Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Saturday, 30 January 2016

"Big Lots" Dry Skin Relief Find

Silkience SPA Haus Moisturing Lotion with Oatmeal & Shea Butter 12 Fl Oz.

I usually buy large tubes of, (what I think is a copy of Aveeno,) called "Bath-scriptions" or something like that, at Big Lots, but they haven't had any the last few times I looked. I was able to stock up when I found some in  Big Lots while driving cross-country last year, but now it seems a lost cause.
Well, it's winter in the US, and even in the humid sub-tropics or equatorial rainforests the Dread Curse of Dry Skin has struck with a vengeance, and add that to my dermatitis, and I NEED SOMETHING!

Big Lots has this "Spa-Haus" product, made by Silkience, with colloidal oatmeal and shea, and, (da-dada-DAH!) virtually no scent, AND (add full brass to that fanfare,) it cost a buck.
For 12 ounces.
In a pump bottle.

Serious bargain.

Not as heavy a weight as I sometimes need, but perfect for putting on throughout the day (I put a bottle in the kitchen, and one on my desk at school, and one near the piano, and one where I surf and watch TV of an evening, and one on by night-stand, and....
Anyway, if you are similarly afflicted, hie thee to Big Lots.

Big Lots, my eczema is ever so grateful to you!

"God Loves a Cheerful Giver," and If the Giver Can Get a Little Somethin' Somethin' Out Of It For Himself....

Hey, it's a win/win, right?

One of the presidential candidates made a big deal about not taking part in a scheduled debate, and holding an alternative event to raise money for our wounded and needy veterans.

But any donations made on the "Trump for Veterans" page actually went to something called "The Donald J Trump Foundation."

What exactly is that?

The page on the Trump organization's website dealing with charities speaks of the Eric Trump Foundation which raises money for St Jude's Children's Hospital, Girl Up which works with the UN, the New York City Police Foundation, and the Police Athletic League.

Four charitable endeavors, none of which are "the Donald J Trump Foundation.

This non-profits website indicates it does exist, but  it is odd that the Trump organization itself has no mention of it, or what it does.

It may be all perfectly above board, but I think its fishy enough that it would be better to donate to something a little more stable for the time being, don't you?

Friday, 29 January 2016

Wondering How the Atheist Minister Fared, So I'm Entering the Wayback Machine,...

...with Mr Peabody and Sherman?

Not exactly.

I didn't fall off the turnip truck yesterday, I "get" the amorphous democracy of the definition of "information" on the Information Superhighway, I understand the voracious appetite for click-bait, and the concept of the slow news day, and the absence in most "news" outlets with nothing even remotely resembling a news gathering organization, so I have steeled myself to the existence of  absurdly out-of-date "news," with titles and ledes designed to provoke curiosity or outrage.

But every once in a blue moon I stumble across something from a while back and I am genuinely eager to know - how did it all turn out??!?!???
Sadly, it's often not really news so I am destined to live with disappointment.
An ordained United Church of Canada minister who believes in neither God nor Bible said Wednesday she is prepared to fight an unprecedented attempt to boot her from the pulpit for her beliefs.
In an interview at her West Hill church, Rev. Gretta Vosper said ...
“I don’t believe in...the god called God,” ...
Vosper, 57, who was ordained in 1993 and joined her east-end church in 1997, said the idea of an interventionist, supernatural being on which so much church doctrine is based belongs to an outdated world view....
“It’s mythology. We build a faith tradition upon it which shifted to find belief more important than how we lived.”
Vosper made her views clear as far back as a Sunday sermon in 2001 but her congregation stood behind her until a decision to do away with the Lord’s Prayer in 2008 prompted about 100 of the 150 members to leave. 
This was last August. So, how'd it all play out?

Well, a few weeks ago, it still hadn't.

Another denomination imploding?

Doctrinal Congregation?

Who needs'em?

Yes, I am being facetious.

Alas, I am not being irrelevant.
Pope Francis’ post-synodal apostolic exhortation devoted to the family will be published by the end of March....
[It] will be “a hymn to love, a love that wants to take care of the welfare of the young, to be close to wounded families to give them strength, a love that wants to be close to children as well as to all mankind in need. "...
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has studied the draft and sent a long note with several doctrinal remarks, rumored to be 40 pages in length. 
A senior Vatican source told the Register last week that the CDF has offered “all kinds of observations” on other documents as well during this pontificate, “but none of them are ever taken." The dicastery, like much of the Roman Curia, is largely left out of such processes.
Because what difference does doctrine make? as long as you're a nice person God doesn't care what you do. It's not as if we can't all come up with the Truth on our own, who needs to be taught? And it's not as if teachings are supposed to affect how we live our lives, right?

St Joseph, Guardian of the Family, Patron of the Universal Church, Terror of Demons.... pray for us.

On the other hand. what do I know about what's really taking place? (Although I have great trust in Edward Pentin.)
Be not askeered!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Planned Pandahood?

Imagine if an organization were trafficking in baby panda body parts.

Would anyone promise to "have their backs"?

"You, Me and the Apocalypse"

"A blast of fresh air"?
"An unpredictably enjoyable ride"?
"Wild but thoughtful"?

Really, Neil Genzlinger? Really?

What drek.

Let Me Get This Straight, AP, I Can Call Myself a Man, If I Want To....

Even though I have a uterus and the XX chromosomes with which I was born, and the breasts I, uh... grew along the way, I can call myself a "man" if I want to, and the Associated Press will respect that, and use male pronouns for me.

You know, if I said that was how I "self-identify."

But it doesn't matter that I self-identify as such, the AP won't call me "pro-life"?
I asked if they considered themselves “pro-life,” even though Associated Press style didn’t approve! AP’s preferred language is “anti-abortion,” which we’re using in this article.
Aside from that fascinating fact, this is a very interesting, and very honest casual survey of pro-life demonstrators, from the point of view of a journalist who... what, is pro choice? Probably, since she treats pro-lifers as an exotic, hitherto unknown bunch.
But her position is irrelevant, because it's just fair, honest reporting.
And it's nice to see acknowledged, for a change, that the Pro-Life movement is no more monolithic than the Pro-Choicers.
I was cracking ice off of the tips of my touch-screen gloves and surveying protesters, trying to learn who had come to the march and what kind of post-post-Roe v. Wade world they wanted to build....
The majority of the marchers weren’t protesting abortion simply as an abstract, political problem. Seventy-two percent of the people I surveyed told me that they knew someone personally who had had an abortion....
The crowd I surveyed matched some expectations of the anti-abortion movement (83 percent of people I spoke to were Catholic), but the crowd was younger (36 percent under 25) than I expected and, for a movement often lumped into a war on women, included more women than men (60 percent female).

