Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why I Am a Catholic by Garry Wills

I picked this up at the library the other day, and it has been a very interesting read. I had heard awful things about it, and in fact someone had even penned a warning in the front of the library's copy that it was unorthodox and should "be read with caution." I found it to be quite different from what I had expected. The larger part of the book is a history of the papacy -- although it must be admitted that it tends to highlight the negatives. This is not meant to be a comprehensive history but a showing of evidence that at times the papacy has erred, and erred greatly. He doesn't deny the importance of the papacy or even papal infallibility, although I thought it was interesting when he gave a quote from Cardinal Newman that agreed with what I've thought, that the doctrine of papal infallibility as declared actually limits papal power rather than expanding it.

I disagree strongly with his characterization of Ratzinger's teaching, I don't think it is accurate at all, but I do think his central thesis, which he largely borrowed from Newman, is true -- that theologians, the laity and the papacy/hierarchy counterbalance each other to keep the Church on track. The chapter "The Pope's Loyal Opposition" is priceless.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Update on Rosie

Thanks for all the vibes, prayers and good thoughts. Her platelet counts are already back up to normal levels! They had said it might take a few months, but she's bounced right back.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

KS schooling bill "snuck in"

The KS legislature recently passed, with virtually no media attention, a bill lowering the compulsory education age to 6 from 7 and mandating half-day Kindergarten before entering first grade. This is quite similar to legislature that was opposed by the homeschooling community and defeated last year. You can read some information about it here. However, this particular bill was amended so that parents could request exemption from the requirement.

Honestly, I'm not too concerned about this bill. If you are opposed to any compulsory education or government involvement in education then I see why you might be opposed to it. The arguments at the HSLDA site, that beginning academics earlier doesn't show any benefits and has definite drawbacks compared to delaying them, is quite true but I honestly don't think it will be affected by this bill. Kindergartens and first grades in KS are heavily academic, at least those in my area are. I don't know of any non-homeschooled children who don't begin kindergarten at age 6 and I also don't know of any who skip kindergarten and enter school at the first grade level. This bill is truly only bringing the law into conformance with practice.

Homeschooling families will need to register as private schools a year earlier, and it would be advised to begin keeping more careful records at that time as well. There are no reporting requirements at all in KS, so the bill will have less impact.