Saturday, November 29, 2008

Blessed Letters

O blessed Letters, that combine in one
All ages past, and make one live with all:
By you we doe conferre with who are gone,
And the dead-living unto councell call:
By you th' unborne shall have communion
Of what we feele, and what doth us befall.
- Samuel Daniel,
Musophilus, 1599

Glaciers Growing - Chilly Reception

An inconvenient inconvenience at least to M. Gore and Co. [ht: Maggie's Farm]

A Better Culture - A Better Foundation

I am in full agreement with Robert Spencer on this one: far from being merely an anti-Islamic provocateur, Geert Wilders is a champion of Western values on a continent that has lost confidence in them.

If in doubt, watch a portion of Spencer's interviews with Wilders, linked in the article.

Smiling Faces

President-elect Barack Obama / Melody Barnes

.- President-elect Obama has selected as Director of the Domestic Policy Council Melody C. Barnes, a New York lawyer with an “unyielding” record of abortion rights advocacy.

Read all …

Prayer Request

A prayer request: please pray for my 89-year old father who it seems had a heart attack on Thanksgiving Day morning, drove over an hour to visit my brother's family, drove home under his own power, and was only today talked into seeing a doctor. He is now in an intensive care unit and stabilized.

They will decide on Monday how to proceed with treatment.

I've stood as a pastor at many a bedside with heart attack victims who are "stabilized" - only to die quickly and unexpectedly. So, prayers would be appreciated for Athos's old gaffer, Cecil. Many thanks.


There is no doubt in my mind that the incoming administration is cock sure that it is about to begin - in their mind - a bold, new direction for the United States that will be unprecedented in its 232-year old history. It will be unfettered by the now-marginalized forces that once encumbered and, indeed, attempted to enslave it. Like, for example, the faith and morals of the Catholic Church.

Already we see the United States Conference of (Catholic) Bishops scurrying to try to keep a place at the table with a “news release” from its Office of Med Relations. Oooooh.

News release, shnews release. Who's listening?

Pop culture and its denizens ensured that the Big O would enter the White House. Do you really expect the shallowest, most vacuous block of the voting public - honed as they are on the whetstone of Madison Avenue advertising, sound byte thinking, sensory titillation, and instant gratification - to consider such matters as abortion and infanticide as anything more than chips of refuse in the road before their pop culturally correct Prius? iPods do not normally have downloaded addresses by Catholic bishops.

Meanwhile, wolves circle, extremely conscious of the opportunity afforded this election's results. The sheep are vulnerable and easy prey in the West. Few have held hands with past generations and the revealed wisdom carried and vouchsafed in the Church's Magisterium. The Christianities (as Msgr Ronald Knox called them) downstream of Catholicism are watered-down entities run by corporate wannabies and focus-group feel-good gurus. Pastors who love the gospel are caught by the short hairs in keeping up the Sunday collection figure and all-important "average worship attendance" statistics. Pity them, do not disdain.

The Catholic Church is pretty much on our own now. Big O and his ilk don't even have the mind to gloat. It seems they have carte blanche with near-unlimited resources (think of the publicity they spent on bumper stickers and yard signs alone).

These will be difficult times for truth, goodness, and beauty. Neo-paganism and the Scimitar will appear to bring Western civilization to its knees.

Best be ready to teach the young the meaning of the Church Year. Begin with Advent. Decorate and light the tree. Watch for signs. Pray the Scriptures with the Church. Be fed at the Sacrifice of the Mass. Defend and protect our priests. Serve Our Lord in the poor, the least, last, and lost. Be chivalrous and kind to all if possible.

These are darkening days. Cling to Peter's Barque and look to the virtues, infused by the Holy Spirit to persevere. I'll be praying for you.

Last One's On Me

Roger Scruton brings us a brief review of Kingsley Amis' opus on everyday drinking. But it might better be called a requiem for the British pub.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Leighton - PRB

The Music Lesson (1877) - Lord Frederick Leighton

Pagan Atrocities and Scapegoats

To begin, our prayers go out for the victims of the vicious attacks and murders in Mumbai, particularly for the friends and family of Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka who were murdered by Muslim terrorists.

