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Schmaltz und Grieben
mit Alois, Klaus und der Lugers

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Wichtiger Wortschwall:

The Rant auf Klaus, Parts I II III

Why Unions Suck

Ménage-ŕ-Trois



8/06/03:

ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCH.
"Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death. Divorce does injury to the covenant of salvation, of which sacramental marriage is the sign. Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture: the remarried spouse is then in situation of public and permanent adultery... Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society."

That, of course, is Mother Church speaking.

Mother Church has always informed a lot of my thinking, even though I broke away and joined the Reformation 28 years ago—an event I still often refer to as "the greatest day of my life." But, like (I suspect) most former Catholics, I will never quite rid myself of the feelings of guilt, especially sexual guilt, that are part and parcel of growing up Catholic. The general "Catholic hangover" is one of perpetual doubt that God really does love you, coupled with the knee-jerk impulse to try to make yourself worthy of God’s love, and of never quite being able to believe that when the minister says "your sins are forgiven," they are and that’s it.

In short, it’s a never-ending nagging doubt about the reality of God’s salvation.

But now, consider this. In the light of the current state of affairs in the Catholic church—by which I mean, of course, the priestly pedophilia scandal—this high-minded talk of "grave offense against the natural law" begins to sound dreadfully hollow. Especially when it has been handed down by cloistered men who have never known and will never know the joy, pain, frustration, and compromise of marriage; the thousands of ways even the most well-intentioned of couples can take a chance on marriage and still find a way to screw it up. My former Lutheran pastor, who counseled me during my own divorce, said it best: "Yes, marriage is a divine institution. Unfortunately, it is inhabited by humans."

We also have to consider this "grave offense against the natural law" against not only the priestly pedophilia scandal, but also the Orthodox churches’ stance (and remember that the Roman Catholics are now in full communion with the Orthodox) on divorce. Taking a stance very similar to my former pastor’s, the Orthodox allow that, as fallen humans in a fallen world, we may manage to conduct ourselves less than perfectly within the confines of marriage—even to the point where trying to carry on with the marriage is in reality damaging two lives (and possibly more, if children are involved). Certainly this is a more reasoned, and indeed more Christian, understanding of sacramental marriage. Much of what human beings undertake with the very best of intentions comes to naught, or even worse. It is in this sense that we are most often reminded of the frailty of our human condition and our lack of divinity—indeed, that "all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God."

So much of Roman Catholic thought seems to hinge on an arrogant insistence upon human perfectability, quite dangerous when seen in the light of the opening statement of the Lutheran confession of sin: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." It is quite possible to imagine a marriage that becomes a cause of sin—again, not because marriage has failed as a divine institution, but because humans are not only imperfect but are not perfectable. And it is here that Catholic doctrine contains its most radical flaw. By continually holding an already fallen humanity up to unreasonabile standards—marriages that must not fail, children that must be conceived (and to keep the argument simple, I refer here only to marital coitus), priests that must not be permitted to marry and so are denied any possibility of (legitimate) sexual expression—the church guarantees only widespread and catastrophic failure for its adherents (all the more so since Catholics insist that works and not faith are the primary means of justification before God).

The priestly pedophilia scandal is only the latest manifestation of this extremely unfortunate reading of God’s word. I recently came upon an article by a priest, gamely attempting to insist that priestly pedophilia is a sin roughly on a par with an unmarried adult couple’s consensual intercourse. This is such a appalling notion that it is beneath comment, except to point out that it shows the desperate measures that must be undertaken in order to prop up Catholic doctrine when the flaws begin to out.

Catholics are fond of pointing out that their faith is "ancient"—and it certainly is. But "ancient" is not the same as "infallible." Blithely brushing past the Reformation, Catholics point to the reforms of Vatican II (an undeniably sincere attempt by the church to address some of its serious problems). But we watch today as these reforms are rolled further and further back, and the old Roman Church’s bleating about its own infallibility becomes the answer to every question, every complaint, every demand lodged against it—often by its own faithful.

For all of the pain that it entails, the schisms and the widely variant interpretations of the meaning of God’s word, Protestantism in the twenty-first century continues to move forward. Meanwhile, Roman Catholicism slips ever further backward toward a darkness and intolerance redolent of Islam.

posted by Alois 08/06/03

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8/07/03:

PREDICTION FOR THE 2004 ELECTION: The Democratic ticket will be Al Gore and Hitllery Clinton.

posted by Klaus 08/07/03

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RAPTORS WILL BE RAPTORS: Sorry, folks, but only in New York. (Via Kurt Meyer)

posted by Alois 08/07/03

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CAPTION OF THE DAY: "Vote for me if you want to live."

sorry

--New York Daily News

posted by Alois 08/07/03

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HEADS UP TO PRESIDENT BUSH: Say, Mr. President, did you know that Mark Morford has sex--and you don't?

