Saturday, January 31, 2009

To Save the West

What will save the West is the death of the metromale, God willing. Islamic men have much to teach us and we have much to learn.

Shocked? Let me clarify: about Islamic men, we have nothing to learn from their shame/honor based identities lodged firmly in the primitive sacred, no. Rather, the marked differentiation of male and female roles, a passion for ritual that honors our Creator and concomitantly builds a unity among men, and a love of learning wisdom from the written word. That their a priori presuppositions differ greatly from those of our Catholic world view and theology does not abjure our appreciation of these values, nor keep us from admiring them and plundering them for our use in Marian chivalry.

Indeed, western metromales have become all too much at one with men of the Scimitar except for these fine qualities: honor and shame oriented, remote from disinterested self-sacrifice for the greater good of the commonweal, noncommittal, on the make, hoarders of pleasure moments, self-grandizers, trusters of Mammon, secret self-loathers, grabbers after false transcendence, ontologically challenged in the extreme.

The shining alternative - what the West needs in ever-increasing numbers - is chivalric men. This is not a vain effort to regain a "golden age" of Christendom; no. Rather these men know that God's Kingdom and the Catholic Church needs them - who respect the will of God in making us male and female, imago dei; who are humble and ever deferring before others, courteous to women and children (yet as stern in the upbringing of the latter as they are kind and unprovocative), fierce in defense of the weak and outcast. In short, who want to claim all the best of our Christian culture - not dead but dormant.

We claim allegiance to Our Resurrected Lord, reclaiming the best of chivalric fortitude - and justice, prudence, and temperance. We must reject in large part the spirit of the age which for the past few short centuries has tried to carry out the Second Great Commandment of Our Lord while rejecting and ignoring the First. Enlightenment projects - so-called - lie strewn across history's plain one after the other in this proud and vain effort. And yet they continue even today with the sad, silly refrain, "Yes, we can."

Chivalric men of faith must be bound in fealty to Our Lord and the holder of the keys of Saint Peter - Pope's men all: the utter antithesis of the metromale. The West needs men committed to the Church, to their wives and families, to the greater good. Only this will save the West - the reclamation of the code of Marian chivalry.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

... To Kill Her Baby

Actor Gary Graham comes to himself in a far country - after paying for three abortions - and says the following: [ht: Curt Jester]
I’m going to say it. I’m going to say what millions know in the front of their brains, and many, many more millions know in the depths of their hearts…but won’t allow themselves to think it, much less feel it. And believe me, I know I’ll be hated for saying it, I’ll be hated by people who don’t know me, have never worked with me, have never golfed with me, had a drink with me, shot the shit with me. They’ve never met me, don’t want to meet me…but they will hate me. I’m going to say it anyway: Abortion is murder.

[ ... ]

Try this exercise: Every time you hear someone use the phrase “…a woman’s right to choose…” mentally complete the phrase with the following words – “…to kill her baby.” That’s what the argument’s about. A woman’s right to kill her baby.

In the extreme cases of incest…rape…severe birth defects. Hey, I don’t know. I don’t have all the answers. That’s a tough one. But there has got to be a better way than abortion. Adoption comes to mind. With all the thousands of couples out there unable to make a baby…doesn’t it seem the right thing to do…to give birth and give the unwanted baby up for adoption into a loving family?

Just a thought.

I saw my daughter’s ultrasound when she was at four weeks. All I saw was this little pulsating cylinder about the size of my little fingernail. Each little vibration was a heartbeat. Yes, a heart barely formed; cells still differentiating into form and function…but her little heart was just wailing away. I burst into tears. And I realized… I was beholding an utter miracle. The miracle of life. And I also realized that from the very first merger of cell into cell, and the first divisions…that the whole miracle of life was from that point on struggling against all odds to become a fully-realised human being.

I don’t mean to preach. I’m just telling you what I have come to know, and that I know that I know. The unborn fetus is a baby in development…and to end that life prematurely is to murder that life.

I truly wish that I had had this conviction way back when…when I was only concerned about my selfish convenience of the day. But I didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to think about it. It was inconvenient to think about it.

How ironic that the ‘Love’ Generation should spawn such a culturally accepted abomination as abortion.

May God have mercy on us all.

Read all of Graham's Flashpoint! A Woman’s Right to Choose.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Positive Mimesis & Validation Guy

This may be the best 15 minutes of your day. [ht: Mark Shea via Anchoress]

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nice guys beware of becoming fodder for the work of Satan

I write this remembering how often we read, "I can't believe it, he was such a nice person..."

"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation." Matthew 12:43-45

During my time immersed in a study of intimate partner violence, out of which came my conversion, I learned early on that you cannot rid an evil spirit from within by just sweeping your 'self' empty but only by replacing it with the stronger and invincible Spirit of Christ. As we understand through Rene Girard, the recidivism rate of the evil spirit cannot be reduced by a purely human effort, the power of this mimetic contagion can only be transformed by a source from outside the human condition, only by the Mighty Power of the Trinitarian God.

I found much to praise in the article by Jeffery Imm in Athos' Fifth Column Nihilism post and I hope you will take the time to read these posts.

But I must disagree with Imm's diagnosis of nihilism:
"Nihilism is not a belief structure – it is an anti-belief structure. Nihilism does not believe in anything, or respect any value in humanity. "

Though he brings up religious concepts here in his next statement:
"Nihilism is nothing less than an assassination of the soul, of human worth, and of human hope."

Imm falls into the vortex that the promoters of nihilism want him to fall into demonstrated by what he writes: "The promoters of nihilism view it as the ultimate "secularism," claiming that – by believing that humanity has no value, no meaning, no purpose – it equally rejects all religions and all value systems. But what nihilism truly does is reject all hope in the purpose and the value of humanity itself."

We have posted Fr. Seraphim (Rose)'s NIHILISM The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age in a couple other posts and I refer again to it:

Nihilism is, most profoundly, a spiritual disorder, and it can be overcome only by spiritual means; and there has been no attempt whatever in the contemporary world to apply such means.

To take up the fight against nihilism in strictly a secularist manner without the Truth of the Cross of Christ as Imm does is to buy in on the distorted claim of "secularism" by the nihilists and to fall into the double-bind that automatically provides the nihilists the upper hand in his quest to destroy all truth, goodness and beauty.

