Our new address is
It would be greatly appreciated if you could update your bookmarks and links and kindly inform your readers (the content of this old blog has been moved as well).
Monday, August 11, 2008

Here & There ...

  • A former priest, who once dissented from Catholic teachings on reproduction and abortion, writes Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International that he is now reconciled. Spero News. August 3, 2008.

  • More than six thousand young people celebrated WYD in northern Iraq, reports the Catholic News Agency. July 24, 2008:
    Bishop Rabban Al-Qas of Amadiya of the Chaldeans told L’Osservatore Romano that more than one thousand young people carried a cross in procession to the town of Araden, the location of the “monastery of the Sultan Mahdokh, the Iraqi martyr who lived there in the fourth century. From there you could see the entire Sapna Valley as the young people sang the WYD songs. Their spirits were not dampened by fatigue and you could see the emotion in their faces throughout the long day.”

    At the end of the procession, the young people expressed their hope that “the next WYD would be celebrated ‘in the entire country’ and not just in the north, as in this case, ‘without any fear of violence’.”

  • has a story on Eric Liddell, first "Chinese" Olympic champion -- He inspired the film "Chariots of Fire". He was born in Tianjin, China, the son of Scottish Presbyterian missionaries. He is known for his refusal to run his best event -- the 100 meter race -- on account that it was held on Sunday:
    According to some witnesses, it seems that the king of England himself tried to convince him to compete, in the name of "national pride", but he declined because "the commandments of God come before national honor. I will not run on Sunday".
    Liddell instead ran the 400 meter race, which he won with a record time of 47.6 seconds. He went on to receive a degree in science and returned to Tianjin as a missionary-schoolteacher, perishing in a Japanese prison camp in 1941.

  • Benedict XVI is weaving together a mini-catechesis with a medium nearly any young person can relate to -- cell phone text messages:
    The Friday morning local time message to Youth Day pilgrims was a call to Christian love. "The spirit impels us 4ward 2wards others; the fire of his love makes us missionaries of God's charity. See u tomorrow nite - BXVI," it read. ...

    Before the Pope's boat-a-cade reached Sydney Harbor Thursday afternoon local time for his official arrival to World Youth Day, the Holy Father sent his third text message. That one said, "The Holy Spirit is the principal agent of salvation history: let him write your life-history 2 - BXVI."

    On Wednesday, after his encounter with typical Australian animals, including a koala bear and a carpet python, the Pontiff sent a text message reading, "The Holy Spirit gave the Apostles & gives u the power boldly 2 proclaim that Christ is risen! - BXVI."

    Pilgrims received their first text message from the Bishop of Rome on Monday. It said, "Young friend, God and his people expect much from u because u have within you the Fathers supreme gift: the Spirit of Jesus - BXVI."

    (Via the Cranky Conservative "Pope Benedict 4EVER!!!", who received it from his friend Eric, "who desperately wants to know that this story is not true.". (Yes, this is a joke right? ... Right?!?)

  • Matthew Archbold (Creative Minority Report predicts the outcome of the forthcoming "Pope Joan" movie:
    And you know that when this trash hits the screens, there's going to be so many specials, documentaries, and promotional interviews about Pope Joan and female ordination. Fr. Richard McBrien will be quoted in the New York Times saying, "if it's not true it should be." Larry King will ask Bill Donahue what the female Pope might say about the Church if she were alive today and Donahue will actually exlode right there in front of the cameras. And Pope Joan will still be seen by many historically ignorant "Entertainment Tonight" watchers, not as a ridiculous movie but as a real biography of one of the first feminists who made it to the top of the all boy's Catholic Church.

  • Ayn Rand, Crank - Maclin Horton reads Atlas Shrugged, speaks his mind and is set upon by proponents of Randian orthodoxy ("America is slowly dying," says one. "Only Rand provides the antidote"). UPDATE - Here is Maclin with "What Ayn Rand got right".

  • August 8th was the Feast of St. Dominic - Jay Anderson (Pro Ecclesia) provides an excellent roundup.

  • The Westminster Shorter Catechism, The Baltimore Catechism and Senator Barack Obama, on the meaning of "sin".


Friday, December 28, 2007

Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.
  • John Paul II and the Jews, by Rabbi David Dalin. First Things "On The Square" December 2, 2007. "More than any other pope, John Paul II was the twentieth century’s greatest papal friend and supporter of the Jewish people. Indeed, John Paul II’s extraordinary relationship with the Jews was an important chapter in the historic legacy of his pontificate, which has had profound implications for Catholic–Jewish relations in our time. . . ."

  • Ratzinger, Scripture and the Development of Doctrine, by Michael Liccione. Sacramentum Vitae November 9, 2007.

  • A military-pacifist's manifesto - Vivificat!: "I'm seriously considering some sort of pacificism – albeit not one which will include an absolute refusal to bear arms or defend the country. I am a military man, after all, and always will be, even after I retire. . . ."

  • The Lost Art of Catholic Drinking, by Sean P. Daily. October 10, 2007:
    There is Protestant drinking and there is Catholic drinking, and the difference is more than mere quantity. I have no scientific data to back up my claims, nor have I completed any formal studies. But I have done a good bit of, shall we say, informal study, which for a hypothesis like this is probably the best kind. . . .

  • Pre-Primary Election Anxiety Disorder - William Luse (Apologia) gives his assessment of the candidates - Ron Paul ("Picture him trying to stare down Vladimir Putin across a table. Better yet, Ahmadinejad"); Fred Thompson ("I liked him better on Law and Order. At least they made him stay awake on set"); Rudy Giuliani ("He's also a Roman Catholic who believes in serial marriage. Weak on tor...enhanced interrogation techniques"); Alan Keyes ("The most skilled rhetorician in recent American history. If I had to vote for someone who didn't stand a chance, he'd be it") et al.

  • Faithful Catholic Book Publishers from Good Jesuit, Bad jesuit (taken in turn from Aquinas and More's survey of religious publishers in general, see his "The Matthew Fox Circle of Energy Reading Room" for those to generally avoid as well).

  • "Lord Have Mercy" - Ross Douhat reviews Christopher Hitchen's God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything: "I have been writing this book all my life," Hitchens declares in the conclusion, "and intend to keep on writing it." One hopes that someone near and dear to him will have the courage to firmly suggest that he stop. (Via Catholic Analysis).

  • Raniero Cantalamessa - Franciscan Capuchin and Preacher to the Papal Household, has a website -- updated with his Advent homilies for December 2007.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Here and There . . .

Just a few posts which caught my eye . . .
  • Of Faith and Doubt, by Stephen Hand. The Bride and the Dragon :
    Let me stammer and search for what I want to say to those who fear they have no faith: Show me a man who does not doubt and I will show you not a man but some kind of robot, or a child.

    The very idea of "faith" that Jesus calls us to implies a split, an encounter with the Void, a beholding and transcending of it.

    "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief," the disciple said.

    But not every transcending of doubt into faith is firm and steady. Often it is a convoluted process, and that is part of the journey too. . . .

  • Imitation Catholic or Illusion, by Alan Phipps. ad altare dei October 20, 2007:
    It is no secret that some Protestant churches at times employ somewhat questionable methods in order to attract Catholics into their congregations. This has been more prevalent within the last 10 years, and there has been a particular focus on Hispanic communities. The idea is to transplant various Catholic terminology and devotional practices into a Protestant setting. Sometimes, folks can't even tell that they're not at a Catholic church . . .
  • Can German church art and architecture get any worse? from Closed Cafeteria, photos from a German seminary, dedicated by Cardinal Lehmann. Looks like a stained glass rendition of a Cheetoh and an alter that came from a Gitmo interrogation room.

  • "Abortion isn't a religious issue", says Garry Wills, taking a swipe at evangelical Christians.

    "Oh really?" responds St. Blog's own Greg Popcack, in Give Garry Wills that old-time religion" Los Angeles Times November 9, 2007).

And on a lighter note . . .

