Sunday, January 31, 2010

Abortion and Coming to Ourselves

Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman's op/ed runs in today's Washington Post, What Tim Tebow's Super Bowl ad can teach the pro-choice movement.

It is a curious piece, extremely soft-handed for the "pro-choice" folk. Perhaps they beginning to realize the way the wind is blowing. They and their MSM, progressivist ilk successfully ignored and downplayed the recent March for Life in D. C. (that's easy: be disingenuous about numbers and the intent of March attenders in their rags and mags). But they know they cannot do anything about the airwaves during Super Bowl XLIV.

The seething nature of their worship of human individualism is made clear time and time again. The attempt to "normalize" it is, therefore, understandable.

But the realization - the coming to ourselves that Our Lord referred to in His parable of the Lost Son (L
k 15,17) - of what we do when we murder our unborn children is beginning to overtake and overwhelm our shoddy thinking about living only unto ourselves in hubris and selfishness. And I say, Thank God.

Feast of Saint John Bosco

(Wiki commons)
John Bosco’s theory of education could well be used in today’s schools. It was a preventive system, rejecting corporal punishment and placing students in surroundings removed from the likelihood of committing sin. He advocated frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion. He combined catechetical training and fatherly guidance, seeking to unite the spiritual life with one’s work, study and play.

Encouraged during his youth to become a priest so he could work with young boys, John was ordained in 1841. His service to young people started when he met a poor orphan and instructed him in preparation for receiving Holy Communion. He then gathered young apprentices and taught them catechism.

After serving as chaplain in a hospice for working girls, John opened the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales for boys. Several wealthy and powerful patrons contributed money, enabling him to provide two workshops for the boys, shoemaking and tailoring.

By 1856, the institution had grown to 150 boys and had added a printing press for publication of religious and catechetical pamphlets. His interest in vocational education and publishing justify him as patron of young apprentices and Catholic publishers.

John’s preaching fame spread and by 1850 he had trained his own helpers because of difficulties in retaining young priests. In 1854 he and his followers informally banded together under Francis de Sales.

With Pope Pius IX’s encouragement, John gathered 17 men and founded the Salesians in 1859. Their activity concentrated on education and mission work. Later, he organized a group of Salesian Sisters to assist girls.


John Bosco educated the whole person—body and soul united. He believed that Christ’s love and our faith in that love should pervade everything we do—work, study, play. For John Bosco, being a Christian was a full-time effort, not a once-a-week, Mass-on-Sunday experience. It is searching and finding God and Jesus in everything we do, letting their love lead us. Yet, John realized the importance of job-training and the self-worth and pride that comes with talent and ability so he trained his students in the trade crafts, too.


“Every education teaches a philosophy; if not by dogma then by suggestion, by implication, by atmosphere. Every part of that education has a connection with every other part. If it does not all combine to convey some general view of life, it is not education at all” (G.K. Chesterton, The Common Man).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nunjas - Says it All

And, from the inestimable Archbold brothers, we bring you Nunjas !!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Video speaks for itself

Trevor of Sheffield

Thanks for Cat at Brits at Their Best for this gem: the Little Masters of Sheffield - making pocket-knives by hand.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Abortion, Anger, and Sex

A former pro-abortion atheist (former to both, that is) reports on a common characteristic among pro-abortionists:
January 28, 2010 ( - Of all the things I remember about the Texas March for Life in Austin last January, the memory that stands out the most is the look on the faces of the counter-protesters who followed us along Congress Avenue and down to the capitol that frosty morning. When I glanced over to see the source of the epithets that were being screamed at us, I met the eyes of one young woman wearing a black bandana over the bottom half of her face. She happened to look over and meet my gaze, and in her eyes I saw one thing: hatred.

I was caught off guard when my gut response to her rage-filled glare was one of sympathy. In fact, I realized as she turned away to continue yelling angry pro-choice slogans that I knew the source of the rage behind her eyes and had even felt it recently.

Until a couple of years ago, I was militantly pro-choice. When I heard people make anti-abortion statements, it filled me with a white-hot anger that I could barely contain. Behind my views was a buried but unspoken sense that there was something inherently unfair about being a woman, and abortion was a key to maintaining any semblance of a level playing field in the world.

