Tuesday, July 31, 2007

6 Degrees to the waning of Ontological Density

Artist visualization of the 6 degrees of separation link

Excerpt from tape 3 The Gift of Self by Gil Bailie:

Lack of ontological density means a self that is insubstantial and it is seeking in self-defeating ways some way of substantiating itself. There are 2 ways of substantiating the self: 1) that way that perfectly parallels the cultural system that generates false transcendence; and 2) the experience of true transcendence. The false transcendence is generated out of the sacrificial scenario and true transcendence corresponds with prayer and the God revealed by Christ on the Cross – which can never be the false transcendence because it is the God of the victim and not the victimizers. The god of the victimizer is the false transcendence.

There is a psychological parallel to this: real ontological density is what the prophets experienced; it is what Jesus extremely experiences when he said, I do nothing but what the Father bids me to do and the Father and I are One. This is supreme ontological density. Prophets, mystics, saints, the humble faithful, etc, etc have partaken of that ontological density, to one degree or another, at the heart of it is real transcendence. The simulated form of ontological density is the desire of others – if I can get enough others to desire me or to admire me – even to hate me – I can feel that I exist. A simulation of ontological density is generated socially by somebody putting herself or himself in the eyes of others.

For tape 3 excerpts click here.

Tape 4 excerpts click here.

For me, Aramis, I have to admit, this point has become more and more obvious. I have become more aware of some people who are close to me who have little ontological density - basically they rely on being a 'character' seeking approval anywhere they can find it. Some have been diagnosed and take medications and some live on the edge - only a short fuse from blowing up. Logic and reason do not strengthen dialogue nor relationships with them and so I end most days down on my knees in prayer for them.

Hilaire Belloc - Warning

Counselor Gen over at Real Clear Religion gives her readers a fine sample from the historian Hilaire Belloc's prescient warnings regarding the disintegration of Christianity and the resurgence of the Crescent here.

The Gift of Self - Gil Bailie - tape 3 excerpt

Quote from Rene Girard:

“Desire (compulsive, preoccupation of the other) leads to madness and death if there is no victimage mechanism to guide it back to 'reason' and to engender this 'reason'. The mysterious link between madness and reason takes on a concrete form.”

Gil comments: The mysterious link between madness and reason is that “reason” is gemmed up out of the sacrificial (scapegoat) scenario. Reason always needs differences and the sacrificial crisis or the crisis of the contagion of desire destroys all differences and therefore makes reason impossible. There can be no reasoning going on in a world where there are no differences. Reason always needs distinction and the dissolution of all those distinctions is what occurs in crisis of undifferentiation – the crisis of desire – or what is brought about by an avalanche of mimetic desire.


Gil continues

...desire (compulsive, preoccupation of the other) leads to madness and death if there is no victimage mechanism to restore reason; and now there is no victimage mechanism to restore reason; so the old logos – the old forms of knowledge (epistemology) is dying – it cannot function because the apparatus for generating its necessary distinctions out of the undifferentiated chaos of an avalanche of desire – it doesn’t work anymore. So less and less are we able to put-to-work the old epistemological strategies.

Read more excerpts from tape 3 here.

The following is a thought of Aramis: With the dying of the old logos - the waning of the old epistemological strategies, if you will, means that as we continue to argue and debate within this knowledge base the more and more we will be falling into mimetic doubles and scandal. There is only one way out and that is by abiding in prayer, being a reflection of Christ to and for the other - for without transcendence, knowledge, even knowledge that reveals the problems of desire is useless and it can only lead to rivalry and violence in an attempt to re-kindle the victimage mechanism.

Poor Clares in Malawi

Anchoress links this wonderful YouTube.


Italian Elvis Priest - Is he real or is he Altar-native Rocker?

To God be the Glory by Antoniu Petrescu & Cecilia Hwang

The music starts 2:48 into this video clip.

If you are not sure what you just watched, check this site out.

And if Italian does not stump you, click here for his web page.

This one, Antoniu Petrescu - Elvis tribute -An American Trilogy - live,

is almost over-the-top.

tip of the hat to Dawn

Oh ... Now I Get It

An Allegory, It's Just an Allegory [HT: Paracelsus]

Monday, July 30, 2007

Quote of the Day -- Henri de Lubac

We do not know what man is, or rather, we forget. The farther we go in studying him, the greater our loss of knowledge of him. We study him like an animal or like a machine. We see in him merely an object, odder than all the others. We are bewitched by physiology, psychology, sociology, and all their appendages.

Are we wrong, then, to pursue these branches of learning? Certainly not. Are the results bogus, then, or negligible? No. The fault lies not with them, but with ourselves, who know neither how to assign them their place nor how to judge them. We believe, without thinking, that the 'scientific' study of man can, at least by right, be universal and exhaustive. So it has the same deceptive - and deadly - result as the mania of introspection or the search for a static sincerity. The farther it goes, the more fearful it becomes. It eats into man, disintegrates and destroys him.

-- from Paradoxes of Faith

Girard in the Public Square

Chris Morrissey alerts to this well-written piece on religion and Girard in Prospect.

Pick the Felony

A pictorial quiz.

Interview with an Exorcist

Saint Francis exorcised demons in Arezzo -- Giotto
Spero News offers this interview with exorcist Father José Antonio Fortéa. Never let it be said the 3 Mass'keteers fails to offer a broad purview of the Catholic world. Of special interest, from a mimetic theory perspective, is the difference between possession and removing oneself from a state of grace. And, yes, he speaks to the (yawn...) issue of Harry Potter. Oh, and yes: don't expect Hollywood here ...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

William Holman Hunt - PRB

The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple (1860)
is a painting by William Holman Hunt intended as an ethnographically accurate version of the subject traditionally known as "Christ Among the Doctors", an illustration of the child Jesus debating the interpretation of the scripture with learned rabbis. The passage illustrated is from the Gospel of Luke, 2:41ff:
Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" But they did not understand what he was saying to them.
Hunt depicts the moment at which Mary and Joseph find Jesus, while the rabbis in the temple are reacting in various contrasting ways to his discourse, some intrigued, others angry or dismissive. This depiction of contrasting reactions is part of the tradition of the subject, as evidenced in Dürer's much earlier version. -- Wikipedia

Catholic Education Resource Center Concern

Catholic Education Resource Center features an article by Charles Colson. It is a warning regarding the "Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007." Our friend, Gil Bailie, blogged on the same concern back in May here (WARNING: graphic idiocy depicted).

When less than 2% of the U. S. population sways legislative and the judicial branches of government to this relativist nonsense -- be in constant prayer.

Sunday Night Live with Fr. Benedict Groeschel

Another good one. Can be dowloaded directly here on audio.

Pope Benedict's book, Scripture scholarship, the Historical/Critical method, devotion, and other stuff. Given to a large audience at EWTN's Family Celebration. Worth a listen!

