Saturday, November 15, 2008

Burne-Jones, PRB

Hope - Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Chivalry in the Meantime

Saint Michael, pray for us.

Michelle Malkin, unlike the MSM, notes the way opponents of Proposition 8 are becoming increasingly rabble-rousers who continue to wreak havoc on Mormon churches in several cities and states, blacklisting peaceful voters who supported the ballot measure.

Apropos to this, mimetic theory posits that it is precisely when mobs feel specially righteous, when individuals within said mobs have willingly relinquished their baseline consciousness in this abaisement de nouveau mental, that they are most apt to go a-hunting for certifiable victims. In this case, any who opposed them. As Gil Bailie has observed,
“Anything one does to champion the cause of the victim creates new victims, so then you have a shift in the marker, and the moral boomerang comes back upon those who were trying to champion the cause of victims and therefore made victims and therefore became victimizers and therefore the whole thing begins to shift again.”
Poor fighters against "H8" - they must use (self-) righteous violence and hate against those who see the marriage between one man and one woman and Natural Law as of a piece with revealed knowledge from a loving God who does not will us to be enslaved to our instincts and desires (Gr. epithumeia).

In the meantime, be brave, carrying out a faithful witness in Marian chivalry.

UPDATE: By the way, the so-called homosexual community doesn't have an epistemological leg on which to stand (biding by Mark Twain's dictum: "A dangling preposition is something up with which I shall not put"). Who are THEY to dictate the terms of discourse? What Archimedean fulcrum do they possess that gives them access to truth?

They are counting on the vast center of the American bell-shaped curve to have no truck with philosophical presuppositions, merely a guilty conscience due to an over developed victimological point of view.

Skubalon (Gr.) Tripe. Piffle. Look them squarely in the eye and deal with bullies the usual way.

Burne-Jones PRB

Faith - Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Slumdog Millionaire

Every once in a blue moon comes a film one knows instinctively one will have to see. Cat at Brits at Their Best provides the entree to the newest (save your money; Bond stinks): Slumdog Millionaire.

Okay, Cat. I'll bite. And buy the popcorn.

Bernstein at Harvard

Leonard Bernstein was invited to speak at a Harvard banquet in 1986.

Bernstein, a 1939 graduate of Harvard, agreed, with certain caveats: that then Harvard president Derek Bok be present, along with at least 15 students and two bottles of scotch. Seventy undergraduates turned up for the speech, delivered at 2 A.M., and, as reported in The Harvard Crimson, the event lasted an hour and a half.

He delivered his talk on terrorism and truth. One need not agree with everything the great man said to remember him with gratitude and fondness. [ht: Arts and Letters Daily]

Friday, November 14, 2008

Sawing the Limb One Sits Upon

Pope Benedict XVI said that if western countries separate themselves from the Christian faith they will be ”starting down a blind alley.”

Any wonder, then, that one observant online journal sees America fast turning European?

The Storm Begins to Break

In a one sense, no one is surprised by the violent lashing out of homosexuals in reaction to the passage of Proposition 8 in California, supposedly "Fighting the H8" by displays of hate and threats particularly toward churches and Christians.

As friend and mentor Gil Bailie has stated,
Lately the violence incubated by sexual hysteria has been tearing through our society, to the utter amazement of those who swallowed hook, line and sinker the notion that sex and violence were alternatives to one other.
The anthropological powers and principalities associated with knocking over of prohibitions - particularly those related to sexuality - do not like it when humans enlightened by the biblical Spirit of truth begin to raise those same prohibitions once again.

The sense of entitlement engendered by the success of the neo-pagan's candidate of choice is going to stagger the remaining center of American society. The mimetic influence vast, the number of innocents sucked into the vortex deplorable, the damage to other innocents tragic. This cultural storm will, I fear, make world wars with clear lines of demarcation seem civil and comprehensible by comparison.

If you have the time, I highly recommend that you read the three segments on paganism in this post. A grasp of René Girard's mimetic theory will, at the very least, help one maintain a sense of equilibrium during the storm. For more compleat ballast, one must, however, turn to the source and summit of true ontology, epistemology, anthropology, and soteriology.

