Truth is important ... Pseudo-knowledge
Last night my wife told my son that she would not give him Egg Nog in his sippy cup until he had eaten his pizza. My son responded by bouncing up and down while protesting in a slightly muffled whine. Of course his response led to the logical conclusion that he did NOT eat his pizza. The problem was he already ate the pizza and I was a witness to this fact. In this case a failure to communicate led to a misrepresentation of the facts that could have had dire consequences for my son. He would not get his Egg Nog! I point this out because of the essay that I read yesterday on the date of Christmas from Mark Shea (linked below). Something similar happened there but the result of the exchange was far more extensive.
So how did it become "common knowledge" that Christmas is really just a warmed-over pagan festival? It happened through a series of ironies capped by yet another example of pseudo-knowledge.
The first irony is the reaction of the Christians of the late Roman Empire to Aurelian's attempt to co-opt Christmas and make it a pagan day of celebration. Instead of fighting with Sun-worshipers who were trying to rip off their feast, early Christians simply "re-appropriate[d] the pagan 'Birth of the Unconquered Sun' to refer, on the occasion of the birth of Christ, to the rising of the 'Sun of Salvation' or the 'Sun of Justice.'" Mark that, because we shall return to it.
The next irony happens in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the myth of "pagan Christmas" really took hold.
Paul Ernst Jablonski, a German Protestant, wished to show that the celebration of Christ's birth on December 25th was one of the many "paganizations" of Christianity that the Church of the fourth century embraced, as one of many "degenerations" that transformed pure apostolic Christianity into Catholicism. Dom Jean Hardouin, a Benedictine monk, tried to show that the Catholic Church adopted pagan festivals for Christian purposes without paganizing the Gospel.
In the Julian calendar, created in 45 B.C. under Julius Caesar, the winter solstice fell on December 25th, and it therefore seemed obvious to Jablonski and Hardouin that the day must have had a pagan significance before it had a Christian one.
Note that: Jablonski began, not with evidence, but with an assumption that the winter solstice must have had a pagan significance before it had a Christian one. In other words, Jablonski simply noticed a correspondence between the Julian calendar's solstice and Christmas and assumed the pagan feast must have been the prior one even though he had no proof for his theory. Meanwhile, Hardouin, rather than challenge that assumption, simply went along with it. And it's upon these two authors that the entire myth about Christmas being a warmed-over pagan Sun-worshiping feast is based.
The same thing holds true for another "fact" of history that I have mentioned on this blog before. Luther most likley never nailed anything to the castle Church in Wittenberg.
It was like a slap in the face when the catholic Luther researcher, Erwin Iserloh, asserted in 1961 that the nailing of the theses to the door of the Castle Church belonged to the realm of legends.Everybody knows that the date for Christmas was determined by Christian adoption of a Roman pagan "feast of the Sun"Everybody knows that Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle Church
The facts are convincing, the first written account of the event comes from Philipp Melanchthon who could not have been an eye-witness to the event since he was not called to Wittenberg University as a professor until 1518.
Also, this account appeared for the first time after Luther's death and he never commented on 'nailing anything up' in 1517.
Announcements of upcoming disputes were supposedly regularly hung on the door of the Castle Church. But, openly hanging the theses without waiting for a reaction from the Bishops could have been seen as a clear provocation of his superiors. Luther would not have done that because he only wanted to clear up some misunderstandings.
It is also worth noting, that there was no open discussion of the theses in Wittenberg and that no original printing of the theses could be found.
I am interested in other examples if you have them.
Using Firefox 3 ... its WAY faster
and has some cool features but some of my favorite Add-Ons do not work ... Take a look if you dare.
From Catholic Dads
"Honor and Respect My Wife, loving her as Christ loves his church and faithfully demonstrating my lifelong commitment to providing for her needs."
Excellent ... I have always thought that if more men read the part of Ephesians 5 directed at them their wives would be more prone to pay attention to the part directed at them. Unfortunately too many people want to read the part directed at their spouse.
The date of Christmas and its so called pagan origins
This whole entry at Mark Shea's from last December is fascinating. Apparently I missed it last year but fortunately Jeff Miller
relinked it this year ... Everybody knows that Christmas is really just a warmed-over Celebration of the Feast of the Sol Invictus
Guess what? Everybody's wrong!
