Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hayley Westenra, "River"


The lives of those who are being consideration for being canonized are examined for the display of heroic virtue. But virtue is not the same for all. The virtue of a porter saint is not the same as the virtue of St. Pius V, for example, because the role or function each plays within Creation is different. It seems to me that virtue must be judged accordingly, even if charity is the form of all virtue. Virtues are related to function; the obligations, duties and works are different according to the role one plays.

It seems true that there is greater media exposure to the popes now than before, so that we can scrutinize their actions when they are public. Nonetheless, this is a reason why popes must be even more careful and avoid scandalizing the faithful.

Can the Holy Father be faulted for not doing something about the Curia, as opposed to an individual bishop? Can the Roman Curia and the Pope be judged according to the same criteria by which we judge secular governments and organizations? What is "effective leadership" for a pope? Can Romanitas and the desire to "save face" for subordinates be an excuse for inaction or slow action? Do ecclesiastical honors get in the way of reform as a result? It seems difficult to "demote" a bishop in the Curia. Are there inherent problems with the structure of the Curia and the selection of office-holders that warrant it being done away with completely? It seems that some sort of apparatus is necessary for the Pope to do his work as the first among the bishops of the entire world taken as a whole.

Rorate Caeli

Thursday, December 17, 2009

John Allen on the Church of the Future

Rod Dreher gets even more excited about John Allen's book, after reading a review by Philip Jenkins. Is apostolic Christianity fated to become more Pentecostal, as Jenkins seems to think?

I remember MW telling me his parents were members of the Charismatic movement; he read Ronald Knox's Enthusiasm, and was impressed by it. Many have cited the book as a good response to Charismatics and others who claim that we have entered a new age of the Holy Spirit. With the breakdown among Catholics of traditional forms of worship and their replacement by services that are more sentimentalized, Catholics have not been protected from being moved by spiritualities that place an exaggerated value on feelings. Leon Podles rightly talks about the feminization of the Church (and of worship), and Rod Dreher is aware of the case Mr. Podles makes. Yet he is also persuaded by Jenkins and Allen. What does he not make the connection between the two? In the global South feminism may not be as strong, but the lack of proper catechesis and liturgical instruction can lead to the same problems with respect to worship and spirituality that exist in the United States and the post-industrial North.

One may be able to predict what Church membership will be like based on demographics alone, but one cannot predict what orthodox Christian life will be. Journalists or social "scientists" can only study and report on what is a supernatural phenomenon from a limited viewpoint that cannot penetrate beyond appearances, without any distinction between what is authentic and what is not. They can look at trends, populations, groups, cultures, and other objects of sociology, but there is something missing which impairs their judgment and they are in danger of overreaching in their conclusions. Unless they study with the eyes of faith, they cannot differentiate between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, orthopraxy and heteropraxy.

As for the place of ecclesial movements, I remain unconvinced that they point the way to the future of the Church. For me, they are, at best, a temporary solution to the spiritual problems afflicting the Church.
Hawaiian Libertarian: Children of the Soy
John Robb, SUPER EMPOWERMENT: Hack a Predator Drone

Another illustration of why mecha and armored powered suits should never become a reality?
Fr. Z: Benedict XVI may approve John Paul II as “Venerable” on 19 Dec

Many traditionalists have criticized the adulation of Pope John Paul II by many Catholics. I have to say that I still sympathize with them. While I don't fault him for not micromanaging the Church, can he be held responsible for the poor selection of bishops here and elsewhere? The lack of reform in the Curia? And what of his actions as pope, in his dealings with secular governments and members of other religions? Or his actions as bishop of Rome? There is a vicar appointed to handle the archdiocese of Rome, but can the pope be held responsible for the state of affairs there?
Dr. Helen: PJTV: Amy Alkon on Rude People
Tom Hibbs reviews Up in the Air.

