The one about how WE ARE THE GOLD | Barnhardt

The one about how WE ARE THE GOLD

Originally penned and posted on February 29, ARSH 2012.  The next day Western Rifle Shooters Association reprinted it in full (everyone has full reprint permission – I’m not writing this stuff to exercise my fingers, I’m writing it to be read), and the following comment showed up on the WRSA thread.  I found it quite humbling.  Hopefully it encourages folks to read this piece, despite its length.

“Part 3 of 3 is the most profound insight on why we are where we are in this allegedly Representative Republic that I have encountered in 40 years of deep reading on history and economics. In this day of shallow education and shortened attention spans, I never expected to come across anything like the profound insight and clarity she put forth here. I submit that the above paragraphs are nothing less than the Unified Field Theory of Western Civilization. One of the Founding Fathers said that the system of government they had put together would only work for ‘a moral and religious people. They will utterly fail for any other’. In a few paragraphs, Ann just explained to us why that is so. Yes, it’s depressing, and the successfully and designed outcome of an amoral state education system. Well done Ann.  -Trivium Pursuit”

Read more here: via The one about how WE ARE THE GOLD | Barnhardt.

Dietrich von Hildebrand on Pope Francis

Dietrich von Hildebrand on Pope Francis

by Joseph Shaw

Rorate Caeli

Readers of my blog (Part 1Part 2, and Part 3) will know that I’ve been trying to get to grips with what Pope Francis has been saying, and how Catholics attached to the Church’s traditions can best respond to it. We need both a conceptual and a rhetorical framework for responding to a critique which is coming from an unexpected direction.Unexpected, but not unprecedented. We have, in fact, been here before, and I was very struck by the relevance of a chapter in Dietrich von Hildebrand‘s book Trojan Horse in the City of God. This was published in 1967 (I have the slightly revised 1993 edition), with a Foreword by John, Cardinal O’Connor. I offer an extended quotation here; I’ve had the whole chapter (10 pages of the book) retyped and you can download it here. I think Pope Francis would like it too.Hildebrand was one of the founders of the Traditional movement, and specifically of the Roman Forum, directed by Dr John Rao, which continues the work of education he thought so important. They are currently appealing for funds; go over there and have a look.—————————————

Romam vado iterum crucifigi

By Christopher A. Ferrara POSTED: 10/7/13
REMNANT COLUMNIST, Virginia
______________________

“I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.”

Pope Francis

Editor’s Note: As this article went to press, the Vatican Press Office—clearly in response to worldwide expressions of dismay by concerned Catholics—has floated reports that the interview of Pope Francis by Eugenio Scalafari quoted in this article was not a verbatim transcript and that Scalfari did not use a tape recorder or take notes. The same neo-Catholic commentators who attempted to defend some of the Pope’s shocking statements in the interview are now exulting that perhaps the interview was not accurate after all—showing once again their willingness to bend and twist themselves in any direction to persuade us all that nothing is amiss in the Church. We are, however, witnessing the Vatican apparatus’s usual two-step.  The interview in its entirety, complete with quotation markshas been posted on the Vatican website and the Pope has not corrected a single word of it.  Further, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi told the press that “if Francis felt his thought had been ‘gravely misrepresented,’ he would have said so.”   The Remnant will not dance either the Vatican or the neo-Catholic two-step. Unless the Pope himself indicates to the contrary, the Remnant will assume that His Holiness stands every word attributed to him by Scalfari and posted on the Pope’s own official website.  We have had enough of this nonsense! Another interesting development: Cardinal Dolan hasinformed the press that the “mystical moment” recounted in the Scalfari interview, when the Pope-elect supposedly stepped into a room adjacent to the Sistine Chapel to ponder whether to accept the election and was illuminated by an interior light,never happened. In fact, there is no such room next to the Chapel.  Yet, the interview as posted on the Vatican website retains this entire account.  It is up to the Vatican to explain this glaring discrepancy.  We merely report it. MJM

Over the past several weeks we have watched, stunned, as Pope Francis conducts little short of a public jeremiad against Catholics he deems insufficiently in tune with Vatican II’s “dynamic of reading the Gospel, actualizing its message for today”—whatever that means—which he insists is “absolutely irreversible” even as the destruction from the failed conciliar aggiornamento continues to mount.

