Did Christ Establish a Church with an Expiration Date?

LAST supper

There is a popular and recurrent theme amongst many non-Catholic Christians that the promises given to Peter and Christ’s gift to him of the keys (to bind and loose), is not indicative of an office per se but a one time gift to Peter and that when Peter died so did the keys vanish with him. Likewise, using the same logic, the powers given to the Apostles after Christ breathed on them and gave them the power to forgive sins was also buried with them at their deaths. Thereby, any Christian Church is no better than any other as nobody has a special gift of the Holy Spirit to lead them to all truths. It died when the apostles died and its a great way to avoid any notion of there being any reliable and lasting authority in the practice and teaching of Christianity no matter the claims.

I like to be logical about these things so here is what bothers me about such notions.

If that is the case then all churches have become corrupted in their belief, teachings and their practices; as fallen creatures, men have a habit of doing that. There is thereby no inerrant authority to pronounce on a doctrine and there is no authority to stop the next generation from altering or actually opposing what was taught previously. There is neither a way to evaluate one church against another nor the changes that are on-going that may and do overturn previous teaching. It is simply ‘growth’ and ‘development’ due to the times and each church has a right to do as it sees fit. Even if people sit up and claim that they are not syncretists or believers in relativism it is all that is left unless an authority is still alive and working in this world.

If we believe that Christ sent us the Holy Spirit to dwell in the Church and to lead it to all Truth then Christ let us down or the Holy Spirit decided to lead a large variety of separate beliefs even though they hold contrary doctrines and teachings. That would make the Holy Spirit capable of blessing the notion that 2+2=4 in one church and 2+2=5 in another church or any other novel answer that a church might come up with. Now that kind of authority is not authority at all but permissiveness which claims that error is on a par with truth. And I doubt that is what Christ had in mind when He said that He would not leave us as orphans; can it really mean that he’ll support whatever anybody wants to believe in their own version of Christianity?

Sadly, if these gifts died with the Apostles, then the Nicene Creed and the Canon of Scripture were simply unauthorized man-made decisions that have no actual authority to compel one to believe them. And if we do somehow believe these for some personal reason, there is no authoritative reason that each of us should understand and interpret their meaning in the same way. A free for all ensues religiously and we are really no better off than the personal preferences that the pagans had for the gods of their choice. We are free to do as we like and nobody is right and nobody is wrong. Its only defensible in as good as are the apologists of each particular church or individual if they think that a personal belief, without a church, is all that is needed. In fact, if the church has no authority, then these people without a church are the most honest of all Christians.

Furthermore, is there then an expiration date on the necessity of Baptism, or of Belief and is it enough to say that God is Love and Mercy and that nobody will suffer loss and that all will find heavenly beatitude? For we can refer to Scripture and interpret our new form of Christianity based upon our personal preferences. For me; I think I very much like the idea that we all go to heaven and nobody will suffer. But others are free to make up their own minds and who is to say that they are wrong. Certainly not an authority that had a very short expiration date which died with the apostles. So, Who am I to judge?

It is very alluring to think that because we hold certain truths in common that the churches are basically the same. And without a clear authority that is the only conclusion one could rationally come up with if we are to believe that Christianity is not a hoax even though Christ did renege on His promises to the apostles and to the Church He founded.

So I chose the Catholic Church and think that it is still the Church that continues to have the authority that was vested in Peter and the apostles. For if it no longer exists then Christianity in my mind no longer is believable and is totally devoid of any veracity that it may once have had. In fact it is proven logically to have been a sham.

Thank God, however, the dogmas and teachings of the Catholic faith are never overturned and continue to operate from their inclusion into our body of faith, until the end of time as we know it. We do not one day wake up and decide that contraception is now OK, or that same sex marriage is now acceptable. We argue these issues and there are some who would love to change our teachings; but alas, they can’t. It is the protection of the authoritative nature that I would have expected the Church founded by Christ to have built into Her very DNA. And that is why I am Catholic. For without this assurance I am not sure that I would believe anything at all.

Does the Old Testament Matter?

