[ht: Drudge Report]
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
LETTER TO HER BROTHER MISSIONARIES
Our Divine Lord asks no sacrifice beyond our strength. At times, it is true, He makes us taste to the full the bitterness of the chalice He puts to our lips. And when He demands the sacrifice of all that is dearest on earth, it is impossible without a very special grace not to cry out as He did during His Agony in the Garden: "My Father, let this chalice pass from me!" But we must hasten to add: "Yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt." It is so consoling to think that Jesus, "the Strong God," has felt all our weaknesses and shuddered at the sight of the bitter chalice--that very chalice He had so ardently desired.
Your lot is indeed a beautiful one, since Our Lord has chosen it for you, and has first touched with His own Lips the cup which He holds out to yours. A Saint has said: "The greatest honour God can bestow upon a soul is not to give to it great things, but to ask of it great things." Jesus treats you as a privileged child. It is His wish you should begin your mission even now, and save souls through the Cross. Was it not by suffering and death that He ransomed the world? I know that you aspire to the happiness of laying down your life for Him; but the martyrdom of the heart is not less fruitful than the shedding of blood, and this martyrdom is already yours. Have I not, then, good reason to say that your lot is a beautiful one--worthy an apostle of Christ?
This letter and the following are addressed to a Seminarist.
Monday, September 29, 2008
To win any war and any kind of war, I think the three most necessary things we must know are:Read all … By the way - you may be surprised to know who exactly it is who we are fighting ... If so, join me in a a forehead-slap and a hearty, "Of course! How foolish of me."
that we are at war;
who our enemy is; and
what weapons or strategies can defeat him.
We cannot win a war: first, if we are blissfully sewing peace banners on the battlefield; or second, if we are too busy fighting civil wars against our allies; or, third, if we are using the wrong weapons. For instance, we must fight fire with water—not fire.
So this talk is a very basic, elementary three-point checklist to be sure we all know this minimum at least.
I assume you wouldn’t be coming to a talk entitled “How to Win the Culture War” if you thought all was well. If you are surprised to be told that our entire civilization is in crisis, I welcome you back from your nice vacation on the moon.
And then there is Old Nick, the West’s traditional symbol of evil, who has retained a good deal more apotropaic power on these shores than in Europe. A 1991 survey by the International Social Survey Programme found that 45.4 percent of Americans believed in the devil (61 percent, according to a 2005 Harris poll), compared with 20.4 percent of Italians, 12.5 percent of Russians, 9.5 percent of West Germans, and 3.6 percent of East Germans. We often read about differences between America and Europe with respect to belief in God, but differences with respect to belief in diabolic evil may be even more revealing. It is significant that belief in the devil is lowest in those countries (Russia and Germany) that suffered, during the twentieth century, most acutely from forms of evil that might without exaggeration be called diabolic. Europeans, it may be, have proved more susceptible to the element of diabolic temptation in charismatic leadership precisely because they are less likely to believe in the reality of diabolic evil.
Still, it’s hard to deny that Obama has found a weakness in America’s defenses. His post-masculine charisma is likely to flourish in a political environment that has come to resemble not only a TV talk show but a TV reality show, in which the candidate rarely escapes the camera’s eye... Meanwhile, the very images of frailty that undermine the masculine leader’s pose of strength help the practitioner of the new post-masculine charisma, whose object is to appear human—all too human. Softness has become an asset for candidates who have molded themselves on the exhibitionist model of the Oprah matriarchy.I thought I would insert here the final part of chapter 14, "The Twofold Nietzschean Heritage" (pg 180-181) in Rene Girard's book, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning
The attempt by Nietzsche and Hitler to make humankind forget the concern for victims has ended in a failure that seems definitive, at least for the moment. But it is not Christianity that profits from the victory of the concern for victims in our world. It is rather what I think must be called the other totalitarianism, the most cunning and malicious of the two, the one with the greatest future, by all evidence. At present it does not oppose Judeo-Christian aspirations but claims them as its own and questions the concern for victims on the part of Christians (not without a certain semblance of reason at the level of concrete action, given the deficiencies of historical Christianity). The other totalitarianism does not openly oppose Christianity but outflanks it on its left wing.
All through the twentieth century, the most powerful mimetic force was never Nazism and related ideologies, all those that openly opposed the concern for victims and that readily acknowledged its Judeo-Christian origin. The most powerful anti-Christian movement is the one that takes over and "radicalizes" the concern for victims in order to paganize it. The powers and principalities want to be "revolutionary" now, and they reproach Christianity for not defending victims with enough ardor. In Christian history they see nothing but persecutions, acts of oppression, inquisitions.
This other totalitarianism presents itself as the liberator of humanity. In trying to usurp the place of Christ, the powers imitate him in the way a mimetic rival imitates his model in order to defeat him. They denounce the Christian concern for victims as hypocritical and a pale imitation of the authentic crusade against oppression and persecution for which they would carry the banner themselves.
In the symbolic language of the New Testament, we would say that in our world Satan, trying to make a new start and gain new triumphs, borrows the language of victims. Satan imitates Christ better and better and pretends to surpass him. This imitation by the usurper has long been present in the Christianized world, but it has increased enormously in our time. The New Testament evokes this process in the language of the Antichrist. To understand this title, we should de-dramatize it, for it expresses something banal and prosaic.
