Aphorism CVII

January 16th, 2017

Just in time for the closing of the Ringling Brothers Circus, the political circus begins in Washington, DC.

© Copyright 2017, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Not the Time for Vainglorious Victory Laps

January 10th, 2017

Sorry, I can’t get into the spirit of the Obama presidential victory laps. President George W. Bush gravely mishandled the Middle East, but President Obama made it even worse by generating a power vacuum into which ISIS jumped. Christians and Yazidis were left substantially undefended for too long, and sacrificed for the dubious Iran nuclear deal. We now see genocide destroying ancient civilizations. So now is not exactly the time for vainglorious self-congratulations.

© Copyright 2017, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Autism Spectrum Disorder and Gender Nonconformity

January 4th, 2017

From National Geographic Magazine, January 2017 –

“Still, one finding in transgender research has been robust: a connection between gender nonconformity and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). According to John Strang, a pediatric neuropsychologist with the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Gender and Sexuality Development Program at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., children and adolescents on the autism spectrum are seven times more likely than other young people to be gender nonconforming. And conversely, children and adolescents at gender clinics are six to 15 times more likely than other young people to have ASD.”

Robin Marantz Henig, Rethinking Gender, National Geographic Magazine, January 2017, Vol. 231, No. 1, pg. 59.

Comment: So we’re now operating on and pharmaceutically stopping the adolescence of autistic kids?

© Copyright 2017, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Medical Districts and Their Arterial and Access Streets Should be Off Limits to Demonstrations

January 1st, 2017

With demonstrations an almost daily occurrence in Chicago, it now makes sense to bar demonstrations from medical districts and from the arterial and access streets leading to those districts within a two mile radius.

While police can sometimes allow emergency vehicles to pass through a demonstration, too often surgeons, physicians, nurses, technicians, expectant mothers, the ill, the elderly, and critical supplies, if not organ donations, are delayed in traffic to and from hospitals, particularly Northwestern Memorial, especially by demonstrations along the Magnificent Mile. Ohio and Ontario Streets, Lake Shore Drive, and all streets leading directly to and from, should not be obstructed by demonstrations within two miles of Northwestern Memorial.

The same should go for the Illinois Medical District on the Near West Side, and for the University of Chicago Hospitals.

There are plenty of places in Chicago where demonstrators can make their point. But their point should not come at the cost of putting the medical care and health of others at risk. Health care providers and critical supplies should at all times be able to travel to and from medical centers unimpeded. Expectant mothers, senior citizens, and the ill should not be stuck in traffic for hours because of the demonstration du jour, however worthy the cause.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Spiritual Rigidity, Too Vague a Concept

November 13th, 2016

One of the most common, and commonly misused concepts in discourse about spiritual direction is the concept of “rigidity.”

This concept can mean a legalistic and unmerciful mentality that places the letter of the law over the Spirit, as Pope Francis appears to use the term.

In the US seminaries of the 1950s through the 1990s, rigidity was associated with the psychological concept of the authoritarian personality, a post WWII trope typified by Theodor Adorno’s heavily Freudian work of the same name.

But unfortunately, rigidity is often vaguely defined and subject to the eye of the beholder. The term “rigid” was terribly misused in US seminaries for decades to disqualify men from the priesthood as “rigid” who might have done any of the following–

  • Attended Mass and prayed every day
  • Prayed the Rosary and had a devotion to the Blessed Mother
  • Read Papal Documents and catechisms
  • Once attended a Latin Mass
  • Did not go out and drink alcohol or take drugs with the other guys
  • Were not open to homosexual relationships
  • Were not Democrats or Republicans like a given seminary faculty member

I am sadly familiar with a case from the 1960s in which a priest and seminary faculty member, who himself was later removed from ministry for a credible complaint of abuse, made it his personal business to disqualify seminarians as “rigid” for some of the above reasons. Some corrupt spiritual directors have tragically sought to shape a priesthood that is safe for the likes of themselves. While Pope Francis’ use of the term conveys the priority of mercy, “rigidity,” because of the term’s vagueness, allows for great abuse by a given spiritual director based upon that director’s own theological, sexual, and political preferences. “Rigidity” can be made to mean whatever a given spiritual director wants it to mean.

So whenever I hear the word “rigid” in a religious context, I urge caution. The term is terribly general and vague, without a strongly articulated Biblical and theological history, not to mention a precise psychological definition, having different connotations in different languages and cultures.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism CVI: Hix Nix HRC’s Vix

November 9th, 2016

Hix Nix HRC’s Vix

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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France’s Vendee Genocide in the 1790s

November 6th, 2016

Lenin studied how the French revolutionaries committed genocide in the western Vendee region of France in the 1790s, actually visited the region, applied what he learned in Ukraine and Russia after its own revolution, and the Soviets carried on similar crimes after him. The French Left still will not admit that the widespread, massive executions of noncombatant Catholic women and children in the 1790s happened in the Vendee with the approval of the Committee for Public Safety and the National Convention. According to Solzhenitsyn, the Vendee was the model for future genocides. The mass drownings at Nantes, but one of the outrages of the French Revolution, were imitated by the Soviet Union. Time for the French government to admit to their own internal genocide.