Lastly, two great causes worth supporting that I came across recently:
  • Good Counsel Homes
    Good Counsel is a private Catholic agency whose primary mission is to help homeless pregnant women by providing a loving family environment in a safe and secure shelter. Begun in 1985 by Fr. Benedict Groeschel and Chris Bell, both leaders in the pro-life movement, Good Counsel has grown to five homes in the New York greater metropolitan area.

    Working closely with the Sisters of Life through our Lumina outreach we have developed an outstanding program of support and healing for those suffering from abortion related problems.

  • DonorsChoose.Org - is a simple way to provide students in need with resources that our public schools often lack. At this not-for-profit web site, teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn. These ideas become classroom reality when concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose projects to fund.

    Any individual can search such proposals by areas of interest, learn about classroom needs, and choose to fund the project(s) they find most compelling. In completing a project, donors receive a feedback package of student photos and thank-you notes, and a teacher impact letter.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Here and There . . .

I've got some errands to attend to, books to read, websites to update, so expect sporadic blogging in the future. Those who are in the mood for some combox chatter (and provocation) may want to check out:
  • "Religion: A Test of Faith" - Amy Welborn (Open Book) responds to LA Times Religion reporter William Lobdell's column on his loss of faith:
    [Lobdell's] justifiable anguish and shock (and God help us when we are not anguished and shocked by these things) could be shared by any Christian during any era, any place. Christianity has never been pure in the human sense, always been a difficult, challenging mix of mostly sinners and a few saints. . . . The whole thing is pretty much a mess. And always has been.
  • More on Catholic Social Teaching and the "Living Wage", by DarwinCatholic. July 16, 2007:
    Some years back I was discussing politics with a senior co-worker, someone who lived in an million-dollar home in the Santa Monica Mountains, and hired a yard guy, a pool guy, a maid, etc. to keep it up for him.

    "This 'trickle down economics' thing is idiotic," he announced. "Why do they think that giving the rich more money will help anyone other than the rich?"

    "So if you and your wife both lost your jobs," I asked, "would you keep the yard guy and the maid, or would you start to mow your own lawn and vacuum your own house?"

  • The phony "Catholic Right" and "Catholic Left", by Michael Joseph. Vox Nova July 23, 2007. Pope Benedict XV said it first ;-)
    There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim "Christian is my name and Catholic my surname," only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.
  • Tortured Logic, by Daniel Nichols. Caelum Terra:
    Contrary to what some conservatives say it is this--let's call it faith in reason--and not the love of liberty or the rejection of oligarchy and oppression which is the fundamental error of the French Revolution and the Age of Reason.

    I do not mean by this that unassisted reason cannot come to certain truths, only that it is highly prone to error, and that certain other truths are unattainable by reason alone. Unaided reason quickly becomes tortured logic.

    I first became aware of the insufficiency of reason alone in the moral sphere when thinking about euthanasia. . . .

  • On the Morality of Using Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Use of Atomic Bombs in General Outline for a Possible Dialogue in August of 2007, by I. Shawn McElhinney. Rerum Novarum July 22, 2007. Shawn lays the groundrules for a proposed debate on the moral use of nuclear weapons in World War II and asserts: "I have practically no confidence whatsoever that any Catholic will be able to meet the criteria as noted above."

  • Question of the day:
    Yes, it is easy to say that a formation of geese in the skyline declares the order of the Creator. But what does the bulge of a struggling pig in the mid-section of a python tell us about the Designer of that order?
    Discuss over at Treaders (for readers of Touchstone magazine).

  • Fr. Philip Powell, OP asks: Are YOU a member of the Dissenting Cadre? Take the quiz and see!:
    After a hard night hitting the “Spirit of Vatican Two Peace Bong,” you dream that twelve nine-year boys in black cassocks and white surplices are chasing you around a Baroque monstrance with their Latin breviaries. Inside the monstrance, the consecrated host is yelling, “Git ‘em, boys! Git ‘em!” . . .

    You never cross yourself b/c it perpetuates the idea that God needed a bloody sacrifice to assuage his anger. . . .

    You successfully forced your parish to sell its historic organ and use the money to buy a Casio electronic keyboard, a life-time subscription to America, and a stained glass window of Jesus portrayed as Che Guerra. . . .

. . . and some new sites:


Monday, June 04, 2007

Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.
  • Who Is Catholic? The Awareness of Catholic Identity and the Universal Call to Holiness, by Cynthia Toolin. Ignatius Insight February 2007:
    The highest salience of the status "Catholic" is found in a man who can be classified in the category of definitive statement. Like a man for whom the status is a distinctive affirmation, his self-identity is strongly tied to being Catholic and his external behavior shows this. But unlike a man in the distinctive affirmation category, it is because being Catholic permeates his inner life. He is engaged in a relationship with Christ and is growing spiritually towards holiness. He loves Christ, and Christ's spouse, the Church--he believes Church teachings on faith and morals, and daily grows in a life of virtue and in obedience to God.

    The estimate of between 54% and 77% of Catholics not attending Church every week can be interpreted as indicating that for these percentages (i.e., for the majority of Catholics), "Catholic" is a descriptive label. That is, these people say they are Catholic, but the status does not affect their behavior even to the point of attending Mass. The remaining 46% to 23% of Catholics, or those who do attend weekly, can be located in the categories of social declaration, distinctive affirmation, or defining statement. It is impossible to know the exact percentage breakdown for these three categories because external behavior does not necessarily indicate the state of the inner spiritual life.

    High salience of the status "Catholic," then, is not the same as, nor does it necessarily lead to, spiritual growth or holiness. It is ironic that a person can identify himself as Catholic, and/or perform all the appropriate external acts of Catholics, and yet seldom if ever have a thought about God. A man may go to church for social status or companionship, from force of habit, or for a myriad of other reasons having nothing to do with God. Thus, answering the universal call to holiness means more than identifying yourself as, and acting in a manner appropriate for, a Catholic; it means a personal encounter and relationship with our Lord.

  • When Kung and von Hildebrand Came to Loyola, by Michael Healy. (Courtesy of the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project):
    In the middle of my junior year (1970-71) at Loyola University of Los Angeles (now Loyola Marymount University), we had two distinguished guest lecturers: Fr. Hans Kung and Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand. The contrasting manner of their reception at Loyola, as well as their personal effect on me, makes for an interesting tale.

    The whole atmosphere of Loyola at the time was one of progressive optimism, the throwing off of the shackles of out-dated authority, and freedom-combined-with-sincerity—this was all man needed. Drifting along with the general atmosphere, with the prevailing view of the Church, and with the vicissitudes of my major [psychology], I was predisposed to view Hans Kung favorably and Dietrich von Hildebrand unfavorably. . . .

  • Are You Prepared?" - Amy Welborn provides a helpful roundup (and thoughts of her own) on an ecumenical debate concerning evangelism and Catholicism, which seems to have its beginnings when Fr. Dwight Longenecker was invited to a Evangelical Catholicism conference in Wisconsin. Read all about it and get the relevant links here.

  • Sloppy mistakes - Neil Mezzo takes on Roger Haight & Commonweal:
    Theology is only a science if we retain a shared set of principles that are beyond questioning. Traditionally this has been understood to be, formally, the authority of God revealing, and materially, the Creed. It is indeed one thing to accept these pricniples as defined, and then disagree over secondary conlusions derived therefrom.

    But it seems that it is the principles themselves that are called into question today. There is no part of the Creed, or the very fact of Divine Revelation, that is not seriously called into question by so many theologians, in most Catholic schools.

    In the current issue of Commonweal, there is an article that attempts to defend Roger Haight, S.J., as a Catholic theologian. Prescinding from any personal judgment upon his beliefs, it is not too hard to look at Jesus: Symbol of God and see the obvious: when Jesus Christ is only seen as a mediated human experience of the divine, not all that different from other like phenomena in other parts of the world (it seems especially from the East which just HAS to have a lot to teach us), and in fact could do with a bit more syncretistic updating, then, you are beyond the pale.

