Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In recognition of 'Halloween' traditions:

American Traditions

In Japan, the American Tradition has become a 'new' holiday

Elsewhere: A more traditional approach is maintained

FolkLore in Louisiana

Mexico's Día de los Muertos
Common Misconceptions About the Day of the Dead Celebrations

Mayans bring out dead in intimate graveyard rite

Spain's La Castañada

In the Philippines Araw ng mga Patay

In Peru

In Sweden Sea of lanterns shine for the departed

In Poland

Note: All Saint's Day is a Holy Day of Obligation

Mirror test implies elephants self-aware

If you truly believe marriage is sacred, make it so

Pope's November prayer intentions

US bishops submit plan to Sec. Rice in effort to protect Christians in Iraq

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

At the heart of Catholicism lies God's Self revelation. The Trinity is a view into God's own most intimate nature. I am often surprised by the argument that the Trinity refutes the idea of the Oneness of God. This Oneness is an indispensable reality of God but it is also an exterior understanding of God. The Trinity, on the other hand, is an expression of God's experiential nature. That is one of the reasons why it is such a difficult concept to wrap our minds around. Yet the little that we can comprehend of the Triune Mystery leaves one saying 'Of Course'

God is the Absolute spiritual Being. He has no constituent parts. His Oneness is His most defining quality This Oneness is the expression of the indivisible nature of spiritual entities. A spirit by definition is intellect (or perhaps we prefer the word - sentience) and volition - Knowing and Willing . A spirit has no constituent parts and is thus indivisible. This is as true of God as it is of lesser spiritual entities. The difference is one of degree. God's knowledge is Absolute and His Will is Absolute.

God's knows Himself fully and utterly and eternally. His knowledge is so absolute that it exists as completely as His essential Being. It differs from God only in its source of origin. It is the complete realization of God Himself. In its completeness and quality of absoluteness, it fully personifies the Truth of God. This knowledge of God leads inevitably to a complete and utter affirmation of God. God's own Being and His own Knowledge of His Being can be expressed only in an absolute affirmation of God. This affirmation is fully realized in the Third Person of the Trinity. It can be distinguished from the Being and the Truth of that Being in only one regard. As the Truth of God springs from the Sentience natural to God, the Affirmation springs from the Volitional Nature of God. The three Persons of God are truly indistinguishable except in origin.

The Triune God is the God of Life, Truth and Love. These are not mere attributes of God. They are definitional. God is Life. He is fully and absolutely alive to such a degree that His Life begets the full Personhood of His Affirmative Self-Knowledge. God IS. God's awareness is the awareness of all that is true, because it is the complete awareness of God Himself. If this awareness were in any way less than God, then God Himself would necessarily be less than Absolute. The same is true of God's volitional Response.
The true God, definitionally, must be Triune or He fails be the Absolute God.

How one can argue that God's Self-Knowledge is less than the Reality of God's Being or that God's Self-Affirmation is less than a complete and absolute Affirmation of His Being is a mystery of man's limitation.

+ Ad majorem dei gloriam +

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Oriana Fallaci has left most of her books and notes to a pontifical university in Rome because of her admiration for Pope Benedict XVI.
"the pope has said we must live in the world as if God existed and she (Fallaci) took up the challenge."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ever since I said that I wanted to begin a dialogue on culture, I've been feeling rather tongue-tied. I wonder if people realize how difficult it is to talk across the chasm between cultures.

I remember my own approach to Catholicism.How easy it was to discuss the concerns and considerations that I had with my secular friends. Even in conversations with my Catholic friends, it seemed as if we were on the same wavelength, sharing a similar perspective and a common vocabulary.

Somewhere along the way, however, the conversations dwindled. There were places I was exploring for which I didn't yet have words. When the words returned, they meant something different.. They were useless in talking across the chasm that had opened between who I had been and who I was becoming.

At the same time, my conversations with other Catholics were suddenly enriched with a deeper affiliation and a different emphasis. They moved from intellectual forays to spiritual explorations. As my experience deepened, Catholics stopped agreeing with me with formal and respectful acknowledgements. Instead, they would merely grin knowingly and say: Of Course!

