Saturday, April 5, 2008

Rossetti - PRB

The Damsel of the Sanct Grael - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Some Concerns

One concern I have regarding Mr. Bailie's explication of the Church's message of hope and freedom versus the world's pale parody is found in his understanding of the sacraments. His understanding seems to take a cerebral approach rather than that of ex opere operato. Like St. Augustine's neo-Platonism, it skirts very narrowly a sort of Gnosticism. One sees in Mr. Bailie a speaker gifted with a powerful intellect one who leads from his strength.

When he says a solution to the worldly, "progressive" approach to a dereliction of Christian hope is found in the "sacramental", one would do well to ask: Are you talking about the normal, Mass-attending Christian who receives the Blessed Sacrament frequently, or are you talking about one who has a depth of reading, a florilegia of quotations of spiritual and anthropological writers, and perhaps contributes to a great non-profit?

One should compare Mr. Bailie's understanding of the "sacramental" to that of the great Chesterton:
A MYSTICAL MATERIALISM marked Christianity from its birth; the very soul of it was a body. Among the stoical philosophies and oriental negations that were its first foes it fought fiercely and particularly for a supernatural freedom to cure concrete maladies by concrete substances. Hence the scattering of relics was everywhere like the scattering of seed. All who took their mission from the divine tragedy bore tangible fragments which became the germs of churches and cities.

Chivalry, the Grail, & the Round Table

A MYSTICAL MATERIALISM marked Christianity from its birth; the very soul of it was a body. Among the stoical philosophies and oriental negations that were its first foes it fought fiercely and particularly for a supernatural freedom to cure concrete maladies by concrete substances. Hence the scattering of relics was everywhere like the scattering of seed. All who took their mission from the divine tragedy bore tangible fragments which became the germs of churches and cities.

St. Joseph carried the cup which held the wine of the Last Supper and the blood of the Crucifixion to that shrine in Avalon which we now call Glastonbury; and it became the heart of a whole universe of legends and romances, not only for Britain but for Europe. Throughout this tremendous and branching tradition it is called the Holy Grail. The vision of it was especially the reward of that ring of powerful paladins whom King Arthur feasted at a Round Table, a symbol of heroic comradeship such as was afterwards imitated or invented by medieval knighthood. Both the cup and the table are of vast importance emblematically in the psychology of the chivalric experiment.

The idea of a round table is not merely universality but equality. It has in it, modified of course, by other tendencies to differentiation, the same idea that exists in the very word "peers," as given to the knights of Charlemagne. In this Round Table is as Roman as the round arch, which might also serve as a type; for instead of being one barbaric rock merely rolled on the others, the king was rather the keystone of an arch.

But to this tradition of a level of dignity was added something unearthly that was from Rome, but not of it; the privilege that inverted all privileges; the glimpse of heaven which seemed almost as capricious as fairyland; the flying chalice which was veiled from the highest of all the heroes, and which appeared to one knight who was hardly more than a child.

Rightly or wrongly, this romance established Britain for after centuries as a country with a chivalrous past. Britain had been a mirror of universal knighthood. This fact, is of colossal import in all ensuing affairs, especially the affairs of barbarians.
- G. K. Chesterton, Short History of England

Bailie - Talk on Freedom & Ontology

Gil Bailie, founder and president of The Cornerstone Forum spoke at Washington Theological Union in D. C. It is the first stop on his monthly circuit of Emmaus Road Initiative talks endeavoring to "inspire a wholehearted faith in a half-hearted age."

He traced the gradient of the West's relinquishing of what Henri DeLubac called "ontological density" and Gabriel Marcel deemed "ontological mooring" between the bookends of two sayings of Our Lord, the parable of theProdigal Son and the Vine and Branches discourse. "Without me," says Jesus, "you can do nothing." The paltry alternative, as we see around and within us, if we are honest, is multi-phrenic "scattering" in a misdirected effort somehow to "outdo" Christian freedom: a sad and shoddy parody that is singularly unsatisfying and the worst kind of slavery.

If you live close enough to one of the Emmaus Road Initiative venues, I heartily recommend you get by to hear him.

Priest Killed - Baghdad Today

Prayers for the most recent priest killed in a drive by shooting, Baghdad, Father Youssef Adel, Assyrian Orthodox Church.

"I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do..." - Jesus [Mt 12,04]

"For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God, who I shall see on my side" - Job [19,25]

The Unsubmitting

Baron Bodissey posts an article by Anders Raahauge that should be required reading for all concerned with fighting terrorism through fortitude, chivalry, and legitimate defense: The Unsubmitting.
An increasing number of persons, who have received death threats from Islamists, are starting to behave in a completely inappropriate manner. They spread courage, not fear.