To avoid committing a crime against humanity in our contemporary world of political correctness we only charge the nihilists as espousing just another "secular" ideology, thus not getting at the root of evil. Even we professed Catholics have been so often distracted and focused on intra-church affairs (see Fr Barron here) that we have not been fully awake to the rapid spread of the disease of nihilism in our culture; our youth and our very 'beings'. Are you still confused?

Imm and so many others (I think here of the psychologists who "treated" my son while he was in high school) attempt to weed out nihilism as a "secular" ideology by yanking on the weed only to break off the stem but leaving the root to spread ever so darker and faster throughout the body.

Why can Imm and all the rest of us miss this point? Had we grown lazy and lackadaisical to the reservoir of Truth that we were born into? Read how Fr. Seraphim (Rose) describes our current condition:

But if "rebellion" is all the "natural man" may know today, why is it that the "natural man" of the Renaissance or the Enlightenment seemed to know much more, and thought himself to be a much nobler being. "They took too much for granted," is the usual answer, and lived on Christian capital without knowing it; today we are bankrupt, and know it." Contemporary man, in a word, is "disillusioned." But, strictly speaking, one must be "disillusioned" of an illusion: if men have fallen way, not from illusion, but from truth--and this is indeed the case--then profounder reasoning is required to explain their present "plight."

Excerpts from Fr Seraphim (Rose)

It is not sufficient, for example, to condemn Nazism or Bolshevism for their "barbarism," "gangsterism," or "anti-intellectualism," and the artistic or literary avant-garde for their "pessimism" or "exhibitionism"; nor is it enough to defend the "democracies" in the name of "civilization," "progress," or "humanism," or for their advocacy of "private property" or "civil liberties." Such arguments, while some of them possess a certain justice, are really quite beside the point; the blows of Nihilism strike too deep, its program is far too radical, to be effectively countered by them. Nihilism has error for its root, and error can be conquered only by Truth. Most of the criticism of Nihilism is not directed to this root at all, and the reason for this--as we shall see--is that Nihilism has become, in our time, so widespread and pervasive, has entered so thoroughly and so deeply into the minds and hearts of all men living today, that there is no longer any "front" on which it may be fought; and those who think they are fighting it are most often using its own weapons, which they in effect turn against themselves.

Here we must face squarely a fact at which we have hinted before now, but which we have not yet fully examined: Nihilism is animated by a faith as strong, in its own way, and as spiritual in its root, as the Christian faith it attempts to destroy and supplant; its success, and its exaggerations, are explicable in no other way.

We have seen Christian faith to be the spiritual context wherein the questions of God, Truth, and Authority become meaningful and inspire consent. Nihilist faith is similarly a context, a distinctive spirit which underlies and gives meaning and power to Nihilist doctrine. The success of Nihilism in our time has been dependent upon, and may be measured by, the spread of this spirit; its arguments seem persuasive not to the degree that they are true, but to the degree that this spirit has prepared men to accept them.

What, then, is the nature of the Nihilist faith? It is the precise opposite of Christian faith, and so not properly called "faith" at all. Where Christian faith is joyous, certain, serene, loving, humble, patient, submitting in all things to the Will of God, its Nihilist counterpart is full of doubt, suspicion, disgust, envy, jealousy, pride, impatience, rebelliousness, blasphemy--one or more of these qualities predominating in any given personality. It is an attitude of dissatisfaction with self, with the world, with society, with God; it knows but one thing: that it will not accept things as they are, but must devote its energies either to changing them or fleeing from them. It was well described by Bakunin as "the sentiment of rebellion, this Satanic pride, which spurns subjection to any master whatever, whether of divine or human origin."

If the Revolutionary goal "beyond Nihilism" is described in precisely contrary terms, and if Nihilists actually see it as a reign of "love," peace, and "brotherhood , that is because Satan is the ape of God and even in denial must acknowledge the source of that denial, and--more to the present point--because men have been so changed by the practice of the Nihilist "virtues," and by acceptance of the Nihilist transformation of the world, that they actually begin to live in the Revolutionary Kingdom and to see everything as Satan sees it, as the contrary of what it is in the eyes of God.

What lies "beyond Nihilism" and has been the profoundest dream of its greatest "prophets," is by no means the overcoming of Nihilism, but its culmination. The "new age," being largely the work of Nihilism, will be, in substance, nothing different from the Nihilist era we know. To believe otherwise, to look for salvation to some new "development," whether brought about by the inevitable forces of "progress" or "evolution" or some romantic "dialectic," or supplied gratuitously from the treasury of the mysterious "future" before which modern men stand in superstitious awe--to believe this is to be the victim of a monstrous delusion. Nihilism is, most profoundly, a spiritual disorder, and it can be overcome only by spiritual means; and there has been no attempt whatever in the contemporary world to apply such means.

Fr. Seraphim (Rose)'s NIHILISM The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age HERE

Build a more mature faith through an increase in knowledge of our faith & tradition

Fifth Column - Nihilism

Following up on brother Aramis's excellent post, Nihilism as
'Being' in Nothingness - Are You Still Confused?
I want to share a few excerpts from an important essay at Family Security Matters by Jeffrey Imm.

Nihilism (which comes from the Latin word "nihil" meaning "nothing") is promoted to our public and to our children that humanity has no innate value, no purpose, no meaning. Nihilism rejects all values and morality, offering instead a dark vision of hopelessness and defeatism that the human existence itself in pointless and meaningless. The anti-values ideology of nihilism finds a symmetry with the anti-government ideology of anarchism.

Anarchism argues against organized government. In the 19th century, anarchists created a "nihilist movement" to use violence with a shared belief that terrorist violence against its political enemies represented a "propaganda of the deed." Anarchist terrorism remains a continuing problem for the United States and the world, especially in Europe. In December 2008, an anarchist group bombed an international press organization. Anarchist terrorism has a long and bloody history in America stretching from the anarchist assassination of President McKinley to continuing anarchist terror bombings and threats today.

