Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tridentine Masses coming this week to the metro Detroit and East Michigan area

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Friday, August 29, 2014

Believe it! Extraordinary Faith

Extraordinary Faith (EWTN)

How can a film be "too gay" for Hollywood?

Interesting point about how those most interested in promoting causes like gay pride an abortion rights are least interested in having exposed what their causes actually involve.

Cosmological paradigms: doubters and true believers

Aristarchus of Samos (c. 310-230 BC) was the first known astronomer to present a heleocentric cosmological theory. This theory wasn't picked up again until the theories of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) led to what came to be known as the "Copernican Revolution."

The dominant theory before Aristarchus and after him, until the time of Copernicus, was the geocentric paradigm promoted by the theories of Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Claudius Ptolemy (c. AD 90-168).

If you've read anything about scientific "paradigms" -- for example, in Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) -- you know something about how fundamental paradigms are in providing the regulative ideals by which scientists conduct their work.

In fact, Kuhn shows that, contrary to the views about the foundations of science promoted by the father of Scientific Positivism, August Comte (1798-1857), science cannot prove its own presuppositions and depends on assumed paradigms, scientific progress has not consisted in a steady and incremental "growth in knowledge," but rather a haphazard movement that advances by fits and starts and even accidental discoveries of new paradigms.

I don't know about you, but I love to watch what happens when ideas and theories are proposed that rock the boat of prevailing orthodoxies. This is one reason I enjoy all the recent theories that question "Climate Science" or "Evolutionary Theory," for example. What I find particularly amusing (I know, it's my perverse and fallen sense of humor) is how exercised and upset the "true believers" and self-appointed guardians of prevailing dogmas and orthodoxies become over these unorthodox theories.

Appeal to authority is the weakest form of argument, just as ridicule is the last resort of bad arguments. And what is fascinating is how quickly "true believers" stoop to ridicule based on the prima facie "absurdity" of the "doubters" -- anyone who questions the authority of the prevailing wisdom of Climate Scientists (remember: Al Gore was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2007 for his promotion of "knowledge" about global warming), the Evolutionist theories of Richard Dawkins, et al., and the currently regnant cosmological paradigm of heleocentrism.

So, for anyone interested in something completely "unorthodox," something prima facie totally "absurd" and "ridiculous," but explicitly appealing to scientific "data" in ways that drive "true believers" insane, I present for your enjoyment the latest "doubters" of the heleocentric paradigm:

Walker Percy, on Bourbon

"Here's a treat. 'Bourbon' and essay by Walker Percy. Smile!" (Booze News: Spirited News for Thoughtful Imbibers, March 24, 2014):
The pleasure of knocking back Bourbon lies in the plain [sic; plane? -psl] of the aesthetic but at an opposite pole from connoisseurship. My preference for the former is or is not deplorable depending on one's value system--that is to say, how one balances out the Epicurean virtues of cultivating one's sensory end organs with the greatest discrimination and at least cost to one's health, against the virtue of evocation of time and memory and of the recovery of self and the past from the fogged-in disoriented Western world. In Kierkegaardian terms, the use of Bourbon to such an end is a kind of aestheticized religious mode of existence, whereas connoisseurship, the discriminating but single-minded stimulation of sensory end organs, is the aesthetic of damnation.
Read the full essay HERE >>

Walker Percy, "Bourbon" (1975), from Signposts in a Strange Land: Essays(Picador, 2000).

[Hat tip to CB]

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"The confessional is a tribunal, not a coffee house"

Fr. Z, "ASK FATHER: Hogging the Confessional" (Fr. Z's Blog, August 26, 2014).

Cardinal Siri's banned forgotten book on ecumenism

Our undercover corresponded we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city who knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, wired me the following telegram back on June 20, and the footman from the telegraph office in Reno, Nevada (of all places!), just arrived at my door with it this evening. Here's what he wrote:
[Cardinal Giuseppe] Siri! Talk about counter-Resourcement, or a name unlikely to be on any recent papal bedside reading stand. LOL. Forgotten in under a century, akin to Garrigou-Lagrange. His "Gethsemeni" appears available now only in French.
Actually, he is happily mistaken, though, unhappily, used copies of the bad English translation run between $65.98 and $284.62. Anyway, he continued:
I very much doubt I could persuade Ignatius Press to republish what is essentially a polite take down of Henri de Lubac. Despite the premium currently placed on dialog and diversity, people really want to hear just what they want to hear. Siri's common sense can't really be answered, so it will remain simply discredited by official disfavor versus any sustained theologizing. Reminds me to of Romano Amerio, whose Stat Veritas may we yet someday see in English. It's not that I enjoy insurgency so much as I enjoy Catholic theology and clear thinking.
Related: "Catholics and Ecumenism - considerations by Cardinal Siri" (RC, June 19, 2014).

