Saturday, October 17, 2009


Chill October (1870) - John Everett Millais


Look, how those steep woods on the mountain's face
Burn, burn against the sunset; now the cold
Invades our very noon: the year's grown old,
Mornings are dark, and evenings come apace.
The vines below have lost their purple grace,
And in Forreze the white wrack backward rolled,
Hangs to the hills tempestuous, fold on fold,
And moaning gusts make desolate all the place.

Mine host the month, at thy good hostelry,
Tired limbs I'll stretch and steaming beast I'll tether;
Pile on great logs with Gascon hand and free,
And pour the Gascon stuff that laughs at weather;
Swell your tough lungs, north wind, no whit care we,
Singing old songs and drinking wine together.

- Hilaire Belloc

*Gratefully hoisted from Sean @ The Blue Boar

"Studies Show"

There are lies, damned lies, and phony science, and the homosexual movement and its fellow travelers in the media are quite shameless in promoting them. Americans are a profoundly fair people and they want to be fair to homosexuals. And so the typical American will latch onto almost any assertion that seems broadminded especially those dressed up as science.

(But) here is the really bad news. After their assertions of phony scientific evidence and after your new and purely scientific riposte, your interlocutor will likely say something like, “I don't care whether the studies are true or not, it's what I believe.” At the end of the day, with proponents of the homosexual agenda, even unwitting ones..., it comes down not to science but to the thing that is the hardest to argue with, faith...MORE>>

Friday, October 16, 2009

British Lion Reawakening?

The Iconoclast posts on Geert Wilders’ Press Conference in London.

And, did anything happen in Manchester on October 10th?

Chill Fingers

Judith Warner of the NYT wrote this about feeling the onset of the chill fingers of decline, old age, and ... the unnameable, for her, mortality. She needs to read this.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vengeful God vs. the Crucified and Risen

This should be enough to indicate that for the Scimitar, appeasing a wrathful god puts their religion at-one with René Girard's "primitive sacred." All conventional religions, from an anthropological point of view, do not share the biblical mandate to "LOVE the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mk 12,28-31). Indeed, conventional religions love their deity rarely at all.

Rather, the rituals, prohibitions, and myths of conventional religions seek to keep their deities at arm's length, or secure in his or her temple, or as far from human contact as possible (hence the awe-full fear of the sacred and profane meeting).

But beginning with the covenant-making, covenant-keeping God of the Jews comes the slow and awakening understanding of a God Who loves first and invites humanity into a community of steadfast love rather than fear and dread.

The New Testament understands that nature of God the Father is fully vindicated in the death of God the Son at the hands of angry men, and His resurrection. If ever there was a clearer way of advertising the true nature of God, I don't know of it - and neither does the Teaching Office of the Catholic Church.

When the Veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom (Lk 23,45), the Christian faith says the power of the old primitive sacred fears and dread of the Sacred meeting of the profane was undone. God had come among us. Died for us. Rose to new Life for us. The bogey man of the gods and goddesses was destroyed. Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection was the true "twilight of the gods." The Sacred had "become flesh" and "dwelt among us, full of grace and truth" (Jn 1,14).

"I no longer call you servants," Jesus says, "I call you friends" (Jn 15,14-15). "Glory and trumpets!" as Sam Gamgee would say!

But this fear and dread dies hard where the truth of the Gospel still goes unacknowledged. Or is rejected by a Western culture that should know better.

Will the Scimitar ever pull away from its misunderstanding of God's true nature? I do not know. But until it does, we can be certain that it will continue to use any means - any means - to try to appease the angry, vengeful will of Allah. Wouldn't you, if you thought it was God's will?

Will the West regain its whole-hearted belief and Easter hope? Again, I do not know. But until it does, we can be certain that the neo-pagan recrudescence will proceed apace; even with its gussied-up, expensive-suited, Ivy League versions, replete with infant sacrifice. Its god is Moloch wearing a Mammon face.

I admire the Scimitar's misunderstanding of God's nature more than the Christ-rejecting neo-paganism of the West. Which, I wonder, will be easier to (re-)evangelize?

