Saturday, April 25, 2009

Yes and No at the feet of Our Lady

History consists – in the words of Hans Urs von Balthasar and as I heard first from Gil Bailie – of the "mutual intensification of the Yes and the No to Christ."

So it is stunningly appropriate that the "No to Christ" in the form of an invitation accepted by our current, pro-abortion agenda president, Barrack H. Obama, to speak at a commencement exercise take place at the feet of Our Lady of the Golden Dome, the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.

For precisely here, of all places, is the intensification of saying "Yes to Christ" and "No to Christ" at its most historically appropriate congruence.

The abortion industry, given the huge effort to further promulgate itself globally and made a "key" to United States foreign policy, is in effect the same hypocritical reaction that we see in the crowd that stoned to death our first Christian martyr, Stephen: they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together.

What do I mean? I mean that there is indeed in nearly every person the whispering, sometimes howling, awareness that abortion is a travesty against life and against the One Who created us, the Word (Jn 1). The only thing to do now, in light of the genocide of the unborn unimaginable numbers of infants killed since Roe v. Wade, is increase it, shout its justifiability, "cover" the "ears" of more and more people, make more and more people accomplices.

To face the consequences of such massive slaughter of the unborn is far, far worse than Germany had to face following WWII. If it is wrong, evil, a mortal sin (it is), then, "Lord, who can stand?" Since this cannot be faced, it must be neurotically transvalued to be the "key" of American foreign policy. Oh? So if we all shout it and stomp our feet, that will make it right?

So the "No to Christ" of this tragedy of humanist "progress" comes, symbolically in the man most committed to furthering abortion, to the campus of Notre Dame, Our Lady, who modeled for us the perfect "Yes to Christ," full of grace.

What a moment it may be.

Kate Rusby - Sir Eglamore

As I said, I'm fair touched by the realities embedded in talk of dragons. So it was a treat to chance upon this rendition of the ballad, Sir Eglamore, sung by Kate Rusby:

Sir Eglamore was a valiant knight,
fa la lanky down dilly,
He took up his sword and he went to fight,
fa la lanky down dilly.
As he rode o'er hill and dale,
All armored in a coat of mail,
Fa la la-n-fa, da-n-da da-n-fa, lanky down dilly.

Out came a dragon from her den,
fa la lanky down dilly,
That killed God knows how many men,
fa la lanky down dilly.
When she saw Sir Eglamore,
You should have hear that dragon roar
Fa la la-n-fa, da-n-da da-n-fa, lanky down dilly.

Well, then the trees began to shake,
fa la lanky down dilly,
Horse did tremble and man did quake,
fa la lanky down dilly.
The birds betook them all to peep,
it would have made a grown man weep,
Fa la la-n-fa, da-n-da da-n-fa, lanky down dilly.

But all in vain it was to fear,
fa la lanky down dilly,
For now they fall to fight like bears,
fa la lanky down dilly.
To it they go and soundly fight,
the live-long day from more 'till night,
Fa la la-n-fa, da-n-da da-n-fa, lanky down dilly.

This dragon had a plaguey hide,
fa la lanky down dilly,
That could the sharpest steel abide,
fa la lanky down dilly.
No sword could enter through her skin,
Which vexed the knight and made her grin,
Fa la la-n-fa, da-n-da da-n-fa, lanky down dilly.

But as in choler she did burn,
fa la lanky down dilly,
He fetched the dragon a great good turn,
fa la lanky down dilly,
As a yawning she did fall,
he thrust his sword up, hilt and all,
Fa la la-n-fa, da-n-da da-n-fa, lanky down dilly.

Like a coward she did fly,
fa la lanky down dilly.
To her den which was hard by,
fa la lanky down dilly,
There she lay all night and roared,
the knight was sorry for his sword,
Fa la la-n-fa, da-n-da da-n-fa, lanky down dilly

Fighting the Good Fight

When the empire determined that Christians were worthy of being scapegoats - we were "cannibals" due to rumors about the Holy Eucharist, we put Our Lord above Caesar, we had strange notions about morals, the family, monogamy, abortion, and the raising of our children - we underwent duly sanctioned persecution. For centuries.

We went underground. We used signs and signals. We amazed the known world with our love for one another. For widows, orphans, and other "little ones" - the least, the last, the lost.

