CS Lewis on Easter

Sunday, April 5, AD 2015

 

Now, as a literary historian, I am perfectly convinced that whatever else the Gospels are they are not legends. I have read a great deal of legend and I am quite clear that they are not the same sort of thing. They are not artistic enough to be legends. From an imaginative point of view they are clumsy, they don’t work up to things properly. Most of the life of Jesus is totally unknown to us, as is the life of anyone else who lived at that time, and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so. Apart from bits of the Platonic dialogues, there are no conversations that I know of in ancient literature like the Fourth Gospel. There is nothing, even in modern literature, until about a hundred years ago when the realistic novel came into existence. In the story of the woman taken in adultery we are told Christ bent down and scribbled in the dust with His finger. Nothing comes of this. No one has ever based any doctrine on it. And the art of inventing little irrelevant details to make an imaginary scene more convincing is a purely modern art. Surely the only explanation of this passage is that the thing really happened? The author put it in simply because he had seen it.

Then we come to the strangest story of all, the story of the Resurrection. It is very necessary to get the story clear. I heard a man say, “The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.” On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ’s case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought. Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost- survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new. The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe. Something new had appeared in the universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into “ghost” and “corpse”. A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?

CS Lewis

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7 Responses to CS Lewis on Easter

  • There is a passage in Acts (17:18), in which St Luke’s sardonic humour at the expense of the Stoic and Epicurian philosophers is often lost or mangled in translation.
    Now, here is the original: Ξένων δαιμονίων δοκεῖ καταγγελεὺς εἶναι• ὅτι τὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ τὴν ἀνάστασιν εὐηγγελίζετο.
    Literally translated, word for word, “Of foreign gods he [St Paul] seems a proclaimer to be because [of] the Jesus and the Resurrection he proclaimed the good news”
    In idiomatic English, “’He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities’—because he was proclaiming the good news of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Resurrection.’”
    In other words, they thought “Jesus” and “Resurrection” [Άνάστασις] were the names of two divinities. Note that, in accordance with common Greek usage, the article is used with both, as it frequently is with proper names: τὸν Ἰησοῦν and τὴν ἀνάστασιν.
    How much of modern preaching is so centred on Jesus and the Resurrection?

  • Anthony Burgess said much the same thing as C.S. Lewis after he wrote the screenplay for the miniseries Jesus of Nazareth. As a professional writer he felt that the account of Peter and John running to the open tomb contained details – in particular the account of John getting there first but not entering, then Peter entering – that no one could have invented. He concluded it was a real event that must have happened exactly as recounted in the Gospel.

  • The First Glorious Mystery, The Resurrection: desire a strong faith. Think of Jesus’ glorious triumph when He rose from the tomb and for forty days appeared to His Blessed Mother and disciples.

    Happy Easter, all! “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” N.B. This was the Huguenots’ battle hymn in the 16th century wars of the Henry’s.

  • . CS is wonderful but he’s incorrect on Christ writing in the dirt as meaningless detail. Christ wrote twice in the dirt in that incident but I’ll talk only of the second time ( the first time is intricate ). In the second writing in the dirt, the accusers then leave the area not as they came in a group but separately and in order of descending age…they….” went out one by one, beginning with the eldest” Jn.8:9…Douay Rheims. The Vulgate is key here as it is also at Cana where it almost alone has Christ’s non rude words ( “woman, what to me and to you”). Christ in the second dirt writing was writing the names in age order…of the woman’s accusers with a hidden sin of theirs hinted at next to the name in the dirt. That’s why stone throwers, proud in their own seeming innocence, were disarmed into silence and into leaving…each leaving alone. Jeremiah has a oblique foretaste of this moment in Jer.17:13 DR…
    ” they that depart from thee, shall be written in the earth: because they have foresaken the Lord…”

  • Thank you bill bannon.
    Interesting explanations.
    Happy Easter to you & yours.

  • Philip,
    You’re welcome….Happy Easter.

  • The theory I heard is that Jesus was doodling something that told the accusers that the reason that only the woman was brought was that they’d all sinned with her before, and were scapegoating her to salve their own feelings of guilt. So “judge not, lest you be judged” was pretty dang blunt.

Catholicism Has Rules?

Wednesday, March 4, AD 2015

 

 

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels for the Church so frequently that I have name him Defender of the Faith, has a look at a “Catholic” who is outraged that teachers who teach at Catholic schools should be required to lead Catholic lives:

You know what would really be nifty, asks Christine Haider-Winnet.  If Catholic bishops would just quit running the lives of every single person in the entire world:

For several years now, we have seen a troubling trend in Catholic places of employment. Bishops are overstepping to meddle in employees’ personal lives. Firing competent, beloved teachers for same-sex marriages, requiring whole staffs to agree to statements calling contraception evil, and forbidding discussion of women’s equality in the church are now being included in morality clauses that administrators, teachers, and staff must sign.

The Reformation?  What the hell is that?

New contracts, like the most recent one in San Francisco, now govern whom one can marry, use of birth control and other reproductive choices, and in the most egregious of cases, what events one can attend and whom one can and cannot associate with. Attending your nephew’s wedding to his husband, or posting a congratulatory message on Facebook, could now cost you your job.

Hey, gang!  I heard that some German monk named Martin Luther just nailed 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  Haven’t read ‘em yet but I hear that they’re pretty spicy.

Perhaps the most disturbing part is the hierarchy’s claim that this is for the good of children. What our children need are good teachers and safe, affirming environments in which to learn and grow. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender role models and open, accepting communities are essential not only to the safety of our children, but to their growth and overall well-being. As research indicates, kids who are LGB or questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity are up to four times as likely to commit suicide as their straight peers. Being in a community that rejects them increases that risk astronomically.

Yeah, but here’s the thing.  The ONLY job of Catholic bishops is to tell the truth.

What are Catholic school students to think when they see a beloved teacher fired for getting married?

That they forgot to find out where he/she was registered?

Or hear she lost her job for getting pregnant using alternative methods?

That Christ and Zeitgeist are not the same thing?

When it comes to employment, should not the focus be on professional competency? If a teacher can teach, shouldn’t he or she be applauded for this dedication and quality as an educator? Sifting through one’s private life in order to gauge doctrinal orthodoxy as a measure of job performance is disturbing and dangerous. Is this what our Catholic faith has come to? Is this the precedent we wish to set?

Well, yeah, insofar as the Catholic Church

ACTUALLY BELIEVES STUFF

and shouldn’t be forced to employ anyone whose life choices undercut its beliefs.

Let’s go at this bass akwards there, Chrissie.  If I ever went to work for your little group, “Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Catholic organizations committed to LGBT equality,” and started writing about how homosexual activity was a sin, how long do you think that I would I keep my job?  So “morality clauses” are nothing new.

Folks just have to have the correct “morality.”

 

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29 Responses to Catholicism Has Rules?

  • For what it’s worth, I am convinced after reading the opinions of CHRISTine, that Christians in America will be driven underground. Why?
    Because she, CHRISTine is not alone in her misguided opinions, and we have to many unholy and unworthy bishops and priests who would agree with poor lil’ CHRISTine.
    btw….I wonder if she’s aware of her names origin? That figure which is at the root of her name would and has said in the past; “Your sins are forgiven. Sin no more.” Not; “LGBT communities are a bedrock of virtue, a lifestyle that should be proud and worthy to be emulated.”

    Because society wishes to believe in False Mercy the Christian Church is doomed in America. She will be driven into clandestine Masses. She will survive, but dark days are ahead for Holy Catholic Church in America.

    Father John Hardon SJ (deceased) will have predicted this unreal and unbelievable truth if CHRISTine and her minions have their way.
    God help us.

  • “Sifting through one’s private life in order to gauge doctrinal orthodoxy as a measure of job performance is disturbing and dangerous. “
    One recalls the remark of Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister: “Things have come to a pretty pass, when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life.”

  • The First Commandment is Rule number one for Catholicism: ” I AM the Lord thy God.” and the Second Commandment: “Thous shalt not have strange gods before me.”
    .
    Can there be any stranger gods than a person who cannot accept God?
    .
    “Or hear she lost her job for getting pregnant using alternative methods?”
    .
    Science has proven that the ovum gets to choose which sperm she will allow to enter and to fertilize her. Being punctured by a hypodermic needle as an experiment and forced to accept a strange sperm is not freedom but bondage. Christ gives us freedom. The Constitution guarantees freedom of association, especially for sperm and ovum to bring forth our constitutional posterity. Rape of the ovum is not scientifically decent.

  • One recalls the remark of Lord Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s first Prime Minister: “Things have come to a pretty pass, when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life.”

    Since I’m familiar neither with the saying nor the context, I guess I can only hope that Lord Melbourne was using “the sphere of private life” in much the same sense as the Clintonistas used to talk about fellatio in the Oval Office being a “private matter,” hopefully, albeit, for a less sordid reason.

  • “I object to people losing their job as a role model of a philosophy JUST because they disagree, publicly, with that philosophy!”
    Did I miss any of it?

  • Just the “I have a right to the job that you owe me!” bit. But that’s more implied than stated.

  • It seems Haiter-Wincet wants to do with the Church what they did with education (private and public).

    Quoted at Instapundit, Col. Kurt Schlichter: “Understand that the purpose of modern American ‘education’ is not to educate students. It is primarily to provide cushy, subsidized sinecures for liberal administrators and faculty while, secondarily, providing a forum to indoctrinate soft young minds in the liberal fetishes du jour. Actually educating students is hard, and a meaningful education is anathema to liberalism. In the liberals’ ideal world, the universities would simply fester with leftist nonsense and not even bother with trying to teach their charges anything at all. And today, it’s pretty close to being the liberals’ ideal world.”

