Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.

  • James V. Schall, S.J., ponders the implications of the progressive agenda in “Suppose We Had a Liberal Pope?”:

    “. . . for the sake of argument, let us suppose that the new Pope actually thinks he can do what the modern world insists is necessary to be “up to date.” Suddenly, Rome, in a world-wide announcement, agrees that abortion, birth control, euthanasia, divorce, cloning, gay life, whatever, are just fine. The question immediately becomes, where are we?
  • The Blind-Obedience Myth: There’s no virtue in being an unquestioning sheep, by Michael Novak. National Review Online. April 27, 2005. (With an excellent response to Novak by Christine @ Lauden Gloriae).
  • With the public’s attention focused on the papacy comes the reassertion of Protestant challenges to the Petrine Primacy. Jimmy Akin has a series of informative posts on the topic Mr. Peter?; “Hollow” Peter?; and the relevant verse in the original Aramaic.
  • Also from Jimmy Akin — thoughts on the moral licitness of engaging in Affiliate Programs with secular booksellers like Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com, who may also provide a market for other books and materials of morally questionable subject matter.
  • “Sodom & the City of God”: A Response to the New Oxford Review, by Ron Belgau of Courage Seattle. NOR June 2003. A very good article and necessary rebuttal to the editors of the New Oxford Review, who have a history of uncharitable remarks toward Catholics living with same sex attraction. (Via Amy Welborn, who posts several other links to articles by Ron.
  • Amy Welborn posts “a brief statement” and initiates a long and rich thread of discussion between readers, this time on the necessity of rules and the pre/post Vatican II Church. Good points on both sides. I was impressed with the argument of commentator “Loudon is a Fool”:

    I am reminded in this conversation of the passage in Belloc’s Path to Rome regarding post-Reformation beverages, where he sets forth a rule for his drunkard friend that he must abstain from spirits and champagne. And the friend improves until one day he is offered whisky and water, and accepts. Before Belloc can take the drink from his friend, the drunkard tells him “After all, it is the intention of a pledge that matters.” Belloc observes, “I saw that all was over, for he had abandoned definition, and was plunged back into the horrible mazes of Conscience and Natural Religion.”

    I am no doubt defective in some manner, but where the Church sees fit not to make rules, or to rescind rules, it puts me in utter confusion. So the Bishops provide that I must make an act of penance on Friday, but the particular act is up to me. Which is to say there were no Friday acts of penance performed by me until my wife and I decided upon a rule. No meat on Friday. Of course, we always intended to visit prisons and the sick and do all sorts of other wonderful things on Fridays, which empty intention resulted in not only not doing grand things, but not even performing simple acts.

    With no rule on being tardy for Mass, we never know what to do. The best answer is don’t arrive late. But if I am, what do I do? Rely on the prophetic murmurings of the Holy Spirit to my interior self? God evidently does not see fit to provide a bit of special revelation when this issue comes up. So if the readings have started, I don’t receive Communion. Not because that’s the rule, but because I don’t know what the rule is and I figure better safe than sorry.

    Without rules, depending on personality, I think, some persons become overly scrupulous. Others become as dirty as they wanna be. Neither is a particuarly good situation to find oneself in (although, it’s certainly better to be overly scrupulous). So let’s have rules, and many of them. And those who can deepen their Faith and go beyond the rules will do so. And those who are lost without rules (i.e., post-lapsarian man) will be no worse off.

    The rapid descent into insanity following the council is certainly a sign of sickness. But it is not a sickness abated by a world without rules, but by Grace which is not inhibited by law.

    Additional good discussions from the Open Book’s feisty ‘Commentariat’:

      – On On the “Reform of the Reform”, Thomas Day’s Why Catholics Can’t Sing, Archbishop Chaput’s column on why blessing children at communion is innappropriate, holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer, etc.

      Discussion of George Weigel’s latest column — “What Benedict XVI Means” (The Tidings April 29, 2005) — and the observation that “The “progressive” project is over — not because its intentions were malign, but because it posed an ultimately boring question: how little can I believe, and how little can I do, and still remain a Catholic?

      – On John Allen Jr.’s “About Face”, discussed previously on this blog.

  • “The Church does not come to Scripture as a stranger” – Fr. Al Kimel of Pontifications, musing on the tenability of the Protestant principle of sola scriptura.
  • Interfaithless dialogue?, from Talmida (Lesser of Two Weevils). Reflecting on an article by Bill Tammeus on the damaging effects of theological illiteracy on interfaith dialogue:

    “I felt quite challenged when I read it. There’s just so much out there to learn if you’re catholic!! 2000 years worth of history, theology, philosophy and probably a dozen other -ologies to say nothing of Latin and Greek and Hebrew and there’s apparently something called patristics and there are maybe some other -istics too!!! WHERE TO START???”

    Heh. I certainly know the feeling.

