Saturday, September 19, 2009
As the current health care debate in particular and economic debacle in general show, cultural shifts can and often do take place without any formal legislative or judicial leadership. When the culture's centripetal force becomes sufficiently weak, the nearest or most fascinating influence often accrues enough prestige to start large societal shifts.
What René Girard's mimetic theory shows, however, is the direction the gradient of the cultural swirl is taking us. It is the exact same place that Saint Paul astutely discerns as the ending place of sin; namely, sacrifice (Gr. thuous). For a longer explication of these anthropological realities see Paganism I, II, III.
In the sacrificial vortex, strange alliances and bedfellows are made in their mutual mimetic rivalry of - in this case the USA and the Jew - on a global scale.
RELATED: Thomas F. Bertonneau begins a series entitled “The Catastrophe” - Part 1: What the End of Bronze-Age Civilization Means for Modern Times
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
THE WHOLE CONTROVERSY about the true Church is not whether it is the Roman Catholic Church or the Greek Church or the Anglican Church or some other definite religious body. The real controversy is this: Is the true Church of Christ a visible or an invisible institution? Ninety per cent of the people who reject the Catholic Church reject it, not because they really believe in some other visible Church, but because they do not believe in a visible Church at all.- Monsignor Ronald Knox
Not to put a kink in your ruminations, but here's why an increasing number of Americans do not believe that he believes what he says.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
See the seal? Duncan's splendid painting reminds me of John Sayles masterpiece, Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
ONLY THE CHURCH can cure the ills that now face this civilization. Those who have abandoned the Church have in effect cut themselves off from something much greater than they realize. They cannot cure the ills. As Chesterton said:
The severed hand does not heal the whole body.
But not only does the world stubbornly refuse the Church's help, some people even make themselves enemies of the Church and try to prevent it from having any influence in society. they try to discredit the Church by making all kinds of sensational charges against it. Chesterton shows how contradictory this is.
When people impute special vices to the Christian Church, they seem to entirely forgetg that the world (which is the only other thing there is) has these vices much more. The Church has been cruel; but the world has been much more cruel. The Church has plotted; but the world has plotted much more. The Church has been superstitious: but it has never been so superstitious as the world is when left to itself.
Chesterton said that the earnest freethinkers, who are so worried about the persecutions of the past, are quite blind to what would happen in the world if their own ideas prevailed. In one of his most chilling prophecies he said:
Before the Liberal idea is dead or triumphant, we shall see wars and persecutions the like of which the world has never seen.
Perhaps better than any other twentieth-century writer, Chesterton showed that the faith is the only thing that really makes sense. And though he wrote millions of words, he summed up his defense of the faith in only a few words:
The only argument against losing faith is that you also lose hope - and generally charity.
Some say he is disingenuous. I perceive him to be an ideologue and a snob.
I suggest T. S. Eliot's prescription: prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action - and in that order.
Monday, September 14, 2009
IT IS THE SNOBS who insist on being foolish, with bizarre theories and unthinkable behavior. They attack common sense. Chesterton said that all of life's great questions should be asked in words of one syllable - and answered in words of one syllable. The snobs of the world avoid words of one syllable because they avoid common sense, plain words, clear thinking. They prefer long words, which are a substitute for thinking.
And the one-syllable words that they most avoid are these: sin and faith. They do not want to face these simple, gigantic truths: that we have taken a good world (at Creation) and spoiled it. That we have to repent and return to the faith. Instead they attack the faith or ignore the faith or try to carry on without the faith.
In one of his typical paradoxes, Chesterton said sometimes a thing can be too big to be seen. Waht the world can no longer see is that it was the Catholic Church that laid the foundation for Western civilization. The world has tried to push the Church aside, but, in the meantime, the world is still living off its Catholic capital.
In Catholic Answers' seminars, we emphasize that you should always demand that a missionary who comes to your door first establish his authority for what he is going to tell you, and only then proceed to discuss the particular issues he has in mind.
By authority, we don't mean his personal or academic credentials. We mean his authority to claim that he can rightly interpret the Bible. The missionary (unless he is a Mormon, of course, in which case his authority is the Book of Mormon) will always claim to fall back on the authority of Scripture. "Scripture says this," or "Scripture proves that," he will tell you.
So before you turn to the verses he brings up, and thus to the topic he brings up, demand that he demonstrate a few things.
First, ask him to prove from the Bible that the Bible is the only rule of faith (if he's an Evangelical or Fundamentalist Protestant, he holds to the Reformation theory of sola scriptura -- the Bible alone).
Second, have him tell you how he knows which books belong in the Bible in the first place.
And third, require that he prove to you both that he has the authority to interpret the Bible for you (remember that his doctrines will almost always be drawn from interpretations of the sacred text rather than the words themselves) and that his interpretations will always be accurate. More>>
Now, imagine a different people living nearly on the doorsteps of the aging, decrepit population of this coastal village. They speak a wholly different language, live by a different set of norms and mores; their children range from teenagers to children too young to walk in plenty. They walk among the cottages of the original occupants, but do not mingle or interact, except to enter the general store or tiny post office.
Think Babette's Feast only with a growing settlement of adherents to the ways of the Scimitar.
Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen) would have a chef come to the rugged outpost village; one who would bring the savor of a rhapsody of meal time delights, a scene of reconciliation, and restoration of truth, goodness, and beauty.
What shall bring this about in the dying and barren scene that we call Europe and the West?
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
And don't forget what apparently the 'Tea Party' folk remember: the president is ignoring what the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is telling him.
The American Spirit isn't dead yet. [ht: Bird Dog @ Maggie's]