OTNT

Did God create a covenant with the Jews and did He found a church and make of the Jewish People the Chosen Ones or not? If not, then the God of Abraham, Isaac and Moses is a fairy tale and the Decalogue a mere fabrication without any meaning at all. It makes no difference to you that God brought the Israelites out of Egypt or that God instituted a hierarchy and a priesthood and led them through the wilderness of this world to a land of milk and honey. Are you sure you wish to throw out the prophets and the psalms of David and the foreshadowing or models of the reformed Church and the NT practices that Christ instituted and commissioned in His own Blood? It is still the work of God and it is the nature of revelation that it should unfold and blossom. Every blossom of beauty starts with a seed; God’s words are not without significance in any age. His instructions are not arbitrarily dismissed until or unless God makes the change and abrogates one practice for another. Let us also not confuse the Law and the law. The small letter law seems to be more like what we call practice; which should reflect the Laws of God and bring them to life in the living of the people from day to day.

Without an understanding of the richness of the OT you will never have a proper understanding of the NT. All of the new testament reiterates and quotes passages from the old. You can hardly read a single book in the NT that does not do this and note that they speak with great honor and respect for what their God has done for them. You would throw out all that which is not in keeping with modern evolution of thought or all that is not based in a mere historical record by men. Your faith would be impoverished by its lack of understanding of the development of Christianity whose roots go back to prehistoric times.

Was Christ wrong to follow the Law of the Jews?  There is no escaping His Jewishness. He did not come to change a jot or a tittle of the Law and yet He did throw out the extraneous dross that had built up within the faith and abrogated many practices (the law) which were no longer appropriate. He interpreted the OT so that it is understandable and thus the OT sheds light on Christ and lives its history in expectation of His arrival.

Parsing the works of God is an impoverished faith without roots and without meaning; and it misses much of the workings of the One True God . . . as in a world bereft of the OT, He is a God that cannot get things right and makes mistakes and does not meet the modern enlightened thoughts of men of our enlightened times.

God to the modern enlightened and moral superior age that we live in, is cruel and unforgiving and violent and yet there is another way of reading the OT. Is there anything more beautiful than the Song of Songs or anything worth gaining from a reading of the Psalms and Proverbs or the book of Wisdom? Is the history of the maturation and corruption by men of God’s Church not a lesson worth studying and learning from? It is a totality that cannot be avoided. It is like chucking your grandparents from your family tree because you are of a different age and understanding of things than they were.

Headlines: God makes a big mistake and tells the Jewish people that He will be their God and that they will be His people. Since we think that the OT is not befitting our New God then He must not be an omniscient God since He makes such fundamental moral, ethical and judgmental errors . . . and so why should you or anyone else accept Him today if He was capable of such big and obvious blunders in the past?

Perhaps more time should be spent looking for the themes (the seeds) of our modern faith and the patience and love God endured on our behalf until such time that He felt that mankind was ready to hear the Word of God in the flesh and complete His plan for our salvation. Give thanks to God for the whole journey of humanity as it was necessary or it would not have occured.

And as to our own sinfulness and disobedience: O happy fault. For it gave to us a most remarkable Redeemer.

Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives: Catechism & Catechesis

The following is from the easily followed book by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.  I would like to present a few of the articles that have been troubling a number of folks recently concerning, grace, love, the moral law, the Old Law and the New Law etc. Depending on the response I shall reproduce a few of these to see if we can open a dialogue concerning these principles. The entire section I am working from Part Three: The Life in Christ, can be found here.

Article 1: The Moral Law

The moral law is the work of divine wisdom. It is at once a paternal instruction and a divine pedagogy. It prescribes for man the ways and rules of conduct that lead to the promised beatitude.

(1950)

843. What is law?

Law is a rule of conduct decreed by the competent authority in view of the common good.

(1951)

844. What does the moral law presuppose?

It presupposes the rational order established among creatures for their good and in view of their destiny by the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator.

(1951)

845. Where does all law find its truth?

All law finds its first and last truth in the eternal law.

(1951)

846. What are the expressions of the moral law?

They are varied and yet all interrelated. Thus, there are:

  • the eternal law, the source in God of all laws;
  • the natural law;
  • the revealed law, which includes the Old Law and the New Law of the Gospel;
  • the civil and ecclesiastical laws.

(1952)

847. Where does the moral law find its fullness and unity?

In the person of Jesus Christ. He is at once the end or purpose of the law and the way of perfection. He alone teaches and confers the justice of God.

(1953)

848. What is the natural law?

It is the law written in the soul of all men because our human reason orders us to do good and forbids sin. Its binding power comes from a higher Reason, which we are to obey.

