Wednesday 16th October 2019

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

When The Obvious Is No Longer Obvious

September 15, 2019 Featured Today No Comments

By DONALD DeMARCO

The late Fr. James Schall, SJ, was a great admirer of Samuel Johnson and, by his own admission, read something from Boswell’s Life of Johnson almost every day. Dr. Johnson was one of the most formidable figures of literature and life of the eighteenth century. He made lasting contributions as a poet, playwright, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer. What was it that so attracted Fr. Schall to this literary giant?
“These truths are too important to be new,” Johnson wrote. It is an aphorism that Fr. Schall held close to his heart. Novelty is ephemeral, truth is everlasting. As a philosopher, James Schall drank from the same well of truth that energized his literary hero. It was obvious to both that truth will serve us far better than trends.
Walter Jackson Bate, in his biography of Samuel Johnson, observed that the secret to Johnson’s literary power was his unblinking perception of reality, his refusal to abide fashionable sham. For Bate, Johnson had that habit of attending to “that rarest of all things for confused and frightened human nature — the obvious.”
The reluctance to acknowledge the obvious is humorously narrated by Hans Christian Andersen in his story about the Emperor who paraded naked in his “new clothes.” No one was willing to acknowledge the obvious until a child cried out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all.”
When William Bennett was President Reagan’s secretary of education, the author of The Book of Virtues said that much of what he was doing in the line of education was simply “restating the obvious.”
For many people, however, the obvious is tame and uninteresting. But if people are suspicious of the obvious they should be far more suspicious of what is less obvious.
In Canada we have a prime minister who is adamantly “pro-choice,” although he does not allow any person to be a member of his Liberal Party who chooses to be pro-life. There is at least an inconsistency here, if not a blatant contradiction. The obvious is overlooked so that the ridiculous can be maintained.
As a rule of thumb, when the obvious is no longer obvious, it is replaced by the dubious. It has been obvious from time immemorial that a woman who is carrying a child in her womb is called a mother. But ideologies have a way of obscuring reality. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has emphatically stated that “a woman who exercises her constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy, is not a ‘mother’.” Her legion of supporters, nonetheless, remain loyal, chanting, “There is no truth without Ruth.”
It has also been obvious since human beings walked the planet that it was only too obvious that there were boys and girls, men and women, males and females. One’s sex was the first thing a person noticed and the last thing he was likely to forget.
Political correctness is a powerful weapon in creating doubts about the obvious. The new view is that sex is fluid and multiple. A person may be female at sunrise and male at sunset. It is no longer fashionable to divide the human race according to two sexes. Many people allegedly feel very uncomfortable, according to one writer, being classified according to “hegemonic taxonomies of bourgeois heteronormativity.”
In this instance, not recognizing the obvious has been injurious to many who have begun to doubt their own sexual identity as well as to those who have sought gender reassignment.
According to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.”
Science, however, has shown, clearly and unambiguously, that human life begins at conception when a sperm fertilizes an egg to form a zygote. Consensus is not required in order to see what is obvious. The fact that some people do not see the obvious does not mean that the obvious is not obvious. Rather than “speculate,” the court assumed that life did not necessarily begin at conception and thereby assigned millions of unborn human beings to an early death. Here, what replaced the obvious was the murderous.
Let us imagine what the authors of the Declaration of Independence might have written had they been unable to recognize the obvious and substituted the fuzzy thinking that has become fashionable in the contemporary world. For these writers, “self-evident” was a synonym for what is “obvious”: “Some of us hold these speculations to be of some possible merit that human beings may or may not have a certain dignity conferred upon them by a possible God. But who knows? We must keep an open mind and do our best to avoid rigidity.”
In this case, the self-evident, or obvious, would give way to the nebulous. Foundations, however, must be sturdy so that the edifice upon which they are built does not collapse. America can be forever grateful that its founders were not deconstructionists.
It should also be obvious that there are many people in high place who do not see what is obvious. Our “confused and frightened human nature” is perhaps our worst enemy. We need the Samuel Johnsons and James Schalls of the world to embolden us so that we find the courage to acknowledge the obvious as obvious and not flinch.
Fortitude is one of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. We should pray for fortitude, not so much to enlighten us about extraordinary things, but to allow is to see and to stand by the obvious.

