Saturday, March 1, 2008


The Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry

From Chivalry by Léon Gautier
Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
Thou shalt defend the Church.
Thou shalt repect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
From a website belonging to James Marshall here.

Bonny Prince Harry's Return

Esmerelda Weatherwax (I just love writing that name) at The Iconoclast/New English Review on bonny Prince Harry's return. She quotes from The Times:
Prince Harry carrying a 9mm pistol

Prince Harry returns to England today, a hero to the Army, a changed man in the eyes of the public and a target for jihadists.

As the Queen, the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff queued up to heap praise on the 23-year-old second lieutenant, protection for the Prince is to be upgraded. Al-Qaeda websites posted death threats against him yesterday after the worldwide coverage of his ten weeks in Helmand province, Afghanistan. In stark contrast, army message boards carried unanimous praise for the Prince.

The Times has seen messages posted on a password-protected al-Qaeda forum, al-Ekhlaas, calling for Prince Harry to be beheaded and a video of his murder to be sent to the Queen.

Arabic news items and photographs of the Prince on duty in Helmand were added to the jihadi sites. One posting said: “Nothing will break the heart of his grandmother but only if she loses him. My dear brothers in Allah, carry on provoking to kidnap this precious infidel.”

But it's a damned good thing the West isn't at war with radical Jihadists, isn't it? The peace of the Lord be with them. In honor of the royal lad's return, I offer the following as something those calling for his beheading can do with their fatwas:

Steyn & Those Wacky Canadian Human Rights

Mark Steyn reports on human rights run amok, or I prefer living with space lizards.

A Drab, Murderous Affair

Terrorists: often sour, lazy nobodies, ugly, of febrile imagination and small talent, who can only become somebody by murdering others. In other words, they are trying to fulfill the good old fashion pagan effort to find ontological substantiation via human sacrifice, our human default effort according to René Girard.

Friday, February 29, 2008

And Not Dependent on Middle East Oil

Yorkshire Miner via Gates of Vienna makes some good points about Denmark Not Being a Dead Crow.

Archbishop Kidnapped

From the BBC:
Gunmen have kidnapped the archbishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and killed three of his aides, his church says.

Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was seized as he left a church in the eastern al-Nour district, it added.

Pope Benedict XVI deplored the kidnapping as a "despicable" crime.

Most of Iraq's estimated 700,000 Christians are Chaldeans - Catholics who are autonomous from Rome but recognise the Pope's authority.

Many have been targeted since the 2004 invasion by Sunni extremists groups.

In January, bombs exploded outside three Chaldean and Assyrian churches in Mosul. Several Christian priests have also been kidnapped or killed during the past five years.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Newman - True Conversion

As British Catholics celebrate John Henry Cardinal Newman’s 207th birthday, I offer a few observations from Fr Oakes from a recent First Things article on this saintly person's theological insights. First, regarding the difference between Newman's understanding of exclusive and legitimate truth claims of the Catholic Church and, if you will, "exterritorial grace" -- that is, recognition of the grace of God at work outside her boundaries. From his Essays Critical and Historical:
[T]he doctrine of a Trinity is found both in the East and in the West; so is the ceremony of washing; so is the rite of sacrifice. The doctrine of the Divine Word is Platonic; the doctrine of the Incarnation is Indian; of a divine kingdom is Judaic; of Angels and demons is Magian [Zoroastrian]; the connection of sin with the body is Gnostic; celibacy is known to Bonze and Talapoin [Burmese and Cambodian Buddhists]; a sacerdotal order is Egyptian; the idea of a new birth is Chinese and Eleusianian [pagan Greek]; belief in sacramental virtue is Pythagorean; and honors to the dead are a polytheism.
But, as Oakes points out, "far from threatening him or leading him to a shopworn and lazy relativism (never his sin!), Newman saw these assorted proto-revelations as themselves signs, not just of the presence of God's logoi spermatikoi (Gr. 'seeds of the Word') in all of human society but also as pathmarkers for the Church's evangelizing pilgrimage through salvation history, a journey he describes in one of the most magnificent passages in his Essay on Development":
What man is amid the brute creation, such is the Church among the schools of the world; and as Adam gave names to the animals about him, so has the Church from the first looked round upon the earth, noting and visiting the doctrines she found there. She began in chaldea, and then sojourned among the Canaanites, and went down into Egypt, and thence passed into Arabia, till she rested in her own land. Next she encountered the merchants of Tyre, and the wisdom of the East country, and the luxury of Sheba. Then she was carried away to Babylon, and wandered to the schools of Greece. And wherever she went, in trouble or in triumph, still she was a living spirit, the mind and voice of the Most High, "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions," claiming to herself what they said rightly, correcting their errors, supplying their defects, completing their beginnings, expanding their surmises, and thus gradually by means of them enlarging the range and refining the sense of her own teaching. So far from her creed being of doubtful credit because it resembled foreign theologies, we even hold that one special way in which Providence has imparted divine knowledge to us has been by enabling her to draw and collect it together out of the world.
Fr Oakes concludes by sharing one last quotation from Development that shows the grace and providence of God's ways in human history, and in each of our histories.
True religion is the summit and perfection of false religions; it combines in one whatever there is of good and true separately remaining in each ... So that, in matter of fact, if a religious mind were educated in and sincerely attached to some form of heathenism or heresy, and then were brought under the light of truth, it would be drawn off from error into the truth, not by losing what it had, but by gaining what it had not, not by being unclothed, but by being "clothed upon." True conversion is ever of a positive, not a negative character.

