Saturday, March 15, 2008

GKC - Chivalry

"Chivalry might be called the baptism of Feudalism. It was an attempt to bring the justice and even the logic of the Catholic creed into a military system which already existed; to turn its discipline into an initiation and its inequalities into a hierarchy. To the comparative grace of the new period belongs, of course, that considerable cultus of the dignity of women, to which the word 'chivalry' is often narrowed, or perhaps exalted. This was a revolt against one of the worst gaps in the more polished civilization of the Saracens. The Moslems naturally suffered from the older Oriental sentiment about women; and were, of course, without the special inspiration given by the cult of the Virgin." - G. K. Chesterton

Breaking Free of Oil

Robert Spencer reviews a new book by Robert Zubrin, Energy Victory – Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil. It won't be easy, however, as Spencer notes:
Zubrin ... includes a chapter entitled "Corrupting Washington," in which he details how the Saudis have done their best not only to sabotage efforts to wean the U.S. from oil, but also have bought influence in Washington so as to deflect scrutiny of the hollowness of their alliance with the U.S., and to keep American policy moving in a direction that the Saudis find useful. "The Saudis," he declares, "have been looting our economy on a massive scale and are using the proceeds to fund a global war against civilization" -- and he traces the sorry history of the supine American response to this challenge.
Particularly since from my point of view our Saudi overlords are already extracting a jizya tax from an oil-addicted West with every trip to the pump.

Ontological Musings

"Love, in so far as distinct from desire or as opposed to desire, love treated as the subordination of the self to a superior reality, a reality at my deepest level more truly me than I am myself -- love as the breaking of the tension between the self and the other, appears to me to be what one might call the essential ontological datum. -- The science of ontology will not get out of the scholastic rut until it takes full cognizance of the fact that love comes first." - Gabriel Marcel

"Our alienation from God also includes our alienation from ourselves and explains it. Without him, the internal dialogue we can have with ourselves would lack all mystery and lose most of its metaphysical interest." - Maurice Nedeoncelle

"Just as the we tend to adopt from the reigning political paradigm of the surrounding culture our sense of how the Church should structure itself -- monarchial in the age of monarchies, democratic in the age of democracy -- so, too, do we adopt the prevailing notions of what personal life consists of. But in both cases, we do injustice to the radical specificity of Christianity." - Gil Bailie

"The revolution of the person," writes Paul Evdokimov, "is the event of Christianity," and human desire is simply "the inborn nostalgia to become a 'person.'"

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. - William Shakespeare

[h/t: Cornerstone Forum]

The Crucifix

"I DO NOT WANT the crucifix to be a compromise, or a concession to the weaker brethren, or a makeweight or a by-product. I want it to be a blazon and a boast. I want there to be no more doubt about our all glorying in it than there would have been in any body of old Crusaders pitting the Cross against the Crescent. And if anyone wants to know my feelings about a point on which I touch rarely and with reluctance: the relation of the Church I left to the Church I joined, there is the answer as compact and concrete as a stone image. I do not want to be in a religion in which I am allowed to have a crucifix. I feel the same about the much more controversial question of the honour paid to the Blessed Virgin. If people do not like that cult, they are quite right not to be Catholics. But in people who are Catholics, or call themselves Catholics, I want the idea not only liked but loved and loved ardently, and above all proudly proclaimed. I want it to be what the Protestants are perfectly right in calling it; the badge and sign of a Papist.

-- G. K. Chesterton, Autobiography

Chivalry of St. Joseph

It is my understanding that the Solemnity of St. Joseph is transfered to March 15, because the 19th is within Holy Week. For the stout hearted and chivalrous, see Stratford Caldecott's The Chivalry of Saint Joseph.

John Adams - Miniseries

A rare treat from the television wasteland: John Adams, with Paul Giamatti in the title role. If I had cable, I'd watch. I'll wait for the boxed DVD set.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Coolest Mary Ever

An image of Our Lady you don't often see: Mary, Exterminatrix of Heresies. [h/t: New Advent]

Latin Mass at Westminster

Damien Thompson reports on the arrival of a prince of the Church, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, to celebrate the Latin Mass at Westminster Cathedral, London.

The Cardinal was invited by the Latin Mass Society -- not Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor (surprised?). Thompson writes:

Westminster liberals will regard this event with the horror that “Bishop” Richard Williamson would reserve for a performance of The Sound of Music in the sanctuary of St Nicolas du Chardonnet. Too bad.

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, dressed as a milkman, once met the Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar and, after revealing his identity, persuaded him to confess his sins. My advice to Tabletistas: don’t mess with the man in the cappa magna.

