Justice, with Humility, Gentleness, and Civility

[Editor’s Note:  Washington’s Red Mass, which journalists usually report from a political perspective because that’s easier, took place earlier today.  I haven’t seen any reports on it yet, but I’m willing to bet that for the vast majority of people trying to do human justice, Fr. Greg Kalscheur’s homily at Detroit’s Red Mass last weekend will provide more food for thought.  I post it here with Greg’s permission. — MAG]

Red Mass Homily
Gregory A. Kalscheur, S.J.
*

Each fall I begin my Civil Procedure course by encouraging my first-year students to keep a couple of questions alive in their hearts as they engage in their study of Civil Procedure.  I encourage them to imagine what sort of people they might become as they use the different procedural tools that we are studying, and I urge them to imagine how their use of those legal tools might shape the world in which we are living.  My hope really is to get all of us to remember one fundamental question; a question that I think is more important than any of the cases we read, or any of the doctrine we learn, or any of the particular legal issues any of us study in law school: who am I becoming as a person as I enter more deeply into the study of the law?[1]

We are all here today to ask the Holy Spirit to set our hearts on fire with a passion for the justice of God’s reign.  The readings we’ve just heard proclaimed[2] remind us to keep our hearts open to one crucial question: Who are we becoming as people as we live out our vocations as lawyers and judges and public servants?  As we live our lives in the law, are we being faithful to our more fundamental vocation to live out our identity as God’s beloved children, called to give flesh to God’s love in our world? Read the rest of this entry »

The Decline and Fall of the New York Times (Cont’d)

I often think the Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto is too hard on the people he targets for criticism — an occupational hazard for someone who brandishes a poison pen as well as he does.

Not today.  Not when his target is the New York Times. Attaboy, James.

One More Thing that Won’t End Well

I don’t have time for a long discussion of President Obama’s speech on health care; I suspect many of you are grateful for that.  But enough people have e-mailed me for a reaction that I thought I might as well respond briefly here. Read the rest of this entry »

On Not Speaking Ill of the Dead

When famous people die, it seems to me increasingly common to read commentary in the blogosphere that begins something like this:

I know we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but in Smith’s case, I can’t believe everyone is making him out to be such a great guy when he was obviously a lousy bastard! Let me set the record straight . . .

This pattern of acknowledging a social taboo and then violating it is often the first sign that the social taboo is on the way out. So it may be with this one. But before we wave it goodbye, I thought it might be useful to see what we might say to restore some appreciation for, or at least observance of, this longstanding rule of civility.

Read the rest of this entry »

“You’re suspicious to me.”

The Campaign for Liberty is a political organization formed last year to continue advocating the political and economic principles on which the Ron Paul presidential campaign was founded.  As a proud member, I was interested to learn that an internal report of the Missouri State Police lumped the Campaign for Liberty in with skinheads and Branch Davidians as a part of the “modern militia movement.”  The report (dated Feb. 20, 2009) listed a number of supposed hallmarks of domestic terrorist organizations, including opposition to the Federal Reserve system, advocacy for a gold standard, and a belief in the impending economic collapse of the United States.  In one particularly silly paragraph, the report stated,

Militia members most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups.  It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material.  These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidate:  Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.

I wasn’t sure whether to be alarmed or amused by this, but C4L officials took it seriously, possibly because they were at that time planning a big regional conference in St. Louis.  The report was roundly condemned, impressively satirized, and subsequently withdrawn.  The Missouri State Police apologized to the named presidential candidates, and it seemed to be over.

But now there’s this:  Read the rest of this entry »

The best conservatives are liberal, and vice versa

I watched the inaugural address from the crowded and noisy balcony of the canteen at a local ski area.  There was some applause, though less than I expected.  There is, however, probably some sampling bias at work, considering that each and every person in the room could easily have been on the Mall but deliberately chose to ski instead.

I liked the speech very much, partly because its sobriety matched the seriousness of our problems, but perhaps more because of its repeated reliance on the broad sweep of U.S. history.  While some pundits have seemed unable to find any common theme in the speech, Read the rest of this entry »

Debate #1: Massive Upgrade

As the eight people who regularly visit this blog know, I’m currently a little bit pissed off at John McCain for the stunt he pulled in jeopardizing the subprime bailout these past few days.  I couldn’t be more conservative, and for me to question my vote this November, you know it must have been a pretty huge f up.

But tonight, I did everything I could to shut off my internal dialogue and really listen to what these two knuckleheads had to say.

It was terrific.  I think back to Bush/Gore and Bush/Kerry, and how I cringed through the halting drivel I heard from both sides of the divide, and tonight what I saw was two men, absolutely Presidential, ready to lead this nation.   Smart, confident, fine….. imperfect, but thoughtful and ready to lead.

Anyone who visits this site and reads this post better leave a comment in agreement.  Because if anybody tries to tell me that these two guys aren’t head and shoulders above what we were offered the last two times around, I will find out where you live, pretend to be a Domino’s delivery boy, ring your doorbell, and smash a big old pizza in your face when you open your door.

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