Hailed by critics as an Oscar contender, Up in the Air features fine performances, a witty script, and a story line that manages to avoid predictability of tone and resolution. Yet the film is ultimately a disappointment. Perpetual motion, the filmmakers want to say, is only a partial remedy for the ills of human life, as it reflects only a partial truth. Striving to say something more, something significant about its main character, about the tensions between independence and dependence, about the importance of family and friends, the film fails to transcend clichés.

That's too bad.
Zenit: Pope Modifies Canon Law on Marriage, Deacons

I haven't seen anyone post a copy of the actual motu proprio yet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More on William Lind and FCF -- Washington Times, Gilmore takes helm of Free Congress.

Lay Spirituality

Dom Columba Marmion and Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. have both been credited with reminding Catholics that all are called to sanctity, not just priests and religious, and foreshadowing Vatican's II teaching on the Universal Call to Holiness; do they get as much attention as St. Josemaria Escrivá in this regard? It seems that Dom Columba Marmion will eventually be raised to the altars; what of Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange?

What sort of prayer life is ideal for the lay person? Is there one prayer regimen that is applicable to all, and what role does the liturgy of the hours play within it? Someone may have very limited opportunity to pray, because of the demands of life or constraints on time that have been imposed on him. God can compensate for this. But this is not the same thing as saying that Catholics on their own perogative should choose a way of life that is so active that the contemplative aspect is virtually eliminated. Setting aside time for prayer, even if it is limited, is necessary for beginners. Those who are deprived of this opportunity by others are suffering, and there may even be injustice involved.

A Saint in Heaven
Reginald Garrigou
The Ordinary Path to Holiness by R. Thomas Richard, PhD
The Ordinary Path to Holiness
Jordan Aumann OP: Spiritual Theology in the Thomistic Tradition
The Spearhead: Gloria Steinem: 65 More Years of Feminist Revolution
‘Generation Limits’: An Open Letter to Teenagers
Dan Allen, Energy Bulletin
As a peak-oil/climate-aware high school teacher, I try to tell the kids the truth about what's coming. I don’t see the point in lying to them about our possible futures. And I think maybe it’s time for everybody to just start telling the truth. …And then we need to get down to work. …But first the truth.
NLM: Mass at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome

Another sign that Opus Dei is becoming more interested in the renewal of the liturgy?
TJF, Christmas Wars, etc. I

I was thinking of the Charlie Brown Christmas Special last night, since it was being aired. In 20 years, will Peanuts be criticized for not being multicultural enough?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

God and overshoot

To the claim that we have surpassed the carrying capacity of the earth, there are some possible responses:

1. There is no such thing as a carrying capacity. How many would really deny the existence of such a limit?

2. There is such a thing as a carrying capacity, but we have been able to increase it through advances and technology, and these increases can be

a. maintained indefinitely.
b. increased indefinitely.

These are the believers in infinite human progress; they think that human beings will come up with a solution to any problem that presents itself in the future.

3. There is such a thing as a carrying capacity, and we've been able to increase it but this can only last for so long before it falls. When that happens, we've reached population overshoot.

4. A few believe that even now we've exceeded the earth's carrying capacity.

If 3 is the case, then if the worse happens and famine and stravation occur, the accusations against God will once again be prominent. "How could a good God let this happen?" "Why would God allow the creation of new human beings only for them to starve to death?" And so on...

At the very least it can be said that the evil that is death from starvation does not outweigh the good that is existence or the supernatural good of eternal life that is offered to each one of us. God could allow for overshoot as a punishment of human hubris, while at the same time giving to us the opportunity to receive a good higher than this mortal life. But how many of those who are carnally-minded can understand this?

Population, the elephant in the room
Peak Oil, Carrying Capacity and Overshoot

Monday, December 14, 2009

I discovered Fr. Jacques Philippe while looking through Scepter's website. He is a member of the Community of the Beatitudes. A brief description of the group.

