Saturday, April 3, 2010

Culling of the Church?

This may well be the culling of the Church. Anyone involved in politics knows that to discredit the credibility of one's foe is the first goal to accomplish. The mainstream media has been trashing the Catholic Church since the first scent of blood; i.e., the sex abuse scandal broke on the European continent and in Ireland.

This will help accomplish the second goal: to pick off the stragglers who were weak, young, or diseased.

Knowing that there is a growing virulent and violent demographic presence in the form of the Scimitar sets the stage for accomplishing the third goal: keeping the Catholic Church weary of attacks on many sides, otherwise known as "death by a thousand cuts."

Never mind that with the diminishment of the Catholic Church goes the last and greatest bastion against relativism. It is, after all, the sole source that offers epistemological, anthropological, theological, and soteriological certitude. Truth then is up for grabs by the highest bidder and the strongest political clout.

I do not turn a blind eye to the foolish, selfish, and sinful behavior that opened the door to this onrush of attacks. Without the sex scandal the task would have been much harder for her enemies to make such an immediate and unbalancing attack.

But the enemies of Mother Church think they have the upper hand. After all, they learned it well decades ago:
My greatest prayer is that all of this will lead us to a counter-counter-reformation led by the Holy Father and other great souls. For them, to reform the reform that will lead to a leaner, better fit, and more faithful Church engaged in whole-hearted Marian chivalry.

But for these meantimes, stay close to the Altar, pray and defend our priests, be a Pope's man - or woman, and keep your armor oiled and ready:
Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
- Ephesians 6,12-17

Holy Saturday

The Angels Hovering over The Body of Christ in the Sepulchre (1805) - William Blake

Laughable if it weren't so sad

Who are you going to trust?

It would be laughable if it weren't all so ridiculously sad. The MSM gets Fr Cantalamessa's superb analysis wrong - why? Because they latched onto something they thought they heard; namely, a comparison of (a) the continuing vitriolic junkyard-dog attacks on the Holy Father with (b) the nearly everlasting scapegoating of the Jews in world history.

Cantalamessa was correct and, beyond that, did an exquisite job of explicating Girard's mimetic theory. He showed mimetic theory to be a powerful servant and tool for the magisterium of the Church right there in front of God, the Holy Father, and - unfortunately - a selectively listening mainstream media. The MSM was as selective, I will hasten to add, as were the Pharisees were when they followed Our Lord around trying to find evidence for pinning Him to the wall.

Again, for proof read Fr Cantalamessa's homily in full here. See for yourself. Don't listen to the pharisaical, scapegoating, looking-for-trouble MSM.

UPDATE: Jeffrey Tucker's measured comments on all of the above: The Troubles of the Catholic World

Cantalamessa - Crimes Against Women


Says Christ Is Ally in Fighting This Crime

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2010 ( The preacher of the Pontifical Household is denouncing violence against women, especially in the domestic realm, and is pointing out that Christ is the first to fight this crime.

Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa stated this today in his homily at the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, presided over by Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Basilica.

Speaking about the brutal death of Jesus, and the violence that has always been present to a certain extent in human history, the priest pointed to a "grave and widespread" manifestation of this savagery.

"I am not speaking here of violence against children," he said, though he acknowledged that some clergy are "stained" by this crime. On this topic, "there is sufficient talk outside of here," he said.

Rather, the preacher highlighted the crime of violence against women.

"This is an occasion to make persons and institutions that fight against it understand that Christ is their best ally," he said.

Father Cantalamessa asserted that "it is a violence all the more grave in as much as it is often carried out in the shelter of domestic walls, unknown to all, when it is not actually justified with pseudo-religious and cultural prejudices."

"The victims find themselves desperately alone and defenseless," he said. "Only today, thanks to the support and encouragement of so many associations and institutions, some find the strength to come out in the open and denounce the guilty."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Merciful Knight - Burne-Jones & Digby

The Merciful Knight (1863) Edward Burne-Jones
The source for this picture was an 11th century legend retold by Sir Kenelm Digby in 'Broadstone of Honour'. The hero of the legend was a knight called John Gualberto, who was later canonised. Burne-Jones explained the story as being 'of a knight who forgave his enemy (background, upper right) when he might have destroyed him and how the image of Christ kissed him in token that his acts had pleased God.'

