Tom and Jerry: Defenders of All Things Right and Good

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Masculine spirituality means becoming feminine?

That seems to be the theme of my men’s spirituality group. I’ve been attending this group for eight weeks now hoping it would give me a glimpse into authentic male spirituality, and it has left me wanting. I can’t take it any more.

Yesterday a visiting priest led the group discussion. He began by telling us to get in tough with our feminine sides. His background in Jungian spiritually drives him to find “balance” in the human person. Men must become more feminine and women must become more masculine. I’m not sure what the nirvana of this Jungian approach would look like. Perhaps we’d have a society of perfectly androgynous people with no real gender distinction. I don’t know. We didn’t get that far.

Our Jungian proponent suggested men need to adopt the feminine qualities of compassion and nurturing. He never adequately explains why those are exclusively feminine qualities, but let’s not get caught up in minutia. He suggested men should help out around the house and take some of the tasks traditionally held by women because it will help men develop nurturing qualities.

One member of the group suggested we could look to the traditional concept of virtue to bring out the best in men. Why do men need to become more feminine when becoming virtuous is what fulfills our purpose? The priest’s response, to the best of my understanding, was that androgyny is itself a virtue worth acquiring.

Permit me a visceral response, “psychobabble baloney!” Androgyny as a virtue is utterly un-compelling to me. I joined that group to get in touch with my MASCULINE side! In growing up during the seventies and eighties, I’ve been getting in touch with my feminine side my whole life. Our church is rife with female spirituality. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not opposed to the feminine. The church is the bride of Christ and it is her nature to be female. That is beautiful and good. I love women and everything they bring to this world. However, it seems for too long men in the church have been called only to the feminine. We have been encouraged to be little more than nice guys. I was hoping for something different…something masculine.

I’m not married, but follow me in this hypothetical. If someone tells me I should help with household chores and change the baby’s diapers because it will help me get in touch with my nurturing female side, I’ll have no motivation to do what was asked.

However, tell me I should help around the house because it is the virtuous thing to do, then I’ll listen. Tell me that despite my long hard day at work, I am called to die to myself and help my wife out of charity. I’ll listen. Tell me that I am called to love my wife like Christ loves the church. I’ll listen. Tell me that being a man of God means self-denial and self-sacrifice. I’ll listen.

Tell me to be a man and I’ll listen.

Do not purport to help me grow in masculine spirituality and tell me to be a woman.

10 Reasons Notre Dame Did Not Upset USC

Unlike sportwriters, I can admit my mistakes.

1. Lynda's absence at the LA Coliseum and my snakeskin boots are no match for a team with 5-star talent on their third string. USC is loaded. Notre Dame has a few great players and a few good ones, but not enough of either to match up with the Trojans yet. Of course, USC had a big talent edge over ND last season, and the Irish came 7 seconds away from an upset. What's the difference this year? (Reasons 2-4)

2. USC's defense is a lot better, and ND's offense line is not as good. The Irish offense played with nowhere near the rhythm they had last season, and offensive rhythm starts with controlling the line of scrimmage.

3. While the Irish front four on defense are as good or better than last year, the linebacking (Mays and Hoyte of '05 were much more effective than Crum and Thomas of '06) and safety play (Zibby's been dinged up and MIA for most of the season; Ndukwe was out for most of the game) have declined severly.

4. While I am loathe to criticize Charlie Weis, last year he seemed to call a confident and controlled game; this season, he seemed to call the game like he knew he had little chance to win unless ND scored on every possession.

5. The Irish, for the fifth time against quality compition this season, came out flat offensively.
  • Georgia Tech - ND didn't score until right before halftime
  • Penn State - late in the 2nd quarter, ND had only managed 2 field goals; luckily, Penn State was starting a freshman QB and had no points.
  • Michigan - late in the 2nd quarter, ND had only 7 points; unluckily, Michigan was starting an experienced QB and offense, and the Irish were down 34-7
  • Michigan State - MSU was undefeated; ND trailed 17-0 after first quarter
  • USC - 21-3 Trojans, mid-2nd quarter.

