Friday, November 30, 2007

Philip Pullman Is A Liar

As Jimmy Akin makes manifestly apparent.
Naturally, the Catholic League and its head Bill Donohue are warning parents against The Golden Compass, and Pullman is quoted as saying the following:

"To regard it as this Donohue man has said - that I'm a militant atheist, and my intention is to convert people - how the hell does he know that?" he said, in an interview with Newsweek magazine.

How "the hell" does Bill Donohue know that Pullman is a militant atheist out to convert people?

Because Pullman himself has said so!

In an interview published in the Washington Post (Feb. 19, 2001), he stated:

“’I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief,’ says Pullman. ‘Mr. Lewis [C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia] would think I was doing the Devil's work.’”

Enough said.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

From the Encyclopedia of Bad Ideas

Emily and the boys at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping invite you to visit a tavern on Repeal Day, buy a drink to honor the occasion, and listen to your favorite renaissance recording artist at a Harpsichord Bar near you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Box Bux Sux as Stix Hix Nix Xmas Flix

Iowahawk strikes again.

Advertisers to Economists: Please Do Your Part to Help Keep Chri$tma$ Green

CRATCHET: No, no... no product in it. I was just going to say, "Peace on Earth... Good Will Toward Men."
MAN: Well, that's a peculiar slogan!
SCROOGE: Old hat, Cratchet! That went out with button shoes! You're a businessman . . . Christmas is something to take advantage of!
SCROOGE: A red and green bandwagon to jump on!
SCROOGE: A sentimental shot in the arm for sales! Listen!
Read the entire transcript of Green Chri$tma$ here.

We must realize that it's not just a sentimental shot in the arm for sales... in fact, we in the West have placed all our bets on 'consumption frenzy' to forgo becoming a 'new creation' or the final mimetic spiral into violence, attempting, but only achieving a false illusion of peace on earth.

In this approaching ADVENT season let us help each other break from the Chri$tma$ that Stuart Carlson (the cartoon) and Stan Freberg so aptly describe and let us prepare for the coming of the True Christ.
The Church has her own special liturgical year and calendar in which she presents again the history and unchanging mysteries of our salvation, from Creation to the Second Coming, together with the entire life of the Savior... Advent is an especially lovely season and we can make great use of it. With the beginning of the season of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year. The First Sunday of Advent is therefore the Church's "New Year's Day".
Read more on celebrating Advent.

Simpson's Theme vs. Star Trek Theme

About time I started pulling my weight around this joint.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jesus Christ, King of the Universe & of Hearts

"Ecce Homo!" -- The Passion of the Christ

By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap

ROME, NOV. 23, 2007 ( - The solemnity of Christ the King was instituted only recently. It was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 in response to the atheist and totalitarian political regimes that denied the rights of God and the Church. The climate in which the feast was born was, for example, that of the Mexican revolution, when many Christians went to their deaths crying out to their last breath, “Long live Christ the King!” Continue reading …

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Spirit of Thanks - A Spirit of Giving

I want to give thanks and praise that our pilgrims to Rome and Assisi are back from having, what they said was, a fabulous time there. [I have to admit that I was concerned that a couple of our friends might have decided to remain in Assisi.] On the idea of thanksgiving GK Chesterton concluded in his book on St. Francis that the spirit of thanks was who Francis was.

For that is the full and final spirit in which we should turn to St. Francis; in the spirit of thanks for what he has done. He was above all things a great giver; and he cared chiefly for the best kind of giving which is called thanksgiving. If another great man wrote a grammar of assent, he may well be said to have written a grammar of acceptance; a grammar of gratitude. He understood down to its very depths the theory of thanks; and its depths are a bottomless abyss. He knew that the praise of God stands on its strongest ground when it stands on nothing... From him came a whole awakening of the world and a dawn in which all shapes and colours could be seen anew. The mighty men of genius who made the Christian civilisation that we know appear in history almost as his servants and imitators. Before Dante was, he had given poetry to Italy; before St. Louis ruled, he had risen as the tribune of the poor; and before Giotto had painted the pictures, he had enacted the scenes. That great painter who began the whole human inspiration of European painting had himself gone to St. Francis to be inspired.
A hat tip to Dawn Eden

Teach Us to Number Our Days

Daniel Mitsui shares the woodcuts of a priest or monk in the Middle Ages who had seen death many times. Death is not a Washington two-step but a serious drama for which one must prepare oneself: Ars Moriendi.

