Saturday, January 24, 2009

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nihil

For the record: NIHILISM - The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age by Eugene (Fr Seraphim) Rose. [ht: Daniel Mitsui]

Ivy League Moloch Worship

This is discrimination against the unborn most euphemistically; it is Moloch worship at its Ivy League, sangfroid, progressivist worst. All the more so because of the upward tilt of the head self-assurance.

It will not, cannot see its origins in paganism, because it thinks that functional atheism is the absence of religion. But who can hide from the consequences of their decisions in Heaven's sight? No one. No, not one.

UPDATE: B-Movie Catechism shows the inner machinations of the Moloch boys in the back room. [ht: Whapping]

AND AGAIN: Great (read: grace-touched) minds …

That Man Behind the Curtain

Who ARE you? indeed …

Perspective

The inimitable Mark Shea recalls, Fr. Michael Sweeney, once remarked to me that the question is not whether the Church could survive persecution in the US but whether the US could survive persecuting the Church.

Aye, there's the rub.

World Respects the Church

As well it should. Cardinal Bertone's words should be read slowly and carefully - lectio divina - and the question of Saint Peter ever before us: "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life" (Jn 6).
QUERETARO, Mexico, JAN. 22, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Church is an institution that is esteemed and valued around the world, according to Benedict XVI's secretary of state.

This was one of the affirmations made Monday by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone during a question-and-answer session following his address to the world of culture and education. The cardinal was in Mexico as the Pope's representative for the 6th World Meeting of Families, which ended last Sunday.

The following day, he spoke at a conference organized by the Mexican episcopate and the Diocese of Queretaro on "The Fulfillment of Reason in the Horizon of Faith."

After a discourse in which he invited listeners to reflect on the presence of the Church and Catholics in the public life of the nation and their role in the configuration of Mexican culture, the cardinal answered five questions from the crowd.

One questioner proposed that a concept exists of the Church as an "institution in crisis," and he noted discrepancy in those who profess to be Catholic but do not follow the Church's teachings in themes, for example, regarding sexual morality.

Cardinal Bertone, calling on his experience as secretary of state for the Holy See, which has diplomatic relations with 177 nations, assured that the Church is far from in crisis.

Instead, he said, "the Church is very appreciated." He noted how the "word of the Church" is sought, as well as its aid in education, particularly in Muslim countries.

The cardinal went on to acknowledge the questioner's concern with discrepancy between faith and life. He cautioned against a "religion of pure worship" versus a "religion of life, of testimony [...] of coherence of life." In this area, the Vatican official affirmed, there is much work to do in pastoral ministry.

Competent Catholics

Regarding a perceived loss of cultural leadership from Catholics -- in areas such as art, literature, etc., Cardinal Bertone called for professionals that are well-formed and "truly competent."

He affirmed that it is the moment for Christian laypeople to take on a leading role, but said that they must be "competent laypeople."

Read all …

Thursday, January 22, 2009

St Francis and Chivalry


Here is an offering from Southwell Books that may interest a good many folk with a hankering for the renewal of Catholic culture: Gospel Chivalry: Franciscan Romanticism, by Mark of Whitstable (pen name of Father Mark Elvins, a Capuchin friar).
[ht: Mary Victrix]

Synopsis: How St. Francis of Assisi transformed the medieval code of chivalry into the religious Rule for his new order.

Southwell Books summarizes it:
At the time of St Francis, Europe was riven with almost constant feuding between local war lords, and the knight, with his horse and armour, played an important role in society both on and off the battlefield. In an attempt to control the behaviour of these knights and to limit the scandal of Christian people fighting one another, the Church encouraged and elaborated the code of chivalry. The ceremony of appointing a new knight to armed service was solemnised by a prayer vigil and vows that enjoined the new knight to live by the ideals of honour and defence of the weak. This tied in well with the romantic ideal of the knight as portrayed by the troubadours. Similarly, the temptations to adultery inevitable in a household where the lord was often away on campaigns were at least partially mitigated by the notion of ‘courtly love’, in which the lady was seen as an idealised, but unobtainable object of desire.