Remember that when and if you ever reach for C. S. Lewis's final book of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Truth Vs. Tolerance

Donald De Marco, co-author of Architects of the Culture of Death and a favorite columnist of mine, writes this in the Catholic Educator's Resource:
In today’s post-modern world, the notion that truth leads to freedom is regarded as narrowly Catholic and intolerant of other religious views. The new blueprint in the post-modern world is that tolerance, not truth, leads to freedom. This is a crossroad and a crisis to which Pope Benedict XVI has given considerable thought and verbal expression.

When he was known to the world as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he produced a book, Truth and Tolerance that confronts this very issue of the place of truth in the post-modern world. He recognizes that so much importance is now attached to tolerance, that it has been separated from truth, which, in turn, has been relegated to the sphere of mere opinion.

To state the matter quite simply: Tolerance has been absolutized, while truth has been relativized. Keep reading ...

The Light of the World

Gospel Mt 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Monday, February 25, 2008

No. Illinois U. Killer Studied Hamas & Arabic

A case of Sudden Jihad Syndrome? To paraphrase Euripides in The Bacchae, No amount of Hamas revel can corrupt an American kid. Or can it?

I'm Sure News of This Will Go Over Well

Pope Benedict provides “new public grammar” for reform of Islam, says George Weigel. And I say bully.

Reality Check

"Earthly kingdoms are founded, not in justice, but in injustice. They are created by the sword, by robbery, cruelty, perjury, craft and fraud. There never was a kingdom, except Christ's, which was not conceived and born, nurtured and educated, in sin. There never was a state, but was committed to acts and maxims which is its crime to maintain and its ruin to abandon. What monarchy is there but began in invasion or usurpation? What revolution has been effected without self-will, violence, or hypocrisy? What popular government but is blown about by every wind, as if it had no conscience and no responsibilities?"
- John Henry Cardinal Newman
h/t: Cornerstone Forum "Quote of the Day"

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Brits at Their Best

Brits At Their Best offers a truly noteworthy series, THE KNIGHTS - Never a dull moment on the road to Runnymede.

Soft Jihad & Quieter Crusading

Robert Spencer has an idea about food additives. I'll drink to that.

War of the Cosmoses - Out of the Pit

Do I need to say that living in either of the forementioned "cosmoses" -- that of the Scimitar and that of Modernism -- seems paltry, meager, sordid, and dishonorable? Do I need to mention the treatment of women in either? The reductio ad absurdum of manhood to shame-based, sensory- hyperstimulated, survival of the fittest, tribal warlord systems? The lack of concern for the least, the last, and the lost?

Even the capitalist/socialist systems that have come to dominate the global spectrum -- as Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum definitively declared, and the Distributists all seconded -- are demeaning, despoiling, and denigrating. What alternative are we looking at here? Join the Amish?

Of course not. The manual labor would undoubtedly do us all great good, but nearly all of us are ill-prepared financially and otherwise to make such a leap and do justice to our families' welfare. Neither are many men today ready "to glance, even furtively, in the only direction where meaning could still be found" (René Girard) -- which is the Catholic Church. But we do have examples of how men of faith have worked from within corruption and despair in situ and, at times, in extremis?

