Thursday, July 31, 2008

Graham Greene Wrote It First

Philokalia Republic reminds us of Graham Greene's story of a failed Eucharistic desecration. [h/t: New Advent]

Fr Cantalamessa - Loaves & Fishes


ROME, JULY 31, 2008 (Zenit.org).- One day Jesus was on his way to a solitary place along the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
The Gospel of Matthew tells the story: “But when he disembarked he found that a large crowd was waiting for him. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, and he cured their sick.

"When it was evening, the disciples approached him and said, ‘This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.’

"Jesus said to them, ‘There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.’ But they said to him, ‘Five loaves and two fish are all we have here.’

"Then he said, ‘Bring them here to me,’ and he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds.

"They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over -- twelve wicker baskets full. Those who ate were about five thousand men, not counting women and children.”

It was the most joyous picnic in the history of the world!

What does this Gospel tell us? First, that Jesus was worried and “his heart was moved with pity” for the whole man, body and soul. He distributes the word to the soul, and to the body he offers healing and food. You will say: So why doesn’t he still do that today? Why doesn’t he multiply bread for the many millions who are starving on the earth?

Read all of Father Cantalamessa's They All Ate and Were Satisfied - Gospel Commentary for 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pulling the Plug on the Sacred Cows


A great Girardian clip, don't you think?

Scandal - René Girard

The word skandalon (in the New Testament) means a 'mimetic stumbling-block,' something that triggers mimetic rivalry ... Skandalon becomes the inability to walk away from mimetic rivalry, an inability that turns rivalry into an addiction, servitude, because we kneel in front of those who are important for us, without seeing what is at stake. The proliferation of scandals, meaning of mimetic rivalry, is what produces disorder and instability in society, but this instability is put to an end by the scapegoat resolution, which produces order. Satan casts out Satan, meaning that the scapegoat mechanism produces a false transcendence that stabilizes society, through a satanic principle, and the order cannot but be only temporary, and it is bound to revert, sooner or later, into the disorder of scandals.
- René Girard, Evolution and Conversion

Babies and Distributism

"Now a child is the very sign and sacrament of personal freedom. He is a fresh free will added to the wills of the world; he is something that his parents have freely chosen to produce and which they freely agree to protect. They can feel that any amusement he gives (which is often considerable) really comes from him and from them, and from nobody else. He has been born without the intervention of any master or lord. He is a creation and a contribution; he is their own creative contribution to creation. He is also a much more beautiful, wonderful, amusing and astonishing thing than any of the stale stories or jingling jazz tunes turned out by the machines. When men no longer feel that he is so, they have lost the appreciation of primary things, and therefore all sense of proportion about the world. People who prefer the mechanical pleasures, to such a miracle, are jaded and enslaved. They are preferring the very dregs of life to the first fountains of life. They are preferring the last, crooked, indirect, borrowed, repeated and exhausted things of our dying Capitalist civilization, to the reality which is the only rejuvenation of all civilization. It is they who are hugging the chains of their old slavery; it is the child who is ready for the new world."
— G.K. Chesterton - The Well and the Shallows/Babies and Distributism
tip to Dawn at The Dawn Patrol

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Everyone Needs a Best Friend Like Cletus

Dissenters to Truth


Cardinal James Francis Stafford relates in the California Catholic Daily his personal experience of 40 years ago with the issuance of Humanae Vitae in “In 1968, something terrible happened in the Church”

St Martha the Dragon-taming Saint

Saint Martha: Note dragon.
tip to Linda at Under the Gables

"Despite her reputation as a domestic saint, invoked for helping cook, running a household and maintaining the family peace, she's also a dragon-taming saint," and in her portraits she is always portrayed as having tamed a dragon who lays at her feet. Such is the civilizing achievement of Saint Martha.

If only Jill Bolte-Taylor (from my previous post) had spent more time getting to know Martha and Mary instead of being in the science lab all the time I truly believe her experience with the stroke would have been even more revealing.

Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm Glad I Didn't Go Today

Matthew Arnold at Creative Minority Report warns, X-Files is a Hateful Anti-Catholic Movie. I am vvery near to giving up going to movies altogether.

My Stroke of Insight - Jill Bolte Taylor



Clip is 18:44 long. If you can not get video to run click here to access website and watch video from there.

I had a stroke back in 2000 and much of what Jill Bolte Taylor describes in this presentation, I too felt. However, one difference for me, throughout my experience, from the very onslaught through to the healing process, I felt safe, snuggled securely in God's Hands, never questioning the outcome, regardless of what that may have been. The intellectualizing of what had happened to me did not really kick in until I came face to face, or rather when my entire sensory system became over-whelmed by the shock of massive stimuli walking into the first large retail chain store during my recovery. I'll leave that story for another time.

It was during the intellectualizing period (seeing the phenomenon of my stroke) that my center of gravity really began to shift. To help put this into words I quote from Anthony J. Kelly's book, The Resurrection Effect:

"when the given phenomenon begins to be appreciated in its own right and in the conditions of its appearance, the intentionality of the all-competent rational subject is reversed... A critical and even contemplative reverence for the given phenomenon becomes primary, thus allowing it first of all to be received on its own terms. The preconceptions and fixed points of our routine perceptions and representations are called into question, and our whole mode of perceiving is reordered."
I feel that my studies in mimetic theory and Girardian thought had helped to prepare me for this gravitational shift - taking me from a perspective that was ego-centered to an outward contemplation of something more.

All this can get hard to explain, so I will let Jill Bolte Taylor take you on a journey that hopefully will help you step out of yourself.

Dynamis of Human History

The continuous teaching of Christ's message through the diffusion of the Gospels ... is exactly what transforms the world, not in a sudden and abrupt way, but gradually, through a progressive assimilation of his message, which is often readdressed to be used against Christianity itself with the Enlightenment philosophy or with contemporary atheism, which is above all a protestation against the sacrificial elements of religion ...The Gospel texts are the real power behind the modern demystification of unanimous violence.
- René Girard, Evolution and Conversion

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Converting England and Us

Check out Athos' post and this article he links.

from the article:

“…if Catholic Christianity conveys in human form the divine revelation which is the greatest truth, goodness, and beauty man can know, then all the elements of truth, goodness, and beauty in the theory and practice of other forms of Christianity and indeed in other faith traditions would attain their crown in this [Catholic] context, would come to their intended fulfillment.”