Increasingly, such dark ideologies of nihilism and anarchism are being promoted by mass media organizations with global influence over the thinking of their viewers. In our struggle to defend the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty, we must also confront those defeatist mass media organizations that seek to undermine our citizens, our youth, and our values.

[ ... ]

In 2008, Warner Brothers reached out to a British inspiration for fiction, this time taking an iconic American heroic character "The Batman," and leveraging that character's long history of positive messages with our youth to promote a film about moral ambiguity with a major character that glamorizes nihilism. In the vision of British director Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, the message sent to our youth is that there is just a thin line between good and evil. "The Dark Knight" portrays its antagonist, "the Joker," not as a multilayered or a camp character, but as a psychopathic nihilist that advocates anarchy, stating "I am an agent of chaos," and who wants to see "the world burn." This stabbing, bombing, psychopathic character becomes the central character of the Warner Brothers film, which was merely rated PG-13, and is virtually glamorized in the film and the subsequent mass-merchandising campaign. Shouldn't it be disturbing to parents to see a psychopathic character glamorized by a mass-merchandising campaign of posters, t-shirts, masks, costumes, "action figures"? Did parents line up to by their children "action figures" of this knife-wielding psychopathic character? Our children, our youth deserve better attention than this. This film, glamorizing a psychopathic nihilist, has received a number of Academy Award nominations.

A grim postscript to this was reported in Belgium on
January 23, 2009, where a young man (Kim De Gelder) reportedly with makeup and a wig to resemble The Dark Knight's character the Joker broke into a nursery and repeatedly stabbed helpless babies, killing two and maiming several. Thousands marched in Belgium in protest of this atrocity on Sunday, January 25, 2009.

Read all of Jeffrey Imm's Nihilism and the Assassination of the Soul.

Monday, January 26, 2009


The sincere, ardent, devout self-constituting self herself --

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nihilism as 'Being' in Nothingness - Are You Still Confused?

Tips all the way round. First to Athos' post Nihil who tips to Daniel Mitsui's post A Creature of the Depths

NIHILISM The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age by Eugene (Fr. Seraphim) Rose

Read it HERE

I have pulled out a few excerpts to hopefully wet your apetite to read this article.

Nihilism has error for its root, and error can be conquered only by Truth. Most of the criticism of Nihilism is not directed to this root at all, and the reason for this--as we shall see--is that Nihilism has become, in our time, so widespread and pervasive, has entered so thoroughly and so deeply into the minds and hearts of all men living today, that there is no longer any "front" on which it may be fought; and those who think they are fighting it are most often using its own weapons, which they in effect turn against themselves.

The whole food of Christian Truth, however, is accessible only to faith; and the chief obstacle to such faith is not logic, as the facile modern view has it, but another and opposed faith. We have seen indeed, that logic cannot deny absolute truth without denying itself, the logic that sets itself up against the Christian Revelation is merely the servant of another "revelation," of a false "absolute truth": namely Nihilism.

The first stage of Nihilism, which is Liberalism, is born of the errors of taking our diseased eye for a sound one, of mistaking its impaired vision for a view of the true world, and thus of discharging the physician of the soul, the Church, whose ministrations are not needed by a "healthy" man. In the second stage, Realism, the disease, no longer attended by the necessary physician, begins to grow; vision is narrowed; distant objects, already obscure enough in the "natural" state of impaired vision, become invisible; only the nearest objects are seen distinctly, and the patient becomes convinced no others exist. In the third stage, Vitalism, infection leads to inflammation; even the nearest objects become dim and distorted and there are hallucinations. In the fourth stage, the Nihilism of Destruction, blindness ensues and the disease spreads to the rest of the body, effecting agony, convulsions, and death.

The Nihilist rejection of Christian faith and institutions, then, is the result, not so much of a loss of faith in them and in their divine origin, as of rebellion against the authority they represent and the obedience they command.

But if "rebellion" is all the "natural man" may know today, why is it that the "natural man" of the Renaissance or the Enlightenment seemed to know much more, and thought himself to be a much nobler being. "They took too much for granted," is the usual answer, and lived on Christian capital without knowing it; today we are bankrupt, and know it." Contemporary man, in a word, is "disillusioned." But, strictly speaking, one must be "disillusioned" of an illusion: if men have fallen way, not from illusion, but from truth--and this is indeed the case--then profounder reasoning is required to explain their present "plight."

If you need a visual aid to help make sense out of this "nihilism" then check this out:

And here is an opinion which I think is more prevalent than what we would like to admit.
I'm a Christian and Nihilist and I say why must we be oppressed to accept what is unacceptable: and I have the answer for once just as Nihilism and Christianity does: We live in a world, where false beliefs become radical realities, and what is considered unsafe we make safe. Oppression is omission of freedom, we will not be dumbed down, fuck the political system now and then, they run our futures if we have any futures left due to their political incense.
Dismantling nihilism in our age where it is so rampant will take more than prayer - not to say that prayer is not a good place to start. I can't help but think that we need more help in maturing and understanding our faith through knowledge and reason supported by reasonable and responsible accountability in and through the Church as well as public life.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Zen and the Art of Steak 'n Shake

A tribute now, in honor of brother Aramis. Did you know that Normal, Illinois is the home of the first - yes, the very first - Steak ‘n Shake? No?

Roger Ebert delivers the panegyric:


In my third or fourth year of life I ate my first restaurant meal, at the Steak 'n Shake on Green Street near the University of Illinois campus. I dined on a Steakburger, french fries, and a Coke. I felt extremely important. The eyes of the world were on this capable little man, sitting on a stool at the counter, grasping a Steakburger in his hands and opening up to take the first bite. My dad passed me the ketchup bottle and I felt authority flow into my hands as I smacked it on the bottom. "Aim it on your plate next to the fries," he advised. I did. "Good job, boy."

If I were on Death Row, my last meal would be from Steak 'n Shake. If I were to take President Obama and his family to dinner and the choice were up to me, it would be Steak 'n Shake--and they would be delighted. If the Pope were to ask where he could get a good plate of spaghetti in America, I would reply, "Your Holiness, have you tried the Chili Mac or the Chili 3-Ways?"

