| |  
Food for the Poor Godspy.com: Faith at the Edge


Debra Murphy

Idylls Press

"There is no story without a Fall." --J.R.R. Tolkien
Debra Murphy | 2 posts | Member since 02.10.08


RE: Why I Love Obama
Well said, Harold. I think the importance of being able to unite and inspire a country through good old-fashioned rhetoric has been undervalued these last few decades, we're so used to leaders who can barely put two intelligent sentences together. I'd vote for this man in a heartbeat...if he were only pro-life. When are the Dems going to get a Clue?

RE: Driving a Wedge into the ‘Evangelical Center’ on Gay Marriage
The polarization on this issue (as with abortion politics) reminds me of the concept that the Perfect can frequently be the enemy of the Good. It's one thing to reject constitutional amendments or civil legislation written in language that puts, say, gay marriages on a par, moral or institutional, with traditional procreative marriage, and another--a mistaken form of utopian wishful thinking--to reject outright civil and legal options which permit our gay family and friends to decide who is to inherit their property, have hospital visitation rights, or make decisions for them in the event of their incapacity. The latter seems to me a matter of human justice, and one which Christians ignore at great risk. As for the Posner-esque approach to political argument, it reminds me, too, why we all need to be cautious about "hate speech" legislation. When civil disagreement can be argued (via ideology and outdated forms of Francophile lit crit) into a form of "hate", the state of public discourse is at low tide.

RE: Driving a Wedge into the ‘Evangelical Center’ on Gay Marriage
To suggest that because I believe that it is "utopian wishful thinking" to prohibit other forms of domestic partnership as a means to further the cause of sacramental marriage, somehow implies that I must ergo favor tax penalties against "married filing jointly" couples, is non sequitur. Where did you get such an idea? On the contrary, a willingness to legalize other forms of domestic partnership implies, I think, a wish to see such couples sharing both the burdens as well as the bennies of such partnerships. As for the notion that everything that can be got (legallly and in terms of benefits) by way of legal marriage can be got just aa well by drawing up numerous separate legal documents--trusts, wills, etc--would be onerous even if true, which it isn't. Legal marriage is a shortcut to any number of socially sanctioned benefits, in both the private and public sectors. Just one example from personal experience: consider the tzx situation of a married couple filing jointly, in which one is a salaried earner and the other starts a home-based business using a portion of the spouse's salary as seed money. In the early years of the business, in which more money is going out than coming in, a business loss of $5K reduces the taxable income of the couple by $5K, resulting in the couple's joint tax burden being reduced by, say, $1250, or whatever. This would not be the case with a legally unrecognized form of domestic partnership, in which each person is considered single, period. My husband and I were recently reviewing our wills using a Quicken program, and I came across the following paragraph in the section on the status of domestic partnerships recognized by certain states: "The federal government does not currently recognize any same-sex relationships, no matter what state law says. (This is because of a federal law called the Defense of Marriage Act.). So same-sex couples who enter into marriages or marriage-like relationships are not currently entitled to the federal estate and gift tax benefits married couples enjoy -- or to Social Security benefits, immigration privileges or any of the more than 1,000 benefits extended to heterosexual married couples." Another point worth considering: it is not only gay couples who set up long-term domestic partnerships that look to gain from a broadening of the law in this area. Many of us, myself included, have known spinster or widowed siblings who have set up household together for the long haul, and who would benefit from some form of legally regularized domestic partner situation.

RE: America: Encounter the Pope
Beautiful, John. And you are so right, B16 is in so many ways far easier to read & digest than JPII, much as we adored him. I think at least half of this "enigma" thing is folks realizing that the pope isn't the "Rottweiler" the media sometimes portrayed him in their one-minute analyses. Buon viaggio, daar, and remember to dress warmly, now, y'hear?

RE: With the Pope at Nationals Park
I'm looking forward to a text of il papa's beautiful homily. And speaking of beauty, I was moved to tears--rank sentimentalist!--by the aging but still miraculous tenor, Placido Domingo, singing the miraculous "Panis Angelicus". Ditto (tears) re: the mention of the blessing of the foundation stone for the about-to-be-erected "John Paul the Great Catholic High School," wherever that's to be. Anyone who thinks rigor mortis has set in with the RCC hasn't got a clue.

