Saturday, June 13, 2009

Decline of Empire

Even if one doesn't agree with every connection the author makes, he does a fair job limning the outline of the decline of the West in this. Plus, the paintings are wonderful.

Corpus Christi

Deacon Greg Kandra's homily for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ can be read here. [ht: The Anchoress]

After Post-Modernism

Jill Fallon at The Business of Life posts a fine examination of the alternative to nihilism, paganism, and will to power: faith.

Roger Scruton (writes) on the humanities, Farewell to Judgment:

People of my generation were taught to believe that there are human universals, which remain constant from age to age. We were taught to study literature in order to sympathize with life in all its forms. It doesn't matter, we were told, if Shakespeare's political assumptions do not coincide with ours. His plays do not aim to indoctrinate; they aim to present believable characters in believable situations, and to do so in heightened language that would set our imaginations and our sympathies on fire. Of course, Shakespeare invites judgment, as do all writers of fiction. But it is not political judgment that is relevant. We judge Shakespeare plays in terms of their expressiveness, truth to life, profundity, and beauty. And that is how you justify the study of English, as a training in this other kind of judgment, which leaves politics behind.
Conservatives often complain about the politicization of the universities, and about the fact that only liberal views are propagated or even tolerated on campus. But they fail to see the true cause of this, which is the internal collapse of the humanities.
When judgment is marginalized or forbidden nothing remains save politics. The only permitted way to compare Jane Austen and Maya Angelou, or Mozart and Meshuggah, is in terms of their rival political postures. And then the point of studying Jane Austen or Mozart is lost. What do they have to tell us about the ideological conflicts of today, or the power struggles that are played out in the faculty common room?

Deconstructionism and Post-modernism reigns in today's universities, yet no one is happy or could be happy with the poverty of spirit on offer ...

Read more …

Friday, June 12, 2009

O the Mighty Opposite

The Anchoress expands on a keen observation in Obama - the Opposite of America.

UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson sees the same thing - Barack Obama has a disturbing habit of contradicting his past declarations as if spoken words did not mean much at all.

Procrustean Caesar

This and this seem to be a new tack that Caesar is taking toward the Church: pave it and paint it "political".

Once again, puny, hubris-filled individuals try use the state to arrogate to themselves the power to curtail the effect of the gospel in history.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

In the Swirl, Cling to Peter

Victor Davis Hanson has a piece deploring the lack of a truly inquiring news media in America in I No Longer Quite Believe.

What he does admirably is lay out the rapidity with which the sacrificial crisis, anthropologically speaking, alters and sub-alters the terms of discourse. One might even say this is happening on the biblical - and global - scale of the Tower of Babel.

If you want to attain to any level of certainty in epistemological terms, stick close to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Or, in the inimitable words of Peter in the first (excellent) Chronicles of Narnia films, "Hang on to me."

'The Beginning Stages'

At The Catholic Thing, Father James Schall's latest, Does Christianity exist?

Another Thing Coming

Even though Representative Randy Forbes rebuts the claim that we are no longer a Judeo-Christian nation, we must examine - structurally - the direction the executive leadership is taking the United States.

Let us suppose, if I were in the highest office in the land, just for the sake of novelistic fantasy, I wanted to send a clear and unequivocal message to those who applauded the horrors of 9/11/01. How might I do so?

I might (literally) fly to a country renowned for the on-going repression and discrimination of its Coptic Christian citizens and give a speech there. I would cunningly apply the tools of cultural manipulation out of resentment against America.

Meanwhile back home, I would further destabilize the country I purport to lead by printing more and more money sending it farther and farther into national debt.

Oh, yes; I think my favorite touch: I would send my private plane into a low flight plan over the very heart of the city where the mayhem of 9/11 took place.

All the while, my talk and mien would be sober, consoling, magisterial. My themes would always be prudent, just, confidence-building. But never mind the themes.

For those who keep their eyes on the structure involved, there would be another thing coming.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hold Up a Mirror ...

The Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, makes a worthwhile observation in President Opposite.

Better a Machine than Dead

Michael Cook, editor of Mercatornet, discusses the new Terminator movie, the attractiveness of human-machine hybrids ('transhumanity'), the Belbury-esque (cf. C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength) establishment of Singularity University, and other pipe dreams of such scientism advocates as Ray Kurzweil in The Singularity is near.

Death, Fear of

For the record: Virgil Nemoianu is William J. Byron Distinguished Professor of Literature and Ordinary Professor of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. He writes at The Catholic Thing, Fear of Death.

Goldman - Ominous Portents

David P. Goldman, of Spengler fame, writes of I Won's speech in Cairo - and a good many ominous things.