Geeeeeez. Just when you think the left can't sink any lower, or get any loonier... (Via Michele)

posted by Alois 08/07/03

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...WE'VE ALL MET HER. At least, Klaus und I have.

Numerous times.

posted by Alois 08/07/03

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..........

8/08/03:

WELL, HERE'S HOW I DID... on Vodkapundit's 50 Things To Do Before You Die :



Slum through Europe – someday, perhaps.
Skydive solo without a static line – yeah, right. I’m afraid of heights.
Drink your age in Jell-O shots -- a surefire recipe for death, at my age.
Own a classic convertible -- uh, okay.
Total said convertible, walk away, and laugh – why? I like my classic convertible.
Buy a bottle of the real Absinthe – how about bottled-in-bond bourbon instead?
Pilot an airplane – see #2
Change careers – you’re kidding, right? Who hasn’t?
Walk the Golden Gate Bridge – as long as there’s no smelly hippies on it
Have sex in public without getting caught – finally, bingo.
Get caught – Nah.
Do something regrettable in Vegas – like going there?
Fail completely at something big – bingo.
Succeed at something even bigger – bingo.
Make a pass at a clergyman or woman – if I ever see a cute one.
Have kids and love them to death – bingo; well, some of the time.
Change a stranger's flat tire – does jumping their car count?
Join an improv comedy troupe – Nah.
Build a fort – bingo.
Ride in a hot air balloon – See #2 above. Plus, only yuppies do that.
Spend a day at a spa – What’s a "spa"?
Sneak into a movie – bingo. It was "Thunderball"—does that date me?
Have a drink thrown in your face – bingo.
Jump in a river/lake/ocean fully dressed – bingo.
Win over a hostile crowd – I stay away from hostile crowds.
Spend a summer as a Renaissance Fair geek – Nah.
Drive from coast to coast – bingo, bingo, bingo.
Laugh because it hurts – Now why would I want to do that?
Eat at a diner called "Mom's" – Does eating at my mom’s house count?
Look for buried treasure – bingo.
Learn how to paint – uh, okay.
Comfort someone who is dying – bingo.
Commit all seven deadly sins in one afternoon – since one of them is sloth, that would be impossible!
Take ballroom dance lessons – Nah.
Smack Carson Daly with a brick – Who’s Carson Daly?
Buy a $500 bottle of wine – You’re talking to a guy whose favorite wine is Wild Irish Rose.
Drink a $500 bottle of wine – If someone wants to provide me with one? Sure.
Roll down a hill of freshly-cut grass – Egads. Why?
As an adult – After you, pal!
Pilfer office supplies – I don’t "pilfer."
Get a pedicure – Why? I never go barefoot.
See a movie at a drive-in – bingo X 100. Again, does this date me?
Get a tattoo in the Philippines – The tattoo idea is intriguing; a visit to the Philippines isn’t.
50 over the posted limit – You wanna pay my ticket, I’ll give it a try.
Do something gentlemanly for a hooker – I don’t believe in paying for it, so I don’t know any.
Eat all the green M&Ms – Gee, what fun. I can’t wait.
Abuse your authority – First I would need to have authority. Or want it.
Be subpoenaed by Congress – They’re not likely to be needing any tornado experts soon.
Try for four in one night after age 30 – You said try. I’m still more than happy with three.
Sleep in until at least Tuesday – On the lawn? Sure. Otherwise it’s too much like death.

Mitch Berg's got some interesting results too--scroll down until you see 'em.

posted by Alois 08/08/03

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JA. UND ZO NOW, DER WEEKEND KOMMT! See you all on Monday and... do good.

posted by Alois 08/08/03

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8/11/03:

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL: This, from a recent discussion on Little Green Footballs:

"hey, it's cool that I found this site, because i'm fed up with all anti-israel, anti-american news in Iran and even other places in internet... IranianBoy."

And while we're on the subject of hope for Iran, don't miss this posting from our friend the Insomnomaniac. We will follow her lead and also try to do at least a weekly posting on the situation in Iran. It's too important to ignore.

REPLY from Haleh in Iran:

Pete, good to see your going to pickup on Insomnomaniac's lead - we will of course link to your site right now and then also monitor your site for points your make about Iran - we add these to the Blog-Iran chronicles

Iranian Activist Chat

Also - it would be excellent if you could post the image that insomnomaniac also did and link to the Free Iran Activist HQ at activistchat.com - the banner image is

http://www.activistchat.com/images/banners/freeirannow.gif

Any support or data you need, please stay in touch -

Keep up the good work - this is GrassRoots for sure, and it can spread like wildfire - lets see how powerful the BLOG can be!