Hunting Wild Boar

I, Athos, will admit it: I have a lust for traipsing (fr. OF, 'trespass') through woods in cold weather, good food cooked out of doors, friends, and a few bottles of something tasty. All of this makes my boyhood memories of camping, hiking, and roasting my chilblains near an open fire seem all the rosier.

A hunter I am not, although I once was hunted by a black bear in New Mexico; an experience I am happy to say I came away from, literally, with "just a scratch" (but how many can say a bear claw attached to a bear leg scratched me just there over my left eye, as one stands smiling with drink in hand?).

But I must say that this story -- A Game Journey -- On a French boar hunt, life as a traqueur is not easy -- brought the scent of decaying leaves, woodsmoke, a crisp autumn day, and that certain stillness that one can only find deep in, say, an 100-acre wood. If you have a mind, enjoy the story and the photo essay. You may develop a desire for donning a pair of wellies and heading out for the Wild Wood.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Presentation of the Virgin Mary

It is an ancient and very trustworthy tradition that the Blessed Virgin was thus solemnly offered in the Temple to God at the age of three by Her parents, Saint Anne and Saint Joachim.

From St. Ambrose:
Let the life of the blessed Mary be ever present to you, in which, as in a mirror, the beauty of chastity and form of virtue shine forth. She was a virgin not only in body, but in mind, who never sullied the pure affection of her heart by unworthy feelings. She was humble of heart, serious in her conversation, prudent in her counsels, fonder of reading than of speaking. She placed her confidence rather in the prayer of the poor, than in the uncertain riches of this world. She was ever intent in her occupations, reserved in her conversation, and accustomed to make God, rather than man, the witness of her thoughts...her very appearance was the picture of her mind and the figure of piety.
(To see more stain glass windows as above click on the words "stain glass window".) The stained glass windows in the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes in the IHM Center were made by Baut Studios, Inc. of Forty Fort, PA in 1961. Designs by John F. Love of Baut Studios. Painting by Eugene R. Baut. Color selection by S.H. Baut. - The Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

An American Bishop - Be it in RI or IL

Thanks to Mark at Suicide of the West for this find, An American Bishop. As I watched the segments on Bishop Thomas J. Tobin I felt that it could just as well have been a segment featuring Bishop Jenky of my diosese. I just came from the Conferral of Ecclesiastical Honors of our local Catholic Diosese, where a friend of mine was honored, and I must say that it was quite a beautiful ceremony. Bishop Jenky presided over the celebration. I know him to be very approachable, open, down-to-earth, humble and yet a holy man. Bravo to those faithful and ever-giving servants of God.

I'll end this post with a link to Jesus Christ, You are my Life video/song as I love it so much, but also because you catch a glimpse of Bishop Jenky blessing a little child in it.

War on Terror & Girard

An interesting look at a recent editorial by James Carroll who attempts a Girardian exposition of the "war on terror" at Augean Stables. Is it really a "slaughter of innocents" or legitimate defense?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Garry Wills & That Old Time Religion

Mimetically-Speaking, Of Course ...

Oh boy. Does Gregory Popcak put it to Garry Wills in this fine repartee. Popcak:
Garry Wills' recent L.A. Times Op-Ed article "Abortion isn't a religious issue," in which he claims that abortion is not a religious issue, might as well have begun with these fanciful words, because the article is as imaginative a bit of fiction as anything the Brothers Grimm could have penned — only significantly less entertaining.

In his essay, Wills cherry-picks Thomas Aquinas' theology; employs a simplistically idiosyncratic interpretation of Scripture and massacres history, science and philosophy, all in a fevered attempt to assert that people of faith should kneel at the altar of secularism because, he argues, Christian opposition to abortion is a Johnny-come-lately moral position founded on little more than thin air and pious politics.

Oh, really.

Neither faith nor reason supports Wills' claims.

