Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve - Knox

Bl Philip Howard - Earl of Arundel

On the brink of the New Year, some can look on our human cultural scene with optimism (they call it 'hope' - it seems a bit shallow to go that far), some with a sense of gloom. I will, instead offer the words of my newest mentor, Monsignor Ronald Knox (1888-1957), that come from his reflections on one of the English martyrs, Blessed Philip Howard.

THE PRISONER'S LOT, AFTER all, is a type, especially, of human life as it has to be lived by us Christians in a fallen world which is not our true home, only a place of detention. Every man born into this world lives in a condemned cell; the warrant for his death will be issued not at an hour of his own choosing. Meanwhile, the environment of his life, his social ties, his limited opportunities, interfere with his liberty of action; when all is said and done, he has little of real freedom. And we Christians, whose faith forbids us to think of this world except as the ante-chamber of the next, can think of death as the warrant for our release; there is a window high up in our cell which gives us tantalizing glimpses of a wider world beyond, and we long to taste its more generous air. We must look, then, to the prison life of Philip Howard as a sacrament of human life in general; we must learn from him to face the ten years, twenty years, whatever it may be of life that remains to us, in the same spirit in which he faced those ten years which saw him a prisoner in the Tower of London ...

Let us ask Philip Howard, a prisoner no longer, but a courtier of the Queen of Peace, to remember the days of his low estate, and pray for all that multitude of human beings who lie, justly or unjustly, necessarily or needlessly, in prison. May the slow years that pass over them, and pass them by, bring them nearer to God, instead of making them disappointed in themselves, embittered against their fellow men. May he win freedom for the souls that are crushed by captivity; and for us, who go free, may he do more; may he bring every thought of ours into the captivity of our Master, Jesus Christ.

- Ronald A. Knox

Thursday, December 30, 2010

6th Day of Christmas

Look upon the Incarnation with faith, says Benedict XVI in his annual Christmas message.

"God is not distant, he is 'Emmanuel', God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Feeding His Sheep

Sandro Magister lauds the Holy Father and says that, like Pope Leo the Great, Benedict XVI will go down in history for his homilies.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Knox - Return to Bethlehem

IN THE LAST FEW years, a new word has been added to the English vocabulary; the word "post-Christian". Those who make use of it mean to imply that there is, after all, nothing final about the Christian culture which has served us these last nineteen centuries - it may be only a phase, a passing phrase, in the development of human thought. Well, they have a right to their opinion. Only, let us not flatter ourselves with the expectation that the world is going to find a new religion to replace it. In proportion as the world grows weary of its Christian hope, the alternative is materialism, of a type with which we are familiar - that and nothing else. Its experience of Christianity has been like a great love, the love of a lifetime, never to be repeated; we are immunized against the supernatural. No new voice which speaks to us in the name of religion will have any appeal for us, if it does not bring us back to the stable of Bethlehem - there to humble our pride, and enlarge our charity, and deepen our sense of reverence with the sight of a dazzling purity.

- Ronald A. Knox

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

All joy and heart's ease be to you and yours!
and pray for our brothers and sisters in places of danger

Joyeux Noël - 1914 'Truce'

You are probably aware of the Christmas 'Truce' that took place informally on Christmas Eve 1914 between soldiers on both sides of the World War I bloodbath. It was immortalized by John McCutcheon in his unforgettable Christmas in the Trenches.

Recently I saw a 2005 film rendition of this event. Below is its depiction between German, Scot, and French troops.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Knox - Christmas Hide and Seek

THERE IS NOTHING IRREVERENT, I think, in comparing man's search for God to a game of hide-and-seek. A child's games with its father, all the skill and foresight on the one side, al the romance and excitement on the other! When you read in the Old Testament about almighty God making a covenant with men, your sense of the fitness of things is outraged; how is it possible, considering what he is, that he should make a bi-lateral treaty with his children, he with his own income, they with nothing but the pocket-money he allows them; and what complicated transactions take place, in make-believe! And so it is with this game of hide-and-seek, that goes on all through the centuries, that goes on in every man's life from the cradle to the grave.