At first sight, ruling by fear is completely feasible. If you truly frighten people, you will, for a while, get things the way you want. But this method is primitive and outmoded. The faults of this method are particularly exposed when applied in a modern society. This happens when radical Islamists use force to back their demands for a change in European policies and for a gradual spiritual revolution in Western Europe, where they obviously desire progress for the Umma, the world-wide Islamic community.

The intention, obviously, is for fear to spread like ripples in the water and influence all those not directly implicated. Those who actually induce fear have a limited range. The Islamists have no armies to match the Western arsenal, which is why they have to resort to terrorism. By singling out the individual, their aim is the control of many.
Click here to read this important article.

A Defense of Christian Lands

Once again (but not for the last time, be sure), a reviewer speaks truth about the Crusades.

Like many postmodern westerners, the politician suffers from a peculiar psychic disturbance -- western-guilt syndrome -- that regards the history of the West as an unmitigated horror show of slaughter, conquest and imperialistic domination. The Crusades are cast as among the darkest of dark episodes in the history of European civilization.

Too bad it's wrong.

"The crusades are quite possibly the most misunderstood event n European history," says historian Thomas Madden. "The Crusades were in every way a defensive war. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression -- an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands." Read all of A defense of Christian lands.

Who's Oppressing Who - B. Kay

Barbara Kay, writer for a Canadian paper, takes on misandry in family law (and a few other things in this insightful article. By the way, this excerpt shows a fine Girardian awareness sans Girard:
Because of my people’s unique history, I am instinctively wary of any group – whether a race, an ethnic group, a religion or a sex - that plays a dualistic hand, scapegoating an entire group to explain the unachieved goals of its own members. For a scapegoating ideology always ends in grievance-collecting and a conspiracy theory of history. My people has been unusually vulnerable to conspiracy theory evils over the centuries. It is presently in the midst of battling a particularly destructive and existentially threatening one.

Virtually all Arab and many other Muslim nations rely on Jew hatred to externalize an explanation for their own failures. It works very well. The world has not seen such a widespread and virulent strain of anti-Semitism dominating an entire region since the Nazi era...
Read all of Who’s Oppressing Who?

Pity the Child

Better living through alchemical Gnosticism. WE know what is best: anything but Normal.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Joke of the Day

A biker was riding by the zoo when he saw a little girl leaning into the lion’s cage. Suddenly the lion grabbed her by the cuff of her jacket and tried to pull her inside to slaughter her under the very eyes of her screaming parents.

The biker jumped off his Harley, ran to the cage, and hit the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain, the lion jumped back and let go of the girl. The biker then took her to her terrified parents, who thanked him profusely.

A reporter saw the whole scene, and addressing the biker, said, “Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I’ve ever seen a man do in my whole life.”

“Why, it was nothing, really,” said the biker. “The lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger, and acted as I felt right.”

“I noticed a patch on your jacket,” said the journalist.

“Yeah, I ride with an Israeli motorcycle club,” the biker replied.

“Well, I’ll make sure this won’t go unnoticed. I’m a journalist with the LA Times, you know, and tomorrow’s papers will have this on the front page.”

The following morning the biker bought the paper to see if it indeed had brought out the news of his actions. On the front page was the headline:


Living in a 'Spiritual Hiroshima'

Dr. Kreeft reviews the predicaments and reasons for hope in a pagan West.

The Ninth Day

Brother D'Artagnan notified me of this "Man For All Seasons" sort of film based on the true story of a priest at Dachau, The Ninth Day (2004). Looks worth checking out.

Religion of the Perpetual Chip on Shoulder

A recent poll among Arab peoples shows that 55% agree that offensive speech justifies violence. "It only takes a spark to get a fire going." No wonder I detest that song. [h/t: LGF]

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Deo Gratias

Statue of Saint Benedict - Guesthouse
Holy Cross Abbey

Pulling Back on an Urban Tradition

From Catholic Schools in the District of Columbia to "Charter" Schools. It reminds me of Donnie Darko.

I Believe in Dog

Dog for sale. Owners can't afford to feed him. No more burglars or other baddies in neighborhood anyway. Known by most of community as "Holy ****!" [h/t: Theo @ LOTF]

Not a Birkenstock-Clad Hippie

An interview Frank Rega, author of St. Francis and the Conversion of the Muslims.

The Violence of Double Standards

Joseph Bottum at First Things brings to the fore the raison d'ĂȘtre of Chronicles of Atlantis: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty - Some Things are Worthy Fighting For.
It’s old news that we have a double standard these days: People who attack and insult Christianity are brave—oh, so brave—transgressive artists, while people who attack and insult Islam are insensitive and bigoted. The legal blogger Eugene Volokh had an interesting note a while back, comparing editorials in the Boston Globe—the editorials the newspaper had run denouncing the Danish cartoons and the editorials it had run praising Piss Christ and the elephant-dung portrait of Mary. A more recent example comes from the comic writer Ben Elton, who this week denounced British television for censoring his scripts. “There is no doubt about it,” he told the Daily Telegraph, “the BBC will let vicar gags pass but they would not let imam gags pass.”