You can't get away with this against great teams.

6. While Rhema McKnight caught a couple of long passes and 1 TD pass, he also dropped two sure first downs, killing Irish drives. While Rhema is a good reciever, he has not performed as well as hoped, nor as well as Maurice Stovall did last season.

7. Irish special teams, with the exception of punter Geoffrey Price, are very sub-par. It's not only costing ND field position, but points as well.

8. Pete Carroll is a damn fine defensive coach, and Charlie Weis is a damn fine offensive coach. USC's offensive coordinators are very good offensive coaches, and Irish defensive coordinator Rick Minter is......well, I'm not sure. In his 25th game in charge of ND's defense, his charges still frequently look confused and out of position. I suppose I expected more improvement than what I've seen out of the Irish D.

9. Of ND's "Big Three" stars coming into the season, only Brady Quinn has matched his '05 output. That he has done so without much of a running game to take pressure off him and an underachieving offensive line is remarkable. Samardzija has been double-teamed and focused on by opposing defenses, and neither Rhema or David Grimes have made them pay for this with enough consistency take the pressure off Shark. Zibby's been dinged up some, which may or may not have contributed to him being largely invisible for most of the season.

10. We keep expecting the Irish team that took the field on Oct. 15, 2005 to show up, but they have not. Since the USC game of last year, ND has never played with the sense of passion and focus that they did that day. The entire lead-up to the 2005 season, USC was on everyone's mind. The build up for the game was enormous. The Irish were as focused and confident as any Irish team had been in over a decade. The Irish were spectacular even in defeat.

Once they had ascended to that peak, they have never approached it again. In their big games since then, they have played like what they look like on paper: a team with few great players and a few good ones, but not close to being an elite team. A couple of great recruiting classes will solve this, but it is a couple of years off.

Outlook: While I think Charlie will build ND into a program that will regularly finish in the Top 10 and even win a championship or two, USC appears to be on a roll like the one they enjoyed from 1967-1979: they went 9W-2L-2T vs. ND and won 4 national championships. They offer top recruits a package that is hard to compete with:

  • Chance to compete for national championship
  • Lax academic admission and performance requirements
  • Pretty girls with, um, shall we say, somewhat lower morals than you would find at ND
  • Agents swarming the campus (documented in numerous stories last spring); it would strain credulity to think that SC players are not getting "benefits" from these agents.

Of course, a lot of schools offer these things. However, they also have:

  • the glamour and glitz of nearby Hollywood and the Southern California "lifestyle"
  • Carefree, fun program
  • Warm weather, without the blistering heat or humidity of the Southeast or Texas

However, nothing lasts forever. The Trojans last great run was brought to a halt by probation followed by a string of mediocre coaching hires, and they were barely a blip on the national radar from 1983-2001.

I look forward to the day when we can line up against USC and not be at such a notable personnell disadvantage. While USC will have the above advantages, ND can offer a real education and an experience that will aid them in becoming better citizens and men than they could have become by spending 4 years as a mere cog in a football factory. I think ND is definitely headed in the right direction....

Go Irish!!!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Joe is on the web

My buddy just started his own blog. Check it out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I know posting a link is a weak blog entry, but these motivational posters are funny. I'm busy reading a book on Enneagrams right now. I'm sure I'll post about it later.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Read Jerry's ND v USC preview. Go Irish!


Things that go boom

My strike eagle buddies see this all the time, but the LITENING targetting pod is new to the B-52. Check out a video of my laser guided bomb shacking a cargo container at the Utah Test and Training Range (15.6 MB Windows Media file).

10 Reasons Notre Dame Will Upset USC

In two years of doing these Notre Dame game previews, I have never made a prediction on the outcome of the game. Back in September, I did predict (sort of) that USC would beat ND on my blog. I still think USC is the more talented, more complete team. However, they will not win Saturday night. Notre Dame will win. Why? Here are 10 reasons:

1. Lynda will not be in the LA Coliseum, and I will be wearing my snakeskin boots**. If Lynda can believe that her dog can tell time, I can believe a) her absence in the stadium where the game is being played and b) my choice of footwear will help Notre Dame.