The Antichrist boasts of bringing to human beings the peace and tolerance that Christianity promised but has failed to deliver. Actually, what the radicalization of contemporary victimology produces is a return to all sorts of pagan practices: abortion, euthanasia, sexual undifferentiation, Roman circus games galore but without real victims, etc.
Neo-paganism would like to turn the Ten Commandments and all of Judeo-Christian morality into some alleged intolerable violence, and indeed its primary objective is their complete abolition. Faithful observance of the moral law is perceived as complicity with the forces of persecution that are essentially religious. Since the Christian denominations have become only tardily aware of their failings in charity, their connivance with established political orders in the past and present world that are always "sacrificial," they are particularly vulnerable to the ongoing blackmail of contemporary neo-paganism.
Neo-paganism locates happiness in the unlimited satisfaction of desires, which means the suppression of all prohibitions. This idea acquires a semblance of credibility in the limited domain of consumer goods, whose prodigious multiplication, thanks to technological progress, weakens certain mimetic rivalries. The weakening of mimetic rivalries confers an appearance of plausibility, but only that, on the stance that turns the moral law into an instrument of repression and persecution.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Has no one ever heard of "internal mediation," or "victim with an extended sentence," or "negative imitation," or "the sacrificial nature of all human institutions?" No? Oh; just wondering.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
I had the misfortune this morning to be forced to wait (aptly enough) in the waiting room of the surgeon who removed my appendix. That experience in itself can be of some interest, as Flannery O'Connor made clear in her story, "Revelation". And I really was glad to be getting my stitches removed. So, why the misfortune?
There happened to be a television mounted in an overhead area, as is the apparent wont of doctors' waiting room designers these days, with a sign draped over the bottom lip of it proclaiming, "Do Not Touch the TV."
And on this television, there happened to be playing "The View" with a panel of women comprised solely of pop culture and decidedly liberal-leaning divas. Whilst I filled in three-pages of new-patient forms, these opined at a volume well past conversation level on such varied topics as a pastor who blessed Sarah Palin "in Jesus' Name," their strong objection to discussion religion and politics in open forums (but not voicing objections to the same in public arenas, apparently), and other significant topics such as fear of aging (but not death).
As I slowly ground my teeth and applied all the force of concentration back on the forms needing filling, my high opinion of the man who extracted my appendix slowly diminished while sweat fomented on the brow on which I tried to maintain the appearance of normalcy, lest the other denizens of the waiting room think they were in the presence of a deranged loon.
Now, thinking back on this auditory equivalent of dental drilling without Novocaine, the association that comes to me is the depiction that C. G. Jung gave in his autobiographical book, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, of tribesmen who blustered and strutted as long as the sun shone. But when night fell, they quaked and cowered near the campfire till dawn's light reassured them once more.
These "View" gals are happy to cast proud, dismissive, and complacent aspersions toward those who find their substantiality and source of hope in the God revealed in the Church's Scriptures and Traditions when the studio lights and cameras lend them the ephemeral being of celebrity. But let reality make its rude presence known in the words, "cancer", or "there's been an accident," or "he/she died on the way..." - and the quaking, cowering pagan would quickly out.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Q: Your book seems to echo G.K. Chesterton's statement that there was never anything so exciting or perilous as orthodoxy. Why do you believe this is the case?
Father Neuhaus: I am always honored to be associated with Chesterton, one of the great Catholic spirits of modern times.
Yes, orthodoxy is a high adventure -- intellectually, spiritually, aesthetically and morally. It is ever so much more interesting than the smelly conventions that so many, viewing orthodoxy as a burden, embrace in the dismal ambition to be considered progressive.
In the encyclical "Redemptoris Missio," John Paul II said that the Church imposes nothing; she only proposes. But what she proposes is an astonishment beyond the reach of human imagining -- the coming of the promised Kingdom of God, and our anticipation of that promise in the life of the Church.
It is a great pity that so many are prepared, even eager, to settle for something less than this high adventure.
For instance, in "Catholic Matters" I discuss the preoccupation with being an "American Catholic" when we should really want to be "Catholic Americans." Note that the adjective controls.
The really interesting thing is not to accommodate our way of being Catholic to the fact of our being American but to demonstrate a distinctively Catholic way of being American.
An interesting piece in InForum Blog by Sheila Liaugminas "Understand who Catholic Americans are". She writes on an article by Fran Maier "The Real Problem with Bishops". It is well worth full reading, but let me pull out this one excerpt:
What made Biden’s latest version of this same old melody so provocative, though, was this: He was running for national office and speaking to a national audience. As a practicing, self-described Catholic, he was defending an abortion policy gravely incompatible with Catholic faith. And he was talking—inadvertently but directly—to Catholic viewers in every local diocese in the country. That’s called scandal; in other words, the act of leading others into error or sin. And this time, unlike in the past, some local bishops, including representatives of the national bishops’ conference, had had enough. More than a dozen publicly challenged and corrected him.
Being Catholic demands more than tribal loyalty or nostalgic memories. It’s not a matter of sentiment. It’s a matter of creed and behavior, here and now. The problem that bishops have with a Catholic official like John Kerry or Rudy Giuliani or Joseph Biden or Nancy Pelosi is not his or her personal sincerity or professional skill. These are above question. The problem comes when these public leaders freelance what they claim Catholics can believe and do, while also claiming to be really Catholic.
