December 04, 2007


yeayeayea...but does it smell like a new book...?- Fr. Philip O.P. commenting on Jeff Miller's problems with the new e-reader

I've long held that fake greenery is an abomination. Fake Christmas trees, for instance -- the contradiction of celebrating the birth of Christ by putting up a pseudo tree is ludicrous, which is something I tell myself every year while wrestling with our 3' wire 'n plastic abomination. - Mrs. Darwin of "Darwin Catholic"; this year she's going natural

After 35 years of agitprop, the basic cultural barometer reading on abortion is "Yeah, we should keep it legal, but everything about it is repulsive and we'd rather not look at it." - Mark Shea, via Terrence Berres

My instinctual intellectual reflex is not to offer a rejoinder, but to give the benefit of the doubt. I feel convinced by whatever I am reading or watching. Against my spiritual inclinations, I entertain the sinking suspicion that these secular stories and philosophies might be more accurate portrayals of the world than my own. At times, every other point of view—even Steinbeck’s, even Tarantino’s—seems more viable to me, like they know something I don’t know, like my Christian experience of the world has been too limited and maybe I should take their way of thinking into consideration. I think these thoughts, then pray against them. I pray without ceasing as I read books and watch movies because I feel I cannot resist the onslaught of their influence...I hope to one day be able to think through secular culture the way Schaeffer does, but for now I fear that secular culture is thinking through me. - Patton Dodd via Frederick of "Deep Furrows"

As blogger Hieromonk Maximos puts it: "The pope does not, of course, by this charism manufacture truth. He recognizes it."...Like so many truths, the teaching authority of the Church is descriptive rather than prescriptive. The emphasis is not on "You have to believe this, so get with the program." Instead, we are reassured that the Holy Spirit, who promised to be guardian and steward of Christ's body until the end, will reliably preserve that body from serious error that would send it off the rails into disaster. The teaching authority of the Church draws its nature from the promises of God, not the wisdom of men. - Roz of Exultet, on the doctrine of Papal Infallibility which is, as she said, much more nuanced than popular summaries make it

Felix typo alert: In the first reading from the Mass of Friday of the first week of Advent, the Prophet Isaiah (Is 29:17-24) says, "Out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blond shall see." Talk about old stereotypes! - Tom of Disputations

The whole duty of a writer is to please and satisfy himself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one. Let him start sniffing the air, or glancing at the Trend Machine, and he is as good as dead, although he may make a nice living. - Strunk & White, "The Elements of Style" via "Laudator Temporis Acti"

So I just turned off. All the things I like to do (primarily, reading and writing) were tossed aside. And you know what? It wasn’t bad. Someone once said it adds greatly to the leisure of life not to pick up a book every time you sit down. He’s right. My ongoing study of political philosophy? Phsaw, I have to clean the house. That book about the saints? Screw it, I have to drink beer. B16’s Jesus of Nazareth? Not when the kids are sleeping: that’s my sleeping time. Quite frankly, it was liberating. Mind damaging, yes, but liberating. I don’t know how happy I could be pursuing such a life all the time, but it makes me wonder if my time spent with books (which is seriously about 1/4th of what it used to be) is poorly spent. I suspect it’s a question of balance, but the balance is always elusive. - Eric Scheske

I covered a class that started watching Fiddler on the Roof today. One girl's reaction was almost immediate: this movie is aggressive. I answered, yes - tradition is aggressive. If you think tradition is passive and weak, this movie will make you see otherwise. - Frederick of Deep Furrows

To those of you who think religion is a self-delusion based on wish-fulfillment, all I can remark is that this religion does not fulfill my wishes. My wishes, if we are being honest, would run to polygamy, self-righteousness, vengeance and violence: a Viking religion would suit me better, or maybe something along Aztec lines. The Hall of Valhalla, where you feast all night and battle all day, or the paradise of the Mohammedans, where you have seventy-two dark-eyed virgins to abuse, fulfills more wishes of base creatures like me than any place where they neither marry nor are given in marriage. This turn-the-other cheek jazz might be based any number of psychological appeals or spiritual insights, but one thing it is not based on is wish-fulfillment. An absurd and difficult religion! If it were not true, no one would bother with it. - John C. Wright, via Julie Davis

While acknowledging that library rules forbid overt sexual conduct from patrons, the administrator insisted sexual arousal does not violate regulations: 'We offer lots of materials that patrons might use to arouse themselves; they range from romance novels to photographic works,' she writes. Even in context, this reads more like a recommendation than anything else. - Kevin Jones via Zippy

One of those things that makes me go hmmmm: When folks outside of Catholicism look at Catholics and characterize them as legalistic, pro forma spiritually dead pew slugs…...and then get their backs up when they encounter Catholics who are informed, enthusiastic and committed disciples. A similar dynamic: Secularists who condemn Christians for being all into it on Sundays and just like the rest of the world during the week….(Hypocrites…sniff.)...and then get their backs up when they encounter Christians who are informed, enthusiastic disciples who believe that faith isn’t just about Sundays. - Amy Welborn

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