Source and Summit

From David Bonagura at The Catholic Thing:
BOWING LOW, THE PRIEST takes the host with the thumb and forefinger of each hand as he prays the words of consecration: “Take this, all of you, and eat it. This is my body, which will be given up for you.” The priest genuflects, then elevates the host. The elevation is surrounded by the ringing of bells or silence. Taking the chalice, the priest repeats the action: “Take this, all of you, and drink from it. This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant.” Another elevation follows, again enveloped by bells or silence.

In the course of this most solemn ritual, nothing visible has changed: it appears that the same bread and chalice lifted off the altar by the priest were replaced after a brief ceremonial. Empirically, one cannot prove that anything has happened. Our faith in the Eucharist comes instead from an even greater source: the authority of Jesus Christ, entrusted and passed on through his Church. St. Thomas Aquinas agreed: “Not to sight, or taste, or touch be credit, hearing only do we trust secure; I believe, for God the Son has said it.”

Today, lodged in the bleakness of postmodernity, we have difficulty trusting our own senses, to say nothing of the words of God the Son. We have been conditioned to believe that there is no truth, no beauty, no good; all judgments are also conditioned – by our environment and subjective emotions, so we can know nothing for certain..MORE>>

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Talk with Iran? Sure But Not with Fox

The Anchoress makes a strong point:

Obama’s behavior is not presidential. Criticize Bush all you like, and yeah, he made it clear he didn’t much like the way the press covered him, but he talked to all of those news outlets who clearly hated him – hell, he talked to CBS even after the fake TANG episode with Dan Rather and Mary Mapes (whose fakery was recently exposed as even more egregious than we already knew). Bush spoke to Newsweek even after Evan Thomas promised to deliver “an additional ten to 15 percentage points to John Kerry” (which they managed, btw).

Obama, thin-skinned, more than a little cowardly and a bit petty, prefers to “punish” those members of the press who do not lay prostrate before him. And the mainstream press, because it is over-populated with spiteful perpetual adolescents who have become enthralled to the weird duality of hate/love that informs their politics, do not close ranks and say, “no, Mr. President, if you don’t talk to one of us, you don’t get your daily exposure from any of us.”

The mighty I Wun and his ilk do not tolerate interference from those whose perception of the zeitgeist is at strong variance with their own romantic Gnostic one. Here, too, is where Bush differed with I Wun. Bush was unquestionably pushing the Right's agenda. But that wink and grin showed perspective, unlike the humorless intolerance we are now being forced to bear. Nothing is so intolerant as an humanist project sans the firm belief in a Magisterium beyond its party ideology and functional atheism.

Did Bush ever get mistaken for being a "messiah"? Any other presidents recently? How about this One?

This "punishment" of Fox News is a denial of a political opponent's common humanity. It is nothing Bush or anyone on either side of the aisle would have done so ostensibly before. It is a slippery slope toward even more dehumanizing of mimetic rivals in America. Your worst dreams tell you where it may end.

The most salient advice now is from mimetic theory: don't listen to the themes of the Last Self-Help Administration. Watch the structure, the actual behavior.

It will give you plenty to pray about.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Corpus Christianum

Ah, which reminds me. Have I personally invited you recently to become a part of our merrie chivalrous band? Come, good fellow, pledge fealty to Our Lord and his good Lady. 'Struth, 'tis a worthy, virtuous cause you, too, will be part of.

Striding Through the Rubble

As much as I agree with and fear what others see going on in the Last Self-Help Administration, I can't help thinking of the convolutions and contortions of Europe in the late 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries.

Let me add here that Obama has made it clear that the culture wars are "over". What does that mean? Besides sounding peremptory and high-handed, it means to me that what America took for the longest time as points beyond which neither the Right nor the Left would stray, those "points" are now moot. "Whatever it takes" takes its place alongside "hope and change" - as long as its his viewpoint and expedient to him. What a worthy criterion ..

Whether with ostentatious bumptiousness or a coldly rationalistic mien,
every worldly power and principality agrees with Stalin's rhetorical question, How many divisions does the Pope have? The latter, while now occupying the White House, no less than any other.

But look if you will at what those contortions that racked Poland and Germany produced in terms of leadership for Mother Church. Let us never succumb to despair.

As mighty, indomitable, and monolithic as "prince(s) of the power of the air" (Eph 2,2) seem, empires, governments, even whole nations slip and slide away. But the Church - ever old, ever new - continues to march Her way through history.

