Saturday, December 13, 2008

Near-Gaudete Sunday Reminder

And now, for something completely different, just in case the news and deluge of pop culture is messing witcha, and you need some reminding of what we're aiming toward during Advent: Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band sing Shepherds Arise here:

Shepherds arise, be not afraid, with hasty steps prepare
To David's city, sin on earth,
With our blest Infant-with our blest Infant there,
With our blest Infant there, with our blest Infant there.
Sing, sing, all earth, sing, sing, all earth eternal praises sing
To our Redeemer, to our Redeemer and our heavenly King.

[ht: The Iconoclast]

And Who Can Blame Them

Robert Spencer reports that the Dancing girls of Lahore on strike against Talibanization.

Gary Sinise - Ace

A cool actor, in my book, just got cooler. Turns out that Gary Sinise is a Catholic convert. [ht: Mark Shea]

And besides supporting the troops, he's a big time supporter of Catholic Education, and has begun an organization called Operation Iraqi Children.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

London Shall Have Christmas

No Grinch around London town. Indeed new mayor (Alexander) Boris (de Pfeffel Johnson) saved Christmas this year. Bravo, your Lordship High Mayor! [ht: Cat at Brits at Their Best]

Belafonte - Mary's Boy Child

Purists be darned. Enjoy Harry Belafonte in Mary’s Boy Child whilst you prepare for Christmas (we're close to Gaudete Sunday, after all).

The Waiting Game

From New Oxford Review, a timely, timeless reflection, Advent's Pregnant Silence - A Season of Grace, a Season of Thieves by Fr. James Schmitmeyer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Naming - Middle Earth Style

According to a cool Middle Earth name-generator site, I, Athos, am Ferdinand Baker from The Far Downs. What's yours? [ht: Old World Swine, TJ]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

St Edmund's Retreat

Courtesy of Mark Gordon's Suicide of the West, an invitation to make a retreat at Saint Edmund's just off the coast of Mystic, CT. I was blessed to spend a week there at a seminar given by Gil Bailie on Dante's Divine Comedy. A foretaste of Heaven.

St. Edmund's Retreat - Enders Island - Mystic, CT from Enders Island on Vimeo.

Monday, December 8, 2008

La Thangue

The Return of the Reapers (1886) - Henry Herbert La Thangue

Britain - Increasingly Intolerant of Faith

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, as he prepares to retire, declares that Britain is 'unfriendly' for religious people. Although often nipped at by snooty journalists, he claims that Catholicism has borne the brunt of "liberal hostility" in its battles to fight for values it considers to be "fundamental pillars of a rightly ordered society".

"The vocal minority who argue that religion has no role in modern British society portray Catholic teaching on the family as prejudiced and intolerant to those pursuing alternatives," he says.

In particular, the cardinal highlights the Church's opposition to liberal laws on abortion and homosexuality, its defence of faith schools and its support for marriage.

He led the Church's unsuccessful attempt to block the controversial embryo Bill, which allows for saviour siblings and babies to be born without fathers.

The campaign raised questions over the role of religion in influencing public policy, but the cardinal argues that moves to silence the faith communities must be resisted.

"There is a current dislike of absolutes in any area of human activity, including morality," he says.

M. Pera - Hope for Europe

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2008 ( Philosopher and writer Marcello Pera says Europe must call itself Christian because it's exactly what can bring the continent together.

Pera, an Italian senator, presented his latest book, "Perché Dobbiamo Dirci Cristiani" (Why We Must Call Ourselves Christians), in Rome on Thursday. More than 300 people were present at the event.

In the book's introduction Pera writes: "My position is that of an atheist and a liberal who asks Christianity about the reason for hope." Benedict XVI, in a letter to Pera, said that the book is "of fundamental importance at this hour in Europe and the world."
Read all of An Atheist Looks to Christianity for Hope.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

2 Advent - A Message for Young Men

A message for young men on the second Sunday of Advent from Thomas Woods' How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization:
Today, all too many younger people have heard the Church's teaching on human intimacy only in caricature, and given the culture within which they live, cannot begin to understand why the Church proposes it. Faithful to the mission she has fulfilled for two millenia, however, the Church still holds out a moral alternative to young people immersed in a culture that relentlessly teaches them to pursue immediate gratification. The Church recalls the great men of Christendom - like Charlemagne, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Saint Francis Xavier, to name a few - and holds them up as models for how true men live. Its message?

Essentially this: You can aspire to be one of these men - a builder of civilization, a great genius, a servant of God and men, or a heroic missionary - or you can be a self-absorbed nobody fixated on gratifying your appetites. Our society does everything in its power to ensure that you wind up on the latter path. Be your own person. Rise above the herd, declare your independence from a culture that thinks so little of you, and proclaim that you intend to live not as a beast but as a man.

5-Points for Dealing with the Scimitar

The multicultural, politically correct chant of "No to Islamophobia" is, in my opinion, spearheaded largely by two groups. The first group is the somewhat conscious representatives of the Scimitar that know just enough to use the victim card to their advantage. The second group is comprised of westerners who sense that by invoking islamophobia they will successfully curtail repercussions for the 9,000 violent acts done in the name of Islam since 9/11.

The former is, thus, using the hue and cry of "No to Islamophobia" as a way to advance the Scimitar in the West. The latter is using it as a rather lame way of appeasement until they can figure something out that won't hurt political careerism. (A third group of westerners merely see any one who sees a threat by the Scimitar as a blockheaded, redneck anti-immigration stance by backward right-wingers. These iPod street-dancing, messenger-bag carriers get their knowledge of history and current events off Starbucks cups or from their stylists.)

Robert Spencer lays it out well here.