  • Proposed topic for tonight’s “Various and Sundry” post: when was it, exactly, that religion was relegated to the private sphere and bedroom behavior* occuppied the public; and does that strike you as kind of topsy-turvey?
    .
    *keepin’ it family friendly here

  • Or maybe she’s just taken Common Core to heart

    Kids are asked to sort facts from opinions and, without fail, every value claim is labeled as an opinion. Here’s a little test devised from questions available on fact vs. opinion worksheets online: are the following facts or opinions?
    .
    — Copying homework assignments is wrong.
    .
    — Cursing in school is inappropriate behavior.
    .
    — All men are created equal.
    .
    — It is worth sacrificing some personal liberties to protect our country from terrorism.
    .
    — It is wrong for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.
    .
    — Vegetarians are healthier than people who eat meat.
    .
    — Drug dealers belong in prison.

    .
    The answer? In each case, the worksheets categorize these claims as opinions. The explanation on offer is that each of these claims is a value claim and value claims are not facts. This is repeated ad nauseum: any claim with good, right, wrong, etc. is not a fact.
    .
    In summary, our public schools teach students that all claims are either facts or opinions and that all value and moral claims fall into the latter camp. The punchline: there are no moral facts. And if there are no moral facts, then there are no moral truths [emph. added].

  • “Clergy, or those laity in authority, who deliberately hire employees who do
    not embrace the teachings of the Church, are so lost to honesty that they
    would not know it if it came up and bit them on their bottoms.”

    .
    My dorm roommate in my undergrad years was the childhood friend of a
    tight group of guys who were all graduates of a very expensive, very exclusive
    Jesuit high school. I recall being shocked when they told me about one
    Jesuit priest/teacher/administrator who would dismiss his classes on Fridays
    with the words “have a great weekend, and remember to wear a condom!”.
    .
    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that every graduate of that high school that I’ve
    met is not only not a practicing Catholic, but they all seem to be uniformly
    contemptuous of the Faith. Gee, I wonder how that happened…

  • Col. Schlichter statement from T. Shaw post is worth a second look.

    Liberal administrators and faculty have their agenda and proper education takes a second to indoctrination of Left group think. Not long ago we witnessed this from the prof. at Northwestern and the student who questioned “homosexuality and so-called same sex marriage.”

    So. What is asking too much of someone who will be working closely with the Catholic Church? Hummm.
    How about their faith?
    Their beliefs?
    Their core values?

    Discrimination or safeguarding the faith?

    When the relativism fog blinds the masses it’s time to pray for a hurricane.
    At the very least a good strong gale.

  • Folks,
    .
    Secular society will issue a backlash. Those working in secular occupations – especially those heavily regulated by the government (I work in such an occupation) – will soon be required to sign affirmations of belief in homosexual marriage, reproductive choice and the whole litany of liberal progressive manure. The consequence for not signing will be loss of employment and subsequent barring from the industry in which one had been employed. The reason to be given will be, “Unstable and untrustworthy individual due to intolerance and prejudice; person is an extremist and constitutes a national security risk.” This will happen. People who work in industries such as nuclear power, airlines, medical, rail road, oil refineries, etc., will be treated this way. The liberal progressives, when charged with violating people’s First Amendment rights, will respond by saying, “You did it to a homosexual teacher at your Catholic school.” Then criminal court cases for hate speech and subsequent incarceration will follow. The Nazis and the Communists forced people to go down this road in the 20th century. It has always ended in torture and death before.
    .
    Am I paranoid? Maybe. But after how that godless man of sin and depravity has wrecked the morals of the country over the past 6 years and Congress refuses to impeach him because he is the 1st black President (oh for a Colonel Allen West or a business man Herman Cain!), what are we to think?

  • Doubling down because of resistance to an attack is not a “backlash.”

    Backlash implies a change on the one being attacked, not a failure of a previous attack.

  • Perhaps you are correct, Foxfire. But whatever the case may be, just as orthodox Bishops are rightly requiring employees at Catholic institutions to support Catholic principles outside the job, so also will secular institutions force their employees – Christians, Jews, or whatever (but I suspect Muslims will be exempt) – to support the homosexual and reproductive rights agenda. It is already happening.

  • It’s been happening my entire life– they’re just getting more extreme and open, which I think is a good sign.
    I believe it’s called the march through the institutions, or some such.

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  • Ernst Schreiber wrote, “The explanation on offer is that each of these claims is a value claim and value claims are not facts.”
    This goes back to Hume, who argued that we cannot reason from a descriptive statement to a prescriptive or normative statement or, as it is usually expressed (although not by Hume) from an “is” to an “ought.” He did assert that “the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.” (Treatise on Human Nature 3. 1. 1)
    Miss Anscombe imagines a housewife, a disciple of Hume, explaining to her greengrocer: ““Truth consists in either relations of ideas, as that 20/- = £1, or matters of fact, as that I ordered potatoes, you supplied them, and you sent me a bill. So it doesn’t apply to such a proposition as that I owe you such-and-such a sum.”
    Hume’s argument opens up a whole series of questions; not only how we get from “is” to “ought,” but how we get from “is” to “owes,” or from “is” to “needs.”
    That is why Miss Anscombe maintained that “although he reaches his conclusions – with which he is in love – by sophistical methods, his considerations constantly open up very deep and important problems. It is often the case that in the act of exhibiting the sophistry one finds oneself noticing matters which deserve a lot of exploring: the obvious stands in need of investigations as a result of the points that Hume pretends to have made… hence he is a very profound and great philosopher, in spite of his sophistry.”

  • Ernst Schreiber- If they have the “vegetarians are healthier” listed as an opinion, then they’re flatly wrong. It’s a statement of fact. (Most likely false, but it is a statement of fact.)
    Some of the others can be argued, but…well, let’s just say I’m glad the Navy gave me enough college credits that I’m allowed to homeschool.

  • One of the disheartening aspects of Catholicism over the past few decades is how many people draw a check from the Church, clergy and laity, and give every sign of not believing what the Church teaches.
    –Donald R. McClarey

    Bishop means “overseer”. When such things happen, bishops aren’t doing their job. But dabbling as Social Justice Warriors is soooo much more fun! Bishops dabbling in anti-death penalty politics after failing to warn their flocks against turning America into an Obamanation is but the latest example.

  • I agree with Philip that soon faithful Catholics will be forced to
    practice their faith in secret. However, our persecutors will be
    fanatical, modernist clergyman who are heretics, instead of the state.

    My hope, after I had been informed of Pope Benedict’s resignation, was
    that the Church would elect a no nonsense kicka__ pope, who would drive
    the Wuerls and the Bergoglios out of the Church, instead fanatical heretics
    are in control of the Church and the traditionalists are being driven out.

    I’ve heard some call Bergoglio, Hitler’s Pope. I prefer to call Bergoglio,
    Pope Hagee I.

  • Through reading the links in the post above, came across the following from Pope Benedict about the subject at hand. Good stuff. I encourage you to read it.

    http://www.vatican.va/gpII/documents/homily-pro-eligendo-pontifice_20050418_en.html

  • This is such a difficult debate to make any headway on. The secular side sees this as evidence of intolerance and theirs as a mission of love. The church sees this as stating the truth and proclaiming the Gospel. I don’t see any easy answers, but there is an answer… Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ by leading with the love of Christ. Humble , gentle and with reverence This is what St Peter taught us in his letter ( 1Peter 3:15) so that when maligned, those who defame your good works in Christ will put to shame. As did St Paul, 1Cor 13, if I speak in human and angelic tongues, but have not love, I am a banging gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have they gift of prophecy and I comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge ….but do not have love, I am nothing.

    It is the message, but also the delivery. The secular understanding of love is different, as is their understanding of marriage. Most people are sincere in their belief and it is a matter “Charity in Truth” as Pope Benedict described in his Encyclical. Sarcasm and satire have their place in this debate, certainly as a pressure release, but they do alienate those we wish to engage.

  • These are the same people that would show up at a HOG gathering on a rice burner and expect to blather on about their right to free expression.

  • Given the author’s hyphenated last name, I assume she is married. That being the case, would she see nothing wrong in hiring a nanny (hyphenates do rather tend to have nannies) who was constantly putting the moves on her husband? Rather doubt it.

  • I agree with John Peter and thank Barbara for Pope Benedict’s opinion.
    I think that a disrespectful tone and remarks are a result of fear.
    It was for me. Oh, and also pride.

    It helps me now to see those caught in what the church considers serious sin as one of my own children. To pray for them and to be kind.
    Christ asks us to be obedient and compassionate.
    It seems so much easier to be only one or the other.
    Unless we ask His help.

  • SouthCoast wrote, “Given the author’s hyphenated last name, I assume she is married…”
    Where I come from, hyphenated last names indicate inheritance of land or arms in the maternal, as well as the paternal line. Married couples never hyphenate each others’ names, for to do so indicates a claim by descent. A younger son marrying an heiress may sometimes apply to Lord Lyon for leave to assume his wife’s name and arms in substitution for his own, especially where her name and the name of her estate are the same e.g. Maitland living on the lands of Maitland.

  • Hypenated last names are also used by various Hispanic groups in the Military because of a tradition of having your mother’s maiden name as an additional middle name, which gets really ridiculous for their kids. Nicknames like “N-26” are not uncommon.
    Seeing as the name in question is “Haider-Winnet,” she is unlikely to be hispanic, and she apparently lives in Berkeley, California, so she’s not working on an English title or inheritance, either.

  • Ernst,
    I can appreciate the CC’s hypothesis, but I would be interested to know how the following would be classified:

    It is wrong to rape a child.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour and Foxfier, yes! yes! I know! *S* One of my hobbies is genealogy and I have Hispanic former-in-laws! But my point was, that those who see no problem with teachers in Catholic schools not adhering to Catholic standards might, paradoxically, have a problem with a close employee who did not adhere to their *own* standards. (They might, of course, argue that it is not “the same thing”. In point of fact, however, it is very *much* “the same thing”, i.e., a poisoning of one’s moral well.)