This makes sense of this, for starters.

But if you really want to understand the Scimitar and the darkening world around us, you will need to read these on what René Girard calls the "primitive sacred" and I simply call paganism (structurally speaking): Part I Part II Part III.

Jews are the Chosen People and the elder brothers of Christians. They have ever been and continue to be the prime scapegoats in our satanic cosmos (and Christians are becoming more so, by extension). May the Lord bless and keep us in his glory - Chabad.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Fire or Ice

More global warming, global cooling falderal here. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Giving Thanks

The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.
The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.
Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church (1324-26)

Know Your Enemies

In light of the apparent well-planned attacks and loss of lives in Mumbai, it is a good notion to remove one's ostrich-head from the sand now and then. Watch The 3rd Jihad documentary here.

BXVI on Truth, Beauty, Goodness

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 25, 2008 ( The search for beauty without truth and goodness can drive young people to fly toward artificial paradises that simply hide interior emptiness, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this in a message sent to the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, and directed to the members of the pontifical academies who are participating in a conference on "The Universality of Beauty: a Comparison Between Aesthetics and Ethics." (Read about this conference here.)
There is currently a "dramatic" separation between the "search for beauty, though understood in a reductive way as an exterior form, as an appearance to be sought at all costs, and the [search] for truth and the goodness of actions," he wrote.
This separation, the Holy Father cautioned, transforms beauty into "mere aestheticism, and above all for youth, into a path that leads to the ephemeral, into banal and superficial appearances, or even a flight toward artificial paradises, which disguise and hide interior emptiness and inconsistencies."
Faced with this, the Pontiff affirmed that Christians are called to "give reason for" not only the truth of the faith, but also its beauty, by way of "works that are at the same time beautiful and good," which point to "another beauty, truth and goodness that only in God have their perfection and their ultimate source."
Read all …

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Vigilent Worship

Leave it to Daniel Mitsui. I can't think of a better place to give thanks.


Freedom From Want (1943) - Rockwell

Protecting the Flock

I don't agree with everything here, but I believe the days are coming when legitimate defense will glean from these early attempts. Churches get serious about protecting flocks from violence. [ht: Real Clear Religion]

You Want the Difference - Here 'Tis

Bill Muehlenberg at EuropeNews puts it in a nutshell:
We are continuously being told by Muslims and their sympathisers that if Islam has its violent aspects, well so too does Christianity. They are very eager to convince us of a moral equivalence that exists between the two religions.

Sure, Islam has some violent extremists, but Christianity does too. Even gullible and not very learned Christians make this charge quite often. But they should really know better of course.

I have written elsewhere about such things, but let me repeat here a fundamental difference: if a Christian kills in the name of Christ, he does so in total opposition to the life and teachings of Christ, and the entire New Testament.

However, if a Muslim kills in the name of Allah, he has full justification to do so from the life and teachings of Muhammad, and from the Koran.

Here I want to look more closely at the two founders of these religions: Jesus and Muhammad. It goes without saying that they are both central figures in their respective religions, and the life, teaching and example of each become crucial for their followers.

Jesus of course never killed anyone, never ordered the killing of anyone, and never shed anyone’s blood. Neither did any of his New Testament disciples. One will look in vain throughout all 27 books of the NT to find even a hint of killing, bloodshed or religiously-motivated violence conducted by Jesus and his followers.

The story about Muhammad of course is quite different ...
Read all of Jesus, Muhammad and Violence.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lest You Fall Away

For those times when you feel that you are all alone in your concern and vocation to pray for the renewal of Christendom, here is a special invitation.

Corpus Christianum - Join us in Marian chivalry - Pro Christo et Ecclesia!

On Abortion, the Silence was Deafening

Pew Study Finds Less Than One Percent of Election Coverage Included Abortion.

In other words, it is what I said all along.

I'm truly beginning to think that the culture of death folk are using mimetic theory for all the wrong reasons.