"Ordinary Christians"

From rather arid, parched Protestant familial Indiana, I, Athos, am enjoying a pre-sacramental fast before the sun rises this 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time. I am reading from Tolkien – A Celebration, edited by Joseph Pearce. In one of the essays, Tolkien is quoted from an essay he presented in honor of Charles Williams. His words, I think, counter one of the greatest criticisms I hear leveled at the Catholic Church; namely, the old saw about "old men who won't relinquish power." Tolkien, for all of his scholarly awards and fiction notoriety, always considered himself only an "ordinary Christian." Perhaps this is the reason why:
...in God's Kingdom the presence of the greatest does not depress the small. Redeemed Man is still man. Story, fantasy, still goes on, and should go on. The Evangelium has not abrogated the legends; it has hallowed them, especially the "happy ending". The Christian has still to work, with mind as well as body, to suffer, hope, and die; but he may now perceive that all his bents and faculties have a purpose which can be redeemed. [71]
And so, we see that in God's οικονομ1α those of us who still struggle in this deathly realm of being gauged by who we know, who knows us, our wealth, status, doxa (glory) and fama (fame), we are not so judged in the life-giving realm of God's Kingdom. In the Kingdom of God and, by grace infused extenstion, in the Church, we all stand on level ground at the foot of the Cross and before the eternal sacrifice of the Mass. We simply have differing rôles to play in the divine theodrama (von Balthasar), whether we are elves, dwarves, men, or hobbits ...

Our "ontological substantiation" comes from participating and assisting in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. It is the "source and summit" of the Catholic Church; it is the headwaters of all grace to the many Christianities downstream of Her; it is the greatest treasure for all who cherish the Church that Jesus Christ founded for us and our salvation.

"Ordinary Christians" is a noble title. There is none nobler in the realm of God's Kingdom of light and life.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Europe's Changing Skyline

The mythologist Joseph Campbell (Hero With a Thousand Faces) once said in his popular interview with Bill Moyer that the height and size of buildings tell the values of a culture. Thus, the cathedral in the Middle Ages stood tall with other buildings like baby chicks clustered around them. Then the great buildings of commerce of the Medici's told of a far different value. And now …

Watch, Laugh, and Learn

For those who missed them, and don't like to go into "Scroll Down Purgatory" as far as the Black Family Vault at Gringotts Goblin Bank, here is the website for the superb catechetical series, That Catholic Show.

Another Great Journey Home Testimony

from a young hedonist turned priest. It may be up for a few more days. Go to EWTN's siteand pull down the Multimedia menu to Archived Video. Select Journey Home on the secondary menu on the right.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Find Yourself Packing It On? Blame Friends

We get it yet we don't get it! After being made aware of Girard and mimetic theory little exercises like reading the paper becomes a whole new experience. See the following article here and re-member Girard's term 'desire' - compulsive preoccupation with the other(s). But alas, you get to the end of the article and see how 'science' bogs down under its own weight.

Interesting how the headline writer follows the Girardian/MT progression from desire to scapegoating (and you know where it goes from there...).

Also check out the link Can Obesity Spread? When you go to link a page comes up with a video and the title, "Is obesity Contagious?

We get it yet we don't get it!
Click here (wait a few seconds for it to activate) for an interesting display on OBESITY Trends in America.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Quote of the Day - Henri de Lubac

If man could enter inside himself and have a vision of himself both penetrating and sincere, simple and straightforward, he would no longer dare take refuge in all the alibis of psychological and sociological analysis. He would no longer dare to imagine that anything which is not the changing of his heart by a Stronger than He can ever free him. – Cardinal Henri de Lubac (1896-1991)

Henri de Lubac page with a listing of his books translated and published by Ignatius Press.

Jesus of Nazareth - His Dance


Athos tagged me and so as I was collecting my thoughts on Jesus I went back to reviewed Pope B16's book, Jesus of Nazareth. What a treasure this book is: speaking on the parable of The Good Samaritan, page 198-199;

"The topical relevance of the parable is evident. When we transpose it into the dimensions of world society, we see how the peoples of Africa, lying robbed and plundered, matter to us. Then we see how deeply they are our neighbors; that our lifestyle, the history in which we are involved, has plundered them and continues to do so. This is true above all in the sense that we have wounded their souls. Instead of giving them God, the God who has come close to us in Christ, which would have integrated and brought to completion all that is precious and great in their own traditions, we have given them the cynicism of a world without God in which all that counts is power and profit, a world that destroys moral standards so that corruption and unscrupulous will to power are taken for granted. And that applies not only to Africa. We do of course have material assistance to offer and we have to examine our own way of life. But we always give too little when we just give only material things."
WOW, just look at this: "Instead of giving them God, the God who has come close to us in Christ, which would have integrated and brought to completion all that is precious and great in their own traditions, we have given them the cynicism of a world without God in which all that counts is power and profit, a world that destroys moral standards so that corruption and unscrupulous will to power are taken for granted."

We have Girard's MT spelled out about as clearly as one can get. If we are NOT presenting ourselves, and our 'gifts', in the name of the Transcendent Other we will be coming in the name of the human other(s) which will inevitably work its way into ressentiment and lead to rivalrous situations, scapegoating and violence. On all levels of exchange; of interaction; of relationship this lesson is critical.

The idea of the human experience is totally wrapped up in relationship and we post-Christians have allowed ourselves to be distracted by all sorts of ‘desires’ – I mean here ‘desire’ from a Girardian perspective which is a compulsive, preoccupation with the others – that we have trivialized both, the human experience and relationship. As we have trivialized the human experience and relationship our substantiality – our ontological density wanes and we are prone to fall into greater and greater bouts of ressentiment, double-binds and scapegoating. In the long haul this scandalous spirit is what we pass on to others. So in the case of our aid detached from God to the people of Africa; they may receive a ‘good’ however, they will also assimilate that spirit of the human experience from which it is given.

There is no better way to examine our lifestyle, as recommended by Pope Benedict XVI in the quote above, then through the human experience of a relationship with Jesus who invites us into the life of the Trinity. To be able to enter into relationship with others may be what it means to be made in the image of God. “Relationship is at the heart of the Trinity” is a way of saying relationship is at the heart of who God is. To be in relationship with God is to be IN LIFE, inside the life of the Trinity. Some may say that outside of that relationship nothing exists, but think of it as the gnashing of teeth, because outside of that relationship we fall into this waning of ontological density which leads to ressentiment, rivalry and violence. Jesus, and the God of Abraham and Moses who raised him from the dead – revealing him as the Chosen One of God, and the Spirit of that resurrection let loose on the world is one way to describe the Triune God.

What does relationship look like? Do we see it as a procession characterized by order and dignity, formality, and logical progression? A dance, on the other hand, is joyous, spontaneous, and vital. The God of the Trinity imaged as dance is lively. In dance, life erupts in spontaneous celebration. God invites us into the dance of the Trinity, INTO LIFE!

