I hope you watched it. There was a report on the genocide of Christians in the Middle East. The story largely speaks for itself, but a couple of things struck me that weren't really part of the discussion.
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Saturday, March 21, 2015
It occurred to me during the recent St. Patrick's Day how many great stories we have surrounding the Apostle of Ireland. Which made me think about all the other great stories we have about saints in general.
After that, I tried to imagine what the reaction would be like to these sorts of personalities if they were with us today. For example, consider the impressions people get when they hear about folks in Opus Dei who wear a cilice or use the discipline. Typically, they are horrified. If not horrified, they at least take the view that such people are weirdos and possibly even mentally ill.
Now compare that to this guy:
This is St. Symeon the Stylite. St. Symeon lived on top of a pillar for 37 years. The space at the top was about 1 meter square. This was how he did penance for the world.
This is Catherine of Siena.
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
A couple of things I've been told in the last few days:
Saturday, February 28, 2015
I am amazed at how so many people will take any and every opportunity to express their disdain and even hatred for our popes of recent history. It doesn't matter which one: Benedict XVI, JPII, Paul VI, and so forth. Yes, even John XXIII from some.
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Sure, sure, I can always just boldly declare that he freaking rules. While true, that doesn't exactly explain things. In addition to his willingness to accurately label our current issues as apostasy, he has re-affirmed the Church in Africa's devotion to God, rather than the gold-plated filth passed off by the modern world as virtue.
Thanks to Phil Blosser for circulating this latest quote from His Eminence:
"The idea that would consist in placing the Magisterium in a nice box by detaching it from pastoral practice -- which could evolve according to the circumstances, fads, and passions -- is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology. I affirm solemnly that the Church of Africa will firmly oppose every rebellion against the teaching of Christ and the Magisterium."
May God grant him many blessed years!
Saturday, February 14, 2015
From the looks of things, it's given us a widespread perspective that stories where a guy and gal in a fornicative relationship wherein he beats her with a belt can be regarded as "romantic" and "empowering."
Saturday, February 7, 2015
As an appendix to the post below re: St. John XXIII, we invite you to head over to Unam Sanctam and check out this entry that lays out some specifics on what we're talking about when we contrast the real John XXIII with the fabrication that is so often invoked these days.
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
The Pope has been on a big run lately in talking about the importance of fathers. Take these comments today from Zenit, for example.
In his address, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the role of the father saying that he wanted to reflect on its positive aspects. Every family, he said, needs a father in order to transmit "what truly counts in life, namely a wise heart."
"A father knows wells how much it costs to transmit this heritage: how much closeness, how much sweetness and how much firmness," he said. "But, what a consolation and what a reward you receive, when children honor this heritage! It is a joy that redeems all labor, which surpasses all misunderstanding and heals every wound."
As I read these comments, I couldn't help but think of those whom we call "fathers" all through our lives. Not just the biological ones or even our priests, but the Church Fathers and a connection made in our prior post regarding St. John XXIII.
Do we have any comprehension of how revolting these Fathers are to the sensibilities of the modern Catholic? Take "inter-religious dialogue" for example. The Fathers, to a man, would happily tell you that non-Christian religions are essentially the worship of devils who have deceived people into thinking them gods. Consider how fast a priest would be reported to his bishop these days for making an observation that is bedrock Catholicism, transmitted to us at great cost, to use the Holy Father's words.
Heresy and schism within the definition of Christianity? Would the Fathers have held endless big money "conferences" and "seminars" with the Pelagians, iconoclasts, Donatists, and so forth? Would their have been an infinite number of self-congratulatory statements about non-existent "progress" and "mutual enrichment"?
Of course not.
Yet these perspectives are anathema to our modern minds. How sad that, as we have a pope emphasizing the role of fathers and the respect due to them, we, their spiritual children, have chosen to forsake their wisdom in exchange for banal platitudes.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
I've decided that the above caption is going to serve as my response to the standard "progressive" outrage over anything that passes for Catholicism these days.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
I've been seeing this a lot what with Ferguson and all.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Can we just ditch the standard line about the Church's beliefs on the subject as "the Roman Catholic position on contraception"? Would it be possible simply to acknowledge it as "the Christian position on contraception"?
