Nibbling at News & Adoring

Did I happen to mention that things are absurdly busy around here? I’m having a great deal of difficulty keeping up. I want very much to respond to Rick, and his comments in this thread, and I also have other things I want to write, including a review of a terrific book you need to buy, but today is going to be “one of those days” – not least because I have an opportunity to go to Adoration this afternoon and I won’t miss it, but it will eat up lots of hours.

I have to say that since my retreat, and in the subsequent days of prayer, what I am coming to see is that Christianity, and in particular the Roman Catholic Church is the centering pole of the world; diminish the teachings of Christ, and the whole world is diminished. Knock down the pole, and the whole tent collapses on top of us, and we are left buried under a formless weight of fabrication, smothered and blinded by it all.

For this reason, I am hoping and praying that this blog can refocus itself as a tool of integration, a means of bringing the Catholic perspective more fully focused on the times, rather than simply going off on political rants. Political rants are good, and they’re fun, but they are weightier and I think more meaningful, when viewed from the foot of the cross.

But while I’m at Adoration, here are a few interesting things you may want to nibble at.

Is Jesus the Messiah? Spengler wonders about it:

So where does the generally held claim that Jesus “was the messiah” arise? The “spiritualized” Christ was the standard view through the Protestant confessions. So when does it become “de-spiritualized”? The short answer appears to be in English empiricism, beginning with Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

Jesus the Buddhist: I see it alleged from time-to-time that Jesus’ “lost” years were spent studying Buddhism. This lady addresses the notion, and I’m figuring our friend Joseph, who finds me pernicious, lately, will enjoy discussing it. None of it is really new, though.

Why America needs Thomas Aquinas:
Fr. Robert Barron writes:

Thomas Aquinas was a deep humanist, precisely because he was a Christian. He saw that since God became human in Christ, the destiny of the human being is divinization, participation in the inner life of God. No other religion or philosophy or social theory has ever held out so exalted a sense of human dignity and purpose. And this is why, Aquinas intuited, there is something inviolable about the human person. How indispensably important that teaching is in our era of stem-cell research, euthanasia, legalized abortion, and pre-emptive war, practices that turn persons into means.

Thomas’s bones lie in that golden casket in Toulouse, but his mind and his spirit, thank God, still inform the counter-cultural voice of the church

Obamacare: Building on the Aquinas idea, I link you to Wesley J. Smith says of O-care, it’s “all about rationing”. He also presents evidence that end-of-life counseling could be directed toward death. You think? And on your own dime, too.

The VA Death Book: So much for dignity. It seems that the Deatheaters are hungry, hungry.

Deatheater resistance: That would be the 51% of Americans who say they are pro-life.

Speaking of Life: Before the 2000 elections, Pope John Paul II went to Mexico City and named Our Lady of Guadalupe the “Patroness of the Americas” and the “Patroness of the Unborn.” Back in March, Hillary Clinton, visiting the Basilica, was shown the 478 year-old tilma of Juan Diago, on which the image the Guadalupe appears, and told the Mexicans, “you have a marvelous virgin.” Now, a report that science cannot explain the image of Guadalupe:

Dr. Orozco then discussed the Tilma’s fabric. He noted that “one of the most bizarre characteristics of the cloth is that the back side is rough and coarse, but the front side is ‘as soft as the most pure silk, as noted by painters and scientists in 1666, and confirmed one century later in 1751 by the Mexican painter, Miguel Cabrera.”

The Art of Manliness:
How to apologize like a man…good read for all sexes. “Social constructs” or not, what we used to refer to as “manly” values (before political correctness hushed our mouths) were values that worked, they created useful boundaries and rules that -when followed- allowed people to keep their heads up in dignity.

O Magnum Mysterium: How a 17th century still-life inspired a 20th century choral piece, both exploring the mystery of the Incarnation. This is a great piece, don’t miss it. H/T to American Digest.

“I will not be silenced!”:
Angry priest fights for women’s ordination; angry nun (of whom I have written previously) is somewhat more nuanced. Both redefining “violence” and “humility” along the way.

Africa and George W. Bush: Rewards in heaven, pally, not on earth.

MadMen and Ann-Margaret: Fr. James Martin discusses last night’s episode. I don’t watch the show, but I know many do, and his piece is interesting.

Julie and Julia: Bookworm is tired of Hollywood’s gratiutous insults, while Deacon Greg found the film to be a homily about how humanity co-operates with acts of creation. I’ll wait for the video, I think.

Speaking of video: Robert Cheeks reviews Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto and desides he likes it a lot. I liked it very much, too, although it was not easy viewing.

She always wanted to live in a theater or a church: She chose to buy an unused church because, “…you see, a theater is frightening at night.”

I wouldn’t mind rescuing an old church and renovating it into a home. But I can’t even afford to rescue these church-goods from ebay! I want this for my Oratory! :-)

I’m off to Adoration. Time and matters will all collide in the fullness of time. Till then, Don’t stop believing!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Bender

    Thomas is good.
    Augustine is better.