My peers and I were taught not that sex creates babies, but that unprotected sex creates babies. We absorbed through cultural osmosis the idea that every normal person will have sex at some point in his or her life, and that the sexual act, by default, has no significance outside the relationship between the two people involved. In this worldview, when unexpected pregnancies came up, it was seen as a sort of betrayal by the woman's body. My friends and I lamented the awful position every woman was in: Unexpected pregnancies were like lightning strikes, and when one of these unpredictable events did occur, there were no good options for dealing with them. Abortion wasn't ideal -- even we acknowledged that it was a violating procedure that was hard on a woman's body -- but what choice did anyone have? To not have the option of terminating surprise pregnancies when they came up out of nowhere would mean being a slave to one's biology.

My staunch support of these views did not soften until a few years ago, when a religious conversion after a life of atheism led me to the Catholic Church. I began researching the ancient Judeo-Christian understanding of human sexuality, in which the sexual act is seen as being inextricably entwined with its potential for creating new human life. The more I considered this point of view, the more I questioned my long-held views. In fact, I started to see the catastrophic mistake our society had made when we started believing that the life-giving potential of the sexual act could be safely forgotten about as long as people use contraception. It would be like saying that guns could be used as toys as long as long as there are blanks in the chamber. Teaching people to use something with tremendous power nonchalantly, as a casual plaything, had set women up for disaster..More>>

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Girard - Battling to the End

René Girard makes this statement at the outset of his new book, Battling to the End:
What we are saying will become more understandable with time because, unquestionably, we are accelerating swiftly towards the destruction of the world.
Now, I said to myself, Self, here is a loaded statement befitting a man, albeit a fine man of renown, who is nearing his own mortal demise and who is projecting if I've ever seen projection. The irksome thing is, the further I read Battling the more Girard is scaring me, too.

Girard has never been clearer in his assessment of the model-obstacle relationship of the doubles, his discernment that reciprocal action that once provoked and suspended the "trend to extremes" is now locked in and accelerating, and the blindness of the warring parties caught in "double mediation."

I do not believe Girard is reflecting at all upon his personal gift of life but limning the subtle outlines of current events; for example, the so-called war on terror that now is being hushed-up even while the drone attacks continue and/or increase. Thus, as Girard points out, the defender is the one who "dictates the rules" to the attacker. That is, as 9/11/01 shows, the United States in its rôle of defender of the peace "dictated" what loopholes were to be sought for and found by its highly successful attacker in the form of jumbo jets in the once-friendly skies.

What is frightening as I continue to read is that Girard sees what the smartest guys in the room do not. Saint Augustine shared the same undesirable shoes as he watched - and prayed - while the "sacrificial crisis" swirled and toppled the once mighty Rome.

Full of Grace

War with Evil

Our man in the field, Gil Bailie, at the March for Life last Friday himself, posts an interview with Rep. Smith of New Jersey on the fact that the Obama Administration is pumping not millions, but billions of dollars here and abroad into culture of death / pro-abortion agencies.

In the same way the March was ignored or misrepresented, the proposed Tim Tebow anti-abortion ad slated to run during the Super Bowl is being trashed too.

René Girard says the second great trick of Satan is convincing people that he does exist, I know. But it is difficult not to agree with Peter Kreeft in this war with evil.

That said, Father John Zuhlsdorf shares a ray of hope-filled light.

Filipino Priests & Cantalamessa

Sherry Weddell at Intentional Disciples reports that the entire priesthood of the Phillipines - the entire priesthood - will be attending a retreat with Father Raniero Cantalamessa. He is one of the 4Ms main men. What a stunningly good idea.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Something Completely Different

Er .... Wasn't that my stop?

Smartest Rap in the Room

Fatal Conceit

Franciscans in China

ROME, JAN. 25, 2010 ( When the Franciscans can count a significant group of native Chinese among there number, a goal of the order will have been achieved and the Church will have a working model of inculturation.

This was one of the reflections made by Father José Rodríguez Carballo, superior-general of the Franciscans, at a study day last week in Rome.

The superior of the Friars Minor observed that Chinese society is going through "a historic period of transition toward ever greater collaboration with the Western world, especially in the economic realm."