Roasted by Real Monks

What did you think I was talking about?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Millais - PRB

Chaput at Belmont Abbey College

From CNA. On October 8, Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke regarding Belmont Abbey College's confrontation with federal government regulations. Here is what he said in part:

“Love for the best qualities in our homeland is a noble thing. This is why military service and public office are not just socially useful vocations, but – at their best – great and honorable ones,” the archbishop continued.

While Jesus’ words about the distinction between “the things that are Caesar’s” and “the things that are God’s” acknowledges that Caesar, the state, has rights, these words also show that Caesar is not a god and has no rights over the things that are God’s.

“And ultimately, everything important about human life belongs not to Caesar, but to God: our intellect, our talents, our free will; the people we love; the beauty and goodness in the world; our soul, our moral integrity, our hope for eternal life. These are the things that matter. These are the things worth fighting for. And none of them comes from the state.”

Invoking the example of American Founding Father Charles Carroll, who suffered forms of anti-Catholic bigotry, he said that religious prejudice faced now has a different appearance.

“Caesar wears a different suit. He has great media handlers. He bullies religion while he claims to respect it. He talks piously about the law and equality and tolerance and fairness. But he still confuses himself with God –and he still violates the rights of Catholic believers and institutions by intruding himself where he has no right to be.”

The archbishop then referred to Belmont Abbey College’s dispute with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which reversed itself and declared that the Catholic college’s refusal to cover contraceptives is discriminatory against women.

“It’s one of the great ironies of the moment that tiny Belmont Abbey would have the courage to challenge Caesar over its right to be faithfully Catholic in its policies, while so many other American Catholics seem eager to give Caesar honors.”

“If you stand up to evil, you may lose. But if you don’t stand up, you will lose,” the archbishop continued, crediting Belmont Abbey for its defense of its “right to be Catholic.”

He urged Catholic citizens to demand modesty of political leaders and to show love to others not in feeling alone but in deeds.

“Working to defend the sanctity of human persons and the dignity of the human family is an obligation of Christian love. Therefore, the Church can’t be silent in public life and be faithful to Jesus Christ at the same time,” he added.

“Our God is a God of justice; a God who does not abandon his people and who rewards courage in the face of evil. So have courage, serve the truth, love the Church, take confidence in the Lord, and stand up to witness for your faith,” Archbishop Chaput’s speech concluded. “We’ve got nothing to lose. We have everything to gain ... MORE>>

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Postcard, A Retreat, and Nietzsche's Man

I am back now from my all-too brief retreat at Holy Cross Abbey. Brief, but not without great benefit: Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Holy Eucharist on Saturday with Lauds, thirty minutes of Adoration before the Tabernacle (a plenary indulgence), and lots of silence, walking, and reading.

A book I am finding truly insightful for our times of tumult is Lucy Bennett's A Postcard from the Volcano – A Novel of Pre-War Germany. Historical fiction, yes, but historical fiction that shines a bright light on themes and structures of our own tectonic cultural fractures and violence.

Here is a choice tidbit from the protagonist's, Max's, grandfather: "It is good to be young, and capable of understanding that it's the hopes that need changing" (emphases added). Yeah, right.

An intuition from the Abbey Guesthouse: Nietzsche gave the West a double-barrel dose of his ennervating madness: (a) he described and affirmed a kind of man who accepted the 'eternal return' of the Dionysiac - vain, shame-based, vengeful, proud, bestial - while rejecting the Crucified One's way of forgiveness, mercy, long-suffering, and charity; and (b) that man whom he told Europe to imitate has strode menacingly and violently in the flesh onto Europe's stage in the flesh and in great numbers: the Scimitar's exemplar.

Our hero, Nietzsche's man! How can we, liberal, progressive, multi-culturalist, enlightened peoples, not accept him with arms outspread?

Europe and the West in agreeing with Nietzsche, yet possessed by the unacknowledged Spirit of Christ's concern for the victim and non-violence, quail before this swarthy, proud, "natural man." Would Nietzsche be pleased, I wonder?

The only - the only - hope for Europe and the West is not some finely nuanced revivification of sacramentality (that may come later on); rather, it is a sweeping and wholehearted return to belief God and in Jesus Christ as the true Son of God, the Word made flesh (Jn 1,14), rejection of Dionysus, and metanoiac affirmation of Our Lord's Church here on earth.

Anyone willing to give me odds on that likelihood?