For a long time, I attributed all this to a weird kind of disbelief in the actual reality of Islam—or, at least, to the possibility of its achieving any significant success. A certain line of modernity has always aimed, as one of its fundamental projects, at the undoing of Christianity. And for that project, any stick is a good one, even an Islamic one.

[ ... ]

It’s easy to mock Christianity, because the people who do it know that the rioters aren’t actually going to come after them. They’re too Christian, and the Poor Clares aren’t actually going to start their commando training. But can we at least stop hearing about how brave people are when they insult Christianity and carefully—oh, so carefully—leave out Islam?

Europe Needs to Wake Up, and Quickly

Clare Lopez of Family Security Matters sees the obvious: Europe…and America…must realize that Islamic Jihad is not about reason, or temperance, or enlightenment: It is about conquest. Osama bin Laden, the self-appointed Caliph, has spoken.

UPDATE: Grand Mufti of Syria Threatens Europeans at EU Parliament, EU Media Silent. [h/t: Ironic Surrealism II]

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Man Who Would Be King

Cat at Brits at Their Best notes and lifts up a fine article about one of the finest non-politically correct poets, adventurers, and defenders of civilization.

But Can It Be ... ?

Stopped? Anglican cleric boldly asserts the obvious ... finally.

A prominent evangelical member of the Church of England’s General Synod has called for a ban on the building of any more mosques in Britain.

Alison Ruoff also claimed that Sharia law is inevitable in this country if mosques continue to be built here.

Mrs Ruoff, a former magistrate, said in an interview with London’s Premier Christian Radio that no more mosques should be built in Britain until all persecution of Christians in Muslim nations had ceased.

She said: “No more mosques in the UK. We are constantly building new mosques, which are paid for by the money that comes from oil states.

“We have only in this country as far as we know, 3.5 to four million Muslims. There are enough mosques for Muslims in this country, they don’t need anymore.

“We don’t need to have Sharia law which would come with more mosques imposed upon our nation, if we don’t watch out, that would happen. If we want to become an Islamic state, this is the way to go.

“You build a mosque and then what happens? You have Muslim people moving into that area, all the shops will then become Islamic, all the housing will then become Islamic and as the Bishop of Rochester has so wisely pointed out, that will be a no-go area for anyone else.

“They will bring in Islamic law. We cannot allow that to happen.”

[ ... ]

Mrs Ruoff, who lives in Waltham Cross, north east London, told Premier Christian Radio: “We are still a Christian country, we need to hold on to that.

“If we don’t watch out, we will become an Islamic state. It’s that serious.”

Hobbit Hole for Non-Hobbits

Zoe Romanowsky has the scoop at
I’m ready to move in!
But I must hang Sting over the door. [h/t:Mark Shea]

Emmaus Road Initiative, Etc.

GIL BAILIE, President and founder of the Cornerstone Forum, posts on vital articles by Father Samir Khalil Samir, SJ and Roy W. Brown here.

While I'm speaking of Mr. Bailie, he will be appearing this Saturday morning at Washington Theological Union at 9:30 a.m. as part of his cross-country speaking engagement forum, Emmaus Road Initiative - Inspiring a Wholehearted Faith in a Half-hearted Age. I encourage you to come, enjoy light refreshments (coffee, pastries) and thoughtful and faithful commentary for concerned Christians.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Der Spiegel on Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders Is No Right-Wing Populist. [h/t: Mark Shea]

Appeal of the Scimitar - Nietzsche Would Get It

As distasteful as it is to readers, Al Salibiyyah ('Crusade') posts on a prominent imam in merrie olde London towne, and an Islamic lawyer who both say that that are instances when murder and rape are "justified" behavior for practitioners of the Scimitar religion.
A question-and-answer session with Imam Abdul Makin in an East London mosque asks why Allah would tell Muslims to kill and rape innocent non-Muslims, including their wives and daughters, according to Islam Watch.

"Because non-Muslims are never innocent, they are guilty of denying Allah and his prophet," the Imam says, according to the report. "If you don't believe me, here is the legal authority, the top Muslim lawyer of Britain."

The lawyer, Anjem Choudary, backs up the Imam's position, saying that all Muslims are innocent.

"You are innocent if you are a Muslim," Choudary tells the BBC. "Then you are innocent in the eyes of God. If you are not a Muslim, then you are guilty of not believing in God." See also here.
I share this tidbit because it shows so well how starting with faulty presuppositions can lead one, or an entire body of religion, into "luciferian logic." Or, in other words, a way of demonizing other human beings so as to enable "us" to see "them" as justifiable victim-fodder for the sacrificial system called "the primitive Sacred" by René Girard.