+ + +

(Dr. Donald DeMarco is professor emeritus of St. Jerome’s University and an adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College. He is a regular columnist for St. Austin Review. His latest two books, How to Navigate through Life and Apostles of the Culture of Life, are posted on amazon.com. 12 Values of Paramount Importance is in process.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Within 5 year of gay "marriage" being legal, we have:

* Transgender kids
* Gay sex taught to pre school
* 150 genders
* Drag Q. story hour
* Decriminalization of knowingly transmitting AIDS
* Grown men in girl's bathroom.

This is NOT progress. Not born that way
#LGBBTQtakeover

Load More...

Pope Francis appoints new head of Vatican security

Vatican City, Oct 15, 2019 / 04:39 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Tuesday appointed the second-in-command of Vatican security to head the City State’s national police force, after the resignation of the former chief Oct. 14. The pope named Oct. 15,…Continue Reading

Ecological ritual performed in Vatican gardens for pope’s tree planting ceremony

Vatican City, Oct 4, 2019 / 10:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis witnessed an indigenous performance at a tree planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens Friday, during which people held hands and bowed before carved images of pregnant women, one of…Continue Reading

Young man stuns courtroom by forgiving brother’s murderer, urging her to seek Christ

DALLAS, Texas, October 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In an incredible display of human compassion, a young man whose brother was shot and killed forgave the cop who had been found guilty of his murder. Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger shot and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Ouellet defends priestly celibacy ahead of Amazon synod

Rome, Italy, Oct 2, 2019 / 11:35 am (CNA).- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, presented a book Wednesday arguing that in the face of challenges, the Church should not grab at quick solutions, but seek to…Continue Reading

President Trump Defends Religious Freedom at UN, Announces Campaign to Protect Churches

President Donald Trump urged nations across the world to protect religious freedom Monday in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. Trump, the first U.S. president to highlight religious freedom at the UN, said America will set aside $25…Continue Reading

Archbishop Harry Flynn dies at 86

Minneapolis, Minn., Sep 23, 2019 / 03:40 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Harry Flynn, a former leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has died. Flynn died Sunday in the St. Paul rectory where he had spent his final days…Continue Reading

Missouri AG refers 12 former Catholic priests for potential prosecution after abuse probe

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced Friday that his office had referred 12 former Roman Catholic priests for possible criminal prosecution following a 13-month probe of how diocesan leaders handled allegations of child abuse. The investigation reviewed personnel records for every priest serving…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke, Bishop Schneider call for prayer crusade, cite dangers of Amazon Synod

Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider have issued an eight-page declaration warning against six “serious theological errors and heresies” they say are contained in the Amazonian Synod working document, and calling for prayer and fasting to prevent them being approved. Cardinal Burke, patron…Continue Reading

Leader of Jesuit order: Satan doesn’t exist as ‘personal’ reality, only ‘symbolic’

August 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The devil is a not a personal reality but a symbol for evil, the head of the Jesuit order said this week. Satan, the devil whom the Catholic Church says was behind the fall of…Continue Reading

American Catholics Must Stand with Hong Kong

The autonomous territory of Hong Kong is in a fight for its life. For over two months, the citizens of Hong Kong have persisted in protesting an attempt by the Hong Kong chief executive to impose an amendment to the…Continue Reading

German archbishop in Auschwitz: Stand up against hubris of the politically powerful

Krakow, Poland, Aug 14, 2019 / 02:31 pm (CNA).- On the eve of the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, a German archbishop has called for a stand against hubris and arrogance of those in political power. Speaking…Continue Reading

Vatican ‘struggling to put out fire’ of public scandal over JPII Institute purge

ROME, August 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The “firefighters for the new direction” being taken at the John Paul II Institute in Rome are “struggling” to put out a blaze of public scandal, as controversy sparked by a recent purge of professors threatens to reach the door of the Pope’s…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

What are you willing to die for, Chaput asks students

Washington D.C., Oct 14, 2019 / 10:30 am (CNA).- It is important to consider what we are willing to die for, Archbishop Charles Chaput reminded students and faculty in a speech at the University of Notre Dame on Friday. “It’s a good thing, a vital thing, to consider what we’re willing to die for,” Chaput said in a lecture given to the Constitutional Studies Program at the university on Oct. 11. “To even ask that…Continue Reading

">

Does Pope Francis profess the Nicene Creed?