In our holy history, throughout the Bible, in the life of the Church, in our own lives, we see a Triune God who invites, who crosses the dance floor, who takes us by the hand and draws us into the baptism dance of abundant life. We demur, we protest, we lack rhythm, and we even step on God’s toes. But God persists. The Triune God dignifies and reclaims us by compelling us to join the dance. (Michael A. Van Horn, Homily Service, Serving the Word, 6-2007, adapted)

But wait! Sermons all too often end there with some sentimental or romantic version of the dance. No, the DANCE brings us back to the two great commandments: 1) love God with your whole being and 2) love your neighbor; and so our part, no matter our awkwardness, is to always be inviting others into the DANCE.

Look at what we have here; God who exists in a perfect, tri-personal relationship is the image of the dance, what the Greek theologians have called perichoresis, [peri-CHOR-ee-sis] that dance of the Triune God. But this dance is not merely a description of the Godhead. This dance also describes our participation in the divine life: God invites us to join in the dance, enticing the whole world to enter into the holy life, the holy dance, the holy relationship of Trinity. However if we bring scandal to the relationship through our desire – through a negative compulsive, preoccupation with the other, then we are breaking from the dance – breaking from the relationship with the transcendence and tumbling down into ressentiment and rivalry.

Are we giving too little of ourselves in the way we have attempted to bring relief to our sisters and brothers in Africa? Giving of ourselves and our material aid – giving in this spirit of dance - in relationship is what the Church and particularly Pope Benedict XVI is prescribing and it is in this spirit of relationship that we grow in substantiality – in ontological density. And this spirit of relationship acts as a wave of faith, hope and love to envelope other relationships – other cultures and here we begin to envision true peace – the New Jerusalem can be seen descending from heaven to earth (Revelation 21:1-4; Revelation 22:1-3).

When I googled "perichoresis dance" this Rublev icon of The Trinity came up most frequently. So I end with how Gil Bailie closed his post Abraham, the father of faith which was a reflection on this same icon:

As the German poet, Rilke, said at the conclusion of his poem, Archaic Torso of Apollo:

. . . there is no place on it
that does not see you. You must change your life.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I found this exquisite image at a blog I have not visited before, Anita Moore's V for Victory!.
Jesu, joy of man's desiring
Holy wisdom, love most bright

Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned
With the fire of life impassioned
Striving still to truth unknown
Soaring, dying round Thy throne

Through the way where hope is guiding
Hark, what peaceful music rings
Where the flock, in Thee confiding
Drink of joy from deathless springs
Theirs is beauty's fairest pleasure
Theirs is wisdom's holiest treasure
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tagged - Loving Jesus +

Gen over at Real Clear Religion recently "tagged" me to respond to the "Christ Meme". The rules are as follows:

Those tagged will share 5 things they love about Jesus and must tag 5 other bloggers. Those tagged must provide a link in the comments box here with their name so that others can read them.

I have seen this "Christ Meme" elsewhere, and I doubt that there are five bloggers left who have not been so tagged, but first things first: 5 things I love about Jesus (that are hardly original):

(1) Jesus gave us a human face. The Torah was not enough, the prophets weren't enough. We needed the "Word made flesh" [John 1,14] in order to engage in positive mimesis and "catch", or better yet, fall in love with the God Who first loved us; and our neighbor as ourself.

(2) Jesus gave us full proof of God's love for us in that He went to the horrible center of human sin, offered Himself up there "for all time a single sacrifice for sins" [Hebrews 10,12], and showed once and for all that it was not God's nature that was bloodthirsty. Rather, it is the nature of fallen humanity that is. His Resurrection (and its effects) the true vindication of God's nature; namely, that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" [Romans 5,8].

(3) Jesus did not leave us with a fading memory of a hero; He gave us His "one holy Catholic and apostolic Church" and a faithful Vicar to shepherd us through the ages. In the "source and summit" of the Catholic Church, the Holy Eucharist, we are given His body, blood, soul, and divinity -- the Real Presence of Our Lord -- in this eternal sacrifice of the Mass. In the Sacraments Jesus through His Church provides all that every human being on earth needs to get to Heaven.

(4) Jesus gives us His Mother to be our Mother, and she, His perfect disciple, points us toward her Son. The Marian Church is not over against the Petrine Church; they are one and the same for all eternity.

(5) Jesus, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity (circling back to No. 1, above) shows us, reveals to us in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and through the Magisterium how to live, die, and be born again into Trinitarian life with the one, true God. Through infused grace, we can take part in obeying the Two Great Commandments (Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself) through the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. His law of love is perfect freedom.

Now, I tag:

(1) Aramis, my fellow Mass'keteer

(2) The Fair Maiden Dawn Eden

(3) The Musical Monkster

(4) Henry Karlson, and

(5) YOU, gentle reader ...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Daughters of St. Paul

Two more beautiful videos after Porthos gifted us with Angelus

Regina Coeli (Latin Easter chant)
Corpus Christi

Comments from Singingsisters about this second video:
Eucharistic procession from Chicago's Holy Name Cathedral, with background music sung by the Daughters of St. Paul ("O Sacrum Convivium," from the album "Adoration").
Translation of Latin hymn follows.
O Sacred Banquet,
in which Christ is consumed,
the memory of his passion is recalled,
the mind is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
(Antiphon to the Magnificat, Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer II of the Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord.)

One Thing Needful +

Luke 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care
that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

Gil Bailie - "Secular Sacraments"

From Gil Bailie, President of the Cornerstone Forum, a reflection on "Religious Freedom & (So-called) Tolerance":
Our greatest freedom, the freedom of religion and of conscience, is being challenged on all sides -- by Qur'an-mandated Islamic intolerance abroad as well as by homegrown "tolerance" vigilantes, who have elevated sodomy and abortion to the status of secular sacraments, and who consider Christianity's moral objections to these things to be indictable hate crimes.
Read further …


Third Man Theme

Only three top strings left on a guitar I got at a used store, but I figured out how to play the The Third Man theme on those remaining strings. But I like the original better.

If I Can't Dance to It, It's Not My Jihad

A beautiful sentiment is expressed in this music video. No word yet from Osama bin Laden on it yet. After all, Jihadist fundamentalists believe all music is haram -- forbidden.

600 B.C., Huh?

You're going to like this if you receive unannounced visits from those wonderful bicycle-riding, clean-cut, white-shirt clad Mormon lads now and then. Carson Weber has a Mormon-stumper for you, and here it is. Enjoy!

The Church & Europe

John Allen on the Vatican’s changing relationship with Europe. Jimmy Akin distills it nicely here.

Fr. Groeschel and Fr. Cantalamessa on the Trinity

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the Papal Preacher oft quoted by Athos and Aramis, is Fr. Groeschel's guest on Sunday Night Live. The topic is the Trinity. Download here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pope on Vacation 7-15-07

Chick here and imagine walking in the mountains, rosary in hand, quiet all around...

From Father Z: "On the Italian SKY TG24 there is some unedited footage of the Holy Father on vacation in the Italian Alps. Nothing spectacular happens. We just see the Holy Father relaxed and interacting with some folks. You see something of his very gentle disposition, which I got to know when I worked in the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio."