** - The Irish are 10W-0L this season when I wear the snakeskin boots I bought in Mazatlan, Mexico last April; the only game I didn't wear them for was Michigan. As I was putting them on that morning to go to the game at ND, Lynda said "Honey, you shouldn't wear those...they don't have much cushion and you'll be on your feet all day, and you don't want them to get scuffed up in the stadium with everyone stepping on them..." So you can see, me not wearing the boots and ND losing that day is really all her fault

2. This is Pete Carroll’s website. If you don’t hate him already, you will after seeing his splash sequence (“The Humanitarian” ?). Such hubris does not go unpunished.

3. By comparison, this Charlie Weis’s website. It redirects automatically to “Hannah And Friends”, his nonprofit foundation improving the quality of life for children and adults with special needs. Such lack of hubris does not go unrewarded.

4. USC has 7 Heisman Trophy winners. Notre Dame has 7 Heisman Trophy winners and 0 double murderers.

5. Notre Dame honors Our Savior’s Mother. USC honors a group known to be susceptible to ridiculous invasion plans.

6. Notre Dame’s big man on campus is Brady Quinn. Most Notre Dame passing records are owned by Mr. Quinn. Mr. Quinn, by all accounts:

- will graduate with a double major of business and political science
- has never accepted money from a booster, nor broken any NCAA rules
- is a devout Christian (though a Methodist; maybe the good fathers at ND can get him to convert before he leaves J)
- has never committed a felony
- is very loyal to his family, as attested to by numerous articles and by the fact that he did not wring his older sister Laura’s neck during her endless Fiesta Bowl publicity-grab last January

Compare that to just about any big man on campus at any other university. USC’s two most recent BMOC’s, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. Mr. Leinart took one class his final year at USC, ballroom dancing. Mr. Bush (and family) took over $100 thousand dollars from boosters. It strains credulity to think Mr. Leinart did not also partake in the money train.

7. Notre Dame’s most frequent practice and sideline visitors are Dick Vitale and Regis Philbin. USC’s most frequent practice and sideline visitor is Snoop Dogg.

8. USC players, coaches, and fans still, to this day, blame Charlie Weis for “growing the grass tall” for last year’s game, ostensibly to slow down USC (though they fail to explain why it would not slow ND players down as well). They blame kick returner Desmond Reed’s second quarter knee blowout on the “tall grass”, though replays show that merely hyper-extended it, and had nothing whatsoever to do with grass length and everything to do with the manner in which he turned and planted his foot. Compare pics taken during the USC game to any other game at ND Stadium and you will see no difference in grass height, nor will you see grass any higher than the toes of any player. What in the hell are they talking about? Such stupidity does often go unpunished, but it will not on Saturday night.

9. Ty Willingham is no longer Notre Dame’s coach, and Charlie Weis is.

10. Because the Notre Dame seniors, above everyone else, deserve it.

Notre Dame will defeat USC Saturday night. Believe it.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Now that's amore

My Dad sent me this video (653 kb Windows Media file).

NOTE: It will not stream, so you'll need to right-click on the link, save the file to your computer and play it from there. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Check out Jerry's ND v Army preview. It may be hard to compete with the OSU v Michigan game, but GO IRISH!


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My vocation: I'm very committed.....or I should be committed.

It's hard to follow Tom's story of his vocation journey. Truth is, since even before he and I started this blog, we've both been discerning our respective vocations. My discernment of a call to the priesthood came and went very quickly a number of years ago. I asked God "Would you like me to become a priest?" His laughter was so loud and lengthy that I didn't really think I should ask Him again. So I've been hoping to meet someone with whom I could serve God as a husband and father. I met Lynda in Feb. of 2005, and after we settled into a comfortable dating life, I began to discern whether she was "The One".

By now, most of you who know me know that Lynda and I are engaged. I popped the question on September 15 under a tree between the two lakes behind the grotto on the Notre Dame campus. We were at ND for the next day’s ND-Michigan game. The Irish got stomped the next day 47-21. I got engaged. So the weekend wasn’t a total loss.

