Monday, August 31, 2009

Two Roads Diverged

From the NYT:

Only 13 days separated the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics, from the death of her brother Ted last week. But amid the wall-to-wall coverage and the stream of retrospectives for the senior senator from Massachusetts, it was easy to forget that he wasn’t the only famous Kennedy sibling to enter eternity this month.

Liberalism’s most important legislator probably merited a more extended send-off than his sister. But there’s a sense in which his life’s work and Eunice’s deserve to be remembered together — for what their legacies had in common, and for what ultimately separated them.

What the siblings shared — in addition to the grace, rare among Kennedys, of a ripe old age and a peaceful death — was a passionate liberalism and an abiding Roman Catholic faith. These two commitments were intertwined: Ted Kennedy’s tireless efforts on issues like health care, education and immigration were explicitly rooted in Catholic social teaching, and so was his sister’s lifelong labor on behalf of the physically and mentally impaired.

What separated them was abortion. (Emphasis added.)

Along with her husband, Sargent Shriver, Eunice belonged to America’s dwindling population of outspoken pro-life liberals. Like her church, she saw a continuity, rather than a contradiction, between championing the poor, the marginalized and the oppressed and protecting unborn human life ... More>>
And a child - albeit a precocious one - might right there, between Edward and Eunice, draw a rough crayon line between a faithful Catholic who held to the teachings of Mother Church in faith and morals, on the one hand, and a so-called "liberal Catholic."

But that crayon line would demarcate more. It would be a chasm separating the Christian faith in its fullest expression - the Catholic headwaters that nourish all christianities downstream - and a dangerous road leading many, oh so many, toward a recrudescence of the pagan in all of its "needed" pragmatism.

Alas for ones who stray from the Barque of Peter if one wants to die a holy death.

Mitsui - Sword of Sir John Conyers

Daniel Mitsui posts on Sir John Conyers who killed the Sockburn worm. Is this the legendary basis for the vvery campy 1988 thriller (based on Bram Stoker's book - same title), starring a very young Hugh Grant, Lair of the White Worm?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Short-sighted Pop Culture Sends Off "Lion"

It is amusing, and a bit sad, the way denizens of the hall of mirrors stoke the flames of the funeral pyre for one of their lions, and feel hurt because the Holy Father hasn't matched their laudatory eulogies.

It speaks reams about the non-Catholic (and cafeteria Catholic) mentality. They simply don't grasp that the Church thinks past individual politicians and the mainstream media's take on them. The Church ponders long and lengthy about the events of millennia ago as though they are part of recent history, and honors the players in the "theo-drama" of salvation history with a voice today as though their votes still count (they do).

Chesterton's "democracy of the dead," however, is reserved for those who strove on Earth to live in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church and her magisterium. This is precisely what pop culture, bipartisan politicians, and denizens of the mimetic swirl want no part of.

Pity. Senator Kennedy may have wanted to get to heaven, and he may. But he was no saintly wannabe by the standards set by the Church. He only qualifies as a saint by the standards established by the secular humanist left. He was their kind of saint.

He had his 47-year tenure on that stage and is honored for it. But in eyes of the Church, it was but a wisp of time. For the Holy Father,
Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos looms much larger, and more eloquently for the needs of our time, than the senator who had a perfect score from NARAL.

Little Guide - Reviews

Amy Welborn reviews A Little Guide for Your Last Days here. Jeff Miller (Curt Jester) weighs in too.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mitsui - Iconoclasm

An important essay on The Death of Mediaeval Art by Daniel Mitsui.

Silly Wizards - Scottish Soul

Silly Wizards was a Scottish band I was blessed to see live in tidewater Virginia in a small setting. Johnny Cunningham, the fiddler, was stellar - skilled, relaxed regardless of the speed of tempo, a wild-spirit sporting brilliant red boots. Johnny died at the age of 46 in 2003. Below gives just a glimpse and flavor of the brilliance of Silly Wizards.

Saint Augustine + 28 August

Must read redux! The bones of St. Augustine

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Captain Jack Sparrow at it again

This is in keeping to the codes, as Athos commented about Captain Jack Sparrow playing out his role in "Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy of films which does a smack-dab job of expressing what's wrong with the world." Could this picture do a better job of expressing what's wrong with the world? Make sure to go HERE to see more evidence of keeping to the codes.

Bella Star Inspires Brit Youth

And speaking of actors:
LONDON, AUG. 25, 2009 ( This week, the actor Eduardo Verastegui will join some 1,500 British youth in a prayer festival.

