Friday, January 29, 2010
There have always been a great many dissenters within the Church, heretics who are not so honest as to acknowledge their heresy. They do not necessarily have much in common, but this one thing: not one of them really loves the Church as she is. Every one of them seems to demand that the Church should change in accordance with their heresy. Of course, if the Church were to heed such voices, she would be torn asunder, for there are wildly varying voices. Surrounded as she is by such cacophony, the Church is tasked only with listening to her Master's voice, and obeying it. For she is bride of Christ and not of the world, and it is His voice which speaks most reassuringly to her. "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
The dissenters whom wish to cling to the Catholic identity if not the Faith have shown whom they love, and it is not the Church. Nor is is the Spirit Who speaks through her, nor her Bridegroom. For they refuse to heed te Lord's words, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
I look down upon friend and stranger
Fearing nothing-no one--I feel invincible,
Untouchable by the masses of men.
I'll pick a fight when feeling contentious,
I have never met another better than I,
Though never have I tried to seek Him:
Such a person doesn't well suit my tastes.
My laughter is loud and ever boastful,
It causes the decent man to shudder and cringe,
Many say my mirth is misplaced,
But he who laughs last has the slowest mind.
I maintain that obedience to superiors is virtuous,
None who know me would think such of me,
For they still don't understand this about me:
I'll never find He who is greater than I.
Yet I've been told by those who would be my friends
That I am too eccentric, or a hypocrite:
That my obstinacy is infuriating to them;
Since when is a little pride the source of such discord?
Let's get this straight. The Center for Reproductive Rights is calling Tim Tebow's mother a liar because she's saying that an abortion was recommended to her in a country where abortion is illegal.
Are these people so insane that they can't believe a woman turned down an abortion? I know. I know. With all the fringe benefits of abortion including a lifetime of guilt, depression, higher risk of suicide, increased chance of infertility and cancer who could say no to an abortion, right?
And CRR's logic falls apart in that aren't they the same ones who say if you make abortion illegal, the same number of abortions would still occur but they'll be performed illegally and dangerously? In one of their own documents they say, "The Court's decision in Roe v. Wade all but ended the back-alley and self-induced abortions that once killed hundreds if not thousands of women each year."
But wait?! Abortion was illegal in this country before that, right? So how did all those women die? So, I guess, abortions still take place even when it's illegal, huh? I mean, did they not see Vera Drake?
But wait, there's more. In the Philippines, as in many other non-Islamic countries which have prohibitions against abortion, there are exceptions made in the law for the case of the mother's life. More precisely, there is a distinction between abortion--the deliberate murder of the unborn child--and life-saving surgery to correct, say, an ectopic pregnancy, in which the fallopian tube is removed, which results in the unfortunate death of the embryo. Such a procedure would have been legal in Mrs Tebow's case, even in the Philippines.
And, along with Mr Archibold, Mr Marcel Lejeune of the Aggie Catholics blog has one more point to add to this:
As CMR points out - the halftime show will have The Who performing. This is a group who is headed up by a man caught with child pornography.
In other words, a man who admitted to having child porn is not controversial at all, while a woman who decided to CHOOSE to keep her baby is a scandal. I know a lot of other women that kept their babies - the mothers of all who think keeping a baby is crazy-talk.
If only rock stars could marry, and if only women were allowed to be rock stars, I'm sure we wouldn't see cases like that of Mr Townsend. Still, it is quite shocking that the bigger scandal is the not-yet-public, not-yet-aired commercials by Mrs Tebow and not the child pornography scandal of the entertainment. You can bet that if Townsend was a priest instead of a rock star, there would be all sorts of public outcry over this; but since Townsend is a rock star, the Tebows' ad is the biggest controversy. After all, the media, the lawyers, and especially groups like Center for Reproductive Freedom gain nothing from tarring the rock star profession (as opposed to the clergy, a small fraction of whom are also guilty of this kind of thing). The children don't take center stage in this controversy; then again, groups like the Center for Reproductive Freedom never were too big on protecting children.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."Since today is the feast day of Saint Thomas Aquinas, a few words of wisdom from him are in order. In school, St Thomas was often teased by his peers, who though him to be dumb--they called him "the dumb ox"--yet ironically he was one of the greatest thinkers ever to live. To return bring the irony full circle, let me note that everybody thought I was a smart person in school, and now I will add my own thoughts, which will be considerably less enlightening than those of St Thomas.
--Saint Thomas Aquinas
I have said before that faith is like a pair of glasses--it really does alter one's perception of the world. Things which were once muddled can become clear, and things which were lost in the blur become visible. Gaining (or losing) one's faith really does change how one views the world. The change is rarely overnight--it's often gradual--but such things have happened before. Sometimes the change is not so much in what we see, but how we interpret it.