For those of you who know Lynda, it’s easy to see why I chose her. She’s Catholic, and not in a wishy-washy, “whatever, dude” kind of way; she is very much into Theology of the Body, and is very active in her church. She is very smart. If the way she cares for her dog, Tipper, is any indication, she will make a wonderful mother. Most of all, she has one of the purest hearts and delightful spirits of anyone I’ve ever met.

For those of you who know me, it’s not so easy to see why she chose me, though I believe that low standards and poor eyesight on her part are major contributors.

While we have much in common, though, there are aspects in which we differ:


Lynda: On weekends, she likes to get up at the crack of dawn.
Me: On weekends, I like to get up at the crack of noon.

Lynda: Lynda’s dog, Tipper, wakes her at 5:30am and Lynda takes her on a morning walk.
Me: The first time that dog wakes me at 5:30am, there will be Tipper kabobs on the grill that evening.


Lynda: “Cleaning house” means eliminating every germ within a 10 yard radius of the house and nailing the last remaining germ to the front door as a warning to other germs.
Me: “Cleaning house” means clearing a path between the front door, the TV, the refrigerator, the bathroom, and my bed.

Lynda: When washing clothes, she separates clothes by color.
Me: When washing clothes, I mix the clothes of different colors together so that they can learn from their cultural differences.


Lynda: A “balanced” meal is one containing vegetables, grains, fruit, and, possibly, a little meat.
Me: A “balanced” meal is a large hunk of meat “balanced” in the center of the plate.

Me: A cut of steak is “cooked” when it is pink and juicy throughout.
Lynda: A cut of steak is “cooked” when it is so thoroughly scorched that it could only be of use to the National Hockey Association.


Me: At 85 degrees outside, I’m sweating and beginning to believe Al Gore about “Global Warming”.
Lynda: At 85 degrees outside, she thinks it’s too cold to go swimming.

Me: At 65 degrees outside, I’m in shorts and a T-shirt; if I’m not careful, I may get a little sunburned.
Lynda: At 65 degrees outside, she’s in a parka and mittens, and cursing Al Gore about “Global Warming nonsense”.


Lynda: As a CPA, she understands world monetary systems, economics, and the stock market.
Me: I’ve seen “Wall Street” 27 times and I still can’t understand what the hell they’re talking about.

Lynda: Has a diverse portfolio of stocks, investments, mutual funds, and CDs.
Me: Yeah, I’ve got a lot of my money in CDs too: Springsteen, Mellencamp, The Who….Why are you giving me a weird look, honey?....Oh.

Outlook On Life

Lynda: The glass is always half full.
Me: The glass is either half full or half empty, depending on whether Notre Dame lost last weekend.

Goals (based on an actual conversation of 5/28/2006)

Lynda: “Let’s talk about goals – specifically, the ones I have for you. How about you go back to school at U. of Dallas and get a Theology masters, then maybe become a deacon. Or you could write more, and maybe collect your essays into book. Or you could find some other writing niche, maybe humor or movies…..What are your goals for me?”
Me: “Um….Goals for you?..... (mentally scrambling) ....How about you take one of those “Strip Aerobics” classes?.... (icy silence) ...Um, I’m in trouble now, aren’t I?”

I was once told that the key to healthy, long-lasting relationship between two people is that they have enough important things in common for the relationship to have a solid foundation, but enough differences to keep things interesting. Judging by the above list, our marriage should be very interesting…..

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Vocation Story So Far

This all started with prayer. In January 2003 I found myself on my knees before the Blessed Sacrament praying the rosary. I was praying about a girl (a really beautiful girl). During the prayer I got the distinct impression I was being called to the priesthood. I wasn’t sure if this was from me or from God, but it started me on a path of discernment. My first instinct was to rebel. I did not want to be a priest. Despite my best efforts to ignore it, I could not let it go.

