Monday, March 31, 2008

Dawn Treading

And if you are interested in Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader should definitely catch your eye.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Two New By Girard

Chris Morrissey lists two new forthcoming books by -- you guessed it -- René Girard: Mimesis and Theory - Essays on Literature and Criticism, 1953-2005 and Evolution and Conversion - Dialogues on the Origins of Culture. Both together will only set you back, oh, $170.00. ($80.00 if you go paperback.) I hope you have more in your book expenditure budget than I do!

Divine Mercy Sunday

The Incredulity of Saint Thomas - Caravaggio (1573-1610)

Friday, March 28, 2008

FITNA Questions

At Chronicles of Atlantis, I try to look at reasons people in the West who have clearly been influenced by the Gospel still justify the myths, rituals, and prohibitions of a conventional, billion-person strong religion that is more than a little informed by the primitive Sacred. Desire to "put it to" Judaism and the Christian faith is one reason; a multicultural pipe dream of wanting to "teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" is another; and a third is blind, freakin' fear of having one's head severed from one's body, so placate, placate, placate.

Geert Wilder's fifteen-minute film has just been released. You can find it any and every where. It is, as Robert Spencer says, accurate. But are there some other valid reasons for not showing it in today's obviously scandalized state of things?

Will it influence those who are hyper-susceptible to mimesis, for example, to carry out similar heinous acts of ritual violence? Is it likely to be used as "recruiting material?" Will the "ostriches" of the West and ranting atheists like Dawk and Hitch say, "There! See? I toldja so"?

For my part, those who scold Wilders and accuse him of being a hate-monger and "racist" ( __ ? What "race" is he denigrating? Islam is a religion.) forget something. He is charged with such accusations for holding up a mirror. That is all.

If people don't like what they see in it, too bad. Maybe they should start acting differently. More tolerantly. More charitably. Less violently.

The question that FITNA brings to the fore, in my opinion, is this: What does faithful, just, Christian life look like in these tumultuous days of cultural clash and terror? If St. Francis is your thing, you may want to look at Gen's recent offering at Real Clear Religion. But for now, there are still many questions and challenges facing people of the biblical faith. Questions that FITNA raises, but only by being a looking-glass in which we see realities of today.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Prince Caspian - C. S. Lewis

Better Read Some Girard

So much for the myth of “peaceful” Tibetans.

Gutsy Evangelist

National Review Online gives us a portrait of a gutsy evangelist from Egypt: Zakaria Botros:
Though he is little known in the West, Coptic priest Zakaria Botros — named Islam’s “Public Enemy #1” by the Arabic newspaper, al-Insan al-Jadid — has been making waves in the Islamic world. Along with fellow missionaries — mostly Muslim converts — he appears frequently on the Arabic channel al-Hayat (i.e., “Life TV”). There, he addresses controversial topics of theological significance — free from the censorship imposed by Islamic authorities or self-imposed through fear of the zealous mobs who fulminated against the infamous cartoons of Mohammed. Botros’s excurses on little-known but embarrassing aspects of Islamic law and tradition have become a thorn in the side of Islamic leaders throughout the Middle East.

Botros is an unusual figure onscreen: robed, with a huge cross around his neck, he sits with both the Koran and the Bible in easy reach. Egypt’s Copts — members of one of the oldest Christian communities in the Middle East — have in many respects come to personify the demeaning Islamic institution of “dhimmitude” (which demands submissiveness from non-Muslims, in accordance with Koran 9:29). But the fiery Botros does not submit, and minces no words. He has famously made of Islam “ten demands,” whose radical nature he uses to highlight Islam’s own radical demands on non-Muslims.

The result? Mass conversions to Christianity — if clandestine ones. View article …

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The 'Well' vs. the 'Shadows'

Remains of Whitby Abbey, England

I have often in my life forgotten my inherent human dignity, made imago dei, as many do. This was partly due to my having a desire to stay near to my now-deceased mother as an infant, and she was a dyed-in-the-wool member of the Evangelical persuasion. (Her grandfather however was, she told me, a "bad Catholic," and I attribute my conversion to his prayers for me. I pray for them both and solicit their prayers daily.) So, I was far and away from Mother Church from the outset, as opposed to those cradle Catholic "reverts" who so daringly trace their steps back to the arms of their trustworthy Mother.

