I wonder what ND will be "fighting for" this season, given that Catholicism hasn't made the list for so long.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
First, let's provide the following video from YouTube entitled "Why Country Music Was Awful In 2013":
Anyone being honest would admit that you could basically have made that same video for any year of country music since about 1992.
Next, we invite all our readers to peruse this article (or any of the other multitude that have come out on the same subject) regarding the abomination of "bro country." Ignoring for a moment the individual crimes being committed in association with such crappy music, let's focus instead on the general theme of self-indulgence and narcissism.
Finally, let's take a look at some recent comments by Merle Haggard, known by many for making actual country music, unknown to many for the same reason, regarding the current state of the industry:
Haggard also notes that he doesn't listen much to the radio these days, saying, "Once in a while, I'll scan it and I don't understand what they're doing. I can't find the entertainment in it. I know these guys, occasionally play shows with them and they're all good people. But I wonder if that record they're making is something they can actually do. Too much boogie boogie wham-bam and not enough substance."
Let's recall how country music formerly tended to treat the issues of alcoholism, adultery, and sin overall. While there were some light-hearted efforts that treated such topics with levity ("I'm Gonna Hire A Wino To Decorate Our Home" for example), the typical flavor on these topics was one of self-loathing and the participants as pathetic losers. It wasn't a good thing to be boozed out of one's mind or partying all the time, etc. The new theme of country music is the opposite. Now, there is nothing more pleasant than getting hammered.
Anyways, we present these as illustrations of how the crap that currently gets played on country music stations reflects the shallowness of our world as a whole. The deeper thoughts driven by the more profound songs of yesteryear are abandoned in favor of the same self-glorifying drivel that has characterized rap/hip-hop for so long.
Just a symptom of the larger disease of pride that has infected pretty much everything.
For good measure:
Monday, August 25, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2014
It's hard to escape the insane mass belief that the authoritative interpretation of Pope Francis is to be found everywhere except within the parameters of Catholic thought. For example, we've previously discussed the Scalfari claims that His Holiness had "abolished sin."
The latest bit is from agnostic philosopher Massimo Cacciari, who is asserting that Pope Francis has initiated a cataclysmic shift in Church teaching by abandoning the Catholic notion of just war and entrusting the United Nations with the job of being the sole arbiter of whether or not a military action is legitimate. This, all based on a single paragraph's response to an interviewer. You can read the whole thing on Rorate.
First, let's ignore Cacciari's, shall we say, tenuous, comments like international law being "created by agreement among national positive laws," which ignores the whole role of things like custom and realpolitik in how international law actually works.
Second, holy smokes. I've had this sentiment thrown at me from multiple sources today. It is amazing to me how secularism, atheism, Protestantism, any -ism imaginable can be used for a Pope Francis hermeneutic, except Catholicism. Do these people really think what he said means overthrowing the idea of a just war? Even if he did say such, do they think it possible to re-write Church teaching in an interview?
I very much doubt they really think such things. And if they don't really think such things, their agenda is pretty clear. It's a sad state of affairs that so many people are falling for it.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
On August 10, I was fortunate enough to be in an area where I could attend a TLM. A couple of bits and pieces from the readings then stuck with me, and I keep rolling them around in my head.
1 Corinthians 10:11-12
We don't hear that line much these days. In fact, we are basically drunk with our self-assurance that we're ok. When people talk about death, the last thing that gets brought up is the condition of their
soul. People will make sure that their alma mater gets a fat check and that they are buried in a custom coffin reflecting their allegiance to their favorite NFL team, but they lack any concern at all for the afterlife.
I happen to have a job where I'm around when folks die. The presumption of salvation is staggering. And no, I'm not talking about hope. Being certain of awesomeness in God's eyes means you don't have to hope because you have put yourself in God's position as judge. It's scary stuff to listen to. So let us pray for a holy fear of death and of God's judgment.
Here's the other bit that has been nagging me. From the Gospel:
Consider in this passage Our Lord's sorrow over the unbelief of the Jews. He is literally crying. In our age of illuminated minds, though, we have a Christianity that looks upon attempts to evangelize Jewish people as bigoted, hateful activity. Yes, a sin. What a horrible thing that we would make a virtue out of neglecting something so dear to The Master.
It is a screwed up worldview that would willingly leave an entire group of people blinded to the greatness of the Gospel.
These things have I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God. And these things will they do to you; because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things I have told you, that when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you of them.
Not a whole lot has changed, I guess.
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
I recently read a book called Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites by Professor Plinio Correa de Oliveira, the founder of Tradition, Family, and Property. It was an interesting work on several fronts.
