Ladies who think me unduly vociferous
Amiable cabotin making a noise
That people may cry out "this stuff is too stiff for us" -
Ingenuous child with a box of new toys
Toy lions carnivorous, cannons fumiferous
Engines vaporous - all this will pass;
Quite innocent - "he only wants to make shiver us."
For Christ's sake stick it up your ---.
And when thyself with silver foot shalt pass
Among the Theories scattered on the grass
Take up my good intentions with the rest
And then for Christ's sake stick them up your ---.
--T.S. Eliot, The Triumph of Bulls**t.
*The "Ladies" in his poem are reportedly some editorial critics of his who held up some of his work.
There is hard anti-Catholicism, and then there is soft anti-Catholicism; then there is the kind which appears in Hollywood and the Media. However, the media's version sometimes backfires, and so the latest round has been pulled.
With a tip of the derby cap to Mr Mark Shea, there is a bit of good news in the world: another abortion mill closes. This one, ironically, because the "Alabama health inspectors find problems."
Th recent problems faced by the abortion industry may be why they are turning the one tactic left to them: quashing freedom of speech.
Speaking of the invaluable Mr Shea, he has some comments about Dr Stephen Hawkings' latest pontifications concerning science and religion (all emphases mine):
Two things are funny about this. First, is the suggestion that “religion” (and by that, members of the UK Chattering classes typically mean “Christianity and especially popery”) doesn’t “work”. I have no idea what that is supposed to mean. It’s true that religion doesn’t “work” if you are trying to use it to determine how many beans are in jar, or determine the velocity of an unladen European swallow, or analyze the composition of the sun. But then again, science doesn’t work very well at helping people answer questions like “What’s the point of it all?” This is particularly true of Hawking’s brand of scientism which says, as Hawking does, that human life is utterly insignificant—like he knows this by looking through a telescope or crunching a bunch of numbers. The sleight of hand substitution of a shallow philosophical nihlism for “Science” simply points to the fact that another thing science doesn’t do well is prepare you to deal with metaphysical questions. Indeed, people who turn it into the only way of treating with reality tend to be like the guy with the hammer who treats everything like a nail or the guy who lost his contact lens at the bar but insists on searching under the lampost because its the only place that that has light. The weird insistence of our Chattering Classes that Science is somehow just about to “defeat” religion is pure superstition, based on absolutely no observation at all and clung to out of pure mindless devotion to group cohesion among members of our Chattering Classes. If there is any narrative that is being spectacularly disproven by demographics, it is the narrative of the triumph of secular western Europe. That does not prove “religion” (whatever that vague amorphous term means) to be true. But it does mean that anybody who claims to live purely by empirical observation is kidding himself if he thinks England’s future is going to be dominated by atheistic materialists.
Read the rest of it.
And at the risk of of satur-SHEA-tion, Mr Shea also has a piece up about Tradition. His book on the subject is also well worth the read.
One basic rule of thumb to understand in Catholic/Protestant conversations is that it is not the case that Catholics rely on Sacred Tradition and Protestants don’t. Rather, Catholics (and, by this, I mean “educated Catholics speaking out of the Magisterial teaching of the Church”) rely on Sacred Tradition and know they do, while Protestants rely on (parts) of Sacred Tradition and (usually) don’t know they do....However, in those places where Protestantism attempts to reject Catholic Sacred Tradition, the narrative suddenly and wrenchingly changes. Suddenly, the demand is made for nothing less than an explicit proof text from the Bible. It works like this:
1. If a thing is condemned by the Church, but permitted by the Protestant (say, gay marriage) the demand is for an explicit text forbidding it (“Show me where Jesus said one word about not allowing gay marriage! That’s just the Church imposing its purely human ideas on what Jesus came to say.”).
2. Conversely, if a thing is allowed by the Church but condemned by the Protestant, the demand is for an explicit text commanding it. So, for instance, we get demands like, “Where in the Bible do you find anyone asking us to pray to dead people? That’s just the Church imposing it’s purely human ideas on what Jesus came to say.”