Francis has mocked Catholics who counted the Rosaries in their spiritual bouquets for him, belittling them before an audience of young people as poor peasants who “return to practices and to disciplines that I lived through—not you, because you are not old…” And he has maintained a drumbeat of derision of Catholic traditionalists: they are “Pelagians,” “restorationists,” and “legalists,” who in their hearts do not believe in the Risen Lord and thus indulge in “triumphalism” and a “triumphalist”liturgy; they seek an “exaggerated doctrinal ‘security’” (note the contemptuous quotation marks around the word security), want “everything clear and safe” in the Church (imagine!), “always look for disciplinarian solutions,” “stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists,” and “have a static and inward-directed view of things” that reduces their faith to “an ideology among other ideologies.

Having issued these public judgments against faithful Catholics, the Pope who will be known forever by the phrase “Who am I to judge?” respecting homosexuals has also passed judgment on the Church herself, and by implication his predecessors, suggesting that he will correct her many shortcomings as Vatican II demands.Quoth Francis in the now infamous America magazine interview and elsewhere:

The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, little rules.”’

“Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers.’

“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods…. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.”

We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards.”

“The church is or should go back to being a community of God’s people, and priests, pastors and bishops who have the care of souls, are at the service of the people of God.”

“But the church has lived also times of decline in its ability to think. Unfortunately, I studied philosophy from textbooks that came from decadent or largely bankrupt Thomism. In thinking of the human being, therefore, the church should strive for genius and not for decadence.

“When does a formulation [of doctrine] of thought cease to be valid? When it loses sight of the human or even when it is afraid of the human or deluded about itself

The thinking of the church must recover genius and better understand how human beings understand themselves today, in order to develop and deepen the church’s teaching.”

“The Council Fathers knew that being open to modern culture meant religious ecumenism and dialogue with non-believers. But afterwards very little was done[!] in that direction….I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.”


Sneak Peek:

This article is featured in the next print edition of The Remnant newspaper. Unlike this one, however, most Remnant articles never appear on this website  Click hereto find out how you can become a subscriber and never miss a single one of these excellent Remnant articles.


In addition to insulting faithful members of his own flock and denigrating the Church he is divinely charged to lead, defend and protect against her enemies, Francis has issued a series of astonishing pronouncements suggesting that the Church has no business seeking converts and that the salvation of the members of all religions and even atheists is possible so long as they pursue brotherhood and their idea of the good:

Interview with Scalfari, La Repubblica:

“Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense.”

“… I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God.”

[Comment: Of course God is not literally Catholic—as if anyone thought so. But this facile     remark, so pleasing to modern ears and delivered by no less than a Pope into the eager hands of an       anti-Catholic press, harms the cause of the Gospel because it obscures the truth that God Incarnate    did indeed found theCatholic Church, “which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Acts.   20:28).The Church that God founded and purchased with His Blood calls itself Catholic, thus         imparting an unalterable sacred significance to the word, which belongs to the very Creed that   begins: “I believe in God.” To declare “there is no Catholic God” is to detach in speech the Gospel         from its divinely ordained sole guardianship in the Catholic Church—to the world’s great delight.          How disturbing it is to see a successor of the very Rock on which the Church was founded   descending to such banality.]

“The Son of God became incarnate to instill in the souls of men the feeling of brotherhood. All are brothers and all children of God. Abba, as he called the Father.”

“I believe I have already said that our goal is not to proselytize but to listen to needs, desires and disappointments, despair, hope. We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love.”

“The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.”

“Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good.”


“And I repeat it here. Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.

Sermon:

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics…. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

Address to inter-religious assembly at Refugee Service:

Many of you are Muslims, of other religions, and have come from different countries, from different situations. We must not be afraid of the differences! Fraternity makes us discover that they are a treasure, a gift for everyone! We live in fraternity!

Address at Shrine of St. Cajetan:

“Do you need to convince the other to become Catholic? No, no, no! Go out and meet him, he is your brother. This is enough. Go out and help him and Jesus will do the rest.”

Then there are the Pope’s remarks suggesting that, unlike his predecessors, he is not “obsessed” with abortion, contraception, “same-sex marriage” or the sin of sodomy relentlessly promoted as perfectly normal by those he (unlike any other Pope) calls “gay”:

“The most serious of the evils that afflict the world [!] these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope…This, to me, is the most urgent problem that the Church is facing.”

“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, “who am I to judge?”

“During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.”

“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person.”