5 Things Pro-Lifers Wish Their Anti-Life Friends Understood

That title make strike some readers as a touch dishonest, they may object to the tone of my post - really? that's the way you talk to your friends?
All I can say is, it's in answer to a post from someone on the other side of the question, and the phrases and words most likely to raise hackles are taken directly from her, (if paraphrased slightly,) in turn-about it fair play mode.
I am fully aware, and admit upfront that not every abortion supporter is guilty of everything of which I speak in this - would that the other writer had been as honest about pro-lifers..
5 Things Pro-Lifers Wish Their Anti-Life Friends Understood
Abortion is one of the single most divisive issues between friends and family members. Everyone has an opinion on it, and everyone thinks that their opinion is the right one. One of the unfortunate results of this is that we rarely get to engage in a meaningful and germane discussion about abortion. Each “side” gets so entrenched in their own rhetoric that we usually don’t make any strides toward developing greater understanding and empathy.

So here is my discussion opener. I think this is an important topic that deserves an open mind and some time spent in contemplation.

1. We want women to lead happy, fulfilling lives too.

Some say women who make the choice to have an abortion are struggling, as if having struggled with something makes any decision you make okay.
Someone might say, "The popular right-wing slogan is, 'Abortion Hurts Women.' I would posit that, in many cases, the women are already hurting."
I would posit that killing the life inside them is not going to stop their hurting, but will add to the pain.

2. We Are Pro-LIFE, Not Anti-ABORTION

Or, to put it another way: we are trying to stop a life from being destroyed, not stop a medical procedure.
We believe that the pressures put on many women and girls relieves them of culpability in the death of the child.
But saving the family embarrassment, the man his financial responsibility, the medical facility or insurers from spending time, effort and money?

People who say "just getting rid of it" is an easy answer are deluding themselves.

3. Banning Abortions Doesn’t Prevent Them (Oh, look! something on which we agree!)

Which is why making the killing of the unborn unthinkable is more important than making it illegal.
Prattling on about "access to safe abortions" is disingenuous since it's not safer for the baby whose life is being taken (obviously!)

4. We Think You Shouldn’t Call Yourself ‘Pro-Choice’ If the Person Whose Life You Are Okay With Taking Has No Say In It

This is one I’d really love to hash out with a so-called “Pro-Choicer.” There are children aborted who are perfectly healthy. Do you consider that your “pro-choice” effort is best spent making rom-coms with an abortion as the comedic centerpiece of the movie? or would it be better spent fighting for pre- and post-natal healthcare for mothers AND babies?

5. We Wish You Would Stop Being So Damn Glib

Can we cut it out with the personal attacks already? It doesn’t make you morally superior; it just makes you a jerk.

Here’s an idea: instead of printing a slogan demeaning someone elses devotional or religious practices, make up a sign that says, “I Respect Your Position.”
Try taking that one to your counter-demonstrations.

Oh, wait, you don’t want to do that? You want to pour water over some elderly bishop and show your naked breasts with slogans smeared on them and shout down speakers with whom you disagree?

Because that's empowering women?
Get over yourself.

Obscenity and blasphemy don't add anything to a complicated discussion. And treating the issue of abortion as if there is moral equivalence between the deliberate killing of an unborn human being and having your educational, financial and career horizons limited is insulting to everyone’s intelligence. We’re better than that.

Speaking of Heresy...

It seems to me that if one is accused of heresy by those who have the authority to make such a call, one should be obedient and wait for the test of time, not claim that those the Holy Spirit or dumb luck has placed in authority have no authority.

Just sayin'...

New Primer from Minister of Education in Alberta

(I should 'fess up, up front - I DETEST the phrase, "best practices." I can see the pursed lips of a facilitator pretending her orders are merely advice before we break up into small discussion groups, every time I hear it.)
Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water,
Jill decided she's a boy,
Jack claims to be your daughter.
No, I kid...
What the M of E actually issued was a set of protocols? suggestions?
Best practices.
Mandatory guidelines for enabling the mental illness that is currently most fashionable.

Image result for "time to make the donuts" in dress 
 "Time to make the donuts peace with the insanity"
The Catholic bishop of Calgary's having none of it.
 Bully for him.

Speaking of Dutifuls and Prodigals....

I'm not the nicest person in the world.
I like to make jokes, and I do it too often at other people's expense.
I'm trying not to snark too much at political figures at the moment, (not because they don't deserve it, but because politics is actually making me a little sick so I'm trying not to think about it,) and I fear that the excess snark not so utilized is being deployed in other directions.

So I don't want to make this too snarky, and I REALLY don't want to indulge in noting that some kettles share the same coloration as myself.

That said--

There seems to be a kind of dionysian glee, (a paradox, yes) taken in lamenting that certain persons who should not have received the Blessed Sacrament have partaken of the Eucharist throughout the Catholic blogosphere.

The commentary, (this is generally in com-boxes, not the work of writers with any reputation or standing,) almost wishes perdition on separated brethren and sistren rather than praying that they might be saved, that all might be one.

I do not condone the sacrilegious, (even if unintended, it is sacrilege,) reception of Communion at Mass, nor the fuzzy thinking and preaching that may have encouraged it, but come on - people must be presumed to be of good will, and people of good will need to be catechized, not have anathemas hurled at them.

There was an excellent reflection in Magnificat this past week, can't recall the writer, that essentially told of the truth of a Word being attested to in any of three way: the speaker can be trusted, the word itself is self-evidently true, or those who already hold it to be true inspire confidence in it.

Orthodox Catholics Are Obliged To Behave In A Manner Worthy Of The Vocation In Which The Are Called.

You cannot draw people to the Truth if you make that Truth seem ugly.

Time for the Monthly Tribal Council of Dutiful Sons of Either Sex and Other Righteous Persons

Over at Catholic Exchange:
Coming onto Those Interwebs one Thursday, I read a woman on Catholic Exchange complain to her readers about the conversation of some women who had been in church with her. I cringed for those women who had no idea that someone was talking negatively about them. Gossip and detraction are not from God. How sad that this writer had just emerged from the place where heaven meets earth—the Holy Eucharist—and rather than praising God, she was judging the people in the pews.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have read such a display: not only about the things people say, but the clothes people wear, the way they pray, the way they sing, the way they parent their children, and more. The Enemy wants to distract us from the true purpose of Mass, and here is one way he succeeds.
Except, of course that's not really what she wrote.

