Saturday, February 2, 2008

Riots in Cologne - Crowds & Girard

LGF reports on rioting Christians in Cologne wanting vengeance ... no wait. You guessed it -- reason takes a holiday when a mob wants its victim.
After a Moroccan thug was stabbed to death in self-defense by a German man he was trying to rob, Muslims in Cologne took to the streets in protest. Apparently, they believe it’s their right to mug Germans, and the Germans should just accept it.

[ ... ]

For the police, the case is clear cut. According to their version of events, Salih allegedly wanted to mug a 20-year-old German man, who tried to defend himself. But he panicked and pulled out a pocketknife that he plunged into Salih’s heart with an unlucky stab. Prosecutors said it was a clear case of self-defense, and there are witnesses. But none of that matters any longer.

Every night last week, up to 300 protestors gathered at the spot where Salih died to demand “justice” instead of letting his killer walk free. They are protesting against “racism in Germany” — but since it appears clear that this case involves self-defense, it’s obviously about more than just the unfortunate Salih. It’s more about how immigrants and their children feel they are currently being treated in Germany.
For all you kids who have your Girard Reader handy, turn to page 111:
The crowd tends toward persecution since the natural cuases of what troubles it and transforms it into a turba ("confused crowd" -- on the verge of becoming a mob) cannot interest it ... It looks for an accessible cause that will appease its appetite for violence.
But the MSM and government officials do not understand this, being card-carrying members of the secularist West which believes in the natural goodness and level-headedness of humanity. Islamists of the Wahhabi ilk, on the other hand, understand the crowd/mob extremely well. And they understand that the West is in no position to counter such a force -- yet.

The day is coming. For a foretaste, read That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis.

Friday, February 1, 2008

I Did It Myyyyyy Way

A pal wondered what I meant by alchemical Gnosticism flaunting Natural Law. Gen at Real Clear Religion provides a good example of a bad example in U.K. May Pay for Surrogate Mothers to Have Babies for Homosexuals. If you can imagine it, and try to do it, you too can forget you are a creature with a Creator.

Ah, yes. You too can forget that the same Creator is a revealing God, a God who meets us in history, and became one-with-us in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Oh, and one more thing. You too can forget that the Catholic Church vouchsafes the deposit of faith and gainsays nothing that is true, good, and beautiful. Like the family, the "domestic church." And men and women, made in God's image, imago dei. And the joy of being one or the other, just as your teleological purpose deigns.

Or, is that too blase' for you? Why is that, do you suppose?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Scandalized Old Ruins, Girard, and Hope

Walsingham Abbey ruins

Receiving a comment from an old misinterpreter of Girard's mimetic theory -- one of many I have chanced upon with learned backgrounds but idiosyncratic axes to grind -- it reminds me that the deposit of faith, like our human nature itself, is not something to be toyed with or changed at our whims, fancies, or mimetically aroused disordered passions. Please note well: I do not say this from a standpoint of morals, although that is nothing to sniff at; rather I say it from the viewpoint of mimetic theory itself and the sacrificial preparation in which the West finds itself as a culture in decline.

While Girard's theoretical observations and inferences are in desperate need to find a larger audience, sources close to him have assured me that he would be the first to bow to the truth claims of the magisterial claims of the Catholic Church in terms of faith, morals, theology, and, therefore, anthropology.

Those who desire to rearrange, for example, the genders either in terms of marriage and family, on the one hand, or in terms of the priesthood, on the other hand, show a distinct predilection for an alchemical Gnostic coloration and hubris. I.e., "we can do any damned thing we want. Why? Because we can imagine it, that's why! If you stand in our way of making this change, you are an enemy of "social justice" and "God's will" and, thus, you are a certified target for our "righteous" attacks.

Such persons do not, indeed, cannot see that they are themselves part of the resurgence of the primitive Sacred against the Christian faith in general and the Catholic Church in particular. It feels SO righteous, SO certain, that they cannot discern that their championing a victim of their imaginative vertigo is creating a new victim. Namely, they want to sacrifice, in the words of Girard, "the only direction where meaning could still be found" -- the Magisterium.