Father Nichols’ description of the cultural challenges of the New Evangelization after Vatican II rings true far beyond Land’s End: our problem today is less the new atheism than the new apathy, an apathy that has grown exponentially amidst uninteresting and soggy Christianity, material wealth, and the decline of any public consensus that some things are, simply, true. Like those who will read him with appreciation here in the former colonies, Father Nichols also recognizes that the challenge of spiritual boredom in post-Christian culture cannot be met by Catholic Lite. It can only be met, and the 21st century world converted, by Catholicism in full.

Your Will is Good -- While My Own Desires are Blind

tip Magnificat

From Abandonment to Divine Providence

At the beginning of each day, and of meditation, Mass, and Communion, declare to God that you desire to belong to Him entirely, and that you will devote yourself wholly to acquiring the spirit of prayer and of the interior life.

Make it your chief study to conform yourself to the will of God even in the smallest things, saying in the midst of the most annoying contradictions and with the most alarming prospects for the future: “My God, I desire with all my heart to do Your holy will, I submit in all things and absolutely to Your good pleasure for time and eternity; and I wish to do this, Oh my God, for two reasons; first: because You are my Sovereign Lord and it is but just that Your will should be accomplished; secondly: because I am convinced by faith, and by experience that Your will is in all things as good and beneficent as it is just and adorable, while my own desires are always blind and corrupt; blind, because I know not what I ought to desire or to avoid; corrupt, because I nearly always long for what would do me harm. Therefore, from henceforth, I renounce my own will to follow Yours in all things; dispose of me, Oh my God, according to Your good will and pleasure.”
-- Father Jean-Pierre De Caussade, S.J.

Clean Up In Jurassic Wing (Again!)

If this guy roared and chased, he'd be out of a job fast. [h/t: Daily Kraken]

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lay Not Violence At God's Feet

While it is true that the Holy Spirit blows where it will, freeing persons from slavery to the primitive sacred insofar as one renounces our human addiction to the victimary mechanism, it is of utmost importance to realize the categorical uniqueness of the biblical revelation. As René Girard has said,
Revelation is the reproduction of the victimary mechanism by showing the truth, knowing that the victim is innocent and that everything is based on mimetism ... The more we understand the truth of this description, the more we understand that it discredits not only those who crucified Jesus, but all the myth-makers in the history of humanity ... The mimetic theory rectifies the figural and shows what is most essential: the violence which is not divine but human. (My emphasis).
What this clearly means is that part of the workings of the Holy Spirit, perhaps the most essential part of all, is our realization that God is never the one demanding violence, bloodshed, and/or killing of our fellow human beings. Never.

This is the clear message of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. We will know that a corner has been turned when we can come to agree as humans of all ethnic backgrounds and religions that it is the not divine which is asking us to show fealty and faithfulness by doing violence to other humans. When, like Abraham not sacrificing Isaac, we counter holy writ made holy by God with God's own intent, we will be on to something.

Maybe it is the Question, 'What is Love?' that has us all stumped

How about we start with married love?

POPE PAUL VI Humanae Vitae July 25, 1968

Married Love

(Married) love is above all fully human, a compound of sense and spirit. It is not, then, merely a question of natural instinct or emotional drive. It is also, and above all, an act of the free will, whose trust is such that it is meant not only to survive the joys and sorrows of daily life, but also to grow, so that husband and wife become in a way one heart and one soul, and together attain their human fulfillment.

It is a love which is total—that very special form of personal friendship in which husband and wife generously share everything, allowing no unreasonable exceptions and not thinking solely of their own convenience. Whoever really loves his partner loves not only for what he receives, but loves that partner for the partner's own sake, content to be able to enrich the other with the gift of himself.

Married love is also faithful and exclusive of all other, and this until death. This is how husband and wife understood it on the day on which, fully aware of what they were doing, they freely vowed themselves to one another in marriage. Though this fidelity of husband and wife sometimes presents difficulties, no one has the right to assert that it is impossible; it is, on the contrary, always honorable and meritorious. The example of countless married couples proves not only that fidelity is in accord with the nature of marriage, but also that it is the source of profound and enduring happiness.

Finally, this love is fecund. It is not confined wholly to the loving interchange of husband and wife; it also contrives to go beyond this to bring new life into being. "Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the procreation and education of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute in the highest degree to their parents' welfare."

Tip from Dawn Eden

Our Will is the Slippery Slope of Desire

A painting of Aquarius by Johfra

"All projects of liberation in our world that start from the presumption that we cannot question desire -- that desire is the ticket to our liberation -- end up by offering us victims and an ideology that justifies that victimization."
- Gil Bailie

Humanae Vitae - Love and Life

VATICAN CITY, JULY 25, 2008 (Zenit.org).- It's been 40 years, and the critics of "Humanae Vitae" still don't get that it's about love, says a Vatican spokesman.

Jesuit Father Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said this today in response to a half-page ad appearing in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, which voices disagreement with the Church's stance on artificial contraception.

The ad is in the form of an open letter, signed by more than 50 groups, that asks Benedict XVI to lift the Church's ban on artificial contraception, which they say has had "catastrophic effects," particularly in the fight against AIDS.

Catholics for Choice, a Washington-based pro-choice group, spearheaded the initiative, published on the 40th anniversary of the 1968 encyclical "Humanae Vitae."

Father Lombardi denounced the ad explaining that it was "nothing new," and that the 50 signatories are groups that have for years "found themselves at odds with the magisterium of the Church."

The spokesman said the major error of the letter is that it misses the point of "Humanae Vitae," that is to say, "the link between the human and spiritual relationship between spouses."