First, there is the structure. It began with a general discussion of Church social teaching but with a focus on what the author calls the "preferential option for the nobility," which is really just another way of saying the Church's attention to the care and formation of the noble classes for the betterment of society and the salvation of souls. It then moves on to the particular allocutions delivered by Venerable Pius XII to the Italian nobility, as well as comments made by other popes on the same theme. Finally, it moves into a summary of American and Brazilian history from the perspective of the aristocratic types of the citizenry. The rest is largely reference material supporting the overall argument.
Second, that overall argument has enormous implications for our here and now. Professor Correa makes the point that, in any given society, a certain group will inevitably be granted a higher station relative to others. After demonstrating this, he offers that much effort must be exerted to make sure that this group is of a sort that will focus on the common good and be a worthy model to the lower classes. It has a sort of Thorsten Veblenish ring to it in that sense.
Anyways, what we have done in our civilization, is to become so obsessed with egalitarianism, that we have shelved the values of greatness in the common good and instead allowed the worst of every sort to rise into these aristocratic positions, all the while denying that such positions exist.
Think about it. How is it that the Kardashians are still on TV? Why does anyone listen to what someone like Lady GaGa has to say about anything? In what sort of culture are the features of TMZ actually newsworthy? Why are so many professional athletes scumbags, yet worshiped by the masses?
It's because we've traded elevating the virtues of true greatness and the acknowledgement that those who exercise those virtues to a high degree should be honored for the crass, the crude, and the sensational. When that is accomplished, the lower classes choose to reflect that in their own lives and things decay further.
We have aristocrats without the nobility. This is all very important with Pope Francis's pontificate. Yes, the poor are a huge concern, but we so many of the virtues that were formerly associated with poverty have been destroyed by a barren culture that has been spawned and is sustained by our elite class. It is all one huge materialistic morass, with no room for beauty, charity, or even good manners. Perhaps a recollection of the preferential option for the nobility is an unexplored remedy for our current desolation.
On a side note, I'd recommend this book even if I could just get people to read the American history parts, as Professor Correa does a good job of showing what is so often forgotten in the democratic myths ingrained in our worldview. The Founders were elites and expected the nation to be governed by such a class. I know. Shocking, right? Yet, it's amazing how many people completely ignore this in their consideration of our nation's past.
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Friday, August 8, 2014
You know, the guy who gave sanctuary to thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, provided fake documents so they could escape persecution, and basically saved hundreds of thousands of lives in the process, will you be heaping similar criticisms on Pope Francis?
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Thanks to Rorate for providing. We reproduce the germane parts below but ask that you please read the whole thing and pray for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East:
As for the Church, she finds herself completely alone, more than ever; nevertheless her leaders are strongly required to react before it is too late in applying the necessary pressure on the international community as well as those other decision-makers in view of fundamental answers necessary to the scandalous crimes and the destructive conspiracies that affect, above all, unarmed citizens in Iraq, Syria, and in Palestine - Gaza.
It should be noted that the motivation for all of these killings is the lust for everything that lies beneath the earth like oil and gas...what else explains this war so curiously radicalised and, as if following an excellently premeditated plan, does not take the least account of the destinies of the people.
We are equally shocked and indignant with the absence of a vigorous position taken by Muslims and their religious leaders, not the least because the actions of these factions represent a menace for Muslims themselves.
In fact, speeches are good for nothing, so too declarations that rehash condemnations and indignation; the same can be said for protest marches. In addition, while appreciating the generosity of our donors, we would say that donations and fundraising too are not what will solve our problems. We have to demand a large-scale administrative [governmental] operation on an international level. There is in fact the need for awareness, in conscience, regarding this simple human principle: the demand for real actions and solidarity because we are before a crisis related to our very existence, facing the fact that "we will be or we will not be."
This is an appeal from the bottom of the heart in the search for a solution that lies uniquely in the hands of the international community and above all with the great powers. We address ourselves profoundly to their consciences and that they should review their positions and to re-evaluate the impact of the situation of today.
Louis Raphael I Sako Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
As stated in a recent study. Don't worry, ladies, they say. It's only about a 50% higher risk. No big deal. Just keep on feeding the pharmaceutical machine. Not that such a study amounts to planting a flag anywhere. This link has been known for a long time. We've mentioned it in other posts, along with all the other nastiness that goes hand-in-hand with contraception. Even Ricki Lake has figured it out.
So again, we must wonder. How much worse does it have to be shown to be before women and men stop insisting on self-sterilization?
Saturday, August 2, 2014
I wasn't going to mention this originally but recent events have changed my mind. We posted about the mutual apologies that have been offered between the Pope and a random Pentecostal minister.
In contrast to this, Rorate provided a statement from another group of Protestants who, in a striking display of intellectual honesty, made it clear that they have severe problems with the Catholic Church.
Good for them. They deserve major kudos for not falling victim to the temptation of back-slapping ecumenism where the inevitable attitude adopted is "I'm ok/You're ok." It is refreshing to see a group who is actually concerned enough with the salvation of others that they will make a statement designed to point out where someone might be led astray and risk their eternal soul.
