Saturday, October 31, 2009

Is Not Dead

Christ the King +

"Jupiter was a staple figure in Western literature, not only in classical sources, but also - Christianized - in medieval and renaissance texts ... (C. S. Lewis) refers to the use made of the Jovial character by a wide range of writers, including Statius, Chaucer, Dante, Lydgate, Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton, many of whom had done so with the intent of figuring the deity of their believed religion under a pagan veil. How should students of the twentieth century properly understand the Christian themes of that literature if the Jovial archetype were allowed to be forgotten? Anxious to prevent Jupiter's complete disappearance, Lewis began a campaign on his behalf ... He writes (in The Discarded Image):
Changes in outlook ... have almost annihilated Jupiter. We find no difficulty in grasping the character of Saturn; Jove, on the other hand, almost evade(s) us."

- Michael Ward, Planet Narnia

Heads Up!

When life imitates Norman Rockwell, courtesy of Maggie's Farm here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Planet Narnia AND the GMSM

If one finds a near-inexplicable despair in the anthropological insights of René Girard's mimetic theory, it is quite understandable. All right, perhaps not so much despair, but a heavy, Saturnine despondency. Girard's explication of the undeniable realities of human fallenness - realities to all except those so far under the waters of denial, hubris, or naïveté can't possible reach the air of truth - flesh out the Church's doctrine of Original Sin with tonic clarity. In what seems a "unified field theory," one can reach the end of mimetic theory feeling as though one has in the darkness traversed the totality of the air-tight, light-proof gestalt of human existence, and now one has no recourse but to sit down and wait the coming end in a morbid awareness of all of humanity's broken, dismal, satanic realm.

Of course, Girard himself, if one takes a look at his own life, would deny this. Clearly, he has put his "eggs" in a different "basket" than either a Qohelethian nihilism or an existence of using mimetic theory to some sort of "will to power" (some do both, as you know).

So it has been my good fortune - or Providence, rather - to come upon an Elfstone in my path. It is a book written by an Anglican priest and published by Oxford entitled, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis.

It is as though the facts of our baneful existence as a race of beings has had an antidote, a bright-shining counterpart (as Girard insists) that existed with strength and vigor, has been under our noses all along, stifled by the spirit of our age. But this counterpart is not quite so dead as unacknowledged, not so gone but merely forgotten, not crushed and gone forever but merely awaiting a too-long winter's exit and fulfillment of heart's desires.

Michael Ward has thematized something that not only Western culture needs desperately, but also individuals' hearts and souls and spirits. It is not the antidote to Girard's realism but a necessary companion, and just as helpful to Catholic magisterial truth, goodness, and beauty.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Regenerate Man

In one sense there is nothing more in a regenerate man than in an unregenerate man, just as there is nothing more in a man who is walking in the right direction thatn in one who is walking in the wrong direction In another sense, however, it might be said that the regenerate man is totally different from the unregenerate, for the regenerate life, the Christ that is formed in him, tranforms every part of him: in it his spirit, soul, and body will all be reborn.

- C. S. Lewis, Miracles

Ken Blackwell - O's Never Called It Wrong

A lot is at stake here. If Obamacare goes through, if it has a hidden abortion funding mandate in it (if, for example, it requires health insurance plans to cover abortions), we will even more deeply divide our wounded country over abortion.

"What they seek is that we shall cease calling it wrong." That's what Lincoln said at Cooper Union in 1860. He knew that the extreme advocates of slavery could not accept any settlement of the slavery debate that cast human bondage as morally unacceptable.

For more than thirty years, the ban on federal funding of abortion first carried by the late Henry Hyde has carried with it a presumption that we call abortion wrong. That is why liberals rallied to Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton once, and only once, called it wrong. (Newsweek, October 31, 1994.) But she never acted as if it was wrong. Obama never even called abortion wrong.