Certain Neo-Catholic commentators, continuing the cover-up of disaster in which they have been engaged for almost half a century, are frantically churning out orthodox interpretations for this torrent of astonishing papal remarks.  Typical of these is Francis Allen, whose article “Misreading Pope Francis” misses the immense significance of the fact she herself admits: “many conservative Catholics, who disagree with liberals on practically everything else, actually agree with their archenemies that Francis is poised to radically alter the Catholic Church”  (Yes, but only to the extent this is possible, for not even a Pope can change the deposit of the Faith.)

This time, however, the neo-Catholic explainers of What the Pope Really Means are overwhelmed by their task, for Francis has dropped far too many bombshells to defuse. And, as we have seen, the damage has been devastating. The world’s mass media are experiencing a collective transport of joy over Francis the Awesome,singing his praises in headlines and newscasts from every precinct of the culture of death.  We have all sampled the innumerable media hosannas, but one CNN headline says it all: “Pope Speaks Against Catholic Traditions.”

Of course, it isn’t quite that simple. The media always supply a certain degree of spin to papal remarks.  The point, however, is that no Pope has ever given the media so many statements to exploit, and in so little time.  It will not do simply to protest that “the Pope’s remarks have been “‘cherry-picked’ by commentators who are presenting only a few phrases out of a lengthy interview,” for Francis has given them a bushel of cherries for the picking. At the very least, the Pope has recklessly disregarded—again and again—the entirely predictable reading of his words.

Furthermore, in this case the media are not that far off the mark.  The Neo-Catholic “out of context” defense fails in the face of so many explosively disturbing statements, all of the same dramatic, liberalizing tenor. There is a reason every conceivable constituency of the Church’s enemies, both internal and external, is hailing Pope Francis: from Hans Kung (“was overwhelmed with joy” at Francis’s election), to the National Abortion Rights Action League (“To Pope Francis: Thank you”), to Stephen Colbert (“a seismic ripple throughout the world of Catholicism”), toJane Fonda (“Gotta love new Pope. He cares about poor, hates dogma”), to Chris Rock (Francis is “the greatest man alive”), to the man that vulgar comedian worships as the “dad of our country” and “our boss”—none other than Barack Obama, who is“hugely impressed with the pope’s pronouncements.” When a politician who can rightly be viewed as a forerunner of Antichrist is “hugely impressed” by a Pope’s statements, there must be something gravely wrong with what the Pope is saying.

This time the neo-Catholic cover-up is not succeeding.  Francis has simply gone too far along the trajectory of the Council’s supposed “dynamic of reading the Gospel,” and now even prominent members of the “conservative” Catholic mainstream have had enough and are speaking out. A sampling of these protests demonstrates that the problem with Francis does not exist in the fevered imaginations of “radical traditionalists,” as the neo-Catholics commentators would have it, but rather is an objective threat to the Church’s credibility and mission.  Consider the following:

No less than Germain Grisez, the world-renowned moral theologian who is hardly a traditionalist, gave Inside the Vatican permission to publish his objection to the Pope’s rhetoric, including this blistering comment:

I’m afraid that Pope Francis has failed to consider carefully enough the likely consequences of letting loose with his thoughts in a world that will applaud being provided with such help in subverting the truth it is his job to guard as inviolable and proclaim with fidelity. For a long time he has been thinking these things. Now he can say them to the whole world—and he is self-indulgent enough to take advantage of the opportunity with as little care as he might unburden himself with friends after a good dinner and plenty of wine.

The equally prominent moral theologian Janet Smith, writing in the neo-conservative journal First Things under the bitter title “Are We Obsessed?”, had this to say about Francis’s musings, couched in ironic observations about her friends:

In fact, I don’t think the Holy Father was speaking about my friends, when he states: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods…. [W]hen we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context.” My friends definitely talk about these issues “in context,” in fact in many contexts…. [T]heir reason for boldly and sacrificially and ardently addressing these issues is precisely because they love Christ and the Church and want others to do so.

[Francis] also said: “The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently.” …Again, I don’t think this statement refers to my friends since there is nothing “disjointed” about the way they present doctrines nor do they “impose” them “insistently.” They make the call to conscience that John Paul II makes…  to live in accord with the natural greatness that God gave them. They do not make threats of damnation or make calls for blind obedience…

I also began to realize that the Holy Father was not speaking of the same context in which I live and labor… He seems to think that many people are hesitant to embrace Christianity or Catholicism because they believe that they are beyond redemption and that the Church is a judgmental, intolerant institution that won’t accept them…. I think most people think they are not sinners and not in need of redemption. They do not think having abortions, using contraception, using pornography, fornicating, masturbating, or engaging in homosexual acts are immoral actions. They think what they are doing is fine and they are fine just as they are.