If anyone wants some guidance from Scripture regarding what Our Lord considered true victims needing our attention and love, I would advise the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats [Mtt 25, 31-46], not the ruse that because the Church teaches that men alone are qualified for the priesthood women whose noses which get out of shape trying to abjure this are true "victims".

Fortunately, or, more accurately, providentially, the Church will not be facing any catastrophic calamity that such persons would, seemingly, like to rain down upon Her. It is passing strange that such seething ressentiment in their hearts (the likes of which Girard describes so well) does not set off some alarm bell of self understanding: "Hmm. Why I am the one in a state of mimetic scandal! Maybe my puny understanding could gain something from the Church's greater epistemological, ontological, and anthropological understanding!"

The Church is experiencing a "new springtime" in a newer, youthful generation; a generation less inclined to pick apart the Catholic Church and more inclined to be grateful for a place of certainty, faith, hope, and charity. And it is high time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Catholic Truth, Girard, & Hope

A succinct, valuable model of the threat of Islamist aggression is offered by Lorenzo Vidino in this Israel Hasbara Committee abstract, The Tripartite Threat of Radical Islam to Europe.

But some readers of René Girard's mimetic theory may wonder why dwell on what might seem to be a one-sided rebuttal of Islam, when the Christian faith contains manifold evidence of similar aggression, hubris, and retributive violence? Isn't the denigration of Islam blindly siding with one collective character in a vast, global mimetic rivalry?

It is tempting in light of the analytical psychology of the great C. G. Jung to fall into a dualism when it comes to what Girard calls a mimetic rivalry on a planetary scale. So much of the twentieth century in the West, consciously or unconsciously, fell into the ditch of thinking that there IS no good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, yes vs. no. There is only the need to come to grips with the rejected "other", my "shadow", that I must become conscious of and integrate into my life that it may become "whole".

Using this template, the natural, indeed beneficial thing to do is accept Islam, integrate it into the lop-sided Judeo-Christian world view. This way, as Jung might say, the unconscious "fish" of Christianity will evolve and grow far past its inadequate god image to a new state of wholeness for all mankind.

Except ... Girard developed a theory (it far surpasses a mere hypothesis) that not only blows away the mystifications of Jung's psychologizing, but unmasks its unwitting worship of the human instincts -- archetypes -- as a re-paganization of the world just as surely as did the Nazi thugs and occultists that he (once) admired.

Girard's mimetic theory does not do away with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church; it keenly serves, substantiates, and opens its relevance to a world in desperate need of its truth. Mimetic theory blows away both the toxic fumes of Nietzsche's ubermensch pipe dreams and secularist foolishness of trying to live in a religious vacuum in perpetuity. Girard's theory shows Islam to have one foot firmly planted in the originary scene of the primitive Sacred and the other advancing its myths, rituals, and prohibitions in service to a religare -- a "binding back" -- to the Prophet and the purported dictates of his god.

Hope will come not in tying one's aspirations in this conflict to political solutions, nor to finding some way to gain the kind of unified spirit that is found in Islam. We are in the West feel that we are in the position of Our Lord's disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee with high winds and waves. Or perhaps sequestered in the Upper Room before the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost.

But this is not the historical truth. We live in a post-Resurrection, post-Pentecostal world. We enjoy full benefits of lives of Sacraments, Magisterium, and Grace. Shall we not better stay near to Peter's Barque, defending her with legitimate defense, and chivalry, and keeping to the old ways (that are ever new) of faith, hope, and charity?
Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! Peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall
Christ was born to save!
Christ was born to save!

I'm Fine with This

MSM opens its eyes? As LGF notes, What’s gotten into Newsweek magazine? This article by George Weigel is way off their usual politically correct line: The War Against Jihadism.

