101 Things in 1001 Days

A friend of mine from Bible study came to the end of a project – do 101 things in 1,001 days. The idea is to give oneself a generous time limit to get a whole bunch of things you’ve wanted to do done. I decided to try this myself, and my 1,001 days starts today. I won’t post the exhaustive list, but around 15 of the items may be found below. It should be fun.

  • Write 45 blog posts: I’ve been miserable about updating this blog. Part of that might be due to the fact that my attempts at apologetics pale in comparison to the wonderful Shameless Popery blog. Expect to see some more gun posts (about half my list is firearms-related) and computer game related posts. There will still be some apologetics attempts, some theology book reviews, and general blogging about being Catholic.
  • Shoot 10,000 rounds in a calendar year: I started hand loading ammunition late last year, and I want to become a competent rifle and pistol shooter. This might be a tough goal to hit – it works out to 200 rounds a weekend, almost every weekend – but it should be doable. Probably.
  • Go to another Latin Mass: Some of my Catholic friends invited me to St. Stephen’s in Sacramento, an FSSP parish. The 1962 Mass was beautiful, complex, and hard to follow. While I think the SSPX are kind of nuts with the New-Mass-Is-Evil shtick, I also think we definitely lost something with the 1970 reforms. Hopefully the Reform of the Reform of the Roman Rite will bring back the reverence and silence of the older rite.
  • Learn some Latin: See above. Also, I’ve got a Latin textbook I bought when thinking about learning the old language years ago. Latin is cool, I should pick it up.
  • Take a Udacity course: I’ve been signed up for the free online university for quite some time. While I’ve heard great things about their courses, I procrastinate. So now I’m going to make myself take one, probably the Python course.
  • Go to 5 Theology On Tap talks: I went to one ToT talk, probably two years ago. I really enjoyed it, but didn’t have the opportunity to go to more. A few months ago, I found a ToT venue in Sacramento, so I’ll be heading out that way.
  • Shoot the Yolo Sportsman’s CMP Match: It’s not quite a CMP match – all the targets are at 100 yards – but participating gets you the certificate you need to order firearms through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. Entry is cheap, and pretty much an semiautomatic centerfire rifle with iron sights will do. Hopefully by the time the next match rolls around I’ll have replaced my MBUS with some real iron sights…
  • Get an M1 Garand (and load 30’06 for it): It’s a great rifle, and I want one.
  • Read the Summa Theologica: I cheated and broke this into five items, both for morale purposes (“I’m totally sort of making progress!”) and because it’s so bloody long.
  • Publish a first author paper: Long overdue, and will be fulfilled early this year, with any luck. Also on the list: Get a PhD.
  • Go to Alaska (in the winter): My girlfriend’s family lives in Alaska, and she wants to live there someday. I think the idea of relatively constitutional gun laws and no income or sales tax. Less keen on the forty-below springtimes and probability of being eaten by a bear. If I make it back, I’ll report on the frozen tundra.
  • Write a simple (but complete) video game: I took three courses in game development at Grove City College, and loved every sleep-deprived credit hour of it. I haven’t managed to make a single game since then, mostly because of over-ambitious ideals. I’ve been reading about the Bullet Physics engine, so I’m resolving to write a simple game (probably 2D) using it. The goal is something small, but finished and polished. Something that doesn’t look like a half-baked beta.
  • Do the “Total Consecration to Mary” thing: I’m fairly Marian in theology, and less so in practice. This particular devotion has been strongly recommended by many, including the ever-entertaining Bad Catholic.
  • Read The Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin: I tried to read this once back when I was Reformed, and again after I reverted to the Catholic Faith. The appeals to ridicule in the place of argument wore very thin, but some parts were valuable, and I’ve been told it gets better.
  • Follow the Dominicana Revelation study: The Dominican (go figure) monks over at Dominicana put together a study guide for Revelation. My only prolonged/in-depth exposure to the book was during my time at the fundamentalist high school, so I’m eager for a slightly more traditional perspective.



Peter and the Council of Jerusalem

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Last week, I posted an entry describing the doctrine of infallibility. The purpose of this blog post will be to demonstrate that the Church under the original apostles was granted this power, and exercised it in response to theological controversy in the context of a single council, lead by Peter, with authority over the whole Church. Continue reading

Infallibility, Defined

My good friend and author of the Platypus Manifesto is currently an inquirer in the RCIA at his local parish, the stage of the Rite in which one decides whether or not to convert to the Roman Catholic Church. Recently, he posted a blog entry which generated quite a few comments, mostly from Protestant friends. One of the main issues brought up was the doctrine of the infallibility of papal and conciliar pronouncements. It was clear that the exact details and corollaries of this doctrine, much less the evidence supporting it, are not well-known within Protestantism. Hopefully, this series of posts may alleviate some of that confusion and ignorance, and encourage productive discussions on exactly what promises and guarantees are made to the Church. Continue reading

