Monday, April 18, 2011

Catholic Ambassador Resigns

I've wondered from time to time whatever happened to Doug Kmiec, the supposedly pro-life Catholic Pepperdine law professor who campaigned hard back in 2008 to convince Catholics and Americans in general that Obama's presidency would be consistent with the Catholic Church's position on abortion. It's hard to believe that a scholar of Kmiec's stature would be gullible enough to be such a useful idiot. Yet, that's what Kmiec did, fawning over Obama in the process and receiving for his efforts, the ambassadorship to the very Catholic country of Malta, a position from which Kmiec has just resigned. Apparently, Barack has had his fill of Kmiec who must no longer be of any use to the administration on rounding up Catholics for Obama. American Papist blog has a thorough account of the matter.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Catholics Address Spiritual Roots of Overeating

With all the hand-wringing in the White House over obesity and diet, here is one diet solution that makes sense. The program is called Light Weigh.

I view it as vindication of my own views which are based on limited information, anecdotal evidence and scant background knowledge, none of which have stopped me from long being a proponent of the view that, in general, weight problems can usually be traced to eating problems, or, in a word, gluttony.

Gluttony has, might we say, two possible sources, the first one stemming from a lack of interest in and awareness about food (as in what's a fat vs. a carbohydrate or what sausages are made of) and the other stemming from a desire for food that has nothing to do with being hungry. It's this latter type of gluttony that a parishoner in Eagle River, Alaska addresses in Light Weigh. Among other things, her program helps people identify "stomach hunger versus heart hunger" and the program incorporates the teachings of St. Ignatius and St. Therese of Lisieux. Moderation and prayer are important and no foods are denied.

This second type of gluttony is one that I think we all struggle with, whether we happen to be fatties or not. Think about any one of those open houses you've attended where refreshments were served. Ever notice the rush to the food table? I do it myself precisely to see what's there and to make sure that I get what I want. (I am not, however, a hard-core glutton who stands and eats at the serving table.) At an all-you-can-eat buffet, watch diners load up their plates with every kind of meat, potato and vegetable, a jumbled heap of protein, fat and carbs that common sense tells us will be sickening.

I still remember being bitterly taken to task by my older sister for taking the last pork chop at dinner one night. She called out to the table, but really to my parents, that I had already gotten two pork chops and now I was going after more than my share! I ate the third, escaping the justice that my sister expected to be meted out to me by my parents showing that their love for us was equal, that I was no more deserving than she. Sounds silly, but it really isn't. That's why I always had to count out the strawberries for my kids, in front of them, so that there were no arguments over who got more. Or, more to the point, who mom loved more and so gave the greater portion to.

I'm not suggesting, nor do I necessarily think the Light Weigh program is suggesting, that if we take three pork chops or race to the dessert buffet we have lost faith in God. I think it just means that, in that moment when we reach for too much, we're responding to our baser instincts and we are, for that moment, reducing ourselves to mere material beings who have lost sight about the sort of happiness we'll get from a piece of chocolate cake.