It's Here

Fr Richard Neuhaus says that that storm I left Christianity Lite for when I entered full communion with the Catholic Church is here.
The aggressor in the opening phases of this Kulturkampf is the Obama administration. The initial response to the aggression was evident in the meeting of Catholic bishops this week in Baltimore. There were refreshingly bold statements by bishops, and by Francis Cardinal George, president of the conference, on the imperative to protect the integrity of the Church’s teaching and to employ every legitimate means to resist the further advance of what John Paul the Great taught us to understand as the culture of death. Some bishops even invoked the venerable tradition of martyrdom, sounding very much like the successors to the apostles that they are.

The Christ against culture model does not come naturally to Catholics. The Church is much more disposed toward conversion, providing moral guidance, and the transformation of culture. The Christ against culture model is never chosen, but sometimes there is no choice. Pushed to the wall by the Obama aggression, it seems evident that most of the Catholic bishops are, in the words of Paul to Timothy, prepared to “fight the good fight.”

In this contest of coming months and years, it seems certain that cooperation between Catholics and evangelical Protestants will be greatly strengthened. And their efforts will enlist the support of many other Americans who are only now awakening to the fact that the unlimited abortion license imposed by Roe v. Wade and its proposed expansion by its hardcore supporters is indeed unlimited. If President-elect Obama does what he says he wants to do, this champion of national unity will preside over one of the most divisive periods in American history.

Pearl Poet - Milne

Nick Milne, @ The Daily Kraken, waxes poetic on the Pearl Poet.
A long time ago there was this guy. Nobody really knows who he was, though of course there are theories. All we definitively know about him is that he was appallingly smart and completely awesome, and we know this because of the poetry he wrote.
Read more of The Thin Green Knight ....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Junior Neo-Paganism on the March

14-year old Catherine Vogt carried out an experiment wearing an "Obama Girl" tee-shirt. Then she wore a "McCain Girl" tee-shirt. That was when the fit hit the shan.

Will Somebody Make Up His Mind

The NYT now warns that the next Ice Age will be a very, very long one. Matthew Archbold at Creative Minority Report gives his two bits, and and his wife’s not going to be happy about it.

Corpus Christianum - Merry, Come Join Us

If you haven't taken the opportunity, I heartily suggest that you take a moment of your hectic schedule and practice a little lectio divina with the excerpt from David Bentley Hart's Christ and Nothing here.

Then, prayerfully consider this invitation to become a member of Corpus Christianum. It is precisely in these apocalyptically darkening (though technologically enhanced) days that chivalrous men and women are sorely needed. In the words of Hart:
Christian asceticism is not, after all, a cruel disfigurement of the will, contaminated by the world-weariness or malice towards creation that one can justly ascribe to many other varieties of religious detachment. It is, rather, the cultivation of the pure heart and pure eye, which allows one to receive the world, and rejoice in it, not as a possession of the will or an occasion for the exercise of power, but as the good gift of God. It is, so to speak, a kind of “Marian” waiting upon the Word of God and its fruitfulness.
Join the merry band of chivalrous prayer knights at Corpus Christianum. You will glad to came, and be among the very best of God's good people in these new dark ages.

Hubris and Naïveté Meet and Make-out

The American Humanist Association is planting ads on sides of buses and bus stops: Why believe in God?

It's so easy, right? "Just be good for goodness' sake." Who the heck needs to think about it as hard as, say, Charles Taylor, huh? Sheez, louise.

You want a reason to believe in God.
Here’s why you should believe in God.

Degenerate Dei

Dawn Eden posts an important excerpt from James Kalb's The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command entitled, Same-sex, different dei
On the inadequacy of moral arguments for 'gay marriage'.
Go thou, and read.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

She Was Catholic, Not Muslim

Why is it always the woman’s fault?

Pink Bimbos Break Up Church Service

I don't know, but I have a hunch this has the makings of a really funny scene in a novel. I attempted something like it in the sacrificial preparation prior to the neo-pagan lunar eclipse celebration in The Dionysus Mandate. Needless to say, it probably had the effect the said "Back Back!" disruptors desired - something similar to a toddler's ranting hissy fit - but when the pink-garbed "homo terrorists" left, the Word of the LORD still stood.