This is one-half of the problem facing the remnants of Christendom today. The other half of the problem is the neo-pagan insurgent effort from within the faltering West itself. This I describe in a fictional narrative, The Dionysus Mandate.

The difficulty arises here: members of the latter are becoming increasingly interested in the former. Why? Nietzsche could have answered it. So can Osama bin Laden: "…when the people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they naturally gravitate toward the strong horse."

Even the walls of Catholic Schools are permeable to this kind of ubermensch mentality of buckling to the primitive Sacred. Again, why? Largely because children do not see a vital, vibrant Christian faith being lived by parents or other family members. Too, they see more and more expressions of expedient violence and a gospel of "survival of the strongest" across the boards in prime time television and Hollywood provender.

Where can they see or hear the alternative of the Gospel of Christ boldly lived and practiced in the lives of sanctity, grace, and charity? Very few opportunities arise or present themselves. Hence, the "strong horse" of the Scimitar is beginning to look more and more appealing to the young barbarians living in the wasteland of the West, the bare-ruined choirs of Chrstendom.

CASE IN POINT: Times Online reports that Convicted Islamist terrorists are exploiting the growing gang culture in top security jails, fuelling fears that they are trying to radicalise other inmates and foment unrest.

A. W. N. Pugin - Mitsui

The inestimable Daniel Mitsui gives a sorely needed tribute to A. W. N. Pugin, architect and Catholic convert who laid the foundation for Arts and Crafts in England. If you are fortunate, you may still be able to pick up a copy of Pugin's Contrasts and The True Principles of Pointed or Christian Architecture (Spire).

21-29 Year Olds Not Like Prime Time

Stop the presses! Mark Steyn lets loose with a bombshell: America is not like Hollywood!
A survey of so-called "millennials" — those between 21 and 29 — revealed the group overwhelmingly said they support monogamy, marriage, the U.S. Constitution and the military.
Not that I watch them (truly), but I just wonder: Who DOES keep cranking out all these CSI, Cold Case, etc. shows?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Dawn Treading

And if you are interested in Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader should definitely catch your eye.

Priest Zakariya Boutrus (Coptic)

How the Scimitar "evangelizes" --

They Want Jesus Instead

And Chuck Colson says it’s caught the attention of an imam or two:
In 2001, Sheikh Ahmad Al Qatanni, a leading Saudi cleric, delivered the disturbing news on Al-Jazeera: Every day, he said, “16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity . . . every year, that is six million Muslims becoming Christians . . . A tragedy has happened.” It is possible the sheikh was inflating his numbers to incite a reaction against Christianity. But clearly, something is happening.

How thrilling to learn that so many Muslims have been set free from the chains of their sins—just as you and I have—by the power of Christ’s blood! We must pray for these new brothers and sisters; many are being violently persecuted for their new-found faith.
Meanwhile, Sherry Wendell talks about urban legends and the Great Commission. [h/t: Mark Shea]

Story of a Convert from Islam

His name is Magdi Cristiano Allam. For five years he has lived under guard, threatened with death. But his baptism has raised harsh criticism, against him and against Benedict XVI. The complete text of the accusation written by Aref Ali Nayed, architect of the letter of the 138.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Consistent, True, and Strong

I posted this at the Four Mass'keteers some time ago, but it is so well done, I share it here at Chronicles. Please join me in praying for the Holy Father before and during his upcoming visit to America.

Belloc - Religion & Culture

CULTURES SPRING FROM religions; ultimately the vital force which maintains any culture is its philosophy, its attitude towards the universe; the decay of a religion involves the decay of the culture corresponding to it -- we see that most clearly in the breakdown of Christendom today. The bad work begun at the Reformation is bearing its final fruit in the dissolution of our ancestral doctrines -- the very structure of our society is dissolving.

In place of the old Christian enthusiasms of Europe there came, for a time, the enthusiasm for nationality, the religion of patriotism. But self-worship is not enough, and the forces which are making for the destruction of our culture ... have a likelier future before them than our old-fashioned patriotisms.

In Islam, there has been no such dissolution of ancestral doctrine -- or, at any rate, nothing corresponding to the universal break-up of religion in Europe. The whole spiritual strength of Islam is still present in the masses of Syria and Anatolia, of the East Asian mountains, of Arabia, Egypt and North Africa.

The final fruit of this tenacity, the second period of Islamic power, may be delayed: -- but I doubt whether it can be permanently postponed.
- Hilaire Belloc, The Great Heresies, 70 years ago

UPDATE: Belloc also said in the same book that "...the Mohammedan never becomes a Catholic" [75]. Of course, the Pope could assure him otherwise as of Easter. But also pulls together an important sampler of studies in Why Muslims Become Christian. Food for thought, and prayer.