May 20, 2008


Arguing that Mary isn't important, only Jesus is important, is incarnational nonsense. It assumes that what is contingent is irrelevant. But everything is contingent: not just the person who happened to give birth to the Son of God, but also the very fact that the Son of God was born. Our salvation, our Church, our Bible are all contingent on God's grace. Arguing Mary's irrelevance from Jesus' importance is just as sound as arguing Revelation's irrelevance from His importance. I worry somewhat that, when it comes to talking of Mary, we [American Catholics who talk of Mary] think relatively too much in terms of apologetics, of intellectual acceptance of enumerated dogmas, and relatively not enough in terms of mystagogy, of living a life in communion with the person who is the subject of those dogmas. - Tom of Disputations

What does puzzle that there are intelligent and well-educated Catholics (like those, I presume, serving on Senator Obama's Advisory Council) who say that they agree with the Church on abortion, yet support a pro-abortion candidate (Senator Obama) for president. How can a sane person who has reached the age of reason believe on the one hand that abortion is unwarranted homicide, yet on the other support a presidential candidate who makes no secret of the fact that he wants to protect and even extend this homicide "right"? Unless you are a moral monster, you can't possibly hold these two things at once, for they contradict one another. It is psychologically impossible both to agree with the Catholic teaching on abortion and to support a pro-abortion candidate for president. - Inside Catholic

Castrated my first goat yesterday. - Jim of "Bethune Catholic", vying for the most unusual first line of a blog post, as well as the line most likely to induce cringing in male readers.

If Eliot Spitzer's recent experiences are any indicator, you can't afford my evening rate. - Mrs. Darwin commenting to Mr. Darwin, on a post concerning financial compensation stay-at-home mothers would command in the marketplace.

Most [Republican] party leaders in Washington are stupid – detached, played out, stuck in the wisdom they learned when they were coming up, in '78 or '82 or '94. Whatever they learned then, they think pertains now. In politics especially, the first lesson sticks. For Richard Nixon, everything came back to Alger Hiss. They are also – Hill leaders, lobbyists, party speakers – successful, well-connected, busy and rich. They never guessed, back in '86, how government would pay off!.. But affluence detaches, and in time skews thinking. It gives you the illusion you're safe, and that everyone else is. A party can lose its gut this way. - Peggy Noonan

Hollywood's Variety refers to the comedy "Harold and Kumar" as "the stoner's irreverent look at Guantanamo Bay", but the word irreverent is redundant. It is difficult to imagine a stoner viewing anything with reverence unless we are talking about the normal depraved values of wine, women, and song. Not that those values don't have their place (I am not judging them for values I have held dear at various stages of my life.) but they certainly are not relevant starting places for broadside attacks on critical national defense policies... I love Art. I have even found an appreciation for Art that contains messages and values I disagree strongly with. But Art does not provide the slightest toe-hold upon the cliff of political policy. The society that relies on Art for political direction has already fallen to the rocks below and is experiencing the final disconnected thoughts as they flit through a disintegrating mind. - Social Engineer

The other day, in speaking about the employees of the company to the senior management team, the great body of us were referred to as "commodities." We've been reduced from resources, to capital, to commodities--the title deflation not ceasing for a moment in its lockstep downward turn. When I shared this with a friend he remarked, "Isn't it interesting how corporations have attained personhood and people have become commodities."….When speaking about forthcoming layoffs, they were referred to as "tweaks, nothing that you would even notice if circumstances were different."...Linda's response was, "Well, that will look so much better on a resume. You can say that you were 'tweaked' rather than laid off." - Steven of Flos Carmeli

Quarry rock with razors, or moor a vessel with a thread of silk, then you may hope with such keen and delicate instruments as human knowledge and human reason to contend against those giants, the passion and pride of man...It is as absurd to argue men, as to torture them, into believing. - Ven. John Henry Newman

The majority of the Church's "wealth" is tied up in real estate and in art work. These assets are "public wealth." They are open for all to visit and see, much like a public museum. There is a Church in Montreal that has beautiful art, (St. Joseph's Oratory) I walked in off the street because it was open to the public. I wasn't a Catholic. I lay in front of the Cross and gave my life to the Lord Jesus. - David MacDonald, owner of website

While Tolkien’s works are vast and grave, Lewis’s Narnia stories feel unaffected, sympathetic, homey. If in The Lord of the Rings someone is always swinging an axe at the head of a monster, in The Chronicles of Narnia he is getting out of the rain, warming up by the fire, and having some tea and biscuits. I think that Lewis had a better knack for storytelling than Tolkien did. - Frederica Mathewes-Green

Tolkien disliked allegory so intensely because he felt it was too didactic. It leaves no possibility that any other levels of meaning in the work could exist. Tolkien understood the artist, created in God's image, to be a "sub-creator" -- producing a work of the imagination that functioned best when it followed God's own complex action of creation. To do this most successfully, a complete alternative world had to be created in which the work of redemption could be played out within its own consistent and logical constraints. It was not enough to create a world with symbolic pointers to Jesus Christ and the cross; that world would have to have a whole history and unique inner dynamic that would incarnate the universal truths in a totally fresh way. The difference between Narnia and Middle Earth points to the underlying difference between the imagination of Lewis the Protestant and Tolkien the Catholic. For the Protestant, truth is essentially dialectical. It consists of abstract propositions to be stated, argued, and affirmed or denied. For the Catholic, Truth, while it may be argued dialectically, is essentially something not to be argued but experienced. The Truth is always linked with the mystery of the incarnation, and is therefore something to be encountered. Many Protestants will argue, for instance, that God's primary revelation is Sacred Scripture, while Catholics maintain that God's primary revelation is Jesus Christ. That Lewis produced works that were profound, worthy, and beautiful, but less than fully incarnational, while Tolkien produced a masterpiece that incarnated the same truths in a complete, subtle, and mysterious way reflects the deeper theological differences that remained between the two men. - Rev. Dwight Longenecker on "Inside Catholic"

If [the Holy Spirit] can appear as tongues of fire over the heads of the Apostles, why not go ahead and do the same over everyone's head? We can answer such questions in a more or less convincing fashion, but whatever we come up with, we're still left with the fact that this is how the Holy Spirit prefers to operate. That is, we're still left praying that the Holy Spirit continue to work in the world through our own hearts, even in Ordinary Time. - Tom of Disputations

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