It used to be the conservatives who stood athwart history, shouting "Stop!" Now it is the president of the United States. As the son, stepson, and half-sibling of Muslims, Obama's identification with the Muslim predicament runs deep. Contrary to some benign interpretations, I do not believe that Obama has made a well-meaning or naive gesture towards the so-called Muslim world. On the contrary, his opinions were long in formation, and his actions precisely calculated. But he is cleverer by far than his American critics. He understands the various tribes of American politics as cultures to be profiled and manipulated. He is the political equivalent of an alien species against which Americans have no natural defense.

As I wrote early in 2008, Obama profiles Americans the way anthropologists interact with primitive peoples. He holds his own view in reserve and emphatically draws out the feelings of others; that is how friends and colleagues describe his modus operandi since his days at the Harvard Law Review, through his years as a community activist in Chicago, and in national politics. Anthropologists, though, proceed from resentment against the devouring culture of America and sympathy with the endangered cultures of the primitive world. Obama inverts the anthropological model: He applies the tools of cultural manipulation out of resentment against America.

Read all here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Going Merrily in the Dark

I am beginning to think that this sort of event is clear evidence that the Scimitar is as hell-bent on self-destruction as, say, the destruction of Israel. From a mimetic theory point of view, the sacrificial containment system under the Scimitar is dilapidating as its denizens deconstruct their own sacred system picking up stones - and bombs to make - and hurling them at any and all within striking distance.

These are dangerous times. We are mortal. We needed, and still need, a Savior. Thankfully, we received One in Jesus Christ. And He did not leave us bereft; rather, He established the Catholic Church imbued and endowed with sacramental grace with which to see his followers safely all the way to Heaven.

Follow the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). Receive the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. Love, and do as you will.

But the men signed with the Cross of Christ
Go (merrily) in the dark ...

I tell you naught for your comfort,

Yea, naught for your desire,

Save that the sky grows darker yet

And the sea rises higher.

Night shall be thrice night over you,

And heaven an iron cope.

Do you have joy without a cause,
Yea, faith without a hope?

Thus speaks the Blessed Virgin to King Alfred in Chesterton's Ballad of the White Horse. "...the men signed with the Cross of Christ Go (merrily) in the dark ..." With faith. And hope. And love.

Ibrahim - Looking at Sacred Violence

In the summer edition of The Middle Eastern Quarterly, Raymond Ibrahim asks, Are Judaism and Christianity as Violent as Islam?

Spengler - How Many Divisions

For the record: Spengler on Obama vs. the Pope.

Prayer Request - Gil Bailie

The Woodsman's Daughter (1850-51) - Sir John Everett Millais

Please remember in your prayers today Gil Bailie who is undergoing surgery.

Forget at Your Peril

If you get tired of the Dhimmi Prez, recall - and forget at your peril - the truth, goodness, and beauty of our Christian faith. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, reminded us of this at the Angelus on Trinity Sunday (reported by ZENIT):
Christ revealed that "God is love 'not in the unity of a single person, but in the Trinity of a single substance,'” the Holy Father said, quoting the preface.

"The Trinity is Creator and merciful Father; Only Begotten Son, eternal Wisdom incarnate, dead and risen for us; it is finally the Holy Spirit, who moves everything, cosmos and history, toward the final recapitulation," the Pontiff explained. "Three Persons who are one God because the Father is love, the Son is love, the Spirit is love. God is love and only love, most pure, infinite and eternal love."

"The Trinity does not live in a splendid solitude," he added, "but is rather inexhaustible font of life that unceasingly gives itself and communicates itself."

Benedict XVI said one could get a sense of the Trinity simply by observing nature from the most elementary cellular levels to the planets, stars and galaxies.

"The 'name' of the Most Holy Trinity is in a certain way impressed upon everything that exists, because everything that exists, down to the least particle, is a being in relation, and thus God-relation shines forth, ultimately creative Love shines forth," he said.

"All comes from love, tends toward love, and is moved by love, naturally, according to different grades of consciousness and freedom," the Pope affirmed.

"Every being," he continued, "by the very fact of existing and by the 'fabric' of which it is made, refers to a transcendent Principle, to eternal and infinite Life that gives itself, in a word: to Love."

Benedict XVI affirmed that there is proof that human beings are made in the image of the Trinity, because "only love makes us happy, because we live in relation, and we live to love and be loved."
Read all here.

Bow, Scrape and Sheikh, Repeat ...

Tom DeSeno writes:

With every speech he gives, President Obama goes further and further in diminishing Christianity in America while inflating Muslims here and around the world.

For Americans this appears to be at best an incredibly bad choice of rhetoric or at worst the manifestation of a prejudice hidden in Obama, finally making its way out.

To Muslims though, it has a much deeper meaning tied to the concept of “Dhimmi,” the subjugation of other religions to Islam. I’ll define that in more detail at the end of this column, but first let’s examine the proof that Obama is diminishing Christians while inflating Muslims.