Fast forward to this summer, three and a half years and three relationships later, it was time to get serious about discerning my vocation. The fact that my contract with the Air Force was about to expire, making seminary a possibility, was a driving factor. Some good friends of mine lead me through a six-week “state in life” discernment program. It was my first introduction to The Spiritual Exercises, and it helped me focus on the spiritual, but it did not give me a decision. So I continued my journey on an eight day silent retreat at the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Couteau, LA.

The retreat was great. It was nice to get away from the world and focus on God. I’ve never prayed so much in my life. God gave me serious grace to shed some attachments which were keeping me from the priesthood. He also gave me a sense of peace about living a celibate life. Ironically enough, losing those attachments made me freer to choose marriage. God’s healing me of certain sins gave me a new sense of freedom, but I still had no answer.

My friends who lead me through my “state in life” decision suggested praying a St. Joseph novena. He has never failed them. So I prayed to the husband of Mary and asked for a decision. God answered our prayers, but not in the way I expected. On the tenth day my commander told me the Air Force was going to move me to Virginia Beach, VA. When the Air Force offers you an assignment, they give you seven days to accept or reject it. If you accept, you have to sign on for another two years of service. If you reject the assignment, you are forced to separate from the military within a few months. There would me no more status quo for me. Either I would move to Virginia Beach and put off seminary for two years, or I would be a civilian in a matter of months. My prayers were answered, a decision was before me.

It did not take long to decide. I had no desire to live in Virginia Beach, and I wanted to be available go to seminary if that is where God was leading me. So I told my commander I would turn down the assignment. At the same time, I updated my “dream sheet” to reflect D.C. or Seattle. It might be worth giving the military two more years to go to my favorite locations. I fully expected to get the assignment to Virginia Beach, and so I was making plans to get out of the Air Force.

I contacted the Diocese of Phoenix about going to seminary in the fall, asked my parents if I could move back in with them and posted my resume on I was leaning toward the priesthood, but I really did not want that life. I prayed another St. Joseph’s novena for discernment. This time God threw me curve ball. The ridiculously improbable happened. The Air Force offered me a job at the Pentagon. This would be a huge boost to my career in a great location. Under any other circumstances I would be thrilled with such an assignment, but now I had seminary to think about. A couple of people I respect suggested Satan might be using this dream job to temp me away from the seminary. Others told me this job was a sign from God. What to do?

The answer came quickly. I expected at least seven days to make the decision, but my commander emailed me out of the blue asking for my final answer. He gave me a day. The moment of truth had arrived. I prayed and prayed and prayed. The next day I went to my parish’s adoration chapel and prayed.

I knew two things: I wanted to go to D.C. and I did not want to be a priest. If I chose D.C., I might be choosing it for selfish reasons. If I chose the priesthood, I would certainly be denying myself. My spiritual director suggested I take the more difficult path. I do not want to be the rich man who walked away from Jesus (Mark 10:21-22). I want to follow Him. So I prayed, “LORD, I am going to tell my commander that I am getting out of the Air Force and give up my assignment. If that is not your will, then do something to stop me.”

I hoped for an Abrahamic moment where God would intervene at the last minute, but I knew I could not count on that. I also knew I did not have the strength to give up my assignment. So I prayed. I prayed for strength. I prayed for grace. I kept repeating my favorite line of the Anima Christi, “Passion of Christ, strengthen me.”

I left the chapel and drove to my squadron. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. Upon arrival, I noticed my commander’s car was not in his spot. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. So I sat down at my desk and waited for him to return. Later that afternoon, I got another email from him. This time he told me he did not need an answer because I could not refuse the assignment.

I went to his office and told him that I was planning on getting out of the Air Force. His response, “The email says you cannot refuse the assignment, so I am not going to take any action on what you just told me.” He was technically right, but I did not have to accept the two-year active duty service commitment. At first, I was relieved that I did not need to make a decision right away, but then it hit me. God intervened. I expected something dramatic like a car accident. Instead God just stopped my commander from acting on my decision. While this sunk in, a wave of peace fell over me. God was telling me to go to D.C.