The book A French genocide: the Vendée / Reynald Secher ; translated by George Holoch, Notre Dame Press 2003, ISBN 0268028656 9780268028657, originally published in 1986 as Le genocide franco-francais: la Vendee-Venge by Reynald Secher, followed in 2011 by Vendee, du genocide au memoricide: mecanique d’un crime legal contre l’humanite? by Reynald Secher; Gilles-William Goldnadel; Helene Piralian; Stephane Courtois, with more information here.

Here’s a translation of the book blurb for Secher’s 2011 book:

“Twenty-five years after the publication of his book, A French Genocide: The Vendée, Reynald Secher, thanks to the discovery at the French National Archives of unreleased documents, demonstrates, with supporting evidence, that the genocide of the Vendée had been designed, voted upon and implemented personally by members of the Committee of Public Safety and the National Convention, and that the army and the administration had been carrying out orders. To escape their responsibilities and hide the ideological and political logic that inevitably led the Jacobin Republic to genocide, these criminals and their political heirs have denied facts, and imposed on the nation their self-amnesty and general impunity. They thus committed a second crime, that of memoricide which in a perverse reversal designated the Vendee victims as executioners and turned the Jacobin executioners into victims. This first scandal is added a second: these executioners benefited from all the favors and honors of the state, while the victims and their descendants were traumatized, silenced, and persecuted constantly, finding themselves thus excluded from citizenship that was rightfully theirs.”

I might add that some of the generals who committed the genocide are still memorialized on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and that the word “brigand” was used against the Vendee population.

A recent film by Daniel Rabourdin, The Hidden Rebellion: The Untold Story of the French Revolution, dramatizes the Vendee genocide.

Here’s the first trailer for the film. Here’s the second trailer.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Response to Prof. Camosy’s 11/3/16 Crux Article on Catholic Voting

November 4th, 2016

Per Prof. Charles Camosy’s 11/3/16 Crux article “A Catholic may vote for Clinton, Trump, somebody else, or nobody.”

I just reread the US Bishops’ Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship document, and it does not give Prof. Camosy liberty to definitively state the name of any candidate as being capable of receiving a Catholic vote. Paragraphs 33-38 in the document are key. Prof. Camosy is qualified, like any other Catholic, to state his own voting decision and the basis for it. But he is certainly not qualified to completely define the specific universe of possible moral choices for others. Doing so would be beyond the pay grade even of a bishop, not to mention a professor.

The US Bishops’ statement cannot be used to rule any candidate _in_ to a list such as Prof. Camosy composed.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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What the Game is Really About

October 23rd, 2016

It’s not about winning. It is about childhood, and hope, and joy of expectation. It is waking up to a beautiful day before the dew burnt away and getting your ball and mitt and calling out your friends, and if there weren’t enough of them, to play derivative games like fast pitching, or running bases, or bounce or fly, or 500, or peggy-move up, or even, as my dad taught me, baseball with a jackknife in a clearing on the prairie, or if it rained, show each other our baseball cards, and maybe trade them. It is about one stry stries, or odds and evens, or flipping a coin, or rock paper scissors, or catching the tossed bat nearest the end, placing fingers next to fingers, and trying to kick the bat away from the last kid holding onto the thin knuckle of the bat to see who got to pick sides first. It is even about just playing catch, or rolling the ball back and forth with a squealing little toddler.

It has nothing to do with drunks, or car commercials, or overpriced tickets or sports bars or hip neighborhoods, or uniforms or authentic gear. It has to do with transcendent moments of perfection, when somehow the most difficult feat in all of athletics, to hit a ball squarely within a fraction of a second of decision, happens just when we want it to happen the most, and the ball goes just where we want it to go. Each component of the game — running, throwing, fielding, batting, coaching, umpiring, even groundskeeping — has its own beyond. Any group of children with a bat and a ball and some gloves can do it, any time the weather and conditions permit, as long as bullies aren’t there to steal your stuff, or someone doesn’t demand to see a permit.

This game, when played right, and yes, with respect, is open to be shared by any who work to skill up for it, and who are willing to learn from those wise in it. This game, and what it meant, is a wonderful memory, like my father’s spooky knuckleball. As the man said, it’s only about what happens between the two white lines, nothing else. Once the game starts, you stay to the end, unless Mom or Dad calls you home.

For thousands of hours of my life, I have played and anticipated and practiced this most difficult game, and tried to teach it to my kids and to other kids. I have permanent injuries because of it. Although I treasure the memories of friendship it brought, I have let it go, and probably will never spend more than two minutes watching it played professionally again, because the game is no longer innocent and free enough for children, and because my own time is running out, and other, better purposes demand my attention each moment.

But I celebrate your joy! Come a future spring, I may again stand in the cold air and watch the young play their hearts out in a neighborhood park as the bat stings their hands with every swat. I know the feeling.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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Aphorism CV

October 17th, 2016

The purpose of almost all political rhetoric is to demonstrate that excrement is not odiferous (odoriferous).

This rhetoric only works when people cannot smell, politically speaking.

© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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The views posted at sanityandsocialjustice.net are those of Albert J. Schorsch, III, alone, and not those of any of his employers, past or present.

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