I would share the most significant insights of my life, begin to explain the most profound changes in my understanding. Then my listener would smile and nod and affirm 'Of Course". If I assumed that I wasn't quite making my point, the listener would give me a Catholicism 101 rundown on the subject that completely summarized my brilliance.

I had moved from the world of the one-eyed to the world of normal Catholic vision. I was enthralled by a world that cradle Catholics simply took for granted. They delighted in that world but they knew it intimately and the most they had to say about it was 'Of Course'. These were the truths and a way of being in the world that my friends had never renounced and that I barely remembered.

Eventually, I too came to accept this worldview as normative rather than awe-inspiring. And once again, I could comfortably talk across the distance that separates Catholicism from modernism. I learned to communicate with non-Catholics as one learns a foreign language, adapting my thoughts and my arguments to the limits of an alien tongue.

My problem today is similar to that initial experience. It isn't that I lack the words or the love. But it does seem that the world is vastly ignorant of Catholicism itself. Most people don't seem to realize that Catholicism and the West don’t share the same backstory. Nor do they realize that any true cultural exchange must begin by summarizing the distinctiveness of our different traditions. Finally, it sometimes seems that, sharing a common language causes a greater misunderstanding than necessary. We use the same language so differently, often expressing very different concepts with a single word. Perhaps, if we knew from the beginning that our words themselves need to be defined, it might save the misunderstandings that often underlie our facile agreements.

I think that I am most grateful for the ruckus over the Pope's address, because it finally provides a framework for discussing our differences as well as our similarities. Over time (and I won't be posting every day}, I do hope to lay out some of those characteristics of Catholic culture that distinquish us, and also some of those characteristics of Catholic culture that bridge the divide between the various cultures that share our globe.

+ Ad maiorem dei gloriam +

A barbaric kind of beauty

I think that this is lovely:
Former abortion clinic ‘resurrected’ as Catholic chapel

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I didn't blog on the original controversy but I thought that this was an interesting follow-up.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"...there remains one elephantine aspect of the offending late 14th century exchange between the Byzantine ruler Manuel II Paleologus and his learned Muslim interlocutor..."

Catholic world to re-appropriate itself of its roots and identity

Jesus calls his disciples and collaborators from the most diverse social and religious groups," the pope said. "He is interested in people, not social categories or labels."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The furor over what Pope Benedict XVI supposedly said is another example of, not anti-Islamic prejudice, but anti-Christian and anti-Catholic prejudice.

Zionist Christians march for Zionism in Jerusalem
Earlier this year, the Vatican's envoy in the Holy Land and bishops from three other churches launched a rare attack on the movement, accusing it of promoting "racial exclusivity and perpetual war".
"The Christian Zionist programme provides a world view where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism," a declaration read.

Be Firm in your Catholic Identity

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"The Catholic Church is God's Romance"

From Australia:
Leaving the Religion of Peace
Mother fatally stabbed protecting her daughter

From Egypt:
Kidnappers Forcing Teenage Girl to Convert to Islam
The kidnapping of Christian teenage girls in Muslim nations has reached into the thousands.

Our Lady of Victory
Chesterton on the Rosary:
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead, for grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony...It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old and our Father is younger than we."

Monasteries and Madrassas: Five Myths About Christianity, Islam, and the Middle Ages

Turkish Court Sentences Teenager to 18 Years for Killing Catholic Priest... Of course, Turkish is a secular state, but this is still good news

Monday, October 09, 2006

Johnny Depp to Do Anti-Catholic Rex Mundi

Talking Truth to the Muslim World

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Man Wakes from Two-Year Coma – was Aware and Remembers Everything
Yet there are bioethicists who argue that Brain-Injury Patients Should be Used for Medical Experiments

Friday, October 06, 2006

What does outer space smell like?

More on Benedict
"The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I believes the pope’s visit may prompt the Turkish government to respect the rights of minorities, different ethnic groups and religions."

I think the Troubles in Thailand are worthy of close attention:
Calm only apparent in the generals’ Thailand

From Making Way for Jihad
"The question of offensive jihad is ... complex and controversial," writes Habeck. "The most widely respected Islamic authorities ... all assume that Muslims have a duty to spread the dominion of Islam, through military offensives, until it rules the world. By the 'dominion of Islam' these authorities did not mean that everyone in the world must convert to Islam, since they also affirmed that 'there is no compulsion in religion,' rather that every part of the Earth must come under Islamic governance and especially the rule of the sharia.
"Azzam's definition of offensive jihad (Azzam is the principal modern theorist of militant Islam) follows this traditional understanding of jihad, noting that it is a duty for the leader of the Muslims 'to assemble and send out an army unit into the land of war once or twice every year.'" The jihadist is obliged to perform with all available capabilities "until there remain only Muslims or people who submit to Islam."