Cultural Dialogue

John Allen shares a letter from the Holy Father to Senator Marcello Pera regarding the reasons why dialogue among religions in the strict sense is logically impossible, because it implies a suspension of one’s own faith commitments, but that dialogue among cultures shaped by those religions is not only possible but urgently necessary. [ht: New Advent]

Monday, November 24, 2008

Culture of Un-Life, Deviancy, Degeneracy

If this took place to strategize about this, then perhaps discussion can finally be brought out into the open about the degenerate (literally) and aberrant sexual practices born of fallen human nature.

But my hunch is that like the early Christians in the catacombs, or English Catholics during Cecil/Lord Burleigh's tightening noose (or fictionally, the "Old Narnians" during the Telmarines' reign in Lewis' Prince Caspian), this will become yet another episode in the sad history of conventional culture in which those who oppose such deviancy in the name of Natural Law and revealed truth will become victim fodder for the sacrificial mechanism of the on-coming neo-pagan revival under the cloak of "enlightened" pragmatism.

Addendum: The deuced thing about the sacred, as R. Girard has explicated, is its power to hem in and seem a masterful and conspiratorial thing. It is hardly so; rather, a clumsy, unconscious thing that overpowers humans with character disorders and hubris aplenty.

If and when push comes to shove in the above matter, members of the Catholic Church and all Christians downstream of her would do well to begin to mimic our elder brothers in the biblical faith, the Jews, and let the pagans wreak their own havoc. But marriage, the family, and the Church should be inviolable and precious; precious as the Magisterium vouchsafed to us.

Gore Admits What?

Again, I don't get sucked into the heavy breathing regarding global warming. I do notice that the leaves on all my maples and oaks fell off much earlier this year, which I am happy about. But you must admit, this is fascinating.

UPDATE: 23 years of colder?

True Counter Culture

For those somewhat acquainted with the cultural anthropology of René Girard, it is an accepted tenet that culture itself is a remnant of an originary act of founding violence. Conventional culture maintains itself by gradually spreading and accruing in its multifarious manifestations three elements vital to its self-preservation: ritual, myth, and prohibition. This is why at the center of every human culture there is an altar; for religion (Girard's "primitive sacred") is and every will be absolutely necessary for healthy culture to continue to exist for any length of time. Our time will be remembered for both its denial of these cultural realities and its sad displays of trying to erase them whenever it either was caught or caught itself in the very act of performing them.

For the hyper-vigilant - obnoxiously so at times, it must be said - searching and finding these culture-founding, culture-maintaining elements can become a near full-time preoccupation.

So, thankfully, one can from time to time also discern a fully different set of culture-founding, culture-maintaining elements, also starting at an altar, but now instead of a self-righteous mob accusing and scapegoating its victim de jour, the worshipers identify with and, indeed, glorify the victim.

Daniel Mitsui offers one such instance in his offering of the words of Sir William Chambers (1759) on English Gothic architecture. Here is a concretization of the Christian faith (as A. W. N. Pugin would also observe in the 19th c.), one far different than the architecture that has absorbed the seeds of nihilism and spewed forth a view of the worthlessness of human life and dignity.

To note this is to come to realize that there truly is a counter-cultural force still at work in the world, even today. It is the Catholic Church. And the Church gathers around the "Lamb slain since the foundation of the world" in loving adoration. For this we give thanks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Hope (1885) - George Frederic Watts

Tut, Tut, Tarot

G. K. Chesterton is famously remembered for a quip he never (directly) made: When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything.

Well, close enough, I say. In today's NYT, the brightest and best (?) are now turning to Madam Zelda's Psychic Parlor. Quackery? Whatever. “My phone is ringing off the hook,” said Roxanne Usleman, a psychic in Manhattan.

Christ the King +

Mocking Christ (1877-1882) - Ivan Kramskoy

Pope Benedict XVI says that monks still point to the heart of eternal realities. And I'm thankful for them on this Christ the King Sunday.

Relatedly, Cat at Brits at Their Best offers an evocative and plaintive reflection on What the stones don't say.