The Neoconservative Mind

David Brooks penned an opinion piece for the New York Times arguing that the trouble Republicans and the Romney campaign have relating to everyday Americans is that, within the Republican Party, traditional conservatism has been all but forgotten, and economic conservatism has been ascendant. I think this argument is flawed – current Republican policy is hardly radically free-market, and Mr. Brooks ignores the corrosive effect neoconservative ideology has had on the GOP. I would argue that it has not been the ascendency of the economic conservatives but the replacement of the traditional conservatives with neoconservatives. Continue reading

The NYT and ‘Extreme’ Views

As promised, here is the comparison of the 1980 and 2012 DNC platform. A while ago, a New York Times article cherry-picked a few lines from the GOP 1980 and 2012 platforms to support the narrative that modern Republicans are extremists, a lost party in which St. Ronald himself would feel uncomfortable. The tone of the article would have you believe that the Democrats have remained ‘moderate’ (read: They agree with the author) while the Republicans have drifted further and further into ever-greater depths of extremism. Particularly examined are clauses regarding gun rights and abortion. Let’s take a look at both parties’ changes on those topics since 1980. Continue reading

How Bad is a Nuclear Iran?

Charles Krauthammer’s weekly column argues that the President is restraining Israel and not presenting a sufficiently credible military threat to prevent a nuclear Iran. Most of his article focuses on the idea that Iran is ‘racing’ to get a nuclear bomb, and the President’s actions are isolating Israel, not Iran, but what I found most interesting was his very brief dismissal of the prospect of deterring Iran. Mr. Krauthammer believes that it is a ‘misreading of history’ to think that we can deter an Iranian nuclear strike against Israel. He believes that the religious conviction of Iran’s reigning mullahs precludes the possibility of a MAD policy working, therefore, Iran must be militarily prevented from acquiring a nuclear weapon. Continue reading

Considerations for a Candidate

Recently, I’ve been part of a few discussions, and read a few others from Democrats, about the dilemma of supporting the ‘compromise candidate’ that ‘your’ political party puts forward, despite a lack of positive support for that candidate, versus supporting a third-party candidate doomed to fail, or not voting at all. The support-the-compromise candidate folks say that while ‘our guy’ – be it Romney or Obama – is imperfect, and not even someone the base really likes, he’s better than ‘the other guy.’ In the case of Romney, the argument is that while he’s going to spend a ton of money, and he’s the author of the pattern for the much-maligned Obamacare, and very few people really trust him, he is better than the other guy, so we have to vote for the lesser of two evils. For Obama, he promised to back off federal prosecution of state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries, shut down Gitmo, and reforming immigration law. Progressives who supported him on these issues are disappointed, but some feel they have no choice but to support their disappointing candidate, because ‘Romney is so bad.’ Continue reading

The Reasonableness of the Immaculate Conception

Wednesday was the Feast of the Assumption, when we commemorate that the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, reached the end of her earthly life and was assumed into Heaven. So why am I writing about the Immaculate Conception? Because the end of Mary’s time on earth does not seem to be nearly so controversial for Protestants as her conception and life. Continue reading

Private Debt Overload

Reason has a very insightful article arguing very convincingly that private debt load is crippling economic recovery. Monetary stimulus will just encourage more borrowing, granting only a temporary reprieve, and fiscal stimulus is unlikely to have any ‘multiplier’ effect, as excess income will be used to de-leverage.

More ‘Chicago-style’ methods may have some effect, but even if we create a better business environment and increase production, a lot of that new productive force is going to have to pay off the debts of the past. We probably can’t avoid a painful correction, and we probably can’t regulate the culture into having lower time preference. We can discard government programs (mortgage interest deduction, I’m looking at you! Among others…) that encourage high time preference behaviors.

A Note on Criticisms of Chik-Fil-A Day

“The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin.” – Pope Pius XII

“To love is to will the good of another” – St. Thomas Aquinas

The massive show of support for Chik-fil-A brought some criticism from Christians who felt that the event ultimately would do more harm than good to the Christian witness to the LGBT community. However, a major component of this criticism is that the gay community perceives such public shows of support for true marriage to be “hate” and thus those taking part in Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day were not following the command to “love your neighbor.” The charge is that Christians are too busy “hating the sin” to “love the sinner.” While this argument may make other good points, on this particular issue it is in error, because the author has a faulty understanding of love.

What is Love? As the above quote from the Angelic Doctor states, “to love is to will the good of another.” The highest end and greatest good of man is to be united to God in the Beatific Vision. Man is fallen, and cannot achieve this end on his own. Christ came, and died for us, that we might be saved. How can we be saved? “Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins.” Further, St. Paul tells us that no one who persists in sin (“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, …” 1 Corinthians 6:9) will be saved.

Homosexual acts (though not the orientation itself, that is merely disordered) are condemned as gravely sinful by the Bible. As long as the LGBT community maintains that such acts are not sinful or wrong, and any opposition to such acts is hate, their salvation is an unlikely prospect. To promote or fail to refute the proposition that Christianity condones homosexual acts will endanger the souls of many same-sex attracted individuals, and is thus gravely contrary to love. We can debate about the wisdom of the Huckabee-led Chik-fil-A Day. But if sinners take umbrage when we condemn their evil actions, we may not back down merely for the sake of their feelings. Immortal souls are at stake.