Brits at Their Worst

In the dreariest way imaginable -- so it is with evil -- the mandarins of the European Union and their minions have managed to bring the old Christian West to its knees. As Cat at Brits at Their Best says, 'On the night of 12 March the Lisbon Treaty bill cleared its final hurdle in the House of Commons. The bill of shame now goes to the Lords. MP William Hague declared that "Everything about the ratification of this re-packaged [EU] Constitution has been marked by cynicism and calculation." And, we would add, by subterfuge, subversion, and treason.'

For a very able foreshadowing of these events, I recommend a rereading of C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength.

Sadly, whereas Lewis' Belbury is utterly destroyed by its own machinations and a stroke of divine, consequential judgment, people of the Faith can at present only pray and practice the virtues in a time of neo-pagan resurgence in the form of nihilistic secularism and Islamic conquesting aggression.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Parade Passes, the Dogs Bark - Pt. 2

The Chartreuse Moose squad and Al Became Sal better-living-through-veering-off-the-Natural-Law crew plan protests for the Holy Father’s visit to America. They must feel so fulfilled. Girard notes:

“It is the effort to leave the ‘beaten path’ which forces everyone inevitably into the same ditch.” [image: Michelle Malkin]

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mamet - No Longer a Spanish Prisoner

Here is news for rejoicing: David Mamet, a favorite playwright, explains ‘Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal' [h/t: The Anchoress]. I'd always hoped the writer of The Spanish Prisoner, with a break-through performances by Campbell Scott (son of George C.) as the statue and Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) as his pigeon, would see through the wiles of progressive modernism. Huzzah, I say, and bully.

New Grand Master - Order of Malta

Damien Thompson reports on the election of Fra’ Matthew Festing who was today elected the 79th Grand Master of the Order of Malta.

I.e., Intolerance & Hate

{Image from and h/t to: Jawa Report} Now, excuse me, but, if I'm not utterly mistaken, mightn't this just possibly, though not regrettably, be construed as an example of intolerance and hate? No, I didn't think so, either.

Enough simpering irony. Such an exemplar of Islam shows that the template of the Scimitar is quite simply that which René Girard deems "the primitive Sacred." It does not have its origins in the God revealed in the Sacred Scriptures of the Bible, but in the founding violence of the sandy wastes of Arabia; a perversion of the Christian faith filtered through the murky thinking of a heretic (cf. Hilaire Belloc's invaluable The Great Heresies). If dialog is possible with such proponents, it will be due to the unsearchable steadfast love (hesed, agape) of the covenant-making, covenant-keeping Spirit of God, who never gives up trying to reconcile his children to himself, and to one another.

Dr. Tawfik Hamid would be a good exemplar of the Holy Spirit at work in Islam [h/t: The Iconoclast].

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Catholic Chivalry for Today

While it is true, as Chesterton says through his character MacIan that one cannot turn back the clock and somehow become a simple, chivalrous and idealistic English gentleman, an organization -- Corpus Christianum -- offers something even better. We subscribe to the following:

Guided by a Catholic chivalrous spirit and Marian in character, Corpus Christianum members daily pray for the following key points:

* The renewal, unity, and spread of Christendom
* The Supreme Pontiff and all priests/religious
* The protection of Christians around the world
* The restoration of the family
* The conversion of sinners and the sanctification of all people


The Parade Passes, the Dogs Bark

... Turnbull (the agnostic said) good-humouredly, "but the question still remains. Why don't you confine yourself more to Christians if Christians are the only really good men?"
"Who talked of such folly?" asked MacIan disdainfully. "Do you suppose that the Catholic Church ever held that Christians were the only good men? Why, the Catholics of the Catholic Middle Ages talked about the virtues of all the virtuous Pagans until humanity was sick of the subject. NO, if you really want to know what we mean when we say that Christianity has a special power of virtue, I will tell you. The Church is the only thing on earth that can perpetuate a type of virtue and make it something more than a fashion. The thing is so plain and historical that I hardly think you will ever deny it. You cannot deny that it is perfectly possible that to-morrow morning, in Ireland or in Italy, there might appear a man not only as good but good in exactly the same way as St. Francis of Assisi.
"Very well, now take the other types of human virtue; many of them splendid. The English gentleman of Elizabeth was chivalryous and idealistic. But can you stand still here in this meadow and be an English gentleman of Elizabeth? The austere republican of the eighteenth century, with his stern patriotism and his simple life, was a fine fellow. But have you ever seen him? have you ever seen an austere republican? Only a hundred years have passed and that volcano of revolutionary truth and valour is as cold as the mountains of the moon. And so it is and so it will be with the ethics which are buzzing down Fleet Street at this instant as I speak.