Scripturally, the basis of Christian condemnation of abortion comes not only from the commandment "Thou shalt not kill," as Wills asserts, but from the fact that the Bible considers children a supreme gift and blessing from God. One does not reject a gift from God lightly. Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that God knew us in the womb, and Exodus 21:22-23 imposes a penalty for those who cause the miscarriage of a fetus. Likewise, the scriptural case against abortion is drawn directly from biblical prohibitions against witchcraft. Hags who hawked their wares in the early days of Christianity claimed power over death and life. Contraceptive and abortifacient potions, and poisons to hasten the death of the inconvenient, were what paid the rent for every self-respecting, union card-carrying witch in the Western world. When St. Paul listed his denunciations of witchcraft immediately after his condemnations of specific sexual sins ( Galatians 5:19-21), early Christians understood exactly what he was talking about.

The argument against abortion from historical Christianity is even stronger. In his book, The Rise of Christianity," sociologist Rodney Stark, relying heavily on secular historical data, argues that Christianity grew as rapidly as it did precisely because of its strong pro-life ethic, which stood in direct contrast to the Roman culture of death. Abortion was a common killer of both fetuses and women in secular Roman society. Archaeologists have discovered Roman sewers clogged with the bodies of babies. Christianity condemned such practices from the beginning and was viewed as a sanctuary by pagan women who were drawn to the Christian faith out of a desire to protect themselves and their children from a secular world that treated both as disposable goods instead of as children of God entitled to their own rights and dignity. [HT: Mark Shea]
Poor Garry Wills seems clueless that he is caving to the primitive Sacred and spirit of our age these days. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Christian theology should shape the way we talk about everything - does it?

Gil Bailie refers to this quote in one of his talks and I thought I would highlight it here:

The deep end of "truth" has been ceded to science, while theology swims in the shallow end of "meaning."
The quote goes on:

Aesthetic expression has been relinquished to the cult of original self-expression and "what-it-means-for-me." Morality becomes a subset of utility, or a creation of private conscience, and Christians are reduced to "sharing their values." An impoverished realm of "spirituality" or "transcendence" remains the rightful property of Christian reflection, and running on these slight fumes, theology drives toward relevance in a world over which it has renounced its authority. Radical Orthodoxy is nothing if not intensely opposed to this renunciation; for its adherents the whole world is fit for absorption into a theological framework. Christian theology should shape the way we talk about everything.
And the First Thing article concludes with:

To escape the patterns of theological modernism, therefore, the first task is not to imagine and invent. Instead, we must train ourselves in that which modernity rejects most thoroughly and fatally: the discipline of receiving that which has been given. We must eat the scrolls that the Lord has given us, and dwell amidst his people. Only then will the scope of an Augustinian ambition recover the intense, concrete, and particular Christ-centered focus that gives it the power of good news. Only there can we taste God’s peace. (my emphasis)
The convert R. R. Reno concludes another article with:
As a member of the Roman Catholic Church ... and it is not a small gift of grace to be guided by the Church, especially when the object of our intellectual desire is knowledge of God.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Arts & Letters: Socceratese Routs Germany

Anchoress links to a fascinatingphilosophical engagement over at the Deacon's Bench.

The World Needs Heroes

Archbishop Oscar Romero

The Archdiocese of New York has a new website: The World Needs Heroes. Isn't it the truth. [HT: New Advent]

All must check this out - Thank you, Athos

If You're Not Baroque, You Have Monet

The Kingdom of God among Us - Feast Day of St. Albert the Great

Perusing blogs (and for that matter papers, TV, or radio) when is the last time you heard that The Kingdom of God among Us? In the writing that follows from St. Albert the Great I found such a wake up call in the very first sentence:
"In proportion as the mind is absorbed in the thought and care of the things of this world do we lose the fervor of our devotion, and drift away from the things of heaven."
And later in the text:
"God is the “form” of the soul upon which he must impress his own image, as the seal on the wax or the stamp on the object it marks."
How have we today sacrificed our will for His Will enabling God to use His "form" in us so that His own image comes through?

nod to Doctors of the Catholic Church

The scientist and Doctor of the Church, St Albert the Great, that we celebrate today, writes in the Meditation today from the Magnificat Publication.

Meditation of the Day

The Kingdom of God among Us

In proportion as the mind is absorbed in the thought and care of the things of this world do we lose the fervor of our devotion, and drift away from the things of heaven.

The greater, on the other hand, our diligence in withdrawing our powers from the memory, love and thought of that which is inferior in order to fix them upon that which is above, the more perfect will be our prayer, the purer our contemplation. The soul cannot give itself perfectly at the same time to two objects as contrary one to another as light to darkness; for he who lives united to God dwells in the light, he who clings to its world lives in darkness.