For Catholics, understand that, until the 20th century, there were probably fewer questions about prohibiting contraception than about the Divinity of Our Lord. That's how readily accepted this teaching was.
In other words, rejecting the use of contraception is a hallmark of Christianity in general. That so many have abandoned it in the last century will not and cannot change this. Allowing the exception to swallow up the rule as it pertains to labeling something like this strikes me as absurd and not something we should succumb to.
And yeah, I ended that sentence with a preposition.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Thousands of Christians have been murdered, raped, sold into slavery, tortured, and so forth by Islamist forces in the Middle East.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
Recent events have prompted a discussion about what makes a Muslim a Muslim. Take, for example, Howard Dean's recent comments that the murderers in Paris are not Muslim terrorists. This line of thought usually is backed by the argument that Islam is a religion of peace, ergo engaging in violence is not authentic Islam.
In examining this argument, I want to start with a couple of background items. First, the ongoing annihilation of Christianity in the Middle East didn't just start yesterday. Second, violence has been tied to Islam since it's inception. Mohammed destroyed the pagan religions of the Arabian peninsula and his followers continued the practice of conversion by sword after that.
My main question is when did this element of Islam which was present from its initial founding stop being a part of Islam? Was the Islam that offered consistent aggression and/or invasion against the West from the 8th to the 17th centuries somehow unauthentic? Was that violence somehow just politically motivated without any reflection on converting the Christian masses to Islam or reducing them to dhimmi status?
The most common response to this will be to avoid the question altogether and assert something like "Well, violence has always been a part of Christianity as well, especially among you papists." Of course, this isn't true. Anybody want to compare the first couple of centuries of Christianity to the first couple of centuries of Islam?
Moreover, there is a weird sentiment among the masses that is willing to brand anything negative associated with the Catholic Church as a product of Catholicism, whilst anything negative associated with Islam is either "not Islam," some sort of "misunderstanding," or basically something that Christianity/The West had coming to them all along. When was the last time you heard a media source give that kind of moral leeway to Catholicism? Hell, popular opinion would have you believe that only the most tolerant of pro-abortion Catholics are remotely faithful to Christ, whereas everyone else is just a Pharisaical dogmatist. Anyways, the point is that, even when you hear accurate reports (which are rare enough) about the bad stuff in Church history, it's always directly attributed to the Church, rather than bad people carrying the Catholic label.
Yeah, I know. Islam doesn't have a single authority figure. The Church does. Under the prevailing logic, that means if the Pope was doing bad things, it was automatically Catholic. Muslims who do bad things are just misinterpreting the Koran (more on that shortly). The thing about this is that it presumes the same sort of ultramontane thinking that the Church has rejected. Nobody, even his contemporaries, thought Benedict IX was being Catholic with all his evil hijinks as pope. Nobody defends the Cadaver Synod. And so forth. Yet all such evils are considered distinctly Catholic, rather than their perpetrators being regarded as rogues committing decidedly non-Catholic actions.
Back to Islam and the actual question at hand. First, I am consistently amazed at the hubris of those who demand that the peaceful interpretation of the Koran is the correct. How do they know? Who died and made them Mohammed II?
Second, if we consider violence as opposed to Islam, we have to be able to reconcile this with Islam's historical roots. I'm open to any arguments on this point. When did this sort of stuff become unacceptable in Islam? The fall of the Ottoman Empire perhaps? Before then? I don't know. I'm not asking this as a rhetorical question. I really do want some theories about it. Again, preferably those that don't dodge the question by talking about violent Christians, Hindus, etc.
I'm also open to hearing arguments that its the Middle Eastern cultural milieu that is the source of Islam's violent DNA, rather than anything intrinsic to the religion itself. I have to credit WilfordBrimley of NDNation for first introducing me to this concept.