Quotes Suitable For Framing: CS Lewis

Sunday, October 12, AD 2014

 

The first and fatal charm of national repentance is, therefore, the encouragement it gives us to turn from the bitter task of repenting our own sins to the more congenital one of bewailing–but first, of denouncing–the conduct of others.  If it were clear to the young that this is what he is doing, no doubt he would remember the law of charity.  Unfortunately, the very terms in which national repentance is recommended to him conceal its true nature.  By a dangerous figure of speech, he calls the Government not ‘they’ but ‘we’.  And since, as penitents, we are not encouraged to be charitable to our own sins, nor to give ourselves the benefit of any doubt, a Government which is called ‘we’ is ipso facto placed beyond the sphere of charity or even of justice.  You can say anything you please about it.  You can indulge in the popular vice of detraction without restraint, and yet feel all the time that you are practicing contrition.  A group of such young penitents will say, ‘Let us repent our national sins’; what they mean is, ‘Let us attribute to our neighbour (even our Christian neighbour) in the Cabinet, whenever we disagree with him, every abominable motive that Satan can suggest to our fancy.’

CS Lewis, The Dangers of National Repentance

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7 Responses to Quotes Suitable For Framing: CS Lewis

  • This is very correct.

  • In the middle of the last century, the judges were drawing up a Loyal Address on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s visit to the Parliament House in Edinburgh. The draft (I don’t know who prepared it) contained the words, “Your Majesty’s judges, deeply conscious of their own many failings…”

    The Lord President, Lord Glencorse (John Inglis) strenuously objected, declaring that he was not “conscious of many failings” and that, if he were, he would be unfit for his office. The Lord Justice-Clerk, Lord Moncrieff (James Moncrieff, who had been Ingles’s great rival at the Bar) mildly suggested an amendment – “Your Majesty’s judges, deeply conscious of each other’s many failings…”

  • You can indulge in the popular vice of detraction without restraint, and yet feel all the time that you are practicing contrition… As those Harvard students so ably demonstrated.
    Good find!

  • “, deeply conscious of each other’s many failings…”
    🙂 I like the point that our bewailing is congenital- along with other effects of Original Sin!

  • I get what Lewis is saying here — focusing on the real or imagined sins of “society” or “the nation” or “the world” can, and often does, turn into a way to 1) avoid paying attention to one’s own PERSONAL sins, which are the only ones for which, ultimately, God will hold us responsible, and 2) paint one’s political opponents in the worst possible light — as depraved souls calling down the wrath of God rather than “people whose ideas I don’t agree with”.

    But how do we balance this with the fact that the Judeo-Christian tradition have a long, long history of perceiving God’s judgment falling upon entire societies/nations, and demanding repentance for them? Most of you have probably seen references to 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

    And, for Catholics in particular, have there not been numerous private revelations (Fatima, Akita, Kibeho, etc.) in which Our Lady is said to have pleaded for prayer and penance to avert the wrath of God upon either the world in general or upon particular nations?

    I suppose the difference between genuine “national repentance” and the kind Lewis is talking about is that the type of national repentance spoken of in Scripture and also in private revelation always starts at the personal level. Not with pointing the finger at someone else, or attempting to repent of sins committed by distant ancestors or others, but with repenting of and doing penance for one’s own present sins, which may include (but are not limited to) acts that contribute to or fail to stop national evils (e.g. voting for aggressively pro-abortion candidates because they promised a lot of other stuff that sounded good).

  • Elaine Krewer.

    Your distinctions are interesting.
    It must be both, individual as well as national sins that we must atone for.
    The beam in my eye keeps me in check except when I get emotional over the culture we live in. More prayer and penance needed

Advent and Anti-Christ, Part III

Sunday, December 15, AD 2013

Part three of my presentation of the four sermons of John Henry Cardinal Newman on the Anti-Christ delivered in 1835 before his conversion.  Part I is here and Part II is here.

In this sermon Newman considers the City and Empire of Rome and its relation to the Anti-Christ.  Many Protestant theologians since the Reformation identified the Roman Catholic Church as the Whore of Babylon and the Pope as Anti-Christ.  Newman wrote a detailed attack in 1840 on this belief while he was still a Protestant.  It may be read here.  For Newman the Rome identified with the AntiChrist was the City and the Empire and not the Church.  Newman sums up the relationship of Rome and the Anti-Christ as follows:  “The question asked was, Is not (as is commonly said and believed among us) Rome mentioned in the Apocalypse, as having especial share in the events which will come at the end of the world by means or after the time of Antichrist. I answer this, that Rome’s judgments have come on her in great measure, when her empire was taken from her; that her persecutions of the Church have been in great measure judged, and the Scripture predictions concerning her fulfilled; that whether or not, she shall be further judged depends on two circumstances, first, whether “the righteous men” in the city who saved her when her judgment first came may not, through GOD’S great mercy, be allowed to save her still; next, whether the prophecy relates in its fulness to Rome or to some other object or objects of which Rome is a type. And further, I say, that if Rome is still to be judged, this must be before Antichrist comes, because Antichrist comes upon and destroys the ten kings, and lasts but a short space, but the ten kings are to destroy Rome. On the other hand, so far would seem to be clear, that the prophecy itself has not been fully accomplished, whatever we decide about Rome’s concern in it. The Roman empire has not yet been divided into ten heads, nor has it yet risen against the woman, whoever she stands for, nor has the woman yet received her ultimate judgment.”

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  • And what about he partial-preterist view, which says that the great city is Jerusalem judged in 70AD? It seems Newman took a historical/futurist view. More people have identified the great city with Rome than with Jerusalem. I suppose it’s possible that both cities could be had in view.

November 22, 1963: CS Lewis Dies

Friday, November 22, AD 2013

Did you mark how naturally – as if he’d been born for it – the earthborn vermin entered the new life? How all his doubts became, in the twinkling of an eye, ridiculous? I know what the creature was saying to itself! “Yes. Of course. It always was like this. All horrors have followed the same course, getting worse and worse and forcing you into a kind of bottle-neck till, at the very moment when you thought you must be crushed, behold! you were out of the narrows and all was suddenly well. The extraction hurt more and more and then the tooth was out. The dream became a nightmare and then you woke. You die and die and then you are beyond death. How could I ever have doubted it?

As he saw you, he also saw Them. I know how it was. You reeled back dizzy and blinded, more hurt by them than he had ever been by bombs. The degradation of it! – that this thing of earth and slime could stand upright and converse with spirits before whom you, a spirit, could only cower. Perhaps you had hoped that the awe and strangeness of it would dash his joy. But that is the cursed thing; the gods are strange to mortal eyes, and yet they are not strange. He had no faintest conception till that very hour of how they would look, and even doubted their existence. But when he saw them he knew that he had always known them and realised what part each one of them had played at many an hour in his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not “Who are you?” but “So it was you all the time”. All that they were and said at this meeting woke memories. The dim consciousness of friends about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained; that central music in every pure experience which had always just evaded memory was now at last recovered. Recognition made him free of their company almost before the limbs of his corpse became quiet. Only you were left outside.

He saw not only Them; he saw Him. This animal, this thing begotten in a bed, could look on Him. What is blinding, suffocating fire to you, is now cool light to him, is clarity itself, and wears the form of a Man. You would like, if you could, to interpret the patient’s prostration in the Presence, his self-abhorrence and utter knowledge of his sins (yes, Wormwood, a clearer knowledge even than yours) on the analogy of your own choking and paralysing sensations when you encounter the deadly air that breathes from the heart of Heaven. But it’s all nonsense. Pains he may still have to encounter, but they embrace those pains. They would not barter them for any earthly pleasure.

CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

 

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PopeWatch: Antje Jackelén

Saturday, November 2, AD 2013

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

Unless a major news story involving the Pope develops, PopeWatch plans in future that Saturday installments of PopeWatch will normally be lighthearted, however this installment is somewhat darkly humored indeed.  Catholics can often rightly feel that there is much amiss in the Church.  Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who often has taken up the cudgels to defend the Church, reminds us in a current post at Midwest Conservative Journal that the problems of Catholics might seem trivial to Christians in various sects:

 

This one’s all yours, partner.  Just keep it clean:

The bookmakers were right. Today it was announced that the Church of Sweden’s new archbishop is Antje Jackelén. But who is the church’s new top leader, who has chosen part of the Muslim prayer call as her motto?

Many have been taken aback by the theological opinions Jackelén revealed during a questioning in Uppsala on October 1. The candidates for the highest position in the Swedish church were asked if they thought Jesus presented a truer picture of God than Muhammed. With her evasive answer Jackelén suddenly emerged as the bishop who couldn’t choose between Jesus and Muhammed. This provoked strong reactions on some editorial pages.

Kyrkans Tidning thought that the bishop’s answer might indicate that Christ is being relegated to the margins of the Church of Sweden and Dagens Nyheter encouraged the candidates to show some theological backbone. The editorial writer at the newspaper Dagen wrote that it is time to accept the idea of a split within the church – between Christians and those who think all religions are equally good. 

The bishop of Lund’s preference for Allah has prompted one of the church’s most preeminent theologians, professor Eva Hamberg, to leave her post as a member of the church’s theological council in protest against bishop Antje Jackelén’s failure to stand behind the Church of Sweden’s profession of faith. As a reaction to what she calls ”the inner secularization of the Church of Sweden”, she has also renounced her position as priest and her membership of the church.

In a number of interviews Hamberg has expressed her disappointment that not even the top leader of the church will clearly profess a Christian faith but wavers between Jesus and Muhammed.

