds of gun deaths are suicides. (Wikipedia’s citing 60%.) Which puts a certain corner of the culture in the odd position of wanting to outlaw something they’re trying to legalize. Apparently depressed and disabled people should die, but only at the hands of licensed death-care providers?
7. You know you live in a warped culture when you feel the need to clarify something like this: “For the record, I’m 100% opposed to all forms of murder and suicide.”
Ooh, oooh, want me to exasperate everybody in one single catechism quote? How about this one? Enough to make everyone you know get all squirmy-wormy:
2269 The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a person’s death. The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger.
The acceptance by human society of murderous famines, without efforts to remedy them, is a scandalous injustice and a grave offense. Those whose usurious and avaricious dealings lead to the hunger and death of their brethren in the human family indirectly commit homicide, which is imputable to them.70
Unintentional killing is not morally imputable. But one is not exonerated from grave offense if, without proportionate reasons, he has acted in a way that brings about someone’s death, even without the intention to do so.
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