Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I laffed

The Pertinacious Papist has returned from his Lenten blogging fast and he provides us with this gem:
Jeff Ostrowski, "Why Can't We Use Secular Music During Mass?" (Views from the Choir Loft, February 13, 2014), includes this remarkably telling comparison:
There is also this fine video discussion entitled, "Can you tell the difference??" (Corpus Christi Watershed).
Here I am Lord
Is it I Lord?
Who was bringing up three very lovely girls...

Will you let me be your Sherpa
Let me climb some rocks with you?

And he will raise you up on eagle's wings
Hold you in his holy claws
Scratch off your sins with his talons
And place you in his nest, on the cliff

We remember what you told us that one time
And it was awesome and we should have wrote it down

Be not afraid, I goes before E always
But I follows E, when it comes after C

We are bald, we are frozen
We throw mice at one another
We are sometimes prone to borrow
We are sometimes known to pay
We are fine, we are awesome
If you prick us we shall bleed
We avoid any bummers
We are question, we are creed

Gather us in, the eggs and the bacon
Gather us in, the pancakes and ham
Make us to be a well balanced breakfast,
Topped off with orange juice poured right from the can

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

De proxima Fide

A happy and blessed third day in the Octave of Easter to you all. The always excellent Unam, Sanctam, Catholicam blog has a new essay which explains how canonizations relate to papal infallibility:
In the original USC article we referenced St. Thomas, as well as Ott, saying:
"when we confess a certain member of the Church to be among the blessed, this belief is an extension of the confession of faith (Quodl. 9,16). If we can say in the Creed that we believe in the 'communion of saints', it necessarily follows that the Church must maintain some means for distinguishing who is among the saints that we believe in and confess. This is why the canonization of saints is bound up with the Church's infallibility; or, as Dr. Ott says, 'If the Church could err in her opinion [of canonized saints], consequences would arise which would be incompatible with the sanctity of the Church' (ibid)."
The fact of the canonization of a Saint, then, is what is referred to as a "secondary object" of the Faith - one that is not dogma itself, but is intricately bound up with the divine revelation, and so to deny it would be to lead one toward the direction of denying an element of the Faith itself.

So it seems, then, the declaration of Canonization does in fact follow the formula for the exercise of infallibility by the Pope, and we can therefore have assurance that whomever the Pope does in fact canonize (while following the formula for an infallible act) will in fact be a Saint in Heaven, and we should have rest in that certainty.
I don't understand why Traditionalists get so upset about the canonization of John Paul II. When he became pope the Church was close to shattering into dozens of different schisms. He had to pick his battles and I think he fought the ones he chose about as well as he could. I was received into the Catholic Church about a week before he died, but even in my days as a heathen John Paul II always impressed me as a man of deep faith and holiness. If I had been in the Shoes of the Fisherman during that time, I'd have probably spent the better part of every day hurling thunderous anathemas and excommunications against 90% of the world's bishops. That's probably why I will never, ever be pope, thanks be to God.

John XXIII, on the other hand, is more difficult for me to swallow. It's going to take the Church centuries to recover from the damage caused by his council. Granted, he undoubtedly had good intentions, but we all know on which road they're used for paving stones. By every quantifiable measure, the Church was doing great before the council and it clearly went into free fall shortly after it ended. God judged him and he has entered into the heavenly kingdom. I suppose I can take that as a sign that there's hope for me yet, heh.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Guest blogger on the Resurrection

The whole of the Easter mystery, dearly-beloved, has been brought before us in the Gospel narrative, and the ears of the mind have been so reached through the ear of flesh that none of you can fail to have a picture of the events: for the text of the Divinely-inspired story has clearly shown the treachery of the Lord Jesus Christ’s betrayal, the judgment by which He was condemned, the barbarity of His crucifixion, and glory of His resurrection. But a sermon is still required of us, that the priests’ exhortation may be added to the solemn reading of Holy Writ, as I am sure you are with pious expectation demanding of us as your accustomed due. Because therefore there is no place for ignorance in faithful ears, the seed of the Word which consists of the preaching of the Gospel, ought to grow in the soil of your heart, so that, when choking thorns and thistles have been removed, the plants of holy thoughts and the buds of right desires may spring up freely into fruit. For the cross of Christ, which was set up for the salvation of mortals, is both a mystery and an example: a sacrament where by the Divine power takes effect, an example whereby man’s devotion is excited: for to those who are rescued from the prisoner’s yoke Redemption further procures the power of following the way of the cross by imitation. For if the world’s wisdom so prides itself in its error that every one follows the opinions and habits and whole manner of life of him whom he has chosen as his leader, how shall we share in the name of Christ save by being inseparably united to Him, Who is, as He Himself asserted, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life?” the Way that is of holy living, the Truth of Divine doctrine, and the Life of eternal happiness.

- Pope St. Leo the Great

h/t: Laura Wood

Monday, April 14, 2014

God's sense of humor

I badly sprained my ankle over the weekend. Clearly God wants me to remain immobile and spend more time in front of the computer this week. Fortunately, Rorate is assisting me with these excellent meditations from St. Alphonsus Liguori.

Think back to Sunday Mass yesterday. Were there more women and children present than men? If yes, why do you think that is? Palm Sunday means reading the entire Passion narrative from the Gospel. The parish priest was up there with two women who read the other parts. I can't think of a single time in a Novus Ordo liturgy that even one man besides the priest was there to read the narrative. And there were two altar girls, naturally.

