Saturday, December 5, 2009

Knox - Friendship, Fellowship, Christmas Cards

THE PEOPLE WE USED TO KNOW so well, for whom we once entertained such warm feelings, are now remembered by a card at Christmas, if we can succeed in finding the address. How good we are at making friends, when we are young; how bad at keeping them! How eagerly, as we grow older, we treasure up the friendships that are left to us, like beasts that creep together for warmth.
Somehow, we do not know why, man is born for fellowship, and that breaking-up of any human circle demands it tribute of tears. By way of fortifying their human hearts, fortifying, perhaps, his own human heart against the strain of this parting, our Lord prays such a prayer as no merely human leader would have ventured to conceive. He prays that the disciples may be one with that very unity which binds together the three persons of the Godhead itself.

No Grace

Genevieve S. Kineke at Catholic Exchange comes up for air - fresh air - after spending two weeks submerged in the Koran. She discovers that the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Prophets, and Jesus is not Allah. Here’s why.

Mitsui - St Galgano

Speaking of the strange, the secret, and the sure-to-be- misinterpreted by the likes of Dan Brown, Daniel Mitsui presents the abbey ruinous of Saint Galgano. In the 12the century, the knight saw the Archangel Michael, renounced his dissipated life, and became a hermit. The ruinous abbey once built around his sword which he plunged into a boulder still stands. As does the sword in the stone. More here. And here.

Secret Places, Hidden Sanctuaries

For the record from ZENIT:

Inside Secret Places, Hidden Sanctuaries

By Carrie Gress

NEW YORK, DEC. 4, 2009 ( Truth is always more interesting than fiction, say the authors of "Secret Places, Hidden Sanctuaries."

In this interview with ZENIT, authors Stephen Klimczuk and Gerald Warner discuss debunking the falsehoods in "The Da Vinci Code" and their survey of the authentic mysteries that span the globe.

Q: What was the inspiration for writing this book?

Klimczuk: Having watched the explosion of interest worldwide in gnosticism, "alternative history," secret societies, the occult, Templar myths, conspiracy theories, government cover-ups, UFOs and the like, we felt there was an urgent need for someone to step forward and set the record straight across a wide spectrum of subjects that are actually fundamentally related on some level.

What started gradually some two decades ago with the New Age movement and such precursors to Dan Brown's books as "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" (with its bogus claims of "proof" that Christ married and left descendants) has since become a global multi-billion dollar industry and a substitute for religion for tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people.

We thought that the right kind of compendium could provide a robust and skeptical debunking of esoteric nonsense, while highlighting potentially authentic mysteries of genuine interest -- on the principle that truth is actually more interesting, satisfying, and even entertaining than falsehood.

According to one poll, some 6 million people in Britain believe that Dan Brown's books are true. This seems to be a particularly fertile time for quacks, frauds and false prophets..More>>

Friday, December 4, 2009

Screaming Against the Truth

With more and more persecution of Mother Church by what Mark Shea calls "gay brown shirts on the march," we should listen carefully to what Archbishop Carson says in a well-worded response to homosexual advocates protesting outside the Saint Louis cathedral. Father John Zuhlsdorf reports and add his "red" comments here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ward - C. S. Lewis on Worldview Paradigms

The scientific method does not give us a new way of knowing, only a new way of testing.

To (C. S.) Lewis (as to [Owen] Barfield), scientists in the modern period were too often naturalistic in their worldview, apt to commit the error of removing their own minds and their thinking processes from the total picture of the world that they were trying to understand and inhabit. Their error necessarily de-spiritualises the universe, for the rational mind is itself spiritual, dependent upon the logos that saturates the universe and which, in turn, depends upon God Himself. The universe, perceived within such a naturalistic paradigm, becomes 'all fact and no meaning.' The incessant spiritual orchestration that accompanies it, that actually constitutes it, and that is normally inaudible, is now also considered incredible. The cosmos therefore comes to be regarded as nothing more than a very elaborate machine when in reality it is tingling with life; a star comes to be seen as no more than a huge ball of flaming gas when in reality the gas is 'not what a star is but only what it is made of' ...

Lewis was fascinated by the fact that identical phenomena could be perceived in diametrically opposite ways ... 'Spiritual things,' he wrote (quoting St Paul), 'are spiritually discerned.' When a Russian cosmonaut claimed not to have found evidence of God in outer space, Lewis's response was, 'Much depends on the seeing eye.'

- Michael Ward, Planet Narnia


How Launcelot fought with a fiendly dragon
Arthur Rackham

Kilpatrick - Scimitar Code

You've seen it elsewhere, but for the record: The Dhimmi Code_By William Kilpatrick.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

DC - Swirling Down to Paganism

The District of Columbia continues its downward spiral into self-defined liberation (read: rejection of the Judeo-Christian ethos) into paganism with "progress" of this bill. And in the hard copy of today's WaPo, a full-page ad for this sad organization appears on p. A13.