At the end of the video watch for the small child who reaches out for the cross.

Hat tips to Annunications - Michael Dubruiel and Father Z

Humility is the Word for the Day

When I read this in the Magnificat today it reminded me of the Mark Shea article that Athos posted here and how humility is such an important trait for us to have. I also think of this picture of St Clare holding up the Monstrance in defense of the monastery. She knew that it was not by her works that would save, but only by His Works. She emptied herself, rushed to Our Lord and presented Him to her enemies for protection. He must increase, but we must decrease. (Jn 3:30)

Meditation of the Day

A wise man said: The man who hides his fault cannot be saved, but the Lord has mercy on one who acknowledges his sin and repents. If you suffer injustice, the world will despise you. The Lord’s heart is set against the proud to humble them, and humility receives mercy forever.

If you take a humble role in all human affairs you will raise yourself above the rulers of the world. Let everyone see that you are really humble, and bow to others first as if they were the important ones. He who is renowned for his wisdom is humble among men, in spite of his wisdom and learning, and is wise in what he find in his spirit. Blessed is he who offers himself in everything he does, for he is raised above all.Those who make themselves humble for the Lord’s sake, and diminish themselves to the Lord, praise the Lord; and those who endure hunger and thirst for the Lord’s sake he will honor with suitable gifts.

Those who comfort others for his sake he will clothed in splendid garments, and those who are poor and in distress for his sake he will comfort with true riches…

The eyes of the Lord are on the humble: the prayers of the humble are heard as soon as they are spoken. Service and humility turn a human being into God on earth. Faith and mercy quickly lead to wisdom.

Blessed are those who for the love of the Lord plunge headlong into trials and troubles without anger or sadness; when they escape they soon reach safety in the harbor of the divinity, and through their good works come to God’s home and have rest from their troubles, rejoicing in their hope. Those who run the race of life in hope are not frightened by the trials on the way, nor do they cease from following it; on reaching the end of their course they see the Lord, and praise him for having saved from them perdition and from the many adversities they suffered in their ignorance.

John Moschus (+c.619) was a Byzantine monk and spiritual writer.


What's a GHCWLALTF? Barbara Nicolosi tells you here . Hint: it is closely related to a GHPWLALHF (Grey-Haired Priest Who Long Ago Lost His Faith) ...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

An Important Clip, IMO

This link will take you to a short (28 +/- minute) video of a very well-spoken former Jihadist who no longer agrees with the "political ideology" of imposing sharia "upon the world."

Mark Shea on Converts ...

Still Protestants At-Heart?
Read ”Cautionary Tales.”

Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. on SP

The following is the best summary I have read on the Summorum Pontificum, recommended by Amy Welborn, presented here in its entirety:

Last week, it was reported widely in the press that the Pope “was bringing back the old Latin Mass.” These reports were misleading on two counts:

First, the current Mass (the one said everyday at Jesuit Church) is already a Mass of the Latin (or Roman) Rite. It may be said in Latin without special permission. After all, Latin is the language of the Roman Rite and Vatican II itself said, “The use of Latin is to preserved in the Latin rite.” When even small changes are made in the vernacular text of the Mass (for example, from “This is the Word of the Lord” to “The Word of the Lord”), these changes are based on the Latin text, which remains normative. When I say private Masses, for example, I almost always celebrate in Latin. At Jesuit High School, we had several Latin Masses in recent years (usually for Latin classes). St Patrick’s Church, in addition to celebrating the older form of the Mass, also celebrates the ordinary form in Latin. In other words, the Pope can’t “bring back” Latin because it never went anywhere. It remains and always has been the normative language of the Roman Rite.

Strictly speaking, it’s not even true that he brought back the “old Latin Mass.” As the Pope notes, it was never officially abolished after Vatican II, not even after the Missal of Paul VI was promulgated in 1970. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, certain groups in certain parts of the world were authorized to celebrate Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Pope John Paul II expanded that privilege in 1984 and further still in 1988. Now almost every diocese in the United States has at least one Catholic church or chapel that offers the “old Latin Mass.”

So what did the Pope do? In part, the following:

1) He established the old Missal, promulgated by Pius V and reissued in 1962 by John XXIII, as an “extraordinary form” of the Mass. The Missal of 1970, the fruit of the liturgical renewal of the 20th century, remains the “ordinary” form.

2) Every priest now has the right and privilege, when celebrating “Mass without the people,” of celebrating according to the older Missal without any special permission. Such Masses may be attended by the faithful who so desire. These can be celebrated on any day of the year except during the Sacred Triduum.

3) The Pope permits and encourages pastors to celebrate Mass according to the older Missal for “stable groups of the faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition.” These Masses can be celebrated on weekdays and once on a Sunday or feast day. Pastors also should grant requests from priests and groups of lay faithful for the older Mass for special celebrations, like weddings, funerals, pilgrimage Masses, etc.

Why has the Pope made the older form more accessible?

1) According to the Pope, a good number of people, long after Vatican II, remained strongly attached to the older usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood.

2) Other people became attached to the earlier form of the Missal after enduring years of liturgical abuses and false forms of creativity in the celebration of the new Missal. In short, interest in the older form of the Mass has grown as people have experienced a loss of the sacred in some celebrations of the new Missal.

3) The Pope seems to hope that the more frequent celebration of the older form will lead to a more reverent and faithful celebration of the “ordinary form.”

4) The Pope emphasizes that there is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. “In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.”

That last point is very compelling. The Mass as celebrated by St. Ignatius, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. Frances de Sales; the same Mass that nourished Therese of Lisieux and Maria Goretti; the Mass that attracted into the Church the likes of Clare Boothe Luce and Evelyn Waugh; that Mass cannot be “harmful” or simply all of a sudden enter into the realm of “the forbidden.”

The Pope’s wise and generous action helps restore liturgical balance and can assist the Church in preserving her ancient spiritual riches. To which I say, Deo gratias!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Iowahawk 4 Pres?

This is not an endorsement. I'm just reporting.

Anyway, I'm torn between Romney and my old loyalties to Pat Paulson.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Edmund Blair Leighton - PRB

"The Accolade" (1901) - Edmund Blair Leighton (1853—1922)
Leighton was the son of the artist Charles Blair Leighton. He was educated at University College School, before becoming a student at the Royal Academy Schools. He married Katherine Nash in 1885 and they went on to have a son and daughter. He exhibited annually at the Royal Academy from 1878 to 1920.

Can This Be True? Catholics Have Become Mainstream America

Ath, do you think this flow-chart below represents fairly a model of "dumbing down" as you posted in, Complicated Key vs Dumbed-Down Faith? Or, with tongue-in-cheek, could this really be the model for raising up our faith?
The next question is, are we dumbing down our faith or is our religion raising up our culture?

The following is from The Barna Research Group:

Catholics Have Become Mainstream America

Do you remember when Catholics were a distinct segment of America, and many people wondered what to make of them? Those days are long gone, according to the latest Barna survey. Catholics are not only the largest denominational group in the U.S., but are now part of the social mainstream. The survey explored 97 facets of the lives of Catholics and compared them to national norms. The outcome is striking - and, in some cases, disturbing.