Katz - Pink Slip the NYT

Here is a perfect example of the veracity of Jon Katz's dictum: "If cultural anthropologists could write, a lot of journalists would have to find other work. And if journalists were given the time, education, and training anthropologists receive, we might better grasp some of the complicated problems we face."

For students of Girard, the text of Father Raniero Cantalamessa's homily highly featured - and inexcusably torn out of context - by the NYT. He is an extremely astute and knowledgeable homilist who utilizes mimetic theory as an instrument of the magisterium of the Church. From his homily:

In 1972 a famous French thinker launched the thesis according to which "violence is the heart and secret spirit of the sacred."[2] In fact, at the origin and center of every religion there is sacrifice, and sacrifice entails destruction and death. The newspaper "Le Monde" greeted the affirmation, saying that it made of that year "a year to mark with an asterisk in the annals of humanity." However, before this date, that scholar had come close again to Christianity and at Easter of 1959 he made public his "conversion," declaring himself a believer and returning to the Church.

This enabled him not to pause, in his subsequent studies, on the analysis of the mechanism of violence, but to point out also how to come out of it. Many, unfortunately, continue to quote René Girard as the one who denounced the alliance between the sacred and violence, but they do not speak of the Girard who pointed out in the paschal mystery of Christ the total and definitive break of such an alliance. According to him, Jesus unmasks and breaks the mechanism of the scapegoat that makes violence sacred, making himself, the victim of all violence...

Read it all
here. Then ask yourself: How on earth could the NYT have written the above story and so idiotically misconstrued Fr Cantalamessa? How can anyone believe the New York Times is NOT scapegoating the Catholic Church, given these facts?

Ultimately one must ask oneself: Who are you going to trust? I've made my decision. But I,for one, would not want to be in the shoes of those who so glibly cast doubt into the hearts of those who need Christ's holy Church for salvation.

Colson - Dreadful Worship

Chuck Colson does a bang up job of describing René Girard's concept of the "primitive sacred" without any apparent knowledge of it. Then, he describes the revelatory power of the Gospel's Lord - the Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection - the "word made flesh" (Jn 1,14) who destroyed the satanic power of the primitive sacred. Finally, he limns the dreadful filling of the vacuum left by the West's rejection and abandonment of the Gospel.

Read it here.

Good Friday

Crucifixion (1695) - El Greco

When the MSM Attacks

For the record: ZENIT's Elizabeth Lev on Holy Week's Sore Losers:
Daily headlines pairing Benedict XVI with sexual abuse reveal little substance and much specious reasoning, while the editorialists have been vying, like bullies in a school yard, to see who can deliver the sharpest kick.

To the secular minded it seems inexplicable that the Holy See doesn’t leap to its own defense, brandishing sheaves of files, swiftly rebutting each accusation, and decrying this defamation from the cupola of St. Peter’s. This is not Rome’s way. Not when the Landsknechts sacked Rome in 1527, forcing Pope Clement VII to flee for his life; not when 86-year-old Pope Pius VI was trundled off by Napoleon and driven around Europe until he died; and not when the Italians claimed Rome and drove Pope Pius IX into exile within the Vatican walls.

There are two main reasons for this. For all their pretensions, newspapers are not a court of law. They are bound to no rules when considering evidence, nor is there a process for establishing the worthiness of witnesses for the prosecution. They can pick and choose what to publish and what to silence, or simply ignore. The media’s self-styled tribunals bring more sales for the editors and more reasons and resources to keep attacking the Church, but little in the way of justice.

Moreover, in media courts, you are assumed guilty until proven innocent. In this arena, the press calls the shots, and slings the mud while all the Holy See can do is wipe it off. Much like the trial of Christ, there is no chance of acquittal here..

Thursday, April 1, 2010

King of kings

The Crucifixion (1515) - Grünewald

One of the joys of Holy Week is having the opportunity to compare and contrast what Our Lord reveals is true leadership with what the world (Gr. κόσμος) considers leadership.

In mimetic theory terms, Girard calls the former "external mediation" and the latter "internal mediation." The former is revealed by One Who, by definition, comes from without the hall of mirrors of human mimesis, social interaction, terms of acceptable discourse, and, well, to be blunt, the two-sided political penny of fear-of-the-crowd and courting/fooling the crowd.