Why is it that God, who so loves us, makes himself so distant from us, so difficult to find? Dare we say it? - it is part of the rules of the game. He will make himself difficult to find, so that when we do find him, the shock of triumph may be something unexampled in our experience. Why does man, whose heart is made for God, and cannot find rest until it rests in him, yet spend long days, long years of his life, may be, trying to run away from God, to avoid his scrutiny? Once more, it is part of the rules of the game; not that we should hide from him, but that we should be able to hide from him ...

And then, in the fullness of time, God changed his hiding-place. Suddenly, while all was quiet around, with the deep stillness of a winter night, he came and hid in a little country town, came and hid in a manger, came and hid in the form of man. Not quite so silently but he betrayed himself; just a movement among the stars, just the brush of angels' wings, was enough to raise the hue and cry among a few searchers, shepherd folk with their keen ears, stargazers with their sharp eyes. And so the hunt started afresh: Tell us, where is he born, the King of the Jews? The question, repeated to one passer-by after another, begins to sound like the chorus of some children's game. What, this tumble-down house in a back street, this draughty cellar underneath it - it's no good looking in there! He wouldn't hide in a place like that! And then the door opens, and a woman stands there, a finger pressed to her lips; our Mother, come out to help in the search. "Yes, he's in there; but come in quietly; he's asleep." The God who does not dwell in temples made with hands, asleep in there! The God who neither sleeps nor slumbers, watching over Israel, in there asleep!

- Ronald A. Knox

Of Great Joy

From the last post that sits in darkness waiting for great light to this post where we see light shine in the darkness: an Arab Catholic seminarian, Khalil Hattar, gives a message of great faith, hope, and love here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Scimitar and Christmas

Let's get this straight: this is offensive, but this isn't. Everybody understand? Pathetic, isn't it (look closely at the descriptors on the Scimitar poster - bile, pure bile).

Incomprehensible blather? Not at all. Understand this: the Scimitar was born in the cauldron of scandal and what René Girard calls the "problem of the doubles" or the reciprocity of the model/rival (model/obstacle, model/mediator). It has continued this mimetic relationship with the faiths of the Bible from its inception to this day.

I do not see a solution to the problem - and recent (unofficial) Catholic prophecies see it growing worse - because the Scimitar, by definition, is dependent on the Judaeo-Christian ethos for its very existence and will, therefore, always feel a deep resentment and humiliation by the existence of the truth of the biblical faiths. Perhaps the Holy Spirit will cause a break-thru of contrition in the hearts of its adherents someday. Or, perhaps our Lady will continue to appear and bring members of the Scimitar to Her.

Let us pray for peace as this Advent draws to a close, and we welcome again the birth of the Prince of Peace and Savior of the sin-filled world.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old Saint Nick

Father Christmas - The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

As I posted back on his actual feast day, Benjamin Britten did the world a thing of beauty by memorializing the events of the life of Saint Nicholas of Myra in his moving Saint Nicolas Cantata. And I noticed that Tim Jones posted on Chesterton's views of Saint Nick at Old World Swine, while young Andrew Cusack did also on the saint's day.

This, in my way of thinking, allows me the license to capture and republish both of their illustrations (above).

If you get an opportunity, do listen to Britten's gift of love for Saint Nicholas.
(Reposted from 12/17/08)

Knox - St. Thomas More

TIMES LIKE THESE, DO NOT let us deceive ourselves about it, are difficult to live in for a Catholic who loves his faith. There is a continual apparent contrast between the restless speculations of the modern intellect, and those abiding certainties by which we live. The question continually arises: Is such and such a view, which I see propounded in the newspapers, consistent with Catholic truth? Is such and such a political expedient, which I see prominent men are advocating, justifiable in the light of Catholic doctrine? We are hurried along breathlessly by the spirit of the age in which we live, yet protesting all the time, questioning all the time. Our neighbours, our non-Catholic neighbours, look upon us as an obscure survival from the Middle Ages, a kind of museum piece, whose beliefs they find it interesting to study, but impossible to share. Here and there, one or two of our Catholic friends drop out of the ranks, abandon their religion for no better reason than that they have been caught by the glamour of modern movements. There is no acute conflict, but we are perpetually ill at ease, like a ship that drags its anchor.