A press release from the bishops' conference of England and Wales announced that the leading man of the movie "Bella" will be speaking at the upcoming Youth 2000 festival, a 5-day retreat that begins Thursday.

This annual program aims to provide a "gateway" back into the Church for young people, age 16-30, who no longer practice their Catholic faith.

The press release noted that this festival unfolds in the style of World Youth Day, with talks, testimonies, dynamic prayer and worship...More>>

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mickey Rourke, Faith, Second Chances

.- Famed Hollywood actor Mickey Rourke, who was at the Sarajevo Film Festival last week, told a Bosnian newspaper that he thanks God and his Catholic faith for giving him a “second chance” in life to overcome his addictions, which almost led him to commit suicide.

Speaking to the Bosnian daily “Avaz,” Rourke said, “God gave me a second chance in life and I thank Him.”

Rourke achieved fame in the 80s with action films and erotic thrillers. At the beginning of the 90s he left film for boxing and fell into heavy drug and alcohol addiction.

According to the newspaper, during the most difficult moments of his life, his psychiatrist and his priest were his best friends ...

In 2005, when he began to land bigger roles in films, he revealed to a magazine that he was meeting often with his pastor in New York and was on the verge of suicide. “If I weren’t Catholic I would have blown my brains out,” he said. More>>

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Patron Saint of SFO King Louis IX of Francis

Saint Louis IX patron saint of the Secular Franciscan Order (See link and scroll down to 8.24)

The following is a spiritual testament to his son by St. Louis, King of France (1214-1270)

A just king rules the earth
My dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin.
If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either through vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend him in the matter of his gifts.
Listen to the divine office with pleasure and devotion. As long as you are in church, be careful not to let your eyes wander and not to speak empty words, but pray to the Lord devoutly, either aloud or with the interior prayer of the heart.
Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Be just to your subjects, swaying neither to right nor left, but holding the line of justice. Always side with the poor rather that with the rich, until you are certain of the truth. See that all your subjects live in justice and peace, but especially those who have ecclesiastical rank and who belong to religious orders.
Be devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father. Work to remove all sin from your land, particularly blasphemies and heresies.
In conclusion, dearest son, I give you every blessing that a loving father can give a son. May the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and all the saints protect you from every evil. And may the Lord give you the grace to do his will so that he may be served and honored through you, that in the next life we may together come to see him, love him and praise him unceasingly. Amen.
(read his Last Instructions to his eldest son Phillip by scrolling down at this LINK)

Louis never forgot his upbringing
His friend and biographer, the Sieur de Joinville, who accompanied him on his first crusade to the Holy Land, relates that the King once asked him, "What is God?" Joinville replied, "Sire, it is that which is so good that there can be nothing better." "Well," said the King, "now tell me, would You rather be a leper or commit a mortal sin?" The spectacle of the wretched lepers who wandered along the highways of medieval Europe might well have prompted a sensitive conscience to ask such a question. "I would rather commit thirty mortal sins," answered Joinville, in all candor, "than be a leper." Louis expostulated with him earnestly for making such a reply. "When a man dies," he said, "he is healed of leprosy in his body; but when a man who has committed a mortal sin dies he cannot know of a certainty that he has in his lifetime repented in such sort that God has forgiven him; wherefore he must stand in great fear lest that leprosy of sin last as long as God is in Paradise."
The Histoire de France (c. 1750) records that the saint showed that “it is not impossible to ally the majesty of the throne with the holiness of the Gospel, that without quitting the most exalted rank, one may practice the humiliations of penitence, that a really Christian king renders his greatness independent of events, and fears not to lose through adversity what prosperity could not have accorded him.”
To learn more on the Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) link to a previous post HERE.

St Thomas - America Needs You

Father Robert Barron:
Just last week I was in Toulouse France, filming for my ten part documentary on Catholicism. I will admit that I was in Toulouse for fairly personal reasons. In the Dominican church of the Jacobins, in a golden casket situated under a side altar, are the remains of my hero, St. Thomas Aquinas. I spent a good amount of time in silent prayer in front of Thomas’s coffin, thanking him for giving direction to my life ..

Defend the Innocent

For the record: Catholics Against Obamacare. [ht: Curt Jester]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Glorious Sons and Daughters

Here's the deal. I used to enjoy going to the movies. This was when violence and killing was not a form of entertainment for box-office junkies. That is to say, when the Christian faith in general (vague, euphemistic, focus-group driven) and Catholic truth in particular (it is, you know) still informed and influenced popular culture.