It is not only Jackelén’s motto and her unwillingness to put Jesus ahead of Muhammed that has evoked strong feelings among many committed Christians. During her questioning in Uppsala, the new archbishop also said that the Church of Sweden has more in common with other religions than with other Christian churches, that the Virgin Birth must be understood metaphorically, that hell doesn’t exist and that the Biblical texts should not be taken as truth.

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4 Responses to PopeWatch: Antje Jackelén

  • All I can think of is prayers for professor Eva Hamberg, who has a chance to lead a significant number of people out of the Church of Sweden and to Christ. In an interview after her departure, she gives the impression that she is more of an academic type rather than a bold leader type. I can hope she realizes that other Christians in the Sweden have spoken in her favor and maybe reaches out to them directly. In that same interview, she expressed an intent to join an evangelical or Pentecostal denomination, but that not need be the end of her journey. (In addition to what Christopher Johnson described, professor Hamberg is also concerned that Antje Jackelén is not adhering to the Apostles’ Creed. So, I think there is grounds for genuine hope here.)

    I don’t want to pretend to know more about professor Hamberg than what is in a couple of news items and blog, but she really just might lead Swedes away from secularization and towards orthodox Christian beliefs. Prayers can help.

  • This story chimed in with my own reflections this morning. I had walked to early mass at Saint-Germain-des-Prés and being All Souls Day, the priest requested our charitable prayers for the faithful departed, including, amongst others, “those who lie peacefully here.” After mass I visited a number of the tombs in the church..

    There was René Descartes – his name means “born-again” (Renatus). Strange that we have no English equivalent for that Christian name par excellence. His brain, I recalled, is preserved in the Musée de l’Homme in Paris; the irony would not be lost on the philosopher of dualism.

    I visited the tomb of Chlothar II, King of all the Franks, who died in 629, more than a thousand years before Descartes. Muhammed had three more years to live. Finally the tombs of Childeric II, his wife, Bilichild and their five year old son, Dagobert, all assassinated, whilst hunting in the forest of Livry, one autumn day in 675, all baptized into the same hope as us. I lit a candle.

    Since this church was consecrated in 588, we have had the rise of Islam; the Great Schism; the corruption and disaffection of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance Papacy; the Protestant revolt and the Wars of Religion; Quietism and Jansenism; the Deists and rationalists; the religious nationalism of Gallicanism and Josephism; the Revolution, the Risorgimento, the Ultramontane reaction; and, this morning, a Catholic priest said mass for the Holy Souls in the church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

  • …prayers for professor Eva Hamberg, who has a chance to lead a significant number of people out of the Church of Sweden and to Christ.

     
     

    Sadly, that would take a miracle on the order of the multiplication of the loaves According to Wikipedia, less than 4% of the Church of Sweden membership attends public worship during an average week; about 2% are regular attendees. I’m not sure if the corresponding figures for Sweden’s Catholics are any better, but they could hardly be much worse.

     

    In fact, the new bishop seems to be a centrist by local standards, given that putatively 30% of CoS members are either atheists or don’t believe in Jesus, and it is Prof. Hamberg who is pushing the envelope. But even if she doesn’t do a full Sigrid Unset, I do wish her well.

  • Sweden’s Catholics were the subject of some of Marcus Grodi’s The Journey Home programs last year, here’s one with Maria Hasselgren, Stockholm’s Diocesan Press Officer.

    If I remember correctly, there are more Catholics in the Diocese of Salt Lake City than in all of Sweden. The nation’s single diocese, the Diocese of Stockholm, was erected in 1953. The number of Catholics there is growing from both conversions by Swedes and arrival of immigrant Catholics, most of the latter are Poles.

11 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: H. Richard Niebuhr

  • Who was it said that the preaching of the Harvard Divinity School was limited to the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man and the neighbourhood of Boston?

  • “A God without wrath…”
    Thank you. Yes, I’m Crawling out from under a rock. H. Richard Neibuhr hits a world class homerun. Thanks agian for this introduction.

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  • Folks at my old parish were well into the stage of valuing their faith “because it may produce social justice.” Or, immanence. The certainty that when you die you are no more. You only transcend while you live and work for “social justice” as a member of the Body of Christ.

    I keep hoping Pope Francis will come out in favor of Heaven.

  • Every person has a vocation, a call from God, to be who he must be. Every man who is called to be a priest by God ought to respond by becoming a priest. No woman has come forth claiming a vocation, a call from God, to the priesthood. Therefore, the demands of the LCWR for a vocation, a call from God, to the priesthood is not being obeyed by the bishops. Sadly, only belief in the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, will bring understanding of our own conception as innocent sovereign persons in the womb of our mothers. If these women weren’t so mean, I would be embarrassed for them. The fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse, unbridled ignorance, rides again.

  • I wonder if they have read, or believe, the messages from La Salette, Fatima, Garabandal, and Akita?
    My guess is that they would say they’re from the devil – if they believe in him.

  • Mgr Ronald Knox has a rather good description of the kind of religion Niebuhr pilloried and which he was expected to teach, as an Anglican schoolmaster.

    “I think, then, it should be said at the outset that public [i.e. English private boarding-schools] schools are trying to teach the sons of gentlemen a religion in which their mothers believe, and their fathers would like to: a religion without ” enthusiasm ” in the old sense, reserved in its self-expression, calculated to reinforce morality, chivalry, and the sense of truth, providing comfort in times of distress and a glow of contentment in declining years; supernatural in its nominal doctrines, yet, on the whole, rationalistic in its mode of approaching God: tolerant of other people’s tenets, yet sincere about its own, regular in church-going, generous to charities, ready to put up with the defects of the local clergyman.”

  • Archbishop Fulton Sheen; “If God wanted women in His priesthood then He would of made Mary the Blessed Virgin to have been the first.”

  • “If God wanted a person to become a priest, God would have created that person a man” Mother Angelica

  • If Man wanted to become God, he (man) would call himself liberal.

PopeWatch: Pope Francis and Satan

Tuesday, October 15, AD 2013

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 

 

Well, I must say this will probably disconcert some of the erstwhile newfound friends of Pope Francis among the secular media and reassure orthodox Catholics:

In his Oct. 11 daily Mass homily, the Holy Father warned of the discreet presence of the devil, exhorting those gathered to be astute in their spiritual lives.

“We must always be on guard,” exhorted the Pope to those who attended Mass in the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse, “on guard against deceit, against the seduction of evil.”

Referencing the day’s gospel reading, in which Jesus has just healed a possessed man and is accused of casting out demons by the power of the devil, the Pope noted that often in history there have been those who wish to “diminish the power of the Lord” by offering different explanations for his works, urging that his is a temptation which has “reached our present day.”

“There are some priests who, when they read this Gospel passage, this and others, say: ‘But, Jesus healed a person with a mental illness.’”

“It is true,” he affirmed, “that at that time, they could confuse epilepsy with demonic possession; but it is also true that there was the devil! And we do not have the right to simplify the matter. No!”

“The presence of the devil is on the first page of the Bible, and the Bible ends as well with the presence of the devil, with the victory of God over the devil.”

Observing that the Lord has given many criteria in order to “discern” the presence of evil in our lives, the Pope stressed that “we should not be naïve,” and that one of the criteria which has been given is “not to follow the victory of Jesus” just “halfway.”

“Either you are with me, says the Lord, or you are against me” he said, noting that Jesus came to conquer the devil and “to give us the freedom” from “the enslavement the devil has over us,” which he cautioned, is not “exaggerating.”

“On this point, there are no nuances. There is a battle and a battle where salvation is at play, eternal salvation; eternal salvation.”

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4 Responses to PopeWatch: Pope Francis and Satan

  • For info, a few days before the pope’s homily Fr. James Martin S.J. took notice of Anton Scalia’s mention of Satan in a blog for Time.com. Fr. Martin agreed with the justice and defended Catholic doctrine. Deacon Scott Dodge added his own thoughts to Fr. Martin’s remarks and the pope’s homily in his own blog here:
    http://scottdodge.blogspot.com/2013/10/jesus-did-cast-out-demons.html

  • Any attempt to remove the devil from the NT renders the gospel narrative incoherent.

    Satan, the devil, evil spirits and unclean spirits, along with other names, such as “adversary,” “tempter,” “ruler of this world,” are mentioned over 150 times in the NT The synoptic gospels, in particular, treat both Our Lord’s healings and exorcisms as demonstrations of His power over the forces of evil. This is obvious on the most cursory reading and it is summed up by St Peter in Acts, “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil [τους καταδυναστευομενους υπο του διαβολου], because God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

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  • This Pontiff confuses me. One minute he is reported to be telling an atheist something that amounts to liberal nonsense and heterodoxy, and the next he is reported to have given a homily apparently rock-solid in its orthodoxy. The liberal news media is all over the first like stink on manure, and completely ignores the second. The liberal news media hate B XVI for his orthodoxy, and love Francis for his apparent lack of orthodoxy. Yet thinks don’t seem quite that simple.

