Saturday, June 14, 2008

GKC - Chivalry

"Chivalry might be called the baptism of Feudalism. It was an attempt to bring the justice and even the logic of the Catholic creed into a military system which already existed; to turn its discipline into an initiation and its inequalities into a hierarchy. To the comparative grace of the new period belongs, of course, that considerable cultus of the dignity of women, to which the word 'chivalry' is often narrowed, or perhaps exalted. This was a revolt against one of the worst gaps in the more polished civilization of the Saracens. The Moslems naturally suffered from the older Oriental sentiment about women; and were, of course, without the special inspiration given by the cult of the Virgin."
- G. K. Chesterton [quoted by Stratford Caldecott]
- First posted 3/15/08

Dymphna's Hope - Nice

… when I look at this picture I feel hope. Some bad stuff is coming down the pike for this country and we'll have it coming to us but the church that Christ handed to Peter will go on. Love will go on. In the end Mary's Immaculate Heart will triumph.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Old Narnia Under Attack - Today

This news story and this news story- if you keep your eyes open - are becoming more frequent in western nations. Now, what needs to be remembered is the central theme or leitmotif of C. S. Lewis's book, Prince Caspian. Regardless of the recent film version that ran with the minor element of "Narnia - A Land at War," Lewis's true message was "Narnia - A Land Awakening from the Lies of the Telmarines."

We are fast becoming a time and place of myth. If you recall your Girard, myth is one of three crucial elements of the primitive Sacred. Author and friend, Gil Bailie, reminds us that "myth doesn’t answer questions. It extinguishes the mental vitality to ask them. To mythologize is to leave out or obscure the things that would lead to contrition."

Myth justifies and makes us feel good about the violence committed against a victim or victims against whom the mob develops an onus of blame. While in a state of myth, one feels extraordinarily "righteous". Lewis makes Narnia a place where while humans are on the throne, ruling justly with concern for the common good and with respect to all manner of talking animals, a place of wonder.

But the Telmarines have entered the picture, ruling tyrannically, throwing out the Magisterial truth and morals that Aslan instituted as son of the "Emperor over the Sea." Now might makes right, intrigue is the rule, and even reference to the "old ways" is outlawed.

Begin to sound familiar to today? The old ways of Catholic truth, faith, and morals are beginning to be branded as "hate crimes," "irrational", and "intolerant" - lest any "alternative lifestyle" persons or religions be "offended" by such Magisterial thinking and speaking. Oh, and throw out any reference to the Judeo-Christian God revealing such truth too (but a bloodthirsty, vengeful god of the Scimitar is A-OK).

Lewis knew our times would come: a new Dark Ages, only this time not in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, but rather a barbarian invasion and attack on Christian truth. WE are the "old Narnians" and "talking animals!" The question facing us is, How to respond to these attacks of the primitive Sacred in both its forms: the postmodern neo-pagan and the Scimitar?

It is a difficult question indeed.

Sins Against Hope

The thing that I was trying to say then is the same thing that I am trying to say now; and even the deepest revolution of religion has only confirmed me in the desire to say it. For indeed, I never saw the two sides of this single truth stated together anywhere, until I happened to open the Penny Catechism and read the words,
"The two sins against Hope are presumption and despair."

- G. K. Chesterton, Autobiography [325-6]

Lisbon Treaty - Irish Say No

Cat at Brits at Their Best bestows lauds and blessings on the Irish. If the Lisbon Treaty was thus defeated, it was by a squeaker (as some of us still say). Have they saved civilization again?

Don't Let the Screendoor

...hit you in the a** on your way out.

Rebuilding Culture Monastically

HULBERT, Oklahoma, JUNE 12, 2008 ( It’s been said that when the revolution comes, you won’t read about it in the newspapers.

Indeed, when the history of this part of the world is written, it may point to the recent establishment of a monastery amid the rolling hills and lakes of eastern Oklahoma as an event of momentous consequence for fostering a renaissance of Christian culture.

On my return drive to Minnesota after living for a year in Texas, I chose to spend some time at Our Lady of the Annunciation of Clear Creek monastery where an order of Benedictine monks, known as the “Clear Creek monks,” is attempting to rebuild monastic life and Christian culture in America from the ground up -- literally. Read more …

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Girard the Immortel (Must Read)

René Girard: Stanford's provocative immortel is a one-man institution. Here is a tidy introduction to Girard's mimetic theory I highly recommend. [Big h/t to Gen @ Real Clear Religion]

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Be Not Tempted to Despair

It seems to me that people of Christian faith in our time, in our age, are tempted to fall into the bane of Denethor, Steward of Gondor in J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. (Pictured above in Peter Jackson's version and played so well by John Noble.)

At an unparalleled degree Christians in the West feel pummeled by attack after attack: our faith is scoffed at by pretentious scholars and celebrities (those famous for being well-known); our morals flaunted by individualists run amok and negative imitators who are caught in a state of scandal, both of whom are lauded by journalists; and a separatist religion of the Scimitar whose rivalry toward Judaism and Catholicism knows no boundary.

We look in our "palantir" - internet, cable television, advertisements with shreds of "news" - and we feel driven to believe falsely that hope for all that is good, true, and beautiful in our world is on the wane, capsizing, or being deconstructed.

