Saturday, April 19, 2008

Offer It Up

It is a surreal experience to plow through the hours of a day, "taking it easy" under doctor's orders until one's surgery days from now, with the aura of the dreaded word "cancer" surrounding one's being. It affects others who try to relate in ordinary, normal ways, as though they expect you to wince, catch your breath, or otherwise show signs of being afflicted by that spectral yet chewing presence in your body.

And that's okay. Mortality is not something that comes easily to people's consciousness; especially to those who are young with so much experience to look forward to in their lives. It might do them good to realize that all of us live in what Gil Bailie calls "the Eleventh Hour."

But it tends to set oneself apart. One can relate to the character of Donnie Darko in Richard Kelly's outstanding film of the same name. He has seen a real portent of his own death -- everyone's death -- and he learns that there is for him a way of self-donation that will bring life to all -- to everyone's life.

Whether this vile beastie -- a transitional cell carcinoma of the renal pelvis -- will quickly or lately bring the demise of Athos is not truly the issue. It is a wake-up call; a reminder of my mortality. Let it also be a reminder that I have, you have, we all have, an opportunity to self-donate. The Catholic Church calls it practicing the theological virtue of charity (along with faith and hope), and it is the distinguishing mark of the Christian who lives in but not of the world.

"Offer it up" - one's suffering, one's trials, nearly anything. I will not go quite so far as Saint Paul, but I will add in my own way what I can for any and all who may profit from my struggle:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God.
- Colossians 1;:24-25

Abortion Art and Moloch

(Content warning: graphic language)
Some have been following this story about Yale University senior art major Aliza Shvarts, and her repeated self-induced miscarriages.

Here we see what other ages would call witchcraft; others would deem paganism. Both are accurate. Her own words show one who thinks that the individual consciousness is the highest authority in defining and setting the terms of discourse:

Just as it is a myth that women are .meant. to be feminine and men masculine, that penises and vaginas are .meant. for penetrative heterosexual sex (or that mouths, anuses, breasts, feet or leather, silicone, vinyl, rubber, or metal implements are not .meant. for sex at all), it is a myth that ovaries and a uterus are .meant. to birth a child.

When considering my own bodily form, I recognize its potential as extending beyond its ability to participate in a normative function. While my organs are capable of engaging with the narrative of reproduction . the time-based linkage of discrete events from conception to birth . the realm of capability extends beyond the bounds of that specific narrative chain. These organs can do other things, can have other purposes, and it is the prerogative of every individual to acknowledge and explore this wide realm of capability.

Her statement is indicative of the manner in which mimetic theory predicts accurately that the human default attitude and behavior is sacrificial paganism; what René Girard coined as "the primitive Sacred." We feel ourselves in utter freedom, yet we return to the "high places" of the fertility cults, Mount Cythaeron of the Bacchae, the Astarte sacred poles, and the flames of Moloch. (More curiously, a major self-proclaimed monotheist religion claims no paganism, yet practices human sacrifice as a virtue in its most fervently "devout" followers in the name of "Allah".)

And so, we see that paganism in its multifarious forms is a huge and real presence is the opening years of the twenty-first century, whether in the shape of a Scimitar, or in performance "art". Those who fall away from the grace of God do so in high predictable gradients of various "fruits of the flesh," as Saint Paul called them in the Letter to the Galatians, leading finally to the place of sacrifice (Gr. thumos).

But those who cringe, calling Ms. Shvarts "sick" should ask: what is the qualitative difference between her self-conscious "art" and the abortion industry that carries out the same weird alchemical machinations day in and day out?

George Mason

The Harvest Moon (1872) - George Mason, Tate Collection

Friday, April 18, 2008

Reviving Catholic Culture

Christendom, the culture of the Catholic Church, the West, has and ever shall be a type of the Kingdom of God. The Middle Ages, so scorned by Enlightenment project ninnies, if anyone takes time to delve, were neither a Monty Python-ignoramus circus nor huddling peasants round cathedrals ruled by jewel-bedecked clergy. Can such a Catholic culture breathe again in today's world?

Benedict XVI knows this can happen, and according to David Gibson at the Wall Street Journal, the Holy Father has plans to revive Catholic culture in earnest.

My friend brought me a Rosary blessed by Benedict at the Nationals stadium Mass. I intend to pray for this revival of Christendom using it every day.

Luciferian Logic

Borrowing the phrase "luciferian logic" from mentor and friend Gil Bailie, I post this from the honorable Senator Barack Obama, who says that A domestic terrorist is like pro-life Senator. Mark Shea would place this kind of thinking in the "Sin makes you stupid" category. While Shea is correct, Obama's statement also displays the way the sacrificial mechanism of our age generates its own justifying mythology, giving the minimalist ritual of abortion an aura of righteousness.