"What phrase would inspire the London clerk or workman just now? Perhaps that he is a son of the British Empire on which the sun never sets; perhaps that he is a prop of his Trades Union, or a class-conscious proletarian something or other; perhaps merely that he is a gentleman when he obviously is not. Those names and notions are all honourable; but how long will they last? Empires break; industrial conditions change; the suburbs will not last for ever. What will remain? I will tell you. The Catholic Saint will remain."
From The Ball and the Cross - G. K. Chesterton

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Crisis of History

Catholic World News reports that in a March 7 address to the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) said that the study of history is particularly valuable today, to address "a society which, heedless of its own past and hence lacking criteria acquired through experience, is no longer capable of harmonious coexistence or joint commitment in realizing future aims."

"Such a society is particularly vulnerable to ideological manipulation," the Pope told the group. He said that the study of history today is being warped by "a methodology which draws inspiration from positivism and sociology" and ignores "entire epochs" because of its ideological blinders.

Have any sense of those who would want to manipulate history due to their "ideological blinders?" Here is a hint.

Read all …

Mormons Trash Shrine

The Salt Lake Tribune says that a Colorado parish is prosecuting three Mormon "missionaries" for (allegedly) attacking and causing destruction to a shrine.

Seen in posted photos at "Photobucket", one missionary was seen holding the severed head of a statue. The head was found and restored.

Another photo showed a missionary appearing to preach from the Book of Mormon inside the Chapel of All Saints. A third photo showed one missionary pretending to sacrifice another on the altar at the Shrine of the Mexican Martyrs.

So ends the myth of modern Mormon immunity to the primitive Sacred. Selah.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mary, Help of Christians

"The Accolade" (1901) - Edmund Blair Leighton (1853—1922)

Most Holy Virgin Mary, Help of Christian, how sweet it is to come to your feet imploring your perpetual help. If earthly mothers cease not to remember their children, how can you, the most loving of all mothers forget me? Grant then to me, I implore you, your perpetual help in all my necessities, in every sorrow, and especially in all my temptations. I ask for your unceasing help for all who are now suffering. Help the weak, cure the sick, convert sinners. Grant through your intercessions many vocations to the religious life. Obtain for us, O Mary, Help of Christians, that having invoked you on earth we may love and eternally thank you in heaven. Amen.

The Crescent, "Blond Beast" & Lamb of God

Over at Mark Gordon's Suicide of the West, he posits, 'If after 2,000 years Christ has not penetrated European man, it is our fault, and it’s past time we began asking ourselves “Why?”'

In former days, I put great stock in the analytical psychology of Carl Jung. His insights still can be helpful, as, I think, the following shows. In Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Jung writes the following:
The case of Nietzsche shows, on the one hand, the consequences of neurotic one-sidedness, and, on the other hand, the dangers that lurk in this leap beyond Christianity. Nietzsche undoubtedly felt the Christian denial of animal nature very deeply indeed, and therefore he sought a higher human wholeness beyond good and evil ... He delivers himself up unresistingly to the animal psyche. That is the moment of Dionysian frenzy, the overwhelming manifestation of the "blond beast" ... a relapse into a pagan form of religion, so that in reality nothing new is discovered and the same story only repeats itself from the beginning ... (As such,) the ecstatic by-passes the law of his (or her) own life and behaves, from the point of view of nature, improperly.
Jung shows that Friedrich Nietzsche's life was microcosm of and served as a template for the woes of today's Europe. We cannot say that Europe, once Christendom, was ever a thorough-going homeland for the faith of Our Lord. The "blond beast" was ever there in the crowd, the mob, the accusatory, satanic gesture that distinguished the "righteous" we from the "witch", the "poisoner", the one with the "evil eye" -- all the while blessed by a Church that did not know (yet) how to follow her Lord to stay beside the least, the last, and the lost, except in her saints.

It may be that Europe, once the offspring of the the Catholic Church, must now be chastened for wanting to have worldly power with a sprinkling of sanctity, bestiality and spirituality, Christ AND Dionysus. And that chastisement comes in the form of a warlord wielding the crescent and scimitar. The biblical God has a predictable way of using the most unlikely ways and means for meting out justice.

The Old Testament prophets told God's Chosen Ones that they were not permitted to worship on the Sabbath and attend "prayer meetings" at the Ba'al shrines on Wednesday nights, so to speak. Banishment, exile and subsistence living in Babylon was the result. Is it such a stretch to say that the worshipers of "the animal psyche" will have to bow under the stern, humorless gaze of an Islamic taskmaster for penance?

The "blond beast," worship of Dionysus nee Ba'al and Molech, still has to be dealt with. Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium make sure we can still hear the words of Our Lord today:
Anyone who does not remain in me will be thrown out like a branch and wither; people will gather them and throw them into a fire and they will be burned. -- John 15:6
A shame too. Mont Saint-Michel just won't look right with a crescent atop its spire.

Fifth Sunday of Lent

His Only-begotten Son and the Word of God - Viktor Vasnetsov

In today’s gospel Jesus said to Martha:

I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.