March 28, 2017

The Last Apologist

I feel moved by the plight of one Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong. He's kind of like a rugged individualist out there trying to make a living on his own, without the carapace of a Catholic Answers (not that they're doing that well) or an EWTN. He rides alone, like that lone cowboy, only the world has no more demand for cowboys. He points out the sweet spot in apologetics was 1995-2005 and indeed that was the hot time. Who knew there were boom and bust cycles in apologetics? He says there's a bust now because people care little for truth and much for relativism, and that could be true.

I'm trying to figure why the 1995-2005 years were good. I think it's because a generation of Catholics - the '70s and '80s kids like me - grew up without apologetics whatsoever in the unlikely quest to ignore religious differences for kumbaya purposes - so then we all got hooked on this new, amazing thing, like how the Bible isn't anti-Catholic after all. But then the bust happened, perhaps because kids today get enough apologetics in (chastened) Catholic schools or because we're already going to hell in a hand basket and there's no thirst for truth period.

He needs $7,000 and he's at $865. I contributed $60, which seems lame but the problem is that it's hard to discern if my contributing more would be contributing to him being where God doesn't want him to be. I can't tell how effective he is, and if you're not effective is that what God really wants you to do? Maybe so; our God is not the god of efficiency, to put it mildly. I could try to be heroic, a chivalric romantic gesture that is appealing (as many a lost cause is), but would it only defer the inevitable?  The thing about giving is it seems like you have to discern what God discerns for the recipient. 

March 14, 2017

Zmirak's Recipe for the Contraception Issue

Interesting to read John Zmirak's article contra the Benedict option and supporting courting existing Catholics starting with the nettlesome issue of the ban on artificial birth control: 
What’s the answer to all of this? We need that other 95 percent. And given that the key issue on which most dissent hinges today is contraception, we need to do a much better job conveying the Church’s position to ordinary people. 
It’s a hard sell already, because the argument hinges on rediscovering and accepting that there is teleology in nature – that bodies and organs have purposes, not merely “functions” dictated by evolution. But that argument can be made, and we might start by boning up on how teleology and what Aristotle called “final causes” pervade the natural world. (For the best arguments on this subject, see Edward Feser’s The Last Superstition.) 
Next we can show people how, without some notion of natural law, we cannot make the case for human rights – much less for legal rights, or filigrees like anti-discrimination laws. (The best introduction to natural law is J. Budziszewski’s What We Can’t Not Know.) 
Finally, we can point to the miserable outcomes produced for children by parents who treat their sexual powers as toys in a selfish game of utilitarian hedonism. The statistics on children of divorce and of single parents are eloquent on that topic, and Charles Murray summarizes it concisely in Coming Apart

March 09, 2017

Filipino Scammer Poetry

I thought Nigerian scammers were mostly Nigerian but alack it's migrated even to the Philippines.

I decided to add line breaks to the missive for poetical purposes.  All words are shown exactly as they appear in the original email; a masterpiece of the genre, if you ask me.

Late Former 
--by Mrs Villaran Nenita
I am Mrs Villaran Nenita
a Filipino by nationality
widow to the late former
minister of finance.

I inherited a total sum of $6.Million
        - American dollars! -
from my late husband, the money
was concealed in a metallic trunk
box and deposited with a security
and finance company in abroad.

That was because I needed
a maximum security/safety
of my trunk box and no body
nor government organization
can trace the where
about of the money
until I am ready
and prepare to claim it.

The Security company didn't know
the real content of the box
because it was deposited by my late
husband as a family valuables.

I will send to you the Authorization
certificate to call
the security company
in my next mail
which is the Certificate
Of deposit

Kindly reply.

March 06, 2017

Extraordinary Form

Read a series of rich Amy Welborn posts on the new Vatican II liturgical setup where we are "parachuted into Lent". Good turn of phrase. In the old days, for a thousand years, we were prepared for Lent by three weeks of semi-penitential season to help us focus so that Ash Wednesday isn't such a rude surprise. I definitely feel like I should be in better shape for Ash Wed given that the day feels almost like a solemnity given the fasting and ashes.

It tempted me to want to buy The Liturgical Year but it's a 13-volume set, a priest's life work. I'm awed that someone could write thirteen books on the liturgical seasons - one, I believe, on Septuagesima Sunday alone (a Sunday I'd never heard of till this year). The fellow must've had quite a love for liturgy.

The wondrous, timeless liturgy at Holy Family on Sunday was just what the Great Physician ordered: inspiring, challenging and consoling all at the same time. Wondrous music. No wonder Antonin Scalia liked it so much. And I'm really liking the priest there at HF. They have a gem.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is actually a sacrifice at Holy Family: when the priests lifts the chalice in the new mass, it's a gesture akin to a toast. But with the simple reorientation of the priest towards the altar, the gesture becomes physically what it signifies: an offering of the Son to the Father. There's a deep satisfaction in seeing symbol line up with reality. And since we're body and soul, not just soul, that satisfaction makes perfect sense. The Incarnation is in some ways the secret to everything.
So it was an hour and a half liturgy and it felt like 20 minutes. Utterly amazing. And I so love my '62 Missal. Likely the most beautiful book I've ever owned.
Mesmerizing temptation scene in the desert. So much to meditate on, like how Satan said the angels would protect Jesus if he cast himself down and after Jesus said no, the angels came anyway. Also interesting how the Spirit, not Jesus making the decision on his own, led him to the desert for the 40-day fast.

March 01, 2017

Trump's My New Guilty Pleasure

I relish Trump skipping events that other GOP officeholders would take as an immutable facts of life: like getting abused at the White House Correspondents' dinner (often a commercial for liberalism given comedians and media are left-wing).

And how Trump disinvited the unhallowed NY Times to a press conference.

And how Trump doesn't allow Democrat human shields like Rep. John Lewis to deter him from criticizing them.

I think it never occurred to other GOP'rs mainly because they have a case of Stockholm Syndrome and have grown accustomed to being abused by their media captors.

Trump reminds me of Howard Cosell's book title: "I Never Played the Game"; it's remarkable to see an officeholder so unbeholden to the press, having won without them. At least unbeholden until of late when his approval numbers have taken a hit.

It's also remarkable to actually feel like Trump the billionaire is an underdog (and America loves an underdog) given how unfairly the press has treated him. The lack of restraint that Trump generally shows is more than matched by the mainstream press -- except they flood the airwaves more than he can flood the Twitterverse.

And I'm thrilled with his cabinet picks, SCOTUS pick, Mexico City policy, Keystone, etc...


Yes to what Jonah Goldberg says here:
One of the things the mainstream media doesn’t seem to fully appreciate is that just because Trump isn’t having a honeymoon with the press, the Democrats, or a good chunk of independent voters, that doesn’t mean he’s not having a very real honeymoon with Republicans. They want him to succeed and they want his “enemies” not just to lose, but to be humiliated (hence the popularity of Milo in some corners, and a chunk of my least friendly e-mail). 
Indeed, I think there’s good reason to believe that the honeymoon is more intense precisely because Trump is under such a sustained assault. Something similar happened under George W. Bush when the Left lost its collective mind and did everything it could to undermine a wartime president. Conservatives — me included — out of a sense of both loyalty and anger rallied to Bush and had a tendency to overlook certain foibles and mistakes for the greater good. We may not be at war — at least not like we were in, say, 2005 — but the Left and the media are clearly at war with Trump. And because Trump often makes it difficult for his allies to defend him on ideologically or politically consistent terms, the attachment is often more emotional than rational.