(1954)

849. Where do we find the principle commandments of the natural law?

We find them in the Decalogue, or the Ten Commandments, given to Moses and elevated by Christ in His Sermon on the Mount.

(1955)

850. What are some notable features of the natural law?

The natural law is universal; its authority extends to all human beings. Its applications vary, but its basic principles unify the whole human race. It is unchangeable over the centuries of history, and even when denied or rejected, its basic principles cannot be destroyed.

(1956-1958)

851. What are the benefits of the natural law?

The natural law provides a solid foundation for guiding the human community in moral living. It gives the necessary grounds for civil laws and wise judicial decisions.

(1959)

852. Are the precepts of the natural law perceived clearly and immediately by everyone?

No, because of the darkening of man’s intellect by sin. That is why God provided revelation and grace, so that the basic truths of religion and morality would “be known by everyone, with facility, with firm certitude, and with no admixture of error” (First Vatican Council, Dei Filius, 2).

(1960)

853. What is the first stage of the revealed law?

It is the Old Law summed up in the Ten Commandments, given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

(1961-1962)

854. How is the Old Law imperfect?

It is imperfect because already before the coming of Christ it had to be completed by the prophetic and wisdom revelation of the Old Testament. But it is mainly imperfect because it had to be fulfilled by the teaching and life of Jesus Christ.

(1963)

855. How is the Law of Moses a preparation for the Gospel?

It foretells the work of redemption of the Savior, and provides the New Testament with images, types, and symbols for expressing the life of the Spirit.

(1964)

856. What is the New Law of the Gospel?

The New Law of the Gospel is the perfection here below of the natural and revealed divine law. Moreover:

  • It is the grace of the Holy Spirit given to believers by their faith in Christ.
  • It surpasses the Old Law, as seen in the Beatitudes, which direct God’s promises beyond this world to the kingdom of Heaven.
  • In the Sermon on the Mount, it does not add new external precepts but reforms our actions in the heart.
  • It directs our acts of religion to the Father, who sees in secret. Its prayer is the Our Father.
  • It is summed up in Christ’s teaching to do everything to others as we would have them do to us.
  • It is expressed in Christ’s new commandment that we should love one another as He has loved us.

(1965-1970)

857. How is Christ’s Sermon on the Mount amplified?

By the moral catechesis of the apostolic teaching, for example, the letters of St. Paul to the Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, and Ephesians. This catechesis shows that we are to treat cases of conscience in the light of our relation to Christ and the Church.

(1971)

858. Why is the New Law called the law of love, grace, and freedom?

  • It is called the law of love because it is animated by the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than by fear.
  • It is called the law of grace because it confers the supernatural power of grace to observe the New Law by means of faith and the sacraments.
  • It is called the law of freedom because it frees us from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law; it inclines us to act spontaneously under the impulse of charity; and it leads us from the state of servants to that of Christ’s friends.

(1972)

859. What are the evangelical counsels?

They are invitations extended by Christ to His followers not only to avoid sin, or whatever is incompatible with love, but to choose ways that are more direct and means that are more effective expressions of love. The counsels seek to remove whatever would impede the development of charity.

(1973-1974)

860. Are the followers of Christ to practice the counsels?

Yes, but according to each person’s grace from God and vocation in life. In the words of St. Francis de Sales, God wants us to observe “only those appropriate to the diversity of persons, times, opportunities, and strengths, as love requires” (Love, 8,6).

(1974)

Pleasing and Displeasing to God

Theology, besides delving into the nature of God, is responsible for mapping human action and thought into categories and understandings of what is pleasing and displeasing to our Creator. It comprises moral theology as well as certain principles that are good and encouraged and other principles which are bad and to be discouraged.

I became a member of the Catholic Church after I was drawn to Her, not by theology but by spirituality; the spirituality of John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila. It was through them that I found that I was bound, as were they, by good and holy theology, dogma and practice. Otherwise, as they attested, their pursuits in prayer might lead to dangerous errors and the loss of their souls. For that reason, Teresa of Avila preferred as spiritual directors, the recently formed Jesuits who were both strong in spiritual mental prayer (or contemplative prayer) and in theology which they studied rather arduously. It was therefore a necessary burden to expose myself to theology in order to rightly pursue my spirituality. I became a teacher of the faith, and defender of the faith, not because I liked it but because I now understood its usefulness; nay, its necessity. Correct theology is the handmaid of a sound spirituality. You won’t get the latter until you either understand the former or have a spiritual director who does.