  • Why Tolerance Requires Judgment – musings on the necessary foundations of tolerance by Francis Beckwith, of the excellent philosophical blog Right Reason:

    popular culture–and in columns penned by such liberal luminaries as Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, and the Daily Kos–one often hears a call for “tolerance” while at the same time offering a condemnation of social and religious conservatives making critical judgments about another’s sexual preference or religious beliefs . My sense is that this prescription is a form of intellectual bait and switch, for tolerance, properly understood, requires judgment. . . .
  • James R. Davila, and blogger @ PaleoJudaica (“a weblog on ancient Judaism and its context”), has an article on Assimilated to the Blogosphere: Blogging Ancient Judaism (Society of Biblical Literature). During the controversy over Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ back in 2003, Davila challenged New York Times columnist Frank Rich’s creative use of an ellipsis to give the false impression that Gibson had made an anti-Semitic statement. Davila “wrote to Rich about his quotation, but he never replied and the Times has never offered a correction.”
  • Good News from Iraq, the twenty-sixth installment in the series of truly massive roundups by Arthur Chrenkoff — all the underreported news you’re likely to have missed about the United States’ latest attempt to transplant liberal democracy on foreign soil.
  • President for Life: The Case for Gratitude, by Ramesh Ponneru. National Review Online (NRO). April 26, 2005. A response to Hadley Arkes’ article “Bush’s Second Chance” ( First Things 152 April 2005), appraising the President’s pro-life commitment and activities to end abortion, in which he chastised the president for his reluctance to talk more openly on abortion and the Secretary of Health and Human Services for their neglect to enforce the Born Alive Infants Protection Act, describing the experience of the past two years “as though the White House had taken an account of the simplest, slightest measures that might be taken, and then come to the judgment that it was not in the interest of the President to do the slightest thing.”

On a lighter note . . .

  • My brother has a modest proposal on how to solve the “vocations crisis” in the American Catholic Church.
  • Lycos Announces Searches for Pope Benedict XVI Jump 1,300 Percent Over Past Week:

    Pope Benedict XVI (#2) makes his first-ever appearance on The Lycos 50 this week, just missing the number one spot, as Pamela Anderson (#1) edges out the new Pontiff by less than one percent of online search interest. Searches for Pope Benedict XVI jumped 1,300 percent over the past week, with the top Pope-related searches centered on Pope Benedict biography, Pope Benedict pictures and the Joseph Ratzinger Fan Club. Interestingly, Pope Benedict’s fan club web site (http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/) receives twice as many searches as the Clay Aiken fan club site. Ratzinger’s fan club web site began in 2000, created by a 31-year-old former Protestant who converted to Catholicism. Searches for Nostradamus (#31), in relation to predictions about the new Pope, continue to be popular for the third consecutive week.

    Could it be? — Could we have actually surpassed CLAY AIKEN?!?

  • By way of Disputations, an amusing exchange between Mark Shea and Chris Sullivan — who you might see haunting my comments boxes from time to time:

    It’s amazing how you can take any subject and bend it to one of your private opinions. Is the thread about oriental shrubbery? Within a post or two, Chris, you manage to turn it into a discussion of either God’s Demand for Absolute Pacifism or The Ongoing Hope of Women’s Ordination. How do you do it?

    Mark Shea | 04.27.05 – 8:04 pm | #

    Dear Mark,

    If one doesn’t raise one’s questions, then one can’t avail oneself of the correcting wisdom of the likes of Mark Shea or Tom or other wonderful posters here.

    God Bless

    Chris Sullivan | 04.27.05 – 9:10 pm | #

    Chris:

    You drive me crazy, but so help me, I can’t help but like you.
    Mark Shea | 04.27.05 – 9:48 pm | #

    Just another day at St. Blog’s Parish. =)

  • For all you appreciators of God’s creation in the form of peculiar weather phenomena, here are pictures of a sandstorm descending on Al Asad at about 60mph from BlackFive (“The Patratrooper of Love”). April 29, 2005.
  • Review of the movie Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy from Captain’s Quarters:

    Now, fans must understand that the film version takes liberties with many elements of the books. In fact, when I say that the movie takes liberties, I mean that if the film version dated your sister, not only would you be tempted to take the film out behind the gym after school and beat the living hell out of it, but your father would almost certainly get his shotgun and arrange for some abrupt nuptials. These liberties bear some similarity to those which gave the Yanks such a naughty reputation in Britain during WWII.

    But he still liked it. One of the few movies I’m hoping to see in the theater this month. Can’t wait! — And for those interested in delving into the deliciously twisted, absolutely hilarious mind of Arthur Adams, I recommend The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the entire “five part trilogy” in one whopping volume.

  • Looking for something to read but tired of the same old Catholic dogma? — Join the Dissident Book Club! Courtesy of the Curt Jester.
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