For Catholics, individual conscience is sacred. But it doesn’t have absolute sovereignty over reality, and it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Conscience must be formed by the truth, which we learn through the counsel and teaching of the Church. If Catholics reject what the Church teaches on a serious matter, they break unity with the community of believers. And if they break that unity and then present themselves for Communion anyway, they act dishonestly. They violate their own integrity and—even more importantly—they abuse the rights and the faith of other Catholics. Bishops have a serious duty to correct that.
So the question is ever pertinent: Are you an American who just claims to be Catholic or are you a Catholic American? There is a difference - a huge difference!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Early Christian martyrs went to their deaths singing Deus major est, non Imperatores (God is the greater One, not the emperors). And this spirit is just as offensive to worldly authority today as it was twenty centuries ago.
- Archbishop Charles Chaput
Saturday, September 20, 2008
By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap
ROME, SEPT. 19, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The parable about the workers sent out at different times to work in the vineyard has always caused big problems for readers of the Gospel. Is it right for the owner of the vineyard to pay the same wage to those who have worked for only an hour and those who have worked the whole day? Does this not violate the principle of just recompense? Today workers' unions would rise up together to denounce any owner of a company who did this.
The difficulty we are experiencing here stems from a certain equivocation. One thinks of the problem of recompense in the abstract and in general or in reference to eternal recompense in heaven. Seen in this way, it would effectively contradict the principle according to which God "will repay each one as his work deserves" (Romans 2:6). But Jesus is talking about a specific situation, a very precise case. The only wage that is given to everyone is the Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus has brought to the earth; it is the possibility of entering into the messianic salvation to be a part of it. The parable begins by saying that "the Kingdom of Heaven is like a landowner who went out at dawn ..."Read all of You Go Into the Vineyard, Too.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Lady Aramis photographed and created these 2009 desk calendars to raise funds for this campaign. Anyone wishing to donate to this effort and receive one of these beautiful calendars (please identify between: Faith, Franciscan or Life calendars) may simply email Aramis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Beauty… is captured in three different 2009 Jewel Case Calendars.
1) Faith Calendars are filled with Christian quotes from the likes of Mother Teresa, CS Lewis and Bible verses.
2) Franciscan Calendars feature quotes by your favorite Franciscan Saints
3) Life Calendars are full of reflections on the beauty of life
>> Great for your desk at home or work
>> Ideal gifts for family, friends or clients
>> Perfect stocking stuffers
The Beauty… is captured in each of the 12 months. The calendars – from the photography to the printing to the selling – are done by parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bloomington, IL as a fundraiser for a new “More for the Poor” Appalachian outreach. The money raised will go to help the poor in Appalachia - divided among our Franciscan missions at Hazard, Jackson, Harlan, and Cumberland, as well as to Fr. Beiting's mission at Louisa, KY.
We are asking for a donation of $12.50 each (this would include basic shipping in the USA).
To make a donation send an email to Aramis at email@example.com . Make sure to provide contact information so I can get back to you to make all the necessary arrangements.
Please be sure to
- identify which calendar (Faith, Franciscan, or Life) you wish, and
- a phone number within your email.
ORDERS MUST BE RECIEVED BY NOVEMBER 8, 2008. So please act now!
If you do not wish to make a donation we would certainly appreciate your prayers for this outreach. It would be great to hear that you are praying for us.Link to Lady Aramis web site HERE .
"When a man trains himself to acts of virtue, it is with the help of grace from God from whom all good things come that he does this." - St Joseph of Cupertino
St. Joseph of Cupertino
Feastday: September 18th
Patron of Aviators, Flying & Studying
b: 1603 d: 1663
His mother considered him a nuisance and treated him harshly. Joseph soon became very slow and absent-minded. He would wander around, going nowhere, his mouth gaping open. But he had a bad temper, too, and so, he was not at all popular. He tried to learn the trade of shoemaking, but failed. He asked to become a Franciscan, but they would not accept him. Next, he joined the Capuchins, but eight months later, they sent him away because he could not seem to do anything right. He dropped piles of dishes and kept forgetting to do what he was told. His mother was not at all pleased to have the eighteen-year-old Joseph back home again, so she finally got him accepted as a servant at the Franciscan monastery. He was given the monks habit and put to hard work taking care of the horses. About this time, Joseph began to change. He grew more humble and gentle, more careful and successful at his work. He also began to do more penance. Now, it was decided that he could become a real member of the Order and start studying for the priesthood. Although he was very good, he still had a hard time with studies. The examiner happened to ask him to explain the only thing he knew well, and so he was made a deacon, and later a priest. After this, God began to work many amazing miracles through St. Joseph. Over seventy times, people saw him rise from the ground while saying mass or praying. Often he went into ecstasy and would be completely rapt up in talking with God. He became so holy that everything he saw made him think of God, and he said that all the troubles of this world were nothing but the "play" battles children have with popguns. St. Joseph became so famous for the miracles that he was kept hidden, but he was happy for the chance to be alone with his beloved Lord. On His part, Jesus never left him alone and one day came to bring him to Heaven. Pope Clement XIII canonized him in 1767. He is the patron saint of air travelers and pilots.