In such times, let us thank God's mercy for giving us the example and the protection of a great saint, our own fellow countryman, who knew how to absorb all that was best in the restless culture of his day, yet knew at once, when the time came, that he must make a stand here; that he must give no quarter to the modern world here. His remembrance has long been secure in the praise of posterity; it only remained for us to be assured by the infallible voice of the Church, what we could not doubt already, that he is with our blessed Lady and the saints in heaven. he knows our modern needs, let us turn to him in our modern troubles; his prayers will not be lacking for the great country he loved so, for the great city in which he lived and died.

- Ronald A. Knox

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent Reality Check

Conrad Black opines upon the slings and arrows shot at the prime target of the arbiters of progressivist relativism, the Catholic Church here.

They, of course, do not mind people being Catholic as long as it is fully admitted that the Catholic Church is merely one human institution among the many (it isn't), and that they are and ever shall be the true setters of the terms of public discourse and value (they aren't).

May all the accusers and other lost sheep be given the grace to wind their way this Advent and Christmas to the loving arms of Mother Church.

Or, better yet, become part of the growing number of Catholic engaged in prayer for the renewal, unity, and spread of Christendom, the restoration of all families, and support of our Holy Father in Marian chivalry.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Nativity - Film

While pal Frank over at YIMC lauds the highly-laudable Sound of Music, and rightly so, I recommend a faithfully-told and moving portrayal of the events of our Lady and St Joseph's lives leading up to and including The Nativity.

From a cunning and deadly King Herod to hand-wringing parents of Mary, St Anne and St Joachim, the film depicts the way that Providence works in the warp and weft of the human tapestry of history, always allowing for God's interjection of grace at key moments.

This film will warm, bolster, and prepare you in an exceptional way for the coming of the Christ Child.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Than Watchmen for the Morning

(From the Shenandoah River side)

Knox - Clinging to the Golden Calf

MOSES WAS SENT TO deliver his people from bondage, and from a bondage to which they had grown accustomed, so that they loved their fetters, and were constantly turning on him and asking why he could not leave them alone. That was his chief difficulty - they did not want to be set free. And even when they had been set free, and led out into the wilderness, they were always hankering after the luxuries they had enjoyed in Egypt, always murmuring against the rough fare of the desert. While Moses was up in the mountain, the people he had left behind him in the valley made a golden calf and fell to worshipping it, as they had worshipped it in Egypt. All his life he preached to an incredulous race, condemned, for their hardness of heart, to forty years' wandering in the wilderness before they achieved their promised resting-place.

Bernadette was sent to a world in bondage, and to a world which rejoiced in its bondage. Those apparitions of hers took place in the middle of the Victorian age, when mankind, or at any rate, the richer part of mankind, was enjoying material plenty to a degree, I suppose, unexampled before or since. And the presence of material plenty had given rise to a general spirit of materialism; a spirit which loves the good things of this life and is content with the good things of this life, does not know how to enlarge its horizons and think about eternity. She was sent to deliver us from that captivity of thought; to make us forget the idols of our prosperity, and learn afresh the meaning of suffering and the thirst for God. That is what Lourdes is for; that is what Lourdes is about - the miracles are only a by-product. You might have thought that in our day, when prosperity has waned and all of us, or nearly all of us, have to be content with less, we should have needed no longer these divine warnings from the rock of Massabieille. We know that it is not so; we know that in this wilderness of drifting uncertainties, our modern world, we still cling to the old standard of values, still celebrate, with what conviction we may, the worship of the Golden Calf.

- Ronald A. Knox

Cantalamessa - Rationalism

Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household, continued his series of homilies given in the presence of the Holy Father this Advent. He began with scientism, secularism, and, now, rationalism. Full text of his talk can be viewed here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Moloch and 'Choice'

The connection is obvious, both from the popular idea and from the profound depths of René Girard's mimetic theory: abortion and the satanic.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prayer and Advent Glory

Here are two important and wonderful notions: Remember the Holy Father's intentions for December and listen to the sublime sounds of Advent provided by the Pontifical Musical Chorus of the Sistine Chapel all rolled into one post at Catholics United for the Faith. How is that for Truth, Goodness, and Beauty?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Coming Up for Air

To my mind, Ronald Knox puts his finger on the primary problem of western culture, the demand for novelty. This is the motive for the rejection of Christianity in general and Catholic faith and morals in particular. This is the motive for the overweening coddling of the Scimitar into the heart of the west ("Hey, it's not threadbare 'Me 'n Jesus'. Let'em have their prayer service breaks at work and build their special toilets. Stop being intolerant, ya moron. HEY! You Christians! Stop foisting your stupid faith on the rest of us with your 'Merry Christmas' and caroling!").