God and Suffering

Tuesday, October 15, AD 2013

 

As superb look at suffering by Dr. Peter Kreeft, courtesy of Prager University.  I agree with his division of suffering into what Man causes through our actions, wars are a classic example, and suffering caused by nature, the type of suffering caused by the seizure that took the life of my son Larry on May 19, 2013.  He is also correct that when we cry out against such suffering inflicted by nature we are appealing to a standard that presupposes a God, since nature cares not a whit about human suffering or the lack thereof.  It is only by belief in God that the scales of what occurs to us in this brief life are ever balanced.  To us death is often regarded as the greatest of evils.  To God physical death is merely our gateway to Him.  CS Lewis captured this perfectly in Letter 28 of his Screwtape Letters:

They, of course, do tend to regard death as the prime evil and survival as the greatest good. But that is because we have taught them to do so. Do not let us be infected by our own propaganda. I know it seems strange that your chief aim at the moment should be the very same thing for which the patient’s lover and his mother are praying – namely his bodily safety. But so it is; you should be guarding him like the apple of your eye. If he dies now, you lose him. If he survives the war, there is always hope. The Enemy has guarded him from you through the first great wave of temptations. But, if only he can be kept alive, you have time itself for your ally. The long, dull monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather. You see, it is so hard for these creatures to persevere. The routine of adversity, the gradual decay of youthful loves and youthful hopes, the quiet despair (hardly felt as pain) of ever overcoming the chronic temptations with which we have again and again defeated them, the drabness which we create in their lives and the inarticulate resentment with which we teach them to respond to it – all this provides admirable opportunities of wearing out a soul by attrition. If, on the other hand, the middle years prove prosperous, our position is even stronger. Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is “finding his place in it”, while really it is finding its place in him. His increasing reputation, his widening circle of acquaintances, his sense of importance, the growing pressure of absorbing and agreeable work, build up in him a sense of being really at home in earth which is just what we want. You will notice that the young are generally less unwilling to die than the middle-aged and the old.

The truth is that the Enemy, having oddly destined these mere animals to life in His own eternal world, has guarded them pretty effectively from the danger of feeling at home anywhere else. That is why we must often wish long life to our patients; seventy years is not a day too much for the difficult task of unravelling their souls from Heaven and building up a firm attachment to the earth. While they are young we find them always shooting off at a tangent. Even if we contrive to keep them ignorant of explicit religion, the incalculable winds of fantasy and music and poetry – the mere face of a girl, the song of a bird, or the sight of a horizon – are always blowing our whole structure away. They will not apply themselves steadily to worldly advancement, prudent connections, and the policy of safety first. So inveterate is their appetite for Heaven that our best method, at this stage, of attaching them to earth is to make them believe that earth can be turned into Heaven at some future date by politics or eugenics or “science” or psychology, or what not. Real worldliness is a work of time – assisted, of course, by pride, for we teach them to describe the creeping death as good sense or Maturity or Experience. Experience, in the peculiar sense we teach them to give it, is, by the bye, a most useful word. A great human philosopher nearly let our secret out when he said that where Virtue is concerned “Experience is the mother of illusion”; but thanks to a change in Fashion, and also, of course, to the Historical Point of View, we have largely rendered his book innocuous.

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10 Responses to God and Suffering

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  • I’ve heard a number of Professor Kreeft’s talks and my wife and I got to meet him once…he is a very gracious man. He also did an adult Catechesis series, Luke E Hart, which is on the Knights of Columbus website in both PDF and audio book. It’s a good 30-part series for any Catholic raised in the latter half of the 20th century and beyond as well as anyone interested in a summary of the Catholic faith.

    On a related note, I find it intriguing that some of the best modern Catholic apologists weren’t cradle Catholics (Kreeft was Calvinist)…and Lewis, though he disappointed Tolkien by not swimming the Tiber, was an atheist before he joined the Church of England. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain is a pretty good work related to the topics of suffering as well. The audiobook is strangely appropriate for mowing a yard or working in a garden…

  • Sorry for your son, Donald. My prayers for you and your family.

  • Thank you Pedro. I believe my son is now enjoying the Beatific Vision and that is a great consolation.

  • For over 8 years, every day has been filled with some level of pain because both knees are affected with degenerative arthritis. I can barely make it around with a cane. I could moan and say why me? But I accept it as a blessing because it gives me a tremendous chance to emulate the suffering of Our Lord and offer it to help the poor souls in Purgatory atone. Advil helps blunt the pain but never completely removes it. I pray to God only for perseverance. I am confident that those I help are helping to sustain me. I am 86, and when I leave this world, I don’t believe I will leave it alone. That also sustains me, and I don’t think I will lose my joyful sense of humor until the day after.

  • “I am 86, and when I leave this world, I don’t believe I will leave it alone.”

    Right you are Robert!

  • So often, it seems to me, angelic children, like Larry, run ahead to enjoy the Beatific Vision, leaving their families in deep grief. Perhaps the suffering that families endure over the loss of a beloved child is refining, purgatorial, and is God’s way of preparing the bereaved for reunion with that beloved child to enjoy the Beatific Vision together for all eternity. Dostoyevsky wrote, “The darker the night, the brighter the stars, the deeper the grief, the closer is God.”

    May God and His Holy Angels surround you and your family with kindness and comfort.

  • Thank you Ginny! That is precisely the way I like to look at it. Larry was always running ahead of the family when we were going to some favored destination, and now I look upon him as a Heavenly Advance Guard for the rest of my family.

  • Pope John Paul II (and Job) taught:

    “Suffering – as I wrote in the Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris – […] Christ does not explain in some abstract way the reasons for sufferings, but says first of all: “Follow me”, Come, with your suffering share in this work of salvation of the world, which is realized through my suffering, by means of my Cross” (n 26). …

    “Suffering is transformed when we experience in ourselves the closeness and solidarity of the living God: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last…I shall see God my savior” (Job 19:25-26). With this assurance comes inner peace, and from this a spiritual joy, quiet and deep, springing from the “gospel of suffering” which understands the grandeur and dignity of human beings who suffer with a generous spirit and offer their pain “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom 12:1). This is why those who suffer are no burden to others, but with their suffering contribute to the salvation of all.”

Liberal Christianity as a “Religion”

Sunday, August 4, AD 2013

 

 

Christopher Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels in defense of Catholicism so frequently that I have named him Defender of the Faith, explains why liberal Protestantism deserves a place on the endangered species list:

Why is mainline Protestantism withering on the vine?  Because as Gertrude Stein once said about Oakland, California, there is no “there” there:

Liberal Protestantism is dying. Rod Dreher says so in a recent column in The American Conservative, and the statistics back him up: for decades, liberal and mainline Protestantism has been on the decline in the US, with some denominations (such as the United Church of Christ) losing adherents so quickly that their future is in peril. Meanwhile, more conservative and evangelical denominations have generally held their own, or even experienced growth (see graph below). But liberal Protestantism in many ways exemplifies the best of what religion could be: it’s tolerant of differences, non-judgmental, open to scientific knowledge. Good stuff, right? So why is it that the open-minded liberal churches are dying out? 

Golly gee willickers, it has to be painful to be this clueless.  “Liberal Protestantism in many ways exemplifies the best of what religion could be,” only to someone who has absolutely no idea what religion actually is.

I guess I’m going to have to try to dumb this down even further and for the sake of brevity, I’m going to stick with the monotheistic religions but these principles apply to all religions.  So here goes not much of anything.

There are people out there who believe that there is a God.  They believe that this God is responsible for existence itself as well as their presence in that existence.

Once they accept that, they’re kind of forced to accept three more concepts.  Even if they never figure out what it is, there’s a reason why they’re here; after all, if you’re talented enough to speak existence into existence, why would Christopher Johnsons ever just sort of randomly turn up?

So if you’re here for a reason, even if you never ever understand what that reason is until you die, if then, does that not imply that the God who deliberately made you exist feels that your existence is important?  And if your existence is important, does that not rather obligate you to try to live the way the God who made you exist wants you to live?

You can’t do that as well as you want to, of course.  God, in His mercy, understands that and has provided vehicles of escape, the most sensible and efficacious being, according to this Christian, that vehicle provided by the Christian religion.  That fellow on the Cross.

Then there are people who don’t believe any of that.

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5 Responses to Liberal Christianity as a “Religion”

  • At the heart of liberal Christianity lies the belief that religion is purely immanent.

    It was precisely this that Maurice Blondel so vigorously attacked: “No, Christianity does not emerge from nature by a subconscious and spontaneous evolution. No, it is not an emanation of the religious conscience of humanity. It proceeds from a positive intervention and a gratuitous and miraculous condescension of God; it is constituted by the historical fact of the Incarnation; it is essentially a supernatural gift, an interior gift of grace that feeds the Christian life, an exterior gift of the teaching and precepts of Christ, which, confided to the apostles, is communicated to us by the Church and her infallible head. To the thesis of efference that draws the dogmas and the virtues of Catholicism from below and, so to speak, from the depths of nature or the guts of humanity, the thesis of afference is radically opposed that affirms the character, specifically supernatural, free and gratuitous of the entire Christian order. And we adhere to this absolutely fundamental truth with our entire soul.”

    But he was alive to the danger of the opposite tendency: “First, the scholastic ideology, which still exclusively dominates, includes the study neither of religious psychology nor of the subjective facts that convey to the conscience the action of the objective realities whose presence in us Revelation indicates; this ideology only considers as legitimate the examination of what objectively informs us about these realities as designated and defined. Moreover, and especially, everything is instinctively resisted that would limit the authoritarianism born of an exclusive extrinsicism. And, without formulating it, the conception is entertained according to which everything in religious life comes from on high and from without. Only the priesthood is active before a purely passive and receptive flock.”

    It was left to Cardinal Henri de Lubac and his colleagues to resolve the tension.

  • Catholicism is like one of those universal constants that physicists can’t explain. If gravity were a billionth stronger, or a billionth weaker, the universe would end. Anything that isn’t Catholicism, no matter how close it is, will eventually collapse in on itself or explode outward in wasted entropy. Protestantism only survives to the extent that it’s similar to Catholicism, but “close” isn’t close enough, even if it takes 500 years longer than most heresies to disperse.

  • A good overview on the subject indeed! This “Liberal Christianity” will die the “fools death” if for no other reason than at its head are ill-advised, ill educated leaders & followers who have little real understanding of what “Faith” really is in their “Cafeteria Christian” world.We are taught in the Scriptures Hebrews 11:1 what faith is. We do these “Brothers & Sisters In Christ” NO justice by letting them continue to hold on to their beliefs that being a real Christian is easy & indeed trouble-free in and of itself! Again Jesus instructed us to council with them in His ways & Word! To fail in this duty will cause all of us to be judged harshly in The Almighty’s sight! Excellent article as well.