Did Pope Francis really really say that Jesus is not God? Eugenio Scalfari, who made this sensational claim, cannot be treated as a reliable witness. He is an atheist, a Marxist, not a Christian. Although he has interviewed Pope Francis several times, he has not recorded the sessions or taken notes. He boasts of the ability to reconstruct conversations from memory: a technique that would be inappropriate for any responsible journalist, let alone one of Scalfari’s…Continue Reading

Müller Accuses: From This Synod They Have Driven Out Jesus

The Synod on the Amazon has begun. “But it will have consequences for the universal Church,” warns Cardinal Gerhard Müller, in a lengthy interview with Matteo Matzuzzi for the newspaper “Il Foglio,” released on the very day of the opening of the work. “If one listens to the voices of some of the protagonists of this assembly, one understands easily that the agenda is entirely European.” European, and above all German. Also in Germany, in fact,…Continue Reading

">

Advertisement3

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… American Criminal Justice In Disarray

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bi-monthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Can Ruth Bader Ginsburg Make A Man Into A Woman?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate, www.creators.com, distributes his column.) + + + Judging by the argument that one lawyer made to Justice Neil Gorsuch, Tuesday, October 8 must have been an interesting day in the restrooms at the U.S. Supreme Court. “There are transgender…Continue Reading

This Bud’s For You

By DONALD DeMARCO The purpose of commercial advertising is to persuade consumers to purchase something that they do not need. This is not to say that advertising products are not useful, but to point out that they are inspired by sales and are not grounded in natural desires. By contrast, nature has equipped human beings…Continue Reading

Is Trump At Last Ending Our “Endless Wars”?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN The backstage struggle between the Bush interventionists and the America-firsters who first backed Donald Trump for president just exploded into open warfare, which could sunder the Republican Party. At issue is Trump’s decision to let the Turkish army enter Northern Syria, to create a corridor between Syrian Kurds and the Turkish…Continue Reading

A New And Orthodox Papal Document On Sacred Scripture

  By Fr. BRIAN W. HARRISON, OS Increasingly, over the six years of the Francis pontificate, a lot of us have been asking, wearily, “Can anything good come out of Domus Sanctae Marthae”? Well, something just did. Everyone watching Rome lately has been focusing on the Ominous Amazon — the synod starting this Sunday, October 6 [Editor’s…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Our Motive Must Be Love

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Ninth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Exodus 17:8-13 2 Tim. 3:14-4:2 Luke 18:1-8 In the Gospel reading today, St. Luke describes a parable spoken by our Lord to teach us the importance of praying always without growing weary. In anything we do as human beings, we grow weary after a time. However, repeatedly doing…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . True Compassion Is Sharing Fullness Of Faith

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK True love will always be found in the world through those who share the truth. This is at whatever cost to themselves in terms of the comforts of human respect or material gain. Selflessness of love speaks the word the other needs to hear in a disinterested way, regardless of the effect upon the one…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. The Catholic bishops of Massachusetts recently issued a statement on climate change that repeats all of the propaganda from the global warming extremists. Could you look at this statement and tell me if you agree with me? — T.L.H., Massachusetts. A. Yes, we do agree and have written to the bishops stating our concerns about their statement. Here are…Continue Reading

The Phantom Of A German National Church Shows Itself

By WALTER CARDINAL BRANDMUELLER (Editor’s Note: Walter Cardinal Brandmueller’s October 1 statement appears below. Please see page 1A of this week’s issue for a news story about the statement. LifeSiteNews published both the story and the text. Maike Hickson translated Brandmueller’s text from the original German.) + + + “Without Judah, without Rome, we shall build Germany’s Dome [Cathedral]” —…Continue Reading

Faith Is The Foundation For Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twenty-Eighth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: 2 Kings 5:14-17 2 Tim. 2:8-13 Luke 17:11-19 Today, as we commemorate the anniversary of the “Miracle of the Sun” at Fatima in 1917, we are reminded of the great love God has for us by bearing with us in our frailty and calling us back to Himself…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Francis Borgia

By CAROLE BRESLIN The mere sight of the name Borgia brings to mind the family that was influential in both the Church and society — notorious for their political maneuvering and murder. But God can bring good out of evil and even from this family: Francis Borgia had great influence in the development of the Society of Jesus and served…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… The Martyrs Of Turon

  By CAROLE BRESLIN The complex roots of the Spanish Civil War (February 1936 to April 1939) sprouted many years before hostilities broke out. Little by little the Catholic Church had lost its influence and then it became a prime target for both the revolutionaries and the government. Of Church personnel, those executed during the Spanish Civil War included 12…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)