This was confirmed by my friends who lead me through the “state in life” discernment. They had thought all along that I needed to accept the assignment. I felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. This burden of being a priest was finally lifted. God has given me the freedom to pursue marriage. Ironically enough, while perusing some vocations brochures, I started to really see the beauty of the religious vocation. I can finally see priesthood as a joy, not a burden.

I don’t know what God will do with these next two years. Maybe He will place a longing in my heart for a religious vocation. Maybe He will put a woman in my life who sets my heart on fire. I don’t know, but I am open to whatever God has in store me. I have a great sense of joy and peace in following His will.

Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Last Thursday night, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights came back from a 25-7 deficit to defeat the #3 Louisville Cardinals 28-25. The thrilling victory for the undefeated State University of New Jersey, on ESPN's nationally televised Thursday Night Football no less, was a milestone in RU's up-from-the-depths rise to football prominence, and such a big deal in the Garden State that even my sister and brother-in-law, proud residents of NJ and usually as interested in college football as I am in becoming a vegetarian, were among those that tuned in. It was a wonderful spectacle - How could you not be happy for Rutgers?

Well, if you're a fan of any of the 10-odd teams that, at the time, were in the desperate scramble for the Bowl Championship Series' #2 spot (the winner of this week's Ohio State-Michigan tussle is assured of the #1 spot) in the national championship game, the answer is "Pretty easily". Before the Scarlet Knights had even hit the showers, the howling began. "The Big East sucks!!!" "Rutgers wouldn't go undefeated in [insert conference here]!!" "I don't care if they're undefeated, no way do they deserve #2!!!". This reaction comes because an undefeated Rutgers could be considered a candidate for the #2 slot in the national championship game, and to those teams also still in the running, they are a threat that must be exterminated the only way, in a system that relies on polls, that is available - extreme rhetoric.

I’ve been an opponent of a playoff in college football for almost three decades now, but I’ve finally had enough. The BCS is really taking a lot of the joy out of the college football season. Let me explain.

I’m a Notre Dame grad, and would love for ND to make the championship game. Of course, to get there, they would have to beat USC and then jump over a 1-loss Ohio State team (I don’t think ND would or should jump a 1-loss Michigan team). Also, in the event that neither Florida nor Arkansas lose before they play in the SEC championship, they would have to jump the SEC champ, too. Then there’s the possibility of an undefeated Rutgers…

Thing is, how do you choose between a 1-loss ND, 1-loss SEC champ, 1-loss Ohio State, and an undefeated Rutgers? You could make a good case for (or a good case against) each team. Instead of anticipating, say, an 8-team playoff where they all get a shot, the fans of all these schools end up pouring escalatingly nasty rhetoric on each other for months. And these wounds generally don’t heal very quickly - we’re still hearing from Auburn about 2004 (undefeated but left out of the championship game) two years later. And that’s the problem, as I see it, with the BCS - with so much at stake (#1 or #2 or bust), the fans of every team end up hating each other. The teams left out are mad as hell, and the team that gets the #2 spot gets so much abuse that they return the nastiness right back.

It doesn’t just start the day the BCS match-ups are announced, either - it poisons the entire season. Instead of the fans of teams getting to savor a victory, the victory just serves as a prelude to another week of arguing about BCS position. Instead OSU and Michigan locking in on playing winner-take-all for the Big 10 title, the focus will be on whether the loser should stay #2. Instead of Florida and Arkansas enjoying the majesty of butting heads for supremacy in the football-mad South, they will be gearing up for the post-game debate for #2. Instead of looking forward to Nov. 25 and what hopefully be another epic ND-USC battle royale, fans of the Trojans (assuming they beat Cal.) and the Irish will all be practicing (in case of victory) our opening statements either a) in defense of getting to #2 or b) for the prosecution if someone else is #2. We’d better be on our rhetorical game, too, because the fans of the other teams in the race for #2 will be at it as well. And it will get nasty, ugly, and, quite often, personal.