Apparently the empire and emperor once again are calling Christians to become witnesses (Gr. martyrs). I pray that we will be chivalrous, exhibiting the virtues of our forebears - prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, faith, hope, and charity - never hating our persecutors, but praying daily for their conversion.

Be bold, receive the Eucharist, love, and keep your eyes on the "eschatological horizon" (Bailie). All manner of things shall be most well, as Julian of Norwich reminds us.

Our lives are a passing thing, but our ontological source is God. Surely we can trust ourselves and those we love to His tender care, now and always.

First Things Spengler Blog

Big News: Spengler (aka David Goldman) has begun a blog at First Things here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Who are you going to trust

In terms of its relation to the Catholic Church, the present administration has shown a propensity for visiting cherished sites associated closely with Mother Church. The Secretary of State visited the tilma of Guadalupe and asked, "Who painted it?" The president spoke about the economy at Georgetown University. Soon, he will visit the University of Notre Dame and be honored by that institution.

And why not? The president won because Catholic voters gave him the victory. He is returning the favor, and inviting them and all who will to lay down the teachings of the Church on the evils of abortion, embryonic stem cell "research", and a number of other "little matters."

It is so easy, once you stop fighting, to let the "progressive" humanist sorts continue to move the line of what is and what is not acceptable human behavior. Little things like the Ten Commandments, Our Lord's teachings on marriage (Matthew 19), other canonical matters of faith and morals will quickly lay by the busy thoroughfare to utopia.

The 20th century was strewn with such humanist projects to "immanentize the eschaton" (Eric Voegelin); all ignoring the realities of Original Sin and our fallen human condition; all looking to mortal men for transcendent leadership rather than Our Lord and Savior. Obama is merely the latest pretender to the Throne.

Never mind certain unalterable facts about this administration’s commitment to include the morally reprehensible and pagan, anthropologically speaking, crime against the unborn as part of this pipe dream.

Since Catholic voters gave the president a mandate by voting for him, he sees no other expedient course of action but to continue it.

Why not? Since the cafeteria Catholics handed him the Oval Office, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and his Vice President are behind him, the Catholic Church's teachings are squarely in the cross hairs.

I will leave you to speculate WHY this is the case. But there is little doubt that, as Bishop Robert Finn observed, we are at war.

We can and should expect less pleasantries in this war shortly, seeing how quickly the administration has moved in a mere 100+ days.

Talking Heads - Life During Wartime

Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
packed up and ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway
a place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance
I'm getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstone, lived in the ghetto
I've lived all over this town

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey
I ain't got time for that now

Transmit the message, to the receiver
hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, couple of visas
don't even know my real name
High on a hillside, trucks are loading
everything's ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nightime
I might not ever get home

This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
This ain't no mudd club, or C. B. G. B.
I ain't got time for that now

Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit?
Heard about Pittsburgh, PA?
You oughta know not to stand by the window
somebody might see you up there
I got some groceries, some peanut butter
to last a couple of days
But I ain't got no speakers
ain't got no headphones
ain't got no records to play

Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time?
Can't write a letter, can't send a postcard
I can't write nothing at all
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco
this ain't no fooling around
I'd love you hold you, I'd like to kiss you
I ain't got no time for that now

Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock
we blended in with the crowd
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines
I know that ain't allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives
or in a suit and a tie
I changed my hairstyle so many times now
don't know what I look like!
You make me shiver, I feel so tender
we make a pretty good team
Don't get exhausted, I'll do some driving
you ought to get you some sleep
Get you instructions, follow directions
then you should change your address
Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day
whatever you think is best
Burned all my notebooks, what good are notebooks?
They won't help me survive
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace
the burning keeps me alive
Try to stay healthy, physical fitness
don't want to catch no disease
Try to be careful, don't take no chances
you better watch what you say

His Won-ness' Chilling Prophecy

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A legend in his own mind

Any similarity to any historical figure, past, present, or future, is purely coincidental. But isn't Greek mythology a helpful thing?

They're coming to take me away, haha

Karen Hall is sure that the libs are legislating to take us all away.

I don't know. Maybe it's just me, but I might enjoy a few weeks, or years, of manual labor at Camp I Won.

By the way: Forget at your peril that unconverted groups - right or left, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative - unconverted groups are ALWAYS on the prowl for scapegoating victims. It is, by definition, anthropologically speaking, how such human gatherings are founded and maintained. The only question is how efficient the scapegoat mechanism - Girard's "single victim mechanism" - is at present.