The short version is Christians had been trying to determine the date of the birth of Christ long before it was officially tagged a pagan feast "instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274".
...an important reference in the "Chronicle" written by Hippolytus of Rome three decades before Aurelian launched his festival. Hippolytus said Jesus' birth "took place eight days before the kalends of January," that is, Dec. 25.
The source of the pseudo-knowledge everybody knows? Catholic-Protestant apologetics. A Protestant trying to show the pagan origins of Catholic distinctives makes an assertion and rather than attacking the assertion itself as false, the Catholic apologist defends the assertion as if it were a fact.
Followup to my use of deadly force post
Auto Owner Gets 10 Years For Killing Would-Be Tire Thief
And rightfully so. The use of deadly force was not necessary. The thief was fleeing the scene when he was shot. See my original post Protection of property with deadly force
for more details on when this type of force is appropriate to use.
B16 apparently now foe of environmentalists
Pope launches surprise attack on climate change prophets of doom
It is important for assessments in this regard to be carried out prudently, in dialogue with experts and people of wisdom, uninhibited by ideological pressure to draw hasty conclusions, and above all with the aim of reaching agreement on a model of sustainable development capable of ensuring the well-being of all while respecting environmental balances.
How is this not sensible and why is it considered an attack? I will never get why environmentalists to get all bent out of shape when asked to simply be prudent
regarding the changes they ask governments to make. I am asked to be prudent in my life choices regarding my use of natural resources. It only makes sense that changes are phased in such that the PEOPLE those changes affect are considered FIRST.
Of course the Popes comments could easily be aimed at things like the rash suggestion of a "baby tax" mentioned in the previous post.
Totally off topic ... I am also following What can we learn from the megachurches?
over in Rich's blog. I may comment about this later ...
Baby tax needed to save planet, claims expert
Goodness, I actually thought of this a few days ago and dismissed it in my mind as something society would never stoop to. Then again, the idea from some is simply that is isn't fair that they have to pay taxes while I pay LESS given the same income. For them it has nothing to do with the environment.
Decent societies know that the future depends on ... well ... a future
. With birth rates approaching numbers too low to support an economy for decades on end what we really ought to be doing in encouraging increased family sizes and let God deal with the outcome of faithfulness, not shortsighted "experts". You never know, we might populate Mars :) --hint, hint, necessity breeds invention--
Of course that propaganda won't work on our children. We have four kids (6,4,3,10 mos) and they love each other and continue to hint that more siblings would be a welcome thing.
Yeah, a "just 2" requirement will go over like a lead balloon to them.
HT Closed Cafeteria
Extraordinary conversion - hell comes at us in obvious and sometimes unexpected places
Originally posted May 21, 2005
Tonight I read an incredible conversion story
. Frighteningly, I recognized something that happened to this woman that also happened to my wife and I, but in the most unlikely of places. First, this is what she described
but as the conversation went on I began experiencing something I did not expect---- in fact it was something that I had never experienced before nor have I since.
As the conversation went around the table I began to feel this heaviness around me--- The best way to describe it is to say it was like all the light and air were being sucked out of the room --- it was a very heavy oppressive feeling like as if gravity had just gotten five times stronger and the sun ten times dimmer. I was feeling very uncomfortable and was desperately looking for an excuse to leave when my pager went off giving me the perfect out. As I said goodbye one of the women chuckled and said as she pointed at me “don’t think we’ll be hearing from you again” --- during the conversation I had unconsciously turned my body toward the exit and away from the table--- My body language was pretty obvious--- I did not want to be part of the group. I mumbled something about letting “D” know my decision” and quickly excused myself.
On the drive home it was difficult to shake the feeling of oppressiveness that had lingered with me--- I was baffled by what happened—and in fact I had no clue what it was that had happened. It wasn’t until years later when discussing the experience with my spiritual director that it began to make sense. You see at the time I didn’t believe that there was an evil being or force per se--- humans in my mind were the cause of evil--- so---I felt no fear dabbling in the things I was dabbling in---to me Satan was just a mythical creature designed to scare Christian folks---I was too sophisticated to believe in such nonsense and so because of this dangerous and erroneous attitude it seemed that I had been allowed to experience the presence evil---- not that I believe any one person there was evil --- but that because of our openness to the occult I believe evil, just like water, will always seek the path of least resistance---Still whatever my beliefs after that experience I knew I didn’t want to see those people again--- and I didn’t. In a few days I had relegated it to just a weird experience --- negative energy--- and let it go.