    You are no longer doing "theology" in any real sense, but merely philosophy, and a bad one at that.

  • The senseless use of language threatens us all, by Eric Johnson (Catholic Light):
    Some words pour forth automatically whenever a loss of life occurs, especially when it is unexpected. "I'm so sorry," you tell a colleague whose loved one has just died. "Let me know if there is anything I can do to help." During those times, you simply reach for the words closest to your mind; anything more complicated would seem insincere or calculated. Heartfelt, lengthy expressions of condolence are for later occasions, when the grieving person can absorb them.

    But because these words spring readily to mind, they reveal some disturbing truths about how we view plainly evil deeds -- that is, willfully malicious acts committed against innocent people. . . .

  • Learning to Cry for the Culture Christianity Today March 19, 2007. John Fischer pens an introduction to the Swiss theologian Francis Schaeffer:
    Francis Schaeffer was hard to listen to. His voice grated. It was a high-pitched scream that, when mixed with his eastern Pennsylvania accent, sounded something like Elmer Fudd on speed. As freshmen, unfamiliar with the thought and works of modern man, we thought it was funny. As seniors, it wasn't funny any more. After we had studied Kant, Hegel, Sartre, and Camus, the voice sounded more like an existential shriek. If Edvard Munch's The Scream had a voice, it would have sounded like Francis Schaeffer. Schaeffer, who died in 1984, understood the existential cry of humanity trapped in a prison of its own making. He was the closest thing to a "man of sorrows" I have seen.
  • Harper's Index - St. Blog's Style @ Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor:
    3....average number of times I have to re-read a given Disputations post in order to comprehend it

    542 ....hits on motu proprio from Catholic blog search

    2.....hits on motu proprio from

    .003%.....percentage of people outside St. Blog's worried about motu proprio

    12,672....average number of words the tireless Amy Welborn writes each week in columns, books, articles & blog

    2...average number of times per year Jeff Culbreath will decide to stop blogging.

  • Speaking of which, Jeff Cullbreath is blogging again! =)

  • Fine Art Friday - A Texas Artist, A New Catholic Edition! - SummaMommas introduces us to the art of Jim Janknegt:
    Jim Jankgnet is an artist, a Christian (former Episcopalian becoming Catholic), who paints oil paintings some large, some small. He paints parables of Jesus, angels, demons (demonic paintings?) , biblical stories and stories from the bible. He is a modern artist or maybe a post-modern artist I doubt you would call him a traditional artist.

  • Holding hands really adds nothing to the Mass, by Fr. Stephanos (Me Monk, Me Meander).

  • Pray for these new Catholics! - Matthew, a seminarian blogger, introduces us to some blogs by those newly-received into the Church.

  • Links for Searching Anglicans -- that is, Anglicans "who may be surfing the internet for information about Catholic options"; helpfully compiled by Teresa Polk (Blog by the Sea).

  • Recommended reading in "Catholic systematic theology" - a request from the Pertinacious Papist (March 19, 2007).

  • Moral Majority Founder Falwell, 73, Outraged Liberals and Fought for Israel, by Zev Chavets. The Forward May 18, 2007. (A rather different, and appreciative, take on the recently departed evangelical icon -- via Touchstone):
    Falwell gloried in his common-man persona, and he viewed himself as a roughneck compared with his lifelong rival, the Rev. Pat Robertson. Known to his friends as “Doc,” Falwell was a man who didn’t mind laughing at himself — or at his fellow evangelicals. (One of the country’s leading Pentecostal figures broke off relations after Falwell publicly sneered at her effort to heal a chicken through faith. “We Baptists don’t save chickens, we eat them,” he told her.)

    No chicken was safe within Falwell’s grasp, and he liked them deep-fried. I’ve dined with him several times, and he ate with the aplomb of a fellow whose cardiologist was Jesus. . . .

    See also The Moral Majority of the Story: Jerry Falwell remembered, a National Review Symposium. May 16, 2007 and A Death in the Family, by Rocco Palmo (Whispers in the Loggia).

  • Christopher Hitchens Is a Treasure Michael Novak reviews God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. National Review May 17, 2007:
    . . . something peculiar happens to Hitchens when he wrestles against God with murderous intent. Hitchens always loses (and may secretly suspect that). Preposterous as this seems, one senses he may fear that one day he will wake up and see it all plainly, right before his eyes. Otherwise, why year after year keep striking another stake in the heart of God?

    See also the ongoing debate between Theologian Douglas Wilson and atheist Christopher Hitchens - a multi-part series courtesy of Christianity Today.

    And: Hitchens vs Hitchens: "Am I my brother’s reviewer" - Peter Hitchens reviews his brother's book.

  • Cartoon Defense of the Free Market Capitalism, via David Michael Phelps of The Acton Blog. "This Cold War-era cartoon uses humor to tout the dangers of Communism and the benefits of capitalism." 1948.

    On that note, see the trailer for Call of the Entrepreneur, a new film by the Acton Institute, which

    tells the stories of three entrepreneurs: A failing dairy farmer in rural Evart, Michigan; A merchant banker in New York City, and a refugee from Communist China. Reverend Robert Sirico, author of The Entrepreneurial Vocation, joins Michael Novak, George Gilder and other experts in exploring how entrepreneurs shape our world.
  • Some Thoughts on Three Representations of the Antichrist, by Henry Karlson. The Well at the World's End May 31, 2007 - an exploration into the views of Vladimir Solovyov, Charles Williams and C.S. Lewis.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.
  • "Patristic Rosary Project", by Fr. Z (What does Prayer Really Say?) -- Because October is dedicated in a special way to the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, during the month I, as a dedicated patristiblogger, will work my way through the Mysteries of the Rosary offering some comments from the Fathers of the Church."

  • The Anchoress goes Stargazing with Merton:
    Spent some time stargazing last night, when I couldn’t sleep. No telescope, just the naked eye, a dark neighborhood and a willingness to wonder, and a bit of Thomas Merton, and it’s stayed with me all day - the sight of the stars, the early, wise writings of a monk. . . .
  • The Ressourcement Movement: Historical Context, by Michael Deem, guest-blogging on Cynthia Nielsen's Per Caritatem. Michael earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville and his Master of Arts in Historical Theology at Saint Louis University. He maintains two blogs: TheoPhenomenon (academic) and Evangelical Catholicism (personal), and plans to earn a Ph.D. in theology.

  • Michael Liccione on Magisterium and Private Judgment - from Pontifications:
    One of the great blessings of Pontifications has been the articles and numerous comments (2,162 of them, to be exact) of Dr Michael Liccione. Reading Mike’s contributions has been a true theological education for me.

    One of Mike’s favorite topics is ecclesial authority. I have read through his comments and copied into a pdf document those that address magisterium and private judgment. Even though separated from the thread context, I think you will find them enlightening.

  • In celebration of her feast day on October 15, Teresa Polk (Blog By The Sea) blogs a post "About St. Teresa of Avila":
    It is [long] for several reasons, the most obvious ones being that she is my favorite saint and my namesake. In addition to those, I had more that I wanted to say because of recent biographies that overemphasize her feminism and minimize the massive support that she had from many men during her lifetime. Another is a news report about a movie being made that overemphasizes her sex appeal, suggesting that the men who helped her were responding to her sexuality. Hopefully, in responding to those characterizations of her life, I have not overcompensated by overemphasizing something else. In any event, it is my view of my favorite saint.
    Carl Olson (Insight Scoop) blogs about the upcoming cinematic Assault on Saint Teresa of Avila, to which Teresa's post is a refreshing antidote.

  • "Without a Doubt" - The Way of the Fathers introduces us to Thomas the Apostle, "the man who did for the orient what Peter and Paul did for the occident."

  • The Art of Confession Rorate-Caeli provides a translation of an article by French Dominican Father Chery, O.P. Father Henri.