  • Did anyone follow all the way back to the original source?
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/scienceonreligion/2013/07/why-is-liberal-protestantism-dying-anyway/

    Check the last paragraph:

    Which is too bad, because the theology of liberal Protestantism is pretty admirable. Openness to the validity of other traditions, respect for doubters and for skeptical thinkers, acceptance of the findings of science, pro-environmentalism – if I had to pick a church off a sheet of paper, I’d choose a liberal denomination like the United Church of Christ or the Episcopalians any day. But their openness and refusal to be exclusive – to demand standards for belonging – is also their downfall. By agreeing not to erect any high threshold for belonging, the liberal Protestant churches make their boundaries so porous that everything of substance leaks out, mingling with the secular culture around them.

    So what if liberal Protestants kept their open-minded, tolerant theology, but started being strict about it – kicking people out for not showing up, or for not volunteering enough? Liberals have historically been wary of authority and its abuses, and so are hesitant about being strict. But strictness matters, if for no other reason because conservatives are so good at it: most of the strict, costly requirements for belonging to Christian churches in American today have to do with believing theologies that contradict science, or see non-Christians as damned. What if liberal Protestantism flexed its muscle, stood up straight, and demanded its own standards of commitment – to service of God and other people, to the dignity of women, and to radical environmental protection? Parishioners would have to make real sacrifices in these areas, or they’d risk exclusion. They couldn’t just talk the talk. By being strict about the important things, could liberal Protestant churches make their followers walk the walk of their faith – and save their denominations in the process?

    Why won’t it work? Because most people get that in their every day lives ANYWAY. So what will separate these churches from the pop culture?

    What I find even funnier is that no one really wants to ask the real question: What is the truth? Not sure many liberal denominations want to answer that question…

  • Nate Winchester

    In his novel, “Loss and Gain,” Chapter XVII, Bl John Henry Newman asks a series of questions; the following seem pertinent, and not only as applied to the English church:

    “4. Does not Scripture speak of it [the Church] as a kingdom?

    5. And a kingdom which was to last to the end?

    6. What is a kingdom? and what is meant when Scripture calls the Church a kingdom?

    7. Is it a visible kingdom, or an invisible?

    23. Is it necessary, or possible, to believe any one but a professed messenger from God?

    …..

    24. Is the English Church, does she claim to be, a messenger from God?

    25. Does she impart the truth, or bid us seek it?

    26. If she leaves us to seek it, do members of the English Church seek it with that earnestness which Scripture enjoins?”

Prayer in Time of Grief

Wednesday, June 19, AD 2013

 

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

 

 

Hattip to A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.  Since the death of my son Larry I have found this prayer by Father Robert Fox to be of comfort:

God of life and death, You have taken a beloved one from me.  My heart is very heavy.  I recall that Your Son, Jesus Christ, became man in all things except sin and that He groaned in sorrow at the death of His friend, Lazarus.  I unite my grief with Yours dear Jesus, as You stood at the tomb of Lazarus.

O Virgin Mother, you know what it was like losing your husband Joseph, and then your child.  dying suspended between earth and heaven, with a sword piercing your sweet soul.  To you do I come in sorrow, begging strength from your intercession, from you who fully understand what it is like to lose one so dear and close.

Share with me, dear Mother of God, the courage, the strong faith that you had in the future resurrection.  Even after Jesus came back to life and ascended into heaven, you knew you were to be left alone for many years before your own assumption into heaven. You comforted the Apostles as their Queen and Mother during those years. Grant comfort to me now as I sorrow in pain at the loss by the separation that has come as a result of the sin of our first parents and my own sins. Wipe away my tears with the merciful love of your Immaculate Heart as you unite me with my loved one through the grace of the Sacred Heart of your Son Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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16 Responses to Prayer in Time of Grief

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  • Thank you for being so raw and real, instead of chirping, “Trust God; He has good plans.” It is a hard path. Heaven, heaven, heaven.

  • Thank you for sharing this prayer. We lost a dear friend in a sudden, unexpected accident yesterday, and the only thing that makes it bearable is the thought of him in a better world, where the pain of this one is forgotten, but the joy of baseball–which he loved–goes on and on without an end to the season.

  • May God’s graces, and the comfort of the Blessed Mother, accompany you and your family as you endure this agony. May graces abound. Blessed be the name of the Lord… His mercy endures forever. My prayers are with you.

  • I was a single parent and my only son died at the age of 33. It was quite challenging as I had to really deal with a very a reality I never saw coming. It is almost 4 years later and I have to say even though my faith was sorely tested, I have grown in my understanding of what Mary went through and what many other people have endured throughout the centuries. I thank God, I do have faith or else I might not have been able to endure the terribleness of that reality. I have hope and belief and this has grown and not diminished although I came close to many doubts. But that is what faith is.

  • “I was a single parent and my only son died at the age of 33.”

    The same age as Jesus. My prayers for you Angela. One of the greatest gifts I think God granted us was our inability to see the future in this vale of tears.

  • “His mercy endures forever.”

    Thank you D.H. I completely agree.

  • “We lost a dear friend in a sudden, unexpected accident yesterday, and the only thing that makes it bearable is the thought of him in a better world, where the pain of this one is forgotten, but the joy of baseball–which he loved–goes on and on without an end to the season.”

    My prayers for the repose of his soul Marilyn. I can just imagine the baseball teams fielded above!

  • “It is a hard path.”

    Too often we wish to soften the hard edges of life that the Faith has always said are part of life. I have been painfully reminded that suffering is part of our lot here below.

  • The Church’s teachings on redemptive suffering saved my life and my marriage.

  • God bless you for posting this. My beloved younger brother was killed in a car accident and his death has changed my life forever, as well as the lives of the rest of my family. Having the self knowledge to see that God has led you down an easier path until this point (and recognizing that now He has a harder path for you) is incredibly important in the healing process. I am so grateful for my Catholic faith and our teachings on the meaning of suffering. I will pray for you as you grieve for your beloved son. Know that he prays for you also. God does beckon us down this harder path and what joy awaits us at the end! From experience, I can assure you that your faith will be strengthened because of this hard path you’ll be walking. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and also for this beautiful prayer.

  • Only just heard. I am so sorry. May he rest with his Savior.

  • Donald, I believe you and I have interacted a few times in various comboxes (possibly at Rich Leonardi’s “Ten Reasons”). I remember us sharing stories of our autistic sons and what blessings they brought to our lives. I can’t image the grief you and your wife face at this time, but please know that I will hug my son a little tighter and give thanks to God more loudly for this presence in my life. I will also remember your son in our prayers. Mother Mary, pray for us. May God comfort and console you all.

  • “May God comfort and console you all.”

    Thank you Nerina. I am learning through this terrible experience that God is our only true consolation.

  • “May he rest with his Savior.”

    That thought has got me through the last month Cminor.

  • “I will pray for you as you grieve for your beloved son. Know that he prays for you also.”

    I have asked Larry for his prayers and intercession and that is a great comfort to me. My prayers for your younger brother.

Very Few Atheists in Fox Holes

Tuesday, May 28, AD 2013

The blog Science 2.0 repeats something that most combat soldiers have always known:  there are few atheists in fox holes:

But does war really transform people, or does it simply make the fleetingly religious more so for a short time? A recent analysis of archived surveys of Army Infantry soldiers after a battle –  Samuel Stouffer’s “The American Soldier” World War II  research (1) – found self-reported reliance on prayer rose from 42% to 72% as that battle got more intense.
“The question is whether that reliance on faith lasts over time,” said Craig Wansink, author and Professor of Religion at Virginia Wesleyan College, who did the analysis and co-wrote the paper with his brother Brian Wansink, food marketing expert and Professor of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. The World War II generation is a good one for analysis because the interest was religiosity long-term and young people in the 1940s were more religious overall than more recent generations.

A second analysis of survey results from 1,123 World War II veterans showed that 50 or more years after combat, most soldiers still exhibited religious behavior, though it varied by their war experience. Those facing heavy combat (versus no combat) attended church 21% more often if they claimed their war experience was negative, but those who claimed their experience was positive attended 26% less often.
The more a veteran disliked the war, the more religious they were 50 years later. 

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Why the Episcopal Church is on Life Support

Sunday, April 28, AD 2013

 

 

 

Christopher Johnson, the non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently in defense of the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, demonstrates in the following post at Midwest Conservative Journal why the Episcopal Church is dying and the Catholic Church is living:

Long-time readers of this site know that there are two Episcopalians that I don’t mention around here if I can possibly avoid it.   One, of course, is former Newark Bishop John Shelby “KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!! Spong.

MCJ veterans have long since given up sending me e-mails with “Did you see what Spong just said?!!” in the subject line.  Because I already know that whatever the megalomaniacal old fraud just said had nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity and was sneeringly contemptuous of anybody who holds anything close to a traditional view of the Christian faith, in whatever Christian church they find themselves.

The other is homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson, who is a homosexual, formerly of the Diocese of Nobody Ever Gave A Crap, Bitches, Shut Up.  As most people figured out a long time ago, if you ever stand between Robbie and a camera, you run a considerable risk of a concussion when Robbie knocks you down and runs over you.  Publicity is Robbie’s crack and I don’t want to feed his habit.

But every now and then, Robbie writes something so titanically and magisterially stupid that I’m forced to break my own embargo.  In the Washington Post’s “On No Particular Faith Of Any Truly Meaningful Kind” section, Bishop Stompy Foot is increasingly frustrated by the fact that the Roman Catholic Church refuses to be instructed by him:

Polling shows that ex-Catholics are the third largest religious group in the United States. Many Catholic laity are experiencing a painful disconnect between the official teachings and pronouncements of the Catholic hierarchy and what they believe in their hearts. It’s no wonder they are voting with their feet.