But I know differently. I have for the past seven years been privileged to be a part of an endeavor that will eternally give me hope. I have taught in a Catholic School. I have been surrounded by colleagues and friends who hear the sound of bugles at dawn and see the bright dawning of an eschatological sunrise. And during my six-week long recuperation, I have felt the power of their prayers and intentions for me, for my students whom I abandoned through no fault of my willing (unless a "transitional cell carcinoma" was willed by me somehow), and for the good of Catholic education.

Governments, nations, political parties, caucuses, and special interests can and will disappoint being merely human groupings. But the Catholic Church - of which we would ALL be a part 1,500 years ago - was begun by Our Lord, is sustained by Our Lord, and is promised to continue by Our Lord ... until He comes again (Mtt 16,18 & 28,20) come hell or high waters.

So, do not fall for the deceptions of "Sauron" or the "Sarumens" who are legion, gentle reader. Keep your armor polished and your sword sharpened. Stand tall and join the merry revels and rejoicing of the glad Company who know by His Real Presence among us that we are a part of the Body of Christ. There is no darkness that can keep our heart and voice from singing. We are the King's men (and women), and we pledge our fealty to Him.

Good Vibrations Candidate

Patrick Archbold comments (in red) on a SF Gate columnist's belief that Barack Hussein Obama is the next step in evolution! Yeeoowsaa!

LGF Asks a Simple Question

Is Obama a Citizen of the US?

Diogenes - 'On Parade'

Rome was the scene of another gay pride parade on Saturday. It was over-reported, as usual, the sympathies of journalists and editors having overmastered their professional objectivity. As usual, hatred and ridicule of the Church was a chief theme of the festivities, which the media treated with amused indulgence.

By what may seem historical accident, as other defenders of Judeo-Christian morality fade into the inert secular background, the Catholic Church assumes a more prominent combatant role in the culture wars. There is no new belligerence on the Church's part; simply by standing pat and holding on to those moral truths she once shared with Protestants and Jews (and indeed many pagans), her position as a nay-sayer becomes progressively more isolated -- and as it becomes more isolated it becomes more obnoxious to the innovators. These innovators would have us believe they've been singled out for ill-treatment by the Church; in fact they're projecting their own antagonism onto the figure that persists in standing in their way.

To be gay, inter alia, is to be anti-Catholic, just as to be pro-abortion is to be anti-Catholic. The conflict is a matter of first principles, and no amount of lawyering can effect a reconciliation. True, there are gays and pro-aborts who also claim to be Catholic, but the gentlest questioning reveals they're using "Catholic" in some distorted private sense. The non-stop shriek of rage that serves as the obbligato for the "pride" and "choice" parades is a more candid expression of conviction (we're talking about declarations, not appetites) than those furry op-eds pretending to seek a co-existence treaty between Catholic teaching and its negation.
Read all …

Monday, June 9, 2008

Utopia Without God

Every utopian project ever attempted without recourse to and humility before Catholic truth has ended disastrously. Or, if one balks at such a declarative sentence, try an interrogative: Can you name me one utopian project which did not bow to the truth of the Magisterium which did not end disastrously; i.e., murderous on a monumental scale?

At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

Barliman Butterbur? [h/t: Maggie's Farm]

A DIVORCE Lawyer Decides

What Mark Steyn’s punishment could look like. [h/t: Maggie's Farm]

All Eyes on Ireland

EU Treaty referendum hangs in balance.

Setting Terms of Discourse in Europe

Henry Hotspur (clearly a pseudonym - name of recusant during the English "reformation") at Taki's writes:
In the spring issue of the City Journal runs an essay by Bruce Bawer, entitled “An Anatomy of Surrender,” in which he describes the West’s acquiescence of “creeping sharia.” Bawer cites numerous examples of censorship and self-censorship from both America and Europe. They prove that critical views about Islam are no longer tolerated.

Bawer points out that attempts to roll back freedom of speech and other liberties have been less successful in the U.S. than in Europe. He is right. However, he does not explain why this is the case, apart from briefly mentioning that it is “thanks in no small part to the First Amendment.” Unlike Europe, America has not introduced so-called “hate speech legislation” which imposes fines and jail sentences for voicing politically incorrect opinions about certain taboo subjects. Yet, as Americans know, speaking one’s mind can get one into trouble in the U.S. as well. There will be no fine or imprisonment, but one risks losing one’s job and being ostracized.

Yet the question remains: Why is Europe collapsing at a faster rate then America?
Read more of Who Speaks for Europe? (on the PC defenders of the West)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Collins - PRB

Convent Thoughts (1851) - Charles Allston Collins

According to Christopher Wood (The Pre Raphaelites), "Collins's picture is typical of the early, gothic phase of the movement, and the religious piety of these works led many critics to accuse the painters of being Roman Catholic sympathizers. The mood of this picture is generally similar to Rossetti's early works, but the flowers and garden reflect Millais's influence" (22).

But Clare Asquith relates something more telling in her tome, Shadowplay - The Hidden Beliefs and Coded Politics of William Shakespeare: "Unknown to Pericles, (Thaisa) retires to a convent - a common refuge for women exiled from England." (250, my emphasis)

'Hope Without Guarantees'

"I look East, West, North, South, and I do not see Sauron; but I see that Saruman has many descendants. We Hobbits have against them no magic weapons. Yet, my gentlehobbits, I give you this toast: To the Hobbits. May they outlast the Sarumans and see spring again in the trees."
- Tolkien in a speech given in Rotterdam, 1958