"In the entire letter, the word 'love' doesn't appear," he added. "It seems as if this doesn't interest the signatories at all. For them, it seems that the hope of couples and the world is only in contraceptives. Read all.
To this, one can only add what Gil Bailie says about criticism of the Church's Magisterium and the idolatry - and tyranny - of desire: "All projects of liberation in our world that start from the presumption that we cannot question desire, that desire is the ticket to our libertion, end up by offering us victims and an ideology that justifies that victimization."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Prayer Leads One to a Calling - Vocation

Reading the following quote on Vocation from Gil Bailie's blog:
“It is the nature of a vocation to appear to men in the double character of a duty and a desire. . . . To follow the vocation does not mean happiness: but once it has been heard, there is no happiness for those who do not follow.” – C. S. Lewis
reminded me of our own need to realize that ones calling into vocation does not come from some deep and inner subconscious or yearning. Hans Urs von Balthasar, in his book entitled "Prayer" sums it up this way:
In obeying his calling a person fulfills his essence, although he would never have been able to discover this, his own archetype and ideal within himself, in his nature, by descending into the center of his natural being, his superego, his subconscious or super conscious, by studying his pre-dispositions, yearning, talents, his potential. Simon the fisherman could have explored every region of his ego prior to his encounter with Christ, but he would not have found "Peter" there; for the present, the "form" summed up in the name "Peter", the particular mission reserved for him alone, is hidden in the mystery of Christ's soul.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

99 Balloons



Eliot was born with an undeveloped lung, a heart with a hole in it and DNA that placed faulty information into each and every cell of his body. However, that could not stop the living God from proclaiming Himself through this boy who never uttered a word.

The Truth IS Out There


A good piece on the The X-files - I Want to Believe (forthcoming film) and the X-files phenomenon at Taki's by Tom Piatak, The Truth About “The X-Files”

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is It Packs or Is It Parks?

Regardless, a GREAT POST by Athos! Maybe we could get him to post it over here?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Josh Hamilton - Ex-Junkie / Slugger


Creative Minority Report posts why it was A Lousy Night To Be An Atheist at the All-Star Game last week.

This, by all understanding of Saint Thomas Aquinas, is what is meant by the cardinal virtue of justice: giving God his due.

You go, Josh!

Benedict XVI Nixes "Proportionalism"

In the hope and determination that a sex abuse crisis never again bring scandal and dishonor to the Church, John Allen reports, Benedict XVI examined factors that led to it in the first place.

Echoing points he made in the United States, the pope told reporters that it's "essential for the church to reconcile [with victims], to prevent, to help, and also to see guilt in these problems." In a little-noticed coda, however, Benedict went a step further than he did in America, identifying a potential culprit underlying the crisis: a moral theory known as "proportionalism."

Here's what the pope said, in English, according to the official Vatican transcript of his remarks:

"We have to reflect on what was insufficient in our education, in our teaching in recent decades. There was, in the '50s, '60s and '70s, the idea of proportionalism in ethics: It held that nothing is bad in itself, but only in proportion to others. With proportionalism, it was possible to think for some subjects -- one could also be pedophilia -- that in some proportion they could be a good thing. Now, it must be stated clearly, this was never Catholic doctrine. There are things which are always bad, and pedophilia is always bad. In our education, in the seminaries, in our permanent formation of the priests, we have to help priests to really be close to Christ, to learn from Christ, and so to be helpers, and not adversaries of our fellow human beings, of our Christians." (My emphases)

Read all of Searching for the hows, whys of sex abuse

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Parrish - Look Up

Stars (1926) - Maxfield Parrish

More than just another of Parrish's "girl on a rock" paintings, Stars represents for me both the true vulnerability of being human and our need for transcendence.

After the horrendous slaughter of Pentheus in Euripedes' THE BACCHAE, old Cadmus tells his daughter Agauë to "turn your eyes this way - look at the sky" to clear her mind of the madness of Dionysus.

Where do we go, to whom do we turn, to "look up," clear our minds of the madness of the tumult around and within us?

The first Vicar of Christ, Saint Peter, said it long ago: "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God" [Jn 6,68-69].

We do not have to re-invent the wheel, begin at square one in each new generation - a comforting thought since ours is a generation so at-odds with ontological Being that it seems to despise the thought of begetting another.

Christ began the Church moving through history these 2,000 years plus. Its patrimony, truth, goodness, beauty, and grace are there for all to imbibe and partake.

Who are you going to trust for true transcendence?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Meet Italy's heavy metal brother (+video)

Dressed in his traditional brown robe, sandals and twirling the rope around his waist, 62-year old Friar Cesare Bonizzi is no ordinary heavy metal rocker. (Click on highlighted text to see article)

But as guitarists around him grind out heavy notes, the long-white-bearded Capuchin, a former missionary in Ivory Coast, has no qualms bobbing his head and shouting lyrics about alcohol, sex, tobacco and life in general into his microphone.

Describing himself as a "preacher-singer", Bonizzi has been singing for over a decade, and last month wowed heavy metal fans at Italy's Gods of Metal festival, where he performed with his band Fratello Metallo (Metal Brother) alongside groups such as Iron Maiden.

"About 14-15 years ago, I went to a Metallica concert and fell in love with heavy metal after I saw all the energy there," Bonizzi said after a rehearsal in a Milan recording studio. "I find (heavy metal) the most energetic, the most alive music."

A member of the Catholic Capuchin order in Milan, Bonizzi began singing heavy metal after having first started with what he calls "light music with slight rock influence".

This month punk label Tre Accordi Records, whose website offers titles including Life Stinks of Human Beings by The Valentines, released his second heavy metal album Misteri, or mysteries, inspired by a group of southern Italian women who sang about Jesus' mother Mary.

Bonizzi, whose car even has a poster of his album and "preacher-singer" scrawled on the side, is not the only musical monk enjoying fame.

In Austria, Cistercian monks released an album of Gregorian chants on the same record label as Amy Winehouse and Eminem.