This transition, Father Rodríguez Carballo suggested, has a particular manifestation in young people: "The youth seem empty of values, and among the most sensitive, there is the search for a new spirituality that can give meaning to their lives.

"In this connection, it seems to many people that Christianity, insofar as a foreign religion, can offer something new and something more in relation to already known or experienced religions or ideologies in China.

"And this explains in part the relative growth of Christianity in the continent, and also the participation of Buddhists in the most important celebrations of the Catholic Church"..More>>

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stitching the Pieces for God

With gratitude to The Anchoress, Elizabeth Scalia, for sharing this consoling video, The Habit Maker.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Scott Brown - A Cyrus of Persia Moment

While some Catholic sources see the recent and sizable election of Scott Brown to the senatorial seat of the late Edward Kennedy a victory for pro-life forces, others are more hesitant.

My take is that Senator-elect Brown is a bit of a Cyrus of Persia event for the weary warriors for the culture of life. Yes - God raised up Cyrus to issue his Edict of Restoration and allow the exilic Jews to return to Israel - a source of great rejoicing, and truly God's working in the warp and weft of human history. Yes - God shoved a spoke in the wheels of the out-of-control "health care reform," replete with on-demand abortuarial services - a source of great rejoicing, too, and truly God's will.

But the estimable Senator-elect Brown has yet to prove his personal worthiness, both as a patrician and as a culture of life proponent. I have seen too many upright souls become seduced by the power and glory of public office on Capitol Hill - let alone the overwhelming temptation to sell-out to the highest bidder and offer libations to the great god, $Mammon$.

Time will tell about Scott Brown; best to be pessimistic, keep praying, and, we hope, be pleasantly surprised. It is safer than the other way round.

Pius XII, the Holocaust, and BXVI

It is an old issue, filled with acrimony, slander, and lies. Michael Coren, a Catholic and former Jew, writes at Mercatornet:
It’s an issue that I have studied for a long time out of familial and emotional necessity. I am a Catholic whose father was Jewish. Not only Jewish but from a Polish family. The role of Pope Pius and the Church during the Second World War is to me at the epicenter of identity, loyalty and truth. There are Jewish leaders who claim that Pope Pius said little and did less as Europe’s Jews were rounded up and slaughtered. There are non-Jewish activists – often liberal Catholics fighting modern battles vicariously through the tragedy of the Holocaust – who want to discredit Papal history and thus the contemporary Papacy by arguing that the Pope abandoned his moral authority and that his successors have to delegate power because of this. Was Pius silent, was the Church complicit in its indifference, is Catholic orthodoxy opposed to social justice? The latter, by the way, is the genuine issue at play here. The new orthodoxy of the Church is terrifying to the older generation of liberals and they will use history as a battering ram if they can.

The truth is somewhat different. Before he became Pope Pius, Cardinal Pacelli drafted the papal encyclical condemning Nazi racism and had it read from every pulpit. The Vatican used its assets to ransom Jews from the Nazis, ran an elaborate escape route and hid Jewish families in Castel Gondolfo. All this is confirmed by Jewish experts such as the B’rith’s Joseph Lichten.

The World Jewish Congress donated a great deal of money to the Vatican in gratitude and in 1945 Rabbi Herzog of Jerusalem thanked Pope Pius, “for his lifesaving efforts on behalf of the Jews during the occupation of Italy.” When the Pope died in 1958 Golda Meir, then Israeli Foreign Minister, delivered a eulogy at the United Nations praising the man for his work on behalf of her people..More>>

Saturday, January 23, 2010

You Know It is Wrong. You Know It.

Monsignor Charles Pope reports on his experience yesterday at the March. My favorite part is when he came upon the "Keep Abortion Legal" folk protesting the March:
...then I came to our opponents on the steps of the Supreme Court. They were small in number but with that distinctive blue and white sign: “Keep Abortion legal.” These too, I thouhgt are known and loved by God from before the foundation of the world. Sadly misled but loved.