In Unity,

Haleh

posted by Alois 08/11/03

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YEAH, SURE. THAT'LL HELP. "Phone calls to the Rev. Christopher Coyne, spokesman for the Boston archdiocese, were not answered Sunday." This, as you may have guessed, refers to a potential legal settlement of the Archdiocese of Boston's priestly sexual abuse case.

posted by Alois 08/11/03

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AH, THOSE WACKY FRENCH. Glad to see they've got their minds on, er, other things now.

ouch

Ouch.

posted by Alois 08/11/03

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TODAY'S MUST-READ: Ralph Peters on the Untimely Demise of the Brothers Hussein.

posted by Alois 08/11/03

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ANOTHER MUST-READ: Mitch Berg on religious searching; and what's wrong today with mainstream American Protestantism (see, we try to cover all sides of an issue here at Schmaltz und Grieben...)

posted by Alois 08/11/03

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8/13/03:

THIS IS JUST... sad.

posted by Alois 08/13/03

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GAY MARRIAGE. I've been meaning to weigh in for awhile on this topic, but wanted to keep my arguments short and to the point. As an unmarried straight, I don't have any real vested interest here. Anyway, here's my take on gay marriage:

Religious and/or civic considerations aside, society doesn't seem to have considered the message it is sending to its romantically-committed gay citizens by denying them the right to marry. Of course, conservative and religious organizations have long decried "promiscuous" homosexual behavior, and before the AIDS epidemic effectively shut down gay entertainments like the bathhouse/glory-hole scene, even heteros inclined to be sympathetic toward gays (like myself) found it hard not to be horrified by what seemed to be the complete collapse of homosexual morality.

Yet we straights don't seem to have ever closely examined our own role in these extremes (and I say extremes because there are many gays and lesbians who were never part of the sex-party scene). Basically, by denying gays the right to marry, we marginalize them. We tell them that they needn't be bound by the moral considerations of straight society.

Now I can hear many of you snicker, and rightly so, at a turn of phrase like "moral considerations of straight society"--and believe me, I am not naive enough to think for a minute that there is something inherently moral about heterosexual behavior. The "considerations" I refer to are the generally accepted notions among straights that, for instance, the "swinger's lifestyle" is an unacceptable lifestyle choice; that adultery, although certainly widespread, is still wrong (the majority of us do believe that, way down in our black hearts); that a wife owes fidelity to her husband and a husband owes fidelity to his wife (most straight men and women hate to hear someone brag about how they cheat on their spouse). It is not that these social mores are universally adhered to among straights, and it is certainly not that they are never broken. But they exist, all the same, and to deny that they do is both dangerous and pointless.

It is this framework of social mores that we deny gay people by forbidding them to engage in the societally-sanctioned pledge of commitment that is marriage. We might as well tell gays that their sexuality is a frivolous thing and so they don't have to pay any attention to what they do with it. As things stand now, we are informing gay couples that the degree of their commitment to each other doesn't matter because there is no way that our "straight" society is going to allow them to formalize it.

"You're gay--just go be promiscuous, that's what you gays do best anyway." That's the message we're sending right now. Can't we do any better than that?

posted by Alois 08/13/03

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8/15/03:

BLOGATION? There has been just about every conceivable mutation imaginable involving joining the word "blog" to some preexisting English word (and not only English words, either). So it would seem that "blog + vacation" would equal... Blogation? That's a guess, and not necessarily an educated guess. But it will have to do.

I must drive my son to New Orleans where he will be starting college. He's never really been away from home. I don't think the shock has hit me yet, but it will. Probably even before we leave.

In the meantime, Michele has a wonderful piece on the Big Blackout (live from Long Island) and the ways in which 9/11 seems to have changed NYC (for the better) permanently.

I once lived in NYC, but I've never been to New Orleans. Kinda looking forward to it, although truth be told I'd rather go there in January, not August. But you take what you can get!

I'll be back toward the end of the month. In the meantime, who knows, perhaps Klaus will want to post a rant or two. Or I may even surprise y'all with a shout from the Big Easy. Hey, stranger things have happened!

Do good.

posted by Alois 08/15/03

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8/29/03:

BACK FOR A MINUTE. Yes, I made it home from New Orleans, after an incident in Wichita Falls involving... never mind.

I will definitely have more to say after the holiday weekend, and after I've had a chance to recover from driving 3200 miles in six days. I'll even have some pictures to post after I get them developed.

So... see y'all in September! Back to work!

posted by Alois 08/29/03

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