The highest perfection, therefore, of man in this life lies in this: that he is so united to God that his soul with all its powers and faculties becomes immersed in him and is one spirit with him. Then it remembers nothing but God, nor does it relish or understand anything but him. Then all its affections, united in the delights of love, repose sweetly in the enjoyment of their Creator.

The image of God which is imprinted upon the soul is found in the three powers of the reason, memory, and will. But since these do not perfectly bear the divine likeness, they have not the same resemblance to God as in the first days of man’s creation.

God is the “form” of the soul upon which he must impress his own image, as the seal on the wax or the stamp on the object it marks.

This can only be fully accomplished when the reason is wholly illuminated according to its capacity by the knowledge of God the Sovereign Truth; the will entirely devoted to the love of the Supreme Good; the memory absorbed in the contemplation and enjoyment of eternal happiness, and in the sweet repose of so great a state.

As the perfect possession of this state constitutes the glory of the blessed in heaven, it is clear that in its commencement consists the perfection of this life.
-Saint Albert the Great (+ 1280) was a German Dominican priest and the teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas. He is the patron of scientist. There is a popular adage about St. Albert which runs: "He was great in magic, greater in philosophy, greatest in theology." "Magic" here would mean science. It has also been said that St. Albert was a scientist by temperament, a philosopher by deliberate choice and a theologian by mood."

St. Albert, 1200-1280. Doctor of Science, Feast Nov. 15th.

Albert is a great model for all Christians, especially scientists. Many scientists like Albert have been blessed with independence of mind and great mental prowess. In this category, many rely more on reason and memory than faith. One recent survey from a national newspaper showed that there is least difference between the faith of eighty years ago (1917) and today (1998) among Physicists, Biologists and Mathematicians. Those who believe in God were around 40 percent and those who did not believe were 45 percent. Doubt and agnosticism resulted in about 15 percent.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hamlet Wore Ladies Undergarments

And you thought J. K. Rowling outing Dumbledore was shocking. Well, try THESE revelations, buddy!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Of Squaring the Circle of Our Rad Trad Catholic Girardian Conserberalism * all 4 1 & 1 4 all
Just a notice of something that passed by without my noticing it until now: The Three – Nay, Four Mass’keteers have passed the milestone of occupying our corner in the blogosphere for over a year! Happy Birthday to us. And, I for one, am still waiting to see D'artagnan's mug shot around these parts.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fr Barron on Hitchens [HT: CMR]

Grandma, What Big Teeth You Have!

Double speak, Greg at Jihad Watch says, is most confusing. Let's see if I can keep my eye on the ball: those who fought and defeated Nazis are now the ones acting like Nazis for speaking about those who made the bombs to blow up the Tube, July '05 like Nazis? Hmmm. It sounds like someone doesn't want Nazi like actions to be labeled as such for some reason. I wonder why – maybe because playing the victim card is helpful? The wolf in sheep skin in grandma’s bed again.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ultimate Frisbee -- Nunsense

The next time someone says all nuns are 105 years old, show them this: [HT: Creative Minority Report]

A Modest Proposal

A PhD grad student, Shamim Hunt, offers a ”modest proposal” regarding women and Muslim attire. A fatwa will, no doubt, be shortly forthcoming. [Via MercatorNet]

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Catholic Novel

Evelyn Waugh - 1941

Marion Crowe pens a good piece at First Things, "The Catholic Novel is Alive and Well in England."
Some people believe that the Catholic novel is either dead or terminally ill. In 1982, one critic referred to his book on the Catholic novel as an “elegy for an apparently dying form,” and two years later another wrote that “the religious or spiritual novel is in some sense only a memory.” Some attribute this demise to the imminent dissolution of the religion that inspired it, arguing that the dissent and chaos that have come in the wake of the Second Vatican Council are simply the death throes of a religion that is not sustainable in an age that is increasingly secular, liberal, scientific, and pluralistic. Some Catholics believe that the great Catholic novels of the past reflect the fortress mentality of the pre–Vatican II Catholic ghetto and have no place in today’s Church. Continue reading . . .

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A Cross the Crowded Ways of Life

I know it's all over the place, but the Michael Yon’s image is really nice for a change.