As for me, I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast not made me like other bloggers....

Here's the thing - this seems to be the season for, I dunno... running out of spiritual matters to write about? Christmas almost over*, Lent not yet here, lousy weather, Pope's not travelling.

I know! I'll write a column/blog judging people who are too judgey!

Is it my imagination?
As an acknowledged member of the Tribe of the Dutiful Son, (that snotty Prodigal's better behaved elder brother,) I think I recognize a fellow Righteous Person when I see her.
*Yeah. You heard me.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

So Much For "Both/And"

A number of Catholics....
Wait, I realize I should define terms - by "Catholics" I mean people who actually believe and profess and practice what the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church instituted by Jesus Christ teaches.

Anyway, a number of Catholics are het up over a kind of silly facebook post.
And he copyrighted this! Honest.
The poor guy being attacked, despite seeming to have made a living by, er... writing words?... just doesn't have much of a way with them.
He's not necessarily wrong in what he wants to say, merely in how he says it, e.g., "the assembly should be the focus of the Liturgy," (from a laughable, long ago article that was actually trying to make a reasonable point.)
Well, what can you expect from someone who has no interest in clarity, but in "celebrating ambiguity."

No, SERIOUSLY, you can't make this stuff up.
My answer? he might as well have typed,
Ministry is not making sense.
     It is making poetry.
Ministry is not getting things done,
      It is getting attention

Thus saith the Lord: Shalt THOU build ME a house to dwell in?

I'm always tickled at today's first reading, in my mind I kind of hear the Lord's voice booming out and interrupting the national anthem of the Kingdom of Pelagia:
Let us build a house where love can dwell...
Nice tune, at least.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Transgressive Thoughts

Women's clothing, particularly for formal or dressy ocassions, looks better if you're also wearing the appropriate undercrackers and other of-course-they're-not-really-unmentionables-otherwise-you'd-have-to-shop-for-them-using-your-mime-skills.

It has nothing to do with being, or with being informed that one is, horrors! "not perfect."

Are Your Little Ones Not Behaving?

Maybe it's cyclical, a time-of-year thing when some Churchy Folk start writing those Why Can't Your Kids Behave?/Why Do You Have To Object To My Kids Misbehaving? columns and blogs and posts, but they seem to be popping up quite a bit.

Too bad we can't all agree, yes, some annoying behavior of other people's children is age- and disability appropriate and to be expected so get over it; as well as yes, some parents are too oblivious/lazy/self-centered to curb annoying behavior with discipline that is age- and disability-appropriate to their children.

But we can't.  So, here's the solution.

Farm it out to a big corporation!

Why can't we have Disney franchise Cry Rooms?
Touting the new property’s wide variety of unique and imaginative attractions, representatives from the Walt Disney World Resort announced Monday the opening of Ordeal Kingdom, a new theme park specifically designed for full-scale family meltdowns.
(Yes, it's the Onion, I know it isn't real.)

Monday, 25 January 2016


' "Weaved"? It's WEAVE, noun, present tense..."

I might have to see a satirical examination of race in America with a script that contains such a line.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Holy Week Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...

People seem quite broken up, for reasons noble and otherwise, about the official sanctioning of an illicit act that has been practiced in deliberate and, frankly, insolent disobedience, to whit -
Adding feminae selectae to the mix for the Holy Thursday foot-washing.

No doubt this will contribute to the local economy in some places as the demand for a quick pedi touch-up rises.

I think it can be a bit indelicate, (especially in consideration of the lack of sense, not to say decorum or modesty, too many exhibit in determining their outfits for Church,)  to have a priest kneeling with his face level with... well.
Image result for washing feet parish thursday

(And I think rewarding the flouting of liturgical law is bone stupid.)

Anyway, let the reminder go out, WEAR TROUSERS, LADIES!

That isn't the change that bothers me, I am alarmed and upset at the prospect of the day of Easter being fixed - oh, not that we and our Orthodox brothers and sisters, (and even the Anglicans, at least what's left of them in 5 to 10 years,) would finally get on the same page, (of the calendar,) but that it should be fixed, without regard to the lunar calendar, on the Xth Sunday of the month of Whosis every year.
Justin Welby   Image result for Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros IIImage result for francis pope
It is, and should remain the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox.

The full moon in Holy Week, allowing for pilgrims to travel at night, and for greater visibility in Liturgies and devotions taking place out of doors after sundown is a lovely reminder of the way, even in a post-agrarian society, we are connected to nature, to the earth and the moon and the sun and the stars.

And we should be connected, in a far more profound way than we are connected to the fiscal calendar, or the school year, or when the rates go down for spring break travel.

Don't do it Fathers!
I'm not the only one., by the way, who feels strongly about this.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Can a Musical Bear the Child of a Reality Show About Home Decor?

Haven't begun watching the new A and E War and Peace, (heck, haven't really finished Sroogeapalooza,) but I really had to laugh at this description by the Go Fug Yourself Ladies, (just reminding you that "fugly" means frighteningly ugly.....) of a flashback scene of Pierre Bezukhov's days of debauchery, wherein they fret that the writers or director had never actually been to a party:

RARELY do people sing to a window that's been liberated from its frame. This looks like the marriage of Les Mis and Love It Or List It.

Empty Chairs & Empty Tables

Voting and Self-Interest

My TwitFace, or Facer, or LockdIn or whatever they call it, friends and 'quaintances, with increasing frequency seem to be deriding other people for being "stupid" enough to consistently vote against their own self-interest.

Forgive my ignorance, but doesn't any decent person regularly do things against his own self-interest?

Isn't one, as a Christian, or an enlightened secularist, supposed to do the right thing, not the thing that is most salutary for ones bank account or social standing or comfort?

It's a sad argument to be making, and it says more about the critic than the person casting the vote.

Rolling Stone Reporter Not Noted For Her Journalistic Rigor Strikes Again, But That's Not My Question

A "journalist" who's been down this road before apparently helped whip up outrage about a innocent man accused of rape.
But, you know, it was a chance to get in some licks on an institution that stands against everything much of what Rolling Stone is for, so what difference did it make if it was all a lie, and if men went to jail while the liar made a financial killing, and had their reputations ruined, and died in prison?