Dancing with Scimitars

George Weigel opines on the diplomatic -- and one might add magisterial --dance between the Holy Father and representatives of Islam, all 138 of them, in this essay.
The Pope has made clear what the objectives of the dialogue should be; Benedict’s conviction is based on the Catholic Church’s 19th and 20th century experience of wrestling with the question of religious freedom and other challenges posed to religion by the modern state. The “138,” as represented by the Jordanian prince, keep trying to change the subject. The exchanges are polite, but the gap is unmistakable. And the gap is not accidental ... [h/t: New Advent]

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oakes Chops Down Atheism

A stunningly astute rebuttal -- "Atheism and Violence" -- to the recent spate of atheist-lite books near the top of the bestseller charts by Ed T. Oakes, SJ, at First Things:
With hope in progress gone, with the lessons of the twentieth century still unlearned in the twenty-first, with technology progressing, in Adorno’s words, from the slingshot to the atom bomb (a remark cited in Spe Salvi), with a resurgence of religiously motivated violence filling the headlines, all that the new atheists can manage is to hearken back to an Enlightenment-based critique of religion. But they find their way blocked, not so much by Nietzsche (whom, as we saw, they largely ignore) but by the ineluctable realities he so ruthlessly exposed. Not Nietzsche, but the history of the twentieth century has shown that godless culture is incapable of making men happier. All Nietzsche did was to point out that no civilization, however “progressive,” can dispel the terrifying character of nature; and once progress is called into question, the human condition appears in all its forsaken nakedness. [h/t: Creative Minority Report]

"Bodies" - An Archbishop Complains Correctly

Perform a corporate act of mercy by burying them, not gawking at them.

"Bodies ... The Exhibition," opening Friday at the Cincinnati Museum Center, features 20 human cadavers, preserved by a process called polymer preservation and shown in various poses.

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk first sent an e-mail to Catholic school administrators Friday saying that the exhibit is inappropriate for school trips, and adding that it should be up to parents to determine whether they want their children to see it.

He reiterated the point with a statement Monday, saying the church maintains that dead bodies must be treated "in a way that recognizes the dignity of the human person." [h/t: Spirit Daily]

Choose Life!

Good news: A federal appeals court ruled Monday that an Arizona commission violated the First Amendment rights of an anti-abortion group by denying a request for a special "choose life" license plate.

The militant stainless steel "deliberate barbarism" of western abortion and birth control meets some resistence. Huzzah!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

How About Teaching the Police Latin?

Precisely the kind of flashpoint we can come to expect a great deal more of, from Damien Thompson by way of Dhimmi Watch: Muslims ‘lay siege to Australian hospital’.

Note well the way that the taxi driver, the ad hoc leader, utilized Arabic in convening the mob and giving orders to the disadvantage of the non-Arabic speaking police.

I Was a Stranger and You...

And then there is a heart-felt commentary by Kate Clark about the still extant practice of hospitality to strangers in Afghanistan.

The taxi driver was calling me back. It was late at night in Irbil, and there was a problem with the fare.

Sometimes it is the taxi driver who wants to keep down the fare. We had spent the half hour journey chatting. He told me he was struggling to bring up a young family on a low income and with soaring inflation.

"Rent," he said, "had gone up five-fold and petrol prices 20-fold since 2003."

So I paid him a bit extra. He called me back to argue over the money because he thought I had paid him too much.

Read all of Hospitality in a suspicious world.

British Lion Vs. 3 Little Pigs

Mark Steyn: First they came for Piglet

Not Dhimmis Yet

The forces who want to build a mega-mosque a stone's throw from the London Olympic stadium are finding that, even in England, they cannot silence their critics. (More on the proposed Abbey Mills Mosque -- sounds kind of quaint, doesn't it? "Abbey Mills Mosque?" Yeah, right.)

Local authority watchdog, the Standards Board for England, has rejected an official complaint by Olympics mega-mosque promoters Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) against Cllr Alan Craig, leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance group on Newham Council.

Board officers decided that TJ's allegations against Cllr Craig did not even warrant investigation. They ruled that Cllr Craig's statements about TJ and the proposed Olympics mega-mosque were most likely to be lawful and protected by the freedom of expression articles of the Human Rights Act.

"Referring a councillor to the Standards Board is a very serious matter; I'm sorry Tablighi Jamaat have gone down this road to intimidate and close down democratic discussion," said Cllr Craig, who has been leading local opposition to the mega-mosque.

"They are an ambitious and powerful global Islamic sect but this small-minded action has backfired on them," he continued. "I'm glad the Standard Board has recognised my opposition to this enormous landmark mosque is legitimate."


"They should instead enter into public debate so that we can discuss both their organisation and their project with them.

"What have they got to hide?" Aye, there’s the rub.