Click here to read more

I have to agree with our friend Genevieve at Real Clear Religion, CATHOLICS MUST RECLAIM THEIR SPIRITUAL AND CULTURAL DISTINCTIVENESS - see her comments on this by clicking here.

(The following are thoughts from Aramis.)

The flow-chart above represents the current educational model for science as critiqued by British science teacher Mike Horne F.G.S. (I substituted the word 'religion' for 'science' for use in this post.) He wrote how his profession has fallen-in-line with the dumbing down educational process (which I will not go into any further here).

I find it interesting that from educators as well as from catechists there is growing concerns about the dumbing down process and how it has us spiraling into what seems like a black hole of empty and barren information. From math and science to history and anthropology to religious studies ... all of these have undergone a serious thinning of their roots by such contributing factors as teaching/learning through 'sound-bytes', attention deficit, hyper-distraction, on and on. This spiraling is and has the effect of what Girard calls a crisis of desire (compulsive, preoccupation of the other).

So trying to peek my head out from within this spiraling vortex, I can barely make out a problem; how to get my arms around such a profound concept when I want only the simplified version of our Christian faith because I am caught up inside the spiraling vortex of keeping up with everyone else. (Is this what they call a crisis of priorities?) Am I the only one in this vortex?

So I ask, are we 'doing' ourselves any favors by dumbing ourselves down by stretching ourselves so thin on a steady diet of constantly 'doing'? And what is this 'doing' for us? Or better yet, does not this 'doing' originate from our desire, that is our compulsive, preoccupation of the other? Wouldn't we be wise to re-orient our desire - in other words, wouldn't we be better off abiding in the One True Source instead of being tossed to and fro for all our 'doing'?

Possibly this dumbing down is part and parcel to the dying of the old foundation of knowledge that is being destroyed by the revelation of the Gospel. But as this occurs, and all foundations crumble, including our psychological grounding, the problem is that we need to be about the business of the Gospel, as told by the Sermon on the Mount.

The following is but a very short excerpt from The Gift of Self by Gil Bailie as he reflects on a quote by de Lubac.

"There is no unique subject: no personality without otherness; no consciousness turned in upon itself; no real being without intersubjectivity; no real knowledge nor ontological density without mystery. And no man without God." - Henri de Lubac

For us studying these thoughts as we are: No real knowledge without mystery or better yet: no real knowledge without genuine transcendence. The old logos, the old religions which gemmed up their gods out of the sacrificial scenario and created a false transcendence (like I said before suddenly instead of being preoccupied with each other and then there is this crisis and then ... they are preoccupied with the gods). This is not what de Lubac is talking about. When he talks about mystery, he is talking about Real Transcendence. Just because the world is filled with false ones does not mean there isn’t a Real One. It just means we are hungry for it and we will fall for anything that simulates it. ...

Real knowledge requires transcendence now, because the other kind of knowledge was based on a false transcendence or else it has no transcendence at all and then it becomes mechanical. Enlightenment knowledge is basically mechanical knowledge, it appeals to no transcendence and therefore can work in a mundane order of things, but it cannot deal with the fundamental problem, which is our fallenness. We can take Enlightenment knowledge and crank it up as much as we can and it will create all kinds of breakthroughs, many advances in medicine and technologies, etc., etc., but it won’t do a thing about the fall because it has renounced any aspiration in that regard. But the knowledge that has something to do with the fall is going to be transcendence and it is going to require that we abide.

We fast-forward to the modern world where we increasingly say, ‘I cannot abide’ him or her, leaving more and more of us scandalized by the compulsive preoccupation with the other...

This has been a long way around to say that I invite everyone to the Emmaus Road Initiative (E.R.I.) of Gil Bailie and the Cornerstone Forum. I have found it to be a rock solid tool for reflection mixed with the Gospel and prayer - a tool right for Catholics to reclaim their spirituality and cultural distinction as well as this helps to build up the Church (you know that we Franciscans are into that). Check the times and places for the next E.R.I. near you and go to the website for E.R.I. sessions via CDs and audio files to discuss the material with others, enriching the experience and helping to pass on the faith.

Remember, "the unity for which Christ lived and died is not an abstract ideal. It is the result of hard work: suspending judgment, choosing others before self, forgiving, seeking reconciliation rather than nursing hurt pride. In other words, it requires that we die to self in Christ. The fruit? The blessing of God's peace!" -- Magnificat July 17, 2007

No 'Purity' Plus Legal Fees, Dad

Angus Howarth reports (SCOTSMAN): A TEENAGER spoke of her "disappointment" after the High Court in London ruled yesterday that she had no legal right to wear a "purity ring" to school as an expression of her Christian values.

Lydia Playfoot, 16, said wearing the ring, which is engraved with a Biblical verse, was a demonstration of her commitment to refrain from sex before marriage.

But the Millais School in Horsham, West Sussex, banned rings as contrary to its "no jewellery" policy.

Lydia, who recently left the school after completing her GCSE examinations, said the stance was "anti-Christian" as the school allowed Muslim and Sikh students to wear headscarves and religious bracelets...

Lydia's father was ordered to pay £12,000 towards the school's legal costs.

Christianity Today weighs in.

What is becoming manifestly apparent is that the Christian faith in general and the Catholic Church in particular are now (as René Girard told us years ago) the scapegoat in the declining West. How strange, yet not strange structurally, to see the three greatest foes of the Triune God revealed perfectly in the Word made flesh [Jn 1,14], Jesus Christ and his Church, in the same bed together: secular atheists, neo-pagans, and Jihadists -- an unholy trinity.

The Republic & the "Death of the Father"

Via Daniel Mitsui comes this overview of the French Revolution entitled, Operation Parricice: Sade, Robespierre & the French Revolution by Eric von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. While the article dates from 1989, it will reverberate with the overtones of mimetic theory as one reads.

The journal in which it originally appeared, Fidelity, is now the home of Culture Wars, edited by the author and lecturer, E. Michael Jones whose books, Dionysos Rising and Degenerate Moderns, are must-reads for understanding the decline of the west into neo-paganism.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Complicated Key vs. Dumbed-down Faith Alone

OCCASIONALLY, I am asked why the Catholic Church needs the Christian faith to be so confounded complex. It should be easy: just say (the magic words): "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior," and be done with it.

Please recall that these same folk are fairly responsible adults. They balance their checkbooks. They fill out their tax forms. They carry out careers that place a great loads of responsibility on their very capable minds and shoulders. And yet, when it comes to something like eternal salvation, they suddenly have the notion that it all should be dumbed down to something a 3rd grader might do quite handily. Why is that?