  • Catholic Psychology 101, by Patrick Morris. Friends of La Nef, on a topic that to my knowledge is little-discussed in Catholic blogland:
    Psychology is one of those topics that is often maligned in religious circles. I think that we as traditionalist Catholics are especially prone to bash psychology. A lot of this stems from the fact that there is, admittedly, a lot of bad psychology out there. Those of us who have taken a college or even high-school level psychology course know that there is a lot of the bad mixed in with what may be good.

    So, why have I as a Catholic writer decided to write on the topic of Psychology? . . .

  • Amy Welborn has a question:
    If one wanted to read a critical, objective examination of Islam's origins and the origins of the Koran, where would one go?

In Politics . . .

  • I've read and very much appreciated Fouad Ajami's Dream Palace of the Arabs. His new book, The Foreigner's Gift (Free Press, 2006), looks to be an equally illuminating look at the complexities of religious factions in pre/post-Saddam Iraq. Richard Nadler reviews for the Daily Dispatch:
    Ajami has produced less a history of Operation Iraqi Freedom than a psychological portrait of the cultures involved. America’s attempt to “defy gravity” – to establish a functioning democracy in the heart of the Arab world – has encountered three hard cultural facts: Sunni rejection, Kurdish acceptance, and Shi’ite reticence. Ajami clarifies each attitude through interviews, biographical portraits, and historical review.
  • Rednecks, White Power, and Blue States - Deep Thought takes on liberal prejudice and Southern stereotypes.

  • Is there blood on his hands? - The Case Against Kofi Annan Times UK Oct. 1, 2006:
    Srebrenica is rarely mentioned nowadays in Annan’s offices on the 38th floor of the UN secretariat building in New York. He steps down in December after a decade as secretary-general. His retirement will be marked by plaudits. But behind the honorifics and the accolades lies a darker story: of incompetence, mismanagement and worse. Annan was the head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) between March 1993 and December 1996. The Srebrenica massacre of up to 8,000 men and boys and the slaughter of 800,000 people in Rwanda happened on his watch. In Bosnia and Rwanda, UN officials directed peacekeepers to stand back from the killing, their concern apparently to guard the UN’s status as a neutral observer. This was a shock to those who believed the UN was there to help them. . . .
    On a related note, from last year: Implosion: The Collapse of the United Nations, by Mary Jo Anderson. Crisis magazine, Oct 6, 2005.

On a lighter note . . .

  • Depressing, yet intriguingly cool -- Maps of War - Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history? Pretty much everyone. Egyptians, Turks, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Greeks, Persians, Europeans...the list goes on. Who will control the Middle East today? That is a much bigger question. See 5,000 years of history in 90 seconds.
  • Rocco Palmo - probably the first member of "St. Blog's Parish' to be profiled on NPR's All Things Considered -- see Young Catholic Blogger Makes Waves, by Rachel Martin. Sept. 11, 2006.
  • Beer blessing:
    Bene+dic, Domine, creaturam istam cerevisae, quam ex adipe frumenti producere dignatus es: ut sit remedium salutare humano generi: et praesta per invocationem nominis tui sancti, ut, quicumque ex ea biberint, sanitatem corporis, et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen

    Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, that Thou hast been pleased to bring forth from the sweetness of the grain: that it might be a salutary remedy for the human race: and grant by the invocation of Thy holy name, that, whosoever drinks of it may obtain health of body and a sure safeguard for the soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Translation by Fr. Ephraem Chifley, O.P. Courtesy of Michael Novak / First Things.

  • Avert Thine Eyes? Check out this provocative -- no pun intended -- post from DarwinCatholic on modesty:
    I've always been annoyed, as a man, by this line of argument -- and not primarily because I don't want to give up the occasional sight of a well-formed shoulder blade or clavicle. Rather, it annoys me to hear other men claim that we are, as a sex, so completely controlled by our baser instincts that upon seeing a women in a spaghetti strap dress, we cannot help but to wallow in a desire to seize her roughly and have our way with her.

    This isn't just a "I can hold my liquor so leave me alone and let me drink" kind of reaction. Rather, there is a certain kind of crassness, a debasement of all that is beautiful in the pursuit of avoiding lust, to which I believe many of us who are religious are prone to be tempted.

  • Jeff Miller (Curt Jester) links to an amusing piece by Cardinal Arinze on Liturgical Dance:
    I saw in one place -- I will not tell you where -- where they staged a dance during Mass, and that dance was offensive. It broke the rules of moral theology and modesty. Those who arranged it -- they should have had their heads washed with a bucket of holy water!

  • "You fixed the earth on its foundation, never to be moved. . . ." - From NASA, The Blue Marble" - the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date.

  • Pius XII Gone Wild!!!, Fumare:
    Recently released documents and photos from the Vatican archives shed new light on the Pontificate of Pius XII. The wartime pope often known for his stern countenance and regal bearing apparently had a wild side! For many years thought to be a hindrance for his cause for canonization, the Vatican jealously guarded these details lest the outside world know the "real" Papa Pacelli. Now for the first time, the world will know about the Pontiff's "secrets." Among the recent revelations are the following . . .


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.
  • Last year Fr. Joseph O'Leary wrote an essay called The Rise of the Neocaths, a scathing indicting myself, Jeff Miller, Jimmy Akin, Oswald Sobrino, Earl E. Appleby, Amy Welborn, Arthur Tsui [Angry Twins], "and at the youngest (and perhaps most genuine) end of the spectrum, Apolonio Latar III." (Not everybody hated it -- according to Rocco Palmo: “It's basically what I deal with every day. But still a noteworthy, substantive synthesis.”). You can find a roundup of responses and a link to the good father's original rant in The Perplexing Sayings of Fr. O'Leary August 2, 2005.

    Fr. O'Leary recently revisited the essay in The Decline of the Neocaths -- charging that "The aggrieved, narcissistic tone of these responses [to his essay] showed me that I had overestimated the strength of the neocaths; in reality they were a vulnerable, noisy minority, already showing signs of decline."

    The essay itself is a comical piece of work, given as how it commits the same error as the original essay of lumping together a diverse group of Catholics under the "neo-Cath" label (which I still haven't figured out). Catholic Pillow Fight has already provided a response, along with Michael Liccione, Jr. in The Fall and Rise of the NeoCaths Sacramentum Vitae July 29, 2006.

  • This post hearkens back to April 2006, but I hadn't read it until now (hey, it's my roundup): Rick Gaillardetz on Eucharist, by Bill Cork (Built on a Rock):
    Some time ago I came across Richard Gaillardetz's pamphlet, Broken & Poured Out: A Spirituality for Eucharistic Ministers (Ligouri, 2002). In this pamphlet, Gaillardetz comes across as a Calvinist, arguing that Christ's presence in the Eucharist is "real," but "spiritual," and disparaging Eucharistic devotion and reverence for the Eucharistic elements.

    Let's look at his argumentation. . . .

    (Via Jim at Unapologetic Catholic, who offers his own reflections on being an extraordinary Eucharistic minister.

  • Benedict and the Lavender Mafia - The Pertinacious Papist discusses a rather controversial editorial (what else is new?) by Dale Vree of the New Oxford Review: "Is the Catholic Church Going the Way of the Episcopal Church?", responding to some concerns expressed by readers (myself included) concerning the tone in responding to the Holy Father.

  • "Hilaire Belloc remains for many an undiscovered gem. Yet for those who have the good fortune to have discovered him he is one of the finest jewels in the twentieth century's literary crown," says Joseph Pearce, Catholic literary biographer author of Old Thunder: A Life of Hillaire Belloc. To that end, Matt Anger has assembled for our benefit The Eyewitness: An Anthology of Short Stories by Hillaire Belloc:
    Written with an eyewitness quality, these previously uncollected short stories of Hilaire Belloc transport us to realms of the past and realms of fantasy. In Belloc's tales we meet Yakoub who is in Jerusalem at the time of Christ's passion and resurrection; we witness the noble death of Charles I and the ignoble demise of Henry IV; we encounter two men of the French Revolution -- one a champion of the Republic, the other a victim; we visit the battlefields of Hastings and Blanchetaque. In Belloc's fantasies we meet with an Ogre, an Angel, an Honest Man, a Captain of Industry, the Devil, and pay a visit to Fairyland. In his fables we are warned against the hazards of authorship, the sin of avarice, the pride of intellect, and the vanity of politics. This unique volume contains 25 short stories and fables -- many appearing in print for the first time since Belloc’s death over fifty years ago.
  • Matthew Fish weighs the question Are the Jesuits Damned? (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita July 28, 2006):
    I find that the Jesuits have become a wonderful scapegoat for people, as it is far easier to blame the Order than actually live in charity and solidarity in the Church, praying and fasting for the Body.