It’s madness. It’s madness that, for the good of college football, has got to stop. It's not like these games would not be important nor passionately fought if there were a playoff at the end of the season. OSU-Michigan is quite fierce no matter what the stakes; in this case, the winner would be top seed and get bragging rights in the event that they don't meet later on. The Florida-Arkansas SEC championship winner would get a berth in the playoffs. The USC-Cal game for the PAC 10 title this weekend, which has been reduced to an afterthought because of Cal's second loss, would be for a bid. If USC lost, their tilt with ND would be for a playoff spot; if they won, they would be trying to eliminate the Irish from a playoff. If you think the latter is not much incentive for USC, consider how much they relish 1964, 1970, and 1980, when Trojan victories over a #1 or #2 Notre Dame squad ended an Irish championship bid.

The net effect of a playoff is an end to the endless vitriol exchanged between all the fans of teams now angling for the #2 spot. Everyone can stop playing the "Is the SEC Overrated?" game, because their champ will get the same shot as the other conferences' champ. Everyone can end their endless dirges against the Big East, because if the champion is indeed not worthy of a championship shot, they will be eliminated rather quickly in a playoff. Everyone can go back to normal Notre Dame-hating levels because while you can argue against an 11W-1L Irish team as #2, you really can't argue against them as one of 8 teams deserving an 8-team playoff bid.

Enough is enough. A system that produces little else but enemies isn't much of system.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Old School Patriotism

To get you in the spirit of Veteran's Day, here is an old Air Force recruiting film (3MB MPEG). I think it convinced my dad to join. $5,000 at year! Sign me up!

NOTE: The video will not stream. Right-click the link and save the MPEG to your hard drive. You can play it from there.

Jerry's Notre Dame Football Previews are On-line

Check out the latest one (you'll need MS Word).

You can find a link to future previews here, and on our links list on the right.



Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Voting Catholic

As I write this, the U.S. senate is still up for grabs (49 Republicans, 47 Democrats, 2 Indies). My hope and prayer is that the Republicans will maintain control of the senate for one reason: the Supreme Court. The Senate has the power to confirm supreme court nominees. A Republican controlled Senate is more likely to approve justices whose judicial temperament is consistent with our President's philosophy on interpreting the constitution. Supreme Court justices are appointed for life. The judges appointed in the next two years will shape U.S. law for the next 20 years.

Right now the balance of power on the court is evenly split. The four conservatives believe issues not expressly mentioned in the constitution (abortion, gay-marriage, etc) should be decided by the legislative and electoral process. The four liberals are more likely to uphold Roe v. Wade and may even find a right to gay marriage in the “spirit” of the constitution. Justice Anthony Kennedy will likely be the swing vote.

If any of the four liberal justices were to retire in the next two years, President Bush would have to opportunity to appoint a fifth conservative judge to the nation’s highest court. If that happens, then for the first time in over thirty years, this country may see some real restrictions on abortion. The Court cannot impose those restrictions, but the states will be able to establish restriction using the legislative process.

JCEIL3 believes Catholics can legitimately vote for pro-abortion candidates. Certainly, a Catholic voter must weigh all of the issues when they place their vote. I would not expect a catholic to vote for a neo-Nazi racist in a small town mayoral election just because the candidate was pro-life. First, racism may be a strong enough issue to overcome abortion. Second, a local mayor really has no power to affect abortion policy, but could certainly cause great racial tension in his community. This is an extreme case. In most cases, Catholics should vote pro-life. It is a “non-negotiable” issue.

In Presidential and Senate races, a candidate’s pro-life credentials are extremely important because of the power they have to shape the supreme court.

JCEIL3, believes there may be proportional reasons to vote for a pro-choice candidate. He sites many pragmatic reasons: the war in Iraq, economic justice, etc. These may in theory be compelling and proportional reasons to vote pro-choice, but they are not practical. A Democrat controlled Senate and a Democratic President will not have an appreciable effect on the war in Iraq or on economic justice. If Democrat economic policies work (and that is a big if), the poverty rate may drop a couple points. If the Democrats were to pull us out of Iraq, they would leave a chaotic state that will cost far more lives than the status quo. In a practical sense, a Republican vs. Democrat controlled Whitehouse and Senate will not have a huge impact on saving lives. Conversely, a Republican Senate with a Republican President would have the power to shape abortion policy for years to come

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Nope. No slippery slope here. Move along.