Deeper still, Knox in his Broadcast Minds delves into the dangers of scientism and shrill atheism that he began to notice in the mid-twentieth century. These sniping and brattish anti-God types he saw would lead to what we now see today as the "new atheists." As opposed to the civil, urbane, and even friendly arguments between, say, Chesterton and Shaw, Wells, Russell, and Darrow, the so-called "new atheists" sound like Dan Quayle debating with their cat-calling and boorish behavior.

Perhaps it is the Sesame Street mentality all grown up, but what passes for consideration of the meaning of things today is a rat-a-tat-tat of sound bytes rather than quiet contemplation, an unconscious giving-in to disordered passions (Gr: epithumeia ( ἐπιθυμίᾳ ) rather than what we see supremely in, for example, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI and his works.

I see it more and more - sadly - in the classroom; even in the classroom of a Catholic school. It seems an espousal of a mere group of carnal sensations, a giving-over of value delineation to the most outrageous expressions of pop culture, and a surly yet absolute assurance that all-things-young define the terms of public discourse.

Of course, Girard would see - and does, no doubt see - all this as the furtherance of the cultural meltdown ("sacrificial preparation" - Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World) going on apace.

I say, on this Gaudate Sunday, that I am humbled by being given the grace to find my way into the sole place of solace in said cultural meltdown, the Catholic Church. May more and more and more stumble, half-frozen, tormented, and bereft of hope into Her gracious arms. Pray that Our Lady of Guadalupe will bring more conversions to the sad old, sinful old, West.

Spirituality vs. Faith

More evidence that once people stop believing in the revealed deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, they'll believe anything.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Knox - Treasure-House

Every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old. - Mt 13,52

IT IS A HUMAN WEAKNESS of ours to be always crying out for complete novelty, an entire disseverance from our past. Our old traditions have become so dusty with neglect, so rusted with abuse, that we are for casting them on the scrap-heap and forgetting that they ever existed. The Church conserves; she bears traces still of the Jewish atmosphere in which she was cradled; traces, too, of the old heathen civilization which she conquered. And in her own history it is the same; nothing is altogether forgotten; every age of Christianity recalls the lineaments of an earlier time. People think of her as if she kept a lumber-room; it is not so; hers is a treasure-house from which she can bring forth when they are needed things old as well as new ...

That is the secret of the modern world's antipathy towards the Christian religion, and towards the Catholic Church in particular. They hate it not because it is something arrogant, not because it is something uncomfortable, not because it is something foreign, but because it is something out of date. They know that it will always bring new things and old out of its treasure-house, will not consent to the modern worship of the modern. And they know that there is strength in this deeply rooted tradition which can yet absorb, as it has absorbed all through the ages, lessons that are new. Stat magni nominis umbra ...

The modern world lives on its intellectual capital, exploits the prevalent doctrine of the moment in the interest of its heresies; floodlights the universe with a gleam of partial illumination, or darkens the skies with doubt; the Church, who is wiser and older, stores new things and old alike in her treasure-house, and brings them out in their due relation to enrich, permanently, the experience of mankind.

- Ronald A. Knox

ZENIT and Cantalamessa

If you are not aware of ZENIT, you really should be. As opposed to the phalanx of "news services" that invariably raise your blood pressure with absurdities of the day (read: scandalizing and titillating check-out counter headlines), ZENIT leads with matters pertaining to Catholic faith and truth, the Holy Father, and matters deep and from the heart.

For example, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household, is offered by ZENIT here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holy Face of Manoppello

Here's one for the books. I had never heard of this. Had you?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

God Don't Make Junk

Let me just reassure you: your life, simply by being, is worth just as much as and probably more than these personages who, as "actors", much find ontological substantiation by exhibitionism here.