If it is working "well", as in archaic societies, it only takes one victim to revitalize a group. If it is losing effectiveness, it will try to surcharge itself in one of two ways: either it will increase the number of victims or it will increase the prestige of its victims - genocide or regicide.

Haven't you started reading René Girard yet?

Hitler hated 'Hitler's Pope'

If “Hitler’s Pope” were kidnapped by Hitler, here was the plan … [ht: CMR]

Scandal & terrible breach

Like he didn't know it would happen, Bishop?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Corpus Christianum - Merry, Come Join Us

I have been remiss in inviting new friends to join our merry, devout band united as one in Marian chivalry. Corpus Christianum is a joyous international association dedicated to praying for the renewal of Christendom - not as a nostalgic yearning for a past greatness, but an in-breaking harbinger of God's Kingdom in faithful obedience to Mother Church.

As such, we pray for:

- 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

We are looking for courageous souls who are willing to take up the standard of Christ the King! We invite you to review the association's statutes for more information about the organization and its obligations.

You are most welcome, brother and sister. Pro Christo et Ecclesia!

Ad Quem Ibimus

Lord, to whom can we go? (John 6:67-69)

From young Andrew Cusack we read a fine report:
The Most Rev. Timothy Michael Dolan, the newly installed Archbishop of New York, has a reputation as a genial beer-swilling giant that will doubtless serve him well as he takes possession of his new see. With a Ph.D. in Church History, Archbishop Dolan formerly served as Secretary to the Nuncio in Washington, D.C. before becoming Rector of the Pontifical North American College in Rome — the “West Point” of the Catholic Church in Anglo-America ...
Read more of Meet the New Boss - The Pope sends New York a genial, beer-swilling man of an archbishop.

Saunders - It's about Events, Facts

William Saunders expounds on the "positivity" of our Christian faith.

During Lent and Easter we remember the humanity of Christ. A man among men, he walked in the dust of Palestine, and was crucified on a wooden cross, outside Jerusalem’s walls.

In many ways, the essence of Christianity is these “intransigent historical claims,” as Evelyn Waugh put it in Brideshead Revisited. Christianity insists it is not only about fine ideas or soaring sentiments, but that it is also about brute facts. Again Waugh, in the introduction to his novel Helena, put it best: “Everything about the new religion was capable of interpretation, could be refined and diminished; everything except the unreasonable assertion that God became man and died on a cross; not a myth or an allegory; true God, truly man, tortured to death at a particular moment in time, at a particular geographical place, as a matter of plain historical fact.”

Without these plain historical facts, Christianity might be just another mystery religion. So we insist, we know, that Christ walked in the dust of Palestine. And we know He did not walk alone. Rather, as we have been hearing in Lenten and Easter readings, there were witnesses, and these witnesses recorded what they saw and heard and touched.

After His resurrection, Christ appeared to them, in the flesh but capable of passing through walls. Thomas, who had been absent, did not believe it. And so the Lord, infinitely merciful, appeared to Thomas so that Thomas could see and hear and touch for himself. Thomas then made the first proclamation that Jesus was “God,” and Jesus told him, and the others, to go make disciples of all men.
Keep reading Saunders' Intransigent Historical Claims.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Glaurung - Father of Dragons

Nienor and Glaurung - John Howe
"BAD dragon! How many times must I tell you NOT to roast villagers?"

Funny thing - talk and pictures of dragons are much more synthesizing for me than psycho-babble. Give me Smaug or Glaurung and I'm on solid ground.

I was a Jungian analysand, not a mere reader of his CW. Yet J. R. R. Tolkien understood far more and more deeply than the Swiss keeper of the collective unconscious menagerie.

Walker Percy on Abortion

As some know, Walker Percy is still my longest standing mentor. I routinely dip into Lost in the Cosmos, or visit his fictional protagonists. Nowhere this side of the astonishing insights of René Girard and Co. have I found more wisdom infused by the light of Christ.

Here is an op/ed piece he wrote in the New York Times in 1981, A View of Abortion with Something to Offend Everybody. It is as timeless as Catholic faith and morals:

Covington, La. -- I feel like saying something about this abortion issue. My credentials as an expert on the subject: none. I am an M.D. and a novelist. I will speak only as a novelist. If I give an opinion as an M.D., it wouldn't interest anybody since, for one thing, any number of doctors have given opinions and who cares about another.