This description sent chills down my spine because my wife and I experienced almost exactly the same thing at an Engaged Encounter weekend in spring of 2000. Let me set the stage. My wife and I were the only non-Catholics in the Engaged Encounter. At the time we were Episcopalian (well I wasn't yet). The priest who was going to marry us suggested that we make an Engaged Encounter weekend in the Lafayette diocese of the Catholic Church. We thought it was odd, but we went anyway. Overall, we had a very positive weekend. Engaged Encounter can be a very awesome experience but it depends on the angle that the presenters go at. Our couples focused on very important aspects of marriage and dared to include topics on contraception and cohabiation. Both of those sins eat away at marriage and are a prime underlying cause for future divorce (i.e. lack of trust and division of sex from marraige increasing the risk of behaviors leading to adultery) ... Anyway, that weekend there was a time when all of the couples sat in the round and a couple of questions were asked. The questions were about cohabitation and sex before marriage. The responses included"I'll call you a liar if you say that you are not sleeping together before you get married"
"After all, you wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, I don't see why getting married is any different"
"We would be living together but my future father-in-law threatened to kill me if that happened""The everyday difficulties of life require us to live in sin"
and the gem of the evening. "We are all sinning and know it but we know Jesus is going to forgive us anyway so what is the point"
During the airing of grievances against the Church, my wife and I distinctly feel a deep darkness fill the room. It felt like a giant python filling every gap in the room, constricting the air out of our lungs. It was clear to me that this spirit was one of destruction. I felt like there were people laughing at us for being the different ones. I was stunned and didn't even know how to handle myself. I was being called a liar. My beliefs were being ridiculed.
Fortunately the priest and the couples running the evening DID know how to handle it and they did combat such error with charity and with the teachings of the Catholic Church. I still felt more like we needed an exorcist in the room. All but two couples were living together out of 23 and not a single one seemed to show any remorse over the matter.
Afterwards my wife and I stayed and talked to the young couple. This was their first Engaged Encounter weekend and clearly they were shaken up by what had taken place. The wife of the couple was in tears and was comforted by the fact that we stayed to talk to them. She mentioned that at their EE weekend nobody would have admitted to living together even if that was the case. It was taboo and even those who were doing it felt bad about it. She openly wondered what had happened in six years to make such behavior commonplace and acceptable. The attitude was one of total defiance. My guess is that we witnessed an unusual weekend. At least I pray that is the case.
That weekend likely prolonged our return to the Catholic Church by at least a year, if not two. I placed the blame for such ignorance on the Church rather than on the individuals present that weekend. I did come to terms with it and thus I will blog on the people in the pew next to me at a later time.
Kudos to Happy Catholic
for highlighting this on her blog.
Many apologies for the light posting. My laptop has some issues making it difficult to transport so that gives me WAY less time to actually post things. When I HAVE brought my computer with me it was usually to deal with something work related.
I hope to get things cleared up soon. I expect posting to be light until after the new year. (watch me put up 50 posts between now and the end of the year) ...
Early Texas Tech Lead Proves Insurmountable for Bulldogs
Early Texas Tech Lead Proves Insurmountable for Bulldogs
OK, I hate to type this as this is one of the most painful Bulldog losses I can remember since the days when I was one of the chosen few watching a 2 win team in the TAC. Still, this headline bothers me. There is no way to sugar coat this. "Early Lead" was 22-12. Then Tech failed to score a single basket for nearly HALF A GAME (19 minutes to end the first and start the second half). Texas Tech went on a 42-1 run in that time frame.
I don't think the early lead had much to do with it unless you consider "early" the first 3/4 of the game.
Protection of property with deadly force
Still no charges against Pasadena man who killed suspected burglars
(you can hear the 911 call through this link as well)
A man who told police he planned to kill two men he believed were burglarizing his neighbor’s house shot them only when they came on his property and he felt threatened, his attorney said Monday.
