Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.

  • Why Relativism is a Dictatorship – Michael Liccione (Sacramentum Vitae) presents a serious and necessary rebuttal to Dario Antiseri, who mounted a philosophical challenge to Pope Benedict’s criticism of relativism earlier this year.
  • Fr. O’Leary’s unorthodox “hot tub” Christology (Part III: Conclusion) the concluding installment of a three part series by Dr. Philip Blosser, responding to the post Demystifying the Incarnation August 16, 2005. The first two parts of which were posted earlier this year: Part I (August 8, 2005) and Part II (August 15, 2005). Displaying his usual brevity and restraint, Fr. O’Leary responds with eleven consecutive comments in the space of 30 minutes. A discussion of the exchange is taking place over at Pontifications.

    See also “The Intellectual in the Church”, reflecting on the role of the intellectual in the Church:

    The following reflection is prompted by a comment by Fr. Joseph O’Leary during the recent Synod on the Eucharist held in Rome. He expressed displeasure at the way things were going in the Synod, particularly because, as a liberal dissident, he found the bishops’ repeated reaffirmations of traditional Catholic positions on priestly celibacy, etc., intolerably entrenched and reactionary, etc., etc. Deriding the college of bishops as little more than “yes men,” he declared that today’s bishops were not “intellectuals,” that they were far from the high caliber of “intellectual” and “scholarly” bishops the Church had under Pope Paul VI. . . .

  • Some good posting going on over at Friends of La Nef, a collective blog “promoting Catholic traditionalism and the Ecclesia Dei movement through orthodox, intelligent and non-polemical writing that remains respectful of the Church and her hierarchy.”. I. Shawn McElhinney dialogues w. Kevin Tierney On the Use of Labels; Patrick Morris on Conquering the Dictatorship of Relativism.

    Kevin Tierney himself with a series on “The Case for Traditional Principles,” laying out what it means to be a Catholic: Part I: The Meaning of Being Catholic; Part II: The Reality of the Catholic Church; Part III: The Rule of Law in Catholicism; Part IV: One Body, Many Functions; Part V: Children of the Age and Part VI: The Importance of Worship

    Compared to the usual fiery polemics and the hurling of epithets on discussions of traditionalist issues, Friends of La Nef has been a refreshing encounter.

  • Can I Quote You On That? Talking to the Media About Homosexuality and the Priesthood, by Mark Brumley. Ignatius Insight November 23, 2005. The president of Ignatius Press demonstrates his infinitate patience with a reporter via “an artistic (but accurate) representation of a real and very recent conversation with a reporter from a major media outlet.”
  • The Ever Quotable Arinze — Rocco Palmo (Whispers in the Loggia) has a good roundup of choice quotes from the prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship. (Rocco also tells us he does “a wonderful Arinze impersonation — and I’m told it’s a good one.”).
  • Speaking of Cardinal Arinze — am I mistaken, or is he the first Cardinal to have his own Podcast? – Courtesy of the Apostolate for Family Consecration. Apparently it’s been active since September. Thanks to Eamonn Fitzgerald for the tip. Do check out his latest, on “Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass,” where his direct approach and sense of humor shines through (“If you walk into a church, and you cannot find the tabernacle, that’s when I say: ‘where have you taken My Lord?”).
  • “Stealth Candidates”, by Stephen Skellmeyer (The Fifth Column):

    Judge Alito’s record has come forward with a lot more detail in a lot less time. Within just a few hours of his nomination, many people began to be concerned about his abortion decisions. In three cases out of four, he came down on the wrong side.

    Two of my seven brothers and sisters are lawyers. As a result, I am not as concerned about these decisions as some have been. I am not saying there is no cause for concern, just that the reason for concern is not necessarily as clear-cut as one might think. . . .

  • “Thumbing [his] nose at the widespread anti-Jesuitry in St. Blog’s parish,” Elliot Bougis has assembled an “honor roll” of Jesuits we can be proud of. (I’m not sure how many decades the list spans, but I would have to add Fr. John Courtney Murray).
  • John Paul II – the Great Missionary Pope – Greg Mockeridge (Cooperatores Veritatis) posts his reflections on re-reading John Paul II’s Crossing the Threshold of Hope, particularly on the Church’s relationship to non-Christian religions.
  • Is the Vatican OBSESSED WITH SEX? – Fr. Jim Tucker (Dappled Things) has the answer.
  • Stephen Riddle (Flos Carmeli) on Living our Vocation:

    God has carefully selected, cultivated, and chosen the time and the circumstances of every event in our lives. He has fashioned us and our lives. This is the crucible of refinement, the cross of the day. I don’t sell as many books as Anne Rice. I’m not as popular as Stephen King. Oh well, buck up and get over it–that isn’t my crucible.