Sadly the attempt to Christianise the warrior class was only partly successful. In many cases the vows were ignored, or interpreted in the light of social status at court. Indeed, the emergence of the military Orders can be seen as an acknowledgement that the code of chivalry alone was insufficient.

As the son of a wealthy merchant, the young Francis was rich enough to aspire to join the knightly class. Whilst his family hoped for upward social mobility, Francis was attracted by the romantic ideal of the ballads. However. the stark reality of warfare and its effect on those who took part quickly disillusioned him. Francis set about reinventing the code of chivalry, taking its high ideals of largesse, joyfulness, courtesy and courage, and showing how they could be lived out as a religious way of life.

Each chapter of the fascinating study shows how St. Francis adapted a different element of the knightly life to the life of his Friars. It shows how his teachings and words are infused with the romance of the troubadours, but how in his hands the worldly ambitions of the age are replaced with the eternal values of the Gospels.

This is the perfect book for all devotees of St. Francis of Assisi. And all those who hanker after a lost ‘Arthurian’ age of courtesy and honour will be inspired to bring true romance back into the world by living according to the code of Gospel chivalry.

Hudson - Beauty and the Church


Deal W. Hudson sees another way that the fullness of the Christian faith converts and renews.
In 2oo2, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger delivered a sermon, "The Feeling of Things, the Contemplation of Beauty," where he said:
[T]he most convincing demonstration of [faith's] truth against every denial, are the saints, and the beauty that the faith has generated. Today, for faith to grow, we must lead ourselves and the persons we meet to encounter the saints and to enter into contact with the Beautiful.
How much lost "connectedness" would be recovered if more attention were paid to encounters with "the Beautiful" in the liturgy, so that it was never perfunctory, listless, or offensive to the ear and eye?
Don't misunderstand me. Beauty in the liturgy isn't just a matter of better music and homilies; it requires its proper form (i.e., rubrics) as prescribed by the Church.
In a later column, I will argue that the beauty of liturgy, emanating from the Eucharistic sacrifice, has been marred by misguided liturgical improvisation. Dumbed-down liturgies have only increased the distance many Catholics feel from their Church, whatever their good intentions.
Read all of How Beauty Can Renew the Catholic Church. [ht: Spirit Daily]

Gerald Warner - Wise Up

A brit writing in the Telegraph states the obvious:

This will end in tears. The Obama hysteria is not merely embarrassing to witness, it is itself contributory to the scale of the disaster that is coming. What we are experiencing, in the deepening days of a global depression, is the desperate suspension of disbelief by people of intelligence - la trahison des clercs - in a pathetic effort to hypnotise themselves into the delusion that it will be all right on the night. It will not be all right.

We have been here before. In the spring of 1997, to be precise, when a charismatic, young prime minister entered Downing Street, cheered by children bussed in for the occasion waving plastic Union Jacks. A very few of us at that time incurred searing reproaches for denouncing the Great Charlatan (as I have always denominated Tony Blair) and dissenting from the public hysteria. Three times a deluded Britain elected that transparent fraud. Yesterday, when national bankruptcy became a formal reality, we reaped the bitter harvest of the Blair/Brown imposture.

The burnt child, contrary to conventional wisdom, does not fear the fire. After the Blair experience there is no excuse for anybody in Britain falling for Obama. Yet today, in this country, even some of those who remained sane during the emotional spasm of the Diana aberration are pumping the air for Princess Barack. At a time of gross economic and geopolitical instability throughout the Western world, this is beyond irresponsibility.