And then it occurred to me that at the heart of their dignity was to hear the truth, the truth that would set them free. “Why not?” I thought. “Am I not here to influence, to change hearts? At least plant seeds?” One by one I went to each of them I could get to. I look them in the eye and appealed to their conscience. They were chanting “Ho, Ho! Hey, Hey! Roe v. Wade is Here to Stay!” I stood before each an looked in their eyes and said in a clear but low voice that they could hear: “But you know it’s wrong. Deep in your heart you know it is wrong. You know.” It was interesting. In years past I tried to debate the issue with them and all we did was argue. But this year the Lord said, “Speak only to their conscience.”

Some of the looks I got back were powerful. Some were troubled looks, some neutral, one gave me a knowing look as if I (no not I, the Lord) had connected. It was brief with each but powerful. I didn’t have to win. All I had to do was to respect their dignity to hear the truth and let God speak to their conscience. He made them to know the truth and I pray that even one of them really heard the Lord. It was a moment in time that was written in God’s book before it ever came to be. Your prayers will make it fruitful.

Real all …

Memento Mori

Monsignor Charles Pope gives the best funeral homily I have ever heard:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Hickory Hill - Run Down, for Sale

For the record: a brilliant piece by Austin Ruse at The Catholic Thing:
In some hearts Camelot will never die. Not even losing the “Kennedy seat” will douse the flame of their ardor – dreams of ponies, fine-cut lawns, sailboats, touch football, and pool-parties at Hickory Hill. Hickory Hill is now run down and for sale. Nobody wants it, and for most of us Camelot died roughly at the same time that Mary Jo...More>>

37 Years of Sacred Abomination

Fellow convert Francis Beckwith offers this on the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. And Father Barron on, appropriately enough, apocalypticism.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

More on the Shroud of Turin

For all of you interested in the Shroud of Turin, compliments of CMR:

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Blue Dogs in the Bunker

Ht: Mark Shea. Apologies for the overlap.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What is a Scott Brown Republican

Or, as Hadley Arkes puts it, There should be no illusion that Scott Brown, right now, understands or accepts the moral premises of the pro-life movement.

Put no trust in princes ( Ps 146). Dante puts politician Julius Caesar in limbo, but those who betray public trust with fraud much further down - circle eight, Bolgia 5, immersed in a lake of boiling pitch, which represents the sticky fingers and dark secrets of their corrupt deals.

Forgive the lack of trust, but I have none regarding the two-party system. And, by the way, I am not a right-winger. This is a Marxian, secularist designation. I am a Catholic, and a pope's man. But, just in case you might think I condone the Last Self-Help Administration's American reformation, I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
- Lord Acton

I am "just" a vessel

God's Will - Skit Guy's

Monday, January 18, 2010


After the distinct possibility of this happening, gladly for Old London here is some good news:
In a rare setback for the would-be Islamizers of Europe, the plans for London’s “Mega-Mosque” have been abandoned. If the organizers’ goals had been realized, their huge mosque — the largest in Europe — would have dominated the skyline near the 2012 Olympics site.

Congratulations are in order for Alan Craig and his supporters, who led a massive and sustained opposition to the mosque. One may assume that the flood of negative publicity about the project was enough to give its financial backers cold feet..More>>

Pius XII - Saint Material

In the ongoing sparring over the World War II record of Pope Pius XII, who are you going to believe? Around here, the Mass'keteers are pope's men all, to answer the question. Besides, the spirit of the age will always be a "master of suspicion" toward truth, goodness, and beauty. Man up, face facts, and fight the good fight.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Trusting in Princes

Do you believe that this is the answer to prayer? Really?

Personally, I put no trust in princes (Ps 146). I believe renewal of vision comes solely like this, one person, one heart, one soul at a time.

At Home in the East

Sees Byzantine church a “perfect marriage” of Eastern traditions and unity with pope


A former Lutheran pastor from Northern Michigan now heads St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church in Anchorage.

On Oct. 31, Father James Barrand, 52, succeeded just-retired pastor Father Mike Hornick at the little, dome-topped church, where an ancient Catholic liturgy is celebrated everyday. Father Barrand is quick to explain that he got to the icon and incense-filled church with the help of ancient guides — the Early Church Fathers — who chanted the same Divine Praises in the first centuries of the church as he does now.


While a Protestant seminarian, Father Barrand had been fascinated by the Catholic Church.

“I had been exploring it all the way through seminary,” he told the Anchor.