If he wins on his health care plan, all Americans will be forced to pay for abortion. All Americans will have to treat what Ronald Reagan called "the slaughter of innocents" as if it is right. No wonder President Reagan said that abortion was "a wound in our national soul." If Obamacare passes, the wound will be mortal..MORE>>
= Ken Blackwell

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sons of the Morning Still Sing

[The music of the spheres] is the only sound which has never for one split second ceased in any part of the universe; with this positive we have no negative to contrast. Presumably if (per impossibile) it ever did stop, then with terror and dismay, with a dislocation of our whole auditory life, we should feel that the bottom had dropped out of our lives. But it never does. The music which is too familiar to be heard enfolds us day and night and in all ages.
- C. S. Lewis, 'Imagination and Thought in the Middle Ages'

Sowell - Who Will Stand in the Breach

For the record: Thomas Sowell's must-read article, Dismantling America.

You must remember this: this Administration believes the Revolution came and went last November. They are merely knocking over a few twigs that stand in the way of "progress".

At least there aren't any Stormtroopers yet (that I know of).

Sts. Simon and Jude

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ominous Quotes of the Day

"The state is God walking among men."
- Hegel

"... the judges are custodians of the law only insofar as that law is framed and interpreted by the highest authority in the country. That authority has made it plain to the entire legal profession that every member of the profession must be firmly bound to the world view of the lawgiver."
- Dr. Gerlach in L. Beckett's A Postcard from the Volcano

Dumb Luck or Creation

Monsignor Charles Pope on a remarkable piece of "dumb luck" --
I just read in the news an interesting story. It seems that a tornado recently went through junk yard. As you can imagine there was a horrible amount of junk whirling around in the air. But here’s where the story really gets interesting. It seems that the tornado swirled that junk together just right because as the wind died down all those banana peals, cans, broken pieces of pottery, stuffing from old mattresses springs, car parts etc all swirled together into a fully functioning 747 jumbo jet airliner with a filled fuel tank and fully equipped cockpit. There was even a logo emblazoned on the tail fin: “Tall Tales Airlines"..MORE>>

Monday, October 26, 2009

BXVI - Sage Advice

Sage advice from a survivor of National Socialism:
VATICAN CITY, OCT. 25, 2009 ( There is a double danger when speaking of social issues, says Benedict XVI. The first is to focus too much on politics; the second is to be unrealistic.

The Pope said this Saturday at a luncheon held Saturday in the atrium of the Paul VI Hall with those who participated in the in the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

The three-week assembly, which gathered 33 cardinals, 79 archbishops and 156 bishops, considered the theme "The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace."

In addressing the synod participants, the Holy Father noted the two-fold danger of choosing the synodal theme, which "implies a strong political dimension."

The Pontiff noted "that reconciliation, justice and peace are not possible without a profound purification of the heart, without a renewal of thought, a 'metanoia' (conversion), without a newness that must come precisely from the encounter with God"..MORE>>

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Head-Faking on the World Stage

The Scimitar - Primitive Sacred

An aspect of René Girard's concept of the primitive sacred involves the acquisition of certifiable sacrificial victims. The sacred needs victims to re-stoke the flames of what Robert Hamerton-Kelly calls the "Generative Mimetic Scapegoating Mechanism" at its heart.

Therefore, the primitive sacred needs trip-wires so as to alert its religionists that "they've got one!" like

The gods of the primitive sacred - regardless of all talk of "monotheism" - reflect a similar and recurring need: the need for victims. Girard's three primary characteristics of the sacred carry essential tasks to keep the victimary cult at the center of such conventional culture strong and able to maintain social and psychological cohesion. These three characteristics are ritual, myth, and prohibition.

Ritual re-enacts the founding slaying of the deity-troublemaker who "rescued" the people when they were engaged in the "war of all against all" (Hobbs). By his death, they became a people. To keep the chaos and tumult from returning, a priesthood establish a ritual that replays this victimary origin of culture.

Myth is the subterfuge that lends the once violent mob a self-justifying, self-congratulatory story that keeps them from seeing the actual, structural innocence of their original victim - as well as their on-going ritualized victims' innocence. We "had to" sacrifice him (her, them); it was our "sacred duty."

Prohibitions provide the "trip-wires" that show us who has "trammeled" upon the deity's will and, thus, provide us with a necessary cache of victims, should a dissolution of our cultural cohesion call for a sacrifice to surcharge it.

The point is, the Scimitar has all the ingredients of the primitive sacred in a viral and quite active way in the world today. And regardless of its claims of "monotheism", its structure is at-one with all pagan "primitive sacred" religions.