The only obvious credential of a novelist has to do with his trade. He trafficks in words and meanings. So the chronic misuse of words, especially the fobbing off of rhetoric for information, gets on his nerves. Another possible credential of a novelist peculiar to these times is that he is perhaps more sensitive to the atrocities of the age than most. People get desensitized. Who wants to go about his business being reminded of the six million dead in the holocaust, the 15 million in the Ukraine? Atrocities become banal. But a 20th century novelist should be a nag, an advertiser, a collector, a proclaimer of banal atrocities.

True legalized abortion--a million and a half fetuses flushed down the Disposall every year in this country--is yet another banal atrocity in a century where atrocities have become commonplace. This statement will probably offend one side in this already superheated debate, so I hasten in the interests of fairness and truth to offend the other side. What else can you do when some of your allies give you as big a pain as your opponents? I notice this about many so-called pro-lifers. They seem pro-life only on this one perfervid and politicized issue. The Reagan Administration, for example, professes to be anti-abortion but has just recently decided in the interests of business that it is proper for infant-formula manufacturers to continue their hard sell in the third world despite thousands of deaths from bottle feeding. And Senator Jesse Helms and the Moral Majority, who profess a reverence for unborn life, don't seen to care much about born life: poor women who don't get abortions, have their babies, and can't feed them.

Nothing new here of course. What I am writing this for is to call attention to a particularly egregious example of doublespeak that the abortionists--"pro-choicers," that is--seem to have hit on in the current rhetorical war.

Now I don't know whether the human-life bill is good legislation or not. But as a novelist I can recognize meretricious use of language, disingenuousness, and a con job when I hear it.

The current con, perpetrated by some jurists, some editorial writers, and some doctors is that since there is no agreement about the beginning of human life, it is therefore a private religious or philosophical decision and therefore the state and the courts can do nothing about it. This is a con. I will not presume to speculate who is conning whom and for what purpose. But I do submit that religion, philosophy, and private opinion have nothing to do with this issue. I further submit that it is a commonplace of modern biology, known to every high school student and no doubt to you the reader as well, that the life of every individual organism, human or not, begins when the chromosomes of the sperm fuse with the chromosomes of the ovum to form a new DNA complex that thenceforth directs the ontogenesis of the organism.

Such vexed subjects as the soul, God, and the nature of man are not at issue. What we are talking about and what nobody I know would deny is the clear continuum that exists in the life of every individual from the moment of fertilization of a single cell.

There is a wonderful irony here. It is this: The onset of individual life is not a dogma of the church but a fact of science. How much more convenient if we lived in the 13th century, when no one knew anything about microbiology and arguments about the onset of life were legitimate. Compared to a modern textbook of embryology, Thomas Aquinas sounds like an American Civil Liberties Union member. Nowadays it is not some misguided ecclesiastics who are trying to suppress an embarrassing scientific fact. It is the secular juridical-journalistic establishment.

Please indulge the novelist if he thinks in novelistic terms. Picture the scene. A Galileo trial in reverse. The Supreme Court is cross-examining a high school biology teacher and admonishing him that of course it is only his personal opinion that the fertilized human ovum is an individual human life. He is enjoined not to teach his private beliefs at a public school. Like Galileo he caves in, submits, but in turning away is heard to murmur, "But it's still alive!"

To pro-abortionists: According to the opinion polls, it looks as if you may get your way. But you're not going to have it both ways. You're going to be told what you're doing.
[ht: Creative Minority Report]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bishop Finn - War

From Kansas City - St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn's Keynote address at the 2009 Gospel of Life Convention held this past weekend at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, KS.:

But as I speak a word of encouragement today I also want to tell you soberly, dear friends, “We are at war!”

We are at war.

Harsh as this may sound it is true – but it is not new. This war to which I refer did not begin in just the last several months, although new battles are underway – and they bring an intensity and urgency to our efforts that may rival any time in the past.

But it is correct to acknowledge that you and I are warriors - members of the Church on earth – often called the Church Militant. Those who have gone ahead of us have already completed their earthly battles. Some make up the Church Triumphant – Saints in heaven who surround and support us still – tremendous allies in the battle for our eternal salvation; and the Church Suffering (souls in purgatory who depend on our prayers and meritorious works and suffrages).