The loss of ontological mooring (Marcel) is a prime element of our present sacrificial crisis. For more, refer to Bailie's The Famished Craving - the seminal investigation for understanding our current cultural crises.

Your being here is your prima materia. When you know who created it (you), you will know Who to worship. Hint: He entered our sphere of bios, the Word made flesh (Jn 1,14).

Rejoicing in Advent

Here's your mid-Advent shot in the arm from Fr Bevil Bramwell. Enjoy, and, rejoice!

A Voice Crying

(Judean Wilderness - Wiki Commons)
The Holy Father reminds us that the path of salvation must pass through the desert.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Getting Higher ... Foreign Nationals

Col. Mark Tilman, pilot on Air Force One, recalls September 11, 2001, here. Must see video history.

WaPo - Satanic Verses

Once again, the Washington Post, that organ of humanist progressivism, launches into the breech of teutonic battle with its arch foe, the Catholic Church. Today, the WaPo features this. The usual dredging of past sins of priests, dating usually to thirty or more years ago, offers the clinching quotation by a victim during an interview:

(He) frequently took a breath and choked back tears as he described the way Petrella had destroyed his life and his faith.

As a child, "I realized all that stuff about God living in the church, priests being God's representative, that your parents can protect you - I realized all those things weren't true," he said. Years later, he developed post-traumatic stress disorder, which he thinks helped kill his marriage.

Let's be clear and say that abusive priests, like any sexual predators, need to face the consequences of their actions.

But the Washington Post, at once crying to its godless heaven for the sake of speaking up for victims (and seeking verifiable victims to victimize, like Catholic priests), will turn right around and offer its sanction for the sexual behavior of such organizations as NAMBLA.

What is wrong with this picture? Extolling inter-generational "love" between men and boys, on the one hand; terrorizing Catholic priests on the other. Hmmm.

Now, you try to square the circle with that contradiction. The WaPo won't even try. Its soul is hollowed out with its luciferian logic.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


The Shenandoah River

Calling a Spade a Spade

I like this fellow; there is no mythological veil thrown over his head, that is for certain. Bully.

Gil Bailie, I now see, comments on it here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Vigil

This depiction of a knight kneeling before an altar has always symbolized the season of Advent in my mind. There is nothing ornate about the surroundings; nothing to spur on one's faith or hope or charity. In fact, it seems rather dark and cold and lonely.

And that, perhaps, is the deceiving thing about this vigil of Advent. The Catholic faith says in the midst of the world's bustle of buying and selling that He Whose second Advent we await in wintry silence and gloom is already with us as humbly as He first came to us at Bethlehem. The humility of the Word made flesh (Jn 1,14) is fully with us in the Real Presence of the Holy Eucharist.

And so we wait in vigil and longing for His second Advent in glory - we age, we grow ill, we make merry with friends and loved ones, we perish, and another generation begins the vigil. But we are not alone and all manner of things shall be most well. Thanks be to God.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Waiting to Happen

It can be, and frequently is, argued that this kind of near-miss (in this case) is perpetrated by the lunatic fringe; that it can happen among the lunatics of any religion, including the Christian faith; that it is unfair to stereotype all members of the Scimitar on the basis of a lone lunatic's actions.

All of which is true, except for the fact that the Scimitar seems invariably to produce more "lone lunatics" than other religious communities that seem far more capable of being assimilated into their dominant cultures. Result? More potential catastrophes like this.

Solution to the problem? Good question.

Until those who are charged with the protection of the innocent and safeguarding of nations take into full account the anthropological realities explicated by René Girard's mimetic theory in general and the bloodlust of the "primitive sacred" (read: pagan), regardless of the Scimitar's ostensible claims of monotheism, all attempts to claim that the Scimitar is "just another of the world's religions" will ring hollow.

