Saturday, November 22, 2008
A Christian Revolutionary and Economic Prophet.
Perfectly described, Bishop, thank you. Indeed, he describes the heady, self-righteous spirit that hovered over the United States and gave Big O the majority in the presidential election. It is that abaissement du niveau mental of the crowd spoken of by Carl Jung (et al) rather well, but most completely and forensically by René Girard's mimetic theory. It makes sense out of the knee-jerk, irrational, and sometimes manic behavior of the Big O's devoted hoards.
Did they really, truly want to vote into office the single most pro-abortion, pro-infanticide candidate ever? Now, now, Athos! Remember: this was supposed to be the "feel-good" candidate. Do you want to be branded "racist"? Not at all.
There are a host of African-Americans I would have voted for. But never for one with the Big O's voting record regarding such an obvious public, grave sin, with his sincere oath to remain squarely in-line with Planned Parenthood on this one.
What America has lost touch with - nationally, in local communities, and individually - is the radical damage done by SIN, and its power to cast mythological, pagan "fog" over the hearts, minds, and souls of millions of persons.
Please join me in continuing to pray for our president-elect, and all so deluded by sin's power.
(Big O's) public remarks on the freedom of religion and constitutional law demonstrate little awareness of the significance of the first freedom of the First Amendment in America’s law and lived experience. Moreover, after more than three decades of the most passionate public debate of these matters, Obama declared during the election that the moral and legal status of the unborn child are questions “above my pay grade.”
The truly ominous possibility, indeed likelihood, is that Obama does not see his extreme positions on abortion as being extreme at all. They are the entrenched orthodoxies of the parties that got him to where he is. Those in opposition are viewed as a recalcitrant minority guilty of perpetuating divisiveness, and the time has come to break their back once and for all. I hope I am wrong, but this strikes me as the more plausible understanding of the Freedom of Choice Act and other measures aimed at “bringing us together again.”
[ ... ]
The Church is not merely a voluntary association of the spiritually like-minded catering to the indulgence of private sensibilities in one of Babylon’s many enclaves of choice. The Church is the Body of Christ through time proposing to the world the new creation inaugurated in his cross and resurrection and promised return. Whether against, above, in paradox, or transforming, she is always critically engaged—never surrendering to the cultural captivity that is the delusion of “Christ without culture.”
Yes, the imminent Kulturkampf, if that is what is in the offing, will require legal talent, political strategizing, relentless persuasion, and all the other means compatible with our constitutional order. Most of all, however, it requires the courage born of faith that the Church really is the Body of Christ through time, a distinct and public community bearing public witness to public truths about the right ordering of life both public and personal. In Catholic history, the cry through the centuries is for libertas ecclesiae—the freedom of the Church to be the Church. For Catholics and others, that freedom now faces a time of severe testing. In the defense of that freedom there have been through the centuries martyrs beyond numbering. We do not know what will happen in the months and years ahead, except that now it may be our turn.
Friday, November 21, 2008
In popular parlance: Yeah, right.
In this mysterious existence as humans, the Catholic Church makes truth claims that it purports to have received via revelation; that is, from outside the cosmos of culture and from outside the time/space continuum itself; about a divinity Who is trinitarian, covenant-making and self-donating; about this deity Who shares ontological being with us, so much so that we are made imago dei.
Today the Church celebrates the one human who in her fiat made it possible for us humans to be divinized, as the Eastern Church calls it. Through the Blessed Virgin Mary our deity became one-with-us, the Word made flesh (Jn 1,14), in Jesus Christ.
Lastly, (c) if the Catholic Church is right about the revelations she has received, who are we to choose which to accept as true and which to discard? One must accept all of her teaching, or reject it all. Anything else is the height of hubris.
A rainy November morning seemed like a funny time to start talking about spring. But last weekend the Springtime for Faith foundation held its third annual summit here in Rome.