Dear G. K. Chesterton said it well in 'The Well and the Shadows' -- when we abandon the Catholic Church for the plethora of pipe dreams and promises of the world, we do not gain truth or freedom or facts. We receive a pablum of shallowness, fraud, and idolatry, with all that those can conjure anthropologically, epistemologically, and ontologically.

Praise God on this Wednesday in the Octave of Easter for the sanity, richness, and steadfast hearth and home of Mother Church. May many prodigals make their way back to Her.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Jesus Has Risen -- but the eye hasn't

Okay, so I let the scourging get a little out of hand this past Friday...

Just to let you all know that Aramis has been struggling a bit with anything to do with computer work (no postings lately)... "Now the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey would declare.

Though we cautioned our parish priest ahead of the performance, he had not seen my eye in person. Just before Good Friday I had developed a really bad infection behind the eye lid and it quickly spread. In the play my back is to the congregation until midway, after the scourging and laying on of the crown of thorns. So when the crucial moment to turn and face the people came, just in time to listen to the mob yell out, "CRUCIFY HIM! CRUCIFY HIM!" I was just praying that the Holy Spirit would be able to finish my lines, for I knew that I alone was not going to be strong enough.

Afterwards, our priest (and everyone we talked to) congratulated all involved in the performance and said that I was meant, even with the cold that had settled in the eye, to play this part. God even uses colds when He needs to get our attention.

The picture here is actually from yesterday (Easter Sunday) and the eye is quite a bit better than what it was on Good Friday. Today I am able to open the lid slightly, without using fingers to help, so posting will still be very sparse, at least from me.

Thank you Athos for the many brilliant posts this Passion Week - first class, my fellow Mass'keteer.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

The Morning of the Resurrection [1882] - Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones

Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God's throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!


The whole bright world rejoices now, Hilariter, hilariter;
The birds do sing on every bough Alleluia, alleluia.

Then shout beneath the racing skies, Hilariter, hilariter;
To him who rose that we might rise, Alleluia, alleluia.

And all you living things make praise, Hilariter, hilariter;
He guideth you on all your ways, Alleluia, alleluia.

He, Father, son, and Holy Ghost - Hilariter, hilariter!
Our God most high, our joy and boast. Alleluia, alleluia!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

5th Sorrow

BXVI Visit - Shopping Guide

John Allen provides a helpful "one-stop shopping" list of Pope Benedict's visit to the United States with nifty links here.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Thursday

Flannery O’Connor was getting an award in New York one time and she had to get all gussied-up from her farm in Georgia to go to this award banquet. It was all literary and religious people sitting around eating dinner, there was a conversation going on at her table about theological symbolism of the Eucharist, and Flannery O’Connor is just eating away not saying anything. After a while her silence became obvious and so one of the people who was particularly lively in the conversation turned to her and said to her, “Ms O’Connor, what do you think about the symbolism of the Eucharist?” She glared over the top of her glasses and said “If it is just a symbol, the hell with it.”

It is very important to remember Jesus didn’t say, ‘take this and figure it out.’ He said, ‘take it and eat it.’ There is a huge mystery in the Eucharist, but it is I think, the mystery of our induction into the body of Christ - into the communion of saints – into the work of Christ in history.

From Entering the Biblical Story at the Eucharistic Table
A talk given by Gil Bailie

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Upon This Rock - Gethsemane

On the side of the Mount of Olives stands a beautiful building called the Church of All Nations. Beside it is the Garden of Gethsemane; within it is a plain, rocky area on which, tradition has it, Our Lord prayed

before His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

As we ponder the events of this Holy Week, recall in your busy schedule what He revealed to us in these awesome events: about Himself, about humanity, about you, about me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shroud Of Turin Accidentally Washed With Red Shirt

I agree with the Curt Jester: this Onion piece is pretty funny.

Catholic Church - Come Home

[Major h/t: Mark Shea]

When We Stop Pushing/Pulling Against

...Truth is a magnet, with the powers of attraction and repulsion ... The moment men cease to pull against [the Catholic Church] they feel a tug towards it. The moment they cease to shout it down they begin to listen to it with pleasure. The moment they try to be fair to it they begin to be fond of it. But when that affection has passed a certain point it begins to take on the tragic and menacing grandeur of a great love affair ... When he has entered the Church, he finds that the Church is much larger inside than it is outside.