Read the Rest!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"It is very difficult to get up resentment towards persons whom one has never seen." --Venerable John NewmanYet, in spite of Newman's healthy observation, there is much resentment in the world. To be fair, it is more accurate to say that it is difficult to resent a person with whom we have never interacted. In Newman's day, that meant for the most part only people whom we have met in person. To meet in person is to shed anonymity, to attach a face to one's actions and a name to one's words.
Most such meetings in person have been a great deal more civil than "virtual meetings." Might it be because of the anonymity or at least the distance afforded by the internet? I know of any number of websites which require a person to be a registered member before posting comments--my other site included. For whatever reason, the comments on such sites tend to be more civil when the threat of banishment looms--but perhaps also because in giving a name, one steps out of anonymity and places one's own reputation on the line as well.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
"There are two kinds of people in the world, the conscious dogmatists and the unconscious dogmatists. I have always found myself that the unconscious dogmatists were by far the most dogmatic."Always one to look at the world in an unconventional manner, Chesterton exemplifies what I will call, for lack of a better word, a true freethinking Catholic. I will not claim to know all of the thoughts of every self-professed "skeptic," nor will I claim that there are no true skeptics (I know a handful of skeptics who seem to me to be honest and genuine in their skepticism). There are those who live a self-consistent life outside the Church: who call a thing absurd and then treat it as ridiculous, who will on occasion find themselves on the same side as the Church and will nevertheless retain their point of view, who are occasionally able to live as if skeptical about everything unless and until it justifies itself.
Unfortunately, such people are a rare breed. Chesterton once remarked that in a way, the Church made sense the the average person--even the non-believer--in many of her practices and rituals. Why, for example, should people not gather together to sing praises or anthems? What better representation of God's infinite mercy than bread and wine: our staple food and the drink of merriment for time immemorial? Yet, the man who would be unconsciously dogmatic does so in a far more dogmatic manner. He rejects the dogma of transubstantiation, yet defends to the last such dogma as the right to an education: a right which was not universally possible as recently as a few hundred years ago. He rejects the dogma of spiritual salvation, and yet holds rigidly to the dogma of economic or social salvation. He practically rejects the dogma of man, and yet insists upon the dogma that such a creature has rights without duties.
Most of the modern skeptics are tragically only selectively so. They are perpetually skeptical of the Church, because she upholds her dogmas and doctrines, yet not for a moment do they stop to question their own.
If you enjoyed this post, here are some related ones:
On Canonizing Chesterton, Heroic Virtue, and Everyday Life
A Sort-of Review of Chesterton's Heretics (Book Review)
Chesterton on Christianity and Asceticism
Chesterton on Dogma (again!)
C.S. Lewis on Apologetics (Quote of the Day)
Chesterton on Birth Control
Chesterton on Ceremony and Science
The Idiocy of Modern Man
Monday, January 25, 2010
Read the Rest!
As for marriage preparation, I have a few brief thoughts. First, our marriage preparation is done mostly by parish volunteers, and I am grateful for their effort and time. Second, many of the people who are taking our marriage prep class haven't had some conversations which I'd think would be prerequisites to engagement, such as: "Do you want to have children?" "No." "Really? 'Cause I want to have a big family."
Then there is the expense (thankfully, they will wave the cost for some couples who really need it): most of our prep classes ran between $175-350 depending on which class. Given that every church in Austin seems to want at least $600-800 for the wedding, and then throw in the hidden expenses at some ("What do you mean we have to pay your organist $300? We have a friend who is coming to play for us!"), and pretty soon the lion's share of the budget is going to church-related expenses (we're trying to keep the total cost under $5K, since we're young and poor). The expense combined with the time commitment to the course may make it hard to make the requirements more stringent--then again, if anybody is complaining about a several-month commitment as preparation for a lifelong one, he may be ignoring the bigger problem--may make it difficult to implement (more people may just choose to eschew church weddings).
My main comment, though, on the marriage preparation aspects are that it's a good thing that the Diocese of Phoenix is trying to increase the amount of preparation given to couples. Currently, the preparation is ok--and I think I'm in one of the better preparation courses--but it could be better. Our seems at times to be taught to the lowest-common-denominator, which is rarely useful for the rest of us. It has sparked some good conversations between my fiancee and I already, but a more advanced preparation would be welcome. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to lengthen the amount of time required for preparation, because in this case, sacrificing the lowest-common-denominator is not a good policy to pursue.
I might add that this quote is somewhat applicable to the other ideologies which hope to usurp and/or subvert the English language. However, the feminist revisionists are at least somewhat consistent in that they consistently want to abolish the use of "he," "him," "man," etc as generic (pro)nouns. Thus, these are about the only "small" words which remain too big for the minds of the average feminist--a pity, since one often needs to use small words when communicating with many such womyn.