The Detroit Free Press recently reported on comments made by Edward Peters, who teaches Catholic canon law and was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 to advise the top judicial authority in the Catholic Church.

Peters stated that Catholic teaching makes it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. He goes on to write, “Catholics who promote ‘same-sex marriage’ act contrary to ‘Catholic law’ and should not approach for holy Communion…They also risk having holy Communion withheld from them…being rebuked and/or being sanctioned.”

Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, offered this clarification: “For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once: ‘I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches.’ In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one’s integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury.”

Which is bad and stuff.

I believe that using Communion as such a manipulative tool surely profanes the sacrament. Perhaps these Catholic leaders should revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist. Reception of the body and blood of Christ at Communion is God’s gift to God’s people, not a reward for right behavior. We receive Communion not because we are worthy of it, but because God’s offers us the body and blood of Christ despite our unworthiness.

Two responses immediately suggest themselves.  The first, of course, is, “Who the hell asked you, hot shot?”  And the second is that before you suggest that bishops of another church than your own need to “revisit their church’s theology of the Eucharist,” you might want to learn “their church’s theology of the Eucharist” yourself.

I’ll give you a head start.  Two words.  The first one’s “real” and the second one is “presence.”  If you teach that Christ is really there in the Eucharist, then indiscriminately giving the real Lord Jesus Christ to everyone who calls himself or herself a Catholic but who takes it upon himself or herself alone to decide what that means is, at the very least, hypocrisy and, at the very most, blasphemy.

After all, Judas didn’t get the very first Communion, did he, Robbie?  And then, blissfully unaware of the trap he is walking into, Robbie plays this card.

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7 Responses to Why the Episcopal Church is on Life Support

  • Same here in NZ with the Anglicans. Acceptance of woman priests and bishops, gay marriage, actively homosexual clergy. I have said for years that in 50 years, the Anglican church will not exist as at present – the serious ones will become Catholic, and the others will join/become some accepting liberal evangelical group.

  • “two gay men or lesbians (not to mention their supporters) who want to vow a lifetime of commitment, monogamy and love should be denied Communion, but those who exploit vulnerable children (and those who facilitate their abuse) for their own sexual gratification are still welcome”

    Johnson makes a great call: those who have sinned may partake in Communion; those who deny sin may not.

  • “To be blunt, Andreas Wouters had been a lousy priest. A drunkard and notorious womanizer, he had fathered several children. Suspended from his duties he was living in disgrace when the Sea Beggars captured Gorkum. This was his cue to run as far away as possible, based on his past history. Instead, perhaps understanding that God was giving him maybe his last chance to redeem himself, he volunteered to join the captive priests and brothers.

    The 19 were tortured and subject to every type of humiliation and mockery, especially Wouters who was constantly reminded by his captors of what a disgrace he was. William the Silent, leader of the Dutch rebels, sent a letter to the commander of the Sea Beggars, William de la Marck, ordering that the priests and brothers were not to be molested in any way. Ignoring his instructions, de la Marck ordered them to be slain if they did not renounce their belief in the Real Presence and Papal Supremacy. All stoutly refused.

    On July 9, de la Marck had the 19 hanged in a turfshed. As the noose was being fastened around his neck, his captors kept mocking Father Wouters. His last words before he entered eternity were: “Fornicator I always was; heretic I never was.”

    The Martyrs of Gorkum were canonized by Pope Pius IX on June 29, 1865, the feast day of the two greatest martyrs of the Church, Saints Peter and Paul.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/07/09/scandalous-priest-and-glorious-martyr/

  • Mr. McClarey,

    Thank you for taking the time to write this article. I enjoyed reading it very much. The truth is from God. Why would Catholics change our beliefs to become more to Satan’s liking? These people do not believe the Bible. But Jesus did.
    One thing that drives me bonkers is people who say they believe in Jesus, but they don’t believe Jesus. They don’t believe what He said.

  • But Judas did get the First Communion–otherwise all the Apostles would have known it was he who would betray Christ and tried to stop him. Denying communion is to avoid scandal, not sacrilege: a priest cannot licitly deny communion unless the mortal sinner’s sin is publicly known, just as he cannot say what is confessed to him in confession.

  • Gene Robinson is a fool. What else he is I will not say here.

Brave New World

Wednesday, March 20, AD 2013

I may have mentioned this before, but one of my favorite novels is C.S. Lewis’s That Hideous Strength. It was the final part of what is known as Lewis’s Space Trilogy. A brief summary of the book is available at this link. The villain in this book is an entity called the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments – N.I.C.E. – which seeks to build a Utopian society based on science. Of course they are basically nothing more than totalitarian, atheistic thugs.

My admiration for the book is based on the fact that Lewis was a prophet. At least, that’s what struck me when I read this headline and accompanying story:

Britain on course for ‘three parent babies’

Britain is on course to become the first country in the world to legalise the creation of IVF babies with three biological “parents” after the fertility watchdog announced that the public is in favour of the controversial technology.

And then Bob Grant’s voice entered my head: They’re sick and they’re getting sicker.

But hey, evidently a majority of people would be down with completely re-working the laws of nature.

A major consultation found that a majority of people would back the therapy, under which a small part of a mother’s genetic material is swapped with that of a healthy donor to eliminate the risk of passing on a host of hereditary diseases to her child.

By removing faulty DNA from the mitochondria, which is always inherited from the mother, experts believe the child and future generations could be spared from a collection of devastating conditions affecting the heart, muscles and brain.

And this is how we’ll convince people that we aren’t entering Frankenstein-levels of biological tinkering. You see these great minds are merely making sure that no one should endure the burden of an imperfect child. Don’t you feel so much better about this project now?

And then on top of the ethical and moral concerns, there’s this:

The HFEA, which carried out the consultation, advised ministers that if they do legalise the therapy, donors and patients should remain anonymous and have no right to contact one another.

Yeah, that always works out well.

And if you’re concerned that we’re at risk of making Gattaca a reality, don’t you worry your little heads off.

Dismissing fears that allowing the treatment could be the start of a “slippery slope”, she emphasised that the therapy – which could become the first treatment to alter the human germ line – would only be available for people at risk of passing on mitochondrial disease.

For now. Oh, she didn’t actually add those words, but I’m sure that’s what she meant, at least if she had a moment of honest self-reflection.

Fortunately, despite the repeated insistence – based on absolutely no data presented in the article – that this procedure has broad public support, clearly not everyone in jolly old England has lost their ever-loving minds.

But opponents of the technique have questioned the moral justification of engineering embryos, and questioned how the resulting child’s sense of identity might be affected by the knowledge that they have three biological parents.

Dr David King, Director of Human Genetics Alert, said: “Historians of the future will point to this as the moment when technocrats crossed the crucial line, the decision that led inexorably to the disaster of genetically engineered babies and consumer eugenics.”

Now, now, Doctor, our best and brightest have assured us that we have nothing to worry about. That should make us all feel much better.

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11 Responses to Brave New World

  • Manipulating the destiny of a man’s soul through genetic engineering is pretty awesome. Even God leaves the destiny of the man’s soul to the free will of the man. Frankenstein did not appreciate being messed with so he (Frankenstein) killed the guy who messed him up. The altered individuals will be searching for the people who altered them without respect for their human souls, their free will and their consent. And If the altered human beings are going to hell, because their consent was eliminated and ignored, you better believe that they will be taking their inventors with them. Hell hath no fury as that of a woman scorned and altered.

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  • Paul.
    Thank you for this.
    C.S. Lewis was a visionary…unfortunately.
    Now we witness the fiction turning fact. Nice.
    On Monday a story from a science blog touted the progress of reviving an extinct frog species. When will this all backfire?

  • G. K. Chesterton spoke of this phenomenon in the Shadow and the Wells. The classic idea is that there’s nothing knew. After a brief experiment with freedom, we’ll return to the beehive scenario that assumes a hundred names. We’ve been returning to it since the progressive era, roughly coinciding with the onset of the twentieth century.

  • Jon-
    Is it Shallow and the Wells?
    Excellent find. Thanks.
    “Those who leave the tradition of Truth do not escape into something which we call freedom; they only escape into something elese, which we call fashion.”
    How fitting.

    One more that rings clear; “We have come out of the shallows and the dry places to the one deep well, and Truth is at the bottom of it.”

    Appreciate your insight.

  • So in the U.K., per European Union regulations, it is illegal to grow, import, or sell genetically modified food; but it is perfectly acceptable to produce genetically modified human beings. Tomatoes must be protected against genetic tinkering, but men must not be.

  • Tom-
    GMO tinkering have produced tomatoes that look like gems, however its fails horribly in flavor.
    Makes one wonder how successful the tinkering of humans will go. Possibly a human that looks like a strong specimen, but laking in soul?
    Pray onward throughout the darkness until the dawn dissolves the night.

  • Tom Sharp

    Alas, you are quite right about the UK

    On the other hand, some EU countries, notably France, have very strict laws on assisted reproduction and ban surrogacy entirely

    Consider the following excerpts from the Code Civil:-

    “Art. 16
    Legislation ensures the primacy of the person, prohibits any infringement of the latter’s dignity and safeguards the respect of the human being from the outset of life.
    Art. 16-1
    Everyone has the right to respect for his body.
    The human body is inviolable.
    The human body, its elements and its products may not form the subject of a patrimonial right…

    Art. 16-5
    Agreements that have the effect of bestowing a patrimonial value to the human body, its elements or products are void.
    Art. 16-6
    No remuneration may be granted to a person who consents to an experimentation on himself, to the taking of elements from his body or to the collection of products thereof.
    Art. 16-7
    All agreements relating to procreation or gestation on account of a third party are void.

