Saturday, June 7, 2008
“I tell those who come to see me to first go to a doctor or a psychologist,” the priest continued. “Most of the time there is a physical or psychological basis for explaining their suffering. The psychiatrists send me the incurable cases. There is no rivalry. The psychiatrist determines if it is an illness, the exorcist if it is a curse,” Father Amorth explained.
Nobody, he went on, not even himself, is “safe from the devil. Everyone is vulnerable.” “The devil is very intelligent. He retains the intelligence of the angel that he was.” [h/t: New Advent]
Friday, June 6, 2008
Behold one pincer of the primitive Sacred. And now, behold the other. Just as sure as 1600 saw the sacrificial eradication of Catholicism in England, we see it happen again - now in Canada. Will the same thing happen in the United States of America?
"You will still, occasionally, read of Protestant fellow-countrymen of ours referring to the Catholic Church in England under the contemptuous title of 'the Italian Mission.' The name is meant, of course, to twit us with being foreigners, because during penal times our priests were educated abroad. It is a delightful idea: you make the Mass high treason, and put a price on every priest's head, and so seminaries have to be built abroad, and priests have to come back from foreign countries if they want to preserve the old faith. And when they do come back, you greet them with shouts of: 'Oh, you beastly Italian.'
"Well, I am not considering here whether that is a very generous taunt, or a very intelligent one: the interesting point about it is, Who was the first to make it? It was made first by Archbishop Benson, father of Msgr. Hugh Benson. And what was he? Archbishop of Canterbury. And why Canterbury? Why that very one-horse, dead-and-alive place on the South-Eastern? Simply because St. Augustine, a Roman envoy sent by the Pope to convert our country to the religion of the Church of Rome (6th century A.D.). And then an Archbishop of Canterbury describes the diocese of Westminister as an Italian Mission!
"Well, we were founded from Rome; and all through the Middle Ages, in spite of the nuisance of living so far away from it, we were known for our loyalty to the Roman See ...
"We ought to be praying earnestly for the conversion of those who, disheartened by the failure of civilization, are turning to the Church for guidance. May the King of Angels bring us all to the fellowship of the heavenly citizens; to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Of course, the more one studies the English "reformation" replete with the hangings, drawings (of one's entrails), and quarterings (of one's limbs and said limbs are sent to the four 'quarters' of the Kingdom to shew what happens when one messes with governmental powers), one realizes that the beginnings of the lewd, lascivious, and craven double-think began with the bestial rebellion against the epistemological, ontological, and anthropological certainty of the Catholic Church and her vouchsafed Magisterium.
From then, it was all down hill to the present day. I truly wish I could see anymore hope than could Master Shakespeare in Troilus and Cressida, or Timon of Athens. But I do not.
The best I can hope for are a few souls - the occasional C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, or Sebastian Moore - who will emerge from the beleaguered sacrificial quarry that Britain has become. I pine for the multitudes who live, prosper, and die in the hubris and nihil of present day England. May the Lord raise up a new, truth-seeking generation with the spirit and hope to turn its eyes toward Rome.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
And, as The Anchoress reminds us of GKC's words to early 20th century atheists, Reason itself is a matter of faith. It is an act of faith to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all.
"You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning ... he is a liar and the father of lies" [Jn 8,44, my emphases]
The West is a product of this biblical spirit, leading away from the primitive Sacred and its satanic ways. But since the Renaissance and so-called "enlightenment", it has been moving back toward the ways of paganism.
Part of the West's crisis is that we have separated ourselves from the crowd; we are suspicious of crowds. And that is good: we know how crowds can turn on a victim and try collectively to scapegoat an arbitrarily chosen victim. This is what Hamerton-Kelly calls the "Generative Mimetic Scapegoating Mechanism" (GMSM). We value individualism to the point of worship: we have gone overboard to the point of caring little for the common good. Too, we even see the danger of the primitive Sacred in the "voice of the ancestral father."
So? So what? So the "voice of the ancestral father" presently is embodied in President George W. Bush. So we need CHANGE. Ah, (but) there's the rub.
If we do not choose the Father that Christ came to reveal, "change" leads merely and inexorably not to a way out of the "labyrinth" of the primitive Sacred. Change leads only to another curlicue of the labyrinth, as we follow a Pied Piper who fascinates us with his charisma.
What is a person who wants to follow the Father revealed by Jesus Christ to do this presidential election? The most ostensible form of the primitive Sacred is always child sacrifice. You may want, first, to check the voting records of candidates on abortion. Second, you may want to see which candidate lines up with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church's faith and morals. And, third, pray - pray fervently for the Culture of Life, that of Jesus' Father - in a culture fast slipping back into the ways of the primitive Sacred.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
In my opinion, this is appropriate diplomatically, but it may increase mimetic tension for Ahmadinejad. As a collective, the Scimitar is utterly beholden to the Judeo-Christian worldview for its very existence: a "model/rival" relationship from its inception. Ahmadinejad as the froth on this cauldron feels both repelled by the ontologically grounded Holy Father and intensely attracted to him.