How apt. Father James Schall, S.J., explains why.

Hahn - BXVI's Biblical Theology

For ye old record: Fellow convert and sound theologian, Francis Beckwith highly recommends Scott Hahn's book on the biblical theology of Pope Benedict XVI, Covenant and Communion. It may be purchased at Amazon here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rossetti - PRB

The Wedding of St George and the Princess Sabra (1857) - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Preserving Treasures of the Patrimony

For those of your unacquainted with Frank Capra's timeless film Lost Horizon (1937) (based on Hilton's book), the leitmotif is that of preserving truth, goodness, and beauty when the world is gone mad. This, of course, is a parody of what the Catholic Church has done throughout history:
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2009 ( There is a Vatican commission with the "daily and dense" task of helping to preserve the cultural heritage not just of one nation, but of the whole world.

The secretary of the commission, Francesco Buranelli, explained this at a press conference Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church.

Buranelli explained how Pope John Paul II's 1988 apostolic constitution "Pastor Bonus" "had the far-sighted cultural vision to institute a structure to which to entrust the protection of the treasures of the Church in the world."

The "exceptional nature" of the commission, he said, is in the "value of universality," because it is not a dicastery "linked to territorial or national limits," but "refers to the Church's own vocation to preserve, protect and value all cultural goods recognized as the patrimony of Christianity."

"It is a daily and dense activity," observed Buranelli, stressing the particular importance given to the preparation of documents and to contact with international organizations "to spread ever greater awareness of the role and specific value of the religious cultural patrimony, particularly the Christian, within the cultural patrimony of each nation and, in consequence, in the worldwide patrimony of humanity."
Read all …

Monday, November 30, 2009

Whither Next

For the record: Eric Sammons' nifty post, or, the spread of extant world religions, in 90 seconds: The spread of Islam. I hated time-lines in social studies, but this works for me.

A quick question: Is this good news or bad news?

And my favorite Cassandra points out that a Mosque is a place of worship, the Minaret is a symbol of triumph like an Arc of Triumph.

UPDATE: Spencer posts a question posed by Pakistani Christians: Will Saudis allow construction of cathedrals to challenge Swiss ban on minarets? (Yeah, right.)

Outside the Washington Bubble

From Family Security Matters:

INDIANA, Pa. – Turn the corner onto Philadelphia Street in this small Western Pennsylvania town, and you might be on the main street of Bedford Falls, the mythical town in Frank Capra's Christmas classic film, It's a Wonderful Life.

"This is a town where you hear people tell each other 'Merry Christmas' without ever considering if it is politically correct," said Chris Carter of Dayton, Ohio, here for the day on business.

Earlier Carter, 30, posed for a picture with the statue of Jimmy Stewart, Indiana's hometown everyman.
Carter thinks places like Indiana or his hometown of Dayton are overlooked by the White House and Congress, but "that is okay with me. We thrive in spite of government's lack of attention to our concerns, not fail."

His sentiment was said without attending a "Tea Party" or railing against an elected official at a town hall – the media's usual caricature of people who vent against Washington.

Main Street America has entered an era of populism that embraces neither party. People are tired of government bailouts, spending and unchecked corruption, as well as the media's perceived lack of curiosity or investigation into all three.

They are really tired of being told their values and way of life are not politically correct.

"It has now become a cliché to say that the Washington elite do not understand people that live outside of their bubble, but clichés are not created in a vacuum," says Michael Scott, who owns a photography studio near the high school here.

"Politicians used to be known as statesmen," he explains. "They owned businesses in their hometowns and made about the same amount of money that the average voter did, keeping them in touch with who they represented."

Read all …

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pogany - Parsifal

Parsifal Leaves the Castle - William Pogany

Cantalamessa - In the Praetorium

Jesus in the praetorium is the image of man who has "given God's power back to him." He expiated all the abuse we have made and continue to make of our freedom; this freedom we want no one to touch and which is nothing other than slavery to ourselves. We must impress this episode of Jesus in the praetorium well into our hearts, because the day will come when we will also find ourselves in this state, either due to man or to age, and then only Jesus will be able to help us understand and sing, amid tears, our newfound freedom.

There is an intimacy with Jesus that can only be obtained by staying close to him, cheek to cheek, in the hour of his and our ignominy, we too bearing "his abuse" (see Hebrews 13,13). Many people have been condemned by illness or a disability to a helplessness similar to Christ's in the praetorium and have to spend their lives in wheelchairs, or in bed. Jesus reveals the secret greatness hidden in these lives if lived in union with him.

- Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M.Cap.

Esolen - The Lovely Dragon

A reminder, as we begin the season of Advent: a superb and important essay - ranging from the Arthurian Legend to the royal hall of King Saul to the smarmy ingrate cliques of post-modernism - Anthony Esolen's The Lovely Dragon of Choice.