Lambright’s description is partly at odds with the 911 call in which a dispatcher urges Horn to stay inside his house and not risk lives.
“Don’t go outside the house,” the 911 operator pleaded. “You’re gonna get youself shot if you go outside that house with a gun. I don’t care what you think.”
“You wanna make a bet?” Horn answered. “I’m gonna kill ‘em.”
After the shooting, he redialed 911.
“I had no choice,” he said, his voice shaking. “They came in
the front yard with me, man. I had no choice. Get somebody over here quick.”
We were discussing this case on a forum I frequent. Initially I argued:
To me the very clear right thing to do was stay in the house and let the police deal with it. Even if they had gotten away the chances of them getting caught is pretty good.
In the end, the cops may have done the same thing but I would be willing to bet they have experience dealing with a situation like that where you or I is going to lose it pretty fast. Also there is a distinct difference between ...
1. "Hey you guys are stealing" and shooting them
2. "Uh oh, they are armed and attacking me" and shooting them
I think the 911 call paints a picture much closer to 1 but that is one tiny piece of the pie. The forensic evidence should make it VERY clear what happened.
If he was not a "legitimate public authority" he really had no business outside his home. Nor do I think killing them was proportionate to the crime that was being committed at the time which is a sentence he rendered when he walked out that door to protect his neighbors property with a gun. The situation was almost certain to turn ugly. I am sure the two men he encountered felt threatened when they saw him walk out with a shotgun. Like the 911 operator said "no property is worth killing someone over". Finally, if he was not "defending his life" he was wrong. Period. I do not think there is any way to defend that (possible) action from the teaching of the Church (and of course as wrong as I am willing to be, the onus is on others to justify killing these men, not me) ... In the call at the end you get the impression he felt threatened so I'll grant him the benefit of the doubt which I feel he rightly deserves.
2264 Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow
2266 Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense.
CCC 5th commandment
However my initial response needed some modification ... Aquinas wrote
On the contrary, It is written (Exodus 22:2): "If a thief be found breaking into a house or undermining it, and be wounded so as to die; he that slew him shall not be guilty of blood." Now it is much more lawful to defend one's life than one's house. Therefore neither is a man guilty of murder if he kill another in defense of his own life.
I answer that, Nothing hinders one act from having two effects, only one of which is intended, while the other is beside the intention. Now moral acts take their species according to what is intended, and not according to what is beside the intention, since this is accidental as explained above (43, 3; I-II, 12, 1). Accordingly the act of self-defense may have two effects, one is the saving of one's life, the other is the slaying of the aggressor. Therefore this act, since one's intention is to save one's own life, is not unlawful, seeing that it is natural to everything to keep itself in "being," as far as possible. And yet, though proceeding from a good intention, an act may be rendered unlawful, if it be out of proportion to the end. Wherefore if a man, in self-defense, uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repel force with moderation his defense will be lawful, because according to the jurists [Cap. Significasti, De Homicid. volunt. vel casual.], "it is lawful to repel force by force, provided one does not exceed the limits of a blameless defense." Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense in order to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one's own life than of another's. But as it is unlawful to take a man's life, except for the public authority acting for the common good, as stated above (3), it is not lawful for a man to intend killing a man in self-defense, except for such as have public authority, who while intending to kill a man in self-defense, refer this to the public good, as in the case of a soldier fighting against the foe, and in the minister of the judge struggling with robbers, although even these sin if they be moved by private animosity.
Context Article 7. Whether it is lawful to kill a man in self-defense?
Shooting to kill has the intended consequence of killing when hurting would have sufficed. Fright would be preferable to injury which would be preferable to death. Catholic Encyclopedia also expounds on the topic ...
II. Defense of Property
It is lawful to defend one's material goods even at the expense of the aggressor's life; for neither justice nor charity require that one should sacrifice possessions, even though they be of less value than human life in order to preserve the life of a man who wantonly exposes it in order to do an injustice. Here, however,we must recall the principle that in extreme necessity every man has a right to appropriate whatever is necessary to preserve his life. The starving man who snatches a meal is not an unjust aggressor; consequently it is not lawful to use force against him. Again, the property which may be defended at the expense of the aggressor's life must be of considerable value; for charity forbids that in order to protect ourselves from a trivial loss we should deprive a neighbor of his life. Thefts or robberies, however, of small values are to be considered not in their individual, but in their cumulative, aspect. A thief may be slain in the act of carrying away stolen property provided that it cannot be recovered from him by any other means; if, for example, he can be made to abandon his spoil through fright, then it would not be lawful to shoot him. If he has carried the goods away to safety he cannot then be killed in order to recover them; but the owner may endeavor to take them from him, and if the thief resists with violence he may be killed in self-defense.