To anyone who kept his head, the string of Christmas cracker mottoes booming through the public address system on Washington's National Mall can only excite scepticism. It is crucial to recall the reality that lies behind the rhetoric. Denouncing "those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents" comes ill from a man whose flagship legislation, the Freedom of Choice Act, will impose abortion, including partial-birth abortion, on every state in the Union. It seems the era of Hope is to be inaugurated with a slaughter of the innocents.

[ ... ]

These are frank, even ungracious, words: they have the one merit that, unlike almost everything else written today about Obama, they will not require to be eaten in the future.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Greatness of Catholicism

Norman Crypt, Canterbury Cathedral

H. W. Crocker III (author of the must-read Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church: A 2,000-Year History) writes,
With its divine foundation, sanction, and mission, nothing could be more glorious than the Catholic Church. But, of course, many people -- even many baptized Catholics -- don't see it that way.

Yet when the sins of men -- or secular material progress, or our own self-centeredness -- blind us to this, they blind us to everything. The Renaissance, a great Catholic moment, enlightened the world by seeing it afresh with both the light of faith and the light of classical civilization, which was Catholicism's seedbed. So, too, today, if we look on the world through truly Catholic eyes, we will find that the fog lifts, our perspectives grow deeper, and beauty and truth beckon above the puerility of mass popular culture.

What's so great about Catholicism? Here are ten things -- in countdown order -- to which one could easily add hundreds of others ...
Read all of H. W. Crocker's "ten great things about Catholicism" in What's So Great about Catholicism? [ht: Spirit Daily]

Next Day - Itis

[Photo: Drudge]

What did you expect? Kingdom come?

Only a 55% Majority

One Douglas Todd writing for the Vancouver Sun writes,
Barack Obama would not have been elected president if he were not Christian. Polls show the vast majority of Americans will only vote for someone who is strongly religious, with the religion of choice being Christian.

Unlike in Canada, Obama would not have had a chance to get elected president if he'd been an atheist. That's one of the reasons we heard a lot of religious oratory when Obama was inaugurated. The other reason is Obama seems to take seriously his membership in the liberal denomination, The United Church of Christ.

Still, it's off-putting that U.S. polls by Gallup show only 45 per cent of Americans would be willing vote for a presidential candidate who is atheist. When pollsters turned the question around, more than half admitted they would actually refuse to vote for an atheist. I'm not an atheist, but it seems to verge on mass bigotry ...
This typically 'progressive' op/ed writer, thus, does in a few strokes on the keyboard what he accuses the majority of United States citizens of: the bigotry of a particularly ignorant kind.

Mr. Todd shows an occlusion of epistemological understanding. The 55% of Americans who would not vote for an atheist, though probably incapable of thematizing it this way, are saying that their operating systems are vastly different than that of someone who believes there is no God, and the God revealed in the Christian faith at that. Way different presuppositions, in other words, separate them from atheists. They do not, would not, want a politician in the Oval Office who believes that (a) we're on our own in this maelstrom of cultural upheaval; (b) we got here by a randon, senseless dance of cosmic accidents, culminating in speaking, selling, buying, snarking, brutalizing apes called homo sapiens; and (c) there is no one holding us accountable for our actions; therefore, the ape with the most power, influence, and charisma wins.

Christians believe (a) there is a loving, creating, covenant-making God, revealed most perfectly in Jesus Christ, the "word made flesh" (Jn 1,14); (b) we humans - all of us, except the Incarnation - are "fallen" and therefore absolutely need the grace proffered by God through the Church, particularly in the Sacraments established by Christ; (c) we inevitably return to hubris, violence, and destruction without God's help; and (d) anyone in the Oval Office had better realize our human neediness and God's willingness to help, or else.

No, thank God for the 55% majority who wouldn't vote for an atheist president. I'm rather sorry it is only 55%.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sandys - PRB

Mary Magdalene (1858-60) - Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys

Swearing in the Puer


Well, here we go. America, having hitched its wagon to a puer, now gets what it so richly deserves, seeing that we must live with the consequences of our actions and decisions. Wait! Wait! But that is exactly what we wanted to get away with/from by electing the Big O!