Under the picture of our Heavy Metal Monkster make sure to link to Heavy metal monk wows fans to get a dose of his music.

All I got to ask is did he have to be a Franciscan?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Behold the Man

The Christ - Gustave Doré
[h/t: Nick Milne @ Daily Kraken]

Serving Christ Our Light

Dawn Eden interviews Maronite Sister Marla Marie Lucas, who has founded the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.

I had the joy and privilege of meeting Sr. Marla Marie at Lady Dawn's apartment blessing several months ago. We chatted either side of the dip on Dawn's kitchen table as strange hands passed tortilla chips to and fro between us.

Read all of Dawn's interview with Sr. Marla Marie: Serving Christ Our Light.

Sock It to Me, Baby

A pair of doctors give ample evidence of the precious gift of life within mothers-to-be, like this 11-week Old “Boxing” Baby. [h/t: Spirit Daily]

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Anglicans Heading Home to Rome

Damien Thompson at Holy Smoke reports on the remarkable move of Anglicans toward Catholicism:
The Most Rev John J Myers, Archbishop of Newark and Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, told a conference of ex-Anglicans on Friday that "we are working on expanding the mandate of the Pastoral Provision [of Catholic parishes using Anglican-inspired services] to include those clergy and faithful of 'continuing Anglican communities'.
Read all of Ex-Anglican communities to become Catholic, Rome confirms.

Stepping Up to His Call (from Aramis' hometown)

When he was playing professional soccer in Chile, Chase Hilgenbrinck would seek comfort in the churches to satisfy his spiritual needs and remind him of childhood Sundays spent at Holy Trinity in his hometown of Bloomington, Ill.

Even after moving back to the United States last Christmas to play Major League Soccer—a dream of his, but just one of them—Hilgenbrinck felt the pull of his religion.

“I felt called to something greater,” Hilgenbrinck said. “At one time I thought that call might be professional soccer. In the past few years, I found my soul is hungry for something else.

“I discerned, through prayer, that it was calling me to the Catholic Church. I do not want this call to pass me by.”

Read the full article HERE

Holy Trinity Catholic Church of Bloomington, IL

An Example of The Gift and Grace of Vocation

Posted by Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei (SV novice):

About 39 days ago I exchanged the very blue, and somewhat ambiguous Sister of Life postulant outfit, for the flowing folds of the holy habit and became one of eleven proud new novices. Needless to say, after walking the streets of Sydney, Australia for a week, there isn't a flicker of ambiguity about what I am about, and the powerful witness of the habit.

Read all of the post HERE.

And check out of great pictures of the land down under from the Sisters of Life HERE.

A True Franciscan at Heart

With a love for animals, as this photo shows, Pope Benedict XVI surely has a Franciscan heart.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

If It Be Your Will


Leonard Cohen

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will.

Comfy Homes Built on Quicksand

(Sign is part of a book cover.)

A couple excellent posts by Athos Desire, Ideology, & Victimization and
1,000 Cuts to Catholicism. I like putting things together so when I read these 2 posts I thought, wow, he is sending us a pretty clear and vital message. I can't help but think that those who wish to identify themselves Christians and yet feel that they are too busy or uncomfortable to "be church" - that is to love and serve God and one another - in this age of (post or) anti-Christianity, need a wake up call. We may simply have had it too easy. We need to drop the silly notions of 'individualism' and 'looking for our-self' and take up our calling to be 'e-persons' - that is we are ecclesial, eschatological, Eucharistic and evangelical persons. We are "persons" made in the image and likeness of the Trinity and we need to step up and claim our personhood within a Roman Catholic sacramental life.

I end with this spirited quote from Karen Hall over at Some Have Hats that I thought was appropriate. (Tip to our friend Gil Bailie from his talk in Session 8 of the Emmaus Road Initiative for the quote.)

Here's the bottom line: all of you compassionate, open-minded people are building yourselves very comfy houses on quicksand. There is only one "Ark of Hope." And dumb, archaic, illogical, legalistic, narrow-minded hate-mongering me? I'm going to be on it.

You Can Run On For a Long Time


tip to Karen Hall @ Some Have Hats

When they said repent I wonder what they meant
When they said repent I wonder
When they said repent...
When

1,000 Cuts to Catholicism

Catholic faith and morals, it comes as no surprise today, are under a barrage of attacks. The herd of Christianities - indebted to the Church for all the beliefs that they hold so dearly - has been culled. The enemies of the Christian faith feel certain that these can offer no real resistance, will die off one by one, or can be picked off easily at a latter time. So time is now ripe for the death by a thousand cuts to the Source and Summit of the Christian faith, the Catholic Church.

Professor and student choose a frontal attack, desecrating the Holy Eucharist. Hollywood continues its dissing of morals, producing blockbuster films that mock and ignore the Sacrament of Matrimony with heterosexual couples living together - National Treasure I & II - and procreating children with nary a thought of marriage: Superman Returns (2006), Hellboy II (2008), Mamma Mia! (2008) While the "brave" BBC depicts a Muslim beheaded by a modern-day Templar group in a "what-if" turnabout fair play mental experiment.

And now a new film is due to arrive: Hamlet II (2008) from those wacky folk who brought us South Park. Here, Our Lord is depicted in a high school play as a sexy object of derision, ridicule, and sacrilege. No doubt aimed at the 11-21 age group, this will make school corridors even nicer places to live, move, and have being for young Catholics.