What difference?
Image: unsavoryagents.com
It served its purpose.

It's a horrible, horrible, ugly, ugly story, and it's pretty completely covered in the linked Newsweek article, but I am left with one very off topic question.

How is a 67-year-old man suffering from heart disease handcuffed to a hospital bed, kept under armed guard, and possibly "denied a ... lifesaving heart operation"; when we are a society so solicitous of the welfare of our prison population that their elective sex-change operations are covered?
Image result for least convincing transexual

Maybe Pennsylvania is backward....
(Yes, I'm aware that that is not a trans-sexual, much less a prison inmate, but rather than marvelous Sean Bean. Or is it Seane Beane? or Swhawn Bhawn? Anyway, it's a joke. Just because it isn't funny doesn't mean it's not a joke.)

What Mercy Is Not

If you owe your brother five bucks, and he says, nah, don't worry about it, keep it?
That is mercy.
If a mugger gives you back five bucks from your wallet, for subway fare so you're not stranded in the bad part of town where he robbed you?
Not mercy.
If I hand in my term paper the day after it was due and the teacher accepts it anyway?
If I hand it in apologetically and he asks, what are you talking about? the deadline isn't till next week...?
Not mercy.
If a deadly virus is spreading, and the nurse gives a child the last vaccine, which should have been for her, that is mercy.
If the nurse forgoes vaccinating the child because the little one cries, afraid it will hurt?
Not mercy.
If a mentor supervises her protege over and over, however many times it takes, to impart a knowledge or skill before he retires, that is mercy.
If a mentor cleans up her protege's messes over and over, and retires leaving the protege at the mercy of his own ignorance and incompetence?
Not mercy.

Mercy is a grace, is it not? a share in something good, something of value, to which one is not entitled.

If it should have been yours all along, how is that mercy?
But worse, if despite seeming pretty or shiny or tasty or fun it leaves you worse off than before, how is that mercy?

"Jesus Betrays His People"

(I know this is grossly out of date, blame Facebook's algorithms, which somehow decided this should be linked to something current I was reading today.)
As the Lord concludes his meeting with His apostles this week, He reveals Himself as grossly out of touch with both grassroots Judaism and with the Sanhedrin. While there were certainly some who objected, He set forth an agenda that has little to do with the Huffington Post's wishes, and is opposed by the majority of Huffington Pot's readers.
I realize poor Miss Duddy-Burke supports certain sins, perhaps because she herself is unable to resist their temptation, or from mistaken notions of mercy toward others who are drawn to them.
And it is undoubtedly true that many sins are almost universally committed.
But where would anyone with even the most tenuous grasp of what Jesus and His Bride teach get the idea that the morality or immorality of an act or attitude,  of, yes, its fidelity to the Gospel of Jesus, is determined by majority vote?
Most people lie, for instance - is that evidence that it isn't wrong?

What about that survey, (probably deeply flawed and inaccurate,) that purported to show that one third of college men would commit rape given a consequence-free opportunity?
HAD the number been higher - would that have somehow made rape a morally permissible choice, and signal a "betrayal" by those who were still ag'n' it?

Use your brains, people, if you won't use your souls, at least use your brains!

Madonna and Child

Sometimes things work out, in a manner that just seems far too coincidental.

Doctors believe new mother Luisa Fernanda Urrea saved the baby's life by feeding her while she waiting for medical help

An abandoned newborn baby girl was saved from starving to death when a heroine cop breastfed her while they waited for paramedics.
New mother Luisa Fernanda Urrea - a police officer in La Marina, Colombia - had been called to a remote forest settlement when locals found the baby in the undergrowth.
Medics say that without her maternal support, the hours-old baby might have succumbed to starvation and hypothermia.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

In Some Matters, There Is No Such Thing As "Neutrality"

Also from the href
="http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/who-we-teach/youth/catholic-scouting-questions.cfm">bishop regarding the Girl Scouts:
At the same time, attentiveness is needed to avoid programming and initiatives that are not in accord with Catholic teaching. In addition, the Committee shared concerns with GSUSA about particular areas of research on the GSUSA website related to human sexuality and contraception, given the impossibility of a neutral treatment of such issues. The research remains on GSUSA’s website, though a disclaimer has been added. 
True enough..
But if they were serious in their reservations, that last sentence would have been, "Though a disclaimer has been added, the research remains on GSUSA’s website."

It's like a judge delivering a decision
If he leads off with, "while such and such...." you know that such and such counts for nothing, that the decision is going to ignore such and such and its implications, and that the judge has come to the opposite conclusion that such and such would have seemed to the naive to have militated for.

You can no more be "neutral" or non-judgemental about the private murder of unborn babies than you can be neutral about rape, or chattel slavery.
Allowing them to exist is support.
Silence = Complicity.

Girl Scouts and Catholic Values

As it happens, I am allergic to Girl Scout cookies.
That said,
Each year [the Girl Scouts]
contribute over one million unrestricted dollars in membership dues to the [World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts]. ...WAGGGS has indicated to GSUSA that less than 3% of its budget is allocated towards advocacy efforts which cover a number of topics, including basic education and health care.
The [US bishops] recognized that both GSUSA and WAGGGS have been responsive to particular concerns. However, GSUSA’s limited purview to address particular positions within WAGGGS that are objectionable based on Catholic teaching and the natural moral law (e.g., “sexual and reproductive health/rights”) is a concern. [ya think?]In addition, with regard to the unrestricted membership dues, any monetary amount applied to advocacy or educational efforts deemed problematic is still a concern. [Because, say it with me boys and girls, MONEY IS A FUNGIBLE COMMODITY.]
In sum, GSUSA’s relationship with WAGGGS over the years is understandable ["understandable" as, "permitting of comprehension", or "understandable" as in "deserving of our understanding"?] given the history and purpose of the organizations; however, the current relationship remains a concern due to WAGGGS’ problematic promotion of “sexual and reproductive health/rights” and other matters.
The USCCB LMFLY, as far too often, says the right thing, but says it in Catholish, so that the take away can be whatever you want it to be.

"Reproductive rights" doesn't mean anything other than access to contraception and abortion on demand any more than "states rights" in the 19th century meant anything other than legal chattel slavery.

"Bowie's Interest in Chistianity"

One last What the Folderol about the reaction to David Bowie's passing, in Crux:
Bowie’s interest in Christianity can also be gleaned from the fact that he played a bit part as Pontius Pilate in the controversial 1998 Martin Scorsese film “The Last Temptation of Christ.”
Uh, sure.