Source 1914 CEOf course I still strongly disagree with his actions on the following basis ...
I feel he showed a lack of prudence (a cardinal virtue) in this case by simply walking out the door. It is unlikely that his neighbor was not carrying some form of homeowners insurance. In our society today I feel this devalues nearly every possession we own below what I would label "of considerable value". It would make far more sense centuries ago where someone could lose their livelihood in a theft. In fact, the short snippets of moral theology I have read on the matter gave examples of considerable value to be things like "your arm" or "your chastity". I would think strong weight must be given to this point. Second, the "other means" to prevent the thieves from leaving with the stolen items did not appear to take place here. He mentioned he was going to kill them and very little time occurred between him putting the phone down and saying "You're dead". I understand we are dealing with thieves possibly armed with guns and that certainly would need to be considered (which is further why he shouldn't have put himself in a position to have to make a life and death decision). Third, no matter how creepy those guys were some weight needs to be given to the possible motive of the thieves. "The starving man who snatches a meal is not an unjust aggressor". It is very well possible (although not necessarily likely) that is the case here. In any case`the outcome tragically produces a widow and an orphan as opposed to stolen items and an insurance claim.
This might be the point of legitimate disagreement between Catholics. I am interested in more input if anyone has some.
You're either FOR the terrorists or AGAINST the terrorists
I just love how people can take a difficult decision, like the one to go to Iraq and boil months if not years of data input, debate and difficult moral calculus down to a simple slogan.
Its a wonder we have wars, after all you are either RIGHT like me (and thus the height of GOOD) or not me ... and thus evil. I think its time I burn your mailbox down .... terrorist.
I guess the "logical" response to this is
You're either FOR killing or you're AGAINST killing.
Reprogramming method of stem cells a step in the right direction
Vatican approves growing stem cells from skin: report
I am cautiously optimistic. Never underestimate the need of evil to twist the facts to let us know that embryonic stem cells are a BETTER way than this reprogramming method. "They're cheaper" will be the first battle cry provided they can attach some arbitrary high expense to the PROCESS of reprogramming. Sooner or later they will come up with some toned down term to associate the "killing babies" alternative: Something like "envigorated stem cells" vs. "reprogrammed stem cells" ... You know, kind of like "death with dignity" has come to be the preferred term for the process of eliminating those undesirables who are feasting on our hard earned Social Security dollars.
In the mind of the world, the end justifies the means.
OK ... you might call me a pessimist after that blurb .... at least this morning.
Ron Paul talk ... or why not Rudy part II
Astonished, Yet at Home!
and Mark Shea
both reference Joe Healy's Evaluation of 2008 Presidential Candidates Against US Bishops' Criteria
The purpose is to quantify stances of presidential candidates that line up with the bishops criteria. The final analysis (see the points awarded below) is as follows ...
1. Ron Paul (R): 99 points
2. Alan Keyes (R): 70 (not on the ballot in all states)
3. Mike Huckabee (R): 69
4. Duncan Hunter (R): 50
5. Tom Tancredo (R): 48
6. John McCain (R): 36
7. Chris Dodd (D): 25
8. Dennis Kucinich (D): 22
9. Mitt Romney (R): 10
10. Joe Biden (D): 5
11. Fred Thompson (R): 4
12. Hillary Clinton (D): (-11)
13. John Edwards (D): (-13)
14. Bill Richardson (D): (-15)
15. Barack Obama (D): (-15)
16. Rudy Giuliani (R): (-28)
The bishops produced a massive tome regarding Faithful Citizenship
during this upcoming voting year. As a man who has a hard enough time putting 5 lines on my blog occasionally it is a daunting task to get through it. I hope to in the next year or so. Still, the points are summarized in Healy's analysis.