Nietzsche reputedly said that the way to attack the Christian faith is by eroding its ethic. Defenders of the sanctity and high adventure of the Sacrament of Marriage, the domestic church, the Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, and Mother Church are needed today. This is the task given to us in these days of the attack by "a thousand cuts." Will we live up to our responsibility, young and old, well and sick, male and female, by means of our giftedness, exercising legitimate defense and virtuous chivalry?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mass'keteer Hijinks, Bawdy, & Bombast

The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, & Song: A Spirited Look at Catholic Life & Lore from the Apocalypse to Zinfandel (Bad Catholic's guides) by John Zmirak. Has anyone read this?
(Shamelessly lifted from The Curt Jester) And finally Bemobbed (1946) nose-thumbing:

A bit of Inter-dividuality

“Only when we see ourselves in our true human context, as members of a race which is intended to be one organism and ‘one body,’ will we begin to understand the positive importance not only of the successes but of the failures and accidents in our lives. My successes are not my own. The way to them was prepared by others. The fruit of my labors is not my own: for I am preparing the way for the achievements of another. Nor are my failures my own. They may spring from the failure of another, but they are also compensated for by another's achievement. Therefore the meaning of my life is not to be looked for merely in the sum total of my achievements. It is seen only in the complete integration of my achievements and failures with the achievements and failures of my own generation, and society, and time. It is seen, above all, in my own integration in Christ.”

-Thomas Merton
No Man Is An Island
[New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955 - page 16]

Sunday, July 13, 2008

How R. Girard Serves the Magisterium

And evidence that I'm a slower reader than Aramis

From the Introduction to Girard's Evolution and Conversion, Pierpaolo Antonello and Joao Cezar de Castro Rocha write:
Rephrasing Simone Wei's statement that 'before presenting a "theory of God", a theology, the Gospels presents (typo!) a "theory of man", an anthropology, Girard maintains that Christianity is essentially the cultural and moral acknowledgement of the sacrificial origins of our culture and our society. The Gospels become the hermeneutical key that allows us to rethink both mythology and ancient texts as the progressive coming-to-terms of humanity with the violent matrix of the cultural order. Christ's sacrifice is the moment of complete arbitrariness of the victimary mechanism on which the sacred and symbolic order of archaic societies was built and kept stable. In this sense, Girard goes against common (academic) assumptions, and takes on board the Judaeo-Christian tradition as having primary responsibility for the de-mythification and de-sacralization of the world ... The end of (conventional primitive sacred) religion, and even scientific atheism itself, has been produced by a (faith): Christianity.
Thus, we can capsulize Girard's insight by way of our friend and mentor, Gil Bailie, in the words of Henri-Marie Cardinal de Lubac, "Christianity is not one of the great things of history: it is history which is one of the great things of Christianity."

Joy of Chivalry

The Vigil - Percy W. Muncy (Weidensall Hall - Gettysburg College)

In the remote chance that one did not find time to read The Chivalry of Saint Joseph by Stratford Caldecott of Second Spring, here it is once more, gentle reader.

If one must set aside more time than reading the above allows, try a nice page by a Knight of Columbus who takes this vocation of chivalry seriously, one Steven Forgette.

And, finally, if, gentle reader, it enters your mind that chivalry, heroism, fortitude, and other such virtues are a dream of long-gone days, take heart: chivalry is most decidedly NOT dead.

Soapboxes Not In Hyde Park


From the irrepressible Daily Kraken (Nick Milne).

Obedience to the True Love Offered is Liberation

Reflecting more on a previous post.

The Annunciation
Edwin Muir (1887-1959)

Now in this iron reign
I sing the liberty
Where each asks from each
What each most wants to give
And each awakes in each
What else would never be,
Summoning so the rare
Spirit to breathe and live.


Discern the words from the Magnificat from Saturday, July 12

Psalm 119
Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work." (Jn 4:34)

To our cost, we sometimes think that obedience to God's will is an iron cage. On the contrary, God wills that everyone be saved: set free, made whole, brought to joy of the kingdom. Mary pondered and did the will of God not reluctantly, out of a sense of martyred duty, but with her whole heart, in delight.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

John Paul II the Great

Wojtyla! [h/t: Real Clear Religion] Note to Aramis: note their header

Girard and Schwager on Sacrifice & Archaic Religion

Girard speaking in

I remember that discussion and I think he is right. I wrote an article on my latest position on the subject, which was published in a volume in honour to Raymund Schwager. Schwager thinks like me that we need to see a spontaneous scapegoat phenomenon behind the crucifixion, as well as behind the myths. The whole difference rests on the recognition of this phenomenon, that cannot be found in myths, but is there in the Gospels. But the most extraordinary thing in the Gospels is that this recognition comes from Christ himself, rather than the evangelists, who do everything they can in order to follow Christ, and overall they accomplished it. I would like to write a total Christian interpretation of the history of religion that would really be the history of sacrifice. It would show that archaic religions are the real educators of mankind, which they lead out of archaic violence. Then God becomes victim in order to free man of the illusion of a violent God, which must be abolished in favour of Christ's knowledge of his Father. One can regard archaic religions as a prior moment in a progressive revelation that culminates in Christ. Thus, to those who say that the Eucharist is rooted in archaic cannibalism, instead of saying 'no', we have to say 'yes!'. The real history of man is religious history, which goes back to primitive cannibalism. Primitive cannibalism is religion, and the Eucharist recapitulates this history from alpha to omega. All this is essential and once it is understood, there is a necessary recognition that the history of man includes this murderous beginning: Cain and Abel. To put it bluntly, we cannot have a perfectly non-sacrificial space. In writing Violence and the Sacred and Things Hidden I was trying to find that non-sacrificial space from which to understand and explain everything without personal involvement. Now I think that this attempt cannot be successful.
- pgs 216-217

You Drive Us Crazy - You Are Germany


From the ladies at The Pious Sodality of Church Ladies.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Amazing Grace & the Eucharist

From the ridiculous to the sublime, Matthew at Holy Whapping sends us over to the Pious Sodality of Church Ladies who post this photo of Princess Grace. It nearly makes me want to turn away, the moment is so holy, beautiful, and, in a sense, personal: Three sure proofs that God loves us in one convenient photo: the Eucharist, the priesthood, and the existence of Grace Kelly.

Cheers from Aramis and Athos

Aramis hoists the Golden Glob blog award to Athos with dripping sincerity. Athos mimetically returns the appreciative gesture with the Loving Cup of decaf. Cheers!