The way Alanis Morissette's interest in Christianity can be gleaned from her playing God in the 1999 Kevin Smith film, "Dogma."

Let Us Now Chide Famous Men Persons

A number of... oh, for pete's sake, they are all men, a number of men on whom fame and fortune smiled most winsomely have died recently.
Much ink was spilled, many pixels employed first to mourn them, then to say, in at least one case, hold on, wait one mo...

Likewise, there have been a number of protests, and in some cases tantrums, of late, at honors given long ago to men long dead whom many today find not so honorable.
In the US, most of this involves honoring men who fought and died in defense of the right to hold other human beings as chattel slaves, (oh, or who were revered football coaches.)
At Oxford, it involves Cecil Rhodes, who is accused, (I can't find the details,) of "mass murder," by students who have no problem attending university on his dime, it should be noted.

One of the things I've always been drawn to in the stories of the saints is the quirks to overcome and the sins of which to repent most of them, all of them, had.
In the "great men who did bad/awful/bizarre/shady things" stakes there are those like Martin Luther Kin Jr who betrayed their wives and marriage vows, there are "freedom fighters" who are indistinguishable from terrorists like Menachem Begin, there is Wagner who was a self-centered egomaniac, there is St JP II who treated Oscar Romero with less than saintly kindness.
And speaking of saints, there was Augustine of Hippo who delighted in his transgressive nature, Thomas a Becket's whoring and roistering, "Gypsy" Mary...
For that matter, there is Blessed Theresa of Calcutta who suffered agonizingly "dry" periods, the kind of spiritual torture that non-spiritual people seem to think is evidence of some sort of hypocrisy - see! she had DOUBTS!!!!

Oddly, secular society, despite celebrating and lionizing some sins, can't wrap its mind around this. Ooh, she did something evil? he had doubts? not a saint, off with his (statue's) head!!!!
So you get the Guardian, in a piece enumerating the lapses in Mohandas Gandhi's c.v., reminding their readers, "there's no such thing as a saint."

Reading around Those Interwebs about Mahatma, I gather the details of what is claimed as proof of his feet of clay may indeed be accurate but the big picture painted thereby? very likely not.
One "writer" (although I am unsure that one can claim to be a writer and type a phrase such as, "if Hitler would of [sic] heeded Gandhi’s words") believes, like so many today, that anyone who thinks any limits should be put on sexual expression is "sex obsessed," (he betrays his own obsessions, with his gratuitous boot licking of one of the more prominent demi-gods in The Cult of Atheism's little pantheon and even more gratuitous swipe at the Church.

Why are we such seekers after all or nothing? why can't we accept that all good men have their flaws, all bad men have some redeeming characteristic?

Why can't we admire whiteout being hagiographers? criticize without seeking to wipe every previous word of praise from public discourse?
In Anhalt's screenplay from Lucienne Hill's translation of Anouilh's Becket... so i don't know who gets credit for the line.... Becket fondly chides a newly devoted disciple, about being such "a creature of excess."

Aren't we all?

Look, just LOOK at the lunatic words spilled in the wake of David Bowie's death!
I'm not the Grief Police and I'll take people at their word that others have indeed "pissed on" their mourning, telling them how they should or should not express their sorrow, but I did not see any of that.
I did see unctuous and incomprehensible tweets, and overblown encomiums that seemed to betray the principles of what should have been the tweeter's first priorities, and well as ludicrous brushing aside of mentions of the singer's pretty publicly known and acknowledged sins crimes - I had no idea that statutory rape isn't rape if the now grown victim was okay with it at the time, and that it is "condescending" to say that a victim "is entitled to believe" that she was not a victim, or that that is "brushing aside an adult woman’s agency and replacing the narrative of her own life that she knows for herself to be true" with, umm.... facts.

Thanks to a great moralist, I know that great artists don't, or maybe can't, commit "rape rape" but one wonders if, say, one of Jerry Sandusky's victims said their encounter was no big deal, or if the predator being eulogized were a priest, how different the reaction from all the Internet Tribes would be.

That being said, while a great and true point is made by writing, "it can’t be a crime when rubbish entertainers sleep with children, and all fine and dandy when great ones do," saying "one would have had to have a heart of stone not to laugh at the lush smorgasbord of lachrymosity that accompanied his death earlier this week" is a snark too far.

Because while, yeah, some of wailing and gnashing of teeth is from "the chorus of people with nothing to say, but who’ll say it anyway, for a fee," plenty of it is simply authentic expressions of emotion from people who want to share their love for the late singer and his music with the wonderful immediacy that social media now allow.

I Like Toronto and I Don't Need a Doctor Very Often, and Sometimes the Law ISN'T and Ass, But Just the Same...

.... I'm glad I don't live there, because apparently this cretin is allowed to practice medicine.
A 42-year-old Toronto physician recently tried to sue a woman with whom he’d had a casual sexual relationship for more than $4 million in damages, claiming “non-pathological emotional harm of an unplanned parenthood.”
The man, identified only as PP in a court ruling, alleged in a statement of claim that the woman, known as DD, told him she was taking birth control, and so the two proceeded to have sex on several occasions without a condom when they were seeing each other in 2014.
But then DD got pregnant, and PP wasn’t pleased, so he sued her....
The facts in the case are “salacious,” [the judge] said, so salacious that the judge decided on his own initiative to hide the identities of both parties and seal the court file for fear the child might one day find the ruling and realize he or she was the focus of it.
[The judge] wrote that PP was not seeking to avoid child support obligations, as he is already making payments.
“To use the language of the statement of claim, PP was emotionally harmed because he was deprived of the choice of falling in love, marrying, enjoying married life and, when he and his wife thought ‘the time was right,’ having a baby,” the judge wrote in his 18-page ruling.
That's a special kind of stupid.
And an even more special kind of self-centered. 

And yes, I'm perfectly aware of the derivation of cretin.

I think it suits this moral imbecile, whom we all must hope and pray somehow finds salvation.

Who Am I To Get All Judgey?

Is it my imagination, or do people often claim to be "non-judgemental" when what they really mean is that they are "lacking in judgement"?

Reading For Comprehension

An opinion piece in Homiletic and Pastoral Review has occasioned quite a bit of comment in my online ovals, (they are far too off-kilter to call "circles.")
It is called "Questions Regarding the Use of Latin in Celebrating the Mass" and it boils down pretty much to Do you think it should be? and then an answer of No.
The Pharmacist/Philosopher starts off with an example of a verse of a Latin hymn and asks the reader to "pray the text...without performing an internet search or using an online translation."