Knox - How to Serve, to Live

"... you serve grace now, not the law" ((Rom 6,14) - that means, evidently and most importantly, a better chance in the struggle; the law does but set before us a high standard, which we despair of achieving, grace enables us. But something else, I think, is implied. When you serve the law, you serve it, inevitably, in a legal spirit, unwillingly, grudgingly, according to the letter. When you serve free grace, you serve it in a spirit of freedom; you enter (as we say) into the spirit of it, co-operate , gladly and generously, with its designs for you. That contrast between doing God's will because you want to is more explicitly set forth elsewhere ... "The spirit you have now received is not, as of old, a spirit of slavery, to govern you by fear; it is the spirit of adoption, which makes us cry out Abba, Father!" (Rom 8,15) It is the same principle which our Lord himself had taught, though with a slightly different emphasis, when he told his disciples, "I do not speak of you now as my servants; a servant is one who does not understand what his master is about, whereas I have made known to you all that my Father has told me, and so I have called you my friends" (Jn 15,5). If the practice of the Christian religion seems to you and me something uncommonly like drudgery, that is our fault; it was not meant to be. The only really Christian attitude is to obey God with the dutifulness of loving sons, is to follow Christ with the loyalty of devoted friends.

- Ronald A. Knox

Friday, November 26, 2010

Like Father Like Son

Let these words - "you're allowing five out of nine hotshot lawyers to run the country" - spoken by the father of this fellow, who we are blessed to have serving in the priesthood in our neck of the woods, sink in.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

But No Longer a Monopoly

Penn State and Baylor professor, Phillip Jenkins, says that the Christian faith is alive and well in Europe, and will be even more alive a century from now.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Given the brouhaha over the comments of Benedict XVI regarding condoms, I find the commentary of my publisher here to be the most measured, historically-oriented, and balanced. With the Holy Father, one must always remember that he takes the long view, speaks with the Fathers of the Church, and, in this case, is not speaking definitively ex cathedra. See what you think.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gijsbrechts @ Lion & the Cardinal

A timely reminder as we draw close both to Thanksgiving Day and the end of the Church Year: stop over now and again and visit Daniel Mitsui's website, The Lion & the Cardinal when you need a shot in the arm of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. Above is an example of Cornelius Gijsbrechts' take on the genre of trompe l'oeil that is featured in a most recent posting; and a reminder to pray for the holy souls, whose ranks one truly hopes to join on the way to Heaven.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Miracles - Knox and Lewis

I cannot recommend highly enough Father Milton Walsh's book about C. S. Lewis and Ronald Knox, Second Friends. For example, on the topic of what it takes philosophically in order to believe in the miraculous ("something that traverses the law of uniformity in nature and does so in such a way that it gives evidence of divine power directly at work"), Walsh quotes Lewis:

If the end of the world appeared in all the literal trappings of the Apocalypse, if the modern materialist saw with his own eyes the heavens rolled up and the great white throne appearing, if he had the sensation of being himself hurled into the Lake of Fire, he would continue forever, in that lake itself, to regard his experience as an illusion and to find the explanation of it in psycho-analysis, or cerebral pathology ('Miracles', God in the Dock, 25)

Walsh states that for both Knox and Lewis, post-enlightenment persons have certain prejudicial philosophical presuppositions that preclude acceptance of and belief in miracles. Note: philosophical rather than scientific presuppositions. Science, by definition, can only study the regularly recurring laws of the universe and other phenomena available to the scientific method; science, therefore, cannot even hold an opinion about the existence or non-existence of miracles. What are those 'certain prejudicial philosophical presuppositions?' The following:

- that the only reality is the spatiotemporal world in which we live

- that the laws of nature exclude the possibility of the miraculous

- that God would not 'stoop' to do miracles

It is not easy to put these presuppositions aside, because many intellectuals since the Enlightenment have claimed insistently the contrary: there is no world beyond what we can experience with our senses; miracles are impossible; God does not enter into the workings of our world. It is also challenging to put these presuppositions aside because a living, personal God makes demands on us that the Enlightenment "Watchmaker" or pantheist "Absolute" do not:

(Lewis:) Here lies the deepest tap-root of Pantheism and of the objection to traditional [biblical] imagery. It was hated, at bottom, not because it pictured Him as man but because it pictured Him as king, or even as warrior. The Pantheists' God does nothing, demands nothing. He is there if you wish for Him, like a book on a shelf. He will not pursue you. There is no danger that at any time heaven and earth should flee away at His glance.

If any of this strikes you as being seen, heard, or felt by today's so-called New Atheism proponents, your Pantheist friends, or ignoring-of-God neighbors, once again I highly recommend Fr Walsh's book, Second Friends.