College students (Lansing, Michigan - remember?). Sigh. What will they think of next? [ht: Real Clear Religion]

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blessing for Children in the Womb

Jeff Miller, Curt Jester, reports that the U. S. bishops have approved a blessing service for children in the womb. A nice touch, in light of the relentless marching of the culture of death in America.

After all, as David B. Hart aptly reminds us,
... we Christians – while not ignoring how appalling such a condition is – should yet rejoice that modernity offers no religious comforts to those who would seek them. In this time of waiting, in this age marked only by the absence of faith in Christ, it is well that the modern soul should lack repose, piety, peace, or nobility, and should find the world outside the Church barren of spiritual rapture or mystery, and should discover no beautiful or terrible or merciful gods upon which to cast itself. (emphases added)
That modernity forces the hands of our bishops is a clear indication of its pro-death propensities. That modernity should find no such "religious comforts" in its relentless worship of a vacuous, distracted, void called the "self" may, in God's providential love, cause prodigals to leave the far country of self-exile and trudge a penitential pathway Home.

Hart - Christ or Nothing

TO HAVE NO GOD but the God of Christ, after all, means today that we must endure the Lenten privations of what it most certainly a dark age, and strive to resist the bland solace, inane charms, brute viciousness, and dazed passivity of post-Christian culture – all of which are so tempting precisely because they enjoin us to believe in and adore ourselves.
[ … ]

… for us today it must involve the painful acknowledgement that neither we nor our distant progeny will live to see a new Christian culture rise in the Western world, and to accept this with both charity and faith. We must, after all, grant that, in the mystery of God’s providence, all of this has followed from the work of the Holy Spirit in time. Modern persons will never find rest for their restless hearts without Christ, for modern culture is nothing but the wasteland from which the gods have departed, and so this restlessness has become its own deity (emphasis added); and, deprived of the shelter of the sacred and the consoling myths of sacrifice, the modern person must wander or drift, vainly attempting one or another accommodation with death, never escaping anxiety or ennui, and driven as a result to a ceaseless labor of distraction, or acquisition, or willful idiocy. And, where it works its sublimest magic, our culture of empty spectacle can so stupefy the intellect as to blind it to its own disquiet, and induce a spiritual torpor more deplorable than mere despair.

But we Christians – while not ignoring how appalling such a condition is – should yet rejoice that modernity offers no religious comforts to those who would seek them. In this time of waiting, in this age marked only by the absence of faith in Christ, it is well that the modern soul should lack repose, piety, peace, or nobility, and should find the world outside the Church barren of spiritual rapture or mystery, and should discover no beautiful or terrible or merciful gods upon which to cast itself. With Christ came judgment into the world, a light of discrimination from which there is neither retreat nor sanctuary. And this means that, as a quite concrete historical condition, the only choice that remains for the children of post-Christian culture is not whom to serve, but whether to serve Him whom Christ has revealed or to serve nothing – the nothing. No third way lies open for us now, because – as all of us now know, whether we acknowledge it consciously or not – all things have been made subject to Him, all the thrones and dominions of the high places have been put beneath His feet, until the very end of the world, and – simply said – there is no other god.
- David B. Hart, Christ and Nothing

Save It for Football Games

Don't you just love mass gatherings, devoted crowds shouting mindless twattle, vast spectacles in real-time, just like the good ol' days?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lord, To Whom Would We Go

IN A NARROW SENSE, then, one might say that the chief offense of the Gospels is their defiance of the insights of tragedy - and not only because Christ does not fit the model of the well-born tragic hero. More important is the incontestable truth that, in the Gospels, the destruction of the protagonist emphatically does not restore or affirm the order of city or cosmos. Were the Gospels to end with Christ's selpulture, in good tragic style, it would exculpate all parties, including Pilate and the Sanhedrin, whose judgments would be shown to have been fated by the exigencies of the crisis and the burdens of their offices; the story would then reconcile us to the tragic necessity of all such judgments. But instead comes Easter, which rudely interrupts all the minatory and sententious moralisms of the tragic chorus, just as they are about to be uttered to full effect, and which cavalierly violates the central tenet of sound economics: rather than trading the sacrificial victim for some supernatural benefit, and so the particular for the universal, Easter restores the slain hero in his particularity again, as the only truth the Gospels have to offer. This is more than a dramatic peripety. The empty tomb overturns all the "responsible" and "necessary" verdicts of Christ's judges, and so grants them neither legitimacy nor pardon.

