Saturday, September 12, 2009

Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Madonna (1493) - Pietro Perugino

Mark Steyn - I Wun's 'Center'

Where Is Obama’s ‘Center’? Look at his Rolodex and then figure out just where such a man would estimate it to be.

Worthy is the Lamb

Let me say I am conflicted about this magnficent manuscript illustration in the same way I am about the conclusion of Psalm 137: Happy those who seize your children and smash them against a rock.

So I will hide behind C. S. Lewis. He suggested using the imagery of Psalm 137 metaphorically: let that "smashing" be of the beginnings of thoughts of evil, concupiscence, and other nascent notions of doing wrong. In the same way, we see here depicted the Lamb cutting off the heads of the "powers and principalities" that lead us into conventional evil.

The Lamb is our victorious priest and victim and sacrifice, "slain since the foundation of the world." Or, as John said in the fifth chapter of Revelation: Then I saw standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and the elders, a Lamb that seemed to have been slain...

Snake Oil

Charles Krauthammer on the Greatest free lunch in American history.

Caldwell - European Revolution

From Daniel Johnson's review of Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, by Christopher Caldwell:

In June 2009, an incident took place at Conway Hall in London’s Red Lion Square, the hallowed venue of secular leftist gatherings since the 1930s. Anjem Choudary, a radical Muslim preacher and leader of the Islamist organization al-Muhajiroun, was ejected after his followers attempted to segregate male and female members of the audience for a public debate. Choudary told the assembled media in the street outside: “This country is rife with social and economic problems and only Islam has the answer. Muslims are multiplying at a rate eight times faster than the kaffir. In a couple of generations this will be a Muslim country, inshallah. We will dominate this country, my brothers, and implement the beauty and perfection of Islam.” Al--Muhajiroun members greeted the speech with cheers and cries of “God is great” and “Sharia for the UK.” The crowd included Simon Keeler, the first white British Muslim convert convicted of inciting terrorism.

Such incidents are now commonplace not only in Britain but also across Europe. Yet the rise of European Islamism has occurred over only a few years’ time, without any of the Continent’s political elites even noticing what was happening. As Christopher Caldwell argues in his spirited tract Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, “Western Europe became a multi-ethnic society in a fit of absence of mind.” Now that the rest of the population has woken up to the change, many are angry. The result is a political upheaval that is still being played out.

The institutional structures of Europe are creaking because it is no longer possible to accommodate both the increasingly extravagant demands of the Islamist minority and the resentment of a no-longer-silent majority. The multicultural model, based on pure relativism, is widely regarded as bankrupt. But it is too late to prevent or reverse the demographic transformation of virtually every major city on the Continent ...

Caldwell is at his best in chronicling the deceptions and self-deceptions of the intellectuals. Take the serpentine insinuations of Tariq Ramadan, for example, the poster boy of the Muslim Brotherhood, who claims that jihad means -“resistance” and only in a “spiritual” sense and who, months after 9/11, claimed that there was merely “a very strong possibility” that Muslim terrorists were responsible. Caldwell gives Ramadan plenty of rope to hang himself with, quoting such obiter dicta as this: “Islam stands for the liberation of women—but not at the expense of children.” The massacre of Christians by Muslims in Nigeria, he dismisses coolly: “We need to consider the situation objectively and bring a critical view as much to the causes—global homogenization and a sometimes savage Westernization—as to the consequences—ethnic and religious tension.” In Caldwell’s view, Ramadan is not in favor of any Western freedoms unless they advance the cause of -Islam. To ask what Islam will contribute is impertinent, for “what Islam will contribute to the West is Islam.”


UPDATE: Relatedly, Sean at The Blue Boar reminds us of the prescience of dear, blessed Hillaire Belloc regarding The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Truth Shall Set You Free

A most important matter to consider on this of all days is motivation. WHY? is the haunting question lurking in the most hardened hearts of New Yorkers. For the truly concerned as well as curious, Bill Siegel at Family Security Matters unveils vital information for all non-Scimitar folk who do not want merely to avenge or retaliate or fall into doubling rivalry with the Scimitar:
In Judaism and Christianity, the other Abrahamic religions to which Islam is rooted and tethered, there are mechanisms for the adherent to reach some degree of internal stability and mental comfort. For Christians, even if one commits the worst of sins, there is still a path through acceptance of Jesus Christ and His forgiveness, to find one’s way to eternity in Heaven. For Jews, there are mechanisms, in part centered around the High Holy Day of Yom Kippur, coupled with specific required actions depending upon the sin, to earn back the Almighty’s graces. And even in the grand non-Abrahamic faiths, including Hinduism and Buddhism, the architectures of the belief systems provide roads to reach internal peace.

Such is not the case with Islam. Islam, essentially, has paradoxical provisions. On the one hand, a Muslim’s fate is sealed before birth and not revealed to him. On the other hand, there are acts which are believed to induce or reduce favor with Allah and can count as evidence on Judgment Day. Consequently, a genuinely engaged Muslim can never be sure where he stands in eternity and is given both the duty to try to influence the outcome while being told (as his destiny is already written) he is impotent to change it. “Change the unchangeable” is a double-bind command that is extremely difficult to mentally navigate.

Islam, however, does afford a solution. There is one (and only one) guaranteed way to ensure a road to Paradise: to die in Jihad as a martyr. (Oops! Did that just say “Jihad?” How does one die in the peaceful internal struggle against one’s own lusts and appetites?)

The Koran and Islamic literature are clear that Jihad entails a contract with Allah whereby, if the Muslim fights for Allah’s cause and dies, Allah will reward him. While most of the Koranic references to Jihad” are military in nature, Allah’s cause can be fought in other, non-violent ways as well, including Jihad by converting others, or “Civilizational Jihad” or, as Robert Spencer has coined, “Stealth Jihad,” the seemingly innocuous infiltration into Western civilization to destroy it from the inside.

