Big Les

My rhetoric is my rampart!


    December 19th, 2022

    This popped up in my news feed, so I tapped on it. I had to, and I’m sure the author of the headline knew I would. Editors are trained to write alarming things like this to suck people in.

    I was appalled to hear that the Church had allowed for abortions and that She taught terminating a pregnancy was morally acceptable until AD 1873. (I had to throw in that anno domini.)

    But in an effort to be open minded and open to critical feedback (I’m a fairly devout Catholic) I had to watch and/or read. There wasn’t much to read, and the video was brief, yet both proved to be shocking in how boldly and clearly CNN articulated what they certainly know to be untrue. In short, they lied.

    The producers of this video, the writers and everyone involved at CNN, to varying degrees of culpability, have lied to you and me. The Catholic Church has never allowed for abortions, She has never approved of the procedure under any circumstance and only a historian with an ideological bent (and possible axe to grind against the Church) could postulate such a thing.

    There are myriad citations from the early Church and late antiquity, down through the Middle Ages affirming this. The Didache written in the 2nd century says, “You shall not kill an unborn child or murder a newborn infant.” Writings from Barnabus and Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria and Augustine of Hippo and Jerome and Basil the Great all condemn the practice, and this is in the first 400 years of Church history. The condemnation continues into the Middle Ages with clear documentation of the Church’s opposition in Her discipline of the offense and how the faithful were to obtain absolution for the grave sin of abortion. We see this most clearly in the edicts of popes Sixtus V, Innocent XI and Pius IX. It is during the pontificate of Pius IX where some historians get it wrong.

    There were some theologians who held ensoulment did not take place until a certain point in gestation, so it was reasoned that abortion before this “quickening” warranted a milder punishment. Therefore, the Code of Canon Law reflected a distinction between the animated and unanimated fetus in matters of discipline, not doctrine. In 1869 Pope Pius IX removed this distinction from canon law. In so doing, he did not condemn abortion for the first time in Church history, but he uniformalized the penalty for the offense and at the same time affirmed the Church’s position that life begins at conception.

    I’m being kind when I speak of historians because it’s difficult to interpret the past outside the context of culture. History is not merely what happened at various times in certain parts of the world. History is life lived. It’s a story of people living in communities from small tribes to large nation states and empires. The historian cited in this video clearly has an agenda, and it is not one of life.

    Blind Support (part 2)

    November 18th, 2022

    I haven’t spoken much with my friend since Youngkin’s model policy made it through the Town Hall process required by law. We did chat briefly over a few drinks after I read the policy, and that’s when it hit me. She just didn’t care because she didn’t think it affected her and her family. She hadn’t even read the policy but assured me her son had. In hindsight, I realize she had no opinion because she couldn’t. She was entirely uninformed apart from what her son had told her, yet her son had her full support. Her son’s civic action in helping to organize a “blackout” protest made her so proud, she hadn’t even looked into the very thing being protested, and she couldn’t understand why I even cared since I have no children.She even said, “I don’t give a shit!”

    I ain’t no shrink or nuthin’, but I am a fan of psychology. Most people who don’t care actually don’t know how to care. They were never taught, and they grew up learning only how to vent their problems without ever learning how to work through them. Consequently, they grow up with limited coping skills, and they go through life venting more than coping. Sometimes these folks wind up ignoring problems altogether because they can’t make sense of things or simply don’t know what to do. In the case of my friend, I don’t think she ever saw a problem until I pointed it out. Maybe she then realized she had missed something and had not offered advice. I inferred from her tone that she was frustrated and confused, so I didn’t press the matter but decided to leave it sit and chew on it a bit.

    It bothered me though. How could I not care, and why didn’t she care? I’ve been ranting about the problems with gender ideology for some time now, but I never actually came in contact with someone who could be harmed by it. This was the first time it hit home. No, I don’t have any kids, but I remember when her son was born, and I know she and I think alike in many ways. I thought for sure we would see eye to eye, but she was so proud of her son for getting involved. Like so many parents, she thought her kid was really smart and trusted him unconditionally.

    At the risk of oversimplifying parenting, this can lead to myriad problems which quite often do not manifest until it’s too late. Raising children is complex, and the effort required of parents is immeasurable. As such, quite a bit of attention must be paid to their development. Parents must guide their children in forming judgments. In failing to do so, kids can learn how to justify whatever they want. Nevertheless, even with sound guidance kids can be manipulative. They are clever, and the more intelligent ones moreso. 

    Had my friend been duped? I don’t think her son deceived her, but he had been given a pass by her to act on a poorly formed judgment. He had reasoned wrongly to oppose a policy that was written to give parents more say-so in the education of their children. As his parent, she had inadvertently opted out of being involved in her son’s education not only at school but also at home and ultimately in life. Parents are the primary educators of their children, and even though they typically relegate academic education to school systems, they must remain involved.

    This may have been a rude awakening for her. In one sense she may have been confronted with the possibility that the issues within gender ideology were perhaps more significant than she cared to think about. On the other hand, she may have realized that in overlooking the issue’s significance, it may negatively impact her son and reveal a deficiency in her parenting. This was not my intent. I know she loves her son and wants the best for him. I only wish she cared enough to get involved herself.

    The flaws in gender ideology transcend the intellectual and actually do more harm than good. My intent in writing this is to convey a sense of urgency and awareness for parents to get more involved with the education of their children. Even those parents that think their kids are shielded because they send them to private schools should be vigilant and keep in mind that public schools outnumber private. When the public school kids grow up they become the majority, and what they’ve learned may become a reality.

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