Read more here
And read more in-depth information on our Franciscan Saint of Misfits HERE
Consequences of fame
Not all of the friars whom Joseph lived with were well disposed towards him. Some superiors would scold Joseph for not accepting money and gifts offered to him for curing people, especially when they were members of the nobility. He would also find himself in trouble for returning home with a torn habit as a result of the people seeking relics who regarded him as a prophet and a saint.
Perhaps the most difficult time came when Joseph was the subject of an investigation by the Inquisition at Naples. Msgr. Joseph Palamolla accused Joseph of attracting undue attention with his "flights" and claiming to perform miracles. On October 21, 1638, Joseph was summoned to appear before the Inquisition and, when he arrived, he was detained for several weeks. Joseph was eventually released when the judges found no fault with him.
Life in exile
After being cleared by the Inquisition, Joseph was sent to the Sacro Convento in Assisi. Though Joseph was happy to be close to the tomb of St Francis, he experienced a certain spiritual dryness. His flights came to a halt during this period.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
In our day, sanctity-of-life issues are foundational - not because of anyone's "religious" views about abortion, although these are important; but because the act of dehumanizing and killing the unborn child attacks human dignity in a uniquely grave way. Deliberately killing the innocent is always, inexcusably wrong. It sets a pattern of contempt for every other aspect of human dignity. In redefining when human life begins and what is and isn't a human person, the logic behind permissive abortion makes all human rights politically contingent.- Archbishop Charles Chaput, Render Unto Caesar 
Of course, one will do so as proponents of the primitive sacred always do today, by claiming to stand up for "change" and for the victims of intolerance. But, as Archbishop Chaput continues:
Today's Herodians are better dressed, better fed, better educated, and usually have better public relations counsel, but their message really hasn't changed much. In their mistreatment of the innocent - beginning with the unborn child - they tell us they must deal in the politics of realism; that this is the way of the world. And in a sense, they're right. But the task of the Christian is to change that. 
Perhaps the only reason for creating humans with an appendix is to provide yet another opportunity for happy Catholics to offer it up.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
By John-Henry Westen
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina, September 12, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - During the opening day of the Catholic Leadership Conference yesterday, Baker Oregon Bishop Robert Vasa clarified the teaching of the US Bishops Conference regarding voting in favor of pro-abortion politicians. The question of whether Catholics may remain in good standing with the Church while voting for pro-abortion politicians was raised.
Bishop Vasa responded referencing the document of the United States Catholic Conference titled "Faithful Citizenship", noting a pro-abortion stance disqualifies candidates from consideration by faithful Catholics.
LifeSiteNews.com spoke with Bishop Vasa after the session. Describing the deliberation among US bishops over the "Faithful Citizenship" document, he said:
"When we were working on the document 'Faithful Citizenship', and the issue of whether or not a person's adamant pro-abortion position was a disqualifying condition, the general sense was 'yes that is a disqualifying condition'."However, during the discussions mention was made of the document by Pope Benedict just prior his elevation to the pontificate which noted that Catholics may in good conscience vote for a politician who supports abortion in the presence of "proportionate reasons."
Bishop Vasa explained the notion of proportionate reasons, saying,
"The conditions under which an individual may be able to vote for a pro-abortion candidate would apply only if all the candidates are equally pro-abortion."He added:
"And then you begin to screen for the other issues and make a conscientious decision to vote for this pro-abortion candidate because his positions on these other issues are more in keeping with good Catholic values." In that case, he said, "It doesn't mean that you in any way support or endorse a pro-abortion position but you take a look in that context at the lesser of two evils."
Speaking of politicians with a pro-abortion stand he said,
"When we have someone who has that stand on a disqualifying issue, then the other issues, in many ways, do not matter because they are already wrong on that absolutely fundamental issue."Bishop Vasa explained that as a man from the Midwest, the analogy of a combine worked well to describe how a sifting of candidates could be undertaken. He described a combine as having a series of sieves, the first of which eliminates the largest and most obvious refuse. In the analogy the first screen would eliminate pro-abortion candidates, "to weed out the greatest evil," he said.
He concluded saying,
"Abortion needs to be in our country a defining issue and we ought not be afraid to make it a defining issue because only when we do that will we have an end of abortion in this country."
by Fr. Frank Pavone
(The following excerpt is from his Interdenominational version - he does have a Catholic version as well)
Check out all 10 steps HERE
I like Step 3 - Reject the Disqualified.
Suppose a candidate came forward and said, “I support terrorism.” Would you say, “I disagree with you on terrorism, but what’s your health care plan?”
Of course not.
Rather, you would immediately consider that candidate as disqualified from public office. His position, allowing the killing of the public, is radically inconsistent with public service.
So it is with abortion. Abortion is no less violent than terrorism. Any candidate who says abortion should be kept legal disqualifies him/herself from public service. We need look no further; we need pay no attention to what that candidate says on other issues. Support for abortion is enough for us to decide not to vote for such a person.
Our Lord asked, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36). Many candidates promise many things, and rightly work to secure our rights to health care, education, housing and security. But if candidates and voters alike have lost sight of the fact that all these rights are based on the right to life itself, then their promise to secure those other rights is false and illusory. If government can take away rights from some humans, then those rights aren’t human rights at all. Such a politician, in other words, is saying that rights like health care only belong to some humans, not to others.