Theology has provided us with dogmas (that which must be accepted) as an aid to our salvation. Likewise it has provided us with the practices that enhance and bring to life these beliefs which we must hold. In the moral realm it tells us that which is serious sin as well as that which is immensely pleasing to God; the do’s and don’ts. It also, in many instances, gives us the background and reasons for doing certain things and avoiding certain things. To latch on to the do’s and reject the don’ts is as harmful as accepting the don’ts and rejecting the do’s. Both are there for our aid.

So the Church uses theology and practice to make our spiritual lives simpler and our decisions in life consonant with that which pleases God. It is not, therefore, the purpose of the Church to introduce confusion among us as to what is right or wrong, good or bad, laudable and despicable. It is to instill within us a means to acquire joy, love, reverence, honor, solemnity and peace. If these are not being produced or if they are being reduced to one or two of these then something is missing or something has become corrupt.

Therefore, theology spawns rules, rubrics and instructions for our devout practice and the devout practice of our priests who celebrate certain rites in the Church for our spiritual benefit. Often these are seen as an outward sign of reverence or symbolic action which might move us to understand a deeper or more hidden theological truth that anyone might intuit without the use of reason or intellect. The rites themselves were developed and refined by theological thought and not only serve to worship God but to instruct us, theologically as well. If a rite is done well both God and man are edified by the reality and the experience and when it is not, neither is God nor man. If we only participate externally without being fully involved spiritually then something is not right.

The rites are God centered, spiritually based expressions which should be understood as such. If they are turned into an expression of human dimension such as social justice or equality then we might be better off going to a secular humanist march for such things in our own public squares. There are times for social justice teachings but if this is what you are getting from Liturgy or religious rites meant to praise and worship God then we are being misdirected from our end.

It is the job of everyone who has come to understand their purpose and aim in this life (to be forever happy with God in the next life) and the fundamental principles that Mother Church teaches to get us there, to keep a constant vigil on laxity of expression, word or deed. Just as broken families followed divorce or abortion followed contraception, large consequences usually follow from small beginnings. No one is exempt from scrutiny. Everyone is charged to live our faith and teach the faith by our acts. If your priest does not genuflect when consecrating the host or chalice then you need to ask him why he isn’t. If people are chatting and laughing during the Mass then you need to ask them to stop. Liturgy is not entertainment anymore than it is a platform for social commentary. It is the Sacrifice of Christ to be applied to our souls. If you come away with some other message then the Rite of Mass failed you and the Church has failed to provide you with what She is bound to do.

Thereby, we are all called to defend the teachings of the Church to the best of our ability. We are to condemn practices that weaken or confuse our understanding of theology and rob us of our God-given right to both a theological and spiritual expression of worship that edifies both God and our spirit. Orthodoxy (or right thinking) is to always be aimed at as you cannot pray or worship as you ought without it. In a seamless garment you cannot pull on one thread or clip it from the garment as you will likely end up with nothing but a pile of thread which is good for nothing. Should I feel shame that I deprive others of bread and circuses in the Church? Let them get such from Caesar but not from the hands of our priests at Mass. Can we not watch with Him for even 1 hour? Have we fallen asleep again?

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.

The Voice of Peter

Most Rev. Fulton Sheen

This article was specially written by Most Rev. Fulton Sheen, Bishop of Rochester for the English edition of L’Osservatore Romano.

Christ and Peter

Psychology reveals that the human body, when it reaches a certain growth, begins to be conscious of itself. A moment comes when the child no longer says: “Baby wants”… but “I want”.

The Church as the Body of Christ revealed its heavenly consciousness when Christ complained to Paul who persecuted the Church: “Why do you persecute Me”. The earthly consciousness of that same Mystical Body was reached in Peter, the only person in all Scripture with whom God so associated Himself as to say “we”. The occasion was the paying of the tax. The Lord, as if he were putting His arm around Peter, said “In order that WE may not scandalize”. What a unity of the headship of heaven and earth! What a conscious unity of the Body of Christ, Christ and Peter.