    Those interested in actually fruitful criticism and judgment, and concerned with making a prudent and sensible evaluation of what is in fact the case, seem to be quite rare in these discussions. . . .

  • The American Papist relays the news that the The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is now online!. You can find it here free for your perusal, although if you wish to purchase a copy you can do so here.

    With this in mind, one might ask -- along with Cacciaguida -- just why do the US Catholic Bishops feel it necessary to publish their own version of the catechism?

  • "I Don't Feel Spiritual", by Fr. Jim Tucker (Dappled Things):
    Fairly often in confession or conversations with people, I hear variations on the following theme: "I don't feel very spiritual these days," or, "I don't feel as if I have much faith." Right off the bat, the use of the F-word should raise a red flag because, of course, there is no one-to-one correspondence between one's spiritual state and the way one feels. . . .
    Fr. Tucker provides six helpful ways to counter the spiritual "blues."

  • The Magisterium: A complex and diverse reality: When we say the Church teaches something, we are speaking about the teaching of the Magisterium, by Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D. SperoForum Thursday, July 20, 2006.

  • Al Kimel at Pontifications has a very good, substantial three-part series on Repentance and Forgiveness, addressing in part the question: What is the crucial difference between (good) Catholic and (good) Protestant preaching of repentance?

  • The Cranky Conservative expounds on the proper use of the phrase "Liberal Catholic":
    Generally speaking, it is those of us on the right that use it to disparage our leftist comrades who support a myriad of causes - namely abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and the like. But lately the term is thrown back at us - as for instance happened to me yesterday (scroll about 1/3 of the way down) when I defended the heretical position that Israel had every justification to respond in the manner it has to recent attacks against it. . . .
  • Patrick O'Hannigan (The Paragraph Farmer) finds himself Questioning Thich Nhat Hanh:
    I have learned much from a student of Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author, and teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. Thanks to that student and a few others, including my darling wife, I understand more about the concept of "mindfulness," and more about Zen Buddhism, than I did in my wastrel youth. I also appreciate Hanh's well-deserved reputation as an apologist for Buddhism and a bridge-builder between Buddhism and Christianity.

    All that needs to be said up front, because some of the things Hanh writes in his 1995 book, Living Buddha, Living Christ convinced me that he misunderstands at least part of the Christian critique of Buddhism. . . .

  • Dissecting Anti-isms, by Josef Joffe. The American Interest [adapted from Überpower: The Imperial Temptation of America, forthcoming from W. W. Norton & Co.]:
    [What is] anti-Americanism, as distinct from "anti-Bushism" or anger against a real object like General Motors? How does one distinguish "policy anti-Americanism", which is what most of the well-known polls measure, from the real thing? What is the difference between anti-ism and criticism, between the rabid and the reasonable?
    Joff is author of Uberpower: The Imperial Temptation of America (W. W. Norton. June, 2006).

  • Are Your Reading That For a Class?, by Justin Dziowgo - "I was sitting in the breakroom at work one day reading A History of Philosophy Volume II: Medieval Philosophy, From Augustine to Duns Scotus by Frederick Copleston, S.J., when I was approached by a woman asking me what I was reading. . . ."

  • A Catholic Mystery Writer - Austin Ruse finds that "The Best English-Language Vatican Reporter -- John Allen Jr. of the National Catholic Reporter -- is Hard to Read." Touchstone Special Report: July/August 2006.

  • June 22, 2006 was the feast day of St. Thomas More. Jay Anderson (Pro Ecclesia, Pro Familia, Pro Civitate) provides an excellent roundup and tribute to "A Man For All Seasons": St. Thomas More.

On a Lighter Note . . .

  • "Deadheads Are What Liberals Claim to Be But Aren't": An Interview with Ann Coulter, by Taylor Hill. June 23, 2006. Ann Coulter, DeadHead? -- Who would have figured? (Speaking of which, Fr. James V. Schall reviews Ann Coulter's Godless: The Church of Liberalism.

  • Two Giants Aun Estamos Vivo June 20, 2006:
    Two titans in their respective fields, who were paying the cost to be the boss.

    Here is a rare circumstance in which two of my abiding interests happen to intersect – The Blues and The Church. This is a photo of Blues legend B. B. King handing over his guitar “Lucille” to Pope John Paul II in 1997. . . .

  • A confessional out of Dilbert? - The Curt Jester takes on modern-day "confessionals" with a discussion of "reconciliation rooms" and contemporary "face-to-face confession" in the combox.

  • Goodbye, Blog Christianity Today "Books and Culture" May/June 2006. Alan Jacobs believes that "The friend of information but the enemy of thought." To illustrate his conclusion, you'll read this article and proceed to forget about it by the next "here and there" roundup of provacative posts. ;-)

  • NoEndButVictory has news of a New Weapon in the "War on Terror", focusing on the U.S. military's "unconventional approach to fighting terrorism in the Horn of Africa."

  • Colbert Redux - The subject of Stephen Colbert's Catholic faith and upbringing -- as subtly and not-so-subtly expressed on his television show The Colbert Report has been the subject of increasing conversation. Amy Welborn provides a roundup:
    . . . The question with Colbert, as unpacked in the Althouse discussions is...what are the layers of this persona? Colbert is, by his own admission, a practicing Catholic who's open and happy about his faith. The Colbert character - a play on Bill O'Reilly and other cable-type talk show guys - is a little different - a blowhard, arrogant know-it-all who at once makes us a little hostile but at the same time speaks our mind for us."
  • Darwin's tortoise dead at 176. Charles Darwin's tortoise, Harriet, has died at the Australia Zoo near Brisbane. Darwin brought Harriet -- thought to be the world's oldest living tortoise -- from the Galapagos Islands in 1835. Wow!

If that's not enough to keep you occupied, here's the latest Catholic Carnival. Until next time . . .


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.

  • Spirit of Dissent - from Cosmos, Liturgy, Sex on the "spirit of Protestantism in the Catholic Church" that Brother Roger of Taizé criticized, and thoughts on Brother Rodger's own relationship with Rome by way of Ken, a friend who has spent some time with the community:
    . . . Ken visited the Taizé community and has been interested in it since beginning his journey to the Church. He found it an inspiration that so many Protestant ministers who joined the community ended up, sooner or later, in full communion with Rome. That, by the way, is what he believes that Brother Roger did as well. Ken is confident that Brother Roger was Catholic when he visited him in 2003. In any case, based upon his interest in Taizé he caught something that I had missed in reading the Zenit article discussing Brother Roger’s letter to the Pope. In the letter, Zenit reports that Brother Roger wrote of his desire "to come as soon as possible to Rome to meet with me [B16] and to tell me that 'our Community of Taizé wants to go forward in communion with the Holy Father . . . '" Ken sees in this the logical fulfillment of Taizé’s mission, in other words, the community’s full communion with the Catholic Church. . . .

  • Stephen Riddle (Flos Carmeli) on The New Life and Detachment:
    A few weeks back I wrote an entry on Jesus's proclamation, "Behold, I make all things new." All things--everything--that includes us. How can we be new if we are still doing everything we did before? How can we be new if we are completely ingrained in habit? How can Jesus recreate each one of us if we steadfastly refuse to be recreated?

    Detachment is our part of the work (aided by grace, of course) that complements the power of Jesus's resurrection. He raises us to new life, and we cooperate with the help of the graces of God by allowing ourselves to be changed. . . .

