Things that have no right to exist

Maybe if we had Labor Day a little more often around here, Tuesday would seem like Tuesday, and I would remember that I’m supposed to write a post for Tuesday.    This one is about Philip Pullman, trashy clothes, pornographic key chains, and bombs.



  1. My comment over there was already too long, so I didn’t put this in, but it definitely brought to mind a “FB comments section fight” I had recently over Mass. The idea of taking things in the library and hiding them from adults seems really childish to me and so wrong, a violation of everything the public library is for — intellectual free will and its development. Even if those books are trashy and worthless, it seems to me that in the library, at least, we as patrons would be violating a higher kind of ethic. STill I could see how someone in conscience might feel moved to turn a book around or hide it.

    So that reminded me of an even HIGHER, higher ethic: Mass attendance. My sister posted something about what people wear to Mass and someone else commented that her priest is really “good” and has people escorted out of Mass if they aren’t dressed “properly”!!! I was made absolutely incensed by the idea of this; not that I don’t think people ought to be very mindful of their dress when going to Mass (they should) but that in the end, it is better that they are THERE at Mass, than that they aren’t. Ushers who greet the man in shorts and sandals with a smile and a “HI! are you new to our parish! Welcome and here is a pamphlet about celebrating the Mass with reverence!” …? SURE! Dour men stationed in the back to intercept the lady in the tank top and “escort her” out with a snarl of, “Come back when you have more clothes on”? NO way. nope. NO.

    It’s about the higher law. And the “Jesus is here in the Eucharist even if you don’t know it, Hooters shirt guy,” law is the Highest one I can think of!

    • I agree. Better to put a note in the bulletin that isn’t so direct.. however I can see why some people would be upset. It does cause scandal to the young in attendance. And scandal is one of the prime issues harming the Church today… such as public Catholic figures who support abortion or gay marriage but still pride themselves on going to Mass and receiving Communion. This is a HUGE scandal to the faithful.

      Immodesty can be very troubling and if a leaflet at the parish just doesn’t do it and words of modest encouragement from the pulpit, still doesn’t do it, then I would warrant a private chit-chat with the immodest church-goer. Not sure who should do that or exactly when, but letting it go on for years would really not be a good idea either.

  2. I agree, Corita. Maybe it is because I’m a librarian, but I despise the idea of hiding books from others (other than their children, as appropriate, of course). Knowledge itself is not good or bad, and even a horrible book might be capable of educating a certain person in one way or another.

    Also, how would all those good Catholics who hide books at the library or bookstore feel if some militant atheists started hiding all the Catholic books and Bibles, to keep people from learning about Catholicism because “what good does it do?”

    • I don’t think we have to worry about militant atheists turning books these days. They are more blunt and in-your-face then ever before. I’m wondering if they had a hand, this year, in kicking out religious quotes and the clergy from the 9/11 memorial service in NYC? It wouldn’t surprise me since they already attacked the cross that was erected from the beams from the Towers.

  3. Simcha, I love your blog! But I must say that the idea of trashing the keychains sounds a lot like vigilante theft… I feel like such things would only be acceptable in life-or-death situations. Trashing one bag of keychains doesn’t get to the root of the problem- a population’s worth of citizens who would *buy* such things. So instead of condoning vigilante theft, I think we should be praying and speaking out for a change of heart, as well as writing to and speaking with management-level persons in the companies which sell such smut.

  4. As I posted over on the NCR, my mother sent my oldest a Harry Potter book–when he was a baby. She said she intended to buy him the entire set as they came out, since those books were destined to be classics. She hadn’t read them herself; all she knew was that the books were ‘getting kids to read’, and she felt that meant they were good for kids.

    Since the book belonged to us, I felt no compunctions about tossing it in the trash. My husband didn’t want to donate it and add to the glut that was in the library, or make it easy for people to buy a cheap copy.

    Simcha, in your place I would have done the same thing with the Pullman books. He holds nothing but hatred in his heart for the Church. And the books belonged to you, once you purchased them (and authors get no royalties for Goodwill sales!), and you could do what you liked with them.

    However, if I were a store clerk, those keychains don’t belong to me. They belong to my employer. I think a lot of people over there missed your point, but I love that your articles spark debate and conversation!

  5. Hello! I enjoying reading your blog even though we share different opinions. I have never left a comment before, but this post really compelled me to do so.

    In regard to this post – actually more so from reading comments on NCR – I find it odd that people can place so much meaning in objects – whether it be books, porn, key chains, crosses (I read on the NCR post that someone took crosses off of store mannequins because she was offended), etc. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t give intimate objects any type of moral value. And it’s actually sort of comical thinking about people buying books just to throw them away because they don’t agree with what’s in them. I think these folks are given the books a type of power that’s unwarranted.

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