A downstate Illinois boy loves the Steak 'n Shake as a Puerto Rican loves rice and beans, an Egyptian loves falafel, a Brit loves banger and mash, an Indian loves tikki ki chaat, a Swede loves herring, a Finn loves reindeer jerky, and a Canadian loves bran muffins. These matters do not involve taste. They involve a deep-seated conviction that a food is absolutely right, and always has been, and always will be. These convictions are fixed at an early age. I do not expect to convert you ...

Thomas F. Bertonneau Gets It

The just-completed American presidential campaigns, the election, and the inauguration together have taught us a lesson about crowds. Our electronically mediated presidential campaigns thrive on crowds and on the social phenomena that attend them: one might list unified cheering, rhythmic repetition of slogans, emotive activations of the body, swooning, flag-waving, and an eagerness to respond, in “Simon-says” style, to broad cues from a designated leader. Our political spectacles differ hardly at all in their outward appearance from our sportive entertainments. Another word for a crowd is a mob, a mass of people mobilized in unanimity and thus demoting itself freely and spontaneously from the status of the responsible individual to that of a collective instrument of agitation or coercion – and for a purpose more than likely not its own. Crowds are mobile, but they are also motile, that is to say, fickle. The crowd that shouts “Ave Rabbi!” will swiftly transform itself into the crowd that shouts, “Crucifigatur!”

Both Guy LeFort and René Girard identify the crowd with primitive religiosity and things sacred. As Girard points out inveterately, the sacred is related to sacrifice. As the crowd militates against individuality, it militates against conscience; but it also militates against clear perception and straight thinking. Crowds subsume the individual and they foster delusion – projective delusion. Crowds hallucinate visions of deity and enmity at the same time; moved in a panic fashion, they reify their movement in the figure of an agency that drives them, and that, in its power, seems to transcend them in the hierarchy of being. In the same moment as they feel driven, crowds also yearn to see revealed an object of their compulsion, for any movement must have a goal as well as a cause. Thus crowds seek a malefactor, an irritant whose pranks or transgressions justify the violent lust that comes from a clash of elbows within the throng. As Girard as made explicit, in this manner the victim is born. The etiquette of “Hail Rabbi!” is inseparable from the demand to “Crucify him!”
Read all …


The inimitable Mark Shea recalls, Fr. Michael Sweeney, once remarked to me that the question is not whether the Church could survive persecution in the US but whether the US could survive persecuting the Church.

Aye, there's the rub.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

St Francis and Chivalry

Here is an offering from Liturgy Training Publications that may interest a good many folk with a hankering for the renewal of Catholic culture: Gospel Chivalry: Franciscan Romanticism, by Mark of Whitstable (pen name of Father Mark Elvins, a Capuchin friar).
[ht: Mary Victrix]

Synopsis: How St. Francis of Assisi transformed the medieval code of chivalry into the religious Rule for his new order.
At the time of St Francis, Europe was riven with almost constant feuding between local war lords, and the knight, with his horse and armour, played an important role in society both on and off the battlefield. In an attempt to control the behaviour of these knights and to limit the scandal of Christian people fighting one another, the Church encouraged and elaborated the code of chivalry. The ceremony of appointing a new knight to armed service was solemnised by a prayer vigil and vows that enjoined the new knight to live by the ideals of honour and defence of the weak. This tied in well with the romantic ideal of the knight as portrayed by the troubadours. Similarly, the temptations to adultery inevitable in a household where the lord was often away on campaigns were at least partially mitigated by the notion of ‘courtly love’, in which the lady was seen as an idealised, but unobtainable object of desire.

Sadly the attempt to Christianise the warrior class was only partly successful. In many cases the vows were ignored, or interpreted in the light of social status at court. Indeed, the emergence of the military Orders can be seen as an acknowledgement that the code of chivalry alone was insufficient.

As the son of a wealthy merchant, the young Francis was rich enough to aspire to join the knightly class. Whilst his family hoped for upward social mobility, Francis was attracted by the romantic ideal of the ballads. However. the stark reality of warfare and its effect on those who took part quickly disillusioned him. Francis set about reinventing the code of chivalry, taking its high ideals of largesse, joyfulness, courtesy and courage, and showing how they could be lived out as a religious way of life.

Each chapter of the fascinating study shows how St. Francis adapted a different element of the knightly life to the life of his Friars. It shows how his teachings and words are infused with the romance of the troubadours, but how in his hands the worldly ambitions of the age are replaced with the eternal values of the Gospels.

This is the perfect book for all devotees of St. Francis of Assisi. And all those who hanker after a lost ‘Arthurian’ age of courtesy and honour will be inspired to bring true romance back into the world by living according to the code of Gospel chivalry.
Here is how LTP summarizes the book:

Born in 1181, into the medieval world where the knightly code of chivalry held sway, St. Francis of Assisi at first harbored ambitions to become a knight. Experience, however, appears to have left him disillusioned with the military aspects of the code, but the ideals of chivalry remained as a formative influence on his life.

The code of chivalry was born out of the Church’s desire to mitigate the growing evil of endless blood-letting between rival feudal lords which had become a scandal to Christendom in the early Middle Ages. From the tenth century various Councils of the Church, and particularly that of Elne in 1027, had developed the elements that were to find formal expression in military custom, while the proclamation of the Crusades by Pope Urban II in 1095 had given the opportunity for a new kind of warfare with an ostensibly holy purpose—the protection of poor pilgrims and the recovery of the Holy Places of Jerusalem. While this noble project was to fail in many instances, one glorious exception is seen in the Order of Knight Hospitallers of St. John, whose care of the sick and the poor was to ensure in some measure the redemption of chivalry.

At its zenith, in the high Middle Ages, chivalry embodied the concept of the ideal life of a knight. However, this was an ideal rarely met, and the chivalric code promoting valor, courtesy, generosity and defense of the weak, was often sadly neglected. St. Francis consciously set out to redeem chivalry, or, at least, to transform its significance, using its language in a new and revolutionary way for the Gospel life he had chosen.