  • David Michael Phelps on the necessity for clarity in our definitions:
    We must be extremely careful about our language when we debate one another on any issue. So often, an argument is won, lost, or irredeemably confused because of a definition. If truths can be unlocked in careful definition, so can lies be reified in careless ones. . . .

    In a society of immense wealth, are those people in poverty who can afford only a fraction of the luxuries that others can afford? Can we so easily hijack a word, complete with its connotations? If you think that words cannot be so easily hijacked, so easily skewed, or so simply misunderstood as to serious impact culture and life, I submit the terms ‘liberal’ and ‘human rights’ for your consideration.

    See also: "Watch Your Language" Acton Inst. Powerblog Thursday, June 30. 2005.

  • A Religion the New York Times Can Love, by Donna Steichen - on the "minimalist world religion" of Fr. Hans Kung. (This article originally appeared in the June 2005 issue of The Catholic World Report).

  • Young adult ministry can be hazardous to your health - Karen Marie Knapp profiles Blessed Karl Leisner, youth minister, whose memorial was on August 12.

  • "Cardinal Avery Dulles once said to a Lutheran theologian, "We'll only know what your 'yes' means when you say 'no' to someone." - Bill Cork, who has a great post demonstrating how Dulles' admonishment applies to the ELCA and Eucharistic sharing.

  • First, Do No Harm - Disputations on moral scandal and a recognition of our limitations:
    If moral scandal -- the turning away from Christ caused by another's sin -- that comes with the tabloid scandal -- public reports of the sins of a Christian apostle -- is motivated by hatred of falsehood, anyone involved in preaching the Gospel ought to make clear that he himself recognizes he is to some extent a false sign of Christ, that for example he is perfectly capable of fathering a child. The apostle necessarily signifies Christ; his choice is whether to be an imperfect sign or a false sign.

    It's often remarked that, the holier a person becomes, the more aware he is of his own sins. Less often is it remarked that we are aware of how aware the saints are of their own sins. We know this because they have told others of their awareness, and telling others serves not only to instruct us on how sinful we must be, but to make of the saints' lives a true, because admittedly imperfect, sign of Christ.

  • Faith and Certainty - Clairity at Cahiers Peguy shares some insights from Fr. Giussani:
    In the section of Why the Church? about "The Cultural Value of a New Concept of Truth," Giussani compares the Hebrew concept to that of the Greek world. For the Hebrew, God is the rock. It is He himself who is certain for us, rather than just our idea of Him. Yahweh - I am who am. His Being is the pivotal point for our own, and is the only thing that will anchor us in the world, which is full of everything uncertain from capricious circumstance to the unsteady roiling of our own psyches. . . .
    (Read on).

  • "Same old, same old", says Genevieve Kineke (Feminine Genius), providing critical commmentary on the ordination of Susan Ringer to the deaconate in the United Catholic Church (which is not valid, licit, or recognised in any way by Rome).

  • Lane Core posts a tribute to Steven Vincent, a fallen journalist and blogger murdered by terrorists.

  • This has been mentioned in countless blogs by now, but I'd like to praise Nick Cannon for his song and music video "Can I Live?". If you haven't seen it, check it out. As one reader commented on his forum: "You have no idea the power of that song, it's power is bigger than you are, it's bigger than the music industry itself. It will continue to take on a life of it's own. Let it be so." This has great potential to change minds and hearts and save the lives of unborn children, and that it is being played on the cesspool of MTV is nothing short of amazing.

  • Stephen Bogner (Catholicism, Holiness and Spirituality on learning to forgive from the heart.

  • Tuesday, August 9th, was the feast day of Edith Stein -. Teresa Polk (Blog by the Sea commmemorates the occasion with a series of readings on the Search to Know God's Will; Grace, Faith and the Church and The Cross and Freedom.

  • "Last week I received phone calls from two of the most powerful, mysterious, and controversial institutions in the world: Opus Dei and The New York Times. And I lived to talk about it," says Carl Olson, writing about his amusing encounter with the New York Times.

  • Is the Adoremus Society opposed to "reform of the reform"? -- Back in July my father aka The Pertinacious Papist posted a letter he had sent to Adoremus Bulletin regarding some ambiguities in the Adoremus Society's mission regarding liturgical renewal:
    There are three liturgical movements in Roman Catholicism today: (1) the Tridentine rite, which continues under an officially encouraged indult, (2) the reform of that rite called for by Vatican II, and (3) the Novus Ordo, which incorporates numerous innovations never envisioned by the Council, and which Pope Benedict has called a "rupture" with liturgical tradition. . . . If Adoremus is devoted to the renewal of the Sacred Liturgy "according to the genuine intention of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council," wouldn't you be committed primarily to #2 above? Yet over the last decade, you have been occupied almost exclusively with abuses within the Novus Ordo, which, even with its abuses eliminated, incorporates numerous innovations never mandated by the Council. Doesn't this suggest that Adoremus is more concerned with #3 than with #2?

    As he noted, he recieved a rather curt and ambiguous response from the editors of the publication. Now, he posts a letter he recieved from Rev. Thomas M. Kocik, author of Reform of the Reform? A Liturgical Debate (San Diego: Ignatius Press, 2003). Adoremus' response towards the book (or marked lack thereof) appears to corroborate Dr. Blosser's suspicions regarding the misplaced emphasis of the organization. Curiouser and curiouser . . .

  • The incomparable William Luse:
    I'm the kind of Christian who can hold his booze . . . You must make the most of your inheritance, of the talents you've been given. If you don't, there's a penalty. The Bible says. So my liver is a capacious and efficiently ordered mechanism; I feel obligated to see that it lives up to its potential. . . .

    The other kind of Christian I am is one who would never force his tastes and habits on another. For example, if in my presence you wanted to play the part of the pseudo-virtuous teetotaller (pregnant women excepted), by my guest. Suffer for the greater glory. If you don't like alcohol, that's fine with me; I'm sorry for your loss and I'll still love you while drinking enough for the both of us. For further example, if I were in charge of the Mass, which I'm obviously not, I'd never shove my stinking lousy taste in music down your earpipes. If you wanted a moment to pray in silence before Mass, I'd find a way to squeeze it in. If you thought the jungle thunder of drums and the endless chatter and wail of human voices did not provide the appropriately reverent ambience for keeping our focus on the sacrifice at the free-standing table, I'd find a way to tone it down.

  • Domenico Bettinelli asks What has happened to WorldNetDaily?, responding to a disturbing resurgence in anti-Catholic bigotry in a popular dispenser of conservative news and commentary. (By the way, A hearty congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Domenico Bettinelli on their marrage!)

  • Dave Pierre @ Newsbusters notes that the mainstream media is silent after Planned Parenthood Golden Gate (PPGG) posted an animated video that displayed gross acts of brutality against those who wish to advance the messages of life and abstinence. In addition to its violence, the video also extended its own degree of tastelessness and disrespect."

    The video was removed from PPGG's site around midday, Tue. Aug. 9, 2005), but the silence of the secular media over its' appearance is deafening. Imagine the outcry if, say, the National Right to Life posted a cartoon subtly advocating violence against abortionists? (Via Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam).

  • Gen X Revert has finally updated his very impressive Catholic Blog Directory, in which he integrates a list of Catholic bloggers outside the U.S.A.. According to Gen X, "There are several lists of Catholic Blogs out there, all with some good qualities. St. Blog's needs to get together and create a master list that is totally up to date and can be updated by many people." Those who maintain similar lists take note.

  • Rick Morrow (Being in the Form of a Quest), on Pieper and the Health Promoting "Fear of the Lord":I often talk with Catholics who have been infected with a strange malady. They have come to fear the fear of the Lord. They seem to avoid it in all of the conversations, and, especially, their liturgical expression. If asked, they will suggest that fear and guilt are outmoded in modern religion.Morrow offers a good quote from Joseph Peiper as a remedy to such confusion one may have about "fearing the Lord."