[Hat tip to GN]

Thompson interview on Pope's effort to clean up the Roman Curia

Damian Thompson, "Revealed: the Pope's war with the Vatican" (The Spectator, August 23, 2014). Interesting stuff:
If you want to understand how Pope Francis is planning to change the Catholic church, then don’t waste time searching for clues in the charming, self-effacing press conference he gave on the plane back from South Korea on Monday.

It’s easy to be misled by the Pope’s shoulder-shrugging interviews and impromptu phone calls.... The media has concluded that Francis wants the church to change its stance on divorcees and same-sex couples.

But the media are wrong. Neither of these subjects is high on Francis’s agenda — and, even if they were, he wouldn’t alter Catholic teaching on sexuality.

The first non-European Pope was elected to do one thing: reform the Roman Curia, the pitifully disorganised, corrupt and lazy central machinery of the church....

... To quote a senior bishop: ‘Benedict allowed the Roman Curia, and specifically the Italians in it, to kill his pontificate. Francis will not permit that to happen.’ He will strike first. (emphasis added)

Alice von Hildebrand, reflecting on her life: WHAT A LIFE!!!

Jim Graves, "Alice von Hildebrand: Reflecting on a Life of Teaching, Scholarship, and Prayer" (CWR, July 9, 2014):
Pope Francis recently recognized Alice von Hildebrand as a Dame Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory in recognition of her lifetime of work on behalf of the Church. She is originally from Brussels, Belgium, and came to the United States in 1940, as World War II began ravaging Europe.

Unable to find employment at a Catholic college, she began a 37-year career teaching philosophy at Hunter College, a public university in New York, beginning in 1947. She married Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889-1977) in 1959, two years after the death of his first wife. Since her husband’s death in 1977, she has devoted her time and energy to promoting his work. She is a prolific writer and gifted public speaker, eloquently sharing the message of the Gospel with Catholic audiences throughout the world.

Later this summer, Mrs. von Hildebrand will release her memoirs, Alice von Hildebrand: Memoirs of a Happy Failure (Saint Benedict Press). She recently spoke to CWR.
Read the interview. Amazing, as always with Dame Alice!!

[Hat tip to JM]

Monday, August 25, 2014

Anthony Trollope on preaching

Excerpted from Fro Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [these change weekly] (Assumption Grotto News, August 24, 2014):
"There is perhaps no greater hardship at present inflicted on manking in civilized and free countries, than the necessity of listening to sermons. No one but a preaching clergyman has, in these realms, the power of compelling an audience to sit silent, and be tormented. No one but a preaching clergyman can revel in platitudes, truisms, and untruisms, and yet receive, as his undisputed privilege, the same respectful demeanor as though words of impassioned eloquence, or persuasive logic, fell from his lips. Let a professor of law or physic find his place in a lecture-room and there pour forth jejune words and useless empty phrases and he will puor them forth to empty benches. Let a barrister (an attorney) attempt to talk without talking well, and he will talk but seldom ... A member of parliament can be coughed down or counted out. Town-councillors can be tabooed. But no one can rid himself of the preaching clergyman. He is the bore of the age ... the nightmare that disturbs our Sunday's rest ...

"We are not forced into church! No: but we desire more than that. We desire not to be forced to stay away. We desire, nay, we are resolute, to enjoy the comfort of public worship; but we desire also that we may do so without an amount of tedium which ordinary human nature cannot endure with patience; that we may be able to leave the house of God, without that anxious longing to escape, which is the common consequence of common sermons.

[Now as if addressing the preacher] "You must excuse me ... if I yawn over your imperfect sentences, your repeated phrases, your false pathos, your drawlings and denouncings, your humming and hawing, your oh-ing and ah-ing...

"And here I must make a protest against the pretense, so often put forward byt he working clergy, that they are overburdened by the multitude of sermons to be preached ... A preacher is encouraged by the vanity of making his voice heard by the privilege of a compelled audience. His sermon is the pleasant morsel of his life, his delicious moment of self-exaltation."

[There's a little more to it, but this should be enough for a smile to break out upon your faces. You need not fear guilt for detraction against your preaching priests to have enjoyed this delightful writing ... We priests at the Grotto do try hard, given our modest capabilities, to say what we feel we must for your edification and God's glory. 'Nough said.]
Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, ch. 6: "War"

The problem with "Not" having a "personal relationship" with Jesus

Dr. Jay Boyd recently raised some concerns about what it means for Catholics to adopt this language in his article, "The Problem with a Personal Relationship with Jesus" (Homiletic and Pastoral Review, July 10, 2014).

Now Dr. Carole Brown has written a complementary piece entitled "The Problem with 'Not' Having a Personal Relationship with Jesus" (Homiletic and Pastoral Review, August 11, 2014).

The issue as discussed in these two pieces is detailed and complex, involving the question of personalist philosophy as it has become enshrined in magisterial documents since the pontificate of St. John Paul II, in particular.