Published by Gracewing, UK. European customers wishing to purchase this title should contact Gracewing directly at

January 22 — A Day of Prayer and Penance for Life

In all the dioceses of the United States of America, January 22 (or January 23, when January 22 falls on a Sunday) shall be observed as a particular day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass “For Peace and Justice” (no. 22 of the “Masses for Various Needs”) should be celebrated with violet vestments as an appropriate liturgical observance for this day.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 373

tip to Amy Welborn

See a couple related stories:

One blogger asked, Today is March for Life Day, where is your Bishop? and I am proud to say... Washington DC.

Another Key - Knowledge

In Athos' post Catholic Culture I really thought Phil Lawler's comments were great (in both articles - #1 and #2), as he said, "we must first restore the integrity of the Catholic faith, and rebuild the foundations of a Catholic culture."

[By the way this sound a bit like a modern day re-phrasing of what Jesus called out to Francesco Bernardone from a painted Byzantine cross at the little dilapidated church at San Damiano sometime in 1205, "Francis, go repair my house which, as you see, is falling completely to ruin."]

Anyway, Lawler starts out right by identifying that, "When I am called to give an account for my life, I don't expect to be asked what the American bishops did or said about a particular problem; I'll be asked to explain what I did or said. Moreover, it is the duty of the Catholic laity, not the clergy, to transform the social order with the power of the faith." He goes on to list a number of 'beginner's' steps we can take to change ourselves to change culture however I think his list leaves off one very important tool to grow faith, our own and those around us - knowledge.

Faith not maturing grows weak, empty like chaff as Isa 33:11 exclaims, "You have conceived chaff, you will give birth to stubble; My breath will consume you like a fire."

In Pope Benedict XVI's Last Homily as a Cardinal he addresses what is demanded of us as Christians:
"... there is the maturing of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, as a condition and essence of unity in the body of Christ. Finally, there is the common participation in the growth of the body of Christ—of the transformation of the world into communion with the Lord."

"We should not remain infants in faith, in a state of minority. And what does it mean to be an infant in faith? Saint Paul answers: it means "tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery" (Eph 4, 14). This description is very relevant today!"

"... The small boat of thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves—thrown from one extreme to the other..."
Ratzinger goes on to talk about lasting fruit that grows from love AND knowledge which produce gestures and words capable of touching the heart and opening the soul to joy in the Lord.
"Only in this way will the earth be changed from a valley of tears to a garden of God."
So let us add to Lawler's excellent list that we need to grow our knowledge of faith and tradition so to rebuild the church.

A Call to Arms

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Catholic Culture

The more I let current events sink in, the more that I think we have much to learn from the English 'reformation' (or ’penal times’ as E. Waugh put in the words of his character, Ambrose Goodall). A fine article by Phil Lawler (kudos to Sean at Blue Boar) offers an inspiring place to begin as Catholics in a militantly hopeful age of the culture of death:

Shortly after the US presidential elections I wrote a column in this space lamenting the failure of Catholic Americans to join in a strong political bloc supporting a culture of life. Many readers responded enthusiastically to that column, and especially to these words:

To repair the damage, we must recognize that the problem is not restricted to abortion, nor to defense-of-life issues. Indeed it is not, strictly speaking, a political problem. To restore the integrity of the Catholic vote, we must first restore the integrity of the Catholic faith, and rebuild the foundations of a Catholic culture.

What can we do, you and I, to restore our Christian culture and protect our Catholic faith?

Read all …

Just Say It in Cowboy

Patrick Archbold at CMR posts what the lemmings ... er, voters failed to notice at the Change Fest '09 in You call THIS change?

Only a 55% Majority

One Douglas Todd writing for the Vancouver Sun writes,
Barack Obama would not have been elected president if he were not Christian. Polls show the vast majority of Americans will only vote for someone who is strongly religious, with the religion of choice being Christian.

Unlike in Canada, Obama would not have had a chance to get elected president if he'd been an atheist. That's one of the reasons we heard a lot of religious oratory when Obama was inaugurated. The other reason is Obama seems to take seriously his membership in the liberal denomination, The United Church of Christ.

Still, it's off-putting that U.S. polls by Gallup show only 45 per cent of Americans would be willing vote for a presidential candidate who is atheist. When pollsters turned the question around, more than half admitted they would actually refuse to vote for an atheist. I'm not an atheist, but it seems to verge on mass bigotry ...
This typically 'progressive' op/ed writer, thus, does in a few strokes on the keyboard what he accuses the majority of United States citizens of: the bigotry of a particularly ignorant kind.

Mr. Todd shows an occlusion of epistemological understanding. The 55% of Americans who would not vote for an atheist, though probably incapable of thematizing it this way, are saying that their operating systems are vastly different than that of someone who believes there is no God, and the God revealed in the Christian faith at that. Way different presuppositions, in other words, separate them from atheists. They do not, would not, want a politician in the Oval Office who believes that (a) we're on our own in this maelstrom of cultural upheaval; (b) we got here by a randon, senseless dance of cosmic accidents, culminating in speaking, selling, buying, snarking, brutalizing apes called homo sapiens; and (c) there is no one holding us accountable for our actions; therefore, the ape with the most power, influence, and charisma wins.

Christians believe (a) there is a loving, creating, covenant-making God, revealed most perfectly in Jesus Christ, the "word made flesh" (Jn 1,14); (b) we humans - all of us, except the Incarnation - are "fallen" and therefore absolutely need the grace proffered by God through the Church, particularly in the Sacraments established by Christ; (c) we inevitably return to hubris, violence, and destruction without God's help; and (d) anyone in the Oval Office had better realize our human neediness and God's willingness to help, or else.

No, thank God for the 55% majority who wouldn't vote for an atheist president. I'm rather sorry it is only 55%.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope is not in our country's leadership but in Christ alone

I came across THIS and it reminded me of this video, "Who will stand up for the little ones?".

"A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope." - Pope John Paul II

Imitation of Christ - Selected Readings

FYI the video is 10:30 long.

Swearing in the Puer

Well, here we go. America, having hitched its wagon to a puer, now gets what it so richly deserves, seeing that we must live with the consequences of our actions and decisions. Wait! Wait! But that is exactly what we wanted to get away with/from by electing the Big O!