Father James Barrand celebrates the Divine Liturgy at St. Nicholas of Myra Byzantine Catholic Church in Anchorage on Dec. 30. At right, Father Barrand stands along side the screen of icons, in front of the sanctuary of the church. — Photo by Patricia Coll Freeman

His concentration was the study of the Fathers of the Church, the influential theologians and writers of the first centuries after Jesus Christ. They include St. Augustine, St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. John Chrysostom..More>>

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Imagination and Renewal

Rood Screen - A. W. N. Pugin
The loss of power of the Christian world-view does not derive only from the variety of intellectual assaults made on it since the seventeenth century. Some may find the gospel incredible but more find it unimaginable. To significant degree, it has ceased to clothe itself imaginatively in symbols that speak to people and make them respond, 'Yes, this has the feel of reality about it, the ring of truth is there.' The imagination must rise again with Christ if a living faith is to be reborn.
- Aidan Nichols

Graying and Dying Off of the Lib-Caths

Wall Street Journal columnist Charlotte Allen writes, As the Flame of Catholic Dissent Dies Out. By the way, she doesn't mean Catholic resistance to the liberal left and Last Self-Help Administration's efforts to revamp the nation into a progressivist- Gnostic utopian pipe dream.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Oh, the Humanity - All Hail Octavia

Dawn Eden Interview - Air Maria

An extremely thoughtful, valuable and timely discussion by Dawn Eden - author of Thrill of the Chaste - on Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Dawn sets the writing of TOTB in historical context in the Church, provides insights into the recent Christopher West controversy, and lends her own warm and intelligent perspective. Highly recommended here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shh, Dear. I'd Like to Sleep

If he weren't asleep, this wouldn't be funny; mere 10th grade attempts at humor. As it is, I find Adam Savlik's nocturnal rantings hysterical.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Our Lady of Perpetual Help, pray for the poor souls in Haiti.
Catholic Relief Services link is here.
UPDATE: The Anchoress posts Archbishop Dolan's appeal here.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Chivalry in the Time of Crisis

For the student or interested reader of René Girard, a moment of seminal importance in the rebirth of conventional culture is the "sacrificial preparation." In popular parlance, a sacrificial "meltdown."

As you would imagine, it isn't a pretty situation in which to find oneself. Girard describes it as a "crisis of distinctions." Normal partitions become permeable and those things that stood firm become malleable, nebulous, and indistinct. Saint Paul, that proto-sociologist of our Catholic faith tradition, rightly points to the first distinction that faces collapse as the sexual (Gal 5,19-21) - the "canary in the mineshaft," as it were. He lists the rest of the characteristics as the mimetic crisis continues its downward, maelstrom-like swirl to total cultural collapse.

Avoiding the flying barrage of accusations, attacks, and hostile attempts of self-justification via sacrifice of others becomes a faster and faster dance of death. Where is our place of peace, of solid footing, of truth, goodness, and beauty in our culture's ending?

The day after my father's death, I assisted at the Mass on New Year's Day. Four days after my father's death, I assisted at the Sunday Mass in my old hometown at Saint Thomas Church. I could verify what J. R. R. Tolkien said to his son about the Source and Summit of the Church.

The same is true for those faced with these present times described by Euripides in The Bacchae thousands of years ago:
When guilty people are struck mad, their madness knows no guilt.

Stay close to brothers in the Faith; cling to Peter's Barque; receive Sacramental grace as often as possible; love God totally and neighbor as self. Engage in the vocation of Marian chivalry.

This is the Adventure and Quest for us in this time.


Already in the End Time

For the record: Father James Schall, S. J. alerts us to the true purpose that we Catholics live double lives - one in the saeculum, the world "tossed around out there," and one that transcends.

In this inner world of every day Church life, the world is created by the Triune God. He intends for each of us to exist, when we exist. He created us free and intelligent. We can in fact mess things up. Christ comes into the world to set us back on the path for which we were created. We each strive to reach eternal life, the inner life of God. That is what is really going on in the universe. The rest is context.

God, I am sure, can be said to enjoy His creation. This creation itself is not intended just to sit there forever. Something goes on there that transcends this saeculum. The Liturgical Year regularly alerts us. The “time” in which we live is the time it takes for us to decide our relation to God. We show this relation in how we live, love, how we understand. We do it in this world, in the lives we are given.