In His encounter with Satan in the wilderness just after His baptism in the Jordan by John, Our Lord is given three golden opportunities to grasp what the "prince of this world" (Jn 12,31) has in his keeping to grant: (a) making bread from a stone, (b) forcing the hand of divine intervention by throwing Himself off a pinnacle of the Temple, and (c) receiving political power extraordinaire over all the kingdoms of the world - clearly, Satan's to give Him.

What mere politician would not say "Done!" to at the very least the last one (c) as the expedient thing to do for "the greater good?" That's what politics is all about, after all.

But Our Lord, the "external Mediator" Who bears the light of God to a dark world of sin will have none of it.* He was, as the Evangelist St. John says,
...true light, which enlightens everyone ... coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man's decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.
Remember, as we enter the holiest time of the holiest season of the Christian calendar, what the cosmos, the world, does to gain political power, and its motives. Remember what Our Lord did on the Cross and why. Remember that mere politics are not sufficient to save the world, or, gentle reader, your eternal soul.

Kneel at the foot of the Holy Cross again. And pledge your fealty to the King of mere kings, despots, prime ministers, and presidents. He and He alone deserves your ultimate loyalty, not mere mortal "internal mediators." Particularly the ones who are so good at politics, the pocket-coin of the "prince of this world."

You are made imago dei for the eternal weight of glory. Worship and adore God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, blessed Trinity.

Vexilla Regis prodeunt:
Fulget crucis mysterium,
Quo carne carnis Conditor
Suspensus est patibulo.

The royal banners forward go,
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where he in flesh, our flesh who made,
Our sentence bore, our ransom paid.
*Jesus summoned them and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many." - Mtt 20,25-28

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Checkov's Gun

What concerns me from a mimetic theory point of view about the accusations pointed at the Holy Father is strictly structural. The first stone, as Bailie points out, is the most important one. Once a stoning begins, the mimesis of the crowd is engaged and all are guilty - and none. It is as though the mimesis takes on a life of its own; this is Girard's "single victimary mechanism." And, it is vital to note, this is precisely why Our Lord did what He did to curtail the casting of the first stone at the woman (Jn 8,1f).

Also from a mimetic theory point of view, a precedent is important. We may call this Chekhov’s gun. "One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it," Chekhov wrote in a letter to Aleksandr Semenovich Lazarev. And we have already seen this gun in action last Christmas at Saint Peter's.

Some who should know better may say there is no conspiracy involved in the MSM's misstatements, shoddy research, and continuing to stir the pot, but this is not exactly true from a mimetic theory viewpoint. Yes, it is not a well-discussed, step-by-step plan of action, but its timing, doggedly determined efforts, and "righteousness" are tell-tale marks of scapegoating, structurally speaking.

As Bailie, again, says, just because the town rallies together against the horse-thief does not mean that the horse-thief is worthy of our saying stealing horses is "okay" because he is being victimized. But, neither is the town right in victimizing the horse-thief, even though he stole a horse. If they do so to re-convene themselves socially and psychologically, even if he is guilty of stealing the horse, he is structurally innocent.

There is enough illative evidence for me to believe the Holy Father is innocent. I fear that the self-righteous, victimizing MSM is not only colluding with the humanist progressivists' agenda to knock down further the sole source of epistemological, anthropological, and ontological knowledge - namely, the Catholic Church - but they may just want to see if Chekhov's gun can get fired this Easter Sunday ... in the Holy Father's direction.

And if - IF, God forbid - it happens ... well, hey, they were just "doing their job."

Right? Right?

Fr Brundage's Testimony

For the record: Fr. Thomas Brundage sets the record - and the New York Times - straight. [ht: Thomas Peters]

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Truth, Myth, and the Passion Redux

Jimmy Akin dispells the wickedness of the accusers.

Now, peace, be still, and remember what is really going on.

If there is a lesson to learned here it is that each and every time the Gospel in general or, in this case, the Holy Father in particular is made the scapegoat of the howling, ravenous hoard, it is the structural re-enactment of the Passion that set us free from sin and death in the first place.

The Holy Father undoubtedly knows this. Now, pray for him, for the Church this Holy Week, and all whose faith make be shaken by the purveyors of mythological paganism.