Sorry, America. Oh, and by the by, you did know, didn't you, that Hopy Change-Day also brings its shadow, too? No?
The shadow of the puer is the senex (Latin for "old man"), associated with the god Apollo--disciplined, controlled, responsible, rational, ordered. Conversely, the shadow of the senex is the puer, related to Dionysus--unbounded instinct, disorder, intoxication, whimsy. (Marie-Louise von Franz, James Hillman)

Like all archetypes the puer is bi-polar, exhibiting both a "positive" and an "negative" aspect. The "positive" side of the puer appears as the Divine Child who symbolizes newness, potential for growth, hope for the future. He also foreshadows the hero that he sometimes becomes (e.g. Heracles). The "negative" side is the child-man who refuses to grow up and meet the challenges of life face on, waiting instead for his ship to come in and solve all his problems.

"For the time being one is doing this or that, but whether it is a woman or a job, it is not yet what is really wanted, and there is always the fantasy that sometime in the future the real thing will come about.... The one thing dreaded throughout by such a type of man is to be bound to anything whatever."
So, good luck with that four year thing. Remember puers and puellas don't like to be bound, say, by unborn children – such a drag on my freedom. Oh, and one more thing. My guess for today is that the inaugural "Festivity" will play-out nearly all of the sacrificial preparation, frenzy, exorcising scapegoating, and denouement so well explicated by René Girard's mimetic theory. But not on center stage - where the ever-smiling puer holds court - but off stage: at the over-crowded Metro stations, along the edges of the Mall, where lurking self-appointed "priests" of the primitive sacred will feel the call of the old gods of blood and mayhem.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Carroll - Prayer for Government

The Prayer at Valley Forge - Arnold Friberg

Many thanks to Father John Zuhlsdorf who posted this prayer composed by John Carroll, Archbishop of Baltimore, in 1791. He was the first bishop appointed for the United States in 1789 by Pope Pius VI. He was made the first archbishop when his see of Baltimore was elevated to the status of an archdiocese.

John was a cousin of Charles Carroll of Maryland, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
PRAYER FOR GOVERNMENT We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name. We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation. We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty. We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state , for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability. We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal. Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance. To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Called to Communion remedies

Called to Communion remedies the dis-ease Atho speaks about in his post on the popular Shacking up book.

He who loves desires to know. Therefore true love of Christ also expresses itself in the wish to know him ever better and to know everything that pertains to him. If love of Christ necessarily becomes love of man, it follows that education in Christ must include education in the natural virtues of humanity. If loving Christ implies getting to know him, it follows that the willingness to undertake committed and careful study is a sign of the seriousness of one's vocation and the earnest inward search for intimacy with him. Training in faith is training in true humanity. It is also to learn the reason of faith. Because Christ is never alone but came in order to unite the world in his Body, love for the Church becomes an additional component:
we do not seek a Christ whom we have invented, for only in the real communion of the Church do we encounter the real Christ.
And once again the depth and seriousness of one's relation to the Lord himself is revealed in the ready willingness to love the Church, to live together with her to serve Christ in her. - p 130

Choose Life

From via The Deacon's Bench. A special video and timely.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Shacking Up with God?

Now the showdown, the hoopla and $160, 000.000 Inauguration notwithstanding. What will the Big Zero do regarding FOCA?

He has met with, wined and dined with George Will, Charles Krauthammer, et al at George's place - impressing Krauthammer no end. But for Catholics who do not care about conservative issues so much as those espoused by the Magisterium of the Church - remember: 'right' and 'left' pigeon holes are secularist and Marxist - the snarky and ridiculous displays of balls and parades (so loved by 'stars' like Bono) mean nothing, absolutely nothing in Heaven's eyes.

By the way, I heard a regrettable 'sermon' this morning - more a dramatic reading - based on The Shack. It was all I could do to remain seated and not bolt from the proceedings, listening to the kind of "Oooh, I've discovered theodicy!" rantings in this regrettable tome. Dante would consider this best-selling phenom at best a "fraud" that will lead many, too many, in the wrong direction.

Gnostic overtones, gender-bending crisis of distinctions making God the Father an African-American mother ('Papa'???), God the Son a Middle Eastern man (okayyyy), and God the Holy Spirit an entity called Sarayu (oooh - I can make up a name!).

The Shack is another publishing bonanza like The Living Bible in the 1960's. Fine. Enjoy. We're in the Money - it must be God’s will.

But what maddens me is the exploitative manipulation. The protagonist, a father whose youngest daughter is abducted, tortured, and murdered (presumably - blood but no body is found) discovers the truth of self-sacrifice and God's supreme vindication in the giving of the Word made flesh, Jesus the Son. Yeah, fine. But what if I don't want to listen to this piece of imagination about an heinous crime laid at God's doorstep? I don't want to go up in your balloon of fiction, your piece of fraud? Do I have a problem? (You must - you don't CARE about a little abused girl?)

See what I mean?

Fine. But once again the non-Catholic world re-invents the wheel, as though the wrenching dilemma of theodicy just came to an author a couple years ago. And, of course, the Church's tradition and faith and language takes a major hit: God the Father becomes a politically correct entity: African-American. Woman. Non-male. Non-white. A-OK. Good to go!

In the midst of the $160M Inauguration and in light of this accurate-of-the-symptomology of the spirit of the age piece of .... fiction, I will go to Mass, imbibe the truth of the Catholic Church, and not succumb to despair.

So there.

Just a Cup of Jizya Joe

The shock troops of the primitive sacred, those perpetually disgruntled "youths", took time out from their arduous street "protests". It's a requirement; especially after a grueling rally of "righteousness" against Israel's incursion into Gaza. Why not stop in at a Starbucks or two, and loot the place? Everyone's entitled to a bit of a pick-me-up, right? Ah, nothing like a justifiable breaking, entering, and stealing a cup of joe. We're sure Starbucks supports Israel. Somehow. The sons of dogs and pigs.

UPDATE: Ah, of course. Starbucks' chief executive is Howard Schultz. A Jew. Not an Israeli. An American Jew. Makes perfect sense.

Poor old England.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Their father ...

... behind this apparently so unapproachable farmer's son, who sent his children to daily Mass, lay concealed a frequently lonely yet basically always soft heart. He was a nourishing father in a double sense. For the primary spiritual care from which the children's vocations developed was his own; we may say today, it was a historic contribution.