The world is created for man that he might achieve the end that God invited him to achieve. This time passes. We are already in the “end time.” No new revelation is to come to us. We have been told what we need to know. The drama of our existence takes place in this cosmos. We await the “time” in which we will finally and fully exist. The Liturgical Year is our awareness of the real time of our lives, that time of choice that leads to the eternal “now” of the Trinity.

Read all …

Monday, January 11, 2010

Steyn - We're Still Coming For You

Mark Steyn, for the record:
According to one poll, 58 percent of Americans are in favor of waterboarding young Umar Farouk. Well, you should have thought about that before you made a community organizer president of the world’s superpower. The election of Barack Obama was a fundamentally unserious act by the U.S. electorate, and you can’t blame the world’s mischief-makers, from Putin to Ahmadinejad to the many Gitmo recidivists now running around Yemen, from drawing the correct conclusion.

For two weeks, the government of the United States has made itself a global laughingstock. Don’t worry, “the system worked,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Incompetano. Don’t worry, he was an “isolated extremist,” said the president. Don’t worry, we’re banning bathroom breaks for the last hour of the flight, said the TSA. Don’t worry, “U.S. border-security officials” told the Los Angeles Times, we knew he was on the plane and we “had decided to question him when he landed.” Don’t worry, Obama’s chief counterterrorism John Brennan assured the Sunday talk shows, sure, we read him his rights and he’s lawyered up but he’ll soon see that “there is advantage to talking to us in terms of plea agreements.” More>>

God's 'Interstate' Love

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Every Soul a Fiefdom

Any film depiction, any fictional narrative, any conjectures about the days and years of medieval Europe that do not include regular and normal reference to the Catholic faith of the people - from yeoman to monarch - is baseless balderdash and rearward projection of our threadbare, faithless, secularist era.

To believe that men were as functionally atheist and pragmatically unthinking of the will of God then as they are today, I say again, is not only poppycock but slanderous.

Did they use phrases fervently or as mere catch-phrases, going along to get along? Well, with how much fervor do you always - always - pray the Our Father ('Lord's Prayer')? Exactly.

But medieval Europe was drenched with the language of the Church, the language of the Faith; which were one and the same thing.
As you have noticed, this is not the case today; yes, sure, in pockets, but not in the mainstream media, not in politics, not in general. It is the exception to the rule. The reformation, so-called, arrogated the arbitration of revealed knowledge from the true keeper of the deposit of faith. Now, every one from the storefront preacher to NPR tries to define the terms of discourse for faith and morals.

In our sad times, most persons are bereft of the wholesomeness of the Catholic faith (I'm sorry, but all other christianities are downstream) their birthright, scorned and rejected out of ignorance, assumption, prejudice, or political expediency.
Therefore, those who still are graced enough to join in full communion with Mother Church see the truth of everyones' personal responsibility:
The greater number of men have by far too high an opinion of their own worth and too great a confidence in their own strength, but of their own vocation, of the end to which they are destined, they have, in general, a sense far too low. They do not believe in it; they look upon their calling and destiny and themselves as from the point whence they survey the whole world. But in this they are guilty of a great error and of a great injustice; for every man is a separate world in himself, a true micro-cosmus in the eyes of God and in the plan of the whole creation. Every man has a separate calling and an end peculiar to himself.

As in the warfare of the Middle Ages, when each man was regarded as a power, so in the spiritual combats of all times, Chivalry requires every man to believe that he is personally called upon to pronounce between error and truth, injustice an justice, vice and virtue.
- Maxims of Christian Chivalry

May you know, gentle reader, that your heart, your soul, your conscience - all is a fiefdom and unity that will be judged by the Triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is no hiding behind the spirit of our age. Each one of us will be judged. How well are you fighting the good fight in your realm?

Baptism of the Lord

Baptism of Jesus (1486-90) - Domenico Ghirlandaio

Saturday, January 09, 2010


Are you too busy?

B - eing
U - nder
S - atan's
Y - oke

Longman - Yeomanry Will Rise Again

Phillip Longman at Mercatornet writes on the comeback of yeomanry:
Today, there is a strong correlation around the world between adherence to traditional Christian, Islamic or Judaic religious values and high fertility. The result is an emerging world in which the ancient, patriarchal values of these religions are becoming stronger, while secularism suffers demographic decline.