On another note, Ms Danielle Bean has written an article about some of the differences between husbands and wives. It's certainly worth a look--unless you really believe that there are no differences between womyn and men, in which case you probably object to the use of the generic "man" (not to mention the common spelling "women") and stopped reading this by the end of the quote.
Friday, January 22, 2010
"Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot thou dost not let continue a mere harlot, but makest her a murderer also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather something ... even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being born. Why then dost thou abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for childbearing unto slaughter? For with a view to drawing more money by being agreeable and an object of longing to her lovers, even this she is not backward to do, so heaping upon thy head a great pile of fire. For even if the daring deed be hers, yet the causing of it is thine."Second, a quote from the book which I'm reading, The Gods of Atheism by Fr Vincent Micelli:
"The Christian affirmation of the existence of God is not a 'blik,' that is, a fundamental attitude or commitment to see a being in a certain way, even though empirical reality cannot verify this being or view of the being. Christians find God in the realm of the empirical; for them, a universe of being, beauty, truth, order convinces their reason about the existence of its Author. Through faith, however, Christians know that God entered human history through the person of Jesus Christ who infallibly proved Himself to be God by an overwhelming number of wondrous deeds and signs, culminating in His physical resurrection from the dead. There is nothing exclusively subjectivistic about this knowledge. Certainly, this unique God of the Christian cannot be asserted to be compatible with anything and everything. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, of the Old and New Testaments, unique in Nature, powers, and transcendent ways of acting. As for the New Testament truth that God was in Jesus, St. Paul relates his own witness and the eye-witness of over five hundred others [many of whom were still alive while St Paul was writing] who saw, touched, ate, and drank with the risen Lord. Indeed so empirically certain is St. Paul of the physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus, his Lord and God, that he bases the life of his mission and of Christianity on the empirical historicity of this event. 'If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is in vain.' The early Christians gladly subjected their belief to concrete empirical tests; there was nothing blind or esoteric about their faith, grounded as it was on historical facticity."And finally, a quote from G K Chesterton's most undervalued work, Heretics:
"An imbecile habit has arisen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age, but cannot be held in another. Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century but is not credible in the twentieth. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays. Your might as well say of a view of the Cosmos that it was suitable to a half past four. What a man can believe depends on his philosophy, not upon the clock or the century. If a man believes in unalterable natural law, he cannot believe in any miracle in any age."Note that Chesterton's use of "natural law" refers to the laws of nature (physics or "natural science"), not to the Natural Law philosophy (a philosophy pertaining to morality). And now a discussion question: how are these three quotes related?
This review was originally written for and published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute on their book reviews blog.
"What particular “heresy” does this garbage fall under, I wonder?" My answer is: neo-Montanism. Or maybe just (post) modernity. Meanwhile, my latest (though not really greatest) piece is up on the Nicene Guys blog: "The Golden Calf of Narcissism:"
When the people became aware of Moses' delay in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, "Come, make us a god who will be our leader; as for the man Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him." Aaron replied, "Have your wives and sons and daughters take off the golden earrings they are wearing, and bring them to me." So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron, who accepted their offering, and fashioning this gold with a graving tool, made a molten calf. Then they cried out, "This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt." ( Exodus 32:1-4)
So begins the story of the golden calf—Israel’s “sacred cow”—as recorded in the Book of Exodus. Many a person hears this story and laughs at it, or at the foolish Israelites who would abandon God so easily. Others take more heed of the literally dozens and more homilies for the Sunday Masses about not making idols for ourselves, not worshiping the things of this world, and of being faithful only to God. While these are good lessons to draw from this passage, there is another and often-overlooked lesson which can be drawn.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I remember very few specific conversations which I had, but one stands out a bit in my mind today. One of the residents had taken up riding horses—my favorite activity growing up, and a thing which I still dearly miss—and so I had frequent short conversations with her. We talked a few times about horses, but on this particular night, we talked about something else. I don’t specifically remember how we got onto the topic of birth control and religion, but we did. It actually may have been a conversation about religion—she was an Anglican of some sort—but it drifted into the realm of birth-control. At some point, she mentioned that some relatives of hers were Catholics and that they insisted that one couldn’t use birth control. They didn’t know why they couldn’t, only that they couldn’t BECAUSE THE CHURCH SAYS SO.
Read the Rest!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
All of this has caused me to think a bit about the theology which underlies marriage, especially in light of the high divorce rates. There are many people who believe that marriage ought not to be necessarily permanent, and others who want theirs to be permanent, but excuse failed marriages by saying "Too bad, so sad," but then turn around and complain about the Church's teaching against "remarriage" after a divorce.
Read the rest.