Tuesday, September 8, 2009

When I Die

The funeral of Ted Kennedy and some other things that have happened in my life recently have made me stop and think. So I write this to my family, friends, and all those who care about me. Please, please, when I die, do not canonize me! Pray for me. I will, at that time, more than ever, need your prayers. If, by some stretch of the imagination, you imagine me to be a new saint in heaven on that day I pray to God you will stop and reflect on what I am telling you now. It is not true! You don't know that! I am not calling myself a monster. I am not suggesting that I have done horrible things, that there are skeletons hiding in my closet. But I am not a saint. I will need prayers. And on the day I die the worst possible betrayal that anybody could come up with is to assume that I am in heaven. Instead, pray with all your heart that I might be. Offer up that one last prayer, sacrifice, or mass that I might get that one last grace that I needed to slip through the door. Who knows? Maybe it will be that one last Hail Mary or Miserere that you pray for me that helps me retroactively to avoid mortal sin and die in a state of grace.

Kennedy's Funeral

So, the Cardinal of Boston has been getting some flak for attending the funeral of Ted Kennedy. I read his defense and justification for participating in this public spectacle. This whole situation makes me stop and think. What is going through someone's head when they get themselves into such a situation? Was he thinking, "What could I possibly do in this situation to promote the truth, the Catholic position, and advocate as effectively as possible for that position?"

The Cardinal's blog speaks for itself. Even just looking at the pictures you can tell that this funeral had a lot of politics behind it. Look and the wealth. Look at the star-studded event.

I don't think it would hurt if the Cardinal were to reflect more carefully on the implications of his actions before hand. The Kennedy funeral is not the first time this the Archdiocese of Boston has demonstrated a lack of zeal on behalf of the unborn and Catholic teaching. The last time the Archdiocese of Boston came to my attention it was working on merging its health care facilities with a group that supports abortion and contraception. http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jun/09061005.html

Maybe next time there is an opportunity to advocate on behalf of the poorest and most defenseless in our society the Archdiocese of Boston will take that opportunity seriously. I pray to the Lord that it will.

Here is another very good article on this funeral. http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=342

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Value of a Man

In order to continue a discussion which began on Facebook I want to comment here on what it means to judge a man. Here is how this conversation started:

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Brian Williams: Death ≠ One last soap box from which to inflate your ego by announcing your differences with the deceased. Death = A chance to celebrate life or, given that inability, to sit quietly for the sake of those grieving. Senator Kennedy RIP.

August 26 at 9:26am · · Like / Unlike
Jenny Allen likes this.
Tory Albertson
Tory Albertson
Nicely put.
August 26 at 9:47am
Maggie Leahy
Maggie Leahy
yeah I really want to start putting not equal signs in my posts...please share Brian.
August 26 at 11:20pm
Brandon Jaloway
Brandon Jaloway
In fact, your uncle in his first book and again in his more recent book, says that the value of a man is equal to his moral value. That is how I would sum up Ted Kennedy.
August 28 at 8:22am · Delete
Brian Williams
Brian Williams
You can just paste in anything you want from Microsoft Word:♠♣♥♦.
8 hours ago
Brian Williams
Brian Williams
Brandon: The articles contradict one another, which is your position?
Chesterton writes of philosophies that, while complete, turn on a narrow circle; they are true unto themselves but force the thinker to limit his mind. From a anti-abortion perspective, Senator Kennedy usually missed the mark. I only suggest that his death demands a more wholistic view than prolife/prochoice. Any response must respect his grieving family and the awful mystery of death itself.
8 hours ago
Maggie Leahy
Maggie Leahy
Brandon and Brian if you haven't read this already you might like to...
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2009/08/31/2009-08-31_letter_to_pope_touches_city_worshipers.html
8 hours ago
Brandon Jaloway
Brandon Jaloway
Re the articles: I think Patrick Madrid is much more charitable and intelligent is his article than the writer for America Magazine is in his. This seems like an obvious statement to me.
Re Kennedy: I think the only honest way to analyze the value of a man is to analyze his moral value. Senator Kennedy, although a very powerful man, did not stand up to defend the widows and orphans of our day (the unborn and their mothers). This seems like a very grave moral fault to me. Any man who refuses to stand up to defend the weak and defenseless ones is a gravely immoral man. May God have mercy on the soul of poor Senator Kennedy. Luckily, I am not his judge. But here, I state these things, so that we may teach ourselves how we should behave and not behave. We should not behave like Kennedy did.
7 hours ago · Delete
Maggie Leahy
Maggie Leahy
Man has intrinsic value that is unrelated and independent of the choices they make in life.
7 hours ago
Brandon Jaloway
Brandon Jaloway
Perhaps there is a little equivocation going on here.
6 hours ago · Delete
Brian Williams
Brian Williams
To call it equivocation is to exactly miss the point.
2 hours ago
Brandon Jaloway
Brandon Jaloway
Brian, seriously? Listen, I am obviously failing to adequately express myself here. Because the limits of the comment length here I will continue this on my blog.
2 seconds ago · Delete
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So that is the context. However, I think we obviously need to lay a lot more context to make this discussion clear.
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I do not disagree with Maggie that man has an intrinsic value which is independent of any choices he makes. I recently made this point in a discussion on torture. No matter how evil a particular person is that person deserves the respect due to every human being. I strongly defend this point every chance I get. It would be rather difficult to gather together all of my writings on this but you get the point.
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Looking back I should not have said "...the only honest way..." The value of a man can have different meanings. That is why I brought up equivocation. I meant nothing harsh by it.
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However, when I discuss the moral value of a man as I was doing here I am talking about value in exactly that different sense. The sense of "should we behave like him?" Nobody was suggesting that we should torture Ted Kennedy. I was, however, suggesting that we should not emulate him. He gave a bad example of what it means to be a man. Perhaps silence as Brian suggests is an even better option and as this discussion continues I am beginning to wish I kept silent. However, I did not think that it was inappropriate for Patrick Madrid to point out that we should not be canonizing Ted Kennedy. He actively sought to promote many grave evils. He completely failed to defend the weak and defenseless in the face of the threat of violence. Even just the failure to stand up against the evils that are around you makes you worthy of shame but to actively promote violence against women and children?
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Perhaps you believe we should not judge any other human being. But are we not bound to judge our saints? To point out the particular actions which made them saintly? And if you are a student of history, are you not bound to make judgments about the moral qualities of the historical figures you study? As a historical figure Ted Kennedy will surely be judged. I object to canonizing him. I think it is appropriate to object to canonizing him. Patrick Madrid did a great job in voicing his objections. Perhaps, if I start to become more articulate, I will be able to make a coherent objection to canonizing him as well.
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Brian, I fail to completely understand your reference to Chesterton. Perhaps you believe that I subscribe to a philosophy which limits my mind?
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You might say that abortion was not the only issue Ted Kennedy cared about. I would agree with you. I am sure that there were many issue that he cared about. On many of them he might have even been right. He was definitely wrong on other moral issues besides abortion. But in the end you can be right on every other issue and still fail morally because of one issue. You have to be good all the way around before you are truly good. And I am not talking about complete perfection. But something serious like abortion is definitely enough to sink one's character.
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In the end perhaps silence is a better choice but since we have already forgone that route I believe that we should be ashamed of Ted Kennedy and not canonizing him.