[ ... ]

BUT WHAT IS THE CONSEQUENCE, then, when Christianity, as a living historical force, recedes? We have no need to speculate, as it happens; modernity speaks for itself: with the withdrawal of Christian culture, all the glories of the ancient world that it baptized and redeemed have perished with it in the general cataclysm. Christianity is the midwife of nihilism, not because it is itself nihilistic, but because it is too powerful in its embrace of the world and all of the world's mystery and beauty; and so to reject Christianity now is, of necessity, to reject everything except the barren anonymity of spontaneous subjectivity ...
- David B. Hart, Christ and Nothing

This is where Gary Trudeau's caricature of George W. Bush is flatly wrong. Bush, for his many errors, would better be depicted as a bishop's mitre - albeit that of a bishop who has forgotten the power of Christ's Resurrection, and one who succumbed to victory by any means.

Big-O, on the other hand, is truly the newest attempt of the gods of sacrificial, tragic necessity and worldly powers - an upsurge against the triumph of Christ's empty tomb, the Church, and her faith. One can almost hear the soundtrack of the tragic chorus singing with his coming enthronement "the minatory and sententious moralisms" of the tragic paganism. And, as Hart observes, "a people overly burdened by the dolorous superstitions of tragic wisdom (cannot) ... embrace the doctrine of resurrection."

Against this backdrop the Christian faith must preach and proffer the Gospel. The biblical God is antithetical to the tragic pantheon of gods above and the polis below: to the blood-demanding god of the Scimitar, Tash, the gaping maw of Shiva, destroyer of worlds, and the world's tragic bureaucratic necessities.

Believe in the Gospel. Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia. +

Power of Ritual

Archaeologists have found what seems to have been a geologic construct of Mayan myth, their ritualized highway through hell via sinkholes (cenotes). [ht: Spirit Daily]

Clifford Brown, a Florida Atlantic University archaeologist who has worked in the region, agrees that the Mayas saw the cenotes as a portal to the underworld.

"Everybody has heard of the cenote of sacrifice at Chichen Itza, but it's less widely recognized that it was part of a generalized cenote worship that existed at many sites," Brown said.

"There are a number of sites in the lowlands where there are caves right underneath the principal temples, palaces and pyramids, which are thought to represent a religious 'access mundi,' where you have the pyramid representing the heavens, and the caves representing the underworld underneath."

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Monasticism - Now and Then

Having enjoyed an on-going relationship with several monks at Holy Cross Abbey, Berryville, VA for more than a quarter century (including receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation there), I turn to this mode of living for a brief post.

Thomas Woods' fine book, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, relates many ways that Catholic monasticism not only preserved much that was true, good, and beautiful, but also brought forth the same.

It is generally known by critics that before Henry's dissolution of the monasteries fully one-fifth of England was held by monasteries, but few recall that it was precisely the most uncultivated and uninhabited land prior to the monks working on it and, therefore, most easily given to them.

Henry Goodell in a paper presented before the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture relates the following about the land around Southampton, England before the founding of Thorney Abbey:
It was nothing but a vast morass .. a labyrinth of black, wandering streams; broad lagoons, morasses, submerged every spring-tide; vast beds of reeds and sedge and fern; vast copses of willow, alder and gray poplar, rooted in the floating peat ... Trees torn down bh flood and storm floated and lodged in rafts, damming the waters back upon the land ... Nature left to herself ran into wild riot and chaos more and more, till the whole fen became one dismal swamp.
Five centuries later, this is how William of Malmesbury (c. 1096-1143) described the area:
It is a counterfeit of Paradise, where the gentleness and purity of heaven appear already to be reflected. In the midst of the fens rise groves of trees which seem to touch the stars with their tall and slender tops; the charmed eye wanders over a sea of verdant herbage, the foot which treads the wide meadows meets with no obstacle in its path. Not an inch of land as far as the eye can see reach lies uncultivated. Here the soil is hidden by fruit trees; there by vines stretched upon the ground or trailed on trellises. Nature and art rival each other, the one supplying all that the other forgets to produce. O deep and pleasant solitude! Thou hast been given by God to the monks, so that their mortal life may daily bring them nearer to heaven.
Did the monasteries grow too rich, too powerful, too comfortable in their "deep and pleasant solitude?" Perhaps. Perhaps, too, we grow too affluent and complacent in our technologically enhanced palaces of "deep and pleasant solitude" without any such divine rationale as the monks. But perhaps, too, these reclaimed fens, marshes, and morasses turned into verdant groves that became so much a part of what latter Brits would consider par for the course became too enticing to Henry, Cecil/Lord Burghley, and all the soon to be newly rich gentry (for a moral price).