Sorry, America. Oh, and by the by, you did know, didn't you, that Hopy Change-Day also brings its shadow, too? No?
The shadow of the puer is the senex (Latin for "old man"), associated with the god Apollo--disciplined, controlled, responsible, rational, ordered. Conversely, the shadow of the senex is the puer, related to Dionysus--unbounded instinct, disorder, intoxication, whimsy. (Marie-Louise von Franz, James Hillman)

Like all archetypes the puer is bi-polar, exhibiting both a "positive" and an "negative" aspect. The "positive" side of the puer appears as the Divine Child who symbolizes newness, potential for growth, hope for the future. He also foreshadows the hero that he sometimes becomes (e.g. Heracles). The "negative" side is the child-man who refuses to grow up and meet the challenges of life face on, waiting instead for his ship to come in and solve all his problems.

"For the time being one is doing this or that, but whether it is a woman or a job, it is not yet what is really wanted, and there is always the fantasy that sometime in the future the real thing will come about.... The one thing dreaded throughout by such a type of man is to be bound to anything whatever."
So, good luck with that four year thing. Remember puers and puellas don't like to be bound, say, by unborn children – such a drag on my freedom. Oh, and one more thing. My guess for today is that the inaugural "Festivity" will play-out nearly all of the sacrificial preparation, frenzy, exorcising scapegoating, and denouement so well explicated by RenĂ© Girard's mimetic theory. But not on center stage - where the ever-smiling puer holds court - but off stage: at the over-crowded Metro stations, along the edges of the Mall, where lurking self-appointed "priests" of the primitive sacred will feel the call of the old gods of blood and mayhem.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Alas for the Stragglers

The NYT leads with a video story regarding two "churches" on the same city block in the District of Columbia, coming together to welcome a new president.

The cynicism of this pink rag delving into ecclesiology so as to "community organize" through a continuous soft coercion is astonishing. This is an out and out setting of the terms of discourse - who is who and what is what - in regard to the sacred.

Ah, yes. The sacred. Exactly. What the NYT cannot discern is that which men tred on and pay no mind to, the "treasure buried in a field" (Mt 13:44-52 or 13:44-46).

Yet the NYT understands that it is precisely at the intersection of the holy and the profane - the latter being their jurisdiction - that the hearts and souls of fallen mortals are conjoined.

Blessedly, the truth of the Gospel is vouchsafed by the Catholic Church; but alas for the stragglers for whom Catholic truth, faith, and morals are not even considered. Especially tomorrow: Inauguration Day.

Global Cooling - Nothing to Sneeze At


It's time to pray for ... global warming? According to John Tomlinson, you bet.

If you're wondering why North America is starting to resemble nuclear winter, then you missed the news.

At December's U.N. Global Warming conference in Poznan, Poland, 650 of the world's top climatologists stood up and said man-made global warming is a media generated myth without basis. Said climatologist Dr. David Gee, Chairman of the International Geological Congress, "For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming?"

I asked myself, why would such obviously smart guy say such a ridiculous thing? But it turns out he's right.

The earth's temperature peaked in 1998. It's been falling ever since; it dropped dramatically in 2007 and got worse in 2008, when temperatures touched 1980 levels.

Meanwhile, the University of Illinois' Arctic Climate Research Center released conclusive satellite photos showing that Arctic ice is back to 1979 levels. What's more, measurements of Antarctic ice now show that its accumulation is up 5 percent since 1980.

In other words, during what was supposed to be massive global warming, the biggest chunks of ice on earth grew larger. Just as an aside, do you remember when the hole in the ozone layer was going to melt Antarctica? But don't worry, we're safe now, that was the nineties.

