“The believing community comes to know God precisely by being baptismally re-created and eucharistically re-membered as the Body of Christ. This is not an isolated liturgical event but a daily struggle sacramentalized in the liturgy; it is the discovery of one’s personhood in living out the concrete manifestations of the paschal mystery in the daily details of one’s existence.” – Mark McIntoshh/t: Gil Bailie @ Cornerstone Forum
"In a Christian context, selfhood is oxymoronic. The true self is the giving away of the self to the Other and/or others. It is pouring out one's life, losing one's life in order to find it." - Gil Bailie
"All the appeals to custom, to tradition, to authority, to the positive teaching of religion, to the gestures repeated since childhood . . . are not meant to compel reason nor to supplement it, but to protect it against the vertigo of the imagination. . . . And the only people to be scandalized are, in the words of St. Augustine 'those who do not know how rare and difficult a thing it is for the fleshly imagination to be subdued by the serenity of a devout mind'." - Henri de Lubac
"Christian anthropology concerns itself with personhood. Personhood as we perceive it from a kenotic perspective suggests a category that cannot be reduced to a traditional notion of the individual. . . . The self as a person exists in and through deeds and words that reveal it to others. Thus person is sacramental." - Lucien Richard
Saturday, February 23, 2008
As I said, the first of these religions in whose "cosmos" its followers live see Mohammad as the "perfect man." He not only took down, word for word, the revelation of Allah to him in the Koran, but, as Allah's mind changed [ __ !], the more peaceful dictates toward infidel that came to him in Mecca gave way to the more forceful and violent dictates toward non-Muslims in Medina. In Islamic jurisprudence, this means that the latter abrogates the former. This is a distinction many western leaders want to deny, but it is truly held by believers.
Likewise, Mohammad's actions are seen as exemplary for all. Therefore, one can argue a strong case for dealing with his beheading of 500 Jews of Nadir (a conservative estimate; some say as high as 800) in Medina as one of "do as I do," since he was and ever shall be "the perfect man." Peaceable Muslims who befriend non-Muslims are, logically, either (a) ignorant of these points and in need of enlightenment; or (b) willfully disobedient and, therefore, liable to punishment as infidel themselves.
Those deemed "radical Islamists" are simply, following this reasoning, doing their utmost to be obedient and faithful, given the presuppositions that the founder was the perfect man and received accurately and unswervingly the revelation as found in the Koran and aided by the Hadith. This is the way of it, and all rests on these twin presuppositions. The soteriology of this religion is not posited on how well one loves God and neighbor -- love in the covenantal, steadfast sense is alien to it -- but on sheer obedience to the revelations of Allah.
James Pinkerton has produced in his essay, The Once & Future Christendom, to my mind the only feasible paradigm for rescuing the Christian West; namely a "Shire Strategy." Pinkerton utilizes Tolkien's Lord of the Rings for terminology and even policy in a way that honors the beliefs of a prime adversary of the West qua "the Shire" without a desire to quash, destroy, or subsume that adversary.
For another analysis of Pinkerton's notion, see A Conversation with James Pinkerton in "View From the Right."
Friday, February 22, 2008
"May God grant my continued understanding of one thing: attachment to the Church’s tradition, far from being a stumbling block, is the principle of all effective audacity." - Henri de Lubac
"Contrary to what our nihilists and relativists tell us, there is a human nature, and its resiliency is such that it often manages to adjust to the weirdest cultural insanities." - René Girard
"The chief purpose of life, for any one of us, is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks." - J.R.R. Tolkien
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Mark Steyn asks, So what WOULD it take to alarm you?
I see female Muslim medical students in British hospitals are refusing to comply with hygiene procedures on the grounds that scrubbing requires them to bare their arms, which is un-Islamic. Would it be alarmist to bring that up — say, the day before your operation?
"Catholics need good jokes and this is one we can add to our collection" writes Steve Ray – a major influence in my conversion.
One day while he was at the track playing the ponies and all but losing his shirt, Mitch, a Protestant noticed a Catholic priest who stepped out onto the track and blessed the forehead of one of the horses lining up for the 4th race. Lo and behold, that horse - a very long shot – won the race. Before the next race, as the horses began lining up, Mitch watched with interest the old priest step onto the track. Sure enough, before the 5th race the horses came to the starting gate. The priest made a blessing on the forehead of one of the horses.