They might be total bigots who are completely ignorant of the Church, historical fact, and simple reason, but hey, at least they seem to care about peoples' souls.
Would that we Catholics could be so honest. If only we could respect the beliefs of others to the point where we could talk about them seriously, rather than shuffling them away so that we can play at being "charitable." Instead of doing that, we will continue in the fruitless exercise of yelling in an echo chamber so that we can hear ourselves in agreement, even as the heresies widen and schisms deepen. Don't believe me? Every time you see a report on an ecclesial community sanctioning homosexual activity or the Anglicans spawning some new insane innovation or the further spread of anti-Trinitarian blasphemy, ask yourself if we are really moving closer together or if our separated brethren are indeed just flying farther and father apart.
Friday, August 1, 2014
We talk about Russia here a lot and for good reason. While we utterly reject the madness of their "Third Rome" claim, it is stupid to ignore that, while not de jure, they are the de facto leaders of Orthodoxy. That makes them important.
A couple of our main points re: Moscow can be summed up as follows:
1. The world should have been preparing itself for the return of Imperial Russia with the full backing and support of the most powerful ecclesial force in the East.
2. Ecumenism with pretty much every Christian sect in the world other than the Orthodox is worthless. Ergo, all such efforts should be directed to them and basically them only.
These topics are merged in a recent article in the Catholic Herald in very interesting fashion. First, you have the events in Ukraine birthing a new round of saber-rattling from Moscow with regards to the Eastern Catholics tied to Kiev. Never, never forget that "ecumenism" in the mind of the Russian church these days includes the idea that Stalin's attempts to annihilate Catholicism were legitimate.
Second, there is the concern that recent events in Catholicism, whether accurately reported or not, have signaled to Patriarch Kyril that Rome is looking to back off in the fight against the world's secularism. I'll add that the focus Pope Benedict had on the liturgy was probably the most positive ecumenical outreach we could have had with the Orthodox and even that is pushed to the back burner.
Overall, it's a grim picture. Read the whole thing.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
To avoid any confusion, remember these words if you happen to notice a member of the Society downplaying the harm done to souls by heresy:
Seeing the progress that the heretics have made in so short a time, spreading the poison of their evil teaching throughout so many countries and peoples, and making use of the verse of the Apostle to describe their progress,and their speech will eat its way like gangrene, it would seem that our Society, having been accepted by Divine Providence among the efficacious means to repair such great damage, should not only be solicitous in preparing the proper remedies but should be ready to apply them, exerting itself to the utmost of its powers to preserve what is still sound and to restore what has fallen sick of the plague of heresy, especially in the northern countries.
In the first place, sound theology, which is taught in the universities and must have its foundation in philosophy and which requires a long time to acquire, is adapted only to alert and agile minds; because the weaker ones, who lack a proper foundation, can become confused and collapse, it would be good to prepare a summary of theology dealing briefly with topics that are essential but not controversial. In matters controversial there could be more detail, but it should be accommodated to the present needs of the people. It should solidly prove dogmas with appropriate arguments from Scripture, tradition, the councils, doctors, and refute the contrary teaching. It would not require too much time to teach such theology since it would not go very deeply into other matters. In this way, many theologians could be prepared in a short time, who could attend to preaching and teaching in various places. The abler students could be given advanced courses which include greater detail. Those who do not succeed in these advanced courses should be removed from them and placed in the shorter course of theology...
Not only in the places where we have a residence, but even in the surrounding neighborhood, our better students could be sent to teach Christian doctrine on Sundays and feast days. Even the extern students, should there be suitable individuals among them, could be sent by the rector of the same purpose. Thus, besides teaching correct doctrine, they will be giving the example of a good life, and by removing every appearance of greed they will be able to refute the strongest argument of the heretics—a bad life, namely and the ignorance of the Catholic clergy.
The heretics write a good many pamphlets and booklets, by which they aim to remove all authority from the Catholics, and especially from the Society, and set up their false dogmas. It would seem imperative, therefore, that Ours also write answers in pamphlet form, short and well written, so that they can be produced without delay and purchased by many. In this way the harm done by the pamphlets of the heretics can be set aright and sound teaching spread. These works should be modest, but stimulating; they should point out the evil that is abroad and uncover the deceits and evil purposes of the adversaries. Many of these pamphlets could then be gathered in a single volume. Care should be taken, however, that this be carried out by learned men well grounded in theology, who will adapt the content to the capacity of the multitude.
With these measures it would seem that we could bring great relief to the Church, and in many places quickly apply a remedy at the outset of the evil and before the poison has had a chance to go so deep that it would be most difficult to remove it from the heart. We should use the same diligence in healing that the heretics use in infecting the people. We will have the advantage over them in that we possess a solidly founded, and therefore an enduring, doctrine. The most gifted students will then be able to follow a course of study in the Roman College and in other colleges of upper and lower Germany, also in France. Later, when they are sent to different places where Ours have residences, they will become the directors and instructors of others.
