Since Apr 11, 2003
Finished my Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University, then spent 8 years at Point Beach Nuclear Plant, first as a design engineer, evaluating plant configuration changes, and later as a programs engineer, administering thermography and oil analysis of major equipment.
At some point the Lord slapped me upside the head and said "I need you to train for the priesthood". I said "Here I am Lord. I come to do Your will", which is all that God asks from any of us. After 5 years, the Bishop of Green Bay said he could not use me; he had too many already like me. This was because I was too much of a systematic theologian and he needed pastoral counselors, and there is Canon Law that says a bishop should not ordain if the diocese does not have a need. I tried some other dioceses, but they all had the same need. Many people might think this would make me bitter toward the RCC, but it does not, because I did not have a "Right" to be ordained. It is like marriage: it is done by the Church for Church purposes, not yours.
I would probably have been ordained if I was in a religious order or a European diocese that prefers academic priests to social workers, but I did not sense that the Lord was calling me to that life. So, now I am back as a design engineer, only now at the Quad Cities Nuclear Generating Station. I still got a Master of Arts in Catholic Philosophical Studies out of the journey, which means I can argue all things Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas.
I still spend a lot of time reading the philosophers of science, such as Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn, along with everything I have not yet read by Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. I also know a lot about contemporary moral philosophy and theology through the writings of Alasdair MacIntyre of Notre Dame University.
Because of my philosophical training, I do not really fit on a Progressive-Liberal-Moderate-Conservative-Libertarian model. They all fall under the model of Modern Liberal Individual. I am an Aristotelian, first and foremost. For that reason, I do not say much about "Rights", but rather talk about virtues. Exercising virtues makes me a better person, and I cannot become a better person without exercising the virtues. Exercising "Rights", just claims against someone else, does not make anyone a better person. This is probably where most Freepers would be confused about me, since I reject the State of Nature Philosophers like John Locke, who is the basis for our modern Constitutional Republic. My position is that the Constitution is convenient and practical for making an ordered and polite society, not because the fundamental philosophy was sound. I think our Founding Fathers came up with the right ideas, but for the wrong reasons. Not that it is their fault; they just acted with the inspired wisdom available to them in a time that had long wrongly rejected Aristotle.
The history of moral philosophy goes like this: Aristotle says we should be moral because it eventually makes us the best of men, which leads to happiness. Protestantism under Luther rejected happiness, and instead used duty. The Englightenment philosophers did not like duty, and came up with "Rights" so as to take God out of the picture. The Founding Fathers put God back in by saying He is the author of our "Rights", but that was an illicit backfit. The only way back to a workable morality is to get back to virtues exercised for the purpose of leading one to happiness as we understand it today, i.e. union with God.
If the person you are dealing with has virtues in them, then you do not have to worry about your "Rights". If the person you are dealing with is vicious, i.e. lacking in the virtues, then it is as if your "Rights" do not exist. Either way, I do not rely upon them in my daily relations. It is obvious that the Obama Administration is purposefully filled with vicious people, since they have displayed a total disregard for "Rights", so any whining on your part will not help you. Having virtues will.
On the Roman Catholic Church:
Having seen the path to priesthood from the inside, I can testify that there is no Lavender Mafia (at least among the Benedictines that taught me) nor would I have stuck around as long as I did if I thought they were there, because it would mean that the Church had presented a false front. There was no false front that I could see. Maybe it is a European thing.
I can also testify to those Protestants who might be reading this that the RCC worships ONLY the Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Only the Trinity has the divinity of the Godhead. Catholics do not worship Mary, or the Pope, or the RCC, or the Saints. All worship is to God and God alone. This is how I was taught on the way to priesthood.
I separate civil and religious marriage. All the arguing so has been in the civil arena. Part of my training for the priesthood involved the history of marriage. In the RCC, marriage came from two traditions: Germanic and Roman. Marriage under the Roman Republic was for the sake of producing heirs and protecting the family business, whether that be commerce or politics. This was the State interest, and that is why the State decided when to recognize who was married. Those who did not have significant assets just shacked up. The marriages were usually arranged, but the couple had to agree by exercising their will, i.e. consent makes marriage. Love as an emotion was just a desired afterthought; the important part was you had an heir to keep the business going. Concubinage was for emotional love, but the children from that pairing had no inheritance. The Germanic tradition said you were married once you jumped in the sack, i.e. consumation makes marriage.
The purpose of institutions is to provide the ideal at which the individual participants aim. This goes for any practice that has an institution, like marriage, politics, business, sports, etc. You damage the institution if you make the ideal less stable. The stability of marriage comes from defining Love as desiring the best for the sake of the beloved. It requires the assent of the will informed by a prudent intellect, and fickle emotion has no part in it. This is the idea of Love that Christ spoke about. It is this Love that allows a person to sacrifice themselves for strangers or even enemies. It is this Love that is the building block of families, societies, nations and empires.
The definition of marriage is changable, and has changed in the past. Not all changes to marriage cause damage. The RCC by 600 A.D. actually made marriage more stable by getting rid of concubinage, so the one you married as a good paring for business and society was also the one you wanted emotionally. This strengthened marriage, and it was good that this change took place.
The damage caused to the institution of marriage today comes through the defining of Love as Eros, the emotion. Events like No-fault divorce and "Gay marriage" are symptoms of an institution already damaged, not the causes. Allowing "Gay marriage" will not strengthen the institution, because homosexuals are only offering more of the same poison that heterosexuals used to wreck the institution already.
This model also provides an answer to those who ask "How will it affect my marriage?" If your marriage is still aimed at the old ideal, then it will not affect you, but it will affect any new marriages made after the change in the ideal, and that destabilizes society. But there is hope, because the ideal can be restored to the most stable version, but that requires that society recognize the cause of the damage and be willing to fix it. Hearts must change for that to happen, but with God all things are possible.
May God be with all who read this.