The Pope’s Burden

But this intuitive awareness of headship in Peter and his present successor, Paul VI, makes each Pontiff also the most vulnerable man in all the world. To be vulnerable is to be accessible to every attack, worry and anxiety which happens to the Church in every area of the earth. As Paul VI told me: “I often find, in my letters and reports when I read them at night, a thorn. When I go to bed they have woven themselves together into a crown of thorns”. This unshielded and exposed personality makes the Pontiff like a solitary tree on a mountain top, exposed to all the blasts of the four winds. The father and mother of a family suffer for their children; the priest bears the wounds of his parishioners, but into that chalice held by the Vicar of Christ seeps all the sorrows, such as those caused by disciples: “some walk with Him no more”, or who leave the Eucharistic Banquet and “go out into the night”. It is in these moments the Pastoral heart is most pierced.

“Is it so, O Christ in heaven, that the highest suffer most…. That the mark of rank in nature is capacity for pain, That the anguish of the inner makes the sweetness of the strain?”

The agony in Gethsemane in some way becomes the agony of the Pontificate and to both there is dipped a common cup which the Father gives.

For that reason, it is not just our theology, our tradition and our faith which makes us pledge our loyalty to him; it is also our sympathy, a compassion so great that the world, if it looked closely, might see but one common tear falling down pontifical checks.

Peter’s Voice

It is his Voice to which we listen—for there is something special in it, as there was in the voice of Peter. St. Luke who recounts the scene in the outer court of Annas and Caiphas, as well as the scene of Peter knocking at the door of John Mark, makes Peter twice identifiable by his Voice. In both instances, it was a servant who recognized the Voice and each one refused to be negated in certitude that it was the Voice of Peter, for both “constantly reaffirmed”.

The background of the story is Peter’s miraculous escape from prison when his life was threatened by King Herod. He goes to the house of John Mark where the faithful of the Church are gathered in prayer. Present were John Mark, his mother, Mary; and her brother-in-law, Barnabas, and the servant Rhoda.

Rhoda answered the knocking; she recognized Peter’s voice who called to her, but did not open the door. Rather she ran and told everyone that Peter was at the door. Their response was twofold: either she was “mad” or else it was an apparition. A practical man, probably Barnabas, suggested that they give up liturgy for service and go and see if it was Peter.

Peter’s Voice Today

Does not this scene fit our modern times, when those who should be foremost in recognizing the voice of Peter, like the liturgical center of John Mark, and the disciples like Barnabas, are slow to do so, whereas the simple laity not only recognize it but insist upon its authenticity.

Now, as then, there are those in the house of John Mark who think that the voice is all apparition, that it is something out of the past, unreal and mythical or of another world.

Then there are those who when the simple people insist that it is the Voice of Peter, say that they are “crazy” or “mad”, and need to have their theological heads examined.

These two kinds of incredulity were manifested toward the Divinity of Our Lord. When the disciples were rowing in the darkness of a storm Jesus came walking on the waters, but they thought that He was a “ghost”. At another time because of His zeal, His own relatives thought Him “mad”.

But while the inner circle in the house of John Mark dialogued about the unsecularity of the voice and abused the simple for believing in it, Peter “continued knocking”.

The quality of Peter’s character is persistence. He was a fisherman and he knew patience and hope. But here it happens that he who knocks is the doorkeeper—the one who has the keys and is trying, as it were, TO GET INTO HIS CHURCH AND TO HIS PEOPLE. That knocking is no different from the knock of the Apocalypse where Christ affirms: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”.

The Voice of Christ

That Voice is no different than the Voice of Christ: “He that heareth you, heareth Me”. And if we heed it not, do we not fall back into that anonymous authority of “they”—”They say”, “They no longer believe that”—Who are “They”? In the Holy Father, the Voice is personal and with joy we heed it echoing from Peter the day the Eucharist was announced: “Lord, to whom shall we go. Thou alone hast the Words of Eternal Life”.

Thou art Peter

We reaffirm our allegiance to the Voice of Peter in Paul VI, for we know that we share in Christ’s prayer for His Church only to the extent that we are united with Peter. In order to get the full flavor of the words of Our Lord, we use the second person singular:

“Simon, Simon, Satan demanded to have you (the plural i.e. that is you My disciples, My Church), that he might sift you (again the plural) like wheat. But I have prayed for thee (singular—i.e. for Peter) that thy faith fail not; and when thou have turned back to Me (after My Resurrection) that thou (Peter) shall strengthen thy brethren”.

In these days when Satan has been given a long rope, we want above all things to share in the PRAYER OF CHRIST for the preservation of faith. But we know that we can do this only through our union with Peter. To Peter, and now to Paul VI, we look for the never failing faith, for the assurance that neither the pillars of the Church, nor its inferior parts will ever be severed from the Church’s structure. With Ambrose we repeat: “Where Peter is, there is the Church”. God grant that we will not keep him “knocking”.