The "intrinsically evil" (10 points each) issues were: * Protect all unborn (no exceptions; unborn protected under the Constitution) * Oppose Euthanasia * Oppose Research that Results in Embyonic Destruction * Oppose all Human Cloning * Oppose targeting of Noncombatants (Use of nuclear weapons or landmines) * Marriage is One Man, One Woman; Oppose "domestic partnerships" * Oppose Use of Torture * Oppose Racism
The other issues (1 point each) were: * Oppose the Death Penalty * Support a "Responsible Transition" in Iraq & Afghanistan * Work to avoid war and promote peace while dealing with terrorism * Ethical treatment for undocumented immigrants & family reunification * Temporary worker program with clear path to permanent residency for immigrants * Secure borders from illegal immigration * Support responsible use of media * Affordable health care * Health policies allow for conscientious objection * No contraceptive or abortive mandates in health programs * Choice in education * Support for religious schools * Support fair wages & programs to decrease unemployment * Support affordable housing * Welfare should reduce poverty & dependence * Support good social security program * Support sustainable agriculture & food security for all * Good environmental policies that respect God's creation * Support faith-based groups * Work to alleviate global poverty * Promote religious liberty and other basic human rights worldwide * Peaceful resolution in Israel, support Palestinian State & Lebanon's sovereignty
This seems to give some good support to the Catholics for Ron Paul
movement. What I find even more interesting
in this simple exercise is that it demonstrates quite clearly how a level headed orthodox Catholic could REALLY contemplate the idea of voting for Hilary over Rudy Giuliani. It isn't enough to say that she is THAT BAD when the Republicans actually have the capacity to put forth a worse candidate. The R behind his name isn't going to automatically get my votes -- as Astonished Yet at Home so hilariously labelled, I am not a follower of Jesus W. Christ, R-Nazareth
-- I am a follower of Christ and His Church. The response to "you can't seriously expect me to vote for Hilary" might be "Umm, yes" -- Vote for Hilary as the lesser evil or join the new movement "pro-lifers for being quantified in the third party vote" this election. Then wait for 4 years until the Republicans put up a candidate worth flipping the switch for.
Of course some of the more important "1 point" issues in the above post, as a parent, revolve around freedom issues regarding the decision to educate your children. Ron Paul is right up my alley on this. Rich Leonardi posts a quote from Thomas Woods in A little something called subsidiarity
On education and home schooling, Ron Paul is the clear winner. Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Duncan Hunter all voted for the execrable No Child Left Behind Act, and Governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have both come out in favor of it. Ron Paul – as did the Republican Party itself not so long ago – opposes any federal role in education, which is the responsibility of parents and local communities.
In other words, Ron Paul believes in a little something called subsidiarity, which happens to be a central principle of Catholic social thought. Subsidiarity holds that all social functions should be carried out by the most local unit possible, as opposed to the dehumanizing alternative whereby distant bureaucratic structures are routinely and unthinkingly entrusted with more and more responsibilities for human well-being.
This makes Ron Paul and intriguing candidate at the minimum.
And another Episcopalian bishop to Rome
Oh that wonderous modern music in our liturgy
Why Gregorian Chant is Making a Comeback
The renewed emphasis on chant in liturgy is a call for humility above all else. Musicians are being asked to serve rather than perform.
I brought my children to the cathedral a couple of weeks ago. The music was gorgeous and even included some chant. Humility is certainly the virtue on display from those performing the music. When you compare that to your average mass littered with odd works from the 60's and 70's ... well ... it just doesn't compare. Modern liturgy, especially the music, drudges up the most comical aspects of the 60's and 70's. The problem is, I don't want to be reminded of those decades. The abuse of children in the Church was at its highest. The attitude of free sex was rampant and the clothing was ... lets just not go there (language alert)
. I just can't stop thinking of 70's sitcoms. "The Brady Bunch", "Taxi" and "All in the Family" during mass
For example (example from DCF
Here I Am, Lord (Dan Schutte)
Sing it with me -
Here I Am, Lord
It is I Lord
And I'm bringing up two very lovely girls.
I hope I haven't ruined it for you.