  • dry valleys

    Surely anyone who truly was a man wouldn’t need to read blogs on “the art of manliness”, he’d just get on with it?

    Your link on about “a terrific book you need to buy” doesn’t work, regrettably- I actually were going to click on it!

    On about Bush. Didn’t his action in Africa go against what “fiscal conservatives” & “libertarians” say about the a) efficiency & b) morality of government spending?

    Not to mention that a case is being made against the efficacy of aid- you’d be very surprised how seriously this is taken, including on the left, with me as one of the leftists who are at least open to persuasion on the matter.

    The author expected to be held down but she got a polite reception &, at worst, reasoned disagreement. There are few with an emotional attatchment to aid. If we are going to have aid I think it should be geared towards education, infrastructure, & yes family planning.

    We can’t just have wishful thinking that the population of the world can go on rising without consequence- when so many babies being born will have short, miserable lives it is better for effective contraception to be used even if the Vatican & the Islamists aren’t down with it.

    While capitalist prosperity does eventually make people reduce their own fertility rates (it happened to us, remmeber) so I don’t think there’s a need for any kind of “one child policy”- though a surprising number of Third World States such as Iran are trying to curb their population growth- there is a right need for a proper infrastructure before this can happen.

    Worthy of note is that one of my favourite right-wing blogs, Conservative Home, has endorsed the official party policy of maintaining spending on aid- the site’s runner is an evangelical Christian & supports aid for much the same reasons as you do. I s’pect you’ll find few on the right prepared to agree with you- best get ready for being called a RINO :)

    Oh, & do you know what else is the main Conservative priority? It’s your old enemy the NHS. Now even I don’t think it should be immune from cuts, & I’m supposed to be on the left, but I have a healthy scepticism about it.

    My rage at Hannan & his pals, whom I have my own reasons for hating, is expressed in a way that obscures the fact I’m no blind defender of the current arrangement. But I don’t think Obamacare resembles what we have, nor do I think it should resemble it.

    I am proper interested in what new direction you’ll be taking. I’ll probably still be wafting by every now & then- always drawn back somehow.

    [I have been called a RINO many times and that doesn't bother me since I'm not a Republican. I've also had my head pushed into the toilet many times by Catholics who think I'm not a good enough Catholic, but then again, they have issues with the pope, too! :-) - admin]

  • dry valleys

    Comment has completely vanished.

    It is a shame because it were quite a good one!

  • Bender

    I liked [Apocalypto] very much, too, although it was not easy viewing.

    The sacrifice scenes were tough, but because of the historical distance, they were really more shocking than hard to take.

    On the other hand, The Stoning of Soraya M., because of the contemporary setting, because such things are happening TODAY, that was much, much harder to watch. You wanted to turn away, and had to force yourself to watch.

  • Bender

    Meanwhile, how every CIA/intelligence briefing to the President, executive officials, members of Congress, and congressional staff will go from now on, starting tomorrow –

    Person being briefed: “Please give me your intelligence briefing now.”
    CIA/intelligence officer: “I refuse to answer and hereby assert my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination on the grounds that you might have me prosecuted for doing my job.”

  • Joseph Marshall

    Jesus the Buddhist? The notion is so off the wall that it’s hard to even refute. Serious Buddhist “study” as opposed to meditation practices is the job of full time monastics–who take 272 separate vows and lead a communal life that has its own very distinct culture–and always has been. It requires learning literally thousands of lines of Buddhist texts by heart and testing your interpretations in public debate.

    There is no sign of any of this in the Gospels.

    Jesus was clearly well-versed in the Judaism of his day and I believe that some of his followers actually addressed him as rabbi. This was not likely to be merely a courtesy title. Later Jewish tradition at least, involved teaching budding scholars a skilled trade, like carpentry, to be able to make a living.

    We know that at the start of his ministry, he hung out with marginalized religious figures like John the Baptist rather than the citified and the worldly. And I think it likely that he spent some time with one of the fringe communities such as the Essenes.

    But the mere fact that nothing was recorded about him between 12 and 30 may simply mean that he spent those years in carpentry in Nazareth and in study with the local rabbis of that town, who themselves may have studied with the Essenes and taught similar doctrines in whatever small village they may have happened to live.

    The years of adolescence and the decade that follows are usually years of planting the seeds of growth rather than harvesting the fruits and it may very well be that Jesus simply did nothing particularly noteworthy during those years for the Gospels to record. In fact, given the stir he created afterward–which appears to have taken everybody by surprise–it is highly likely that he did nothing exceptional during them.

    He clearly studied, but there is no reason to believe that he studied anywhere but Judea.

  • Sally Thomas

    I think I’d find it scarier to live in a church than a theater. Or sadder. I could deal with scary far more than I could deal with sad.