It started in a speech he gave in 2007 when he stated, “Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation.” At that same speech he criticized Christian leaders, claiming they have used their religion for political purposes.

I guess he thinks “Jihad” is a Christian word.

He repeated again that “America is not a Christian nation” a few weeks later. Little was made of it during the Presidential campaign because the media protected Obama from controversy at all costs. Either that or they just didn’t grasp for themselves the “Dhimmi” implications Obama’s words had for Muslims around the world.

One of his campaign promises was to give a speech “in a major Muslim capital” in his first 100 days in office.

The only such speech he made was in Turkey. At a press conference before his speech, Obama said, “[O]ne of the great strengths of the United States is — although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation…”

He went on to say that America is also not a Muslim or Jewish nation, but no one has ever assumed that. His point therefore was to once again make sure the world knew he doesn’t consider America, comprised of 78.5% Christians, a “Christian nation.”

Three times in two years is enough, Mr. President. I fully understand you don’t consider America a “Christian nation.”

Read more of Obama’s Christian-Muslim Double Standard: Our First Dhimmi President. [ht: Notes on the Culture Wars]

Monday, June 8, 2009

Queening Education

Soothing words to the masses, radicals for his appointments.

'Death is upon us'

A plaintive voice from the medical community: As our society "advances" to barbarisms abandoned millennia ago, I pray Hippocrates' idea will again catch fire and people will once again seek care from doctors with whom their life is safe and sacred—no matter what.

Don't you just love it

And speaking of being Fools for Christ, it is a story like this that warms my curmudgeonly bones.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY, FL, June 4, 2009 ( – Nearly 400 graduating seniors at Pace High School stood up in protest against the ACLU and recited the Lord’s Prayer during their graduation ceremony last Saturday. Many of the students also painted crosses on their graduation caps to make a statement of faith ...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fools for Christ

Now tell me: why do you suppose voters in the United States decided to go all leftist last November? Takuan Seiyo tells us.
The Spanish Civil War (1936–39), for instance, due to its "Fighting the Fascists” veneer is to this day a subject of veneration by the “progressive” West. But this hews to the line of Comintern's phony propaganda. For the noble cause that the West sees in the Spanish Republicans was in fact an attempt to create a totalitarian Soviet republic. The International Brigades of idealistic volunteers were led by Soviet commissars under the control of NKVD, and carried out genocidal actions against a civilian population. But for “progressive humanity” (Stalin’s words), facts can never stand in the way of feelings.

There are 80 years of conditioning, hundreds of millions of KGB dollars and dozens of still-extant institutions that have gone into manufacturing this “antifascist” and “antiracist” reflex of the useful idiots. ANSWER for instance, aka Act Now to Stop War and Racism is a peace-and-justice loving organization on whose Steering Committee sit, among others, IFCO/Pastors for Peace, Partnership for Civil Justice, a few Muslim rception of reality of every American that despite of the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interest of defending themselves, their families, their community, and their country.”

[ ... ]

Those who are counter-jihad are pummeled not by jihadis but by socialists. Those who are anti-socialist are pummeled not by socialists but by immigrant demographics. Those who are traditionalists are pummeled not by nihilists but by global capitalists. Those who are social conservatives are pummeled not by libertines but by the very symbol of rectitude, the Law. Those who are declining fertility activists will be defeated even if they succeed, for any number of Western children would still be compelled to spend 12 – 18 years turning into Pods in the Snatchers’ zombie farms. It’s in light of all this that I see the tactical retreat of Exodus.

When Reality becomes taboo, and fiction becomes an official totem, civilization has driven itself into a swamp. From then on, it’s the flotation coefficient of the lying totem versus the suction force of Reality’s swamp. That is a contest with only one possible outcome, as gravity and entropy work for the swamp. Unless the lie be smashed and the taboo repealed, that civilization must be sucked under.
I'd love to be able to say Seiyo is yanking our chain with conspiracy theory. What he is doing, however, is tracing the outline of the sacred as lived out in current events sans knowledge of Girard's mimetic theory.

And while Seiyo may correctly see the origins of our leftist turn in America - interesting, isn't it, that suddenly we are following the lead of a bygone Europe that now is turning to the right - we cannot subscribe to his Exodus theory. Christians are called to be the leaven in the loaf, in but not of the world.

Like the babushkas who faithfully went to church in Soviet Russia, so we are called to be out of step, unhip, the butt of jokes and scapegoating in a West that is imploding in a faith and morals void of its own making.

But we are in on the joke on us. We are fools for Christ. And that is okay.