I liked the 80's though. That was my childhood. Still, I would never recommend stacking 30 synthesizers behind the altar an belting out the best in 80's synth pop riffs covered by the latest verbage in fad theology. Its just not right (logistical issues aside). Even as much as I would think that an interesting novelty, I too need humility ... and the sublime lifting towards heaven. That is why I want a return to traditional music. Because I need it as well. Must ... stop ... thinking ... about .... electronic ... mass.
My children want to return to the cathedral regularly. There is something magical to them about it ... and trust me, its not just the donuts after mass.
See also: Sacred music safeguards tradition of the Church and is of greater value than any other art, Pope saysNote: I realize it is an act of humility for me to work through my strong dislike of music in modern liturgy ... At times I used to not receive because liturgical abuse or bad music put me in a state unworthy to receive. I feel I have made great progress here ... but I still yearn for better music.
Pope gets radical and woos the Anglicans, Vatican-Orthodox commision agree on primacy of Pope
A favor from those stopping by
You may not like my taste in music ... BUT
Anyone stopping by, can you scroll down and click on the radio play button under the "Listening to .." section and let me know whether or not it plays for you or if it just sits there?
A simple yes or no in the comments will be sufficient.
Fine line between burdensome and helpful
Originally posted July 21, 2006
I have been drudging through some thoughts upon reading an article recently that was cited by Mark Shea (Shopping for God - Dwelling in a Land of Converts
The opposite tendency, of course, is the more widely noted phenomenon of converts becoming the greatest zealots. Diving into the deep end of the religious pool can be as problematic as skimming the surface, however. William James famously described conversion as “the process, gradual or sudden, by which a self hitherto divided or consciously wrong, inferior, and unhappy becomes unified and consciously right, superior, and happy.” It is a short step from there to triumphalism, and too many converts seem ready to take that step, perhaps in part out of a desire to compensate for their delayed enlightenment by trying to prove that they are purer in their beliefs, more Catholic, one might say, than the pope. This can produce all manner of tragic results, as each day’s news bears witness to.
The more common problem with the zealousness of the converted, I think, is that it is often rooted in a narcissistic desire to be right, which is then camouflaged as a proprietary monopoly on universal truth. One can believe in something that is true without being correct about everything else in one’s life. The humility required by the great religious traditions would never sanction the egotism of identifying one’s personal wishes with the universal truths of the faith. Separating the two is perhaps the greatest spiritual challenge for the deepest religious believers.
Anyway, here goes.
The biggest problem I have seen with people who clearly love the Church is the instant need to tie heavy burdens to men. It gets daunting when people expect perfection from people who are on a journey towards perfection. We aren't there yet. None of us are. It gets to the point of even trying to specify that lifestyle choices (such as homeschooling, breastfeeding, mothers staying at home etc.) are very nearly as un-Catholic to disagree with as the Trinity or Immaculate Conception. I call it "Dogmatizing lifestyle choices". Not everyone is going to immediately convert to Catholicism and shift their lives into perfect accordance with the will of God (or in many cases a perceived will of God). St. Francis De Sales sums this up quite well in his Introduction to the Devout Life
The soul which rises from out of sin to a devout life has been compared to the dawn, which does not banish darkness suddenly, but by degrees. That cure which is gradually effected is always the surest; and spiritual maladies, like those of the body, are wont to come on horseback and express, while they depart slowly and on foot. So that we must needs be brave and patient, my child, in this undertaking. It is a woeful thing to see souls beginning to chafe and grow disheartened because they find themselves still subject to imperfection after having made some attempt at leading a devout life, and well-nigh yielding to the temptation to give up in despair and fall back; but, on the other hand, there is an extreme danger surrounding those souls who, through the opposite temptation, are disposed to imagine themselves purified from all imperfection at the very outset of their purgation; who count themselves as full-grown almost before they are born, and seek to fly before they have wings. Be sure, daughter, that these are in great danger of a relapse through having left their physician too soon. "It is but lost labour to rise up early and late take rest," unless the Lord prosper all we do.
In assisting others along the path of Christian life, we have to remember where we have come from and take great care not to be the type of people who tie heavy burdens, but rather, be those that edify and assist people to discover the deep truths of the faith by the grace and timing that God expects ... Many examples in Scripture and in the lives of the saints can be pointed out to show that Gods timing is more patient than we are. After all, His patience is perfect.