Doug Barry Interview - Zenit

Doug Barry of Radix has been developing a camp for fathers and sons. This is an opportunity for teenage boys and their fathers to get away from the world's ideas of masculinity and the lies that go along with it and realize what God has always intended a man to be. RADIX Camp is about taking good young men and challenging them to become heroic.

Read all of Zenit's interview with Doug Barry, Becoming the Man God Made You to Be.

Patronal Feast Day of Our Holy Father


Franciscan Fr. Greg Friedman, OFM gives us the daily reflection and comments on the importance of St. Benedict's legacy which Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI continues today.

Here is the link:
http://www.atlanticvideo.com/clients/ccom/playflash.php?filename=flashvideo/ccom/dr/0711gf&cat=1&desc=Fr.%20Greg%20Friedman,%20OFM%20(2:26)

Saints Benedict and Paul

Special thanks to Father Mark @ Vultus Christi


Saints Benedict and Paul - see within each their understanding and obedience to God's calling. How are we doing on that score today?

This Solemnity of Our Father Saint Benedict, falling in the Pauline Year, invites us — I want to say, compels us — to reflect on the relationship between the Apostle of the Nations and the Patriarch of Monks. Saint Benedict was imbued with the Epistles of Saint Paul; he quotes the Apostle 23 times in the Holy Rule.

The Experience of Being Loved by Christ

What exactly do Saint Paul and Saint Benedict have in common? A personal experience of the love of Jesus Christ. The Apostle himself could have counseled his spiritual children to “set nothing before the love of Christ” (RB 4:21). He could have instructed his disciples “to prefer nothing whatever to Christ” (RB 72:11). Saint Benedict, for his part, surely said with Paul, “I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal 2:20).

The apostolic vocation of Saint Paul and the monastic vocation of Saint Benedict spring from the same experience of the love of Christ.

A New Person @ Womb Temperature

Thanks and hat tip to Lady Dawn at The Dawn Patrol for This is not ‘a woman’s body’

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chivalry - Ora et Labora

It is wonderful to see the way that chivalry is a laudable virtue for today. May Our Lord and Our Lady help more today come to pray and work, ora et labora, for a faithful, hopeful, and loving renewal of Christendom.

The Beauty of Nuptiality and Wonder of a Trinitarian Existence

tip to Gil Bailie in the final session of the Emmaus Road Iniatitive of the 2007-2008 season.

The Annunciation
Edwin Muir (1887-1959)

Now in this iron reign
I sing the liberty
Where each asks from each
What each most wants to give
And each awakes in each
What else would never be,
Summoning so the rare
Spirit to breathe and live.

Then let us empty out
Our hearts until we find
The last least trifling toy,
Since now all turns to gold,
And everything we have
Is wealth of heart and mind,
That squandered thus in turn
Grows with us manifold.

Giving, I'd give you next
Some more than mortal grace,
But that you deifying
Myself I might deify,
Forgetting love was born
Here in a time and place,
And robbing by such praise
This life we magnify.

Whether the soul at first
This pilgrimage began,
Or the shy body leading
Conducted soul to soul
Who knows? This is the most
That soul and body can,
To make us each for each
And in our spirit whole.


Let us gaze once more on the first stanza:

Now in this iron reign
(this constraint found in a sacramental marriage)
I sing the liberty
(the paradox of that sacramental sensibility - freedom joined in obedience)

Where each asks from each
What each most wants to give
And each awakes in each
What else would never be,

(perfect description of nuptiality and Trinitarian existence)

I Don't Get It

It's puzzling to me. My background is Evangelical Protestantism. I spent 20+ years as an United Methodist pastor. I visit my family in the Midwest, but it's still puzzling. What I mean is this: nearly all of those whom I left for full communion with the Catholic Church - which for 1,500 some odd years was the only Church in the West (not counting the schism with the East) - love and believe in Jesus Christ. But they have no use for the "one holy Catholic and apostolic Church."

Nearly all of them seem to boil the Christian faith down to a sincere kind of "hunch" set of criteria which, ipso facto, includes the denial of the Catholic Church. Never mind that everything that they love most about the Christian faith came directly from and as a result of the unwavering protection of the dogmas, doctrines, and tenets by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church for those 1,500 years prior to the "Reformation" (and on to this present moment). They set great store in the individual conscience as a trustworthy guide and stand by their pastor so long as (a) he doesn't commit an egregious act like shop-lifting or adultery and (b) he strokes their egos sufficiently.

The scapegoating of the Catholic Church is a given: it goes without saying that papal authority and the grasping, power-hoarding princes of the Church are evil. But is it obvious that Our Lord came to found a Church, an ekklesia, large enough to serve all the world's peoples, and not just our little flock with its quaint Midwestern quirkiness and pot-luck suppers?

No. It's not obvious.

And that makes me sad, sad because whereas I, too, believe the Catholic Church is filled with sinners, by definition, I believe that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, One in three, Blessed Trinity, established a single Church for ALL peoples of the world. Christ did not come to found a Fellowship here and there, a Brethren hither and yon, that couldn't possibly dispense sufficient grace for all of God's children on earth.

Chesterton wrote:
I could not understand why these romancers never took the trouble to find out a few elementary facts about the thing they denounced. The facts might easily have helped the denunciation, where the fictions discredited it. There were any number of real Catholic doctrines I should then have thought disgraceful to the Church . . . But the enemies of the Church never found these real rocks of offense. They never looked for them. They never looked for anything . . . Boundless freedom reigned; it was not treated as if it were a question of fact at all . . . It puzzled me very much, even at that early stage, to imagine why people bringing controversial charges against a powerful and prominent institution should thus neglect to test their own case, and should draw in this random way on their own imagination . . . I never dreamed that the Roman religion was true; but I knew that its accusers, for some reason or other, were curiously inaccurate.
I was welcomed into the Catholic Church, historically the Headwaters of God's grace in our world. I had to enter because I experienced Jesus' Real Presence in the Sacrifice of the Mass as no where else. I am hooked on Jesus. I just can't understand why others would rather scapegoat Mother Church than come home to where we all belong.