The first requirement to be a public servant is to be able to tell the difference between serving the public and killing the public. If a politician cannot respect the life of a little baby, how is he or she supposed to respect yours?
I wait for more lists to come out in what I believe is our need to further clarify the term 'conscience'. Both sides of the political debate claim 'conscience' so how is the voting public to determine the appropriate 'conscience' to lead our nation? In this list above we have a list of what distinguishes a 'CLEAR' conscience from a ... muddied one I suppose (I like that). And from this list I believe we can see that there really is but one choice this November -
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (or Triumph of the Cross) we honor the Holy Cross by which Christ redeemed the world. The public veneration of the Cross of Christ originated in the fourth century, according to early accounts, beginning with the miraculous discovery of the cross on September 14, 326, by Saint Helen, mother of Constantine, while she was on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem -- the same day that two churches built at the site of Calvary by Constantine were dedicated.
The observance of the Feast of the Exaltation (probably from a Greek word meaning "bringing to light") of the Cross has been celebrated by Christians on September 14 ever since. In the Western Church, the feast came into prominence in the seventh century, apparently inspired by the recovery of a portion of the Cross, said to have been taken from Jerusalem the Persians, by the Roman emperor Heraclius in 629.
Christians "exalt" the Cross of Christ as the instrument of our salvation. Adoration of the Cross is, thus, adoration of Jesus Christ, the God Man, who suffered and died on this Roman instrument of torture for our redemption from sin and death. The cross represents the One Sacrifice by which Jesus, obedient even unto death, accomplished our salvation. The cross is a symbolic summary of the Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ -- all in one image.
Real all here. [h/t: New Advent]
Saturday, September 13, 2008
...Christianity has shed the light of love over humanity and in this light the unique worth of every individual person is made manifest. Without this light the general principles of human rights could not have been formulated, principles that are normative indeed for us, even though in practice they are frequently trodden underfoot... In vain we shall search the world before Christ for this kind of outlook of man on his fellow man... In none of these will we find the kind of respect for the person of one's neighbor that can only be established as a principle for the first time by the Christian revelation. For God, in his boundless involvement, has indeed always the individual in mind (though all in community are just as much his preoccupation); and as he moves toward the individual, so he lights up his unique dignity as a person. But should the source of God's gracious involvement fall into oblivion, then sooner or later the face of the person will become indistinct, and he will sink back once more into mere anonymity.
Because, however, the most significant thing in life that can happen to our neighbor is his being laid claim to and taken seriously as a person, an event that leaves on him the most lasting impression, a state that constitutes for him the source of the greatest happiness he can know on earth, in this above all lies the credibility of the Church, and the success of the mission of Christianity.
-- Hans Urs von Balthasar, pg 54-55.
tip to Asia News
Pope: with Christ, flee from the idols that alienate man
Paris (AsianNews) - With a complete overturning of the Marxist theory on religion as the "opium of the people", and of Enlightenment rationalism, on the uselessness of God in life, Benedict XVI today claimed that Christ, the Eucharist, the Mass, help man to free himself from the "idols" that, as in ancient paganism, "constituted a powerful source of alienation and diverted man from his true destiny". And precisely in order to free man from the prison of the idols, the pope invited the young people to follow the call to the priestly and religious vocation.
On the second day of his visit to France, the pontiff celebrated the Mass in the Esplanade des Invalides, with almost 300,000 people: the attendance exceeded all of the predictions, almost as if to disprove all of the theories about the secularization dominating the country, once called the "eldest daughter of the Church".
In his homily, the pope commented on the readings of the liturgy for the feast of of Saint John Chrysostom, one of the greatest fathers of the Church, from the fourth century, who left works of catechesis, liturgy, and theology that are still kept alive in both East and West.
Beginning with the appeal from the apostle Paul to "Shun the worship of idols" (1 Cor. 10:14), the pontiff explained what idols are: "The word 'idol' comes from the Greek and means 'image', 'figure', 'representation', but also 'ghost', 'phantom', 'vain appearance'. An idol is a delusion, for it turns its worshipper away from reality and places him in the kingdom of mere appearances. Now, is this not a temptation in our own day – the only one we can act upon effectively? The temptation to idolize a past that no longer exists, forgetting its shortcomings; the temptation to idolize a future which does not yet exist, in the belief that, by his efforts alone, man can bring about the kingdom of eternal joy on earth! . . . Have not money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even for knowledge, diverted man from his true destiny?"
Benedict XVI recalled that the condemnation of idolatry is the condemnation of sin, but not of the sinner; on the contrary, man is called to truth and to conversion, to discover God through the use of reason. But "How do we reach God?".
"Communion with the Body of Christ", the Eucharist, is the means by which we are helped to free ourselves from idols, because we discover the true face of God: "Millions of times over the last twenty centuries, in the humblest chapels and in the most magnificent basilicas and cathedrals, the risen Lord has given himself to his people, thus becoming, in the famous expression of Saint Augustine, 'more intimate to us than we are to ourselves' (cf. Confessions, III, 6, 11)". And again: "The Mass invites us to discern what, in ourselves, is obedient to the Spirit of God and what, in ourselves, is attuned to the spirit of evil". "He alone [Christ present in the Eucharist] teaches us to shun idols, the illusions of our minds".