  • But God's First - a new blog by Stephen Dillard, founder of the excellent group-blog Southern Appeal.

On a lighter note . . .

  • Jimmy Akin has developed with much thought and care a theology of the living dead. As in "Night of the Living . . ."; "Dawn of the . . . ", or most recently, "Land of the . . .". -- You know, zombies. Just in case you had any moral reservations about blowing one away in the rare event of a zombie attack.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.

  • Are you a liberal? Conservative? Neoconservative? -- David at Cosmos, Liturgy, Sex discusses the problem with labels, one of the consequences being "it exacerbates the problem that both conservatives and liberals can unthinkingly presume that their _________ (political, economic, fill in the blank) philosophy is foundational and that the Church must some how fit into it. This leads to an over self-identification with their respective ideologies and the tendency to view Church teaching through these ideological lenses." I wholeheartedly agree. Back in May 2005, Fr. James Schall noted the merits of being neither liberal nor conservative:

    There is, in the end, something beyond liberal and conservative. That is the truth of things according to which we have a criterion that is not constantly changing between liberal and conservative and, in the meantime, one that means nothing but what we want it to mean. Thus if we claim we are "neither liberal nor conservative," we announce that there are criteria that exist outside of our narrow way of thinking, categories that better define for us what we are and ought to be.

    Back in 2003 a host of St. Blog's Parish members, including Amy Welborn, Fr. Jim Tucker, Peter Nixon and Gregory Popcack had a interesting conversation about this very issue, with good comments pro/con. See "Qualifying Labels and a Hermeneutic of Suspicion (Against The Grain July 14, 2003).

  • At the CL (Communion & Liberation) group blog Cahiers Peguy, Jack asks Is Democracy Compatible With The Gospel?; Santiago responds in the affirmative, with a subsequent post on defending the American Revolution.

  • Taking his cue from a posting on relativism and programming languages by the parody-blog Musum Pontificalis (the fictional musings of Pope Benedict XVI), Jeff Miller offers his own witty reflections on The Moral Code. (I admit when I first came across Musum Pontificalis I figured it was another creative writing project from the Curt Jester, the brains behind Thoroughly Modern Mary and Moloch Now. Apparently the credit belongs to Rick Lugari @ Unam Sanctum.

  • A Catholic View of Eastern Orthodoxy, by Fr. Aidan Nichols:

    First, I shall discuss why Catholics should not only show some ecumenical concern for Orthodoxy but also treat the Orthodox as their privileged or primary ecumenical partner.

    Secondly, I shall ask why the schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches occurred, focussing as it finally did on four historic 'dividing issues'.

    Thirdly, I shall evaluate the present state of Catholic-Orthodox relations, with particular reference to the problem of the 'Uniate' or Eastern Catholic churches.

    Fourthly and finally, having been highly sympathetic and complimentary to the Orthodox throughout, I shall end by saying what, in my judgment, is wrong with the Orthodox Church and why it needs Catholicism for (humanly speaking) its own salvation. . . .

    (Via Seraphim @ Blogodoxy).

  • On Stocking Groceries . . . The Catholic Way, by Jamie Blosser @ Ad Limina Apostolorum, responding to an inquiry at Disputations.

  • On Children's Literature and Pope Benedict XVI -- Stephen Riddle has a good reflection on child-rearing and children's literature that touches briefly on last month's Harry Potter Controversy.

  • From, an interesting interview with Dr. Thomas Woods, Jr., "paleoconservative", (radical?) traditionalist, contributing editor of the American Conservative and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History (Dec. 2004), The Church and the Market : A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy (Mar. 2005 -- containing "the only chapter-length critique of distributism of which I am aware "), and most recently How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization.

    Woods is a fascinating personality and certainly goes against the grain: vehemently critical of neo-Catholics, neo-conservatives, the "politically leftist" Houston Catholic Worker AND the Claremont Review ("Lincoln nationalists with a vengeance") . . . he's also younger than the Gen X Revert. =)

  • Carl Olson @ Insight Scoop asks: What Gospel is Joel Osteen preaching??

    Osteen is a talented motivational speaker who happens to have started out as a pastor but was never comfortable with the more demanding elements of Christian faith, theology, and practice. Which is why, in large part, he has been so successful: there are a lot of people out there who want to be motivated, be told nice things, and hear inspiring stories, but without much fuss about discipleship, death to self, taking up the Cross, suffering for Christ, and so forth.

    I've come across this guy channel-surfing sometimes. He's quite the character.

  • The Pattern of Christian Truth, by Timothy George (First Things 154 (June/July 2005): 21-25). A powerful address by the Dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, executive editor of Christianity Today, and part of First Things' editorial board -- on how to achieve an "integration of faith and learning" at a Christian institution.

  • Tom @ Disputations asks a pertinent question:

    Since bloggers choose what to write about, we are basically free to choose our own antagonists. Which means we're also free to choose not to have antagonists. So why do we choose to have antagonists?

    I think there's something in the "free exchange of ideas" and the variety of opinions, judgements and positions that abound within the Catholic faith that a certain amount of friction or conflict is unavoidable. This doesn't necessarily mean that one has to go out "spoiling for a fight" -- even where ideas collide, I've always been of the firm belief that civility and simple respect should prevail. (Unapologetic Catholic seems to agree):

    My down to earth response is that it is good to exchange ideas and identify disagreements when it’s done in a “disputations” style. I can always learn a lot from different viewpoints. That’s why I read blogs whose point of view is different from my own. In that sense, “antagonism” can be a virtue. However, “antagonism” can be carried to extremes by judgmentalism, name calling and unjustified righteousness.

  • Enbrethiliel @ Sancta Sanctis compiles a list of Greatest Catholic Quotes of All Time (Almost).

  • John Stamps of the Orthodox Conciliar Press Blog has a long post on suggested summer reading and his experiences reading the short stories of Flannery O'Connor.

  • Is "Word Alone" an Evangelical possibility?, by Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina. (This address was given as the Banquet Address to the Ninth Annual Aquinas/Luther Conference At Lenior-Rhyne College; Hickory, North Carolina 26 October 2001 -- my alma mater).

  • In Great Deeds Something Abides - Loy Mershimer blogs on Divine Intervention at the Battle of Gettysburg: "Divine intervention, not only in the battle, but in the exact preparation of persons and events for the battle. Phenomenal and amazing. I now have a list of over 14 specific things, that, if any single one of them would have been different, the outcome of the battle would have been different" -- one of which is the story of Col. Joshua L. Chamberlain and the 20th Maine . . .

  • The Grand Old Story, by Fr. Al Kimel @ Pontifications:

    With all the recent debates that have been occuring on Pontifications about the filioque, absolute divine simplicity, and Augustine versus Maximus the Confessor, it’s easy to forget the purpose of the Trinitarian dogma. The dogma was not intended to provide a philosophical explanation of the inner life of God, as if we Christians had nothing better to do than to speculate endlessly upon matters that are infinitely beyond us. . . .

  • The New Liturgical Movement -- a group blog "dedicated to promoting the New Liturgical Movement called for by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI in all the sacred arts and in the unity of legitimate liturgical diversity" -- featuring Shawn Tribe (CIEL Canada, Writer), Fr. Peter Stravinskas (Author, editor of The Catholic Response), Fr. Thomas Kocik (Author of Reform of the Reform?), Sandra Miesel (Medievalist, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax), Brian MacMichael (Graduate Student in Liturgical Studies, UND), Matt Alderman (Architecture Student, UND), Joel Pidel (Architecture Student) AND Paul C.K. Lew (Dominican Novice, UK). Now THAT's what I'd call collective blogging!

On a lighter note . . .


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.

  • Who is the greatest theologian of all time? -- In answer to a recent survey run by the, the Protestant theologian John Calvin won out (over Augustine, Karl Barth, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Aquinas and Friedrich Schleiermacher -- yes, in that order). However, the Christian Post reveals that "The poll was conducted in May and was based on responses from 400 web viewers," making for a rather limited panel, in my opinion.