The local young adult group has some nights dedicated to apologetic type talks where we engage Modernism and relativism head on. It's almost always the men who ask more questions and participate more than the women. On nights when they spend the time in Adoration or talking about our relationship with Christ, it's almost always the case that more women show up than men.

It's a pity. Men generally don't have much patience for the "Jesus is my boyfriend" school of spirituality that dominates much of Christian pop culture. Women generally shy away from direct confrontations with Christianity's ideological and philosophical opponents. It ought to be both/and instead of either/or. Most parishes I've attended were decidedly lopsided in favor of women's spirituality and practice, with the corresponding dearth of male presence.

Surely we can strike a happy balance, yes?

Friday, April 11, 2014

The wages of diversity is death

The Economist gives helpful advice on how not to get murdered:
CONGRATULATIONS: if you are reading this then you are not one of the 437,000 people whose lives ended as statistics in a grisly report on murder published on April 10th by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The unfortunate half-million were all those around the world who were slain in 2012. The average person thus had roughly a one in 16,000 chance of being bumped off that year. But as the UN’s figures make clear, there is no such thing as an average person. How can you shorten your odds of making it through 2014?
First, don’t live in the Americas or Africa, where murder rates (one in 6,100 and one in 8,000 respectively) are more than four times as high as the rest of the world. Western Europe and East Asia are the safest regions. And the safest countries? Liechtenstein recorded no murders at all in 2012, but its population could fit in a football stadium. Among those countries whose populations number in millions, the safest is Singapore, which clocked up just 11 murders in 2012, or one killing per 480,000 people. In Honduras, the world’s most violent country, one in every 1,100 residents was killed.
For those of us who don't do a lot of international traveling, this means "avoid neighborhoods and cities that are known for their vibrant diversity."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Strike the colors

Headquarters, Army of Northern Virginia, 10th April 1865.

General Order
No. 9

After four years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.
I need not tell the survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to the result from no distrust of them.
But feeling that valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended the continuance of the contest, I have determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.
By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.
With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your Country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration for myself, I bid you an affectionate farewell.
— R. E. Lee, General, General Order No. 9


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Why we fight

John C. Wright passes along this news:
David Marcoe is organizing an interdenominational Christian conference for novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, comic book writers, game designers, and the like for late in this summer. Here is his announcement:
Studying here in Rome, I live in the the midst of ancient beauty. In fact, I’m just down the street from St. Peter’s square, which I walk through on the way to my job or architecture class. The church around the corner, where I attend several classes, is home to a lively local parish (the priest is a real character) not much different than my old congregation, except that the is Baroque building that could serve as a picturesque movie set. Indeed, we’re saturated in beauty, as we study the words of Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare. I’ve laid eyes on wonders, on the works of Caravaggio, Bernini, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo, and others. And you can see them quite by accident, walking off the street and into practically any church in the city.
And as I experience all this–that vast tradition of Christendom’s art and literature–I think of the business of “culture making” today; at least ninety-five percent of the major commercial works dealing with mythic, moral, or religious subject matters are being made by non-Christians, with Christians coming along to produce second and third rate “me too!” knock-offs. I think it needs to stop.

So, what I’m doing is contacting people I know and organizing a professional get-together for Catholic and Christian writers–novelists, playwrights, screenwriters, comic book writers, game designers, etc.–for the late summer. Why? Because Catholics and Protestants lack on either side of an equation that needs to be balanced. Protestants are generally more entrepreneurial and comfortable with engaging the popular culture, but lack a significant aesthetic tradition to draw on. Catholics have a vast tradition to draw from, but have trouble translating that tradition into a contemporary context. So, in organizing this conference, I want to approach the problem from three directions:
 Read the rest there. Today Martel ponders the mission of the manosphere:
In my last post, I described some of the various perspectives floating around the manosphere.  For those of you not in the mood to click, I’ve divided us into exploiters (have a blast before it all goes to hell), avoiders (go Galt or ghost, refuse to participate), and fighters (do whatever it takes to keep it from going to hell).  It’s perfectly possible to have sentiments that coincide with all three, such as a PUA that uses his blog to attack feminism.
We all recognize that things are incredibly off, that we’ve got countless strikes against us.  When we consider our moral compass, insane amounts of debt (governmental, student, consumer, etc.), the sheer banality of our political class and lack of leadership that even seems remotely equipped to recognize (let alone do something about) the struggles ahead, the successful leftist takeover of our academic and religious institutions, our inability to face reality (fiscal, human nature, etc.), and about two dozen other obstacles I don’t have time to list, it seems hopeless.
 He's right when he says that we are both too pessimistic and too optimistic at the same time. The ultimate war is already over: Christ won. It's still possible for individual Christians to lose their personal wars with the world, the flesh, and the devil. Liberalism has pretty much won the war for Western civilization and I don't expect to see it fall within my lifetime. Even if I weren't Catholic, I'm just not temperamentally suited to be either an exploiter or avoider as Martel describes them.

So I choose to fight. It's what compels me to write this little blog even if no one ever reads it. All men, not just Catholics, should be committed to truth. I didn't put Solzhenitsyn's quote as my byline just because it sounds cool. He was the greatest author of the 20th century and one of my personal favorite authors. We don't have to worry about show trials or gulags today. He still has a lot to teach us about being mentally and spiritually tough when the world seems to be going mad.

If we're to have any hope of getting the Titanic to change course, we have to fight in whatever ways we can. For most of us, including me, we won't have big roles to play. It'll be a matter of loving God, loving our neighbor, and doing our duty. If we want to change the culture we have to start with ourselves. If we have the talent for artsy stuff, then we have a duty to use that talent for the glory of God and the edification of our neighbor.