The urgency of celebrating the Eucharist as an instrument of truth for the faithful and for the world impelled the pope to make an appeal to the young people: "Do not be afraid! Do not be afraid to give your life to Christ! Nothing will ever replace the ministry of priests at the heart of the Church! Nothing will ever replace a Mass for the salvation of the world! Dear young and not so young who are listening to me, do not leave Christ’s call unanswered".
His final invitation was to mission, to communicate the faith in truth and love with those around us: "When we speak, do we seek the good of our interlocutor? When we think, do we seek to harmonize our thinking with God’s thinking? When we act, do we seek to spread the Love which gives us life?"
And he concluded: "I entrust you, dear Christians of Paris and France, to the powerful and merciful action of the God of love who died for us upon the Cross and rose victorious on Easter morning. To all people of good will who are listening to me, I say once more, with Saint Paul: Shun the worship of idols, do not tire of doing good! May God our Father bring you to himself and cause the splendour of his glory to shine upon you! ".
"Have not money, the thirst for possessions, for power and even for knowledge, diverted man from his true destiny?"
Where I've quibbled with Jung, strictly as an unprofessional mind you, is with his so-called "collective unconscious." This is where, for Jung, the archetypes abide which form the basis of one's "complexes". Archetypes act as though they each had their own consciousness, if you will allow; their own willfulness. Dig deep enough with your analyst, and you will arrive in the presence of the archetype which (or who) forms the kernel of your complex.
Balderdash, right? Former president of the C. G. Jung Foundation, Jeffrey Burke Satinover, has done outstanding work deconstructed the "collective unconscious" of Jung and showing its direct relation to paganism.
But, in my opinion, Jung's system still does yeoman's work describing the inner life and outer manifestations of the human mind in human culture. Yes, it is pagan; so is René Girard's unregenerate cultural template, the "primitive sacred." And, unlike Freud, Jung recognizes the collective nature of the psyche in his analytical psychology, albeit in a metaphysical way quite alien to Girard's mimetic theory.
The thing is, both seem helpful to understanding the dilemmas of the modern crisis. Girard lays bare the mimetic nature of unredeemed human culture, stripping us of the illusion of the autonomous self; Jung describes the uncanny similarity and power of inner thoughts, images, and motivations among all peoples, religions, and ethnic groups undetectable to the scrutiny of the anthropologist but quite predictable and recognizable to the inner eye of the analyst.
For example: Jung's system would see Loki in Norse myth as a depiction of the "trickster" archetype. This archetype, one could observe, has as little concern for the welfare of humans as concern for Balder. This trickster archetype one might say has been working deviously, nefariously, for decades among human cultures - unrecognized, unheralded, ignored by a reductionist race of beings who cast out the baby of allowing for such powerful influences with the bath water of supernaturalism. Like an imp at the basis of such thinking and behaving as "free love" and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Trans gnosticism, the trickster archetype degrades the humanith literally into a degenerate, self-loathing, self-extinction-seeking race of beings.
Like a naughty, little boy, the trickster archetype trashes and then runs away to find new mischief and havoc to raise. Or perhaps Mars strides among "street youths" in a Parisian slum, if you want to analyze another archetype whose monumental presence is ignored but present in today's hazardous world.
Jung, like Girard, still has much to contribute to human awareness and welfare. Even if one doesn't believe in archetypes, one should respect their powerful, illusory (?) influence as Jung described them. Or, as a wiseman once said, just because you don't believe in ghosts doesn't mean you shouldn't or won't be afraid of them walking in the dark.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Jesus Christ is, as Bailie quips, the "invitation" from the Triune God to enter the trinitarian perichoresis of John Damasene; the Catholic Church is the "R.S.V.P." of humanity to become, as it were, converted persons in a community of con-substantiality (Gr. homo-oussia) and mutual self-donating love (Gr. agape') with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
If this all seems a bit of heavy weather and rough-sledding, I can only respond by apologizing and saying: you probably have not felt the near proximity of death. Yet. But for those who have like myself, the orthodox Catholic notion that our anthropology and personhood is a gift from the Word made flesh (Jn 1:14) who is "one in being with the Father," and who sacramentally bestows and infuses con-substantiality upon and with us in His divinization ... well! That, my friends, is good news indeed.
In fact, I'd call death "trading up."
It is an old fact of Christian theology that concupiscence "darkens the intellect" -- or, as I prefer to put it in more colloquial terms, "Sin Makes You Stupid."
The visceral reaction to Sarah Palin by the Enemies of the Normal in the Obama camp is a picture-perfect illustration of this.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Wisdom will enter your heart,
Discretion will watch over you,
Saving you from the way of evil men,
from men of perverse speech,
Who leave the straight paths
to walk in ways of darkness. (cf. Prv 2:10-13)
Every day offers a choice: what sort of reading, what sort of TV, what sort of conversation, what sort of friends will we choose to welcome into our home?
And what sort of candidate will we vote for in November? (Click on this last question to view a great new video.)
And from FIDELIS
Is Todd Palin a Cubs fan?
September 4th, 2008 by Brian Burch
The RNC has released the Palin biography video that was cut from the program last night (apparently because Rudy went too long).