Poison. Evils. An emphasis on sound theology and a knowledge of the Faith. A voice crying out for Truth and for people to be protected from heresy.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Most of us probably remember the apology tour that St. John Paul II conducted towards the end of his life. I wondered then exactly what good such a gesture was supposed to do. Pope Francis has me wondering again.
“Catholics were among those who persecuted and denounced the Pentecostals, almost as if they were crazy,” Francis said. “I am the shepherd of the Catholics and I ask you to forgive my Catholic brothers and sisters who did not understand and were tempted by the devil.”
First, I'm assuming that there was some sort of "persecution." Considering what is going on in the Middle East, I am somewhat loathe to use the word here, but I'm taking the comments at face value.
Second, considering that the modern Pentecostal movement typically goes out of its way to target and convert Catholics, oftentimes those most uneducated and poverty-stricken, are we not supposed to denounce their false beliefs? Latin America has been ravaged by this scourge, usually through "prosperity gospel" claptrap. Is the Pope somehow unaware of this? Given the hyper-aggressive proselytization that so many Catholics face, perhaps we are due an apology.
Third, what good do these gestures really do other than to confirm the worst black legends of false religions?
Rewinding a bit to the second point, has England ever apologized for its thievery during the reign of Henry VIII? I ask because I don't know. Maybe they did. I don't recall the US government ever apologizing for assisting the Mexican government in trying to exterminate Catholicism. Perhaps it's because they know that such empty actions are meaningless.
On a similar note, will we get a separate homeland for persecuted Christians in the Middle East? Of course not. There probably won't be any left anyway. Maybe just an apology then?
Sunday, July 27, 2014
If so, check out this story from Tancred:
Going by the pseudonym “X,” Pope Leo XIII anonymously crafted poetic puzzles in Latin for a Roman periodical at the turn of the 19th century.
The pope created lengthy riddles, known as “charades,” in Latin in which readers had to guess a rebus-like answer from two or more words that together formed the syllables of a new word.
Eight of his puzzles were published anonymously in “Vox Urbis,” a Rome newspaper that was printed entirely in Latin between 1898-1913, according to an article in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
A reader who submitted the correct answer to the riddle would receive a book of Latin poetry written by either Pope Leo or another noted Catholic figure.
I think that's pretty great. When you're a prisoner in the Vatican, I guess you have to find something to take up your time. And we know he was a brilliant guy.
Just a cool story.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
I had to travel a lot this week. While doing so, I made the mistake of listening to talk and news radio. While doing so, I heard at least two very popular talk show hosts discuss the current conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The only reasonable interpretation of their words was that the Israelis should purposefully target civilians. The actual words were along the lines of "How did the British react to the bombing of England? Carpet bombing!!!"
And then we get places like Dresden thrown out as examples to follow.
Have we really gotten to this point where we can publicly advocate the killing of civilians by foreign powers?
I offer this nugget of wisdom from Batman Begins as a refutation of this view:
Henri Ducard: Your compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share.
Bruce Wayne: That's why it's so important. It separates us from them.
Amen, Bruce. Amen.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
It appears that Ed Feser has similar concerns with Justice Kennedy as I have expressed in the past. Only he's way funnier than I am. See his post here and the following hypothetical exchange with His Honor:
The picture and the follow-up paragraph to the above are good for grasping the whole context and make it all even funnier, so go ahead and click the link.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
The Presbyterian Church of the USA caved on homosexual "marriage" after having held the line on the issue a couple of years ago. In a weird bit of hair-splitting, they voted (because democracy always winds up producing the best outcome) to allow same-sex ceremonies where the state law permits it.
In a monumental move, the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination voted Thursday to change its definition of marriage and allow its pastors to officiate same-sex ceremonies in states where gay marriage is legal.
By a vote of 429-175, leaders of the 1.76 million-member Presbyterian Church (USA) voted during the biennial General Assembly in Detroit to change the denomination's Book of Order to describe marriage as being between "two people."
The decision opens a path toward gay marriage across the denomination's 10,000 churches. A majority of the church's 172 regional bodies, called Presbyteries, must now approve the decision before it's official, a process that can take up to a year. But after years of failed efforts to get the church to approve gay marriages, LGBT activists and pastors said they were optimistic.
“This is a glorious day for the church and for LGBT people who have been seeking full inclusion here for decades,” Pittsburgh-based Rev. Randy Bush, the co-moderator of the board for pro-LGBT church group Covenant Network, said in a statement.
What Would John Calvin Do? This kind of moral decay is what the break from authority will inevitably yield, though. Too bad John, Martin, etc. couldn't see that coming.