Apathy and Inactivity in the Practice of Virtue


tip to DarwinCatholic

"What’s wrong, that you keep gazing on the ground?"
My guide began to say to me, just when
We had both climbed a bit above the angel.

And I: "A strange new vision makes me trudge on
With such mistrust: it bends me inwardly
So that I cannot stop from thinking of it."

"You have beheld," he said, "that ancient witch
For whom alone those now above us weep:
You saw how man sets himself free from her.

"That is enough! now beat your heels on earth
And turn your eyes up to the lure spun from
The mighty spheres by the eternal King."
(Purg. XIX, 52-63)

(The Siren, thus, is the symbol of those secondary goods which grow under our desire to appear to be great goods unto themselves, and thus turn us away from seeking the true goods. And on these next terraces, Dante will encounter sins which result from excessive love of lesser goods. - commentary)

Here we enter into one of our major problems today, the den of distractions; the inability to focus due to all the options 'coupled' with the current "mandate" to remain 'politically correct' with every choice. For me it was this sin of sloth (the modern view of the vice, as highlighted by its contrary virtue zeal/diligence, is that it represents the failure to utilize one’s talents and gifts in a lack of proper discernment and action towards a vocation) that had so grounded me in an inactivity in the practice of virtue. A major benefit that I have come to treasure in my journey into a Franciscan vocation was a freedom through a pursuit of frugality which helped lead me to an understanding of the Gospel's poverty of spirit thus keeping me focused on the things of heaven and not so much on the trappings of the flesh.

Thanks for your previous post and I admire your trust in the Holy Spirit. I hope and pray for those who have no thought of venturing onto "recognized paths of sanctity" will be able to persevere in this principal of applicability and frugality. Or better yet, I pray that the Holy Spirit will move those keen in this principal of applicability and frugality to find stability and support so as to persevere by coming home to the Church, bolstering up those within the Church who may struggle with this way of life.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Haute Frugality - Americans are Adaptive

As a guy who found a slew of superb suits at a Goodwill Store for $15 each (taken there apparently by someone whose waist had grown past a size 34) with names like Hart, Shaeffer & Marx, Botany 500, and Hickey Freeman, I applaud the New Frugality as reported by Allison Linn of MSNBC:
Now, as the reality of a down economy begins to sink in, experts say consumers are starting to embrace the simple life: staying close to home, cooking more, planting a garden and even delighting in bargain hunting. Some retailers, trying to make the best of the situation, have begun looking for ways to latch onto the trend as well.

[ ... ]

“Being frugal is not anything to be ashamed of. It’s just the way of life,” he said. “It’s something you have to do to, if not to beat the system, then to keep up with it.”
Read all of Is Frugal the New Black? - As down economy sets in, some are embracing the simple life. By the way, with a $15 charge for alterations and dry cleaning, I like my suits very much.

Pray for Sinners

...when our Lady stood at the grotto, the first command she gave was not, Heal the sick; was not, Convert the unbeliever. Her command was, Pray for sinners. Man's sin, that is our real malady; man's impenitence, that is the crying problem.
- Ronald Knox, Captive Flames

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Matt Harding - World Dance

If you missed this, sit down, breathe deep, seek peace, and dream large with Matt Harding. [h/t: New Advent]

Bob Newhart - Honorary Mass'keteer

Bob Newhart on a group of NON-experts trying to disarm an unexploded bomb. Now translate: the Four Mass'keteers trying to apply Girardian Mimetic Theory locally, nationally, and/or globally! Enjoy!

Responding to Evil

The very last quote from Gil Bailie's tape set "The Poetry of Truth and the Truth of Poetry" is one by JB Langley Casserly.

There is a sense in which we can validly talk about the problem of evil and that significantly enough is the one sense in which the Christian can intelligibly claim that the problem has been solved by Jesus Christ and is therefore in principle solvable by us in and through Jesus Christ. The true problem of evil is not the speculative problem of making sense of the fact of evil in terms of a Christian theodicy, but the problem of learning so to live with evil and to endure its sting without reciprocation; that faith may not be confounded; hope extinguished; and charity transformed into bitterness and hate. That existential problem Christ solved triumphantly on the cross.
He does not mean that we do not take on or fight evil, he is simply pointing out our mimetic nature, that if we respond to evil in its own terms then we confound faith, extinguish hope and turn charity into bitterness and hate – and we lose. Faith, hope and charity of the Gospel is the way of talking about evil, providing a way to exit the labyrinth of violence, and as we live in and through Jesus Christ we participate in the hope of the world.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Mimesis and Theory


Product Description

Mimesis and Theory brings together twenty of René Girard's uncollected essays on literature and literary theory, which, along with his classic, Deceit, Desire, and the Novel, have left an indelible mark on the field of literary and cultural studies. Spanning over fifty years of critical production, this anthology offers unique insights into the origin, development, and expansion of Girard's "mimetic theory"—a groundbreaking account of human interaction and of the genesis of cultural forms.

Arranged chronologically in order of publication, the essays run the gamut of Western literary culture, from Racine and Shakespeare to the existentialist writings of Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre. The authors who have most influenced Girard—Stendhal, Proust, and Dostoevsky—receive extended treatment. In addition, Girard's observations on the changing landscape of literary studies are chronicled in several essays devoted to psychoanalysis, formalism, structuralism, and post-structuralism.