Sadly I predict worsening relations because of the perceived snub of the model par excellence by an underling rival.
Monday, June 2, 2008
Is it too late to remake Prince Caspian? You know, like, to include all those "boring" non-battle scenes just like in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? The way Lewis wrote it? It is too late? Sigh. Too bad. I was just hoping ...
As the PBS documentary Secrets of the Dead – Shroud of Christ? detailed, the textile evidence is looking more and more conclusive that the Shroud (b) does indeed date to the 1st century A.D., and (b) the carbon dating applied to the most touched and contaminated corner of the cloth was flawed.
"Where is your father?" they ask him (v. 19)
"You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also," he replies.
They say a little later, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone..." (v. 33, as their Roman overlords probably listened in)
Jesus says to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. but now you are trying to kill me ... Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father ... You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning ... he is a liar and the father of lies" (vv. 39b-44a, my emphases).
Jesus is juxtaposing his Father with that "father" of the Pharisees whom they mis-recognize as Abraham. Jesus first corrects them about Abraham, saying that if he were their father, they would do the works of Abraham; namely, faithfully loving God with heart, soul, mind and strength, and neighbor as oneself. Then he pulls back the veil that thinly masks the violence they actually carry out like the pagans. THIS, he says, is the true "father" of their actions. They use laws as "trip-wires" to catch new victims to throw into the sacrificial mechanism started by the "murderer from the beginning ... a liar and the father of lies."
As we noted in the series of posts on Paganism, Then and Now, mimetic theory, the cultural anthropology of René Girard, posits precisely what Jesus puts in these few words of comparing the "murderer from the beginning ... and the father of lies" of conventional human culture vs. the Father God whom Jesus came to reveal to a sinful, violent, and bloodthirsty humanity. (To get caught up in gender political correctness here would be to do great disservice to the canonical Scriptures and cannot but sidetrack the importance of these matters. "Father" it will be and shall remain.)
Gil Bailie in his extraordinary explication of Girard's opus - Violence Unveiled - notes that the pre-Socratic philosopher Herclitus saw that
War [polemos] is the father and king of all things; he has shown some to be gods and some mortals, he has made some slaves and others free ... Everything originates in strife ... Strife is justice; and all things both come to pass and perish through strife. (My emphasis)
Girard posits here the difference between what he calls an "internal mediator" and an "external mediator." The former is one of the myriad savior figures who have led the human race astray during our sad, mortal history "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." The latter, on the other hand, would be a truly divine figure who comes from outside our human cultural house of mirrors and, thus, is capable of informing us of a completely different and superior way of living, moving, and having our being. One, as Girard says, who comes "to turn this long page of human history once and for all."
And so we see the need for choosing with extreme care and caution who to follow, whose "father" to believe, what organizing principle to set at the center of one's being. One that will just lead us back into the labyrinth of the "same ol' same ol'?" Or, a true "external Mediator" worthy of our heart, our life, our eternal well-being?
Who you gonna trust? may well be the most important question you ever answer.
Even when we focus on radical Islam, we are woefully ignorant about it. Unlike Communism, which we broadly understood was shaped by Marx and applied by Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and others, we don't know from whence radical Islam came. With few exceptions among elites and the public, we don't recognize that terrorist attacks on the United States and the West over the last 30 years are the latest phase of a 1,400-year struggle by radical Islam to defeat the forces of modernity and return society to the time of Mohammed. We don't know the interconnected ideologies and roles of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Whahhabis, and the Khomeinists in reviving this struggle in the 20th Century.
Blissfully ignorant of the beliefs, the outlook, the goals, and the methods of our adversaries, we are profoundly un-serious about the dangers that they represent. We are un-serious about the military commitment, the resources, and the measures required to defeat radical Islam both abroad and at home. Democrat, Republican, and independent - we are all un-serious. But our political affiliation determines just what it is we are un-serious about. To put it another way, Democrats are un-serious about some aspects of the challenge ahead while Republicans are un-serious about others.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Westerners while living in the "Christ-haunted" ethos of the bare ruined choirs of Christendom rarely can articulate let alone thematize the foundational presuppositions that lent us freedom from elements of the primitive Sacred: the paganism that is premised on force majeure, pantheism and animism. But rest assured: if we continue to throw out the Judeo-Christian antinomy for paganism in our legislatures, media, and courts of law, we shall most surely see it in its hydra-like manifestations raining fire across the delapidated West.
Don't say I didn't warn you. Or, don't you know paganism when you see it in post-modern nihilism and the Scimitar?