Take special notice at 1:38 into the film. It looks like Todd Palin is wearing a Cubs hat! Sorry readers, Fidelis is based in Chicago. And the team is teasing the city with the prospect of breaking the 100 year curse. Come October, should the Cubs make it that far, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Obama pulling a Rudy Giuliani in the front row at Wrigley Field grabbing some free publicity. Then again, Obama did rip Cubs fans last week saying baseball at Wrigley is “not serious.”
Dear St. Christopher, you have inherited a beautiful name---Christbearer---as a result of a wonderful legend that while carrying people across a raging stream you also carried the Child Jesus. Teach us to be true Christbearers to those who do not know Him. Protect all travelers who often transport those who bear Christ within them. Amen.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
The question came down to: Who are you going to trust to tell the truth? Someone within this cultural "hall of (smoke and) mirrors," or someone who, historically, with credentials that hail from beyond human funny business?
The honorable Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi need to realize that if something walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably IS a duck. That is, if they want to step away from the teachings of the Catholic Church it is within the purview of their free will, being as they are made imago dei. But they are NOT being Catholic, by definition.
In fact, they are being Protestants. They see the individual conscience as a final arbiter of truth, and this is, in fact, heresy.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, New York, SEPT. 5, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Marriage should be protected as a relationship between a man and a woman, affirm Jewish and Catholic leaders.
Rabbis and bishops joined in affirming their common beliefs regarding marriage in a joint statement titled "Created in the Divine Image." The statement was signed by Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld of Young Israel Synagogue in Kew Gardens Hills, New York, and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, with other Catholic and Jewish leaders
The bishops and rabbis affirm "our shared commitment to the ordinance of God, the Almighty One, who created man and woman in the divine image so that they might share as male and female, as helpmates and equals, in the procreation of children and the building up of society."
In June, California became the second U.S. state, after Massachusetts, to allow same-sex marriages. The governor of New York earlier this year instructed authorities in his state to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in states or countries where the unions are legal.
The Catholic-Jewish statement contests the claim that refusing to recognize same-sex unions as marriage is discrimination against homosexuals.
"We recognize that all persons share equally in the dignity of human nature and are entitled to have that human dignity protected, but this does not justify the creation of a new definition for a term whose traditional meaning is of critical importance to the furtherance of a fundamental societal interest," they said.
The statement continues: "God's design for the continuance of human life, as seen in the natural order, as well as in the Bible, clearly revolves around the union of male and female, first as husband and wife, and then as parents. A unique goal of marriage, which is reproduction and the raising of families, exists apart from that of same sex unions, which cannot equally participate in this essential function."
The rabbis and bishops affirmed that a legal classification of private relationships between people of the same gender "dilutes the special standing of marriage between a man and a woman."
"Since the future of every society depends upon its ability to reproduce itself according to this natural order and to have its young people reared in a stable environment, it is the duty of the state to protect the traditional place of marriage and the family for the good of society," the religious leaders added. "While others have the freedom to disagree with us, we hope that even those outside of our common religious traditions will recognize that we speak from the truth of human nature itself which is consistent with both reason and the moral life.
* * *
This group of rabbis and bishops clearly understands the fragile nature of prohibitions and their role in the present cultural "crisis of distinctions." The proponents of chaotic antinomianism - a.k.a. the gnostic myth of unbridled "I can and must do anything I can think to do" - are slaves to the overarching power of the primitive sacred's false transcendence. It only feels like freedom.
The difference between an Al-Qaeda terrorist and a western hedonistic pansexualist is negligible.
Read more here
Saturday, September 06, 2008
h/t from Catholic and Enjoying It! Mark Shea's blog
And the women sang to one another as they made merry, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him; he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands; and what more can he have but the kingdom?" And Saul eyed David from that day on. (1 Samuel 18:7-9)
* Victor commented on Mark's post. He wrote: The first person to print up "Palin 2012" bumperstickers and yardsigns will get my money.
Friday, September 05, 2008
The best thing a Christian can do, therefore, is in no way to wish to be the master of his own moods, but simply to allow himself to be led by his living faith into whatever is presented to him in the course of time. Again to be led by faith means to remain in perpetual contact with the source and to have no desire to seek one's own adventure. The greatest adventure after all is God's redeeming action for the world in his Son, and if we follow the Son's course we shall not run the risk of losing ourselves on the slippery paths of self-inverted love. "In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins." (1 Jn 4:10).
p 102 Engagement with God
MYF (Mrs Yeoman Farmer) and I can't presume to read the mind of God, and aren't privy to any requests He may have made of Sarah Palin's family. But it seems to us that it is quite possible, and perhaps even probable, that at this extraordinary juncture in our nation's history she might be one of the instruments He has chosen to share her gifts of leadership --- five children and all. And perhaps it is precisely because she has five children, including the one whom 90% of other families would have exterminated, that God has chosen to call her onto the national stage at this time. She may be the one God wants to use to promote and defend an authentic culture of life, at precisely the time when the other side has nominated a man who thinks basic questions about when babies get human rights are "above his pay grade."