Dr. Kunihiko, Chancellor of Japan's Institute of Science and Technology said this: "CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or the other ... every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so." Now why would a learned man say such a crazy thing?
Read all …

Yes We Can

Some theological hope for our dark age of sin and scandal.
[ht: Whapping]
Go to the encounter with him in the Blessed Eucharist, go to adore him in the churches, kneeling before the Tabernacle: Jesus will fill you with his love and will reveal to you the thoughts of his Heart. If you listen to him, you will feel ever more deeply the joy of belonging to his Mystical Body, the Church, which is the family of his disciples held close by the bond of unity and love."

- Pope Benedict, Message to Dutch Youth

Biden Time in Church

"Somebody call security."

"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment." Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Shacking Up with God?

Now the showdown, the hoopla and $160, 000.000 Inauguration notwithstanding. What will the Big Zero do regarding FOCA?

He has met with, wined and dined with George Will, Charles Krauthammer, et al at George's place - impressing Krauthammer no end. But for Catholics who do not care about conservative issues so much as those espoused by the Magisterium of the Church - remember: 'right' and 'left' pigeon holes are secularist and Marxist - the snarky and ridiculous displays of balls and parades (so loved by 'stars' like Bono) mean nothing, absolutely nothing in Heaven's eyes.

By the way, I heard a regrettable 'sermon' this morning - more a dramatic reading - based on The Shack. It was all I could do to remain seated and not bolt from the proceedings, listening to the kind of "Oooh, I've discovered theodicy!" rantings in this regrettable tome. Dante would consider this best-selling phenom at best a "fraud" that will lead many, too many, in the wrong direction.

Gnostic overtones, gender-bending crisis of distinctions making God the Father an African-American mother ('Papa'???), God the Son a Middle Eastern man (okayyyy), and God the Holy Spirit an entity called Sarayu (oooh - I can make up a name!).

The Shack is another publishing bonanza like The Living Bible in the 1960's. Fine. Enjoy. We're in the Money - it must be God’s will.

But what maddens me is the exploitative manipulation. The protagonist, a father whose youngest daughter is abducted, tortured, and murdered (presumably - blood but no body is found) discovers the truth of self-sacrifice and God's supreme vindication in the giving of the Word made flesh, Jesus the Son. Yeah, fine. But what if I don't want to listen to this piece of imagination about an heinous crime laid at God's doorstep? I don't want to go up in your balloon of fiction, your piece of fraud? Do I have a problem? (You must - you don't CARE about a little abused girl?)

See what I mean?

Fine. But once again the non-Catholic world re-invents the wheel, as though the wrenching dilemma of theodicy just came to an author a couple years ago. And, of course, the Church's tradition and faith and language takes a major hit: God the Father becomes a politically correct entity: African-American. Woman. Non-male. Non-white. A-OK. Good to go!

In the midst of the $160M Inauguration and in light of this accurate-of-the-symptomology of the spirit of the age piece of .... fiction, I will go to Mass, imbibe the truth of the Catholic Church, and not succumb to despair.

So there.

Legitimate Defense - Tibetan Style

I've always liked this guy.

Solomon - PRB

Mother of Moses (1860) - Simeon Solomon

Deliberate Dumbing Down of America

Charlotte Iserbyt tells how she was trained in the Department of Education to bring over (con) local, state, and national public education leaders through soft coercion regarding sex education and other programs that otherwise would not have entered school systems.

Just a Cup of Jizya Joe

The shock troops of the primitive sacred, those perpetually disgruntled "youths", took time out from their arduous street "protests". It's a requirement; especially after a grueling rally of "righteousness" against Israel's incursion into Gaza. Why not stop in at a Starbucks or two, and loot the place? Everyone's entitled to a bit of a pick-me-up, right? Ah, nothing like a justifiable breaking, entering, and stealing a cup of joe. We're sure Starbucks supports Israel. Somehow. The sons of dogs and pigs.

UPDATE: Ah, of course. Starbucks' chief executive is Howard Schultz. A Jew. Not an Israeli. An American Jew. Makes perfect sense.

Poor old England.