Pope Francis finds the homily a proper place to teach moral truths but thinks priests have gotten the order wrong. Where is he hearing these homilies that hammer on moral truths at the expense of preaching the gospel?… [V]irtually none of us have heard it done! We have heard homilies on abortion—perhaps at most once a year—while homilies on contraception and homosexual acts are so rare as to cause astonishment and generally earn the pastor an influx of hate mail.

George Neumayr of The American Spectator has written a series of increasingly critical commentaries on the Pope’s statements. Herewith a sampling from those pieces:

§  From “Reading the Papal Tea Leaves”:

Francis’s papacy may not so much move the Church into the future as back to the recent past, circa 1970…. Emboldened liberal bishops under him may seek a reform of the “reform of the reform,” and they may push for a revisiting of settled moral, theological, and disciplinary stances. None of this repositioning will take place at the level of official teaching but at the murkier levels of tone, emphasis, and appointment.


That the Catholic left considers his election a shot in the arm can’t be chalked up simply to projection…. They believe that this is their moment to try to undo the papacies of John Paul II and Benedict and return to the casual, informal, and spontaneous liturgical spirit of the 1970s while reviving a more poll-friendly situational ethics. Tweeted Mahony: “Don’t you feel the new energy, and being shared with one another?”

§  From “When Paul Corrected Peter”:

The Pope’s scolding of “small-minded” restorationists for “pastoral” incompetence is laughable in light of his own order’s disintegration: What exactly would the editors of America and the other Jesuits whose liberalism Pope Francis was flattering in the interview, know about saving souls? Just look at the U.S. Congress: it is overflowing with Jesuit graduates who have abandoned the faith and support abortion and gay rights. Oh-so-pastoral Jesuits, heal thyself.

Indeed, the need for a St. Paul to correct him grows with each passing week as his pontificate emboldens the Church’s enemies and undercuts her friends and most loyal members.

§  From “The Pope They’ve Been Waiting For”:

No, this is not an Onion parody. This is the Catholic Church, circa 2013, under the hope-and-change pontificate of Francis—the one Jon Stewart, Chris Rock, and Jane Fonda have been waiting for. They had long pined for an enlightened pope and now they have found him in a Latin American Jesuit so loose, so cool, so “spiritual”… that he doesn’t fret over such fuddy-duddy anxieties as the killing of the elderly and the corruption of children… but rather their isolation and joblessness.

Anyone who is familiar with the cocky clichés of lightweight, dilettantish modern Jesuits will understand the import of this interview and hear all of its dog whistles: the praising of the late heterodox Jesuit Carlo Maria Martini, the politically correct sniffing at St. Augustine (“He also had harsh words for the Jews, which I never shared”), the condescension to saints of the past as products of their unenlightened times (as if Francis is not a product of his liberal times and liberal religious order; self-awareness is evidently not part of his “humility and ambition”), the Teilhard de Chardin-style jargon (“Transcendence remains because that light, all in everything, transcends the universe and the species it inhabits at that stage…”).

Pope Francis let it be known that he is eager to run the ball into the end zone for team spirit-of-Vatican II, and now that small-minded, rule-bound restorationists like John Paul II and Benedict XVI aren’t around anymore to tackle him he has an open-field run…

Were St. Ignatius of Loyola alive today, he wouldn’t recognize Francis as a Jesuit. He might not even recognize him as a Catholic.

Father Michal P. Orsi of Ave Maria School of Law, writing in The Washington Times, issued this scathing review of the effects the Pope’s utterances are having on the Church’s witness concerning social issues:

Pope Francis assured his interlocutor that he is a loyal son of the church and accepts the church’s teachings on the aforementioned issues. This addendum, however, is not good enough to mitigate the damage his words have caused for the pro-life movement and those who are trying to defend marriage as being between a man and a woman. His remarks have effectively given a sword to those who want to stifle them.

Most affected are those who have borne the heat of the day in the culture-war protests against abortion and same-sex marriages. The once-sure moral support that these groups enjoyed under past popes has been undermined….

[T]he pope’s words provide a sword for those critical of the church’s moral teachings on life and of the purpose of human sexuality. It will now be quite easy for them to say, “Why don’t you just listen to the pope and move on?” This sentiment has already been advanced in a letter to the editor in the New York Times by a Planned Parenthood official, who applauds the pope for “getting in step with modern times.”