Now, however, poor blighters pour out millions of dollars - what an industry! - to spend over two hours watching the likes of Brad Pitt (pictured above mugging and earning millions of dollars) do what passes for acting. But his influence far out-passes that of Our Lord in the sad, neo-pagan West.

I do not worship the "right" to bear arms or to use them on fellow human beings (or baseball bats, for that matter).

Oh, yes. And I didn't see "Inglourious Basterds." I've seen more than enough Tarantino for one life (sitting through the trailer was all I needed). Did you? Pity.

Friday, August 21, 2009

In 6 Months It'll Feel Normal

Okay. It's coming, it's more in keeping with ancient texts, it's our opportunity to show we're not fuddy-duddy sticks in the mud. Via New Advent here is what you need to know about the upcoming changes in the Mass.

It's Everywhere - Must See

Bill Whittle pulls back the curtain on the truth about iconography and lemmings.

Of course, there is a much more powerful icon that tells a far greater truth about all humans - including false messiahs - here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

St Bernard - Eat and be eaten to make the union complete

tip to Father Mark @ Vultus Christi

Saint Bernard teaches that it is not enough for us to take and eat the Bread from Heaven. We must also offer ourselves to be eaten. Holy Communion is a wondrous exchange in which we become the bread of Christ. Listen to Saint Bernard:

My penitence, my salvation are His food.
I myself am His food.
I am chewed as I am reproved by Him;
I am swallowed by Him as I am taught;
I am digested by Him as I am changed;
I am assimilated as I am transformed;
I am made one with Him as I am conformed to Him.
He feeds upon us and is fed by us
that we may be the more loosely bound to Him.

Saint Bernard, ever the poet, uses images of eating and assimilation to describe how Christ unites us to Himself. Our Lord becomes our food that we might become His...

Saint Bernard says, "Christ eats me that He may have me in Himself, and Christ in turn is eaten by me that He may be in me, and the bond between us will be strong and the union complete." What awaits you in Holy Communion exceeds all that you can desire. Eat, then, and offer yourself to be eaten. Receive the Bread of God and become the bread of God.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dust in the Wind

The Anchoress brings us an astonishing artist, the history of the Ukraine's losses during World War II (1 in 4 died), and an experience to draw you - momentarily - out of the daily grind: here. Be prepared to be strangely moved.

Did HE Read MY Book?

No, I read his (Spe Salvi)

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 17, 2009 ( Heavenly joy can begin on earth by answering God's call to share in a relationship similar to the mysterious interchange that occurred between Christ and Mary, says Benedict XVI.
"Dear brothers and sisters," he continued, "what happened to Mary is also valid, though in a different but real way, for every man and woman, because God asks each of us to welcome him, to place at his disposal our hearts and our bodies, the whole of our existence, our flesh -- as the Bible says -- so that he can dwell in the world."

"He calls us to unite ourselves with him in the sacrament of the Eucharist, Bread broken for the life of the world, to together form the Church, his Body in history," the Pope added. "And if we say 'yes,' like Mary, in the same measure of this our 'yes,' this mysterious interchange will also happen for us and in us: We will be assumed into the dignity of the One who has assumed our humanity..." (emphasis added)

(T)he Holy Father assured, this "feast of God" begins on earth ... More>>

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Atheists are Fussbudget Ninnies

OFTEN ONE WILL HEAR atheists proclaim that we are here due to the random dance of atoms occurring in a vastly uninhabited, ferociously beautiful, yet totally fluke-filled universe. We are "the stuff of stars," as dear old Carl Sagan said.

And I, of course, agree with Carl's statement, being an Earth Science middle school teacher. We are indeed begotten from the star matter (plasma, baby - and that's as close as I ever want to get to it).

We dwell in a tiny cocoon of atmosphere around our tiny, garden planet, protected from solar radiation by an electro-magnetic field that is produced because the outer core of our planet is a billion-trillion tons of molten iron spinning around the inner core of solid iron at about one thousand miles an hour (I am not making this stuff up - who could?) which sends the EM field out one pole, around the Earth, and back in the other. This, by the way, flips every so often, causing the mid-Atlantic ridges to show the reversal in polarity with geologic time scale frequency. Your compass will one day point south. Yep.

And besides this, we are beings dwelling in this tiny, protected, garden planet that can imagine all of this in our puny minds which are inextricably intertwined somehow with seven pounds of gray matter between our ears and who can talk about it with one another due to the manufacture of language in the Wernicke region of our brains. (As Walker Percy said of this in his famous Thomas Jefferson lecture of the humanities in 1989, "The Fateful Rift: The San Andreas Fault in the Modern Mind" - "Draw me a picture of us 'picking out language' from the Wernicke region. Go ahead. Draw me a picture.")

And as G. K. Chesterton pointed out, "It is an act of faith (on the part of scientists, largely unacknowledged) to assert that our thoughts have any relation to reality at all."

So, I find it remarkable that atheists are atheistic, given the above facts. What an amazing pile of remarkable "coincidences" and "random dance-steps!"

My Catholic faith, on the other hand, has produced some of the greatest scientific thinkers of western civilization, bar none, and depends completely upon both common sense and high rationality the likes of which cannot be found elsewhere.

And if our Creator was kind enough to allow each of us into the greatest Adventure of all - namely, being blessed enough to be born and avoiding that man-made obstacle, abortion - surely, surely, we can depend upon Him to see that that which follows this biological existence will be at the proper focus distance to see, provide sufficient existential and ontological substantiation to still remain His be-ings (if it be His will), and be a part of something at least, if not more, miraculous than all astonishing existence we now share.

For more important facts, get your copy of A Little Guide for Your Last Days.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Chaput - Health Care Reform

Archbishop Charles Chaput:
God, or the devil, is always in the details. As Scripture says, “You will know them by their fruits” (Mt 7:20). The test of White House and congressional honesty about seeking “common ground” will be the details of the health care plan being worked on this summer and fall. The whole meaning of “health care” would be subverted by any plan that involves mandated abortion access or abortion funding. The reason is obvious. Killing or funding the killing of unborn children has nothing to do with promoting human health, and including these things in any “health care” proposal, no matter how shrewdly hidden, would simply be a form of lying. More>>>
Common sense has so long been rejected and subverted that sacrifice of unborn children is once more the characteristic of a conventional self-satisfied, pagan culture, anthropologically speaking. The influence of the the Church's gospel is reaching its lowest ebb. Family is nearly however you desire to define it. "Heteronormativity" is verboten in curricula. Down is up and up is down.

The good Archbishop Chaput is like the Baptist. A lone voice crying in a wilderness.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ariel Atom

Faster than a motorcycle, street-legal, fills your mouth with bees, the purest driving experience on four wheels - oh, please, Santa!!! (ht: Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys)

Virtue of Patience

ht: Sean @ Blue Boar

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It is a Dream I Have

And now, sarcasm, lunacy, and all manner of vices be gone! I wish to speak of higher things.

An unspoken reason that the American Revolution occurred, it seems to me, was the camaraderie yet individuality of its leadership. What comes to my mind at present is the sniping that goes on within and among allies of what Pope John Paul II the Great coined to be a new springtime of evangelization.

What if we had busts of one another - our contemporaries and brothers and sisters in-arms - to fill the niches of our "Tea Rooms", as Thomas Jefferson did:
Jefferson referred to the room as his "most honorable suite" because in it he displayed many likenesses of his friends and American heroes, including busts of Franklin, John Paul Jones, Lafayette, and Washington; the room had a reading and writing arrangement perhaps similar to the one Jefferson kept in his Cabinet; at one time the room had a stove in a semi-circular niche in wall.
There I would have a bust of Mark Shea; there Dymphna; there Gil Bailie; there my fellow Mass'keteers - sort of a Mt. Rushmore effect, you see - Aramis, D'Artagnon, Porthos; there the great man himself, René Girard, and a host of other fellow worthies.

All doubling rivalry merely a post-lapsarian trifle as we fight the good fight of the Church Militant with our many gifts, graces, differences, yet common allegiance to Our Lord and Our Lady and Pope's men (and women) all.

It is a dream I have.

Marlin - Political Religions

George J. Marlin writes at The Catholic Thing:

In two remarkable books, Earthly Powers and Sacred Causes, British historian Michael Burleigh, has traced the clash of religion and politics from the French Revolution to our own times. Burleigh shows that modern materialist creeds – Jacobinism, Fascism, Communism, and Nazism – had these common traits: They viewed man, not as a person created Imago Dei, but as a speck within mass society devoid of freedom, self-responsibility, and conscience; and to supplant organized religions, these secularists portrayed themselves as pseudo-divine and elevated their revolutions to religious status.

The French Jacobins suppressed the Church (by 1794 only 150 of 40,000 churches were offering Mass) and replaced it with a civic religion. The Declaration of the Rights of Man was a political gospel. Baptism was redefined “as the regeneration of the French revolution begun on July 14, 1789.” Communion: an association of French people “to form on earth only one family of brothers who no longer recognize or worship any idol or tyrant.” Penitence: “the banishment of all those monsters. . .unworthy to inhabit the land of liberty.”

To eliminate the Lord’s Day, a calendar was created with ten-day weeks. Holydays were replaced with secular feast days called Virtue, Genus, Labor, Recompenses, and Opinion. Notre Dame Cathedral was converted into a “Temple of Reason.” An opera singer was worshipped as the “Goddess of Liberty.”

Mussolini described Fascism as “a religious conception in which man in his imminent relationship with a superior law and with an objective Will that transcends the particular individual and raises him to conscious membership of spiritual society.” More>>>
Secularism is one of the most insiduous heresies. Invariably as we have come to see, to paraphrase Our Lord's parable, secularism sweeps out the storehouse and seven demons come in to dwell. Old Testament prophets would spot our age's versions of paganism in a heart beat, replete with child sacrifice in all of its "legal" abortuarial splendor.

Sacred Page

Codex Sinaiticus

Jeff Miller - The Curt Jester - brings to our attention a new blog: The Sacred Page. For Girardians, it has a nice twist of ambiguity to it, even tho' it comes straight from Dei Verbum.

Paglia - I just don't get it

A broken clock is right two times a day:
... who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises -- or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you're happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

I just don't get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy ...

And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

But somehow liberals have drifted into a strange servility toward big government, which they revere as a godlike foster father-mother who can dispense all bounty and magically heal all ills. The ethical collapse of the left was nowhere more evident than in the near total silence of liberal media and Web sites at the Obama administration's outrageous solicitation to private citizens to report unacceptable "casual conversations" to the White House. If Republicans had done this, there would have been an angry explosion by Democrats from coast to coast. I was stunned at the failure of liberals to see the blatant totalitarianism in this incident, which the president should have immediately denounced. His failure to do so implicates him in it. More>>>

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On this Feast Day of St. Clare let us look at ourselves in the light of faith

The Magnificat today had a snippet from Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Vatican Homilist from his book, Life in Christ: The Spiritual Message of the Letter to the Romans. I found the homily from which the snippet was used for a chapter in the book at this LINK.

The following are just teasers that I hope get you to go to the link and read his great homily.

We Possess (Are Possessed by) God Through Grace
A wonderful new sentiment, the sentiment of” possession,” grows in us where God’s love is concerned; we possess God’s love or, better still, we are possessed by it.

We find ourselves mysteriously caught up in the vortex of the work of the Trinity. We are involved in the incessant motion of reciprocal giving and receiving between the Father and the Son from whose jubilant embrace the Holy Spirit springs, who then brings down to us a spark of this fire of love.

A child doesn’t want to be loved separately, with a different and independent love, but he wants to partake in the love, which unites his parents knowing that this has been the source of his life.

And this is the great revelation: the persons of the Trinity love each other with an infinite love and they allow us to partake in this love! They admit us to the banquet of life; the children of men “feast on the abundance of his house,” he gives them to drink “from the river of his delights” (cf. Psalms 36:9). The theological principle that “grace is the beginning of glory” means precisely that we already possess by faith and as “first fruits” what we shall one day possess, face-to-face and fully, in eternal life: namely, God’s love!
Therefore I do not need to look outside myself for proof that God loves me; I, myself, am the proof; my being is, in itself, a gift. Looking at ourselves in the light of faith we can say, I exist, therefore I am loved! “Being is being loved” (G. Marcel).

This is awesome, isn't it? Oh, just one thing, hardness of heart will turn your possession in and with God into a possession of the spirit of THIS fallen world. Ah, the consequences of ignoring or trivializing God even in the smallest of life choices can amount to being thrown into a vortex of the work of Satan.

What Is There In Life That Is Working To Overpower Us?
St. Paul teaches us how to apply to our everyday life the light of God’s love contemplated so far. The perils and enemies against God’s love that he lists are those he actually experienced himself in his own life: distress, persecution, the sword (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23 ff.).

He is inviting me to ask myself: what is there in my life that is working to overpower me?
(The Apostle Paul) observes his world with the powers that threatened it at the time: death and its mystery, life as it was then, with all its allurements, the astral powers and the infernal ones which struck such terror into ancient man…We too are invited to do the same: to look at our surrounding and frightening world with the new eyes given us by the revelation of God’s love.
When God wants to give someone an important message for his life, he usually accompanies this with a certain emotion to help the person embrace his word, and this deep feeling is, in its turn, the sign that it is God who is speaking to the soul. Let us therefore ask the Holy Spirit to help us feel deeply moved; let us ask him to grant us feeling that is not superficial.

There is more to a good story...maybe it's time we go deeper

DISCLAIMER: I was going to post a bit shorter version of this in the comment section of the post but decided otherwise, I pray you find it (at least somewhat) on target.

Read the wonderful post by Athos Munson-I'm Not Buying It

I would point out a couple things that may be missed in a quick read. First of all Munson's non-response upon being shocked by her husband can be seen in a mimetic way where she refused to be placed in rivalry and becoming a mimetic double. In fact all the way through she was practicing excellent skills at avoiding the usual human instinct to succumb to doubling. (Learn more about mimesis, mimetic rivalry, doubles and more by checking out one of our many links to René Girard in articles and books in our side bar.)

Second I throw out a question: could this scenario happen if it were not grounded in a Christian influence even though the author of the article mentions no connection and in fact Munson and her family may not be Christians, we do not know. But it is time we stopped and observed the structure of things, particularly when the things we are observing have potential for conflict, rivalry and violence (and certainly a time like a separation and/or divorce is a prime example). Though the author may have some of the indicators in error and self-pride can never (at least in the way the article presents pride as self constituted) be listed as a true ingredient for love and peace, we may however read into Laura Munson and her relationship with her husband and family God’s grace. As in Step 2 of AA we must acknowledge that there is something greater here and allow that Power (that "influence" - that Christian influence) to work.

My third remark is from the outside looking in - does it still benefit society, marriage, culture and life to NOT identify the markings of Christianity? Many generations have been raised on some such version of ‘LITE’ where they simply have no clue to the religious significance to their life and consequently their numbness to violence is growing at an alarming rate. As our mentor and friend Gil Bailie wrote: We must "discover or re-discover the deeper anthropological, moral, and religious significance of the New Testament, and to assess its staggering historical ramifications - - - - - " - - - NOT only in the global but in particular our personal lives. Laura Munson gives us a great version of one person who didn't succumb to the impulse of human rivalry, conflict and violence at a very intimate setting.

Munson - I'm Not Buying It

If you or any one you know is thinking of separation or divorce, slip him (or her) Laura Munson's superb Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Saint Oswald of Northumbria

For the record: besides being the feast day of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), it is that of the ideal Christian king, St. Oswald of Northumbria.

Inquire Within

And you were beginning to think that the tide of human hubris could rise no higher, eh? Well, as we say in the Midwest, take a gander at the following:
London, England ( -- Women from around the world are traveling to clinics in various locations that are now offering face lifts and cosmetic surgery using tissue from babies who have been killed by abortions.

Pro-life advocates are strongly condemning the practice and saying the taking of human life is never warranted -- especially for such a self-serving purpose.

Women like Susan Barrington, a 52-year-old housewife from England, are heading to places such as Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Moscow and Rotterdam to obtain the treatments.

She has been given the final go-ahead form a local clinic to travel abroad for the treatment that promises to make her look 10 years younger and doesn't mind that lives have been sacrificed to enhance her beauty.

To produce the treatments, clinics are using tissue from babies killed in abortions from 6 to 12 weeks into pregnancy and stem cells obtained from destroying human embryos to inject into a client's face. The fetal cells then begin a supposed rejuvenation process that makes the skin look younger.

To obtain the cells, women in underdeveloped nations are paid up to $200 dollars to carry a baby up to the optimum eight to 12 week period when the fetuses are “harvested” for their stem cells which are then sold to exclusive cosmetic clinics. More>>

What Terry Gilliam's 1985 film, Brazil, so precociously foresaw was our present mimetic swirl of terrorism, bureaucracy run amok, human hubris, alchemical fusion of paganism and western rationalism, and a suffocating attempt of nearly everybody to get out of it (unsuccessfully).

Want to know how to find peace, joy, and holiness?
Inquire within..

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Western rationalism operates like a myth: We always work harder to avoid seeing the catastrophe.

To seek to comfort is always to contribute to the worst.

On War and Apocalypse
by René Girard

Nuff Said

You've seen it elsewhere, wondered why 4Ms hadn't ripped it off before now. Blessings on those CMR boys!

Teaching Chivalry in the Daily Grind

Lydia McGrew at What's Wrong with the World asks, Will we be allowed to do anything for boys and men? The Franciscans of the Immaculate with their Summer Encampments and the year-round 24/7/365 work of Youth Apostles are seeking to answer her question in the strong, manly work and spirit of Saint John Bosco. (The priest pictured at the Youth Apostles Institute website is Fr John "Jack" Peterson, Director of YA and my personal catechist prior to my conversion.)

Chivalry isn't the clashing of broad swords and memorizing a code of chivalry alone; it is "doing the right thing," lovingly and cheerfully, in the daily grind. As, of course the Four Mass'keteers know.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Girard - First Things

If you have not done so, read Girard's essential On War and Apocalypse. It will make inimitable sense of recent "trend toward extremes" at Town Hall meetings and concomitant Last Self-Help Administration strong-arm tactics. But not only that. If there is a clearer, honest, and heads-up examination of terrorism and Islamism and the mythological thinking of western rationalism, I don't know of it.

Longenecker - Father of Lies

For the record, Father Dwight Longenecker on the Father of Lies (and this isn't just because he gave a sterling celebrity blurb for my book).

Okay for Us, Not for You

And now for something entirely different: M. M. on How to dress like an daggone, authentic grass-roots activist. (Language alert.)

In other words, if you disagree, just shut up and take what's good for you (idiots). What to expect for here on. Victor Davis Hanson weighs in. BTW, Meet the “Mob”.

Laity and Politics

Nicoletta MacKenzie writes,

Some years ago, a young Frenchman who was staying with a neighbor while studying at the School of Mines in Golden, walked over to my house as I worked in the yard. He was proud of his country. Health care was nationalized; education was free; women had the right to abortion; France, he proudly announced, was not a slave to religion: in his enlightened homeland, faith had nothing to do with politics.

The poor young man did not know that he had walked into a buzz saw. I asked him: “So, religion has no role in society?” “Not in the public square, no. God has no place in politics.” I continued: “And what are your laws based upon?” “Upon justice.” I insisted: “Who says what is just? Who decides what is right and what is wrong?” The young man looked down at me from his superior height and proudly announced: “The philosophers.” I’m not so easily silenced, so I persisted: Which philosopher?

Exactly. Who defines the terms of discourse in the public sphere? Philosophers? Me thinks not. Hollywood and pop culture? Today - yes, largely. But the Catechism of the Church teaches otherwise. I.e., watch:

Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao

Have you heard of Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao, (R-New Orleans), the first Vietnamese-American congressman and a Catholic?
“At the end of the day if the health care reform bill does not have strong language prohibiting the use of federal funding for abortion, then the bill is really a no-go for me,” said Cao, who spent time in formation to be a Jesuit priest.

“Being a Jesuit, I very much adhere to the notion of social justice,” Cao said. “I do fully understand the need of providing everyone with access to health care, but to me personally, I cannot be privy to a law that will allow the potential of destroying thousands of innocent lives,” he explained to the Louisiana newspaper.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that Cao will be one of seven Republican members of Congress targeted with radio ads that will play on radio stations with largely African-American audiences, urging him to support Obama's health reform efforts.

“I know that voting against the health care bill will probably be the death of my political career,” Cao said, “but I have to live with myself, and I always reflect on the phrase of the New Testament, ‘How does it profit a man's life to gain the world but to lose his soul.’”

Cao is the first native of Vietnam to serve in Congress and the first Republican to serve in his district since 1890. He won in a district that usually votes overwhelmingly Democratic.

The poorest member of Louisiana's delegation, and a devout Roman Catholic, Cao served as a board member for Mary Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church's Community Development Corporation which assists Vietnamese-Americans with hurricane relief, and is a member of the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. More>>>

Cao's viewpoint is something that cafeteria Catholics will not understand. But the early martyrs, our faithful brothers and sisters who died rather than avow Caesar's divinity, most certainly would.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Keep to the Code

As I expressed sometime back, it seems to me that the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy of films does a smack-dab job of expressing what's wrong with the world.

People today are by and large profligate, promiscuous, and debauched. You may be thinking, "Wait a moment, Athos. You are trying to tell me that most folk are suffering from what the Roaming Catholic, Gil Bailie has said:
Promiscuity means the lack of standards by which to judge or sort out things. Psychological promiscuity ... is the kind of involvement in mimetic contagion and mimetic desire which reaches the point [that] the self becomes unstable, because of the multitude of its influences.
Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. People are psychological promiscuous, profligate, and debauched for the epistemological reason that they have no "code" by which to live. Or, rather, they are done away with all such codex sources of certainty for a variety of reasons, usually all bad ones. ("I did it myyyy wayyy," "All paths are pathology," etc.)

In the ultimate film of Pirates of the Caribbean, "At World's End," we discover that there is, in reality, a "Pirates' Code" to which all the Pirate Lords subscribe. (If you have not watched it, too bad for you.) It is what binds the brethren together in a normative way.

Today, as our sad state of politics and economics declares, the only "code" adhered to is All for Me and Who cares about Thee. The Democrats, leaning as far left as I have ever seen, are taking government into a La-la Land of fiscal insolvency, Romantic utopianism, and power-mongering doubling rivalry with the Right. And the Republicans before them? No better: tight-gripped control of wealth in a tiny minority and ignoring of all problems caused by Capitalism run amok ... and doubling rivalry with the Left.

THEREFORE, be it resolved that there is indeed a "Code" - truly and not merely in cinematic tomfoolery. And any and all can and may find epistemological, anthropological, ontological, and soteriological certainty therein, me hearties. (Yo ho!)

You may find this Code here. And good company there is to be found there, too. It may feel like a beseiged Tortuga, but 'tain't - 'tis a place of great truth, goodness, and beauty. And one may actually learn how to navigate the ugly swells and squalls of the spirit of the age.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Two-Stepping to Hell

From Verum Serum, via Gil Bailie:

Now I realize that the editors at these MSM institutions are probably following some style-guide which tells them that a baby inside a mother is fetus and a fetus in the hospital is a baby. What this case points out so clearly is that it’s a distinction without a difference. If we wanted to lay aside the style-guide we’d have to admit it was a baby when it was kidnapped and it was a baby when it was discovered alive in the hospital. Calling it a fetus didn’t change anything about it except its implied location. So why do it? I think the answer is obvious. You don’t have to look any further than yesterday’s NY Times hagiography of George Tiller for an answer. From the Times story:

[T]he other 2,800 abortions involved viable fetuses. Some had serious but survivable abnormalities, like Down syndrome. Many were perfectly healthy.

Those were healthy babies Tiller dismembered. Babies. More >>

I would love simply to call the prevarication by the MSM on abortuarial murder cowardice: merely fear of losing advertizers, or readership, or viewers, or the like. But at heart it stems from a baser motive: fear of the rising tide of the primitive Sacred. That is, it is hypocritical turning away from human sacrifice, lest all of us face the horror of cultural collusion that became a staple of United States cohesion since Roe v. Wade. Or, perhaps it is one and the same after all.

If our country, like so many other western nations formerly informed by the Judeo-Christian ethos, faces cultural meltdown it will be because we turned our collective back on that Judeo-Christian ethos for a heinous, softcore, "professional" - even suburban - version of human sacrifice: an antiseptic, stainless steel and latex medical "procedure".

But is it hypocritical? I fear that our collective consciousness about abortion has truly changed. It is no longer horrible. It is now "routine" for a vast majority of Americans. It is clearly a political chit in the Washington "two-step" for all but a very small minority on either side of the aisle. And if we are so blinded to the abomination of abortion, what others have become "normalized"? (Fill in the blank.)

And so I say, batten down the hatches. I fully believe in the consequential judgment of God against idolatry and paganism. Particularly when those who knew better reject what once was espoused and cherished as God's revelation and truth.

I don't know who this guy is, but ...

... that road he described sounded way too similar to a road I've trodden down.

I wonder just how many of us have had such denial in our past (whether with booze but maybe not with booze - with some other addition) ... how many of us still speak in a dialogue that contains such denial in telling our current life story?

Who said comedy had to be dumb?

Boy, I think he's getting a good reading off the CRAP-o-meter, don't you?

stolen from Old World Swine

Picking up on all the indirect to direct references to mimesis and scapegoating we know that this comedy act is revealing some major crap.

Cool Reality Adaptation Presentation (CRAP)

Crap-o-meter - I gotta get me one of them! Ht: Karen Hall

Michael Barber - Liturgy Reflection

Ht: Mark Shea - Weekly Sunday Gospel lessons from JP Catholic University.

Liturgy Reflection: Sunday, August 2, 2009 from JP Catholic University on Vimeo.