Or we can just assume that there is no longer any such thing as actual Islam. The word no longer has any meaning and there are now just a bunch of folks running around with the label. The problem with this line of thought is that we'd have to stop asserting that there is a "true Islam" that is peaceful. There would just be the Islam that allows for co-existence and the kind that doesn't. That doesn't mean we can consider one to be the "real" version without sacrificing our intellectual honesty.
Thursday, December 25, 2014
Friday, December 19, 2014
We laud the Magi for presenting Our Blessed Lord with expensive gifts like gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We belittle, scorn, and excoriate churches, art, and the official trappings of Our Lord's anointed as pretentious and wasteful.
Friday, December 12, 2014
It's an amazing thing. ND promoting some kind of bizarre seminar on white privilege is big enough news to make a segment on The O'Reilly Factor and to get me a dozen emails from alumni about it. On a different note, ND's decision to cave on the HHS mandate and its embrace of faculty who promote heresy in the class and turn students against the Faith are regarded as either (a) not news at all or (b) proof of how great of an institution the school is.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Another reason to like the Fathers is that, every now and then, you see a line that is just too awesome and that makes you appreciate their humanity and ability to take anything and make a teachable moment out of it. We've discussed this previously with writers like Lactantius, for example.
This time, it's St. Augustine:
We know, too, that some men are differently constituted from others, and have some rare and remarkable faculty of doing with their body what other men can by no effort do, and, indeed, scarcely believe when they hear of others doing. There are persons who can move their ears, either one at a time, or both together. There are some who, without moving the head, can bring the hair down upon the forehead, and move the whole scalp backwards and forwards at pleasure. Some, by lightly pressing their stomach, bring up an incredible quantity and variety of things they have swallowed, and produce whatever they please, quite whole, as if out of a bag. Some so accurately mimic the voices of birds and beasts and other men, that, unless they are seen, the difference cannot be told. Some have such command of their bowels, that they can break wind continuously at pleasure, so as to produce the effect of singing.
St. Augustine, City of God, Book XIV, Chapter 24
Is that not just a fantastic line or what?
Monday, December 1, 2014
It's a done deal. The Barque of Elizabeth has finally gone all-in for women bishops. We knew this was an inevitability, made all the moreso by Archlayman Welby's ascension to the See of Cranmer.
The Church of England overturned centuries of tradition on Monday with a final vote allowing women to become bishops, with the first appointments possible by Christmas.
Approval of the historic change, which was first agreed to in July, was announced after a largely symbolic show of hands at the General Synod, the lawmaking body of the Church of England. The British Parliament supported the measure last month.
“Today we can begin to embrace a new way of being the church and moving forward together,” the archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, said after the vote.
Two decades after the first female priest was ordained, the issue of women taking senior roles in the church hierarchy remains divisive. As recently as 2012, the proposal had been defeated by six votes.
But Archbishop Welby, the spiritual leader of the church and the global Anglican Communion, who supported the vote from the start, had warned fellow church leaders this year that the public would find the exclusion of women “almost incomprehensible.”
Which public? Are you including the folks in Africa on that? I'm thinking that a behind-closed-doors confab between Archlayman Welby and Cardinal Kaspar would be a hoot.
Anyways, this is another mile marker on the path of the Anglican Death March and a significant one.
With that in mind, I direct your attention to some great articles by Philip Jenkins (who isn't Catholic in case you're looking for bias) entitled The Church Vanishes, as he focuses on the collapse of Episcopalianism in America. Part One can be found here and is noteworthy for the following comment:
In conclusion, I just offer one wholly scientific theory that I just invented: The numerical growth and success of a religious denomination is inversely proportionate to the favorable treatment it receives in major liberal media outlets (New York Times, Washington Post, Nation, New Republic). Examples? The Episcopal Church USA versus Mormons or Catholics; Episcopalians/Anglicans in North America versus Africa.
Heh. It's a pretty good observation, but plenty of people will shout about the difference between correlation and causation to ignore the obvious here. At least one of the Anglicans' own is recognizing that the road of public approval ends in self-annihilation.