Their rapacious greed and lust for wealth grabbed and plundered, all quite legally and justifiably, given the sacrificial realities that were called "the reformation." And today England is reaping a different kind of fruit: a void of secularity, a paucity of faith and morals, and soft-core nihilism, being filled by a very different kind of religion than the Old Faith. Neo-paganism and the Scimitar.

When the Prodigal finally "came to himself," he found the quickest way to redemption was coming home to his Father. This is the only way for the West. Come home. Quick as you can.


A Nibble (1914) - Edmund Leighton

P. Hitchens - Waving Goodbye

Peter Hitchens gives us his perspective on Big-O Era America:
America ha(s) finally switched sides in a global cultural war. Forget the Cold War, or even the Iraq War. The United States, having for the most part a deeply conservative people, had until now just about stood out against many of the mistakes which have ruined so much of the rest of the world.

Suspicious of welfare addiction, feeble justice and high taxes, totally committed to preserving its own national sovereignty, unabashedly Christian in a world part secular and part Muslim, suspicious of the Great Global Warming panic, it was unique.

These strengths had been fading for some time, mainly due to poorly controlled mass immigration and to the march of political correctness. They had also been weakened by the failure of America’s conservative party – the Republicans – to fight on the cultural and moral fronts.

They preferred to posture on the world stage. Scared of confronting Left-wing teachers and sexual revolutionaries at home, they could order soldiers to be brave on their behalf in far-off deserts. And now the US, like Britain before it, has begun the long slow descent into the Third World. How sad. Where now is our last best hope on Earth?

Read all of Peter Hitchen's The night we waved goodbye to America... our last best hope on Earth.

No Where (Left) to Hide

The Zipster calls the bluff of the Big-O Catholic supporters who invoked the principle of double effect.
Now that the election is over, the measure of Catholic Obama supporters' sincerity will be how vocally, publicly, unequivocally, and persistently Catholic Obama supporters oppose his vicious and wicked policies. They no longer have any proportionate reason to cooperate with his vicious and wicked policies, because the election is over. Furthermore, the fact that they materially cooperated with his wicked and vicious policies in the first place brings upon them an especially grave obligation to oppose those policies, just as a country which engages in war has a grave obligation to mitigate and repair damages - however unintended - caused by that war.

And it is in this vocal, public, unequivocal, and persistent opposition to Obama's vicious and wicked policies that Catholic Obama supporters can count on the help of social conservatives.
Read all of Zippy Catholic's Measure of Sincerity.

Atheist War Against Science

Tom Piatak at Taki's Magazine weighs in on The Atheist War Against Science.
... Colin McGuckin, “ a professor of regenerative medicine at Newcastle University and an expert on the use of adult stem cells,” is leaving Britain for France, because the only stem cell research the British government wants to spend money on involves embryonic stem cells. According to McGuckin, “A vast amount of money in the U. K. from the government has gone into embryonic stem-cell research with not one patient having been treated, to the detriment of [research into] adult stem cells, which has been severely underfunded. Cord blood has already cured around 10,000 people, but despite this much of the U. K. stem cell funding goes towards other types of stem cells including embryonic stem cells, which are not expected to cure people in the next 50 years.”

Don’t expect to hear any angry denunciations of the climate that caused Prof. McGuckin to leave Britain from Richard Dawkins, P Z Myers, Christopher Hitchens or any of the other usual suspects who are eager advocates of stem cell research that destroys nascent human life but far less supportive of the research that is helping to save human lives today without, however, advancing their agenda of attacking Christian morality.