Though at times overshadowed by his work in religious and cultural anthropology, Girard's work in the area of literary studies has been the wellspring of his thought. All of the essays contained in this volume develop the idea that the greatest authors are also the greatest students of human nature, for their artistic intuitions are generally more penetrating than the analyses of the philosophers or the social scientists. Thus Girard does not offer us a theory of literature but literature as theory.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Holiness the Father Reveals to Children

from the Magnificat

With us ordinary folk there is always a division between what is exterior and what is interior, between truth and opinion, between what we would wish and what we are able to do. The mark of the saint is that he has achieved unity within himself. His life, we think, must be a perpetual sacrifice; because the exterior order of things holds our attention, and we suppose that the interior order must separate us from it; and also because we stand in fear of opinion, since it seems to bring truth into derision; and again because we take refuge in our weakness which, as we judge things, constitutes an insurmountable obstacle to the fulfillment of our most cherished desires. The saint knows no such fear or embarrassment. He always commits his whole self and is therefore never concerned about loss or gain; so he is not conscious of making any sacrifice. How indeed could he sacrifice external things seeing that they are for him no more than interior things in an outward manifestation? How could he sacrifice his own imperfection seeing that he is conscious of an inward power that is constantly making good this same imperfection? He would tell us that by refusing to tread the path of holiness we are sacrificing real goods without which these apparent goods have neither substance nor savor.

- Louis Lavelle from his book, "The Meaning of Holiness [as exemplified in four saints: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Francis de Sales"] currently unavailable

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Saint Joseph Lake, Notre Dame, Indiana

Steyn Cleared

Jill at The Business of Life celebrates the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission dismissal of the complaint of the Canadian Islamic Congress against Maclean's magazine for printing an excerpt of Mark Steyn's America Alone.

Read all of A Small But Satisfying Victory

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Are you serious about your life? God is, so don't you think you should be too?



Whether it is a vocation of marriage or one of the religious life don't short change your calling. Ennie Hickman shares three easy steps to help you know God's will.

CONVERSION - Do we get it? Is it really so important?

From The Magnificat

[The human being, in all ages of history,] resists the consequence of the mystery made flesh, for if this Event is true, then all aspects of life, including the sensible and the social, must revolve around it. And it is precisely man’s perception of being undermined, no longer being the measure of his own self, that places him in the position of refusal.

— Monsignor Luigi Giussani

Political Truth About Abortion

Barack Hussein Obama, Deal Hudson reports at Catholic Online, has an issue with infanticide.

The Roman Catholics for Obama Web site has no mention of his opposition to the Born Alive Infant's Protection Act.

I commend Creative Minority Report's poignant (and momentarily graphic) video below:

Friday, July 04, 2008

Moral Force - Pope Benedict XVI


from Benedictus - Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI

...It is becoming ever clearer that only moral values and strong convictions, and sacrifices, make it possible to live and to build the world. It is impossible to construct it in a mechanical way...

If there is no moral force in souls, if there is no readiness to suffer for these values, a better world is not built; indeed, on the contrary, the world deteriorates every day, selfishness dominates and destroys all. On perceiving this the question arises anew: but where does the strength come from that enables us to suffer for good too, to suffer for good that hurts me first, which has no immediate usefulness? Where are the resources, the sources? From where does the strength come to preserve these values?

It can be seen that morality as such does not survive and is not effective unless it is deeply rooted in convictions that truly provide certainty and the strength to suffer for - at the same time, they are part of love - a love that grows in suffering and is the substance of life. In the end, in fact, love alone enables us to live, and love is always also suffering: it matures in suffering and provides the strength to suffer for good without taking oneself into account at the actual moment.

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVIParish Church at Introd (Aosta Valley) Monday, 25 July 2005

Third Order Franciscan - St. Elizabeth of Portugal


This morning at Mass we learned a good deal about St. Elizabeth of Portugal and her constant determination and work for peace and reconciliation. On this, our independence day, it was good to lift up St. Elizabeth of Portugal who "inaugurated what today we would call social works in her kingdom, set up hostels for pilgrims and travelers, provided for the poor, established dowries for poor girls, founded a hospital and a house for penitent women at Torres Novas, and built an orphanage."

Churchgoing Men & Fathers

W. Bradford Wilcox opines at MercatorNet: Churchgoing men are not a hangover of the old patriarchy but a new breed who are closely connected to their families.

Hartline Vs. Obama

James Hartline - a self-proclaimed "former homosexual" - questions the merits of Barak Hussein Obama's theological acceptance of SSA in A Former Homosexual Confronts Barak Obama's Distorted Gay Theology. [h/t: Spirit Daily]

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The most beautiful sacred voices

Chant_Music_For_Paradise

In Need of Being Converted from Ideas of Deficient, Defiant and Destructive

From The Magnificat

[The human being, in all ages of history,] resists the consequence of the mystery made flesh, for if this Event is true, then all aspects of life, including the sensible and the social, must revolve around it. And it is precisely man’s perception of being undermined, no longer being the measure of his own self, that places him in the position of refusal.

— Monsignor Luigi Giussani

The Sound of Silence


The Sound Of Silence (3:08) P. Simon, 1964

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turn my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never shared
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools," said I, "you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence

From Gregorian Masters of Chant.

Excerpt from Evolution and Conversion - Dialogues on the Origins of Culture


From the Forward:
Evolution and Conversion is intended as a reassessment of Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, 30 years on, with attention to unresolved problems, and an opportunity to respond to critics. - Michael Kirwan

Excerpt from the beginning of Chapter 3 (pg 96)

According to Michel Serres, your work puts forward a Darwinian theory of culture because it 'proposes a dynamic, shows an evolution and gives a universal explanation of culture;. Is this actually your aim?

Why not? I think that Darwin is too naive in his conception of religion, I believe there is something extremely powerful and admirable in his way of arguing, but I have always been fascinated by the way he thinks. This is the reason why there is a Darwinian perspective in the process of hominization as I present it in Things Hidden. I feel a strong kinship with his way of arguing: 'one long argument from the beginning to the end'. The theory of natural selection seems to me quite powerfully sacrificial. After all, Darwin, in resorting to Malthus's theory of population, stresses the importance of death just as much as the importance of survival. In some sense it is representing nature as a super-sacrificial machine. Any great scientific discovery that represents a paradigm and a gestalt shift is strongly determined by the larger cultural context in which this discovery developed. I think that the discovery of natural selection is marked by the time in which it was conceived. It is part of the modern discovery of sacrifice as the foundation not only of human culture but also of the natural order.