The current world economic crisis will most likely compound the trend, for a variety of reasons. The widespread loss of jobs and retirement savings gives a survival advantage to those who still have abundant human capital upon which to rely, specifically, strong, largely self-sufficient families in tight-knit, high-trust, self-financing communities. Under currently unfolding conditions, the “fittest” are those who invest heavily and successfully in building up strong families and local community support networks.

Many people may try to contend with their financial and economic losses by forming secular communes. History suggests, however, that families and communities bound by common blood and religious faith are more likely to succeed in fostering the necessary sacrifice of individualism and consumerism.

These changes we are living through are very scary, but they also, I think, have the long-term promise of restoring the economic basis of the natural family and renewing society generally. Seeing more specifically how this future might unfold requires dwelling briefly on a few poorly remembered traditions from the past.

In a recent issue of Foreign Policy Magazine, I have published a brief article entitled The Return of Yeomanry. This word “yeomanry” is now obscure in English, and may be impossible to translate into many other languages. But particularly in America during the 18th and 19th century, it stood for a clear ideal of human organization, which was small-scale production centered on a self-sufficient family unit.

One of America’s most prominent founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, for example, wrote frequently the superior virtue of the country’s then substantial yeomanry, which mostly comprised family farmers who owned their own land and small family business owners. Jefferson’s vision of America’s future was that widespread family ownership of small scale productive would remain the dominant form of social and economic organization, and that the influence of both Big Business and Big Government would be held in check..More>>
For those of us convinced of the merits of subsidiarity - what Father Vincent McNabb, G. K. Chesterton, and Hilaire Belloc called "distributivism" - Longman's words bring hope.

1,000 Years Older than Dead Sea Scrolls

Fox News reports:
By decoding the inscription on a 3,000-year-old piece of pottery, an Israeli professor has concluded that parts of the bible were written hundreds of years earlier than suspected.

The pottery shard was discovered at excavations at Khirbet Qeiyafa near the Elah valley in Israel -- about 18 miles west of Jerusalem. Carbon-dating places it in the 10th century BC, making the shard about 1,000 years older than the Dead Sea scrolls.

Professor Gershon Galil of the University of Haifa deciphered the ancient writing, basing his interpretation on the use of verbs and content particular to the Hebrew language. It turned out to be "a social statement, relating to slaves, widows and orphans," Galil explained in a statement from the University.

The inscription is the earliest example of Hebrew writing found, which stands in opposition to the dating of the composition of the Bible in current research; prior to this discovery, it was not believed that the Bible or parts of it could have been written this long ago.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, current theory holds that the Bible could not have been written before the 6th century B.C.E., because Hebrew writing did not exist until then..More>>

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Memory Cloud or as in Greek mythology - the Muses - which are the daughters of Memory

"Memory is a funny thing, I think that we feel that it gives us our humanity in a great sense because when we cannot remember we feel as though we have lost not only those specific ideas about what came before or who we loved but we have lost certainly a part of ourselves." - Judith G. Levy

How true...

I can't help but remember, from Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie that interestingly enough the biblical word "truth" is formed using Greek mythology. "Truth" translates the biblical Greek word "alethia." Alethia is a compound word composed of "a" (which means "not" in Greek) and "lethe" (which means "forgotten, hidden, or concealed" in Greek). Truth, then, literally means "that which is not hidden" or "that which is not forgotten."

"In Greek mythology the Muses are the daughters of Memory (Mnemosyne). The Muses make it possible to remember the past fondly or heroically, but they do so with fog filters."
from Violence Unveiled by Gil Bailie p 33. (link on the above quote to read more on MYTH from Bailie's book)

Not to deprive us all of "warm & fuzzy" fond memories, but what is at the heart of these concepts of memory - alethia - truth - "stop forgetting"? What and how are we, humanity, forgetting?

"... myth and the associated structures of what Girard calls the primitive sacred... make it possible to participate in, observe, or recollect certain violent events without having to actually witness them in any morally significant sense." p 35.

Hummm... hopefully you might want to delve into this a bit further. If so, check out the links and books we highlight in our sidebar.