-- G. K. Chesterton

French Techology at Its Best

I just can't resist: Run away! Run away!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Benedict on Confession

This is a joyful opportunity to here what the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, said recently to the confessors at the Major Basilicas. The Basilicas are staffed with confessors from religious orders, for example, Dominicans at St. Mary Major and Franciscans at St. Peter’s [Via the inestimable Fr. John Zuhlsdorf]:
Dear Confessors in the Roman Basilicas,

I am pleased to meet you at the end of the Course on the Internal Forum, which for some years now the Apostolic Penitentiary has organized during Lent. With its carefully planned programme, this annual meeting renders a precious service to the Church and helps to keep alive the sense of holiness of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

[ ... ]

Lent is an especially favourable season to meditate on the reality of sin in the light of God’s infinite mercy, which the Sacrament of Penance expresses in its loftiest form. I therefore willingly take this opportunity to bring to your attention certain thoughts on the administration of this Sacrament in our time, in which the loss of the sense of sin is unfortunately becoming increasingly more widespread ... It is necessary today to assist those who confess to experience that divine tenderness to repentant sinners which many Gospel episodes portray with tones of deep feeling.
Read all …

Celebrity Masterpieces

Nifty artwork.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chivalry of St. Joseph

It is my understanding that the Solemnity of St. Joseph is transfered to March 15, because the 19th is within Holy Week. For the stout hearted and chivalrous, see Stratford Caldecott's The Chivalry of Saint Joseph.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mamet - No Longer a Spanish Prisoner

Here is news for rejoicing: David Mamet, a favorite playwright, explains ‘Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal' [h/t: The Anchoress]. I'd always hoped the writer of The Spanish Prisoner, with a break-through performances by Campbell Scott (son of George C.) as the statue and Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) as his pigeon, would see through the wiles of progressive modernism. Huzzah, I say, and bully.

Zmirak on Distributism

John Zmirak on Distributism and other "Third Ways."

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Crisis of History

Catholic World News reports that in a March 7 address to the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) said that the study of history is particularly valuable today, to address "a society which, heedless of its own past and hence lacking criteria acquired through experience, is no longer capable of harmonious coexistence or joint commitment in realizing future aims."

"Such a society is particularly vulnerable to ideological manipulation," the Pope told the group. He said that the study of history today is being warped by "a methodology which draws inspiration from positivism and sociology" and ignores "entire epochs" because of its ideological blinders.

Have any sense of those who would want to manipulate history due to their "ideological blinders?" Here is a hint.

Read all …

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Fifth Sunday of Lent

His Only-begotten Son and the Word of God - Viktor Vasnetsov

In today’s gospel Jesus said to Martha:

I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Gun Free Zones

(Athos - This post is merely a lame attempt at humor re: a great problem, and does not reflect the views or attitudes of any of the other Mass'keteers. Selah)

Friday, March 07, 2008

Corpus Christianum

"The Catholic Church is by far the largest, the most widespread, and the most ancient of Christian communions in the world, and is moreover the mighty trunk from which the other communions claiming to be Christian have broken off at one time or another. If, then, we limit the application of the term Christendom to this, its most authentic expression, the unity of Christendom is not a lost ideal to be recovered, but a stupendous reality which has always been in stable possession. For not only has this Catholic Church ever taught that unity is an essential note of the true Church of Christ, but throughout her long history she has been, to the amazement of the world, distinguished by the most conspicuous unity of faith and government..."
- The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV

"Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world!"
- Pope Pius IX
From the homepage of Corpus Christianum, which states the following:
Corpus Christianum is an international Private Association of the Faithful, open both to men and women, dedicated to praying for a renewal of Christendom.

Guided by a Catholic chivalrous spirit and Marian in character, Corpus Christianum members daily pray for the following key points:

* The renewal, unity, and spread of Christendom
* The Supreme Pontiff and all priests/religious
* The protection of Christians around the world
* The restoration of the family
* The conversion of sinners and the sanctification of all people

We are looking for courageous souls who are willing to take up the standard of Christ the King! We invite you to review the association's Statutes for more information about the organization and its obligations.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Jesus vs. "Religion Light"?

