Monday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Penicillin and Lent.
  2. Induction and inference.
  3. That nasty brutish and short thing.
  4. Prayer request.
  5. Power and efficiency.
  6. Brand name and prestige.
  7. Winter.
  8. Offensive prayer.
  9. Ms Pelosi is perhaps the tip of the non-catholic catholic iceberg.
  10. 1st Corinthians in the modern world.
  11. damned lied … and statistics.
  12. That right to privacy.
  13. Is that a thing which is needed?
  14. Beowulfs.
  15. And a pony for everyone too?
  16. Putting his cards on the table.

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15 comments

  1. Ms Pelosi is perhaps the tip of the non-catholic catholic iceberg.

    …because she *might* (it’s not at all clear from your link) not believe that the wine and wafer are *literally* the blood and body of Jesus Christ? I guess no sane people can be Catholics, huh?

  2. Mark says:

    JA,
    Catholics believe in true presence, that Christ is truly present in communion.

    It certainly looks like Ms Pelosi doesn’t believe in that, although the post has been updated with more remarks which indicate that she didn’t manage to make her personal beliefs very clear.

  3. Catholics believe in true presence, that Christ is truly present in communion.

    Perfect example of using words to declarify. What does “truly present in communion” mean? My words were clear: “she might not believe that the wine and wafer are *literally* the blood and body of Jesus Christ.” Is that the same as “true presence?” Why get less precise on purpose, if not to hedge? Because no sane person thinks that it’s literally the blood and body of Christ.

    And if someone does NOT believe that thing which clearly no sane person can actually believe, that means they aren’t a Catholic? What do you base that on? I can’t believe that there is any religion whose followers believe 100% of the doctrine.

  4. Boonton says:

    I have to sympathize with JA. Often theology does seem to get caught up in very specialized word meanings which leave ordinary people wondering if “truly present” means the same thing as “literally the body and blood”.

    While it may be great fun for some conservative Catholics to jump on Pelosi I wonder how many Catholics who take the politically correct (from the right wing POV) positions on abortion, gay marriage etc. would likewise answer questions about communion incorrectly if asked.

  5. Boonton says:

    And a pony for everyone too?

    Actually here is where stimulus opponants should be made to put up or shut up. If they feel that gov’t spending is unrelated to improving the economy and they honestly believe the stimulus represents nothing more than ‘borrowing from our children and grandchildren’ they should demand that Obama fulfill his campaign promise and repeal Bush’s tax cuts on the $250K+ crowd now rather than let it expire.

    Since the stimulus has already passed shouldn’t we ‘pay for it now’ rather than hurt the precious children of tomorrow? If, on the other hand, ‘raising taxes in a recession’ is really harmful then the anti-stimulus crowd is really admitting that stimulus works after all.

    Jindal’s speech reinforces what I think the main problem with the GOP is. It’s all nothing more than rhetoric that they really don’t believe. At the end of the day the GOP is still about ‘stimulus’ for the rich dressed up in whatever rhetorical devices will work at the moment.

  6. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    Not necessarily. I’d have him keep the tax cuts (and perhaps put in more) and massively cut government spending and entitlements. That too is a consistent position and one which will likely provide for actual economic recovery.

    The problem with the logic of “If, on the other hand, ‘raising taxes in a recession’ is really harmful then the anti-stimulus crowd is really admitting that stimulus works after all” is that assumes taxation is a zero-sum highly efficient process and that government spending is equivalent to private spending. It’s not and it isn’t.

    Are you suggesting (regarding Pelosi) that conservatives don’t jump on conservatives make theological missteps. They do. It’s just that it liberals especially those in politics rarely, if ever, fail to make horrible theological errors.

    JA,
    I should mention that as an Orthodox convert I too believe in true or real presence. It’s why Orthodox are permitted (by Catholics) to partake in Eucharist with them (although they are forbidden by their own church so it doesn’t happen). But real presence means what you think it does, and isn’t as such a weird usage of language (words not meaning what you think it does). It’s just that Christ has two natures, human and divine.

  7. Boonton says:

    Again I would suggest they put up or shut up. Let’s hear a proposal for, say, $500B in spending cuts over the next year outside of the stimulus package that just passed. Real cuts, not a few hundred million for the US Geological Service (the volcano reserach that Jindal complained about) or vague handwaving over ‘earmarks’.

    You won’t find that, instead you’ll find demands for more tax cuts anywhere and everywhere. As of right now every American who has a job has had a tax cut from Obama and he has decided not to raise taxes on those over $250K per year. Already done.

  8. It’s just that Christ has two natures, human and divine.

    And there’s that jargon again. What’s “divine?” We’re talking about literal flesh and blood here. Isn’t that the opposite of “divine?” Are you saying the wafer turns into “divine flesh” as opposed to “human flesh?”

  9. Boonton says:

    JA,

    I think the answer would be both it is divine as well as literal human flesh…although I think the term they use is ‘disguised’ since it obviously doesn’t look or taste like actual human flesh. But yes that is the idea you are literally eating flesh just as much as if you grabbed Jesus’s arm and took a bite.

  10. Boonton:

    Right, and my point is that no sane person believes that it literally turns into human flesh, “disguised” (another hedge word!) or not. So either there are hardly any “real” Catholics in the world, or Mark’s being way too picky about Pelosi. Perhaps the problem is just that she didn’t “disguise” her words enough? She should have said, “it’s just disguised flesh!”

  11. Boonton says:

    Well I don’t think disguised is a hedge word here. Think of imitation crab meat. It’s not crab meat but it tastes so close to it you can’t tell the difference. Well it ain’t bread but it tastes and feels just like it.

    Is it insane to believe that? Maybe but I’m pretty sure that is the standard orthodox belief among Catholics. Many Protestants, though, would share you skepticism and be more inclined to lean towards the ‘it symbolizes’ or ‘it represents’ mode of thinking.

    Minor point, the story is either unclear or it isn’t Ms. Pelosi who contradicts the girl. You’ll note that the in the story Pelosi (speaker of the house) is attending her *granddaughter’s* communion. Her *granddaughter* says it is literally the body of Christ and the *mother* contradicts her. If this is how it played out then it isn’t Pelosi speaker of the house whose unorthodox but either Pelosi’s daughter or daughter-in-law.

  12. Well I don’t think disguised is a hedge word here. Think of imitation crab meat.

    Of course it’s a hedge! You’re just looking for a fancy way to say, “well obviously it’s a cracker and not flesh… but if we squint, we can kind of say it’s a cracker AND flesh. Or disguised flesh. Or flesh doing a great imitation of a cracker!”

    It’s the same as the 3-is-1-but-not-1 rationalizations of the Trinity. Take a proposition that is obviously false and use fancy footwork to make it sound plausible even though we all know deep down that it’s obviously false.

  13. Mark says:

    JA,
    Take another proposition that’s obviously false, light is a particle and a wave rationalizations. Take a proposition that’s obviously false (surely a thing cannot be a particle and a wave at the same time) and use fancy footwork to make it sound plausible.

    Or perhaps reality is not always as simple as you would insist if nature and reality was according to your preference.

    The point being, simple is not always right.

  14. Mark:

    Take another proposition that’s obviously false, light is a particle and a wave rationalizations. Take a proposition that’s obviously false (surely a thing cannot be a particle and a wave at the same time) and use fancy footwork to make it sound plausible.

    Okay, I see your point.

  15. Boonton says:

    Not to be technical here but light is sometimes like a particle and sometimes like a wave. The difficulty is our imaginary (or textbook) microscoptic image of light as either little balls or little ocean waves floating about. But verbally there’s no contradiction since we really aren’t saying that we have ever shrunk ourselves down and observed light to be both little balls and little waves at the same time.

    The 3-in-1 idea is verbally contradictory. It isn’t asserting that God sometimes has properties of one entity and sometimes has properties of 3 entities. It is asserting that he is 3 and 1 entity(ies)….even when he may seem to be exhibiting the properties of just one or three. But Mark’s point remains, whose to say that reality cannot also contain contradictions? A Zen Buddhist would consider us kind of silly for getting so bent out of shape dealing with mere paradoxes!