John Henry Cardinal Newman, one of my British Catholic convert heroes, of whom I solicit prayers each day, once said, "To be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." Now, I am not certainly not "deep in history," but I am blessed with a vision and understanding that if the Church was indeed going to be able to carry out the work of Our Lord throughout all of history and, potentially, for all the world's peoples, it would have to look from the outside, perhaps, rather ungainly. Not axiomatically comprehensible in "sound bites" or in "Four Spiritual Laws." Not aerodynamic or given to iPhone user-friendly straight-out-of-the-box "I-get-it" ease for everyone Christ came to save.

I mean, look at the Bible, for goodness' sake. The story of God's working in history is flabbergastingly complex, enormous, and overwhelming. Why now do we think things should become all Tinker-toys and Morning Recess in the age of Christ's Church, particularly when we are facing three great foes, secular atheism, neo-paganism, and Jihadists?

It takes some humility to become a member of the Catholic Church; a willingness to say that everybody is not "equal" (that Politically Correct ghost-light goal), but the ground at the foot of the Cross is level and all persons standing there are equally in need of the grace of God for salvation. It also takes a realization that in our dark world and culture of death, we need unity, visibility, and organization with the complexity that entails. Therefore, G. K. Chesterton could write about the necessary complexity of a key and the Catholic Church this way:
"The shape of a key is in itself a rather fantastic shape. A savage who did not know it was a key would have the greatest difficulty in guessing what it could possibly be. And it is fantastic because it is in a sense arbitrary. A key is not a matter of abstractions; in that sense a key is not a matter of argument. It either fits the lock or it does not ...
"A key is necessarily a thing with a pattern, so this was one having in some ways a rather elaborate pattern. When people complain of the religion being so early complicated with theology and things of the kind, they forget that the world had not only got into a hole, but had got into a whole maze of holes and corners ... If the faith had faced the world only with the platitudes about peace and simplicity some moralists would confine it to, it would not have had the faintest effect on that luxurious and labyrinthine lunatic asylum ... There was undoubtedly much about the key that seemed complex; indeed there was only one thing about it that was simple. It opened the door."

Decaf - Handmotions in Heaven

On the lighter side...you will get a kick out of Bob Rice and Chris Padgett. Bob teaches at Franciscan University in Steubenville and Chris is the former lead singer of the contemporary gospel group “Scarecrow & Tinmen.”

tip to Jeff Cavins

Rivalry Unveiled -- Alma-Tadema

Unconscious Rivals (1893) - Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

René Girard writes, "Jealous and envy imply a third presence: object, subject, and a third person toward whom the jealousy or envy is directed. These two 'vices' are therefore triangular; however, we never recognize a model in the person who arouses jealousy because we always take a jealous person's attitude toward the problem of jealousy. Like all victims of internal mediation, the jealous person easily convinces himself that his desire is spontaneous, in other words, that it is deeply rooted in the object and the object alone. As a result he always maintains that his desire preceded the intervention of the mediator. He would have us see him as an intruder, a bore, a terzo incomodo who interrupts a delightful tête-à-tête. Jealousy is thus reduced to the irritation we all experience when one of our desires is accidentally thwarted. But true jealousy is infinitely more profound and complex; it always contains an element of fascination with the insolent rival ..." (My emphases)

This is why truest and dearest friends share nearly every thing in common; they "catch" desire from one another. Favorite sports teams, favorite fashions, favorite political leanings. However, as Alma-Tadema shows in the painting above, best friends can share nearly everything in common ... except someone they both desire. One can only imagine who it was who just passed under their admiring eyes!

Ultimately, and sadly, according to Robert Hamerton-Kelly, “(The rivalrous, resentful mind) is a mind enslaved. It desires not only to possess the other, but to consume or destroy. It wishes not only to imitate the other, nor merely to possess itself in the other, but to destroy the other as the place where the self is alien to the self.”

Father Lombardi - On Unity

"Widen Your Hearts!"
ROME, JULY 15, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi says Benedict XVI's "Summorum Pontificum" and the message accompanying it are a call to "enlarging the heart," reciprocal openness and reconciliation.

The Vatican spokesman commented on the July 7 papal document written "motu proprio" (on one's own initiative) during the most recent edition of the television program "Octava Dies."

Father Lombardi explained the Holy Father's hopes by referring to a phrase the latter used from St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians: "'Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians, our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your own affections. In return … widen your hearts also!'

"Benedict XVI makes his own these words of St. Paul in the culminating point of his accompanying letter to the recent [document issued] 'motu proprio' on the liturgy, to express in a more profound way the spirit that animates him. And he continues: 'Let us generously open our hearts and make room for everything that the faith itself allows.'"
Read further …

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Age on René Girard

From a few years ago, Philip Hunt's excellent essay on Girard appeared in The Age. I was reminded of it as I read from The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, edited by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien. Hunt writes:
Girard's work shows that all human societies have mythologies. The most common is variously described as the victimage mechanism or scapegoating. Societies based on this mythology form when someone is accused as a scapegoat for the conflict that exists in society. Guilt is incidental.

Girard suggests that modern societies, too, are based on mythologies. The many symbols of nationalism - cheering the president, singing the anthem, waving the flag, and taboos and penalties against those who don't cheer, sing or wave loudly enough - all these are typical of mythologies in other societies.

The problem we have is that we do not think so.

When some wild Arab spokesman describes America as the "Great Satan" we know immediately that he is appealing to a myth. But when President Bush puts Iraq and North Korea on the "axis of evil" we react as if he is stating a fact. Are we incapable of seeing in ourselves that which we see in others?
Ouch. Tolkien also knew that if one uses the weapons of Mordor, one cannot expect to have a very "happy" ending.

A Catholic Vision for Farm and Town

From the National Catholic Reporter:
"It’s not well known that Catholics have been way ahead of Willie Nelson or Wendell Berry when it comes to a populist, environmental vision for rural America.

“ 'Environmental history intersects with American religious history in the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, with its distinctly Catholic-American environmental vision,' University of Notre Dame scholars Christopher Hamlin and John McGreevy wrote last year, adding that the conference has been completely missing from the environmental history and overlooked in the religious history.

"Consistently over its history, the conference has expressed and worked on behalf of a vision of religious, cultural, social, ethical and environmental values, all seen as part of one web of life.

"From inventing new kinds of Catholic rural communities during the Depression to countering the predations of the agri-industrial complex in recent years, the conference has served rural Catholics.

"Headquarters is a barn-red, two-story ranch house on the outskirts of Des Moines about a mile from where Interstates 35 and 80 intersect to form a crossroads of the nation.

"Its location in the upper Midwest is no accident, as it was born into and much influenced by the German-Catholic heritage of that area, which included a strong agrarian vision. Input from figures like liturgical reformer Benedictine Fr. Virgil Michel shaped the conference in its early years.

"Easily one of the most remarkable conference figures was Msgr. Luigi Ligutti, director during the 1950s, who was nicknamed the pope’s county agent.' ”

Read further …

The Gift of Self - Tape 3

Desire - Compulsive Preoccupation With the Other

Girard says,

“Desire is what happens to human relationships when there is no longer any resolution through the victim.”