[T]he pope’s musings have provided cover for Catholic politicians who support liberal abortion laws and legalization of same-sex marriage. They can now claim that they, like the pope, are concerned about the bigger issues, such as poverty and concern for the poor.

The pope’s “big tent” approach for Catholicism is bound to diminish the church’s presence as a moral force in societyIt is also detrimental to the church’s main ministry, the saving of souls. If there is only a distant and muffled voice on the life and human sexuality issues, how will people know that they are transgressing God’s laws?

The pope’s remarks have moved to the background those bright red lines of acceptable human actions that must not be crossed. This is neither pastoral, nor merciful. As Jesus said, only “The truth will set you free.”

piece by John-Henry Westin of Lifesitenews.com takes Francis to task under the title “Here’s how Pope John Paul II handled the charge of ‘obsession’ with abortion.” Westin quotes John Paul II’s reply precisely to the charge (related by Vito Messori) that his “repeated condemnation of any legalization of abortion has even been defined as ‘obsessive’ by certain cultural and political factions…” Said the late Pope:

It is… very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience—the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.

 

… I categorically reject every accusation or suspicion concerning [my] the Pope’s alleged “obsession” with this issue. We are dealing with a problem of tremendous importance, in which all of us must show the utmost responsibility and vigilance. We cannot afford forms of permissiveness that would lead directly to the trampling of human rights, and also to the complete destruction of values which are fundamental not only for the lives of individuals and families but for society itself.

There are other examples, but the point is made. The liberal utterances of this Pope are so disturbing, and the world’s thunderous applause so alarming, that we are suddenly facing a new stage in what Pope Benedict (writing as Cardinal Ratzinger) called “the continuing process of decay” that began immediately after the Council.

Mike Matt and others have rightly noted that Pope Francis is merely extending the trajectory on which the human element of the Church has been moving since Vatican II.  As Neumayr puts it, Francis is “run[ning] the ball into the end zone…”—just when we thought, under Pope Benedict, that team Vatican II had been penalized and moved back a few crucial yards toward the goalpost of Tradition. But under Francis the ball is moving downfield again with amazing rapidity, even beyond where it was before Benedict was Pope. Now, not only we traditionalists, but also prominent conservative Catholics of good will are standing up and calling foul. With us, they can see what lies ahead in the end zone, and they do not like what they see; they are, in fact, frightened by it.

Perhaps, then, the emergence of Jorge Bergoglio from the last conclave was a providential development.  For it is forcing more and more Catholics to make a choice: either the continued absorption of the Church into the “modern world” to which the conciliar Popes imprudently opened the Church’s windows, or a definitive return to the safety of the very “fortress” the “spirit of Vatican II” despises: that house built upon the rock of Peter; that refuge of sinners, sustained against the storms by the solid structure of obedience to the commands of the Gospel:  “And every one that heareth these my words, and doth them not, shall be like a foolish man that built his house upon the sand/And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall thereof….  If you love me, keep my commandments.” (Matt. 7:24-27; Jn. 14:15).

Hannah Arendt

FATHER ROBERT BARRON

The appearance of an art house film on the philosopher Hannah Arendt has sparked renewed interest in an old controversy.

Hannah Arendt
1906-1975

In 1961, Arendt went to Jerusalem as a correspondent for the New Yorker magazine to cover the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi colonel accused of masterminding the transportation of millions of Jews to the death camps.  Arendt was herself a Jew who had managed to escape from Nazi Germany and who had been, years before, something of an ardent Zionist.  But she had since grown suspicious of the Israeli state, seeing it as un-self-critical and indifferent to the legitimate concerns of the Palestinians.  I think it is fair to say, therefore, that she came to the trial with a complicated set of assumptions and a good deal of conflicting feelings.

As the trial unfolded, Arendt was massively put off by what she saw as the grandstanding of the prosecutors.  Their irresponsible, even clownish, antics were, she concluded, the public face of the Israeli state, which had determined to make of the Eichmann proceedings a show trial.  But what struck her most of all was Eichmann himself.  Sequestered in a glass box for his own protection, squinting behind owlish spectacles, screwing up his mouth in an odd, nervous tic, trading in homespun expressions, pleading that he was just a middle-level bureaucrat following orders, Eichmann was neither impressive nor frightening nor sinister.