I'm not typical because I took Latin in middle and high school.
Well, I suppose I should say rather than "took," that I was "given" Latin.
And I gave precious little back.
Oh, I did well enough to get highest marks on the College Board "achievement test", but that tells you all you need to know about the follies of reading too much into test scores.
I've forgotten most of it, but I had no problem with his example, the one word I didn't recognize I could deduce, from the English "irrigation."

Other in my online ovals might think I already knew that verse, but I am a little ashamed to say that while I recognized it as the sequence for Pentecost, I honestly did not know the Latin, I have only ever sung or spoken it in English, (and often done neither as the celebrant didn't have time for all that stuff, optional or otherwise,) but that is neither here nor there.

He goes on to fret about possible lack of understanding of the Eucharistic Prayer/Canon, on the part of the priest, and therefore, a defect in his intention, which would invalidate the Sacrament.
If a celebrant doesn't know, and remember, and understand the EP in his native language well enough to be quite sure of his intentions when reading from a missal in Tagalog, in French, hell, in Klingon, were it licitly translated, HE IS NOT COMPETENT TO SAY MASS PERIOD.

It is odd, is it not? that anti-Latin forces, (among which I count this Pharmacist/Philosopher,) continue to harp on a priest's possible incompetence, lack of comprehension and mispronunciation of Latin, and no one ever seems to campaign against non-Latino priests stumbling through Spanish-language Mass to be pastoral; or worry that the English language Mass celebrated in the United States by your local Ghanaian or Pakistani priest may not be valid.

My, I do go on...
And I haven't even arrived at my actual points.

There are two of them.

One of them is the mistaken message given by too much emphasis on comprehension -- that the miracle of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the confection of the Eucharist, the infusion of Grace by the actions of God the Holy Spirit is somehow open to human understanding.



It is beyond our comprehension.

And the other is amusement that the type of Catholic, (I do not include the Pharmacist/Philosopher in this, I have no idea of where he stands on this,) who is most likely to say that the people can't PRAY unless the WORDS are simple enough and familiar enough, is also the type of Catholic most likely to love and repeat ad nausum the probably misattributed to St Francis of Assisi, "PREACH the Gospel at all times, if  necessary, use WORDS."

It seems to me that the Person to Whom prayers are directed is more sure to understand them perfectly even if we don't use words than is the person to whom preaching the Gospel is directed, no?

Maybe that's just me.

(Oh, and whilst I think of it, "Some of the differences between the two Masses are the direction the priest faces while celebrating the Mass, the music, the prayers, and the languages used during the celebrations"? Umm.... no. Of  those four exactly ONE is actually a "differences between the two Masses.")

Monday, 18 January 2016

So, These Two Corinthians Walk Into a Bar...

... and the first Corinthian says --

Com'on, I can't have been the only one whose thoughts that way ran, upon hearing Donald Trump trying to sound as if he had more than a glancing interest in and knowledge of Christianity.

So, this first Corinthian says, "I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose."

Actually, that's rther apt in light of current politics in this country....

"What Does This Mean?" Indeed....

From a report on this morning's "fervorino":
Saul was rejected by God as King of Israel because he disobeyed, preferring to listen to the people rather than the will of God. The people, after a victory in battle, wanted to offer a sacrifice of the best animals to God, because, he said, “it’s always been done that way.” But God, this time, did not want that. The prophet Samuel rebuked Saul: “Does the Lord so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the Lord?”
Jesus teaches us the same thing in the Gospel, the Pope explained. When the doctors of the law criticized Him because His disciples did not fast “as had always been done,” Jesus responded with these examples from daily life: “No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins are ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.”
What does this mean? That He changes the law? No! That the law is at the service of man, who is at the service of God – and so man ought to have an open heart. ‘It’s always been done this way’ is a closed heart, and Jesus tells us, ‘I will send you the Holy Spirit and He will lead you into the fullness of truth.’ If you have a heart closed to the newness of the Spirit, you will never reach the full truth. And your Christian life will be a half-and-half life, a patched life, mended with new things, but on a structure that is not open to the voice of the Lord—a closed heart, so that you are not able to change others....
It is the sin of so many Christians who cling to what has always been done and who do not allow others to change. And they end up with half a life, [a life that is] patched, mended, meaningless.”
The sin, he said, “is a closed heart,” that “does not hear the voice of the Lord, that is not open to the newness of the Lord, to the Spirit that always surprises us.” This rebellion, says Samuel, is “the sin of divination,” and obstinacy is the sin of idolatry:
“Christians who obstinately maintain ‘it’s always been done this way,' this is the path, this is the street—they sin: the sin of divination. It’s as if they went about by guessing: ‘What has been said and what doesn’t change is what’s important; what I hear—from myself and my closed heart—more than the Word of the Lord.’ Obstinacy is also the sin of idolatry: the Christian who is obstinate sins! The sin of idolatry. ‘And what is the way, Father?’ Open the heart to the Holy Spirit, discern what is the will of God.”
Pope Francis noted that in Jesus’ time, good Israelites were in the habit of fasting. “But there is another reality,” he said. “There is the Holy Spirit who leads us into the full truth. And for this reason he needs an open heart, a heart that will not stubbornly remain in the sin of idolatry of oneself,” imagining that my own opinion is more important than the surprise of the Holy Spirit.
I'm serious. I know it may be a translation problem, but I have no idea what the Holy Father means half the time. I'll read one sentence or phrase, think I understand the sense of it, and then be completely flummoxed as to what the next sentence has to do with it.
The Splendor of Huh.

Who is the Strunk of the Vatican?

It has annoyed me, upset me, angered me, hurt me, galvanized me, for lo! these many years, that the world at large tried, and then Christians generally acquiesced, in the mothballing of practices such as noting dates with "A.D.", (and I have pretty much refused,) and the capitalizing of pronouns used for Him.

And by "Him," of course, I mean GOD. The LORD. The ALMIGHTY CREATOR OF ALL THAT IS. (Oh, and also for Her, Who is His Bride.)