Arkes - A Day of Infamy

Hadley Arkes:
Sunday, March 21, 2010 is a day that will live in infamy, or as one wag put it, live in “infirmary.” For that is the day on which the House of Representatives voted into law the national takeover of medical care. At this final moment, the last veil of pretense dropped away, and the “pro-life Democrats” were revealed for what they had always truly been: liberals for whom the protection of the unborn would always be subordinate to the interests of the liberal agenda. But what can one make of a passion for “health care”that is willing to absorb, without a wince of regret, a measure that will encourage more killing of the unborn by the provision of public funding, public endorsement, public promotion?
Read all …

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Church Defines the Truth

Christ in the Wilderness (1872) - Kramskoy

Is it too late for the voice of Jeffrey T. Kuhner? Hmm, let me think ... No.

(A)bortion is the seminal moral issue of our time. Nearly 50 million unborn babies have been murdered since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973. If one includes Europe, the number of dead fetuses is staggering. Abortion has claimed more victims than either of the two great totalitarian ideologies of the 20th century, communism and Nazism.

Both Pope Benedict and the late Pope John Paul II have not only decried abortion as state-sanctioned infanticide, but explicitly - and repeatedly - said it must be outlawed: There can be no compromise with such monstrous barbarism. Abortion is akin to the Jewish question in Europe during the 1930s: Should an entire class of people be denied their essential humanity?


This is like saying Western democracies should have come to terms with the Aryan racial laws of Nazi Germany, and sought to minimize the number of Jews sent to the gas ovens. The argument is morally repugnant and politically naïve. Ultimately, accommodation with evil never works. We learned that with Nazi Germany and with slavery in this country.


Rather than a hedonistic utopia, liberal progressives have engendered a social nightmare. They must defend abortion at all costs because their goal is to make sex consequence free, forging a revolutionary order characterized by moral relativism and unlimited sexual gratification. But sex is never consequence free: it is laden with moral choices.

The Vatican is the last line of defense against the new Dark Age .. More>>


For the record: Amil Imani's Jews as Scapegoats.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pagans Want Their Sacrificial Victim

The Scapegoat (1854) - William Holman Hunt

What I have learned from René Girard's mimetic theory is that when there is sufficient social and psychological turmoil, crowds start looking for a scapegoat. From the viewpoint of the Christian faith, we would say this is a primary piece of evidence of the Fall, a common blind spot rooted in our disobedience to the will of God thematized in the Doctrine of Original Sin.

In traditional societies, what Girard calls the "single victimary mechanism" was an extremely economic way of re-establishing peace and harmony in the community. It nearly always only took one victim; "unanimity minus one," as he says. Or, as Caiaphus said in John 11, 50: "Better that one should die than the whole nation be destroyed."

But, as Robert Hamerton-Kelly reminds us, the Gospel has been at work in history for about 2,000 years. We have to perform capital punishment behind prison doors in the wee hours now, lest sympathy for the executed rouse even more turmoil. Gone are the days of a good hangin' in the town square after a picnic and before the fireworks display.

Now, Hamerton-Kelly says, the sacrificial mechanism in fallen humanity tries to work by raising the number of victims, or the prestige of the victim: genocide or regicide.*

Enter our newest attempt at scapegoating; namely, the Holy Father. Ah, the ravenous wolves are circling via the New York Times and other liberal organs. Voices of reason notwithstanding, the ignorant taunts of the mob howl, wanting their victim.

Even if Joseph Ratzinger knew the abusive priest was re-assigned under his jurisdiction, note well that these accusatory voices are (a) illogical insofar as their own liberal, progressivist platform would not call intergeneration same-sex activity a "crime" but merely "alternative lifestyle;" (b) oblique to their own heroes' similar shortcomings. But they want their sacrificial victim.

Problem is, however, the truth does not matter to them. Nor ever does it to the sacrificial mob; whether it is street rabble in Iran or the op/ed offices at 620 Eighth Ave., NY, NY.

They want their sacrificial victim, and the Holy Father has the most prestige.

So far.

*This is so in western cultures influenced by the Gospel. In those not influenced by the Holy Spirit, individuals are still accused and indicted; i.e., "witches", "infidel", etc.