But, being a good "progressive", Mr. Obama doesn't know that he is simply a mouthpiece for the modern recrudescence of the primitive Sacred. Sadly, neither do millions who support him for president of the United States of America.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Day Two

The Holy Father’s 2nd Day in the U. S. A friend who attended the celebration of Mass at Nationals Stadium brought me back a blessed article. I see a reliquary coming!

Prayers Appreciated

Here is a depiction of Athos doing battle with his transitional cell carcinoma of the renal pelvis. Or rather, the follow up after the surgeon has done his best to rid me of the vile beastie. If you chance by this blog on your pilgrim journey, offer up a prayer for the soul of Athos, Mass'keteer, Pope's man, member of the chivalric order of Corpus Christianum, and one who has pledged fealty to Our Good Lord and the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady.

Day One

Monday, April 14, 2008

Millenials Are We

Do converts after 1981 count as Millenials?

Shawn Tribe reports at the New Liturgical Movement on the results of a survey on American Catholics by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Interestingly, Millennial Catholics (born after 1981) pursue religious practice with fervor akin to pre-Vatican II Catholic (born before 1943).

Conquering Rome, Catholics or Crusaders

Good news, kids. PLO ambassador Abbas Zaki has made this friendly and conciliatory statement to NBN TV:

"In light of the weakness of the Arab nation and the lack of values, and in light of the American control over the world, the PLO proceeds through phases, without changing its strategy. Let me tell you, when the ideology of Israel collapses, and we take, at least, Jerusalem, the Israeli ideology will collapse in its entirety, and we will begin to progress with our own ideology, Allah willing, and drive them out of all of Palestine," added Zaki.

The clip can be viewed at

And in a sermon televised on Friday, Yunis al-Astal, a Hamas MP and cleric, told worshipers that Islam would soon conquer Rome, "the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and which has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam," just as Constantinople was.

Rome, he said, would become "an advanced post for the Islamic conquests which will spread through Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, and even Eastern Europe."

Now, before you shake your head and rub your eyes, remember: If a non-Scimitar sort of person said any of these things about a Scimitar-established organization like the PLO or Hamas, it would be labeled 'Hate speech.' But because Mssrs. Zaki and al-Astal ARE of the Scimitar religion, it is OKAY. Got it? Good. Remember that.

Joking aside, the men are undoubtedly preaching to the choir, shoring up their support saying such nonsense; except that the demographic trend is on their side of things. And, lest one forget, the stalwart attitude of the Scimitar comes from an expression of the primitive Sacred that is posited on fierce hatred of its constituting other (Judeo-Christianity), blindness to its own wrong-doing, and a luciferian logic sustained by its myths, rituals, and prohibitions.

We can scoff at their words, but we had best not ignore them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Economics of Hope

G. K. Chesterton reminds us in his Short History of England that "The medievals not only had self-government, but their self-government was self-made. They did indeed as the central powers of the national monarchies grew stronger, seek and procure the stamp of state approval; but it was approval of a popular fact already in existence. Men banded together in guilds and parishes long before Local Government Acts were dreamed of. Like charity, which was worked in the same way, their Home Rule began at home" (Ch. 8 - The Meaning of Merry England).

Key words in the above are "guilds" and "parishes". The reason for this is that the men who shared the same confessor in their parish church, who received the panis angelicus from the same priest, whose children were baptized at the same font were not likely to break the ways of their guild or their parish. Chesterton does not say this in so many words, but the implication is clear.

Jump to the present -- over the making of nations, the Reformation (so-called), the destruction of the monasteries and guilds out of which grew economies and laws of Europe, the establishment of capitalism and socialism -- and we see an embittered age of "secularists" (coined by atheists who didn't even want reference to a deity in their name), pillage of the pensions of workers, the lack of ownership of property by teeming millions, and a western economy teetering on the brink in subservient dhimmitude to Middle Eastern oil countries that hold a scimitar in one hand and our leash in the other.

Oh, and did I mention an urge to create two vast central governments for the whole world -- the European Union and the United States of Mex-Can-America? Thing is, however, neither will look with even a furtive glance at what the words "guilds" and "parishes" imply. Rather, they appeal in a post-Reformation fashion to the principles of unbridled greed whose increase will, they hope, raise all boats ... except those belonging to useless riff raff: the unwanted unborn, the aged, infirm, and the like.

The only hope -- the only hope -- for the west is not a forlorn clinging to "western values" sans the faith that made the West; the only hope lies in a Prodigal Son-like return. Benedict XVI is bringing just such a message of hope to the United States this week. Will any listen to him and this message?

