Archive for July, 2008

Humanae Vitae turns 40

July 25, 2008

On this day in 1968 Pope Paul VI issued the Encyclical Humanae Vitae (“Of Human Life”), and upheld the constant teaching of all Christian churches from the time of Christ until the 1930 Lambeth Conference, which prohibited artificial contraception. He was and still is widely riciduled for this, even though he (and the constant teaching of all Christian churches up to 1930) was right.

If you disagree (and I know that this means *all* my friends and *all* my family), please read Mary Eberstadt’s The Vindication of Humanae Vitae and see if it’s not just a little persuasive.

If you prefer a shorter piece that says basically the same thing, try Joseph Bottum’s blog post from today. Here is an excerpt:

Paul VI predicted, as well, that the institution of marriage would have trouble surviving “the conjugal infidelity” that contraception makes easy. Far from strengthening marriage as the Supreme Court seems to have imagined, the advent of birth control left marriage in tatters, as the sexual revolution roared through town. If many more people use contraception today than they used to—and do so certainly with less shame—then why have divorce, abortion, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and venereal disease done nothing but increase since 1968?


I’d change my name . . .

July 20, 2008

I’ve been sucked into the world of 16th-century genealogy the past couple of weeks. It’s fascinating, infuriating, boring, all of the above. Sometimes you find genuinely useful information (useful in my world, anyway), and sometimes you find people with simply unbelievable names. I’m not talking about the William Fitzwilliams and the John St. Johns . . . check this out:

This is in Debrett’s, available at

Morganatic strikes again

July 15, 2008

I did NOT search for this term. It just popped up in my reading today. Before Sunday I had never seen it before in my life.

From the DNB’s entry on Wallis Warfield-Spencer-Simpson-Windsor, whom Edward VIII married in 1937 after abdicating the English throne:

Baldwin was convinced that this must lead to abdication; the king played with the idea of a morganatic marriage, a solution that would certainly have appealed to Mrs Simpson, but was determined to renounce the throne if that was the price he had to pay.

Word of the day: Morganatic

July 13, 2008

After failing to establish his right to the barony of L’Isle, he was created a peer in 1835 by his father-in-law, William IV., who had morganatically married the beautiful Mrs. Jordan.

2. a. Designating or relating to a marriage in which a man of high rank marries a wife of lower rank, but neither the wife nor any children of the marriage have any claim to the possessions or title of the husband. Also (occas.): designating a similar arrangement between a woman of high rank and a man of lower rank.

Attack rabbit

July 12, 2008

I’ve been taking care of someone’s pet rabbit for the past few days. They told me that he bites, so to not reach out for him. Let him come to you. OK, so I tried that. But when he came to me from behind the chair where he was chilling, he downright charged at me. Needless to say, I pulled my hand back before he reached me. When I pulled away, he turned on a dime and went back behind the chair.

I was going to herd him back to his cage, but the only stick-like thing I could find was a fireplace poker. No problem—I wasn’t going to stab or beat him with it. But when I reached the poker behind the chair, he charged at it, bonking his forehead on the poker part. OOPS.

Then tonight, he went in his cage all by himself, but when I walked up to the cage later he started going aggro on me, running back and forth. Then he jumped up at me, but smashed his head into the top of the cage (the cage is about 18″ high; he’s about 12″ high on hind legs). I am guessing this little guy is a little imbalanced? Oh, and he also crapped under the chair in the master bedroom, since I left him out of the cage last night (couldn’t get him back in—what was I supposed to do?).

Owners, please come back on time!

Horrible sentence from NY Times

July 7, 2008

Shame on you, Alex Williams! And shame on your editor for not throwing this one back in your face:

Mr. Perelman exercised his naming right this year, following Ms. Cohen’s death from ovarian cancer, despite the fact the couple had divorced in 1994.

This is ambiguous: we know you mean that it’s odd that he would name a building after someone he divorced, but the meaning that first hits the reader is that their divorce did nothing to prevent her death from ovarian cancer.

Interesting article, BTW.

10 days to Lambeth

July 6, 2008

The Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Communion takes place every 10 years, and they are meeting this year, 16 July – 3 August. From what I have been reading the past few years, the Anglican ship has run aground on some nasty rocks (remember Gene Robertson? that’s one of the rocks); and the news of the past few weeks and days makes it sound like the ship is finally ready to break apart. I’m guessing that from this summer onward it is all downhill, fast, for the Anglican Church (incl. the American Episcopal Church, who will continue pretending to be orthodox Christians until they wake up one day and realize they’ve become Unitarians. Or until all the true orthodox Episcopalians defect to the oversight of Ugandan bishops.).

The AC is supposed to decide soon whether to allow women as bishops. Now several hundred Anglican clergy are in talks with the Vatican, trying to “establish closer ties.” Inevitably this will result in the conversion of many of them, since they feel that if they want to remain true to the Gospel, they have no choice but to leave the Anglican Church. No—rather than “they feel,” I should write, “it is the fact that.”

What I don’t get: these same clergy were, apparently, outwardly tolerant of women priests . . . but women bishops is a bridge too far?

A quotation from one of the bishops ready to swim the Tiber:

“The internal pressure of the Anglican communion has pushed us apart and we’re committed to greater unity with Rome. There can be no future for Christianity in Europe without Rome.”

So true. Yes, the Catholic Church contains divisions and warring elements, but its unsurpassed moral authority and constant defense of the deposit of faith make it the only credible Christian church visible on the world stage. May the Anglican “defectors” find a warm welcome home, after nearly 500 years in a far country.

And then let’s get all the Anglicans back in the Catholic Church . . . we want Westminster Abbey back! 🙂