Note how the terms of the argument shift to suit the “Heads I win, tails the Church loses” agenda. It’s no longer good enough to say (as the Protestant generally does when, for instance, arguing for the divinity of the Holy Spirit), “Here are biblical passages which, taken together, point to the reality that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person even though there is no text that says ‘The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity’.”
Ms Sherry Wedell of the Saint Catherine of Siena Institute has a short post up about "discovering" as opposed to "returning to" Catholicism:
The irony is that most young Traditional Catholics are essentially becoming Traditionalist in exactly the same manner as the majority of young adults raised without a faith are choosing a faith, and evangelicals like me become Catholic, and the much larger number of young Catholics are becoming "nones". As converts, voluntarily, out of personal choice. As an exercise in discernment, discovery, self-definition, and self-determination....most young adults who were raised Catholic don't experience choosing to practice the faith as "coming back" to something inherited from their parents at all. They experience it as a pioneer or convert does, discovering a new and amazing land for the first time.
We'd be smarter to call these younger seekers "discovering" Catholics rather than "returning" Catholics. Because it is a difference that makes all the difference in how they approach the faith and what they ask of us.
This is spot on. Although I'm a cradle Catholic, a have in some ways a closer mentality to that of a convert who is "discovering" the Faith then one raised in it (though my parents did raise me in it, and indeed did a fairly good job of it). This may in part be because the vast majority of my friends (including all of my roommates) in college were Protestants, and most were in fact envangelical Protestants. Thus, although I never had a conversion per se, I did experience what Mr Mark Shea (again!) refers to as "the moment of crisis" which leads to an assent to the Faith.
Today's offbeat and somewhat humorous link come from Mr Matthew Archbold:
A German student created a major traffic jam in Bavaria after making a rude gesture at a group of Hell's Angels motorcycle gang members, hurling a puppy at them and then escaping on a stolen bulldozer.
Mr Marcel Lejeune responds to Ms Dawn Eden's critique of Mr Christopher West's presentation of Pope John Paul II's "Theology of the Body." I will, however, join the others in noting that the ALL CAPS comments leave my ears ringing after reading everything.
UPDATE: the ALL CAPS has been fixed. That must have been a bummer to go through, but my thanks to him for taking the time!
Mr Patrick Madrid has a great piece about images/icons/statues, (particularly statues). I'm still laughing at the joke, even if I've heard it before:
When I arrived one evening at a suburban Chicago parish to conduct an apologetics seminar, I noticed a life-sized statue of Our Lady of Fatima on the rectory lawn. Kneeling before that statue were three smaller statues of Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta – the children to whom Our Lady appeared. Their statues were kneeling in prayer, heads bowed before the larger statue.
Turning to my colleague in the car, I joked, “What a great religion Catholicism is. Not only can we worship statues, but our statues can worship statues.” We chuckled at the absurdity of the thought.
Mrs Erin Manning ponders the question: "Is divorce contagious?" Upon reflection, she answers in the negative:
I'd guess that what really happens is that like-minded couples tend to be friends, and that families also tend to be composed of at least some like-minded people. Thus, a Catholic couple who takes their wedding vows very, very seriously and would never consider divorce is unlikely to be affected by divorces in the Protestant extended family of one of the spouses; a Protestant couple who believes in "covenant marriage" and seeks ways to work out conflict that don't involve the divorce courts is unlikely to be thrown into divorce-planning by a friend who is unhappy in his or her marriage, etc....I bet that this study could be reworked to show that some people think marriages ought to be permanent, others think it can be temporary, and that there aren't as many close friendships between these two groups as one might think. Thus, the divorces in the second group only remind others in that same group that they never really expected the marriage to last, and maybe it's time they explored other options...
Divorce, then, isn't really contagious. But the cultural rot formed by the sexual revolution has bred stagnant pools of spiritual corruption from which infection is freely drunk by plenty of people who see only glittering water, and are oblivious to the rotting sewage which drifts in mortiferous gobs to spread its pestilence abroad.
Saturday is the Big Day, so I probably won't be posting much else until some time next week. It may take some time to settle into our new life together. However, I hate for the last note in what may be my last post before my wedding to end on the topic of divorce, so I'll add one more: a collection of quotes from G.K. Chesterton, some about love and marriage. And just for memory's sake, a return to my four-part engagement story.