Thomas Merton on St. Bernard of Clairveaux

Trinity Sunday - Yesterday and Today

As a convert to Mother Church, after an upbringing in the home of a devout Evangelical, Midwestern pastor, and after twenty-plus years being an ordained Protestant pastor myself, many have asked why. Why become a Catholic? Isn't it enough to know you are "saved" by "accepting" Jesus Christ as my "personal Lord and Savior?" What does the Catholic Church bring to me that wasn't available in a Protestant faith?

For me, it's been like following hints, intimations, a trail of bread crumbs in a dark wood.

Today is Trinity Sunday in Catholic Christendom. At Vigil Mass, we sang:

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.

As a small boy, I sang exactly the same words. But I wondered, "Cherubim and seraphim? What are they?" They are orders of angels. Protestants don't care much about such things. "What 'denomination' does?" I wondered. I had no answer for a long time, but the question stayed with me.

Why? Because it seemed like a cool breeze from a wider, higher range of mountains; related, but of a world vaster than our dry and rather arid little land of John Wesley.

We sang of God in three persons, blessed Trinity at my father's Evangelical United Brethren church, All Saints, in South Bend, Indiana. It is no longer "All Saints Church." Now it is just "Faith Church."

We didn't emphasize the Trinitarian nature of the Holy Godhead, but we were drummed with making Jesus our personal Lord and Savior. Saints? Who cares? It is ALL about Jesus. Funny thing is, no one observed that the saints are the handiwork of Our Lord, living lamps of His grace burning in our world through the ages. No time for "saints".

On this Trinity Sunday, strangely, I find Our Lord, Jesus Christ, rules over a far more expansive Kingdom than the rather truncated one I grew up knowing as a non-Catholic child - the Church Triumphant in Heaven, enjoying the Beatific Vision before Him; the Church Suffering in Purgatory, being prepared and "purged" of the residue of sin so as to enjoy His Presence for eternity; and the Church Militant here on earth, struggling but assured of victory due to His Victory of the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

The Holy Catholic Church - 'catholic' is Greek for 'universal' - is big enough for everyone. God would not make the Church anything less. Yes, we must indeed "accept" Jesus as our Lord, but we are much more than mere "deciders". The Catholic Church provides for every aspect of human living to become sanctified ... all the way to Heaven where by God's grace alone we will enjoy the Beatific Vision of the Most Holy Trinity - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - for evermore.

Holy, Holy, Holy - God in Three Persons, Blessed Trinity.

Prayers Needed - Gil Bailie

On this Trinity Sunday, please keep friend, mentor, and really great fellow, Gil Bailie, in prayer. Gil has informed his many readers, listeners, and friends that he will soon be facing major surgery. "A well deserved vacation ... attended round the clock by a courteous and competent staff," he quipped.

Blessings upon Gil for a successful surgery and safe, speedy recovery.

'The Catholic Church is young'

Damien Thompson gives a glimpse of a promising institution of higher education and compassion: the Ukrainian Catholic University.

Seiyo - Swallowed by Leviathan

The inimitable Takuan Seiyo continues his From Meccania to Atlantis series:
Raymond Kraft, [hat tip, Fjordman] has written that the Islamic movement has turned the civility of the Western peoples into a weapon against them. It has weaponized niceness, compassion and the fundamental decency of Western Civilization. “We have become too civilized to defeat our enemies, perhaps too civilized to survive.” True, but it applies to much more than just Muslim colonization.

The questions this begs is, first, how could such insanity have taken hold in a civilization based on reason, and second, how could a “mental virus” alone produce this level of collective psychopathology, unmatched in the recorded history of mankind. The answers require that we move on to the next Russian expression, kto kogo.

Kto kogo, which means the same in several Slavic languages is “who whom.” Like in “who is ruling, dominating, doing in, controlling whom.” This was Lenin’s formula for instant clarity in politics.

The good intentions of the squishy West stem from biblical morality so mainstream that a sermon in a random Western church or synagogue sounds like induction into the Body Snatcher creed. There is the shame and sorrow for Nazism and Fascism, Colonialism and Slavery, centuries of poisonous anti-Semitism, copious internecine bloodshed in the name of the loving Jesus or xenophobic nationalism, exploitation of peasants, workers and women.

Contrition and restoration one can understand. But suicide?
Read all here.

Sea Change

An important vote-with-our-$ effort is brewing among Notre Dame alums. The point is not the university's decision regarding I Won's coming to speak, but rather the fact that,
Over 80 bishops and more than 367,000 Catholics voiced disagreement with Father Jenkins, saying he disregarded the 2004 guidelines from the U.S. bishops that state: "Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles" with "awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

This is a very "clear cut case," DiFranco said. Obama is not just pro-choice, but is among a very small minority who actively defends abortion rights in every instance (emphasis added). More here.

Let's hope it is part of a trend.