I will not advance the argument for the third combatant in the "cosmos wars" yet. But I will give an example of how the biblical Spirit is not without witness, given to us by Mr. C. S. Lewis in his book, That Hideous Strength. In it, a worldly, success-driven young academic, Mark Studdock, finds himself hopelessly embroiled in "Belbury" -- a nest of scorpions with an agenda to rival any Modernist project on our event horizon. He "comes to himself," shall we say, in the deepest morass of indoctrination:
And day by day, as the process went on, that idea of the Straight or the Normal which had occurred to him during his first visit to this room, grew stronger and more solid in his mind till it had become a kind of mountain. He had never before known what an Idea meant: he had always thought till now that they were things inside one's own head. But now, when his head was continually attacked and often completely filled with the clinging corruption of the training, this Idea towered up above him -- something which obviously existed quite independently of himself and had hard rock surfaces which would not give, surfaces he could cling to.
IS there a Sherwood for weary yeomen, a Rivendell, still to be found today? IS there a place, a "cosmos", where the "Straight" or the "Normal" is safeguarded and lived? Can one be pulled up and out of the "training" of Scimitar or Modernism? Oh, yes. A birthright awaits every man and woman made imago dei, good friend, that nothing can take away from you, from me.

War of the Cosmoses - 2a

In War of Cosmoses - 1 (below), I began with a quotation from Chesterton: "A religion is not the church a man goes to but the cosmos he lives in." Then I looked briefly at two faith presuppositions held by the Scimitar; namely, the belief in Mohammad as the "perfect man" worthy in every way of imitation and his having received the inalterable revelation from Allah, the Koran. On these two a priori first principles all of Islam hangs, and, aided by the Ahadith, radical Islamists make Jihad upon the faltering Christian West in utter logical and legalistic certitude.

I meant to turn next to the second combatant in the "cosmos wars," Christianity, however, it seems more important to look at the third combatant, Modernism, since it is its present bombardment that has left Christendom enervated before Islam's current attacks. It is, as I said, "Legion", because it is comprised of characteristics of all the Christian faith's attackers in its two thousand year history.

Many books have been written and much cyber-ink spilt describing this Modernist combatant: DeLubac's Drama of Atheist Humanism, DeMarco and Wider's Architects of the Culture of Death, to name only two fine resources. But I think going back further, one sees with an acerbic yet tonic eye the outlines of this foe in Hilaire Belloc's great surmise, The Great Heresies. The great historian even struggles to give this new assault on the Christian faith a name: the vague term "modern." I should have preferred, perhaps, the old Greek word, "alogos"; but that would have seemed pedantic. And yet it is a pity to have to reject it, for it admirably describes by implication the quarrel between the present attackers of Catholic authority and doctrine, and the tone of mind of a believer. Antiquity began by giving the name "alogos" to those who belittled or denied, though calling themselves Christians, the Divinity of Christ. They were said to do so from lack of "wit," in the sense of "fullness of comprehension," "largeness of apprehension." Men felt about this kind of rationalism as normal people feel about a color-blind man. [12-13]
Belloc names the central tenet of this combatant: "the proposal to treat all transcendental affirmation as illusion." One sees how little distance Modernism has traveled when scanning the titles the books of Hitchens, Dawkins, and their ilk.

Belloc did not say newer, different assaults would not come upon Catholic truth in the future; he said "the main kinds of attack would seem to be exhausted by the list which history has hitherton presented." He summed upon these attacks as: the Arian; the Mohammedan; the Albigensian; the Protestant; and "the Modern." The Arian attacked the root of the Faith, the Incarnation. The Mohammedan worked without, forming a new world in their fashion. The Albigensian grew a "foreign body" cancer-like from within the Church. The Protestant attacked the personality, the unity, of the Church. In my opinion, the Modern attack is willing to use any and all of these former attacks as MEANS to win. Here is what Belloc said:
...the modern phase (the "cosmos wars") has abandoned reason. It is concerned with the destruction of the Catholic Church and the civilization proceeding therefrom. It is not troubled by apparent contradictions within its own body so long as the general alliance is one for the ending of all that by which we have hitherto lived. The modern attack is materialist because in its philosophy it considers only material causes ... Being Atheist, it is characteristic of the advancing wave that it repudiates the human reason ... (it) is indifferent to self-contradiction ... It advances like an animal, counting on strength alone ... there is coming not only a contempt for beauty but a hatred of it; and immediately upon the heels of this there appears a contempt and hatred for virtue. In a word, either we of the Faith shall become a small persecuted neglected island amid mankind, or we shall be able to lift at the end of the struggle the old battle-cry, "Christus Imperat!" [146-147,155]
I would add this: the Modern attack, now nearly two-centuries old, has used psychology wearyingly well, as C. S. Lewis depicted the witch using it as a weapon in The Silver Chair -- all that is transcendent is merely "projection", as Feuerbach proposed.

The effect of the Modern attack is a moral, ethical, and faith playing field that is level, Darwinian, and brutally violent. For an accurate taxonomy, one must delve into the mimetic theory of René Girard to see where Modernism intends to take the human race: back to the "dark gods of blood."