Arendt never doubted that Eichmann was guilty of great wickedness, but she saw the Nazi functionary as the very incarnation of what she famously called “the banality of evil.”  One of the distinctive marks of this banality Arendt characterized as Gedankenlosigkeit, which could be superficially rendered in English as “thoughtlessness,” but which carries more accurately the sense of “the inability to think.”  Eichmann couldn’t rise above his own petty concerns about his career and he couldn’t begin to “think” along with another, to see what he was doing from the standpoint of his victims. This very Gedankenlosigkeit is what enabled him to say, probably with honesty, that he didn’t feel as though he had committed any crimes.

The film to which I referred at the outset very effectively portrays the firestorm of protest that followed Arendt’s account of the Eichmann trial.  Many Jews, both in Israel and America, thought by characterizing Eichmann the way she did, she had exonerated him and effectively blamed his victims.  I won’t descend into the complexity of that argument, which rages to some degree to the present day.  But I will say that I believe Arendt’s critics missed the rather profound metaphysical significance of what the philosopher was saying about the Nazi bureaucrat.  In a text written during the heat of bitter controversy surrounding her book, Arendt tried to explain in greater detail what she meant by calling evil banal:  “Good can be radical;  evil can never be radical, it can only be extreme, for it possesses neither depth nor any demonic dimension, yet — and this is its horror! — it can spread like a fungus over the surface of the earth and lay waste the entire world.”

The great moral lesson — articulated by both Augustine and Hannah Arendt — is that we must refuse to be beguiled by the glittering banality of wickedness and we must consistently choose the substance over the shadow.

The young Hannah Arendt had written her doctoral dissertation under the great German philosopher Karl Jaspers, and the topic of her work was the concept of love in the writings of St. Augustine.  One of the most significant intellectual breakthroughs of Augustine’s life was the insight that evil is not something substantial, but rather a type of non-being, a lack of some perfection that ought to be present.  Thus, a cancer is evil in the measure that it compromises the proper functioning of a bodily organ, and a sin is evil in the measure that it represents a distortion or twisting of a rightly functioning will.  Accordingly, evil does not stand over and against the good as a kind of co-equal metaphysical force, as the Manichees would have it.  Rather, it is invariably parasitic upon the good, existing only as a sort of shadow.

J.R.R. Tolkien gave visual expression to this Augustinian notion in his portrayal of the Nazgul inThe Lord of the Rings.  Those terrible and terrifying threats, flying through the air on fearsome beasts, are revealed, once their capes and hoods are pulled away, to be precisely nothing, emptiness.  And this is exactly why, to return to Arendt’s description, evil can never be radical.  It can never sink down into the roots of being; it can never stand on its own;  it has no integrity, no real depth or substance.  To be sure, it can be extreme and it can, as Arendt’s image suggests, spread far and wide, doing enormous damage.  But it can never truly be.  And this is why, when it shows up in raw form, it looks, not like Goethe’s Mephistopheles or Milton’s Satan, but rather like a little twerp in a glass box.

Occasionally, in the course of the liturgical year, Catholics are asked to renew their baptismal promises.  One of the questions, to which the answer “I do” is expected, is this:  “Do you reject the glamor of evil and refuse to be mastered by sin?”  Evil can never truly be beautiful, for beauty is a property of being;  it can only be “glamorous” or superficially attractive.  The great moral lesson — articulated by both Augustine and Hannah Arendt — is that we must refuse to be beguiled by the glittering banality of wickedness and we must consistently choose the substance over the shadow.

Entire article with movie trailer . . .

THE CONTEMPORARY TRAGEDY: SOCIETY AND CHURCH ARE IGNORING HISTORY, EVEN IN THE LITURGY

The Contemporary Tragedy: Society and Church are ignoring history, even in the Liturgy

 
The Asado-Yerba Mate-Gaucho Mass
(“Missa Crioula“) in Southern Brazil
From a recent article of the Rev. Dr. James Siemens, a priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church:
A good deal of our current malaise, both in the Church and in society more broadly, can be attributed—I think—to a certain disregard for history. In terms of contemporary history, this disregard might be more accurately called amnesia, but equally that might be to give too much credit to those who do not account for the past—as if theirs is a merely passive act. No, I think the problem is worse than that. The problem is much more conscious, deliberate, and even vandalistic. This is in spite of the fact that, to the credit of a few in the media, there have been some recent acknowledgments of the importance of history, not least in relation to Syria and the Middle East, but also in relation to the Church Herself. …
 

REMNANT E-EDITION   |   E-EDITIO: The Defense Rests

The Defense Rests

The Bizarre Case of Catholic Answers Live vs. “Radical Traditionalists”