"There can be no ritualistic or victimary resolution to the modern crisis. The crisis can be stabilized at different levels according to the individual’s concern, but it always lacks the resources of catharsis and expulsion.”
Click here to read my transcript of the beginning of tape 3 (a review of tape 1 & 2) in Gil Bailie's series, The Gift of Self.

The Meaning of Coredemptrix

tip to Catholic Video of the Day

In the words of the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Of course Mary is the Co-redemptrix — she gave Jesus his body, and his body is what saved us.”

These are no lightweight issues - link here.

#7 - “Suffering is Redemptive” and the “Culture of Death”

A solemn definition of Mary Co-redemptrix would be a Christian proclamation to the world that “suffering is redemptive.” The Christian example of the Co-redemptrix manifests to the world that to accept the providentially permitted crosses of our human existence is not a valueless waste to be avoided at all costs, including intrinsic evils such as euthanasia and abortion. But rather that the patient endurance of all human hardships are of supernatural value when united with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, a participation in the distribution of the redemptive graces of Calvary, both for ourselves and for others (cf. Col. 1:24).

Even the example of Mary’s “yes” to unborn life, in circumstances which could foster undue judgement and ridicule from people surrounding her, is an example of a co-redemptive “yes” that all people should say in response to the event of unborn life, regardless the circumstance.

John Paul II describes the present “Culture of Death” as a “cultural climate which fails to perceive any meaning or value in suffering, but rather considers suffering to be the epitome of evil, to be eliminated at all cost. This is especially the case in the absence of a religious outlook which could help provide a positive under­standing of the mystery of suffering.” [79]

The concrete example of Mary Co-redemptrix offers to the Church and the world the positive Christian message that “suffering is redemptive” in all possible circumstances, from Christian persecution, to terminal cancer, to “unwanted” pregnancy, to the ordinary crosses of daily life.

Chick on Dr. Mark Miravalle to see more.

Looking at this from a Girardian perspective we may say that this brings into question the whole ontology issue of where one abides. If one abides in the One True God - the God that Mary found herself standing before at Golgotha - then they abide in Real Transcendence. At this grounding is where one can have a true and honest understanding of suffering that reaches beyond to the faith, hope and love of Christ for sustenance. It is here one dies to the flesh, the negative imitation of desire (compulsive pre-occupation of the other) and is reborn in Christ.

If one however has no real grounding, only blowing from one false transcendent noise-maker to the next, one lives in a constant state of negative desire (a compulsive pre-occupation with the other).

I close asking Mary to extend her YES for enabling God's Will to be done in me.

The Prayer of Mary
From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified

Mary's Cooperative Prayer (2617)
At the Annunciation, Mary's prayer cooperated in Christ's conception. At Pentecost Mary's prayer cooperated in forming the Church, Christ's Body. God found in Mary the acceptance he had always wanted. "Let it be done to me according to your Word" (Lk 1:38).

Her Prayer of Intercession (2618)
Mary's prayer of intercession was revealed at a wedding feast. This prefigured the wedding banquet of the Lamb, when Jesus gave his body and blood for his bride, the Church. At the foot of the cross, Mary became the "mother of all the living" (Gen 3:20).

Her Maternal Prayer (2619)
Mary's Magnificat is a song of the Mother of God and of the Church. It is a song of Zion and of the new People of God; a song "of the poor" who hope in the fulfillment of God's promises.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What Theists Can

In the op/ed section of the Washington Post, a skeptical Michael Gerson nearly hits the nail on the head thematically (if not anthropologically) in his piece, What Atheists Can't Answer.
British author G.K. Chesterton argued that every act of blasphemy is a kind of tribute to God, because it is based on belief. "If anyone doubts this," he wrote, "let him sit down seriously and try to think blasphemous thoughts about Thor."

By the evidence of the New York Times bestseller list, God has recently been bathed in such tributes. An irreverent trinity -- Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins -- has sold a lot of books accusing theism of fostering hatred, repressing sexuality and mutilating children (Hitchens doesn't approve of male circumcision). Every miracle is a fraud. Every mystic is a madman. And this atheism is presented as a war of liberation against centuries of spiritual tyranny.
What Gerson sees as the problem is the lack of a foundation for morality in atheism, not a necessity to prove of God's existence, which holds no interest for him.
So the dilemma is this: How do we choose between good and bad instincts? Theism, for several millennia, has given one answer: We should cultivate the better angels of our nature because the God we love and respect requires it. While many of us fall tragically short, the ideal remains.

Atheism provides no answer to this dilemma. It cannot reply: "Obey your evolutionary instincts" because those instincts are conflicted. "Respect your brain chemistry" or "follow your mental wiring" don't seem very compelling either. It would be perfectly rational for someone to respond: "To hell with my wiring and your socialization, I'm going to do whatever I please." C.S. Lewis put the argument this way: "When all that says 'it is good' has been debunked, what says 'I want' remains."
Perhaps this is why the Holy Father emphasizes the tectonic plate division does not run between the monotheisms of Judeo-Christianity and Islam (though it will take a great deal of goodwill, charity, and infused grace for all of us to see eye-to-eye). Rather, it runs between the vacuous secularist-atheist neo-paganism that is still growing like a cancer and persons who take seriously the God Who Is.

A Change of Heart?

A bizarre story from today's Washington Post begins thus:
A grand feast of marinated steaks and jumbo shrimp was winding down, and a group of friends was sitting on the back patio of a Capitol Hill home, sipping red wine. Suddenly, a hooded man slid in through an open gate and put the barrel of a handgun to the head of a 14-year-old guest.

"Give me your money, or I'll start shooting," he demanded, according to D.C. police and witness accounts.

The five other guests, including the girls' parents, froze -- and then one spoke.

"We were just finishing dinner," Cristina "Cha Cha" Rowan, 43, blurted out. "Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?"

The intruder took a sip of their Chateau Malescot St-Exupéry and said, "Damn, that's good wine."

The girl's father, Michael Rabdau, 51, who described the harrowing evening in an interview, told the intruder, described as being in his 20s, to take the whole glass. Rowan offered him the bottle. The would-be robber, his hood now down, took another sip and had a bite of Camembert cheese that was on the table.

Then he tucked the gun into the pocket of his nylon sweatpants.

"I think I may have come to the wrong house," he said, looking around the patio of the home in the 1300 block of Constitution Avenue NE.

"I'm sorry," he told the group. "Can I get a hug?"
Keep reading ...

Did the suggestion, "Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?" make all the difference? From the viewpoint of mimetic theory, yes. The previously invisible person, famished for he-knew-not-what suddenly had every eye fixed on him, and in the invitation, "Why don't you have a glass of wine with us?" he was given a rushing-in of ontological substantiation, belonging, and entrée.

Was it true change of heart? I'd keep the security system on ...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bad Hare Day

There has to be a parable in this, and
Maybe Jimmy Carter and Monty Python have a point ...

Journey Home

Very affecting testimony from a former UK Gangster on this week's The Journey Home. It might be up as archived video up for four or five days.