But the issue can, I think, be put rather simply. What should a "personal relationship with Jesus" NOT mean for a Catholic? It should not mean a subjective relationship experienced as subsisting in isolation apart from the Church, her sacrament, and teaching.

What MAY a "personal relationship with Jesus" mean for a Catholic? Many things. (1) It can mean a subjectively experienced relationship that is more than sacramental, as for example when one makes a spiritual communion with Christ (without cutting ourselves off from the sacramental life of the Church). This is something incumbent upon all Catholics to cultivate as part of their response to St. Paul's injunction to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thes. 5:17). (2) It can also mean a sacramental relationship with Jesus, particularly when receiving the Eucharist. The Church stresses the objective component in this relationship, the fact that one receives Jesus whether one has any subjective experience of this or not. Another dimension of this is the relationship of being incorporated into the mystical Body of Christ via baptism, even while one is yet an infant and oblivious of what is happening. This is nonetheless a "personal relationship with Jesus." Still another dimension of this is the relationship of Old Testament "saints" to Jesus, not through any awareness of the historical Jesus, but through the "sacraments" of the Old Covenant, by which they were also incorporated into the mystical Body of Christ. (Yes, their salvation was through no other than Christ and a "personal relationship with Him," though mediated Levitical sacrifices anticipating the sacrifice of Christ.)

When all is said and done, however, the important thing for those of us who are adults is our response to the truth of God's revelation in Christ and through the Church. This is why the claims of the Gospel obtain also for the contemporary Jew. We are all called to communion with Christ through the Church and her Gospel. And those of us who are Catholic are called by our Lord through His Church to a conscious (and conscientious) response to a life of conversion and amendment of life -- in short, discipleship. This means that we cannot remain sacramentalized infants, much less sacramentalized pagans. We need to respond in faith, aware of all the levels and dimensions of our personal relationship with Jesus that we've received through our baptism and incorporation into His mystical Body.

We're not saved by information about Jesus that we know. Even infants and the Children of Israel in the Old Testament with no knowledge of Jesus are not excluded from the redemptive work of Christ. But for those of us living today who are beyond our minor years, knowing information about Jesus can play a decisive role in our acquisition of a personal relationship with Jesus of which we are consciously aware, a role, in fact, in our salvation.

[Hat tip to JM]

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Expressing solidarity with Syrian and Iraqi Christian martyrs

I've received a number of inquiries from people wishing to express in some way their solidarity with their fellow Christians in Syria and Iraq being persecuted and martyred for their faith. One such person recently asked where one could purchase a pin or T-shirt or bumper sticker with the Arabic letter 'n' used by ISIS agents to mark houses belonging to "Nazarenes," or Christian, as a warning to convert to Islam or be killed.

When I asked Christopher Blosser, he responded by saying that "the 'Voice of Martyrs' charity (inter-denominational Christian organization) is already doing this (although there are plenty of others, just google-image-search the symbol) or find it on zazzle:"

"If the purpose were to support the martyrs and victims of persecution -- it would probably be preferable to do it via this route, where 50% is going directly to Christians in Iraq.

"VOM’s new i-am-n T-shirt features an image of the Arabic letter “N” similar to those painted on the homes of Christians in northern Iraq by IS (Islamic State). The shirts cost $20 each, and $10 of each purchase will go directly to support our Iraqi brothers and sisters."

Zazzle also has stickers here:

Fascinating: Evelyn Waugh Face To Face BBC Interview

Quite stiff, awkward, a bit difficult; but if you love Waugh, fascinating. Some things about his conversion beginning around 15:30ff. And what he says about Protestants and "heathens" around 27:30ff. is positively endearing.

Regensburg, 2006: when Cardinal Bergoglio attacked Pope Benedict XVI

Antonio Socci comments:
From this news we deduce two important conclusions:

- Through his spokesman, Cardinal Bergoglio attacked Benedict XVI for his masterly discourse in Regensburg, and this makes sense of his present reticence about the Islamic butchers in Iraq. Cardinal Bergoglio attacked the Pope who came under attack from everyone as well as being under threat by the Islamic terrorists, even though - being a Cardinal – he had the particular duty to defend the Holy Father.

- I want to speak to all those who are launching anathemas at me today saying, “the Pope can’t be criticized.” What did Bergoglio do? He did it - even as a Cardinal, while the Pope was under threat.
Translation of the Libero Quotidiano article by Francesca Romana, "Libero Quotidiano: 'Islam: When Bergoglio attacked Ratzinger" (RC, August 23, 2014).

[Hat tip to JM]

Pope Francis used to be a Buenos Aires nighclub bouncer?

Just ran across an amusing factoid, in case you missed it: "Jorge Mario Bergoglio, current Pope ... worked as a bouncer in a Buenos Aires bar to earn money as a student." (Harry Alsop, "Pope Francis: 20 Things You Didn't Know," The Daily Telegraph, March 14, 2013). The Wikipedia entry on "Pope Francis" adds that it was at a "nightclub." Go figure!