Peter Crenshaw POSTED: 9/17/13

REMNANT COLUMNIST

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On May 31st, Catholic Answers Live radio host Patrick Coffin and apologist Tim Staples launched a two-hour attack on “radical traditionalism” which I responded to here. Apparently, the overall response to the show was not favorable. In a July 12th blog post entitled “Meet the Mad-Trads” host Patrick Coffin described the reaction as follows:

We found ourselves on the business end of a nasty backlash. Of all the hot-button issues we’ve tackled head-on with me behind the mic (start the list with abortion, sexual sin, feminism, and homosexuality) no previous topic generated the kind of vitriol from (some) listeners. [1]

Coffin then exposed the “vitriol” by posting excerpts from e-mails he received after the show. Some examples are as follows:

“Amazing! Wow! I am deeply disappointed by this apparent arrogance.”

“That show was an embarrassment to all Catholics.”

“I was extremely annoyed with the . . . program criticizing the “radical traditionalists,” which is a reference that in and of itself makes no sense whatsoever” (sic).

“I finally turned the radio off in disgust.”

“To treat anyone in such a manner—much less our fellow Catholics—is a serious failure in justice and charity, and I seriously doubt you would indulge in this kind of careless and misleading attack on any other group.”[2]

Read more via REMNANT E-EDITION   |   E-EDITIO.

Are We Walking to Heaven Backward? A Pastoral Consideration of Liturgical “orientation.”

Some years ago the theologian Fr. Jonathan Robinson wrote a commentary on the modern experience of the Sacred liturgy and entitled it, The Mass and Modernity: Walking to Heaven Backward. It is a compelling image of so much of what is wrong with the celebration of the Liturgy in many parishes today.

While Fr. Robinson certainly had the celebration of Mass “facing the people” in mind, his concerns are broader than that.

Indeed, we have the strange modern concept of the “closed circle” in so many modern conceptions of the Mass.Too often we are tediously self-referential and anthropocentric. So much of modern liturgy includes long lists of congratulatory references, both done by, but also expected of the celebrant.

Read more . . .

RORATE CÆLI: The Devirilization of the Liturgy in the Novus Ordo Mass [Exclusive article]

The Devirilization of the Liturgy in the Novus Ordo Mass

[Exclusive article]

Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, Ph.D., D. Phil.(Oxon.)

Weymouth

June 5, 1944

The correspondence between Cardinal Heenan of Westminster and Evelyn Waugh before the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Mass is well known, in which Waugh issues a crie de coeur about the post-Conciliar liturgy and finds a sympathetic, if ineffectual, ear in the Cardinal.[1]   What is not as well known is Cardinal Heenan’s comment to the Synod of Bishops in Rome after the experimental Mass, Missa Normativa, was presented for the first time in 1967 to a select number of bishops. This essay was inspired by the following words of Cardinal Heenan to the assembled bishops:

At home, it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would soon be left with a congregation of women and children.[2]

Read more . . . via RORATE CÆLI: The Devirilization of the Liturgy in the Novus Ordo Mass [Exclusive article].

Mary, my Mother: Mother of the Church

The Mother of God of Tenderness

How strange to think that man who is far estranged from our creator is instructed by our Lord to address the Creator God as Father or Abba (affectionate name like daddy). It is a revelation that was only hinted at in the Old Testament:

Do you thus repay the Lord,
    O foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your
father, who created you,
    who made you and established you? __ Deuteronomy 32:6

But our Lord, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Son of God has bid us pray, Our Father Who art in Heaven . . .

Until that time we were as orphans in the spiritual realm. Just one thing among all the things that were created by His mighty hand. That he had a special plan and special love for man we knew and yet knew not why: for he had promised a savior and had given us His Law through Moses to make us aware of what the nature of sin was and how easily we fall prey to its lure when we use nothing but our free will and our rational minds. Guilty of sin we awaited this Messiah to rescue us from the sin we were accused of by the Law of Moses.

By God’s Grace we were sent a Savior Who bore to us the message that we were meant to be other sons of God by adoption and that He was all too ready to suffer and die an ignominious death to atone for our every sin. That we could die to our sins and be raised up to life with Him and be with our Lord and Savior, likened as brothers and sisters in the spiritual world was the promise of the Grace contained in His new invitation to be Baptized into this Heavenly family. By what good and meritorious work did we deserve such attention and such a loving invitation?