When a blogger noted that Rome Reports not only uses the honorific capitalization, but uses it for the Pope, I assumed he was wrong, or joking, or... well, I need to stop assuming something is not so simply because it seems too absurd to be so.
The Report was all about how the Pope will use videos to,
expand on His teachings and make His monthly intentions for Christians to pray in a never before seen broadcasted spot like this...
The project is an initiative of the World Network of Prayer of the Pope and was conducted by The Machi Communications agency in collaboration with ROME REPORTS and the Vatican Television Center. From now on, every month, a video like this where the Pope will present His concerns and objectives will be published....
This is an unprecedented initiative, yet it showcases Pope Francis' approach in bringing His concerns to the world in a more direct and personal way.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

"Undercover Investigator Dismisses KKK Lawsuit as 'Frivolous'"

To what lengths should undercover journalists and activists be allowed to go to expose the truth?
Can you believe this?
The Klan is suing the civil rights group that released a series of undercover videos exposing its role in the suppression of minorities civil rights.
The group Center for Racial Equality Progress responded on Thursday that the lawsuit is “frivolous” and they have “done nothing more than tell the truth about the KKK’s lawless operations.”
The lawsuit, filed in a California district court, calls CREP a “complex criminal enterprise” and alleges that they created false companies and identifications, violated contracts, and illegally taped KKK officials “with the ultimate goal of interfering with the Klan's rights to free association.”
Last summer, the Center for Racial Equality Progress released a series of undercover videos featuring top KKK officers discussing vote suppression. The videos were part of an investigative report....
CREP members posed as white supremacists and met with KKK leaders to discuss a partnership, offering various amounts of money....

In their suit, the KKK accused Center for Racial Equality Progress of using deception and falsehood to tape KKK officials without their consent....
“Defendants peppered KKK members with requests for meetings, lying at every step about who they were and what they were doing,” the suit alleged. “One Grand Wizard made time to meet with Defendants in good faith. He was completely unaware that they were being secretly taped and that they would later be featured in malicious videos.”....The videos were heavily edited and “manipulated,” the KKK's lawyer claimed. However, in addition to the investigative videos that were edited for brevity, CREP released the full footage of each of the conversations on its website.
 Can you believe that there are politicians and government officials who support the Klan's suit, and insist that they have reasonable expectation of keeping what they do secret, that such "stings" are unethical?
Can you believe that some have declared that they know the videos "misleading" and "dishonest" WITHOUT ACTUALLY WATCHING THEM?

No, of course not.

Because it wasn't the Klan whose ugly dealings were exposed to the light of day.
It was the Abortion Industry.
 Image result for josh earnest
"Well, no, I haven't actually seen them, but even so I can tell those mean pro-life people put them out not because of news value, but shock value."
Will the successors to Stetson Kennedy succeed?

Friday, 15 January 2016

The "Weight" of Beauty

Is it true that in today's culture Beauty carries no "emotional, intellectual or spiritual weight"?

I refuse to believe it so.

I think this one member of the chattering class is correct that the chattering class, by and large large, account it so, but I will not believe that the great bulk of humanity sees it that way.

I think much of High, or, again, what the chattering class chooses almost arbitrarily to proclaim "High Art," is intended to be unbeautiful, and by that intention also renders itself untrue.

Frankly, I wonder if that isn't why the rest of us no longer care much what Our Betters tell us is Art To Be Reckoned With. The same kind of disconnect between what TPTB tell voters is so, and what the voters suspect is really so has led to the, in some cases truly horrifying, populism we are experiencing.

We commoners don't necessarily see things as they are, but we sure as hell know it isn't the way in which they are being presented to us.

A Story of Punishment, Redmption.... and HOW Does My Mind Work?

Lovely little piece in Catholic World Report about three murderers. three inmates in Italian prison, doing their time and working their salvation out.

There main occupation is as bakers, making communion bread for the Eucharist.

And what trips up my mind as I'm reading?
“Above everything else, I hope to be forgiven by God for what I’ve done,” [one] said.

He recounted the process of making the hosts: “In the morning, we say a short prayer, a Hail Mary, an Our Father, we make the dough, have some coffee, smoke a cigarette and begin.”

[He] hopes to leave prison while he is still young, saying, “When I get out of prison I hope to get married, have children, a family.”
They smoke a coffin nail before making the hosts?!???.

Big Honkin' Schismatic Chickens Coming Home to Roost

I genuinely feel for both sides in this, (hence by blocking out mention of the cause of their disagreement,) I do believe they are all trying, as they understand it, to live out their Gospel vocation, but seriously, what did they expect?
I do not hold with the borderline schismatics in the Church, (by which I mean the OHCA,) who say that our separated brethren best serve the Lord by trying to be the best separated brethren they can be rather than returning to the OHCA, but nor can I gloat over this shambles.
A meeting of national leaders of the Anglican Communion on Thursday issued a statement reprimanding the Episcopal Church, its American branch, for having allowed its clergy to [XXXXXXX].
“Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on [XXXXXXX] represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage,” a Jan. 14 statement from the meeting reads....
The Anglican Communion has been in tension in recent years over the issues of [XXXXXXX] . Since 2003, the Episcopal Church has made moves to be more tolerant of or even welcoming to [XXXXXXX] . These moves have drawn sharp criticism from Anglican communities elsewhere...
The Primates 2016 statement notes that “We gathered as Anglican Primates to pray and consider how we may preserve our unity in Christ given the ongoing deep differences that exist among us concerning our understanding of [XXXXXXX].”
“The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds [XXXXXXX]. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.”
The statement called the Episcopal Church's decision “unilateral” and lacking “Catholic unity. 

Image result for henry viii 
"Unity, shmunity! where'd'ya THINK 
this was all gonna lead?"

Thursday, 14 January 2016

“I said in the end that I believed Jesus Christ was who He said He was and therefore I followed Him and the Sacraments –- for which you need the Church”

I am slightly interested in the book discussed here, The Gentle Traditionalist, but I'm REALLY interested in the reviewer's friend who had this blog post's "title" in answer to much anti-Catholic commentary from "lapsed' friends.

I believe Him, I follow Him, and I thank Him for leaving us His sacraments to be administered by His Church.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

"Excesses"? The Germans Really ARE a Tolerant Bunch!

I like to give the benefit of the doubt to someone whose words I can only read in translation.

I have no German outside of a few art song phrases.

So when I read that after what some think is too long a period of time, (might one say, an "excessive" delay...?) a German bishop has spoken out about the organized gangs of molesters and thieves that plagued New Year's celebrations in their country, and he is quoted as decrying the disturbing and intolerable "excesses in Cologne and other large cities," I figure something was lost in translation.