Inspired by Pope John Paul II's words, "The Spirit will truly bring about a new Springtime of Faith, if Christian hearts are filled with new attitudes of humility, generosity and openness to his purifying grace," the Springtime Foundation tries to galvanize lay leaders to be witnesses to their faith not only in their homes, but in every aspect of their lives.
Despite the chilly, shorter days, and the bare trees in the normally lush Borghese park, business executives, authors and television celebrities gathered to listen to a series of lectures on signs of a new springtime in the Catholic world.
The lineup of speakers was as brilliant and variegated as the fall foliage: Cardinal Francis Arinze; Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the pontifical household; Legionary of Christ Father Thomas Williams, author and CBS News analyst; and Joan Lewis, bureau chief for EWTN -- all pointed out various signs of spring in what seems to be a cold, hard winter in the Catholic world.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Long before the advent of Islam in the 7th century, the Middle East was the heartland of Christianity. Jesus was a Palestinian Jew. All the major doctrines of Christian theology – the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc. -- were hammered out in the great and ancient Sees that go back to the earliest history of the Church. With the exception of Rome, all were engulfed by Islamic conquest. – Jerusalem, Alexandria (Egypt), Antioch (Syria), and Constantinople – all submerged.
The Muslim conquerors swept over the Arabian peninsula, north into Syria and Persia and further points east, across northern Africa where the great St. Augustine once preached, over the Straits of Gibraltar into Spain and Portugal and north far into modern day France. One by one the islands of the Mediterranean fell. The southern coast of France was pounded for centuries. Right before the Crusades, the Muslims overwhelmed the Balkans and the Anatolian Peninsula. Later, after the Crusades, the jewel of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, fell to the Sultan in 1453.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
The unborn John the Baptist bows before the unborn Jesus. Such depiction appears only in three more churches in Cyprus.
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled."
Of course. All Catholics should participate on a daily basis in the same prayerful work of Marian chivalry: pray for president-elect Obama to repent of his erstwhile support for this grave, public sin. And by the way, do so not as a saint praying for a sinner, but as a sinner praying for another sinner.
UPDATE: Baltimore-native Cardinal James Stafford stated "On Nov. 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake,” continued the cardinal. He pointed out that president-elect Barack Obama campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform,” and described him as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic.”
Now Catholics will experience the Agony of the Garden through the next few years of Obama’s presidency the cardinal said, and will have to endure the “hot, angry tears of betrayal.” He invited people to live this time “with Jesus, sick because of love.”
Sunday, November 16, 2008
TO HAVE MUCH AMBITION is a great cross: it is prodigious folly for one to think himself capable of everything. Our capacity and abilities are limited: God, says Saint Paul, divides his graces. When he sends us to labor in his vineyard, he gives us precisely what is necessary for us. When he places us in any office, he assigns us that portion of grace requisite for us to discharge it well. Thus to speak correctly we possess talents only to do what God commands us to do; in any other thing, we are as incapable of succeeding as a bird is of flying without wings. Take away the blessing of God, and of what avail will your talents be?
And what is it that gives this blessing, but obedience? If you do not succeed in your office there is reason to believe that it is not the one God has laid out for you; that you intruded yourself into it; that ambition prompted you to seek it; that favor thrust you into it; at least that you did not beg of God his grace and blessing, and that you secretly sought your own satisfaction in it rather than his ...
Never intrude yourself into an office to which you have not been called, and never refuse any one that is given you. By following this rule, you will enjoy wonderful peace. God will bless all yourr exertions and the success with which your labors are crowned will not anywise diminish your merit ...
Do then what you wish, but bear this in mind that your labor will be in vain if you do not do what you ought. Your duty, once more I repeat it, is to do what God wishes, and to acquit yourself faithfully in the office he gives you. You will discharge it well if you receive it from his hand, if you enter upon it by his orders, if you rely upon his grace, if you implore his blessing, if you covet not another office, if you perform your labor with gaiety, quietly, courageously, constantly: with gaiety, without ill-humor; quietly, without uneasiness; courageously, without baseness; constantly, without disgust and without relaxation. What is your defect?