"My brother was a server in the church," recounts Georg, "and I played the organ." They experienced all that as "quite normal, healthy, robust religious piety." Because of their father's seriousness and strictness, of course, the intimate relationship with God and Mother Church was not something considered secondary; rather, it was the central thing, the lifeblood of the family. Parents' notions of bringing up children frequently produce the opposite effect when they are applied with too great a rigor. It is obviously the secret of a loving heart when the father's attitude does not frighten off the children or nearly drive God right out of them but, rather, is attractive and constructive. "Religion was in a very manly and absolute way the fundamental theme of his life", is how his son describes him. And he adds, "We always sensed the goodness behind his strictness."


Their father made books available to his youngest child, too, first a child's prayerbook, then a children's missal, then a German-Latin "Schott" for children (song book), finally the Sunday "Schott", and eventually a complete daily missal. Joseph now saw worship as a "celebration." There were especially the "angel offices" on the cold, snowy winter days, which he loved. Or the Gethsemane devotions and the celebration of the Resurrection, with all the embellishments, the pictures, the music, the special drama, which made it possible to open the door to a world that usually remains hidden from man, hurried and distracted as he is.

Peter Seewald captivates the reader on many different levels in his book Benedict XVI - An Intimate Portrait.

His portrayal of Joseph Ratzinger, Sr., Pope Benedict XVI's father I found most interesting and since we often talk about fatherhood I thought I would share a little of Seewald's research.

Lady Aramis gave the book to me for Christmas however I was unable to start in on it till after she read it for she became so taken by Pope Benedict XVI's story that she couldn't put it down - she has grown 100% in her admiration of him since reading the book. Those of the Roman Catholic faith will like it but those not may actually get more out of it. His is a great story.

Discover the Eucharist!

From Cologne 2005

"It is not ideologies that change the world... The real revolution consists entirely of a radical turning toward God, who is the measure of justice and, at the same time, eternal love. And what could save us if not love?"

"Dear friends discover the Eucharist!"

“…. (T)his is like inducing nuclear fission in the very heart of being -- the victory of love over hatred, the victory of love over death. Only this intimate explosion of good conquering evil can then trigger off the series of transformations that little by little will change the world. All other changes remain superficial and cannot save. For this reason we speak of redemption: What had to happen at the most intimate level has indeed happened, and we can enter into its dynamic. Jesus can distribute his Body, because he truly gives himself.”
-- Pope Benedict XVI

Living and Loving in the Old West

In the present barometric atmosphere, displaying oneself to be a Christian in social settings of educated classes - not merely an ethnic Christian or one who cherishes memories of being taken to church long ago, but a practicing Christian - is reaching, if you will pardon the cliché, a tipping point. But, in my opinion, a good tipping point.

Not so long ago, even among the WaPo and NYT crowds, being a practicing Christian and saying so was similar to saying, "Of course NASA staged the moon landings in a hanger." But now, being a Christian - a steady-eyed, Ten Commandment practicing, Magisterium affirming, treat others the way you want to be treated Christian - is becoming something not of social opprobrium, but of curiosity and interest, at least here in the United States.

We have seen that Pope Benedict is correct: from Wall Street to Main Street, from the halls of our schools to the streets and highways, the vacuity of faith and morals has created a society-wide vortex of self-centered, bestial unconcern for the common good. The so-called smartest guys in the room were just the beginning; the bottom of the maelstrom is not yet even visible.

The worship of instincts and desire, too, continues its downward spiral with growing legal clout and arm-twisting enforcement of despising future generations of human life. The Christian faith and moral teachings about lifelong, faithful marriage between husband and wife, family as "domestic church" in which children are born and raised in love to become loving husband and wives and parents themselves seems under siege and under attack from every side.

Just as Christian life and teachings are two or three generations away from supposed viability, with many a sidelong glance, they are becoming something not stupid and outdated, but an alternative at least to be looked at once again.

So, when you go to Mass, follow the Golden Rule, work hard and well for your employer, practice chivalry, know that you are probably going to seem as quaint and old-timey as an Amish family strolling in Times Square. But know too that you are becoming an absolutely necessary witness for hurting and lost souls who are beginning to realize that fact about themselves.

We aren't here to be triumphalist. We're here to live and love in the ruins of the West as members of Christ's Body, the Church. And maybe, just maybe, help a few back to civility, sanity, and, yes, even salvation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Super Tippy Top Secret Tribunal (sic.)

Father "Z" at What Does the Prayer Really Say clears up the sensationalism about what the MSM considers a super-duper, double-top secret Vatican confession tribunal (Fr Z's comments in red):
ROME (AP) — One of the Vatican’s most secrecy shrouded tribunals, which handles confessions of sins so grave only the pope can grant absolution, is giving the faithful a peek into its workings for the first time in its 830-year history. [Problem: There are some sins that are so grave that they incur censures which not every priest can absolve. Only the Holy See can absolve the censures that come from certain acts. However, the SPA also handles any matter of conscience. A Catholic always has recourse to the Holy See.]

The Vatican has long lamented that fewer and fewer Catholics are going to confession, the sacrament in which the faithful can receive forgiveness if they sincerely confess their sins to a priest.

To combat the decline, the so-called "tribunal of conscience" invited the public into the frescoed halls of its imposing 16th-century palazzo for a two-day conference that ended Wednesday.

The aim was to explain what the Apostolic Penitentiary actually does, and thereby encourage more of the faithful to go to confession, said Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, the tribunal’s No. 2 official.

"Even though it’s the oldest department of the Holy See, it’s very little known — specifically because by its nature it deals with secret things," he said. "We want to relaunch the sacrament of penance." [Excellent!]
Read all of Fr Z's commentary here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Three Priests

But not necessarily the ones you think.

7 Things Teenage Boys Need

WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 13, 2009 ( Being the parent of an adolescent boy is legendary for its difficulty. But according to one priest who acts as a spiritual director and confessor for high school boys, just keeping in mind seven points can make for a better relationship with adolescent sons.