    Our crosses are custom made. We might think of them as orthopedic devices. Only in fitting to them are we made straight. We can only fit them by who we are and where we are in our life’s journey.

  • “The Gospel According to Mahoney. David Morrison (Sed Contra) takes on the Diocese of Los Angeles’ explanation — excuse — as to why they are unable to support Courage:

    Excuse me for getting my back up about this, but who the **** are these people to decide for people living with SSA that we don’t need the fullness of the Gospel or that we shouldn’t be called to Holiness or that it is prudent to decide for us that we can’t, or won’t, handle it – or that, somehow, even if we don’t want to handle it that we should not be offered the challenge anyway?!

    In Cardinal Mahony’s Gospel, when asked by the Rich Young Man what he needs to do to attain eternal life, Jesus does not tell him to go, sell all he has, take up his cross and follow Him. Instead, Jesus tells him not to strain himself too much, just keeping the commandments that he already keeps should be enough. Oh yah, then He gives him a hug and says something like, you might see some ugly stuff coming up with me and a Cross and all, but don’t worry about it, it really doesn’t apply to you.

    Read the whole thing.

  • The Joy of Conservatism: An Interview with Roger Scruton from the blog Right Reason, of which Scruton is a part. Discussion of a range of subjects “including the reaction to the book [The Meaning of Conservatism] from left and right, the possibilities and limitations of free markets, the U.S. Constitution, the nature of philosophy, the prospects for conservatism under Tony Blair and George W. Bush, and the joylessness of liberalism.” (The second part of the interview will be published on Monday, December 5, 2005).
  • What are your kids learning about Islam? – On November 21, the 9th Circuit Court ruled that a Contra Costa County school was educating seventh-graders about Islam, not indoctrinating them, in role-playing sessions in which students used Muslim names and recited language from prayers. Michelle Malkin posts some excerpts from the curriculum and it is pretty disturbing. As Jay from Stop the ACLU wonders: “Can we find a teacher out there willing to make some Muslim students pretend to be Christians for a few weeks? You know, just to better understand the culture and all.” Nope? — Didn’t think so.
  • Abort73.com “exists to cut through the skewed rhetoric of a broadly “pro-choice” culture by presenting young people with the conclusive evidence that abortion is a massive injustice, one which has and continues to systematically destroy the most innocent and helpless members of the human race.

    Abort73.com further exists as a gateway into the more fundamental questions of human existance. Where does human life come from? From whence does evil emerge? What is the meaning of life.” It offers a wealth of information presented with eye-catching web design. Check it out.

  • Signs of the times? — The Daily Princetonian reports on a joint philosophy lecture between Religion professor Cornel West GS ’80 and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek (“Philosophers contemplate state of belief”, by Kate Carroll. Daily Princetonian Nov. 18, 2005):

    Zizek began the lecture by arguing that “nobody really believes today,” most notably religious fundamentalists and atheists.

    “It is as if to really believe you have to put up an atheist front,” Zizek said. “Or the other way around, to be skeptical, you have to superficially believe.”

    He said that most of his friends had been shocked at the recent election of Pope Benedict XVI, who truly believes that Christ exists. Eighty percent of Europe, Zizek said, is Christian, but only five percent believe that Jesus really lived 2,000 years ago and was the son of God.

    Similarly, he told the story of an atheist friend who would not deny the existence of the divine with absolute certainty.

  • Soldier & Child, by Anthony Esolen. Touchstone Magazine: Mere Commments” Dec. 1, 2005:

    A couple of years ago something odd struck me about the New Testament, particularly Jesus’ parables and the adventures of Paul in Acts. A lot of the serious, high minded professions come off pretty badly. . . .

    [But] what profession is missing? How remarkable it is that Jesus, who must have seen Roman soldiers all his life long, and who must have known full well of their efficiency and their cruelty, never delivers a parable in which the soldier plays the villain. . . .

  • I heartily, heartily, heartily recommend Ushpizin — a refreshingly positive and authentic depiction of orthodox religious Jewish life. As Wendy Shalit notes in her article (Hollywood Gets Religion Wall Street Journal Dec. 2, 2005), the typical depiction of orthodox Jews on film tends to be something like A Price Above Rubies (click link for scathing review).

    I live in a heavily-populated Jewish neighborhood, and it was no wonder to find them lining up in droves to see the film on Saturday night. God willing we’ll see more films like this in the future. Thanks to Amy Welborn for the link. See also: New Film Has Old Testament Feel, review by Victor Morton (aka. Right Wing Film Geek).

On a lighter note:

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