Friday, November 5, 2010

Our Blessed Lady - Knox

(O)ur blessed Lady does not only recall to us, as the second Eve, our past; does not only encourage us, as the destroyer of all the heresies, amid the jarring voices of the present; she points forward to the future. There is a dark sea we have all to cross, remote from this comfortable world of our experience, opening up new dangers, and wider horizons. Over that sea the calm eyes of our blessed Lady look out, foreseeing the difficulties of our passage. And it was to the order of Mount Carmel that she gave the holy scapular, to be a life-belt in that sea, a talisman amid those unseen perils. She is not content to be our Mother in this world; she will care for us and see us into the next.

- Ronald A. Knox

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Study in Contrasts

We now have a Speaker of the House who is Catholic and, unlike his predecessor, practices what the Church teaches.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Purgatory, Holy Souls and Us - Knox

Dante gazes at Mount Purgatory (1530) - Agnolo Bronzino

IF YOU ACCEPT THE FULL teaching of the Church - I am perhaps speaking to some who do not, but they must pardon me for parting company with them here - if you accept the full teaching of the Church, these scruples (of unworthiness) will be sublimated for you by the doctrine of purgatory. We have, most of us, a despairing sense of inadequacy when we contemplate the holiness of God's saints, and compare our own record with it; we have, many of us, a feeling almost of envy when we visit people, or hear of people, whose life seems nothing better than one long round of suffering. Why is it that this discipline of suffering has fallen so little on us, who need it so greatly? If I may use a modern phrase, we are appalled at the differential. It straightens things out for us, if we believe that after death we shall go through a period of waiting and of discipline before we can become what we long to be, yet almost fear to be - perfect souls.

So, all through the month of November, we (remember) in our prayers the needs of the faithful departed; the holy souls, we call them, but we mean that they are not quite holy enough. What picture are we to form of those needs? We shall not find, I think, even in Dante, much aid to the imagination. But we can, perhaps, get some glimpse of what it all means if we concentrate our attention on the ancient prayer which the Church uses in this connection: "Grant them, O Lord, eternal rest, and may perpetual light shine upon them."

- Ronald A. Knox

Realities of Holy War

In light of recent events, far away (and yet not so very) and close to home, it becomes necessary to examine why the Scimitar lends itself in our present-day to extreme violence.

Father James V. Schall, S. J. writes on what is slow to dawn on the non-Scimitar mentality in
A Jihadist Conquest.

From a mimetic theory vantage point, it must be noted that the Scimitar carries all the attributes of what René Girard calls "the primitive sacred" - a deity who "on the record" has no problem with the slaughter of the unfaithful, such values that cannot be reformed by anything resembling progressive revelation or newer prophets who speak for a loving, universal Providence like that of the Judeo-Christian God, and promises of paradise to those who do the sacrificing of the unfaithful.

These are the realities of the Scimitar's notion of holy war. As opposed, say, to those of Christian notions of legitimate defense and chivalry.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Anyone for Tea?

I've got to say, the Tea Party folks are reminiscent of my parents' generation at their prime - roughly the 1955-68 time frame. They are nothing if not generically American, conservative in morals and values, suspicious of centralized governance, and fiscally responsible at home and expecting the same from legislators - an expectation sorely and ridiculously exploited the last two years.

The Tea Party will look vvery carefully at the Republicans they successfully vote into office on Tuesday, and then decide whether or not to become the first and true viable third political party in American politics EVER.

Catholics may or may not want to become part of the Tea Party; time will tell because, as is always the case, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton observed. Nothing is forever, particularly party politics (Dante immortalized this in The Divine Comedy).

Meanwhile, blithering theological idiots like this fellow make the Tea Party a pleasure to watch and cheer for the time being.