December 27, 2005


In those days, when Caesar Augustus decided to tax the whole world, that the wealth of the nations might flow to him, the true Lord of the universe chose to give Himself to mankind, that the wealth of His grace might flow to the nations. Caesar’s decree went out with great pomp, pressed upon the world by his legions. The gift of almighty God came quietly in the night, though the stars in their courses and the legions of the heavenly angels could not be restrained from proclaiming it. Though His birthplace was chosen by the decree of a tyrant, He is the One before Whom all the tyrants of the earth will bow. The King comes as a spy; the Word comes as an infant. - Henry Dieterich of "Plumbline in the Wind"

We need to distinguish between those things which help us understand a mystery and the mystery itself. Without Limbo, we may not understand how God resolves the problem of the final destination of aborted babies for example-but it isn't critical to our salvation that we understand it. God takes care of these things for us. - Jim Curley of "Bethune Catholic"

Priests serve as icons of Christ and pastors to their flocks. It's not for nothing that an old adage teaches, "priests and bishops take a thousand of their flock with them to heaven or hell." For far too long, priestly formation has been influenced by the prevailing cultural zeitgeist, which these days is reflective of self-assertion and narcissism in all matters, sexuality included. In the wake of the church's latest instruction, many self-identified "gay priests" took to the airwaves to denounce it. Suffice it to say that a man who feels compelled to do such a thing on national television is putting the zeitgeist, not Christ, at the center of his identity. --Rich Leonardi of "Ten Reasons"

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Peter Howell, in his commentary (London, 1980) on book one of Martial (at 1.25.5), writes: "The idea of a benevolent deity waiting outside the house to be let in is both ancient and widespread." Howell doesn't mention Rev. 3.20, but he does cite some more or less apposite classical parallels. Here they are, with translations. Plautus, Aulularia 98-100 (tr. Robert Allison):
"No one's to enter, while I am away. These are my orders; if Good Fortune comes, please say I am not at home." Martial 1.25.5-6 (tr. anon. from Bohn's Classical Library): "Do you hesitate to admit Fame, who is standing before your door; and does it displease you to receive the reward of your labour?" Dio Cassius 64.1.2 (tr. Earnest Cary) repeats the story of Galba: "For it seemed to him in a vision that Fortune told him that she had now remained by him for a long time, yet no one would grant her admission into his house, and that, if she should be barred out much longer, she would take up her abode with somebody else." - some long Latin name'd blog (oh, yeah, "Laudator Temporis Acti")

I think I’d rather hang out with a gang of aggressive homosexuals than with these people. I can think of many reasons to abstain from alcohol altogether–a zealous pursuit of high holiness is among them, depending on the person. But don’t abstain to give yourself the competitive edge, to further your ambition, to make yourself a hard body, whatever. That’s just nauseating. Give me the company of a simple and humble drunk for an evening before forcing me to have dinner with one of these self-obsessed folks. - Eric Scheske on group who forswears alcohol in pursuit of fitness goals

We could say the same of us Catholics, who ran to rip the corpus off the crucifix because, you know, we are an Easter People, forgetting that Good Friday awaits all of us, no matter how much we would like to deny it. - Amy Welborn

The more one drones on about how orderly, complex, and intelligently designed all things are, the more one has to ignore the obvious absurdity and violence in this beautifully synchronized garden. Indeed, ‘Intelligent Design’ is really the latest manifestation of that quaint, eighteenth century species of degenerate Christianity known as Deism, and it therefore has a peculiar quality - I have yet to hear an ID argument that doesn’t inevitably lead to the dead end of theodicy. - Thomas of "Endlessly Rocking"

One of the saddest things a good Catholic friend said to me last week was that he did not pray as often as before because it did not make him feel good anymore and he was not getting anything out of it ... I told him that was an indication that he needed to pray all the more. All too often our consumerist mentalities reduce God to a commodity -- we "buy into" Him if it makes us feel good, if we can gain something from Him, if He or Church is "relevant" ... And yet, God, who is wholly Other, is God. He may not be reduced to a commodity, traded on feelings. - "Contemplata aliis Tradere" via Julie of "Happy Catholic" I think

My love for [C.S.] Lewis covers a multitude of sins and love for the Catholic faith supplies what is wanting in the various odd expectations and fears that surround the release of the film. It is, at bottom, a corking good story that has nourished people's souls for 50 years. It's certainly done me good on more than one ocassion and I look forward to it. As a Catholic, I'm comfy with Lewis habit of talking about Christ in pictures rather than abstractions like "justification by faith". As a non-Pacifist, I don't much sweat the idea of portraying Yahweh Sabaoth as a God of Armies in the battle with principalities and powers. As somebody who hold the shallow self-regard of the Chattering Classes in contempt, I have no problem with Lewis' clear Christian faith. As a non-tribal Catholic, I have no problem with benefiting from Christian writers who aren't part of the Tribe (though Lewis is a profoundly Catholic thinker). And, finally, I'm not much troubled by the failure of the Chronicles of Narnia to map perfectly to Catholic soteriology, Christology, and ecclesiology. - Mark Shea

I prefer the depictions of Heaven in Catholic art: the martyrs in red, the virgins in white, the Benedictines in black, the Franciscans in brown, the kings in purple, the beggars in gold . . . and crowns, palms, flowers and more "accessories" than you could possibly imagine just so no two saints end up looking alike. In two words: colour and variety. A new creation. What a sight! Let Hollywood's red carpet fashionistas eat their hearts out: "But if at the Oscars Versace, Vera Wang and Donna Karan so clothe the stars who are hot today and who are featured in E! True Hollywood Story tomorrow, how much more will the Heavenly Father clothe you, people of little grace?" - Sancta Sanctis

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