One more entry ... GO DAWGS!!!
Opinionated Catholic is a man of high character. In this world of bandwagon hoppers here we have a man who roots for his alma mater over the team he blogs about the most.
A toast to you ...
And as a believer in miracles (as that is about what it will take to beat LSU) I hope we are rewarded for our faith. Besides, it would be fun to screw up that #2 ranking yet again. :)
In the near future I am going to write a criticism of the Tyranny of Perfectionism OR the Lifestyle Choices as Dogma crowd.
The short version of it is that we have chosen to put our kids in school for the remainder of the year. As it is, there are actually good reasons not to homeschool. If you scroll down a few posts you can see that this was likely a difficult decision for us. It was.
Nevertheless, we have made the right choice for our family.
To some we are failures. For those who hold that opinion, in the immortal words of Johnny Bravo
I'm over it ....
Not hiring people because of their lifestyle choices ....
You Might Lose Your Job If You Smoke or Eat Junk Food
Some people I know are up in arms about this ... I guess I'm a jerk but this doesn't bother me in the least.
Discrimination laws tend to focus on things people have no control over (gender, race etc) and that is as it should be. We should protect the right of people to be employed based on things they have control over. Outside of that the law should leave it alone. If you apply for a job and are rejected because you smoke, you have two choices: quit smoking or find a job with someone who doesn't care that you do (trust me, you'll be happier anyway). Its the right solution. No law to force companies to hire you for your lifestyle choices is necessary.
When you aim to protect persons based on lifestyle choices you are opening a can of worms you don't want opened. Take it to its logical end. If you seek the state to protect lifestyle choices as a form of discrimination then taking it to its logical end (especially these days) might dictate the state in the future can force you to hire practicing pedophiles, polygamists etc (provided "individual rights" continue to creep the way I expect they will). After all what they do at home is their choice right? Never mind that my company, for example, might be a group that fights against those lifestyle choices. Never mind that I see it as a character issue that is indicative of someone who might cause problems on the job. What you are saying here is that individual choices trump corporate rights and that I have to hire people that I feel will willingly undermine my purpose. Where is the freedom in that?
I am by no means saying that the state should mandate something like this. If that were the case I would be as up in arms are you are. We are saying that corporations should have the right to screen individuals they feel are best suited to help them succeed and that includes making judgment calls on their lifestyle choices.
I want to make one final thing very clear. I think its stupid to not hire smokers to shave a few bucks of health care costs. I think there are far better solutions and MOST companies will come down on that side of the fence. You are leaving out too talented a subset of employees to tie yourself to these standards. All this shows me is that some companies feel these lifestyle choices are contrary to their mission (a right I think we should support whether we like it or not) ... Of course it could be that their HR people are woefully ignorant of modern health care possibilities.
So my wife was confronted about homeschooling
... again ... We are thinking about making a little laminated card to hand out with
1. our 15 reasons for homeschooling ... which will bring up the flip side addendum
2. what about socialization ... other reasons will reveal that we're Catholic, which means we need to hand out
3. our reasons for being Catholic ... that will expose that we believe it ... which will bring up contraception requiring we hand out
4. a defense of NFP and why it is not contraception .. which might bring up birth requiring we hand out
5. a short primer on natural birth ...
6. defense of having more than 2.3 kids ...
7. the population myth ...
8. why annulments are not "Catholic divorce"
and on and on and on ... welcome to our lives
I am thinking of making another 15 reasons to homeschool thats a little more humorous ... something like this
1. My kids can bring guns, knives, swords and Chinese throwing stars to school
I can mix those in every 5th laminated card or so. That should get some entertaining looks ...
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Given the propensity of cynical people to dress as a Catholic priest for Halloween ...
Would it be wrong of me to dress as a public school teacher
, Anglican clergy member
or Protestant pastor
I am not sure the AP's big public school abuse expose will get anywhere. They are about three years behind the times
and it didn't go anywhere then.
Its about time we as a society stop pretending this is just a Catholic problem, or that married priests would somehow solve the problem of child abuse in this country. Its also time to stop pretending its just a religious problem as well. Its a SIN problem and for the sake of children something should be done about it.