Friday, December 28, 2007

The End of an Era

The Nepalese Parliament has voted to abolish the Nepalese monarchy in an effort to appease the demands of Maoist forces within Nepal (see the article here). It's so terribly discouraging that a nation with a monarchy would bow down to the demands of godless Communists in abolishing a monarchy that has existed since 1769. When I first learned of this story, I felt absolutely discouraged as a monarchist. But I must persevere, as we all must. We can never see the return of monarchy as the standard form of government the world over if we give in to set-backs like this one. We must all fight a good fight, we must finish our course, we must keep the faith (cf. 2 Timothy 4:7).

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas in Merry Olde America

I have been thinking a lot lately about the assaults against Christmas present here in America, although these same assaults are also present to one extent or another in most "Christian" countries.

What exactly is Christmas? It is the day the Christian world celebrates the Virgin Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity; God Himself came down from heaven and became a man to save us men. So how do we Christians celebrate this holy and venerable day? By forgetting every reason we started celebrating this day in the first place.
Christmas has become a day of scandalous consumerism. The day we celebrate our Lord's birth has become a day for our capitalist societies to figuratively rape our economies--with, I might add, our complete and express permission. Giving gifts in honor of God's greatest gift to mankind is a noble and honorable act, but this practice has reached such extremes that for children--those usually best able to love and have faith in a God we cannot see--think of Christmas in terms entirely dependent upon their gift reception; Christmas is all about "gimme, gimme, gimme." In order to give, millions of people spend exorbitant amounts--often going in debt to do so--to obtain these gifts.

Then there is Santa Claus. Our present day picture of Santa Claus was invented in the 19th century by the American political cartoonist Thomas Nast. Some of our present legends of Santa are in fact loosely based upon the real St. Nicholas, Bishop and Confessor of the Church (died 343), but the real St. Nicholas never flew a sleigh led by flying reindeer through the sky delivering presents to good little boys and girls. What we have is the perversion of the memory of a venerable saint into a way for our consumerist society to make a buck.

My family thinks I'm a horrible person by planning on raising my future children (God willing) without a belief in Santa Claus. My theory is that firstly, Santa is a lie. Within Catholic moral theology, a lie, no matter for what the reason, is always objectively sinful. It's not a very good way to raise children under the pretense of a lie and expect them (once they learn of this lie, as all children do given time and age) to refrain from telling lies themselves. Secondly, as I stated earlier, children far too often think of Christmas simply within terms of getting presents. The belief in a supernatural/mythical figure who gives them presents on Christmas perpetuates this gift-centered view of Christmas. It is my opinion that in order for children to have a proper view of the seriousness and holiness of the day, they must be raised without the burdensome and objectively false belief in Santa.

Christmas is not a day to give gifts, it is not a day for families, it is not a day to experience a break from our work or studies. It is a day to commemorate the birth of our Lord. While Christmas experiences many assaults in our modern day, the holiness and spiritual reality of the day cannot be drowned out. Let us hold fast to the real meaning of Christmas: the day that the God who " loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting" sent His Son into the world. May the peace of the Christ Child be with you and yours this Christmastide.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dying Spain

I was watching DW-TV the other night (DW-TV is a German international news channel) and saw a report on the dwindling birth rate of modern Spaniards. While Spain is certainly not alone in Europe when it comes to low birth rates, the situation in Spain is especially severe. The government plans on giving couples €2,500 for each child born. What exactly brought about the situation whereby the Spanish government has to effectively bribe couples to have children?

The problem lies within modern Spanish culture (this problem is not just present in Spanish culture, but European culture at large). Spain is aborting and contracepting itself into oblivion. Spanish couples are choosing to ignore one of the two characteristics of marriage: procreation (the other being an institution designed to help each spouse help the other spouse get to heaven). One couple interviewed in the DW report especially caught my attention. This couple had no children, despite being visibly in their late forties (at the very least). The wife talked all about how expensive children are, but also pointed out the fact that children make it very hard to do what one wants to do in life--in other words children put a damper on one's social life. The husband said that he found children to be an unbearable burden and saw absolutely no reason to ever have children. I found myself thinking: "Hey buddy, you were a child once too. Good thing your parents didn't think that you were an 'unbearable burden.' "

The problem is this: married couples in Spain, Europe at large, America, and pretty much everywhere in the "Christian" world are selfish--they care for nothing but their own narcissistic interests. They do not realize that children are a blessing from God, not a curse to be avoided. All children should be loved, cared for, and cherished. If you are not willing to have children, then don't get married and pervert the nature of marriage.

I don't have children of my own, but I look forward to the day (God willing) when I find a wife of my own and start a (large!) family. I realize how important children are to the world: without children, the human race will die out.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Baseball's Tarnished Image

With finals over I now have a little free time on my hands (well, perhaps more than a little), and I thought it was high time I made a post. This time I'd like to write (briefly) on a subject matter I've never covered before: baseball.

The Mitchell Report on the use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormones in Major League Baseball was released on December 13, 2007. The report names 89 Major League players alleged to have used performance enhancing drugs to improve their baseball skills. Among such players are Barry Bonds (surprised?), Roger Clemens, Miguel Tejada, and Jason Giambi (who has admitted to using steroids). The report, which is over 400 pages long, casts a dark shadow on the integrity of the great and noble sport of baseball.

It is my opinion that those players who are found to have used any performance enhancing drugs at any time during their careers should have their official records stricken, and all awards and honors stripped. If one cheats to achieve his greatness, he really isn't great at all.