Mitch made a beeline for a betting window and placed a small bet on the horse blessed by the priest. Again, even though it was another long shot, the horse the priest had blessed won the race. Mitch collected his winnings, and anxiously waited to see which horse the priest would bless for the 6th race. The priest again blessed a horse.
Mitch bet big on it, and it won. Mitch was elated. As the races continued the priest kept blessing long shot horses, and each one ended up coming in first. Bye and bye, Mitch was pulling in some serious money. By the last race, he knew his wildest dreams were going to come true. He made a quick dash to the ATM, withdrew all his savings, and awaited the priest's blessing that would tell him which horse to bet on.
True to his pattern, the priest stepped onto the track for the last race and blessed the forehead of an old nag that was the longest shot of the day. Mitch also observed the priest blessing the eyes, ears, and hooves of the old nag. Mitch knew he had a winner and bet every cent he owned on the old nag. He then watched dumbfounded as the old nag come in dead last and then dropped dead. Mitch, in a state of shock, made his way down to the track area where the priest was.
Confronting the old priest he demanded, 'Father! What happened? All day long you blessed horses and they all won. Then in the last race, the horse you blessed lost by a Kentucky mile. Now, thanks to you I've lost every cent of my savings - all of it!'.
The priest nodded wisely and with sympathy. 'Son,' he said, 'that's one of the problems with you Protestants, you can't tell the difference between a simple blessing and the Sacrament of Last Rites.'
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
But this is not the case, largely due to the realities of functional dhimmitude.
Be that as it may, one must keep ones focus upon the finest, purest gift to mankind: the Catholic Church in the fullness of the faith, the one, true fold. Or, as Tolkien said to his son in a personal letter:
"Out of the darkness of my life, so much frustrated, I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament ... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires."
Monday, February 18, 2008
St. Francis of Assisi answered: "It seems to me that you have not read the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in its entirety. In fact it says elsewhere: "if your eye causes you sin, tear it out and throw it away" (Mt 5 , 29). With this, Jesus wanted to teach us that if any person, even a friend or a relative of ours, and even if he is dear to us as the apple of our eye, we should be willing to repulse him, to weed him out if he sought to take us away from the faith and love of our God. This is precisely is why Christians are acting according to justice when they invade the lands you inhabit and fight against you, for you blaspheme the name of Christ and strive to turn away from his worship as many people as you can. But if you were to recognize, confess, and worship the Creator and Redeemer, Christians would love you as themselves instead"."
["Verba fratris Illuminati socii b. Francisci ad partes Orientis et in cospectu Soldani Aegypti", Codex Vaticanus Ott.lat.n.552] -- First posted 12/13/07
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Arthur Herman points out, 'A student of history, Churchill came to feel that Judaism was the bedrock of traditional Western moral and political principles--and Churchill was of a generation that preferred to talk about principles instead of "values." For Europeans to turn against the Jew, he argued, was for them to strike at their own roots and reject an essential part of their civilization--"that corporate strength, that personal and special driving power" that Jews had brought for hundreds of years to Europe's arts, sciences and institutions.'
Not as a "racist" or "ethnocentrist" scree, but in terms of religion, anthropologically understood, Churchill -- Winston, not Ward -- intuited spot on. The biblical faiths of Judaism and Christianity were and still are guided by a spirit that is utterly unique on the stage of world history.
What pious multiculturalist dogma will seemingly never understand is that merely dreaming about wanting "to teach the world to sing ... in perfect harmony" results in the importation of tribal expressions of what R. Girard calls the "primitive Sacred" writ large into a West weakened by this un-thematized neo-paganism (multiculturalism). So the once beautiful structures of a crumbling West becomes a staging ground for global jihad, as Pastorius notes.
The tribal rivalries, domains of petty warlords, urban ghetto-ization, and stagnation of productivity, individuality, and freedom begin to predominate and promulgate like weeds growing in ruined choirs of a dormant and enervated Christendom. This is the product of multiculturalism and the importation of the culture of the primitive Sacred.
The only hope for old Europe is that the biblical faiths of Judaism and Christianity will not be scapegoated, routed, and driven into near extinction. It will take extraordinary courage, chivalry, and virtue in order for this not to happen in the face of the two-front battle with Islam, on the one hand, and neo-pagan multiculturalism on the other.
Read all …