Related Links:
Community of the Beatitudes - Communauté des Béatitudes
Community of the Beatitudes Denver
Community of the Beatitudes - March 2002 Issue of St. Anthony Messenger

Stephen Hand is saying good-bye to blogging. Workstation3 has been removed.
Fr. Z: Women and veils for church revisited
Fr. Foster: 'Don't waste a moment being upset' (via Fr. Finigan)
William Lind is retiring from the Free Congress Foundation? Why? His last On War entry. (We hope this cessation is only temporary.)

How many Farmville players would be willing to do some of their own food production in real life?
NLM: A Great News Source for the Anglican Ordinariates and Fr. Phillips Reports on the Anglicanorum Coetibus Information Day at Our Lady of the Atonement
Kevin Gutzman, The Vision of the Founders: Dead and Gone

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking Backward: Economics and the Cult of Yesterday by Jonathan Rowe
GDP and productivity don't measure what's really going on in the economy—or in people's lives. Jonathan Rowe on measuring what matters. (via Carolyn Baker)
GRITtv: Interview with Chris Hedges

Part 2

Book TV: After Wards: Christ Hedges, "Empire of Illusion"

Michael Novak explains CST

Three Precisions: Social Justice
Three Precisions: Common Good
Three Precisions: Personal Liberty

These probably merit some sort of response.

Thoughts about The Road...

even though I haven't seen it yet.

I am losing the desire to watch The Road in the theater. Sarge and I were going to watch it, but it wasn't showing in NC when I was visiting him. I read the wiki article for the novel when it was first announced that it was being turned into the movie, and yesterday I read the movie spoiler.
The story is supposed to be about a father's love for his son -- still, I remember reading something about the movie, and it mentioned that McCarthy had seen the movie and wished that God had been mentioned at least once.

It may be that the movie accurately depicts the horror of what men can be reduced to when they fail to acquire virtue. However, can there be a God in that sort of world?
As far as I know, the novel and the movie is not intended to be a work of Theodicy. But wouldn't someone at least ask the question of whether God exists when confronted by so much death and suffering? How many people would give into despair and actively seek death in such a situation? It would almost seem to be a rational response to the perceived absence of God.

If people were to die on such a massive scale, would Christians not think that it is indication that the Second Coming is at hand? If we believe that God permits evil to happen for the sake of bringing about the good, are we also justified in presuming that His mercy would otherwise prevent something so terrible from occurring? Do we who have benefitted from cheap energy mistake the works of God's mercy for the inevitable effects of human progress?

Cormac McCarthy Society
Author warns of pageantry's perils
Chris Hedges, who wrote 'Empire of Illusion,' examines America's identity crisis in an age of consumerism and spectacle.

(via Carolyn Baker)

'Vocational America'

"Education in the United States has become vocational. ... Many of the state universities, community colleges and online for-profit universities — that are growing faster than any other university sentiment — have no use for the Humanities, literature, history, philosophy, classics, art. Why? Because the Humanities ask the kind of broad questions of meaning that those systems that prize above all else vocational workers do not want to ask.

"The problem with our vocational system is that it measures and rewards a very narrow kind of intelligence, a kind of analytical intelligence to create legions of systems managers — people who have a drone-like ability to work for very long hours, and (have) a kind of penchant or capacity for manipulation, but don't know how to question assumptions or structures."

This is the criticism made by Gatto and others of American public education at the primary and secondary levels.

Related links:
Transcript: Chris Hedges, “Empire of Illusion”, 21 July 2009
Truthdig - Chris Hedges, Columnist
Addicted to Nonsense
Zenit: Theological Institute Looking Forward

International Theological Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family
Are enough women buying tickets to Twilight and Sex and the City to justify the continuation of both franchises? What a pathetic state of affairs.

(via AICN)

SJP is looking her age in Did You Meet the Morgans? Does Hugh Grant look less attractive now to his female admirers?
The Economist, Democracy in America: Six questions for Daniel Larison (via Eunomia)