Shea - Christ and His Church

Mark Shea on finding Christ in the Church:
The Church is (an) human institution, composed as it is of humans. So it is always in danger of the sin, stupidity, weakness, and pride of its members—and its enemies. But the insistence of Christ himself is that that it is not merely a human institution. When he founds it, he declares that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it, that he will be with it always, and that his Spirit shall guide it into all truth. The skeptic can quibble over whether all these claims are “interpolations” (that blessed word trotted out to wave away anything in the New Testament not to one’s liking). But the fact remains that this is what the documents have always recorded and (more significantly) they seem to bear out the actual record of what has occurred. Because the Church has an uncanny habit of remaining what she is, of zigging where the culture demands she must inevitably zag, and of continuing her strange ability to sieve out of the most depraved societies those truths that are essential while avoiding the broad way of destruction proposed to her even by the Best and the Brightest. It’s like she’s guided by God or something.

In short, the great thing about the Creed is that, while you and I may profess it, you and I did not make it. God and humanity made it. It was hammered out on the forge of crisis by human beings in prayerful response to the revelation of God. It has the great virtue of being oblivious to the enthusiasms, scoops and scares of our present media-driven culture, just as it has been equally oblivious to enthusiasm for the eternity of the Holy Roman Empire, the glory of the English Crown, the triumph of the Enlightenment, the superiority of the Soviet Union, the New Order of Aryan Supremacy, the clear and undeniable common sense of the Sexual Revolution, the splendor of gay sex, and whatever other trendinesses wash up from the heaving waves of worldly opinion. It is an authentic summary and crystallization of the thought of the Church.

It manages to be this because the Tradition knows nothing of “progressive” and “conservative”. It knows only Christ Jesus and him crucified. It focuses only on being true to him and to making him known to each generation. That means both conserving and progressing, without worshipping either conservatism or progressivism. And it means, contrary to the common cultural narrative mentioned at the beginning, that the very worst thing you can possibly do is try to find “the real Jesus” by shoving the Church aside and going on some wild goose chase for the “Jesus of history” as though he is somebody other than the “Christ of faith”..

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Four M's on Retreat

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Eden - Listening to the Fathers

From Lady Dawn Eden, whose handkerchief the 4Ms carry whenever we go a-jousting:

Faith of Our Holy Fathers:

Putting the Theology of the Body in Historical Perspective

by Dawn Eden

Some well-meaning people seem to make a habit of knocking my grandfather and my great-grandfather.

Oh, they don’t mean to do it. They only mean to tell me how wonderful my dad is. But somehow, in their zeal to boost him, they end up damning his forebears with faint praise. It’s as if they have to put the others down in order to make him look good.

“Your father,” they say, “did such a better job of parenting than any other fathers in your family ever did.”

“Oh,” they add, “your grandfather and great-grandfather tried hard. But they were limited by the antiquated mentality of the world in which they lived. Your father, on the other hand, is enlightened with a special charism. Compared to earlier generations, his paternal wisdom and insight were radically advanced.”

All right, people don’t really speak that way of my dad. Some well-meaning Catholic apologists do, however, speak that way of my late Holy Father, John Paul II, in comparison with his predecessors. They praise his pronouncements on marriage and sexuality by insinuating that, prior to the Second Vatican Council, no pope possessed such an advanced level of insight into the mystery of the human person. John Paul II’s theology of the body is important to such apologists precisely because it is “new,” “dramatic,” “daring,” and “revolutionary,” in contrast with a preconciliar Church that was “juridical,” “negative,” or even “silent” about sexual matters.

Such generalizations are false on their face..

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Demythologization - 2010

Appreciatively ripped from the Curt Jester:

The following hoaxes/myths will be exposed in 2010:

Manmade global warming
Atheistic evolution
Relativism is the only absolute
Abortion is "health care"
Nobody can do health care better than the government
A Catholic can be pro-choice
The government will take care of you
How Obama saved America
America no longer needs God

Come, Lord Jesus!

The Most Rev. Robert F. Vasa is bishop of Baker, Oregon.

Monday, January 04, 2010

St Elizabeth Ann Seton

Just 'cause I knew Porthos would think this image of Mother Seton was rreally, er, good.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Adoration of the Magi - Burne-Jones