Legionary of Christ Father Michael Sliney suggests the following seven necessities for parents of adolescent boys:

1. Clear guidelines with reasonable consequences from a unified front; cutting slack but also holding boys accountable for their actions.
2. Reasonable explanations for the criteria, guidelines and decisions made by parents.
3. Avoiding hyper-analysis of boys' emotions and states of mind: avoiding "taking their temperature" too often.
4. Unconditional love with an emphasis on character and effort more than outcome: Encourage boys to live up to their potential while having reasonable expectations. To love them regardless of whether they make it into Harvard or become a star quarterback.
5. Authenticity, faith and fidelity should be reflected in parent's lifestyles.
6. Qualities of a dad: Manliness, temperance, making significant time for family, putting aside work, and being a reliable source of guidance.
7. Qualities of a mom: Emotional stability, selflessness, loving service and extreme patience.
Read the interview with Father Michael Sliney here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pray Unceasingly

This past weekend my wife and I along with 10 other Cursillistas went on a short retreat. The retreat was on St Paul and was very good. During one of our sharing sessions the facilitator had us looking at Paul's insistence of praying unceasingly and I brought up Brother Lawrence.

Well is this a God thing or what, but when strolling through my blog list I happened upon D'artagnan's blog and lookie what I find, this little quote from Brother Lawrence:

"[He said:] that our sanctification did not depend upon our changing our works, but upon our doing that for God's sake which commonly we do for our own; that it was lamentable to see how many people mistook the means for the end, addicting themselves to certain works, which they performed very imperfectly, by reason of their human or selfish regards."
In D'artagnan's post he links to an online source where you can find The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. If you have not had the pleasure of reading Brother Lawrence you have no excuse now.

I found this quote toward the end:
"Let all our efforts be to know God. The more one knows Him, the greater one desires to know Him. Knowledge is commonly the measure of love. The deeper and more extensive our knowledge, the greater is our love. If our love of God were great we would love Him equally in pain and pleasure."
On a website I browsed during a search on Brother Lawrence I found the following: "Brother Lawrence 1605-1691, was a monk in the early 1600's. It is said that he could have been one of the most humble men to ever walk the earth. He worked as a cook in the monastery and found delight in this occupation. His entire life revolved around walking with God each day. Letters were found after his death where he explained this process. The words drip like honey. quote: 'Leave Him not alone. You would think it rude to leave a friend alone who came to visit you. Why, then, must God be neglected?' - Brother Lawrence"

On another site I found: "Brother Lawrence says that secret conversations with God must be 'repeat[ed] often in the day,' and 'for the right practice of it, the heart must be empty of all other things.' He speaks of the trouble of wandering thoughts and says that the habit of practicing the presence of God is the 'one remedy' and the 'best and easiest method' he knows to dissolve distractions."

There is something very real about this simplicity of focus - an identification with God through Jesus praying unceasingly.

How Much is a Trillion

Jill Fallon at Business of Life quotes Thomas Sowell:
One way to get some idea of the magnitude of a trillion is to ask: How long ago was a trillion seconds?

A trillion seconds ago, no one on this planet could read and write. Neither the Roman Empire nor the ancient Chinese dynasties had yet come into existence. None of the founders of the world's great religions today had yet been born.

That's what a trillion means. Put a dollar sign in front of it and that's what the current bailout may cost ...
How much is a trillion?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Understanding True Worship from St. Paul

"I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship."
Romans 12:1 has always been a most meaningful passage to me especially after becoming a follower of René Girard. If you are a student of Girard you will pick up on the importance of the new understanding of sacrifice outlined by St Paul. Anyway, I must go back a few days and pick up on Pope Benedict XVI's teaching on Paul and spiritual worship that he gave on the 7th of January.

(h/t to Paul Zalonski at Communio)

The commitment of union with Christ is the example that St. Paul offers us. Continuing the catecheses dedicated to him, we pause today to reflect on one of the important aspects of his thought, the worship that Christians are called to offer.

Read the rest.

The Cloud Elders control the Weather Channel

Weather Channel Accused of Pro-Weather Bias

We must fight back!

Buddy Jesus church is to have it my way - How Empty

(h/t to d'artagnan)

Reverse Momentum - Adoration

[ht: CMR]

Why No Knightly Presence Here?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Probably True

[ht: In the Agora]

'Benedict on Gender'

A post at The Continuum by one Poetreader discusses the recent words of the Holy Father regarding ecology and the necessity of not blurring sexual distinctions for the sake of human survival. I haven't seen a more measured and balanced reflection on the Pope's statement, all the more significant because Poetreader himself has feelings of same-sex attraction.
The teaching of the Church with regard to sexual practice and to the differentiation of 'gender' roles is closely linked to how things actually work in nature. Thus the testimony of Scripture, in both Testaments, would seem to give solid support to what I have said above, and this is supported both by the Fathers and by the course of Christian history. While it is manifestly obvious that there have been attempts to assert male supremacy, a close reading of history will show that such attempts are always doomed, and that women, sometimes behind the scenes, and sometimes in leadership have been a strong and formative force in the Church, even though gender differentiation has always been in place.

Be that as it may, there is nothing clearer in either Scripture or the continuous teaching of the Church than its blessing of marriage between a man and a woman with the aim of procreation, and its condemnation of sexual activity outside such a marriage, and especially as between members of the same sex. Bluntly, all the contrary theories one hears so often these days to justify homosexual acts and homosexual "marriage" are in actuality only examples of special pleading, attempts to justify doing what one wants to do, even though it has never been accepted behavior ...
Read all of Benedict on Gender.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Which Direction

One must understand something crucial happening in current events today: to paraphrase C. S. Lewis, every person you meet is headed either toward a sacramental anthropology and rejection of sacred violence, or is headed toward the primitive sacred and its dependence on sacred violence. (Lewis said 'toward heaven or toward hell' - which may be the same thing).

The farther persons are from the influence of the Gospel, the more likely that this will begin to occur. It will seem as though such mob violence is acting like a prairie brush fire: quenched in one place, it will flare up elsewhere as though ignited by an unseen root system. This is the "dry tinder" Our Lord warned of (Jn 15,6) that is only fit for conflagration.

So, ask yourself: is this good news or bad news?

Friday, January 09, 2009