Violent Jihad, however, offers a more direct path to death. While suicide is generally considered forbidden in Islam, dying in Jihad is exalted. He who dies while carrying out Jihad automatically bypasses the grave and Judgment Day and earns an immediate pass to the eternal pleasures of Paradise, all the while avoiding the eternally unbearable torment of Hell.

If you want to hear more about the fascinating understanding of soteriology from the Scimitar viewpoint, Erwun Caner shares it in his testimonial as convert from the Scimitar to Christianity.

Religionists in the Scimitar fear hell. They see precious few ways out. Martyrdom bypasses judgment. It isn't the virgins, it is, as Siegel says, the hell. Talk about a no-brainer.

Blessedly, there is an alternative. I write about it in A Little Guide for Your Last Days. We have a Savior who is One-with God who loves us more than we possibly imagine or conceive. There is no need to be a martyr to an unworthy image of the Almighty who sees us as mere pawns and slaves. Come to the true God who wants all to be free, joyful, loving, and At-home for all eternity.

9 - 11

I am wearing my I-Heart-America tie today.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quiet Eye

A Woman Asleep at a Table (1657) - Johannes Vermeer van Delft

Knox - The Church

IT IS A human weakness of ours to be always crying out for complete novelty, an entire disseverance from our past. Our old traditions have become so dusty with neglect ... that we are for casting them on the scrap-heap and forgetting that they ever existed. The Church conserves; she bears traces still of the Jewish atmosphere ... traces, too, of the old heathen civilization which she conquered. And in her own history it is the same; nothing is altogether forgotten; every age of Christianity recalls the lineaments of an earlier time.

+ + +

Christians who belong to other denominations don't even claim that their denomination is the Church. Church unity is something ... which will, it is to be hoped, come into existence again later on; it doesn't exist here and now. Anybody who has reached the point of looking round to find a single, visible fellowship of human beings which claims to be the one Church of Christ, has got to become a Catholic or give up his search in despair.

+ + +

When we say, then, that the teaching of the Church is the teaching of Christ, we mean two things. In the first place, that the substance of what we assert comes down to us, by continuous tradition, from his own teaching given to his apostles. In the second place that the formulae in which our belief is enshrined are the only true interpretation of his meaning, guaranteed to us by his promise that his Holy Spirit would guide the Church into all truth.

- Monsignor Ronald Knox


Who you gonna trust??

And, if you want to tell the chief executive what he is saying is not true, how does one say that in a short, declarative sentence, second person singular?

Look, the Emperor has no .. numbers

Thomas Sowell

Besides the breach in protocol, he has a point, I'm afraid. As the admirable Thomas Sowell, senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, has observed with acumen rarely heard today, the president is not stupid; he’s a politician:
What was the rush to pass it, then? It was not to get that money out into the economy as fast as possible. It was to get that money-- and the power that goes with it-- into the hands of the government. Power is what politics is all about.
And that is why the distinguished representative from the great state of South Carolina isn't too far off base in his fifteen hundredths of a second of notoriety. Looks like a prophet had his moment. And we know the fate of prophets.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Madonna of Victory (1496) - Andrea Mantegna

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ozymandias Indeed

If you do not believe politics is all about power, read this and this.

Yes, right. I know: Ozymandias. But Ramses II reigned a loooong time..

Nativity of Our Lady

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Marked Man

Every Catholic is to some extent a marked man; in the casual contacts of daily life he is bearing witness, or failing to bear witness, to Jesus Christ ... the point is, not so much that we ought to be better Catholics, but that we ought to be better Christians. That we should be lovers of the truth, fair-minded, ready to believe the best of people, impatient of scandal, considerate towards the unbefriended, generous in our enthusiasms, temperate in our pleasures, discreet in our friendships, that we should have a smile for everybody - in a word, that we should live in the sunlight of that creed which we profess.
- Monsignor Ronald Knox

Wisdom of Father Brown

I CAN ALWAYS grasp moral evidence more easily than the other sorts. I go by a man's eyes and voice ... and whether his family seems happy, and by what subject he chooses - and avoids.

If you want to know what a lady is really like, don't look at her; for she may be too clever for you. Don't look at the men around her, for they may be too silly about her. But look at some other woman who is always near to her, and especially one who is under her. You will see in that mirror her real face.

- Father Brown in The Duel of Dr. Hirsch

Ahlquist & GKC - 'Splendid Dupes'

THE NORMAL PERSON has always known that preventing the birth of a baby is a highly unnatural act, no matter how it is done. But it is made to sound harmless and even sensible when it is called "eugenic" or when it is called birth control or when it is called reproductive freedom. But anyone who cannot see the real evil behind such terms is what Chesterton calls a "splendid dupe."

Evil always takes advantage of ambiguity ... Evil always wins through the strength of its splendid dupes; and there has in all ages been a disastrous alliance between abnormal innocence and abnormal sin.

The only way to explain what happened in Nazi Germany (which took its lessons directly from Margaret Sanger and her Birth Control Review) is that evil won through the strength of its splendid dupes: too many people thought they were doing a good thing because they believed a lie. A lie that sounded good because it was called patriotic and was supported by the scientific officialism of the regime. It is also the only way to explain what has happened in this country for the last three decades. Millions of people have believed an incredibly evil lie. A lie that sounds good because it is called "choice". A lie that sounds even better when it has scientific officialism behind it.

- G. K. Chesterton - Apostle of Common Sense, p. 155

Labor Day

St. Joseph the Carpenter (1642) - Georges de La Tour