    My favorite house in our old neighborhood in Salt Lake City was a converted fire station. THAT I could deal with: neither scary nor sad, and wouldn’t my kids love sliding down the pole!

  • Joe

    Dear “A”

    There is a wonderful book published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood: MY WAY OF LIFE– My Way of Life is the pocket edition of St. Thomas Aquinas’ The Summa simplified for the everyday reading.

    Here is the website scroll down to My Way OF LIFE

  • Joe

    Dear “A”

    A wonderful rendition by Johhny Cash and the Carter family: Were You There When They Crucified My Lord”

  • lois in Indy

    Did you mean to link to Deacon Greg’s 2008 post re Fr. Bourgeois or to the current one? lois

    [Thanks for the heads up - I'll correct - I've had a very tiring few days! :-) -admin]

  • Bender

    it is better for effective contraception to be used even if the Vatican & the Islamists aren’t down with it

    How about we actually respect the people of Africa and provide authentic assistance — true “caritas” — rather than simply throw condoms at them? Especially when Africans themselves repeatedly tell the West that they don’t want the condoms.

    Rather than contraceptive imperialism, treating Africans like backwards brown children, why don’t we pursue “a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual and human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another”? Indeed, that is something that is greatly needed here in the West too.

  • dick

    After reading some of those comments on the Bush link I really wonder how he kept on doing the good he did. He sent medicine to those dying in Africa, he sent DDT and mosquito nets to help stamp out malaria – and the liberals all complain that he was not conservative enough in what he was doing and the conservatives all complain that he should have waited for the public to step forward and do something. He started it but who stepped forward. He did a tremendous amount of good and both ends of the spectrum kick him in the g*n*ds. The man really had to believe in what he was doing to keep on with it despite all those who mocked him. I bet those who get the medicine and who get the DDT and mosquite nets so that their families do not get sick will bless him in the future if they are ever told where it all came from. I know that Bob Geldorf knows what Bush did and appreciates it. We all should.

  • dry valleys

    You mean like these Africans, then? (not safe for work).

    I actually think the ordinary people of Africa, like those in Iran, Afghanistan, or anywhere else, are essentially little different from us. They will respond to capitalist prosperity & the modern world- indeed, there is evidence that women in sub-Saharan Africa are already doing so.

    I actually would like it if people pursued happiness in loving, monogamous relationships (be they homo- or heterosexual). I actually think that is what people want. Now, there are more than enough signs that people want to be educated- look, for example, at these women & girls in Afgahnistan who shame us all by finding the courage to defy the Taliban & attend schools.

    With specific regards to AIDS, an education programme might just make people sceptical about the deranged, & downright murderous, attitude of certain “governments” in the region, most notably South Africa & them. It might also diminish the promiscuity often found in those regions, as people come to see that it isn’t very wise to go round having unprotected sex & the infected are probably best kept away from altogether.

    There is in fact little difference I can discern between the “left” & the “right” on this matter.

    Incidentally, what do people on this site make of things like “fair trade”? I see that there are sceptics, but I still give qualified support as it is a way to ensure that people are given a reasonable price which isn’t distorted by the machinations of those corporations which, for example, are running farmers into the ground by paying them to little for them to make a reasonable living. Someone must pay for cheap food, & if it isn’t us it will be the world’s poor.

    At a later date, they will have in place the infrastructure which will allow many to leave the land & become more prosperous.

    But again, I discern the religious & the secular having a wider divergence than the “left” & the “right”.

  • Maureen

    Re: Bookworm’s comments on Julia movie –

    Actually, all the things she complains about are straight out of the two books involved. Julia Child pretty clearly had major issues with her dad, although it’s possible her nephew wrote him worse than he was, and her mom and stepmom were apparently not much reminisced about. Child’s husband cursed a lot. Julie the blogger had major issues about working with Republicans, talking to Middle Americans, and had some weird winky relationship with her Democrat sub-boss. (Said Democrat sounded like a real creep, regardless of party. Like somebody who wanted to be Alex P. Keaton or Ferris Buehler, but couldn’t pull it off. Creepy.)

    To be fair, working on any Ground Zero job would drive you mad, and working on a memorial boondoggle that will probably never be built is even worse. I wouldn’t want to work archives at the Holocaust Museum. It was rough enough working a regular museum when relatives of the honored dead showed up.

  • tim maguire

    Ever since I first saw Alice’s Restaurant, I’ve wanted to live in a church. Probably never will, though.

  • Craig Payne

    Augustine is a better writer, granted, and much more interesting as a person.

    But better as a theologian? Than Aquinas?

  • Dale Osborn

    Is Jesus the Messiah?

    To put it in simple theological terms: “Well, DUH!”

  • Renee P


    O magnum mysterium
    et admirabile sacramentum,
    ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
    jacentem in præsepio.

    Beata virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt
    portare Dominum Christum, Alleluia!