For God loved us without reservation and had made us in His image and likeness and by this love and care has given us the gift of Human Dignity that no man and no society can ever strip from us. That our own Lord would become incarnate of a created woman and take to Himself the fullness of our human nature together with His Divine Nature is both an honor and a frightening condemnation of how sinfully we have besmirched and sullied our nature: especially after receiving this verification of the dignity and magnitude of what our humanity was meant to be and to what end God has made us. He made us for Himself, just as sure as our natural parents had made us for themselves. And His unconditional Love is superior to the best father and mother that we might encounter in the natural world. A burden of love has been thrust on our shoulders and the depth of the Commandment in the Old Law to love, honor and obey our fathers and mothers is but a shadow of what is commanded of us in relation to the True Father and Mother. To love them as did Christ, our Eldest Brother in everything but sin, is our challenge and our duty as sons and daughters of God.

So when Christ, from the agony of the Cross, gives His mother Mary to John, who was the only Apostle present to represent the Church, and likewise announces that John, and thereby the Church, is now a son of Mary, our orphaned souls have been adopted in entirety. We have a heavenly family and are no longer simply members of a human family on earth. We have the spirit of adoption into the Supernatural world and Divine Family that endures forever: God our Father, Mary our Mother, Christ our Brother and Savior and their abiding Love of the Holy Spirit to guide and comfort us. Where Satan is present as our accuser, the Holy Spirit is there to oppose Him and Christ is there to intercede on our behalf. And our Mother has a superabundance of a natural mother’s love. She is an advocate for us that begs with Christ to intercede on our behalf and to plead Her Son’s Sacrifice to the Father.

Once we were natural beings with natural parents and brothers and sisters. Now our souls, that were abandoned as orphans, are beckoned to a Holy Family that wishes to adopt our souls into communion with the Communion of Saints and with the Triune God. Together with them we reach the potential that God had intended and we consummate the love that God had for us from all time.

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda: Communion with the Church by Degrees of Fullness

A Lecture Addressed to the

Theological Students’ Association

of The Catholic University of America

by Father Jay Scott Newman, J.C.L.

Assistant Professor of Canon Law

at The Pontifical College Josephinum

18 April 2001

In his De Praescriptione Haereticorum, Tertullian famously asked with derision, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”, meaning “What has philosophy to do with theology?” I begin with this reminder because, although I am here to address the Theological Students’ Association, I am not a theologian; I a canon lawyer. And some among you may well ask with derision, “What has canon law to do with theology?” It’s a fair question, so before I explore the topic at hand today, I need briefly to digress and establish something of a lingua franca for our discussion.

Because she is a human society, the Church has had law, and therefore lawyers, since her foundation, but canon law as a distinct science and course of study did not emerge until the twelfth century. Canonists reckon the Italian monk Gratian as the Pater scientiae canonicae because his work provided a systematic and logical ordering of 1000 years of lawmaking. The Decretum Gratiani, completed around the year 1140, remained an indispensable touchstone for all canonists in the Western Church until the promulgation of the first Code of Canon Law in 1917. Now, you might suppose that after nearly nine centuries of doing this thing called canon law, there would be common agreement among canonists about just what their discipline is. You might suppose so, but you’d be wrong.

Among canonists today, there are some fundamental disagreements about the nature and method of their discipline, with two of the major proposals being — for lack of more precise terms — legal positivism and juridic theology. I am not here today to describe this disagreement, let alone to resolve the dispute. But to make intelligible much of what will follow in my remarks, I must explain that I hold canon law to be a truly theological discipline and therefore to have a theological method and object. Within the one science of sacred theology we commonly acknowledge many divisions: dogmatic theology, moral theology, biblical theology, and so forth. To these, I submit, must be added juridic theology-that is, canon law understood as a theological discipline with a specifically juridic character, vocabulary, and purpose.

One of the reasons why there is disagreement among canonists about the nature of their discipline is that there is often a tension between theological language and juridic language, or to put it otherwise, making laws out of theological truths is not simple. And yet, there must be an organic connection between the two if the law of the Code is to be truly the law of the Church. Pope John Paul II addressed this point in the 1983 Apostolic Constitution Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, by which he promulgated the present Code of Canon Law. The pope writes:

“As the Church’s principal legislative document founded on the juridical-legislative heritage of revelation and tradition, the Code is to be regarded as an indispensable instrument to ensure order both in individual and in social life … the Code … fully corresponds to the nature of the Church, especially as it is proposed by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council…. Indeed, in a certain sense this new Code could be understood as a great effort to translate this same conciliar doctrine and ecclesiology into canonical language.”

Read more: via Ecclesia Semper Reformanda: Communion with the Church by Degrees of Fullness.