As I said, I can't presume to read the mind of God. But I do know this: I'm sure glad Queen Isabella didn't retreat behind the castle walls with her kids, when it was clear God was calling her to a great role on the world stage. If God is calling Sarah Palin to that same stage...well, God bless her and her family for answering that call.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
I've never heard of Will Wilkinson, but this piece has some "primal" thoughts that have to be reckoned with. He's scathingly honest, finding Sarah, well, sexy. I find it refreshing, actually, that thinking men don't get [too] distracted by bimbos and other brain-dead offerings of the female persuasion. But consider this:
Palin exudes sexual confidence and maternal authority, which in a relatively conservative culture like ours is the most recognizable and viscerally comprehensible form of female power. It makes a lot of men uncomfortable, but that’s because it’s the kind of female power they are most often subject to, and most often fail to successfully resist. I spent much of my life taking orders from women a lot like Sarah Palin — women like my mother and my Iowa public school teachers. Indeed, it makes a lot more emotional sense for me to feel led by by a woman like that than by some hotshot Air Force pilot. When a guy with a buzzcut says “jump,” I say “screw you.” When a woman like Sarah Palin says “jump,” I am inclined to deferentially inquire into the requirements of this jump.
Now I could quibble about the words "power" and "authority" which are not interchangeable, but I understand what he's saying. Is this what sets Sarah apart? Is it so primal that it has gone undefined thus far? It fits with our Catholic paradigm of authority coming top-down from God through the "great chain of being."
Ontologically, I think she's onto something about Sarah.
Last night's performance was quite simply one of the best, and most effective, political speeches I've ever seen.
He lists a number of good talking points about Palin's speech last night, but one that stuck out for me was this:
10) I'm getting tired of hearing the word "poised" to describe her delivery. She did indeed exhibit great poise. But I started to wonder...is "poised" the female equivalent back-handed compliment that "articulate" is for blacks? ... Still...has anyone heard "poised" used to describe a man's performance?
Bottom line: we are tremendously excited now on the Republican side. For many of us, who were supporting McCain reluctantly or to block the alternative, we are now juiced about supporting this ticket --- and helping Sarah Palin move ahead on the national stage.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
My experience with cancer this past April showed me that, even surrounded by my family, prayed for by loved ones, friends, and complete strangers near and far, death and the fear of death is a lonely thing to endure. It is a dark night of the soul, borrowing from Saint John of the Cross.
I am back to the same distance I was running prior to surgery, lifting the same weights, doing the same number of pull-ups (almost). But I will know the same corporal, visceral, gut-wrenching fear again, if I'm blessed. That is, I hope I'm not hit by a bus.
The church history professor back at Duke said that persons in the Middle Ages prayed for a long, lingering death so as to get properly ready to meet their Maker (as opposed to today's weakling-wish to die in one's sleep). And I agree.
Unlike some I presume, I did not feel particularly close to God, feel any comfort or experience any "lights" or easing of the fear of death. It was a true casting myself upon a faith that my prima materia (a) had a Source outside my (puny, finite) self; (b) that Source has chosen to reveal himself in Scripture, the Catholic Church's Tradition, and knowledge of Whom is vouchsafed in the Magisterium; and (c) that same revealing and covenant-making Source of my being can certainly be trusted to see this (puny, finite) self past biological cessation, if he wants to.
That's the best it gets for me. I still feel a physical fear of death that all the runs and weights lifted cannot abate. I do, however, get some comfort in the honesty of the Gospels saying that Our Lord felt the same kind of fear in the Garden of Gethsemane. Or so I read it.
I don't want to die, but I really don't get any choice. Neither do you, you just haven't experienced its awe-full presence near you, maybe. So I plan to keep my eyes open, hang on to the faith of the Church and her saints, and be pleasantly surprised. I hope.
But when they do they're a thing of beauty and a joy forever.
Just ask Doug Flutie! [h/t: New Advent]
Quote of the Day: "...hell hath no fury like a leftist who encounters a female or African-American who doesn't need him. Thus, the high-tech lowbrow lynching of Clarence Thomas and the current unseemly attacks on Sarah Palin." - Gagdad Bob
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Born on a mountain by the Yukon Sea
Oiliest state in the land of the free
Raised with a gun so she knew philosophy
And kilt a caribou when she was only three.
Sarah, Sarah Palin! Queen of the wild frontier!
She fought single-handed in the beauty pageant war
Till the blondes was whipped and big hair restored
And while she was handling this 'permanent' chore
She made herself a brunette forevermore.
Sarah, Sarah Palin! Dressin' for com-pa-ny!
When her child had Downs, her grief was gall
The Dems said Sarah, just abort it all
And lose yourself in the glacier tall
But she answered instead the motherhood's call.
Sarah, Sarah Palin! Spirit of democracy!
She went to the capital and served a spell
Pluggin' up the pork and corruption as well
Took over Juneau so we hear tell
And told the Bridge To Nowhere to go to hell!
Sarah, Sarah Palin! Servin' her country well!
John McCain called and said you ain't done
This here election has just begun
So she packed up her laptop and her virtual gun
And lit out a'smilin' for Washington.
Sarah, Sarah Palin! Leadin' the blogoneers!
Her land is biggest, and her land is best
From grassy plains to the mountain crest
She's ahead of us all in meetin' the test
We're followin' her legend right out of the West.
Sometimes a person is faced with a choice.
The bitter irony is that the term "pro-choice" is almost exclusively used to justify the refusal to take responsibility for a choice.
"Freedom," said Benedict XVI, "isn't opting out; it's opting in."
What he meant by that was that we are given the gift of freedom so that we can use it in ways that are ennobling and selfless and courageous. We opt in by choosing, not the easy way out, but the responsible way forward.