But we are the Church on Earth – The Church Militant. We are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan, with the glamour of evil, and the lure of false truths and empty promises. If we fail to realize how constantly these forces work against us, we are more likely to fall, and even chance forfeiting God’s gift of eternal life ...

Read all …

Mark Steyn - Tea parties

... Asked about the tea parties, President Barack Obama responded that he was not aware of them. As Marie Antoinette said, "Let them drink Lapsang Souchong." His Imperial Majesty at Barackingham Palace having declined to acknowledge the tea parties, his courtiers at the Globe and elsewhere fell into line. Talk-show host Michael Graham spoke to one attendee at the 2009 Boston Tea Party who remarked of the press embargo: "If Obama had been the king of England, the Globe wouldn't have covered the American Revolution."
The American media, having run their own business into the ground, are certainly qualified to run everybody else's into the same abyss. Which is why they've decided that hundreds of thousands of citizens protesting taxes and out-of-control spending and government vaporization of Americans' wealth and their children's future is no story. Nothing to see here. As Nancy Pelosi says, it's AstroTurf – fake grass-roots, not the real thing.
Read all of Tea Party animals not boiling over - Media portrayals of protesters as right-wing kooks are overheated.

Inevitable 'Pushback'

The Baron at Gates of Vienna says a "pushback like this is inevitable," as people in Luton, England protest Scimitar extremism.

Is this good news, or bad news? Why? Explain.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Good Shepherd Knows His Sheep

The Gospel According to St. John, Chapter 10

I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father."

A Kiss for Courtney

Joseph Pearce relates a true story of love, patriotism, and chivalry in A Glimmer of English Hope.

Resurrection Hope

The beginning of the end,
And that is the good news;
The Resurrection - he ate and drank with them -
A hope that we may choose.

Eagleton's incredible lightness of being

Terry Eagleton gets his head around (as in higher cognitive thinking, not Linda Blair) the difficulties faced by western intellectual. That is to say, he manages to put words to the wispy, ephemeral notions occupying the exurbian denizens who fancy themselves the oligarchical gatekeepers of higher terms of discourse in the West. (Exactly; I find them boring and in love with themselves, too.)

And what rag ... journal features Mr. Eagleton's meanderings amidst the ruins of Christendom? None other than Commonweal (of course). Here is a sampling:
Part of what has happened in our time is that God has shifted over from the side of civilization to the side of barbarism. He is no longer the short-haired, blue-blazered God of the West-well, perhaps he is in the United States, but not in Porto or Cardiff or Bologna. Instead, he is a wrathful, dark-skinned God who, if he did create John Locke and John Stuart Mill, has long since forgotten the fact. One can still speak of the clash between civilization and barbarism; but a more subtle form of the same dispute is to speak of a conflict between civilization and culture. Civilization in this dichotomy means the universal, autonomous, prosperous, individual, rationally speculative, self-doubting, and ironic; culture means the customary, collective, passionate, spontaneous, unreflective, unironic, and a-rational. Culture signifies all those unreflective loyalties and allegiances for which men and women in extreme circumstances are prepared to kill. For the most part, the former colonizing nations are civilizations, while the former colonies are cultures.
If you so desire, you may read all of it here. Personally, I find it as edifying as root canal work, being captured by a bore at a cocktail party, or the ordeal of listening interminably to the speech of Tolkien's Gollum.

But what it does provide is the state of ontological and epistemological vacuity of western intellectualism. You want to know what passes for current "higher knowledge"? Here it is.

Evangelical 'Buyers' Remorse'

A member of President Obama's faith-based advisory council says President Obama has yet to show any signs that he plans to follow through on his pledge to find "common ground" on the issue of abortion.

Dr. Frank PageDr. Frank Page, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, says he is disturbed that President Barack Obama is "moving quickly" to remove the few pro-life protections that remain in the U.S.

Page admits he is irritated that some of the evangelicals who voted for President Obama are now having "buyers' remorse." He says they should not be acting surprised when they see Obama simply fulfilling promises he made during the campaign.

"Nothing he's done surprises, because he promised these things," observes Page. "But the rapid pace with which he has done it has been very concerning to me."
Read all …

I can only hope that Catholics who voted for I Won also are experiencing a similar remorse. I Won represented a consortium of bristling desires - the object of longing embodied in one mere man. His self-understanding is very questionably Christian, defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. But that did not make any difference to the voters last Fall. Last fall.