1) Go to the EWTN site,
2) pull down the Multimedia menu to Archived RealVideo,
3) select The Journey Home on the secondary menu that opens up on the right.

Touching Heaven and Hell

A man, Matthew Dovel, tells ABC News that he has seen Heaven and hell; both visions transformed his life. The former he saw as a boy when involved in a pool accident. The latter gave him grace to go "cold turkey" from a $1,000-per week drug habit and found a suicide prevention non-profit. Science can't get further than amino acids, electrical impulses, and similes (natch).

But a film that is funny as hell (sorry), with astounding images, and one or two extremely right-on theological insights (like the Hebrew meaning of 'Chabod' - "glory") is Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz. This clip-vision of hell aligns pretty well with what Dovel experienced:

Missouri Puts It to Planned Parenthood

Is Missouri becoming the American Poland? And I mean that as a supreme compliment!
[Tip: J. Akin]

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

That Catholic Show #6 - You Are a Priest Forever

The Gift of Self -- Excerpt from tape series by Gil Bailie

As I revisit the tape series, The Gift of Self: Reflections on the Meaning of Christian Discipleship by Gil Bailie I will try to leave fresh notes here on our blog.

Conclusion to tape 1

"There is no unique subject: no personality without otherness; no consciousness turned in upon itself; no real being without intersubjectivity; no real knowledge nor ontological density without mystery. And no man without God."
- Henri de Lubac

Gil concludes the first session with the following:
"Either he is right or we moderns are right. The money is on the board and the dice are rolling… We moderns, by and large, have put all our faith in something other than what he (de Lubac) says. The gamble is whether or not some kind of selfhood that knows nothing of what de Lubac is talking about can retain its independence and its sanity and its civility as it moves further and further away from the biblical tradition that de Lubac is articulating."

"...note with interest: '…no real knowledge ... without mystery.' This takes us back to the Enlightenment project which was to achieve real knowledge by mere acts of rational or empirical analysis. We must take our hats off (to the Enlightenment) for it has produced a mountain of insights and information – but as Eliot says, 'Where is wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?' "

"Again, de Lubac says that it (information) looses its status as knowledge if it does not defer religiously to something greater than itself."

St Benedict's Blessing - Fruitfulness of the Spirit and Author of Heaven

Blessing to all and especially ... "to those whom he was arming against the cruelty of the world and the violence of the devil: 'Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'" (from quote below)

I, Aramis, believe that when we write or read other commentaries on the culture today about concerns over religionists terrorizing the world we must always re-member who (or what) we ourselves are birthing (see previous post, God in a World of Violence). Are we birthing ressentiment by way of getting caught up in bad imitation of the other and therefore fanning fire with fire or are we birthing Him? From the Meditation of the Day in the Magnificat today: "And of course this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith, but only if it is not tepid or timorous but confident, a faith unfeigned, a hope unshaken. Not only is the world overcome by it but heaven is won." It is our faith gifted to us by Our Lord that overcomes the world as we go out and share it with those close as well to those who are foreign to us - both are our sisters and brothers.

The Reign of God at Hand

Saint Benedict’s blessing is in the fruitfulness of the Spirit and the Author of heaven, who speaks through the Prophets: “I will be as the dew.” Of him also it is said: “Your dew is the dew of light.” And certainly in Christ is the blessing of the Father, for the Father proclaimed of him: “Blessed be everyone who blesses you.” In very truth therefore the man who trust in the Lord is blessed in the Lord because whoever puts his trust in the Lord inserts himself into him. The tree drinks in the sap of life and the waters of fertility from wherever its roots have penetrated. And surely he has sent out his roots to the waters who – I use the words of our master, Benedict – “has put his hope in God’ and from the very Source of All Good drinks in the waters of life full of blessings and grace.

Through this loving and devoted confidence sins are forgiven, healing obtained for bodily ills and more especially for ills of the soul, dangers averted, fears despised, the world overcome; all things are possible to the one who believes, there is no doubt about it. To those in sins, Christ says: “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven you;” to those to whom he gives health of body or soul: “According to your faith be it done to you,” and: “Your faith has made you well”; to those terrified and in danger of shipwreck: “Have faith in God,” and: “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” to those whom he was arming against the cruelty of the world and the violence of the devil: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

And of course this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith, but only if it is not tepid or timorous but confident, a faith unfeigned, a hope unshaken. Not only is the world overcome by it but heaven is won.

Blessed Guerric of Igny (+ 1157) was an abbot and a close friend of Saint Bernard.
tip from Doctors of the Catholic Church and the Magnificat

In Adoration of the FEAST OF ST. BENEDICT July 11th from a Franciscan

On this his feast day, let us take heed and bend our ear to the heart of Christ as Saint Benedict prescribes.

From the Prologue of Saint Benedict's Rule:

"Let us then rise at length, since the Scripture arouseth us, saying: "It is now the hour for us to rise from sleep" (Rom 13:11); and having opened our eyes to the deifying light, let us hear with awestruck ears what the divine voice, crying out daily, doth admonish us, saying: "Today, if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (Ps 94[95]:8). And again: "He that hath ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches" (Rev 2:7). And what doth He say? -- "Come, children, hearken unto me, I will teach you the fear of the Lord" (Ps 33[34]:12). "Run whilst you have the light of life, that the darkness of death overtake you not" (Jn 12:35)."

Franciscans have a deep love and appreciation for Benedict. After Francis' conversion and rebuilding of the little church at San Damiano he went on to the little church of St. Mary of the Angles at the Portiuncula that belonged to Benedictine monks of Subasio. As Francis began to develop a following of brothers they needed a place to stay and worship in. Soon the abbot of the Benedictine monastery gave them in perpetuity their beloved Portiuncula chapel and the ground on which it stood. Francis would accept only the use of the property. The spirit of holy poverty must govern their order, if they were to be disciples of Him who had not where to lay His head. In token of this arrangement, the friars sent to the Benedictines every year as rent a basket of fish caught in a neighboring river. In return, the monks gave the friars a barrel of oil. This annual exchange of gifts still goes on between the Benedictines of St. Peter's in Assisi and the Franciscans of the Portiuncula. On the ground around the chapel the friars quickly built themselves some huts of wood and clay, enclosing them by a hedge. This was the first Franciscan monastery.

This portrait of St. Francis is located in Subiaco, Italy, in a Benedictine Monastery called "Sacro Speco". It is believed to be the true portrait of St. Francis, painted when he was still alive, because of the inscription, which is: Fr. Francesco (not St. Francis), and because there is no halo around St. Francis head. Also, St. Francis does not have the stigmata, so the date of this painting should be before 1224, when he received this precious gift. The Sacro Speco is a shrine, built in the site of the hermitage of St. Benedict, who spent three years in a cave in solitude, on the mountains of Umbria. It is built into the side of a spectacular cliff, and comprises two churches, the upper and the lower one, richly ornate by frescoes. The portrait of St. Francis stands in a lateral room named St. Gregory Chapel.