RE: After the Pope: Time to Hit the Books?
Thanks, all! Benedict makes for terrific spiritual reading--balm for the soul as well as the mind, no question. Eric's question: Hm, the facts would seem to bear that interpretation, although I think ignorance and inbred relativism, as opposed to overt hostility, have to be considered as significant factors. For many, to affirm (as Benedict continues to do, including in the US visit) that it is not bigotry to proclaim Truth in Charity, is a foreign notion--agree, perhaps sometimes because the Truth is too often proclaimed in heated questions with a profound lack of charity. As Benedict might put it himself, the origins of this problem are "complex"... I think the key is for us, as American Catholics, to start reading again! And, in terms of evangelization, for emphasizing the need for a true and personal "encounter" with Christ--over and above, and certainly before, we argue details of Catholic moral teaching with our unbelieving friends, family, neighbors, even media representatives.

RE: After the Pope: Time to Hit the Books?
LOL, does one ever exactly "join" CL? But speaking of CL and Clayton's efforts to put together a glossary, I was struck by how many times the Pope used what fell on my ears as particularly CL language--the emphasis on the personal encounter with Christ as an "event", and one which needs to come before everything, and which is at the heart of the new evangelization; the challenge to the Church in the US to come up with creative and imaginative ways to foster that encounter. It struck me also as the reason why he (apparently to the surprise of many commentators) declined to wag his finger over this or that issue, since the particulars of learning to think with the mind of the Church must needs come *after* the event of personal (and communal) conversion. Did anyone else hear it this way?

RE: Meeting the War Wearied with Christ
Thank you for sharing this story, and that poem; I wasn't familiar with it. Isn't it peculiar how something as beautiful and ordered as poetry can capture at least a little of something as brutal and senseless as war? This war has often sent me hunting for this or that poem of the so-called "War Poets" of WWI, particularly Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfrid Owen. Here's my favorite, by Owen, THE PARABLE OF THE OLD MAN AND THE YOUNG: So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went, nd took the fire with him, and a knife. And as they sojourned both of them together, Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father, Behold the preparations, fire and iron, But where the lamb, for this burnt-offering? Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps, And builded parapets and trenches there, And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son. When lo! an Angel called him out of heaven, Saying, Lay not they hand upon the lad, Neither do anything to him, thy son. Behold! Caught in a thicket by its horns, A Ram. Offer the Ram of Pride instead. But the old man would not so, but slew his son, And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

RE: Brideshead Revised
The BBC mini-series also had a heartbreaking performance by Anthony Andrews as Sebastian---more, indeed, than just a pretty face! The film hasn't come to my hometown yet, but according to Roger Ebert, it portrays the chill coming on Charles' and Sebastian's friendship when Sebastian allegedly sees that Charles, rather than being lured into the controlling penumbra of Lady Marchmain (and the whole Marchmain aura), as goes Waugh's story, is falling in love with his sister---IOW, personal romantic jealousy rather than Waugh' much larger "contra mundum" attitude which Sebastian has towards his family, and family religion. I mean, what's up with that? On the upside, I saw the 25th anniversary edition of the BBC miniseries in Costco, of all places, so the film should at least send some people back to the book and faithful/gorgeous BBC version. But I'll see the film, first chance I get, if for no other reason than to see the wonderful Patrick Malahide as Ryder's father!

RE: The Church on the financial meltdown: Usury and speculation are to blame
There's also the communitarian issue here, and the principle of subsidiarity. In previous times mortgage loans were made mostly by local lenders who had a local reputation to support and local sources of info on the reliability of the borrower to repay.;But in recent years, since the massive deregulation of the industry, it has been mostly a business of large regional or national banks lending through local offices, often with little reliable information about the credit-worthiness of the borrower. Worse, these guys often didn't really care about the "toxic loans" they were making, because it was the plan from the get-go to package this and other similarly dodgy loans to sell to yet another company, often owned overseas. Now a huge percentage of this nasty nation-wide debt is held by the Chinese and Japanese, who were buying it up with dollars they made by selling their goods to Americans. Surely, this was all nothing if not "market driven"...?

Faith at the Edge Traces