    Needless to say, the results are being contested -- and the question reconsidered -- by Blogodoxy (favoring Origen), Ad Limina (seconding Blogodoxy's choice of Origen), and Pontifications, as yet undecided but Fr. Al "would put Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth, and Martin Luther (in that order) above John Calvin."

  • Peter Sean Bradley (Lex Communis) reports on a blog controversy over the historicity of the Catholic Church. "The controversy was kicked off by a post at Redstate where various bloggers reviewed Thomas Woods' How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. . . ." -- Peter provides a good roundup of the discussion, including contributions by Josh Trevino and Jimmy Akin, as well as his own perspective on the matter.

  • Justin Nickelsen, a friend and reader of David Jone's la nouvelle théologie -- has been inspired to start his own blog: RRCT: Retrieval and Renewal in Catholic Thought. One of his opening posts is on the "journalistic maturing" of John Allen, Jr., reporter for the National Catholic Reporter and the well-read column "Word from Rome".

  • On la nouvelle théologie, a flurry of comments and a minor dustup btw/ Stephen Hand and myself, but may be useful reading in that I clarify exactly why I do not believe the Zwicks (of the Houston Catholic Worker) are "exactly on point" in their treatment of Michael Novak, but rather indulge in a misreading, and perhaps even a deliberate misrepresentation, of his position on issues in Catholic social doctrine.

    Presently I'm reading and enjoying Novak's Free Persons and the Common Good, a very rich and educational study in understanding the term from the Catholic perspective as well as Alexis de Tocqueville and the writings of our founding fathers. Novak wrote his book in tribute to Jacques Maritain and the 40th anniversary of Maritain's influential essay The Person and the Common Good.

  • My brother Jamie-the-Patristics-Scholar has just updated his Saint Augustine's Library -- "[his] attempt to compile a comprehensive 'library' of St. Augustine's works, their translations, and commentaries which are available online." A very impressive compilation of links and resources. Check it out.

  • Jonathan Bennnett, author of Ancient & Future Catholic Musings blogs on the Catholic practice of offering it up.

  • Mystery Achievement on the need to Purge the Poison of Anti-Semitism:

    For the poison of anti-Semitism to be purged from the Church, we Catholics must come to terms with the modern state of Israel. I'm not talking about the diplomatic sphere, either--as important as was the Holy See's establishment of relations with Israel was. I am talking about the theological sphere.

    One of the things that Benedict talked about in his meeting wtih Jewish leaders in Rome was the need to come to grips with the theological and moral dimensions of the Holocaust. And speaking of same, a good place to start would be to examine the roots of the "Palestinian" movement . . .

  • Benedictines Come Home: An Ancient Order Returns to Norcia:

    It may seem strange that the church built over the house of the man who founded Western monasticism would be devoid of Benedictines, but that was indeed the case. When Napoleon conquered Italy in the first decade of the 19th century, he outlawed monasteries and expelled the Benedictines from Norcia. The church was given over to the diocese and the monastery remained empty.

    Then, during the great Jubilee of 2000, the year of conversions and miracles, the tide turned. A tiny group of American Benedictines led by Father Cassian Folsom came to Rome looking to return to their monastic roots. Their paths crossed with the archbishop of Spoleto and Norcia, Riccardo Fontana, who invited the little group to return to the home of their founder. . . .

  • Can't afford a pilgrimage to Rome but always wanted to hear Papa B16's general audiences? -- According to Zenit News Service, Podcasting Has Arrived. "Vatican Radio broadcasts in more than 40 languages to every country via all long, medium and short waves and, for the last four years, has enabled its listeners to tune in via the Web, at -- recently, they ventured into the technological trend of podcasting, enabling Catholics to plug in with their IPods and portable MP3 players.

  • Worries about Resurgent Devotions, Fr. Jim Tucker (Dappled Things) responds to an article ("Let’s not be hopelessly devoted to devotions") by U.S. Catholic associate editor Bryan Cones, criticizing the prevalence of popular piety among young Catholics.

  • L'Espresso interviews Pope Benedict XVI's spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls, "From doctor to journalist. Love. Chastity. A passion for dance. Opus Dei. And twenty-one years spent beside two popes."

  • Swimming the Tiber, or how I came to love infallibility, by Fr. Kimel of Pontifications. (See also The Church of the Body and Blood of Christ - an account of his reception into full communion with the Catholic Church at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greenville, South Carolina:

    . . . here is no uncertainty in the Catholic Church. The sacramental intention of the Church and her liturgy is clear. This is a Church that truly believes and confesses and prays the Real Presence.

    The Body of Christ was given to me to eat. The Blood of Christ was given to me to drink. At that moment I knew that I now belong to the Church of the Body and Blood of Christ.

    Also, The Pontificator makes his First Confession.

  • Dawn Eden (The Dawn Patrol) has an ongoing account of her conversion to the Catholic faith:

    C.S. Lewis wrote that those who find themselves in heaven will look back and realize they had been there since birth (and so too with those in hell). Likewise, when I look back to my earliest understanding of God, I see an affinity with Catholic faith. My faith journey now seems like a natural progress, brought to its greatest fruition with the understanding and acceptance of the Roman Catholic Church as the church that Jesus founded and has chosen as His means of salvation. . . .

    Part One, Two and Three.

  • Evangelization 101: A Short Guide to Sharing the Gospel, by Carl Olson. Ignatius Insight: If asked to complete this sentence, "The entire mission of the Church, then, is concentrated and manifested in      ", how many Catholics would finish it with the word "evangelization"?

  • Excessive Catholicism would like to say "We Told You So":

    That is what the pro-life movement can collectively say, now that infanticide is being rationalized in a major medical journal and the nation's paper of record. Yes, on March 10, 2005, the New England Journal of Medicine printed an article by some Dutch physicians that sets out some ethical and procedural guidelines for killing newborns that have severe disabilities. . . .

  • Matt C. Abott, columnist for RenewAmerica, posts an exchange btw/ gay Catholic James Clark and James Likoudis of Catholics United for the Faith, on homosexuality and the Church's inclusive call to sainthood.

  • Father Down (Waiting in Joyful Hope) has a good post on sexual intersubjectivity written in response to a student's inquiry:

    So why can't the object of the intersubjective union be pleasure? It most certainly can be, and for a sexual union to be a truly intersubjective union means that each spouse should be attentive to the pleasurable elements of sex, not for themselves, but for their spouse. "Wham bam thank you ma'am" has no place in Catholic discipleship regarding sex, even if it is open to procreation. But what I think you are really asking is, "Why does *each and every* sexual union have to be intersubjective, i.e. open-to-the-total-gift-of-the-others-fertility-and-the-gift-of-God's-blessing?" . . .

    That's the question posed by his student. Read his post for the answer.

On a lighter note

  • Earlier this month my little bro' Nathan completed the qualifications for Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist Designator. He was "pinned" by the MCPN (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy) who is the highest ranking enlisted man in the entire Navy.

    The Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist designator is awarded when a Sailor passes the respective qualifications involving a broad knowledge of all the weapons systems and main components of all the departments on a ship.

    The most recent papist of the Blosser Family converts, Nathan is actively involved with religious life aboard his shop, assisting his priest at Mass and spreading the gospel to his fellow sailors. (Via Dr. Blosser aka. The Pertinacious Papist, who posts a photo of the "pinning").


From the new blog Against The Grain

About This Blog

Against The Grain is the personal blog of Christopher Blosser - web designer and all around maintenance guy for the original Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club (Now Pope Benedict XVI).

Pope Benedict XVI Fan Club
Pope John Paul II
Benedict In America
Catholic Church and Liberal Tradition
Henri de Lubac
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Cardinal Avery Dulles

Catholic Just War Tradition
Catholic Friends of Israel
Pope Pius XII
Fr. John Courtney Murray
Walker Percy




Blogroll Me!

[Powered by Blogger]

Locations of visitors to this page

Ignatius Press - Catholic Books

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>