But here is the German:
Die Exzesse in Köln und anderen Großstädten sind für unsere Gesellschaft zutiefst verstörend und können in keiner Weise toleriert werden.
"Excesses," to me, implies that which in moderation is perfectly acceptable, no?
As if a little bit of pickpocketing and grab-ass with unwilling victims would have been fine, all fun and games? but the perpetrators just went a bit too far?

Ah, the Germans....

Yeah, Planned Parenthood Really Did Say Something That Stupid and That Evil

I'm not a very trusting person.
I read something, or I hear something, particularly on a polarizing issue, even from someone with whom I generally agree, and wonder, really? you're not exaggerating a bit? or okay, maybe so, but what's the context? That sort of thing.
I have trouble, from time to time, because when he says something on certain contentious topics I tend to ask Himself, how do you know? and he always hears, implicit in my question, I don't trust you, when I mean, I might not trust your sources.
Because, you know, Those Interwebs.

Anyway, Lifesite, a very strong advocate of the right to life, (as well as of other issues, some of which are only peripherally connected to their main goal,) naturally takes a very adversarial position regarding the chief purveyor of private murder of the unborn in this country.
And, like most advocacy journalists, they may not reveal all the shades in an issue on which they report.
An example would be claims that so-and-so "supports" thus-and-such, when in reality he has just declined to criminalize it, (e.g., I am not in favor of drunkenness if I don't think all drunks should be thrown in the hoosegow.)
Anyway, forgive me for my scepticism when I read something like, Planned Parenthood says a law requiring those who are HIV to inform their sexual partners of the fact somehow violates their civil rights.
But no, that's exactly, and expressly what PP said:
Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else. These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.
Just to be clear, this is a publication of Planned Parenthood International and dates from 2010, but it is still being offered as a resource.

Just plain evil.

Monday, 11 January 2016

"Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings..."

Feelings that I'm feeling
Feelings feelings, feelings,
Feelings felt by feelers,
People who have feelings....
Can't remember who, Bill Murray? someone did a sketch mocking the lyrics of the '75 monster hit, with something like the faux lyrics above.
Whoa, whoa indeed. (Someone else, and true to form I can't recall who, when there was a lawsuit being waged over creation of the song's melody, noted that it's really Verdi. I suppose there's a case to be made. But I digress.)

My new favorite blogger has a post where he considers, (but then disappointingly rejects, since it would be open to bawdy misinterpretation,) the word groupfeel instead of groupthink.

It reminded me, (it is not relevant to, it simply reminded me,) of a line from this mornings Magnificat reflection by Madeleine Delbrêl.
If your prayer is stripped of tender feelings, you will  know that we don't reach God through our nerve endings. 
So much more elegantly and kindly put than my, Stop this fetishization of your feelings!

"Culture of Death"? Of Authentic Liberality and Conscienscious Objection

The promoters of the Culture of Life are often mocked for over-reaching when they expound on its opposite number, a purported "culture of death."
Don't be silly, there's no such thing, no right-minded person is pro-death, we just differ on our approach to....
You know the drill.
You've heard the drill.
You've been drilled.
So how is it that "respectable" people are insisting, not just on a right to die, on "euthanasia," and yes, occasionally, hard though some try to disguise the activity, on a right to seek the death and actually compass the death of ones child or parent or patient with or without the victim's consent or even knowledge...
How is it that these fine folks support not just the right to die but the right to force others to be complicit in these murders in violation of consciences?
Oh, those annoying Catholics!
A Belgian death advocate Dr Wim Distelmans bemoans the sad truth that
 “a majority of hospitals and nursing homes in Flanders are still Catholic today. If the right to euthanasia is refused there, that will be a problem.”
Strange, is it not, that conscientious objection has long been a hallmark of what pleases to call itself, "liberal" thinking?
Let's look at a hard case:
Following the fall of France in 1940 Britain remained the only European power at war with the Axis of Germany and Italy. Given that its foes had formidable military might and effective control of almost all of Western Europe the UK faced an existential crisis. Only a narrow channel and a few aeroplanes stood between Britain and invasion.  Faced with this situation the country was militarised and organised to an hitherto unprecedented level. Yet in the midst of all this it remained possible for individual British citizens to register as conscientious objectors and opt out of involvement in the defence of the nation. Thousands indeed did so, most notably perhaps Quakers and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
No tyranny, of course, would tolerate such a category under any circumstances let alone in time of war. In that era however making such provisions was considered to be a key defining category for a liberal democracy. It was one of the things that made them morally superior to dictatorships. Majority rule on its own was insufficient, fascist and communist countries after all claimed that mandate for themselves. Freedom of speech, of the press and of assembly on their own were not enough either. It was necessary also to guarantee that no person would be compelled to act against their own deeply held and well formed conscientious principles except in circumstances more urgent and extreme than an attack by Nazi Germany.
In the light of subsequent events it is noteworthy that it was the Left that spoke out most strongly in support of the rights of CO’s. Dealing with questions about CO’s in broadcasting the Prime Minister Winston Churchill said “the rights which have been granted in this war and the last to conscientious objectors are well-known, and are a definite part of British policy. Anything in the nature of persecution, victimisation, or man-hunting is odious to the British people.”...
Nor was this liberal [note!] opinion confined to the United Kingdom. In 1944 another world leader enunciated the same principle “State absolutism….consists in fact in the false principle that the authority of the state is unlimited and that in face of it… to appeal to a higher law obliging in conscience is not admitted.”...
These liberal principles articulated by Pope Pius XII were applauded by the New York Times “Pope Pius expresses as passionately as any leader on our side the war aims of the struggle for freedom when he says that those who aim at building a new world must fight for free choice of government and religious order. They must refuse that the state should make of individuals a herd of whom the state disposes as if they were a lifeless thing.”
 In the West today, some 70 years later, however liberal voices often demand ‘one law for all.’...The contemporary idea that religion is a purely private matter appears to lead on to the further notion that religious or conscientious beliefs are exactly the same in type or intensity as any other belief about, say, the right colour of socks or whether the Oxford comma should be used.
To me, though, it seems that the opposition to providing opt-outs on the grounds of conscience is based more on a desire to hammer opponents over the head than on any thought through philosophical basis. ... They might argue that expressing sexuality or having an abortion [or committing suicide?] are necessities but having a conscience is a luxury. 
Is it?
Is having a conscience a luxury, Belgium? (Brave Little Belgium, I always say in my head. Should I amend that to Brutal Little Belgium?)