Check out this commentary entitled, Oprah's new Easter written by Chuck Norris (yes, that Chuck Norris).

The reason (Eckhart) Tolle's psychology and spirituality is marketed so easy is that it is an eclectic mix of conventional and unconventional wisdom, and Western and Eastern beliefs, presented in a tolerant, non-threatening, and non-sectarian way. In other words, it's "Religion Light," in which one can be spiritual with "little down and no credit."
Chuck continues with a plug for a new book, "Do Hard Things" by the twins, Alex and Brett Harris. They write about "a growing movement of Christian young people who are rebelling against the low expectations of their culture by choosing to "do hard things" for the glory of God." If you give this matter the reflection it deserves, you will discover that this Christian desire to serve God in all things, runs counter to the relativistic view espoused by Tolle and now endorsed by Oprah.

Norris comments:

My battle is not with Oprah – she has her guru (Tolle), and I have mine (Jesus). The real war is between those who espouse to be bearers of the truth, like Tolle and Jesus. And the question is: With contradicting truths, will we believe a mere man or one who claimed to be so much more?
And he goes on to quote C.S. Lewis:

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a good moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Norris concludes: Again, the question is: Will we turn from what's easy, what's new, what's popular, what's even "Oprah" and take a step back and rediscover the answers that have been there all along? As C.S. Lewis also said, "We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

tip to Athos at Chronicles of Atlanits

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Mad World

Creative Minority Report on the Born Alive Infants Protection Act and the sole presidential candidate who opposes it. (WARNING: Brief graphic image of a voiceless victim.) Moloch worship, crowd contagion, a false prophet, and demographic winter never looked so bad.

64% Say Mainstream Media Sux

Mea culpa for the low level of discourse, ahem. Little Green Footballs notes -- Survey Says: 64% Believe Mainstream Media Are Out of Touch. I would tweak that slightly and say, "64% are certain that traditional news and information organs are editorially inclined to give their "spin". Therefore, one must read between the lines at all times, and, if possible, gain access to what is really going on independently in order to see through philosophical paradigms and make an educated judgment for oneself." But that is a bit long for a headline, isn't it?

This is particularly vital during the election time kerfuffle and excitability, but essentially so when one realizes the extent to which papers like the New York Times and Washington Post, liberal progressive organs through and through, treat the masses like illiterate and wayward children who do not know what is "best", and so must be led kindly yet inexorably toward the newest expression of liberal fascism, a multicultural utopianism and pipe dream.

As friend Aramis would note, philosophy -- and I would add ratiocination and reason -- come replete with their sacrificial origins intact though covert. The a priori first principles of all paradigms are called into question by the Gospel (cf. Chapter 13 of Violence Unveiled). So, discerning truth in the media is a tricky business. Approach all such attempts with the following in one's kit: (1) prayer and humility; (2) the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and (3) a basic understanding of René Girard's mimetic theory. Any questions? Class dismissed.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Bonny Prince Harry's Return

Esmerelda Weatherwax (I just love writing that name) at The Iconoclast/New English Review on bonny Prince Harry's return. She quotes from The Times:
Prince Harry carrying a 9mm pistol

Prince Harry returns to England today, a hero to the Army, a changed man in the eyes of the public and a target for jihadists.

As the Queen, the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff queued up to heap praise on the 23-year-old second lieutenant, protection for the Prince is to be upgraded. Al-Qaeda websites posted death threats against him yesterday after the worldwide coverage of his ten weeks in Helmand province, Afghanistan. In stark contrast, army message boards carried unanimous praise for the Prince.

The Times has seen messages posted on a password-protected al-Qaeda forum, al-Ekhlaas, calling for Prince Harry to be beheaded and a video of his murder to be sent to the Queen.

Arabic news items and photographs of the Prince on duty in Helmand were added to the jihadi sites. One posting said: “Nothing will break the heart of his grandmother but only if she loses him. My dear brothers in Allah, carry on provoking to kidnap this precious infidel.”

But it's a damned good thing the West isn't at war with radical Jihadists, isn't it? The peace of the Lord be with them. In honor of the royal lad's return, I offer the following as something those calling for his beheading can do with their fatwas: