Saturday, October 31, 2009

Planet Narnia AND the GMSM

If one finds a near-inexplicable despair in the anthropological insights of René Girard's mimetic theory, it is quite understandable. (All right, perhaps not so much despair, but a heavy, Saturnine despondency.) Girard's explication of the undeniable realities of human fallenness - realities to all except those so far under the waters of denial, hubris, or naïveté can't possible reach the air of truth - flesh out the Church's doctrine of Original Sin with tonic clarity. In what seems a "unified field theory," one can reach the end of mimetic theory feeling as though one has in the darkness traversed the totality of the air-tight, light-proof gestalt of human existence, and now one has no recourse but to sit down and wait the coming end in a morbid awareness of all of humanity's broken, dismal, satanic realm.

Of course, Girard himself, if one takes a look at his own life, would deny this. Clearly, he has put his "eggs" in a different "basket" than either a Qohelethian nihilism or an existence of using mimetic theory to some sort of "will to power" (some do both, as you know).

So it has been my good fortune - or Providence, rather - to come upon an Elfstone in my path. It is a book written by an Anglican priest and published by Oxford entitled, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C. S. Lewis.

It is as though the facts of our baneful existence as a race of beings has had an antidote, a bright-shining counterpart (as Girard insists) that existed with strength and vigor, has been under our noses all along, stifled by the spirit of our age. But this counterpart is not quite so dead as unacknowledged, not so gone but merely forgotten, not crushed and gone forever but merely awaiting a too-long winter's exit and fulfillment of heart's desires.

Michael Ward has thematized something that not only Western culture needs desperately, but also individuals' hearts and souls and spirits. It is not the antidote to Girard's realism but a necessary companion, and just as helpful to Catholic magisterial truth, goodness, and beauty.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Need a Hero - The Dancing Inmates

Hey, help me out here, is this some kind of dance number or what? Check out this prison story.

Is it real? Well, check their song out HERE or view this 20 minute documentary, Jailhouse Rock or Holy Mass Officiated By His Eminence Cardinal Ricardo Vidal.

The Fun Theory

How far can you take the fun theory? Will it work getting more people to Sunday Mass? Don't get me wrong, the more reverent the worship services the better so I am not at all keen on some "fun theory" to get people to Mass. Yet you know there are a bunch of people on church committees who have invested in all kinds of "fun theory" trying to get a few more people in the pews.

So what? Big Deal.

Damien Thompson is sick of being pestered by “infants dressed as vampires, demanding presents.”

Aww.. Well, just shut off the porch light, draw the curtains, and hope - hope - no one plays a "trick" on you. Better yet, read The Drama of Hallowmas, get out the candy corn, and turn on the porch light. Trick or Treat, Limey!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fr. Barron comments on the Vampire craze

Some interesting themes touched on by Fr Barron.

On The Frontlines

On The Frontlines
One of the medics interviewed is a son of my very close friend and doctor. Constant prayers are requested for a safe return home of our daughters and sons as well as an end to this conflict.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Faith in Action

My first day on the job at Faith in Action went pretty well. I am an assistant to the office manager working part time at my local chapter in Illinois. At first glance it seems very daunting in all the efforts everyone makes - double and triple checking - to make sure no one falls through the cracks. Our chapter is only 4 years old but has grown leaps and bounds.

I continue to operate our family retail business along side my brother, however as the economy has taken all the wind out of our sails AND my calling to some sort of ministry I felt like this was the place for me to explore and take a small step out of my comfort zone.

Our chapter has 17 parishes/churches in which we draw volunteers to help folks over 60 with such things as transportation, shopping, small household/yard jobs and friendly calls/visits. Many of the Faith in Action chapters have been long established and offer numerous services - all depending on the number and skills of the volunteers. Why don't you check out your local Faith in Action and see about volunteering today - a neighbor's independence depends on you!

Rev. Kirk and the Little People

And happy it is in these forlorn days of drab materialism that one such as I should chance upon a charming blather of blarney regarding the strange mishaps and disappearance of the Rev. Robert Kirk, scholar and naturalist, so to speak, of the hidden realm by one of our favorite Orthodox writers, David Bentley Hart. Herein are recorded these important matters as we draw near unto the important day of All Hallows' Eve. I give you, gentle reader: The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Scimitar - Primitive Sacred

An aspect of René Girard's concept of the primitive sacred involves the acquisition of certifiable sacrificial victims. The sacred needs victims to re-stoke the flames of what Robert Hamerton-Kelly calls the "Generative Mimetic Scapegoating Mechanism" at its heart.

Therefore, the primitive sacred needs trip-wires so as to alert its religionists that "they've got one!" like this.

The gods of the primitive sacred - regardless of all talk of "monotheism" - reflect a similar and recurring need: the need for victims. Girard's three primary characteristics of the sacred carry essential tasks to keep the victimary cult at the center of such conventional culture strong and able to maintain social and psychological cohesion. These three characteristics are ritual, myth, and prohibition.

Ritual re-enacts the founding slaying of the deity-troublemaker who "rescued" the people when they were engaged in the "war of all against all" (Hobbs). By his death, they became a people. To keep the chaos and tumult from returning, a priesthood establish a ritual that replays this victimary origin of culture.

Myth is the subterfuge that lends the once violent mob a self-justifying, self-congratulatory story that keeps them from seeing the actual, structural innocence of their original victim - as well as their on-going ritualized victims' innocence. We "had to" sacrifice him (her, them); it was our "sacred duty."

Prohibitions provide the "trip-wires" that show us who has "trammeled" upon the deity's will and, thus, provide us with a necessary cache of victims, should a dissolution of our cultural cohesion call for a sacrifice to surcharge it.

The point is, the Scimitar has all the ingredients of the primitive sacred in a viral and quite active way in the world today. And regardless of its claims of "monotheism", its structure is at-one with all pagan "primitive sacred" religions.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Theater of Cruelty - For the Masses

A hanger-on to Antonin Artaud's Théâtre de la Cruaut, and ignorant and disregarding of the anthropological realities of mimesis, Danish director, Lars von Trier, says his film Antichrist was made "for himself."

Yeah, right.

I'm sure he won't mind being a satanic tool used to rachet-up the new level to which progressive, Dialectic materialists will go before they begin to squirm in their seats at the movies. Especially as he deposits the monies he earns from it. Ah, Mammon ..

He is washing his hands of the mimetic effects of a movie that at Cannes had persons leaving the darkened theater physically sick to their stomachs.

What he does not know is that Antichrist will become for another generation of college students what Deep Throat was: a rite of passage in an initiation into the banality, desensitization, and dehumanization of a human being.

Still farther down the bell-shaped curve, the images of cruelty and violence will take even worse effect on those who will feel compelled to act-out what they see in von Trier's foolish depravity. Expect more bizarre crimes - those little snippets of horror that reside far from the front page of the MSM.

One might say that von Trier merely adds to the growing number of gore flicks.

Unfortunately, this "high-brow", tasteless one will add more possibilities of the theater of cruelty spilling blood on the streets - and in relationships between men and women.

Dollar Collapse?

Is the sky falling? An eleven minutes to make you go buy seeds and start planning your vegetable garden for next spring.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cinematic Genocide - Y'all Come

Most of us middle-brow Girardians know the truth of Robert Hamerton-Kelly's axiom: when the sacrificial mechanism at the heart of conventional culture begins to lose its ability to bring cohesion to its denizens, both anthropologically and psychologically, that culture will usually try to surcharge its waning mechanism in one of two ways. It will either increase the number of its victims, or increase the prestige of its victims: genocide or regicide.

From my curmudgeon's perch, it is clear that modern western man is a weenie, as noted by Australian anthropologist, Peter McAllister.

Maybe he's not even a weenie; perhaps a Vienna sausage.

Unlike his swarthy Scimitar brothers who will resort sacrificially to an occasional honor killing of a female relative, or fatwa against an author or government official (Talking point: where is the culture of the Scimitar in terms of the vitality of its sacrificial mechanism?), the modern western weenie merely likes his violence on Sunday afternoons in the autumn via the National Football League, the Stanley Cup play-offs, or, occasionally by going to the movies.

Weenie-Alert: The "genocidal" cinematic attempt to surcharge the West's sacrificial mechanism is coming up soon in a theater near you. November 13th to be exact. Here comes Roland Emmerch's
mass extermination of humanity on a magical day in 2012.

And you can watch it with a tub of buttered popcorn and super-size soda. Good thing death is safely up there on the silver screen, and
it's someone else doing the dying. I'm safe. Right? Right?

Kinda makes sense don't you think?

What if it is true?

The 13th Day
The True Story of Fatima

In a world torn apart by persecution, war and oppression, 3 shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal were chosen by God to offer an urgent message of hope to the world.

Based on the memoirs of the oldest seer, Lucia Santos, and many thousands of independent eye-witness accounts, The 13th Day dramatizes the true story of three young shepherds who experienced six apparitions of Our Lady between May and October 1917, which culminated in the final prophesized Miracle of the Sun on October 13th.

Abducted from their homes, thrown into prison and interrogated under the threat of death in the government s attempt to silence them, the children remained true to their story about the crucial messages from Mary of prayer, repentance and conversion for the world.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Why, ... You NEKED, Boy !

For the record: an absolutely awesome post from The Anchoress: Who TOLD You You Were Naked?

Addendum: If God wants us to be vulnerable in our covenant, remember this fact next time you prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

And, just because, here is Robin Williams' exquisite rendition of the American legend of Pecos Bill:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Metanoia and Forgiveness

For all those who say the Catholic Church isn't "friendly" enough, or, worse, for those who say She "persecutes" those who alternative lifestyles does not match Her faith and morality, I say this. I want a Church that tells me, as per G. K. Chesterton, where I am wrong; not one that tells me in an expedient, oily, and "friendly" way where I am right.

The Catholic Church does not "persecute" me in telling me where I am wrong in my disordered passions, my choosing my will over that of God, She is doing me a favor. A huge one at that. And Our Lord in His divine mercy goes even further. He grants us a swift and healing sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Prodigal Son did not wait for his father to come and dredge him up and out of the pig stall. His disordered passions and willfulness took him into that "far country." He picked himself up and started trudging back to his father's homestead.

Once there, what happened? Read it - Luke 15:11-32.

St Luke the Evangelist

Friday, October 16, 2009

Divine Mercy Chaplet - 3 O'clock Prayer

The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC:

A - Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world.

B - Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us.

C - Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vengeful God vs. the Crucified and Risen

This should be enough to indicate that for the Scimitar, appeasing a wrathful god puts their religion at-one with René Girard's "primitive sacred." All conventional religions, from an anthropological point of view, do not share the biblical mandate to "LOVE the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength" (Mk 12,28-31). Indeed, conventional religions love their deity rarely at all.

Rather, the rituals, prohibitions, and myths of conventional religions seek to keep their deities at arm's length, or secure in his or her temple, or as far from human contact as possible (hence the awe-full fear of the sacred and profane meeting).

But beginning with the covenant-making, covenant-keeping God of the Jews comes the slow and awakening understanding of a God Who loves first and invites humanity into a community of steadfast love rather than fear and dread.

The New Testament understands that nature of God the Father is fully vindicated in the death of God the Son at the hands of angry men, and His resurrection. If ever there was a clearer way of advertising the true nature of God, I don't know of it - and neither does the Teaching Office of the Catholic Church.

When the Veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom (Lk 23,45), the Christian faith says the power of the old primitive sacred fears and dread of the Sacred meeting of the profane was undone. God had come among us. Died for us. Rose to new Life for us. The bogey man of the gods and goddesses was destroyed. Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection was the true "twilight of the gods." The Sacred had "become flesh" and "dwelt among us, full of grace and truth" (Jn 1,14).

"I no longer call you servants," Jesus says, "I call you friends" (Jn 15,14-15). "Glory and trumpets!" as Sam Gamgee would say!

But this fear and dread dies hard where the truth of the Gospel still goes unacknowledged. Or is rejected by a Western culture that should know better.

Will the Scimitar ever pull away from its misunderstanding of God's true nature? I do not know. But until it does, we can be certain that it will continue to use any means - any means - to try to appease the angry, vengeful will of Allah. Wouldn't you, if you thought it was God's will?

Will the West regain its whole-hearted belief and Easter hope? Again, I do not know. But until it does, we can be certain that the neo-pagan recrudescence will proceed apace; even with its gussied-up, expensive-suited, Ivy League versions, replete with infant sacrifice. Its god is Moloch wearing a Mammon face.

I admire the Scimitar's misunderstanding of God's nature more than the Christ-rejecting neo-paganism of the West. Which, I wonder, will be easier to (re-)evangelize?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It Just Burns Me Up

Arright. You've seen it elsewhere, but never let it be said that the 4M's truculently refuse to fall for positive mimesis. I bring you The Onion's brilliant rendition of our President negotiating with wildfire.

Not such a bad metaphor for naive - check that - radical ideological hubris that won't acknowledge the Doctrine of Original Sin, eh?

Obama To Enter Diplomatic Talks With Raging Wildfire

Monday, October 12, 2009

Creating Space is an Act of Obedience

excerpt from the Magnificat
"Christ's act of creating space in himself for God is not self-mastery, but is itself already obedience, an obedience willing to take on whatever task the 'ever greater Father' gives." - Hans Urs von Balthasar

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Postcard, A Retreat, and Nietzsche's Man

I am back now from my all-too brief retreat at Holy Cross Abbey. Brief, but not without great benefit: Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Holy Eucharist on Saturday with Lauds, thirty minutes of Adoration before the Tabernacle (a plenary indulgence), and lots of silence, walking, and reading.

A book I am finding truly insightful for our times of tumult is Lucy Bennett's A Postcard from the Volcano – A Novel of Pre-War Germany. Historical fiction, yes, but historical fiction that shines a bright light on themes and structures of our own tectonic cultural fractures and violence.

Here is a choice tidbit from the protagonist's, Max's, grandfather: "It is good to be young, and capable of understanding that it's the hopes that need changing" (emphases added). Yeah, right.

An intuition from the Abbey Guesthouse: Nietzsche gave the West a double-barrel dose of his ennervating madness: (a) he described and affirmed a kind of man who accepted the 'eternal return' of the Dionysiac - vain, shame-based, vengeful, proud, bestial - while rejecting the Crucified One's way of forgiveness, mercy, long-suffering, and charity; and (b) that man whom he told Europe to imitate has strode menacingly and violently in the flesh onto Europe's stage in the flesh and in great numbers: the Scimitar's exemplar.

Our hero, Nietzsche's man! How can we, liberal, progressive, multi-culturalist, enlightened peoples, not accept him with arms outspread?

Europe and the West in agreeing with Nietzsche, yet possessed by the unacknowledged Spirit of Christ's concern for the victim and non-violence, quail before this swarthy, proud, "natural man." Would Nietzsche be pleased, I wonder?

The only - the only - hope for Europe and the West is not some finely nuanced revivification of sacramentality (that may come later on); rather, it is a sweeping and wholehearted return to belief God and in Jesus Christ as the true Son of God, the Word made flesh (Jn 1,14), rejection of Dionysus, and metanoiac affirmation of Our Lord's Church here on earth.

Anyone willing to give me odds on that likelihood?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Relationships and the Big Picture

A follow-up to the video below about Cardinal George, here is an excerpt in an interview he did with NCR on his new book, The Difference God Makes.
There are two things with which we [as Americans and as American Catholics] have a hard time: relationships, and seeing the whole thing. We’re very good at individual choices, which often separate us, and we’re very good at specializations, which also separate us. If there are lacunae in the culture that is ours, which we all have to love, it’s a lack of appreciation for relationships that you can’t un-choose and that are constitutive of your identity, and also this ability to see the whole thing, to see it as global, to get outside the national parameters that define how we look at everything, ...
Not being able to speak to Cardinal George's book, but from the 4M's perspective this little quote provides a clue into what René Girard and mimetic theory is about: relationships and coming into contact with the big picture. Check out our side panel and make it a point TODAY to learn about this man and his theory. Isn't it about time you get acclimated to the big picture?

George Isn't Sleeping Here

Cardinal George on the Last Self-Help Administration:

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Nietzsche's Victory

Even those for whom mimetic theory is a closed - or, more accurately, never opened - book can see that the accusatory gesture carries with it a near-insurmountable power. Conventional power of observation are no match for it. A sanguine, detached position if silent becomes a collusion.

Pam Geller shows the power of the accusatory - literally in Greek, the satanic - gesture here.

Perhaps the most disturbing feature of this is how mythologically blinding the sacred (speaking anthropologically) is on the self-proclaimed "progressive" minds, unregenerate as they are. Girard merely shines anthropological insight and data at the behest of the Catholic magisterium.

Discard the influence of the Gospel, and the conventional mind rapidly recrudesces to the pagan sacred, the so-called natural man, and the worship once again of the dark gods of blood (Lewis).


Back to the sublime: the cover to the Lindau Gospels. Don't forget to visit the always true, good, and beautiful offerings at The Lion and the Cardinal.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Why the Marshmellows?

From the sublime to the ridiculous ... Welcome to the "Who Knew?" Department here at the 4Ms. Throw away that old VCR player? No way! Learn how YOU can recycle and redeploy all those really cool things inside that manufacturers DON'T want you to know about. And, don't forget the marshmellows!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

St Bruno and the Carthusian Order

Thought this clip from "Into Great Silence" was a fitting tribute to Saint Bruno and the Order he helped found.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Haiku U

Patrick Madrid presents Catholic Haiku from Envoy insiders. Kind of tame, if you ask me. So I tried my hand at it, coming with nine years of teaching Catholic sixth-graders the gentle art:

Indifferent kids
Long to surf the internet
My CCD class


Empty stomach growls
Long lines trapse toward Altar
Final blessing, pah!


Ora pro nobis
I enter teachers' bathroom
No toilet paper


3:30 Vigils
Monks blow noses just like me
But I'm back to bed

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Msgr. Charles Pope - Nixing Anthropocentrism

It is to God whom the glory belongs.

Memento Mori

Just a reminder. We not only have to live with our decisions. We have to die with our decisions.

Conservatism AND Liberalism Dead?

Steven Hayward in today's Washington Post Op/Ed has a piece that asks, "Is Conservatism Dead? No - Just Brain Dead." He writes,

The best-selling conservative books these days tend to be red-meat titles such as Michelle Malkin's "Culture of Corruption," Glenn Beck's new "Arguing with Idiots" and all of Ann Coulter's well-calculated provocations that the left falls for like Pavlov's dogs. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these books. Politics is not conducted by Socratic seminar, and Henry Adams's dictum that politics is the systematic organization of hatreds should remind us that partisan passions are an essential and necessary function of democratic life. The right has always produced, and always will produce, potboilers.

Conspicuously missing, however, are the intellectual works...MORE>>
Hayward elsewhere dismisses the tea party phenomena as "unfocused" and, as per above, sees Malkin and Beck as not sufficiently "intellectual" to warrant attention (he may have a point there).

Mr. Hayward sees only "Happy Meal Conservatism," which will, he posits, melt away very soon with the morning mist. What he fails to see is the "Happy Meal Liberalism" that he himself espouses. In the doubling rivalry in which he is caught, he fails to see that his stance is the equal and opposite of the conservatism that he and the WaPo scorn and flail at with incessant effort.

If Mr. Hayward wants to find true intellectual vigor, he will have to look to what he and other supposed gatekeepers of public discourse rejected and abandoned long ago; namely, the thinkers and writers of the Catholic Church. One could do worse than the likes of René Girard, recent inductee into L'Académie français, or the Holy Father, Benedict XVI.

But that would take a paradigm shift for Mr. Hayward, not to mention peeling his eyes off of his mimetic rival dance-partner, "conservatism".


This should make you more than a little slightly ill. Now we are seeing the squirm meter well into the red. NAMBLA - North American Association for Man-Boy Love Association - is not simply about queering. It is advocacy for the normalization of pedophilia.

And thus his royal I Wun-ness takes the country farther down the spiralling vortex of cultural meltdown. Well done, sir. Well done.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Transitus - A Franciscan Devotion

Don't miss out, check for your nearest Franciscan parish so you can participate in a Transitus service tonight.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Feast of the Guardian Angels

For the record: over at Vultus Christi, Father Mark's superb reflection on our Guardian Angels, My Friend.