Bosom Buddies - Pass the Soap, Please

But will they pass the sincerity test?
("I really, really feel like a transgender, dude. Just let me in, okay?")

I KNOW A WHOLE lot of teenaged not-identified-as-male boys who are going to be vvery happy about this here piece of legislation. "Hey, mom! Can we move to Montgomery? Fast?"

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ora + et + Labora

Do not depend on the hope of results.
When you are doing the sort of work
you have taken on, you may have
to face the fact that your work will be
apparently worthless and even achieve no
worth at all, if not perhaps results opposite
to what you expect.

As you get used to this idea, you will
start more and more to concentrate not on
the results, but on the value, the rightness,
the truth of the work itself.
-- Thomas Merton
[HT: The Catholic Worker]

Carpe Diem - Robert Hugh Benson

Glancing as I do down the list of blogs that the 4 Mass'keteers lists, I noticed at Daniel Mitsui's superb THE LION & THE CARDINAL something really exceptional. He offers a series of tapestries made by hand by Robert Hugh Benson, “The Dance of Death” tapestries. Why should this be so outstanding? For two reasons, really: first, Robert Hugh Benson was a British convert to Catholicism in the early twentieth century who, like Arnold Lunn, Ronald Knox, G. K. Chesterton, and others led the way to opening the sluice gate for Catholicism in England. Possessing a fine and agile mind, Benson became Monsignor Benson and the author of many works, fiction as well as nonfiction in defense of the faith.

Secondly, these tapestries show an aptitude for whimsical skill in arts and crafts that was hitherto unknown to me about the great man. I can't wait for the next revelation about my favorite group of people, it seems more and more apparent, British Catholic converts. I may find that John Henry Cardinal Newman was really a Pre-Raphaelite next. Who knows?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Pro-life Hollywood?

"This baby stuck its head out and kind of looked as us, and the thought that the baby is no longer with us is very difficult," Hayden Panettiere, who stars in the NBC show "Heroes"

Sadly, the TV star is talking only about a dolphin, not a human being.

Tis a very strange land we must pass through on our way back to our Home.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Bernard of Clairvaux & Rene Girard

A friend recently sent me this paper out of the Cistercian Studies Quarterly (1991-2007).
Bernard of Clairvaux and René Girard on Desire and Envy by Jonah Wharff, ocso

A feeling of incompleteness is part of the human condition. It is by comparison with others that we become aware of this feeling. We compare ourselves on the basis of comfort or feelings of well-being.We compare our insides to others’ outsides and discover a difference that is experienced as an insufficiency. The exterior of the other appears more substantial than the internal fragility of the self. Awareness of this difference leads to a sense of insecurity that is difficult to articulate. Our consumer culture capitalizes on this unease by offering us products, activities, and celebrities to distract us from anxiety over our inadequacies. Yet we continue to feel (and resent) this lack. This longing for completion is called desire.

Alternative Narnia

While I have for years, personally been trying to prepare/warn parents about Philip Pullman and his agenda to rob the joy from their kids, it seems only now that the movie is almost out that anyone is willing to do anything. Golden Compass comes out on the anniversary of a day that will go down in infamy (I can't help but think Mr. Pullman is having a bit of an evil laugh on that one), and folks are finally starting to ask what they can do.

Well, instead of bashing Mr. Pullman (although his anti-Christian slant would have you believe his head has already suffered a bit of a bashing), my recommendation is to promote a Narnia, or Christian children's weekend (MacDonald, Lewis, Ryle, L'engle, . . .even Veggie Tales) at your parish or school. Whining about Golden Compass will only make more of the foolish wish to see it, and than help to assure a sequel; so let's in turn just promote all the amazing material (instead of "His Dark Material") that Christians have been writing for years.

Show the Narnia film/BBC, or have a George MacDonald storyteller night; maybe create a little Narnia in your parish with your own Aslan.

Let's be proactive about this, and save the whine and cheese for DaVinci Code II (o:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

How to Handle A Woman ... Not

There's a way, said the wise old man ..." sang Robert Goulet in Camelot, r.i.p. +

And then there's this way, by one Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-’Arifi, who does little or no singing, but explains proper wife beating to young teens. Kinda sounds like Leonard Bernstein programs of old, doesn't it? Well, maybe not.