The real gem from Mr. Jenkins comes in Part Two, though, in his discussion of the recent declines in Anglican faithful:
If we extrapolate that rate into the not-too-distant future, then the number of people attending Episcopal churches on a typical Sunday will be negligible by mid-century, typical of a tiny sect rather than a great church or denomination. It won’t reach zero for a while, but in effect, the church will cease to exist. We might need a new vocabulary of religious decline. How about church evaporation?
That mid-century date is really not far off. In fact, the baby baptized at my church last Sunday will by that point only be a young adult in her 30s.
Non-attending notional members will persist for a few years longer, but by the end of the century, we should be talking total disappearance.
In that scenario, America’s last Episcopalian walks among us today.
Holy smokes. I wonder if anybody has done the math on the rest of the mainline Reformed groups. I doubt they're in much better shape.
We need a History Channel production starring Katharine Schori as The Last Episcopalian On Earth, wherein she wanders around a landscape of Anglicanorum Coetibus converts, calling them freaks, and trying to burn their churches down.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
This post from Rorate is worth reading in order to get some perspective on the recent events surrounding Pope Francis's visit to Turkey. Mark well the quotes from Bartholomew I, as well as those we have previously mentioned from Metropolitan Hilarion from Russia.
First off, the Orthodox have enough disagreements among themselves that we shouldn't treat of them like a monolithic body.
Second, these comments should spur us to further prayer for a miracle that will bring them back into the fold.
Third, we should appreciate their frankness regarding the distance between us, as well as their posture that Truth matters. Would that Catholic ecumenists be so honest, rather than engaging in endless glad-handing with poor unfortunates outside of the Church (to use St. John XXIII's term) and repetitive self-congratulatory drivel over yet another worthless document that either does nothing but create the illusion that we really have agreement or encourages the heretic/schismatic in their errors by making them think the differences don't actually matter.
As an aside, if you want to see people stop being nice and start being real about this topic, check out what I'm sure will be some epic responses over the anniversary celebrations for the liberation of the Ukrainian Church (which is being attended by Cardinal Schonborn of all people).
Monday, November 24, 2014
No, not the network with Flash and Arrow. The Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
My wife and I welcomed our newest addition this morning. She is beautiful, healthy, and already such a blessing. Mom is doing well. Everything is great.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
We mention him every now and again here because of that simple fact. Whether it's defending the Church's teaching on marriage and the family or nuggets like the one below, he has shown himself to be a loyal shepherd and one worthy of our prayers.
“(So) charity today is not only to act for social work, for material assistance, but really to bring the Gospel to the people.”
In other words:
How timely this message is, given the prevailing attitude that charity is essentially passing on stuff for temporal well-being, while souls are neglected. What does it profit a man that he has food for a few days (or the rest of his life) if he winds up in hell?
Social justice has long been the smokescreen of the heterodox *cough*nunsonthebus*cough*, Words like Cardinal Sarah's are a big deal because they correct against heretics co-opting the Church's message. It also helps that he's the head of Cor Unum so, you know, it's his job to lead charitable relief efforts.
Friday, November 14, 2014
The Eye of the Tiber does an excellent job with its latest effort:
Pope Francis Not Sure How To Make Sense Of What He Just Said
“I said what?” Francis asked those gathered. “There’s no way I just said that. OK, that’s just weird. Seriously, what the heck is it with me? Am I trying to change doctrine or something? How am I gonna explain this to my secular friends? Oh boy, I can see their faces now. I bet they’re just itching to ask when I’m gonna start allowing divorced gay Catholics to receive communion. This is great…just great. I’m so freaking pissed right now I think I’m gonna go blog about it.”
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Just a quick thought. We live in an odd world wherein one group calling for the Pope to defend the Church in order to resolve the faithful's confusion are considered slanderers on the verge of schism while another group who are overjoyed at the thought of the Pope agreeing with them as an outright heretic are somehow looked on as protecting his reputation.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
I was trying to cipher the numbers on something.