 

Taken from:
L’Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
11 April 1968, page 7

Stupid Press, Stupid People: Non-Reporting the March for Life | Crisis Magazine

Stupid Press, Stupid People: Non-Reporting the March for Life

by Anthony Esolen

March-for-Life-2013-2-617x320.jpg

When George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four, the novel describing a dystopia of mass stupidity and surveillance, he wasn’t making a prediction.  He was describing what he actually saw in England.  His protagonist, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, whose enterprise is to engage in massive lying, altering history by sending documents down the Memory Hole, where they will be lost forever.  One of his colleagues, Syme, is a linguist with a passionate love for Newspeak, the official language of the regime.  The purpose of Newspeak is to deracinate language so badly that crimethought, the doubleplusungood rebellion of mind against the regime, will be impossible.  No one will be able to think of crimes, because nobody will be able to think.

Orwell modeled his Ministry of Truth after the British Broadcasting Corporation, where he worked.

Read more . . .

Scalia Protest at Princeton Raises an Important Question | Crisis Magazine

When does it become impermissable for a self-governing people to pass laws that will ensure the survival of the things they love?  When they no longer command a majority of the electorate?  Is that the standard?  Certainly among people of democratic disposition, it is a constitutional given that any time a plurality of voters take charge, they are more or less at liberty to set aside whatever arrangements were in place before they assumed control.

In other words, that massive tectonic shift in the culture we’ve been witnessing over these past fifty years, is about to be given formal and official sanction from the political process.  All the awfulness of the culture, as it were, will sooner or later be codified into law.

Isn’t this what the debate over Gay Rights is finally about?  It is not a civil liberties issue; the proponents of gay marriage are not preoccupied with matters of fairness.  What they are determined on is nothing less than the destruction of the traditional family, which is an institution whose very survival depends on the maintenance of marriage as men and women have practiced it for thousands of years.   Now that the popular culture is no longer on board with this, it is seen as a burden that increasingly nobody wants to bear.

Read more . . .

The Magi and Death Before Birth – Truth and Charity Forum

I do not think that popular sentiment has come anywhere near close to granting those extraordinary travelers, the Magi, the honor they truly deserve. These “watchers of the sky” must have been divinely inspired, in addition to being intellectually gifted, to have enough faith to leave the comforts of their homeland and embark on what must have been an extremely arduous journey.

The Magi were guided by a star, not a map. They were responding to a belief, not a specific invitation. They were willing to disrupt their lives to venture into the unknown without any assurance that their journey would take them to their destination.

The Magi are prominently featured on Christmas cards. They happily travel three in number, guided by a star, bringing gifts for the newborn babe. It all seems so beautifully scripted. They are easy to take for granted, appearing to be an inevitable part of the Christmas picture. T. S. Eliot, in his poem, Journey of the Magi, however, describes their pilgrimage in most unsentimental terms:

And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelter,

And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly

And the villages dirty and charging high prices:

A hard time we had of it.

Read more . . .

THE REMNANT NEWSPAPER: Lessons of Hanukkah for 2012

From the miracle of the Maccabees‘ victory, an eight-day celebration of Hanukkah has continued ever since

Since the November elections we have never seen so much despondency and despair. We’re hearing from so many people who say they are depressed, see no way out, and are just giving up.

And, yes, things are looking worse than ever before.

Four more years of Barack Obama. More socialist politicians elected to Congress. Election fraud. Radicals running the government. Union thuggery and violence openly allowed, but pro-family protest suppressed. “Occupy” mobs allowed to take over areas of cities. The homosexual and transgender movements being celebrated in the White House and federal agencies. Religious beliefs being suppressed and even punished in businesses, government, public schools, and the courts. The Constitution being openly ignored. The media and popular culture on an aggressive cultural jihad against Christianity. The TSA groping travelers. Taxes going up to pay for bloated government. The massive deficit. The massive bailouts. The looming inflation and economic disasters. The ObamaCare nightmare descending on us. And on and on. And the “opposition” Republican leadership with no backbone or will to fight back.

“It’s finished. America‘s done. I’m giving up.” We’re hearing that everywhere. People are feeling beaten and completely powerless.

via THE REMNANT NEWSPAPER: Lessons of Hanukkah for 2012.