Whenever someone opposes the latest encroachment on the right to life that everyone possesses by warning that it is but a 'slippery slope' leading to something far worse, they are ridiculed as being an alarmist; therefore, those who warned that legalized abortion would lead to, among other things, out-and-out infanticide were (and are) patted on the head and told to go sit at the kiddie table of the discussion so the "grown-ups" can talk.

Next time you hear someone using the 'slippery slope' argument to warn against what is, really, following a particular path to its logical conclusion, and you are tempted to dismiss them as being a simple-minded alarmist, remember this:,20867,20706992-23289,00.html

Arguing FOR the killing of disabled babies, professor of human genetics at University College London, Joy Delhanty, said "We can terminate for serious fetal abnormality up to term but cannot kill a newborn....What do people think has happened in the passage down the birth canal to make it OK to kill the fetus at one end of the birth canal but not at the other?"

Ms. Delhanty just made a better argument against abortion than I ever could.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Developing Babies

Richard Smith blogging in First Things, found a subtle philosophical dinstiction that might explain why defenders of abortion see the pro-life as religious extremism, and why pro-lifers see the pro-choice position as nothing short of murder. The difference is between development and construction. Abortion supporters see fetal development as a constructive process. They see the baby as being built in the womb, the way a home is built. To think of a tiny embryo as a baby is akin to thinking a concrete slab as a house. A house under construction does not become a house until near the end of the construction process. Likewise, the abortion supporter claims, a baby is not baby until near the end of its growth.

However, pro-abortionists make an important philosophical mistake. Babies are not made, they develop. The potential of a full-grown baby exists in the tiny collection of embryonic cells. Smith explains the difference this way,

Suppose we’re back in the pre-digital days and you’ve just taken a fabulous photo, one you know you will prize, with your Polaroid camera. (Say it’s a picture of a jaguar that has now darted back into the jungle, so that the photo is unrepeatable.) You are just starting to let the photo hang out to develop when I grab it and rip its cover off, thus destroying it. What would you think if I responded to your dismay with the assertion: “Hey man, it was still in the brown-smudge stage. Why should you care about brown smudges?” You would find my defense utterly absurd. Just so for pro-lifers, who find dignity in every human individual: To say that killing such a prized being doesn’t count if he or she is still developing in the womb strikes them as outrageously absurd.


Toward a more religious politics

James Matthew Wilson writing in The Observer, sucessfully argues against the secularization of politics. He concludes,

We need more religion in politics. But we need it less as empty rhetoric and more as a sincere plea for the weak before the mighty, a cry on behalf of the immortal soul of every human person against the massive machinery of a modern state that will commit any crime necessary to extend its sovereignty.

He is right of course. Religious values, particularly christian values, encourage love and respect for every human being. All christians, politician and otherwise, live those principles imperfectly. Imagine if peope and governments did lives those values. The world would be a better place indeed.

Thank you Kateri.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Can't buy me love

Diane at Link 222 recently informed her readership about federal abstinence education dollars being made available to target young adults up to age 29.

I agree with the abstinence message. Young adults would certainly benefit from discovering the spiritual, physical and emotional benefits of living chastity before marriage. However, the government is not the best entity to deliver such an important message. I can envision a multi-media advertising blitz picturing beautiful people on billboards claiming “we waited,” or TV and radio spots featuring couples testifying to the great joy waiting has brought to their marriage. These might help plant the chastity seed in people’s minds, but it is likely to falls short of convincing someone to change their behavior.

The only antidote to sex outside of marriage is love, true love, the kind of love that exists between life-long friends and family. The government cannot love you. The change of heart required to live a chaste life must come from somewhere else. Churches and religious communities are in the best position to provide this personal touch. Government money buy do many things, but as The Beattles sing, “it can’t buy me love.”