    Besides these specific laws, one has the catch-all provision of Art 1128, ““Only things in trade can be the subject of an agreement” Thus, the ethical principles enshrined in the laws of France do not allow a child to form the subject of a contract.

  • Phillip, thanks for hte correction. Yes, its Shallow and the Wells. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis saw through the political trends of their day, and they knew it represented retrogression, not progress.

  • Christianity brought progress in every arena. We are living off this religious capital in the West and when it is spent, we find that we revert to paganism, to barbarism, to the conditions that plagued the dying ancient Roman world. A generation has now arisen that is clearly post-Christian. Unlike C. S. Lewis’ generation which conciously tossed Christian verities to the wind, this generation has been reared without them.

  • Catacombs in our future?
    Fr. John Hardon warned us of the days to come. The rapid rate of decent is sobering.
    Bless you folks for inspiring me with your treasury of literary genius.
    Peace.

CS Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debating Christ

Wednesday, February 27, AD 2013

I look forward to seeing this play Freud’s Last Session when I have an opportunity:

Toward the end of the play Freud’s Last Session, a fictional conversation about the meaning of human life between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis concludes,“How mad, to think we could untangle the world’s greatest mystery in one hour.”Freud responds, “The only thing more mad is to not think of it at all.” The combined sense of the limits to human knowledge and the unavoidability of the big questions is one of the many impressive features of this dramatic production, the remote origins of which are in a popular class of Dr. Armand Nicholi, professor of psychiatry in the Harvard Medical School. Nicholi penned a book, The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life, which the playwright Mark St. Germain turned into an off-Broadway play, now in its second year in New York and just beginning a run in Chicago. 

I had a chance recently to see the successful New York production, directed by Tyler Marchant and starring George Morfogen as Freud and Jim Stanek as Lewis. The play is not perfect; some of the dialogue is wooden, the result of the attempt to squeeze elements from the major works of the two authors into their conversation. Nicholi does a better job of this in his book, largely because he is free from the dialogue form. But the theatrical revival of the dialogue is what stands out in this production. In this case, the theater is an arena for the contest of ideas. There is a healthy reminder that philosophy itself has taken on various dramatic and literary forms; indeed, philosophy as a theater of debate hearkens back to the very founding of philosophy in the Platonic dialogue. Something of that original sense of philosophy as a live debate between interlocutors whose views and lives are at stake is operative in Freud’s Last Session.

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8 Responses to CS Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debating Christ

Lent in a Sinless Age

Wednesday, February 13, AD 2013

I have never much enjoyed Lent, of course the purpose of Lent is not enjoyment.  Repentance, mortification, fasting casts for me a gray pallor over this time of year.  Like many things in life I do not like, foul tasting medicine, judges who insist on strict adherence to the law, honest traffic cops, I benefit from Lent.  It reminds me of my sins and the necessity to amend my life.  This is especially good for me because we live in a sinless age.

Prior to say 1965, people enjoyed sinning just as much as we do, but most did not delude themselves about what they were doing.  Promiscuous sex was just as fun then as now, but few were able to convince themselves that what they were doing was not, deep down, wrong.  A trip to an abortionist might “solve” a small “problem”, but the destruction of human life that went on in an abortion was acknowledged by almost all.  Standards of morality, as even a cursory study of human history reveals, have often been ignored by men, but the standards remained.

Now we live in a new and glorious day!  If something is physically pleasant then there can be no sin about it.  Good and evil have been banished from our lexicons, to be replaced, at most, with “appropriate” or “inappropriate” behavior.  If over a million innocents have to die for one of our pleasures each year it is a “small” price to pay, and in any case we aren’t the ones paying the price.  Some of our friends find gratification in sexual behaviors that were near universally condemned a few decades ago?  Not a problem!   We will rewrite the laws to make their behaviors “appropriate” and give a hard time to those retrogrades who do not adjust their concepts of “appropriate” and “inappropriate” to match ours.  We will celebrate those with great wealth and seek to emulate their lives, no matter how squalid, unless they hold political opinions that are “inappropriate”.  We will create wealth out of thin air to care for the poor through that magical device known as “government”, the same poor that we would never personally lift a finger to aid.  Lies will cease to be lies if we wish to believe them, and the term lie will soon be banished in any case.  Too “judgmental”, the closest thing we have remaining to sin.

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14 Responses to Lent in a Sinless Age

  • A heads up to the Fr. Barron lovers out there ~ my comment may rub you the wrong way. Here goes nothing. I must say, I guess I can admire Fr. Barron’s ability to find and give Catholics a teaching moment from the series, “Rome”, which to my mind is nothing but soft-porn clothed in historical fiction. Heck, even my anti-Catholic, anti-Christian, non-religious sister won’t watch it because of its over the top sex scenes. He apparently watches it regularly as he mentioned a previous season. He must have the ability and confidence to filter out the parade of skin and sex.

    Whatever happened to a priest’s admonition of practicing ‘custody of the eyes’? Frankly, I would think what we’d be hearing from Fr. Barron, or any Catholic priest, that we shouldn’t watch the show, period. But then again, I’ve read recently that Fr. Barron isn’t so sure that many people are even in Hell. How disappointing to see where Fr. Barron is at these days and equally disappointing that his talks and sermons are so popular. I guess I can see why.

  • This thread is not going to devolve into a pointless back and forth on Father Barron. Such comments will be deleted by me. Perhaps we could all try to stay on point in the comboxes of TAC for Lent?

  • thanks for the mediatation which strikes at the heart of the modern culture and convicts many who live within it—including me. one question to show (and hopefully alleviate) my ingnorance: what are the sources of the quotes from the “wise men” in the article? i am guessing C. S. Lewis might be one but I would like to find out for sure so that I could have the chance of both reading and learning more. thank you again and wishing you a blesssed and healing Lenten season.

  • Fyodor Dostoevesky from The Grand Inquisitor story in The Brothers Karamazov. It was as if he had a vision of the shape of things to come for the next century and a half after his death:

    https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/pol116/grand.htm

    Correct as to CS Lewis. It is from Screwtape Proposes a Toast:

    http://screwtapeblogs.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/screwtape-proposes-a-toast/

  • Have you all noticed how, in trying to abolish the concept of sin and replace it with “intolerance” that they point towards animal behavior to somehow justify their own? The argument they imply is that if animals do it, it must be natural, and if it’s natural it must not be a sin. How far we have sunk when the mating behavior of bonobos and penguins becomes that moral standard which rules our behavior.

  • Donald, thanks very much for the info on the references and links thereto.

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  • “The great lie of our time, and the great despair, is that we are creatures merely of our appetites with transient, meaningless lives.” BOOM!!!!!

  • Interesting point to consider: Oswald Spengler held that Dostoevsky was true to the spirit of Christianity while Tolstoy was a mere Westerner. Tolstoy is a social engineer but Dostoevsky is Orthodox at heart.

  • My thoughts on this article: Amen Brother! Right is wrong and wrong is right.

  • Tolstoy was an absolutist theoretician, a Plato. Dostoevsky was more an Aristotle.

    Then again, Dostoevsky was probably insane.

    Or, if I could steal a concept from Chesterton (and I always do), no matter how crazy Dostoevsky was, he was grounded by an understanding of human nature. No matter how sane Tolstoy’s religion was, it was unhinged by Reason detached from humanity, even though it claimed to be purely human.

  • Pinky, that was wonderfully put! Yes, Tolstoy was certainly platonic. Dostoevsky knew the human heart better and perhaps consequently saw the world with an aristotelian eye. I was unaware Dostoevsky was insane, though it would seem to be Tolstoyn would be the one to lose it of the two!

  • It seems the same people that want to write a million laws taxing, regulating, or banning nearly every thing concomitantly believe there is no such a thing (except disagreeing with them) is a sin.

    Is that irony, or what?

    Here it is. They hate God and the Church because God and the Church stand in their way.

7 Responses to CS Lewis on Prayer and Evolution

  • Then the song! Your song comes forth. Its a peace and joy that springs up and can not be contained. Its true that you can not give what you dont have, so the song that is inside you suddenly is realized and bursts out. When my conversion experience took place in 2000, I couldnt believe the talents that I have and then used to help share the message. Prison ministry, Elder care, and religious Ed all waiting for the song to sing.
    Prayer is communication with God. Thank you Jesus.

  • I am a huge fan of C. S Lewis and reference him often, including this soliloquy, lecture, sermonette, whatever you call it. I reference it because when bible discourse becomes bible discord, the the problem is often, I think, with time, as humans conceive it, and reconciling it with bible verse. My image is of a picture which represents an event, such as my life from beginning to end. We as humans can see only the point where we are, the point currently being painted. We can only remember, and that very imperfectly, the points of the picture already painted, and our future is the unpainted canvas. The end of our life represents the completion of the painting. Yet to God each point of color is available anytime he cares to see it. I don’t claim to be C. S. Lewis’ intellectual equal, but I like my analogy better than his.

    I really intended to make a technical point, which I can’t verify at the moment as my copy of MC momentarily available. In the paragraph where he returned to his main subject, you quoted:

    “I was pointing out last time that the Christian life is simply a process of having your natural self changed into a Christ self, and that this process goes on very far in time.”

    I believe that should be “very far inside.” Miner correction, but important to understanding. Within the context of the talk, that makes more sense, as he is switching from time/timelessness to human abdication of self to God, which happens very deep inside. My hearing is not good, but if you listen carefully I think you will agree.

    Pax

  • Thank you so much for the post. I’d really love to sit and read through the whole thing in one sitting and have my son read it too, but the red font–please take pity on our eyes.

    Thank you!

  • I agree. Red is bad. Can’t you do purple or something?

  • I will consider it, although I have been putting quoted materials in red for a very long time, probably because I find red on white easier to read than black on white. I might experiment with some shade of blue on white.

  • The blue works quite well. I would recommend it from now on.