The Holy Father, State Power, and Hope

Pope Benedict XVI
Apostolic Journey to the United States
WHAT CHESTERTON SAYS about Saint Thomas of Canterbury and Henry II seems apropos to the reason why Benedict is coming with his message of hope to America.
It is always the first fact that escapes notice; and the first fact about the Church was that it created a machinery of pardon, where the State could only work with a machinery of punishment. It claimed to be a divine detective who helped the criminal to escape by a plea of guilty ... Our world, then, cannot understand St. Thomas, any more than St. Francis, without accepting very simply a flaming and even fantastic charity, by which the great Archbishop undoubtedly stands for the victims of this world, where the wheel of fortune grinds the faces of the poor. He may well have been too idealistic; he wished to protect the Church as a sort of earthly paradise, of which the rules might seem to him as paternal as those of heaven, but might well seem to the King as capricious as those of fairyland. But if the priest was too idealistic, the King was really too practical; it is intrinsically true to say he was too practical to succeed in practice ... He became lawless out of sheer love of law.
-- Short History of England
Benedict comes to America to remind us of exactly the same charity, mercy, forgiveness, and hope of God manifested in Jesus Christ our Lord -- a "fantastic charity" that states and even certain Scimitarists find ungodlike and unacceptable.

The Holy Spirit (Gr. Paraklete) is etymologically the "divine detective who helped the criminal to escape by a plea of guilty" and Benedict is coming to remind us of this extravagant hope of the Gospel. Sadly, states and governments and some religions only know how to punish by following the satanic (Gr. ha satan), accusatory principle "out of sheer love of law."

Though not able to thematize it this way, millions will feel and imbibe this message of hope that the Holy Father brings. God be with him and with us all.

Spencer on Fitna Critics - Odd Myopia

Making Our Job Easier

Peter Hitchens makes a valid point in quoting Mafia turncoat Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano: "Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters.”

Explosion at Church - Munitions Ignite

No, wait. My mistake.

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iranian officials on Sunday ruled out an attack as the cause of an explosion that killed 11 people inside a mosque in the southern city of Shiraz.

The explosion ripped through the mosque packed with hundreds of worshippers late Saturday as a cleric delivered his weekly speech against extremist Wahabi beliefs and the outlawed Bahai faith, the semiofficial Fars news agency said.

Authorities said besides the 11 killed, 191 people were wounded, some of them critically, the state IRNA news agency reported.

On Sunday, the deputy interior minister in charge of security, Abbas Mohataj, said the explosion was "the result of an incident." He didn't elaborate.

The police chief of the southern Fars Province, Gen. Ali Moayyedi, said he "rejects" the possibility of an intentional bombing and "any sort of insurgency" in the blast.

Moayyedi, in comments carried by state IRNA news agency, said the initial investigation found remnants of ammunition from a military exhibition that was held recently at the mosque. (Happens at churches all the time - military and munition programs after potluck suppers, that sort of thing.)

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said Sunday that no group has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

The religion of the Scimitar is the religion of peace. Got it? Remember that.

Nothing to Get Up About

Is that light the end of the tunnel, or an impending train wreck about to happen?
LONDON (Reuters) - British police and security agencies are currently monitoring 30 terrorism plots, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said in extracts of a newspaper interview released on Saturday.

"We now face a threat level that is severe. It's not getting any less, it's actually growing," she said in an interview to be published in Sunday's News of the World.

"We task the police and the security agencies with protecting us ... There are 22,000 individuals they are monitoring. There are 200 networks. There are 30 active plots," she said.
What will it take for nations of the West to institute a sane policy like that proposed by James Pinkerton's Shire Strategy?

UPDATE: Terror suspects held at one of Britain's most secure jails are secretly accessing the internet to contact their supporters.

Catholic Schools - Dwindling Enrollment

USA Today recently ran a piece on the dwindling enrollment of Catholic schools in America. As a Catholic educator in a middle school setting, I see this as a sad fact and bellwether of the current recession. Individuals choose thermoses of coffee from home over dipping into Starbucks on the way to work. Families are being cautious before they get into financial difficulty. "Maybe after next year, we'll send the kids back to St. So-and-so's."

My own diocese office of Catholic Schools sets its academic and technology standards high. We "teach to the guidelines," not just follow the textbooks' lay-outs. We're beginning cutting-edge work in curriculum mapping -- an "ooo-aaaa" Rube Goldberg contraption that will, if we ever get it all up and running, have virtual transparency and global connectedness into every teacher's lesson plans in a constant flux of changing and rechanging educational objectives' effectiveness from now until doom's day.

But will it help the current enrollment crisis per se? It may tell parents of potential students, "Look at us! Catholic schools are superior to public schools. We're smaller, more personal, superior in academics and technology. In short: your child deserves a Catholic education." But a money crunch is a money crunch, and even our better schools are struggling -- as families are -- with cash flow today.