Pope will allow priests to forgive abortion

Pope Francis will allow priests to forgive the sin of abortion during the upcoming Holy Year, from December 8 to November 26.  Normally, abortion incurs automatic excommunication.  Bishops must give special permission before a priest can absolve a penitents of that particular sin.

That abortion cannot be forgiven, apart from an elaborate bureaucratic process, is another example of the Gospel-denying effects of the Roman Catholic penitential system.  Christ died for all sins, including abortion, and He bore every woman’s abortion in His body on the Cross.  So every woman who has committed this sin can know that she has forgiveness in Him.  Now for one year, such women can find forgiveness in the Roman Catholic Church.

But this action by Pope Francis is being interpreted as another example of the pontiff’s “tolerance” and will be taken as a weakening of the church’s position on abortion. [Read more...]

Did the Q’uran pre-date Muhammed?

Carbon dating of what has been called the world’s oldest Q’uran suggests that the manuscript may have been written before the Muhammed was born, so that the book of which this is a copy would be even older.  Islam teaches that the Q’uran was delivered directly to the prophet from Heaven, but this would indicate that he may have been drawing on a pre-existent text in formulating the new religion.

But in fairness, it is possible to put a different construction on the evidence.  The carbon dating has the manuscript as having been written between 568-645 A.D.   Muhammad lived from 570-632 A.D.   Islamic tradition says that the Q’uran was given to the prophet between 610-632 A.D., with the writings formally collected into a single book around 650 A.D.

Carbon dating gives a range, not a precise date.  And it seems to me that the traditional accounts still fall within this range. [Read more...]

Scam, fraud, and blackmail at Wikipedia

Wikipedia has banned 381 of its editors for scamming and in some cases extorting small businesses and celebrities, taking money to get favorable articles approved and “protected.” [Read more...]

The Christian vs. the collective

Anthony Sacramone has a quite brilliant post entitled “There Are Only Two Conceptions of Human Ethics.”  He begins with an excerpt from Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon, a conversation between two Soviet-era totalitarians on the difference between the Christian ethic and the “collective” ethic.  Then he applies it. [Read more...]

Court rules that parents don’t have to be perfect

A mother in New Jersey left her sleeping daughter in the car for 5-10 minutes while she dashed inside a store in a suburban mall.  Someone noticed, and the mother was charged with child endangerment.  But the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in the mother’s favor, making an interesting legal distinction.

In a unanimous decision, the court said that the law must consider only actual harm, as opposed to possible harm.  That is to say, we worry about what might happen to the child left in the car (a bad guy could run away with her; she could wake up, start the car, and run it into a building, etc.).  But the law can only deal with what does happen.

Thus, as Lenore Skenazy explains the case, parents do not have to be perfect, lest their children be taken away from them. [Read more...]

Sesame Street and the free market

Sesame Street has signed a deal with HBO that will allow the popular children’s show to double the number of original episodes that it will produce next year.  Those shows will be shown free on Public Television nine months later.

In the meantime, we can see the difference in how a free market supplies a public good as opposed to government financing. [Read more...]


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