The three Indonesian Catholics who wanted their execution public were denied last rites in violation of Indonesian law.

This is fascinating:
Muslims Wage War Against France - French Police Casualty Rate Higher Than American Rate In Iraq

A great new turn of phrase:

In Denmark, a cabinet minister is supposed to have accused somebody in public of lying like an Imam

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This is a really intriguing article

And another interesting article by the same writer

Monday, October 02, 2006

Day One

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Please participate in The World-Wide Day of the Rosary

Several years ago I read a book in which the author was trying to inject a sense of the psychological divide between the Middle Ages and our modern era. To do this, he has the medieval narrator describe the main protagonist. The narrator begins his description by admitting that there would be little sense in providing the reader with a physical description. After all, a man's body changes over time. A physical description based on a ten year old will not help you recognize that man twenty years later. Nor will you discern in a ninety year old man, the physical characteristics that were attached to him in his prime. A far better description can be found in the nature of the man's character, personality and soul. The narrator then goes on to describe these characteristics of the protagonist.

Interestingly, in doing so, he provides enough of a framework for the reader to visualize the ten-year old, the thirty year old and the ninety year old as a single flowing and dynamic representation of the character. Whether you apply blonde hair or red hair to your visualization becomes irrelevant. Either child has the same insolent tilt to his head and the same flash of dark eyes. Either young man has an off-putting arrogance. The old man you imagine is equally assured of an impatient manner.

Such a literary devise is extraordinarily useful in describing Catholic culture. Catholic civilization is over two thousand years old. There probably isn’t a corner of the world in which her presence hasn't been at some time manifest. The Church of the Apostles is the same Church as the Church of medieval Christendom. Both are the same Church as exists today. She is both the visible unity of Rome and the multitude of underground Churches that circle the globe. How does one begin to describe such a phenomenon?

Too often in the past half-century, people have perceived the Church primarily in political terms. Catholics make up about 18% of the world's population. In itself, that is a pretty significant number. Just fifty years ago, the Church was considered the model of corporate governance with Catholics the world over being in lock-step with Rome. The lure of low-hanging fruit simply became too irresistible. A battle for the 'soul' of the Church ensued. Some wanted to smash the 'stranglehold' of the Church but I suspect most simply wanted to maintaiin that 'stranglehold' and divert the river of Catholicism to their own well-intended ends. Either way, a superficial analysis suggests that the authority of the Church over the Catholic masses has been irredeemably ruptured.

At the same time, however, another shift was taking place. The prestige of the Pontiff in the modern age has never been higher. He has become the moral compass for a much broader audience than the Catholic Faithful. One of the more intriguing aspects of the recent dustup over the Pope's address was the response of both non-Catholics and lapsed Catholics. All kinds of people from all walks of life and all sides of the 'culture wars/clash of civilization' expressed a sense of personal affliiation with the Pope. Of course, there were probably as many people 'disappointed' with the Pontiff as supportive. But there wasn't a single voice raised arguing that this was an internal Church matter of little or no consequence. The Pope has an undeniable and significant impact on the world beyond the Tiber…An influence many might consider as dangerous and as tempting as the presumed power of the lock-step Catholicism of old.

Some say that the Pope expended the good will and moral authority of the Papacy on a foolish and ill-considered remark. For some, this assessment is one of malicious hope. For others, it is tinged with melancholic regret. Either way, a superficial analysis might suggest that the authority of the Church on the world stage has been irredeemably ruptured. But such an assessment remains political in nature. It reflects an outsider's perspective of the Church. Essentially, it sees the shadow of the Church and not the Church Herself.

The Church is not a political entity. Catholicism is not and has never been a political or even a spiritual ideology. We are instead a single body with a communal nature and a spiritual mission. We are the Body of Christ… never-changing and always new.

+ Ad maiorem dei gloriam +