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Friday, September 19, 2014

Stop Killing People

Please, utilitarians, I don't need any of your "mercy," and neither does Angela. Besides the completely arbitrary decisions concerning what constitutes a "full life," I remind people that we know when life begins--at conception. It's a biological fact that the organism is neither composed entirely of genetic material from its father or its mother, but possesses its own genetic code. It is not nascent fox life or tree life or dolphin life; we have before us human life, a human person, only prevented from the full realization of her full capacities by the passage of time.

You don't need a Bible for this; the Bible, repeating the very law written into the universe, says, "You shall not murder." The Bible tells you that if you don't repent (stop doing it) and plead for mercy, the just God will cast you away from any shred or hint of His loving presence, forever. Your perfected senses and conscience, says Tradition, will constantly remind you of the infinite distance between you and God, a distance you can never cross. The worst part is, if you end up here, it means that, at the moment of your death, your will was definitively turned against God. It will be permanently fixed that way, and you will perfectly hate the very One you were destined to be with forever.

In one sense, if I were a secularist, my best hope would be that the Christian teaching merely consisted in old men making up stodgy, theocratic rules! That's cake, compared to eternal hell-fire! These secularists today are low-budget; they get all mad when some nice dudes with Bibles from Something-Creek Community Church preach about the love and mercy of Jesus. Are you kidding? If my second paragraph is true, you'd get out there and help them!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

...Of All That Once Was Good, And Could Be Again

Not too many more times, now.

...Or Just Become Catholic

Of course evangelicalism has poor form; that's the point of evangelicalism. If you throw off the shackles of whatever it happens to be, you pay the cost of having done so. To attempt to restore those things opens up the very question of the wisdom of discarding them in the first place.

If one accepts an authority, he can only accept in in a principled way by accepting the terms under which that authority is exercised. Creedal Christianity that is not Catholic cannot survive serious inspection, because the very principle at the heart of Protestantism is the primacy of content (matter) over form,--mediated by private judgment--as opposed to the unity of both.

The end-point of this attempted recovery of the unity of form and matter is the Catholic Church. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Small Things With Great Love

The truth is, I haven't read "Story Of A Soul" yet. It doesn't take long to know this is St. Therese, if you hang with good Catholics. In any case, I have had more than a few opportunities to practice this recently. I'm not sure I've had success.

I do give thanks that today was a very good day, in terms of circumstances. I recall how Israel's prophets made them aware of the fickleness of hearts that do not suffer, how we get forgetful and prideful if things go well.

I want to watch the game and drink my Coke to God's glory, because these moments of ease are rare, and not owed. Deo gratias!

5 Annoyed Thoughts For Today

5. The Deb is entirely correct: No '80s song will ever be "oldies." Ever. "Oldies" evokes memories of nostalgia and innocence, which will never accurately describe the '80s.

4. I'm praying for this papacy, too. But just so we understand each other, that is not code for, "Francis sucks!"

3. In fact, I hope he leads us until he's 100.

2. It's an odd thing, being a political conservative who generally thinks conservatives are insane.

1. The person at NFL on CBS who decided that people in St. Louis care about the Kansas City Chiefs should be fired.

5 Laments For, And About, The President

5. You can't be "life-affirming" if you don't know what it means.

4. I think the choosing of the family pet might have been free of political calculation.

3. The universe cannot be re-ordered with a word. The rest of us learn this when we are 6.

2. The vague, milquetoast god of Episcopalianism and most past presidents is arguably better than Mars and Molech.

1. In what will become the textbook case of "bad optics," "The Audacity Of Hope" has become "The Audacity Of Nuns."


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

From The Department Of The Blindingly Obvious

There may be actual people who have no idea about fornication being a serious sin that could land you in Hell, but I think even popular culture knows. They flippantly joke about "living in sin," as if God doesn't exist. I'll bet our adversary is pleased.

On the more positive side, for those of you that need a good reason to do anything, St. Paul works for Jesus. You know, our Savior and Lord. If He says not to do something, I'm paying attention. I'm weak, too. But I'm going to affirm what he affirms, and condemn what he condemns, even if I must accuse myself.

I'm in Confession a lot. I guess what it shows me is that the Kingdom must be unimaginably majestic, if the Holy Spirit leads me there so often. If I may digress for a moment, it can be discouraging to struggle and fall into the same sin or sins repeatedly. I think, however, that it would be much more discouraging not to care anymore.

In other news, don't let Mark Shea read the comments; his head will explode. All together now: Pope Francis is a loyal son of the Church! There is actually very little doubt on the point. Watch the Wednesday audience, if you don't believe me. I've never heard a cleric bring up demons, hell, and sin as often as he does. He mentions Confession all the time, too. But that's just too much actual reality for the Greatest Catholics Of All Time, as Mark would say.

I think it's funny that if the New York Times even wrinkled its nose at George W. Bush, (God love him) these same Catholics would be denouncing them for hours, for "distorting the record." But with Pope Francis, all the media reports are 100% accurate. POPE FRANCIS! The Vicar of Christ? If anybody merits the benefit of the doubt, simply by rank and position, it's him. Nope. They are certain he must be a modernist, a communist, and a hater of the Latin Mass. Or not.

Whenever someone starts a blog comment off with, "Although I respect him as our pope,..." you can bet that they do not. Sigh. I just want everyone to know: when you've pushed me into mostly agreeing with Mark Shea, boy, we've got some problems! Just kidding. Sort of.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"The Church Has Failed To Preach The Gospel And Traditional Morality!" Meanwhile...

Millions of people are kicking down the doors of the Catholic Church, because--get this--they have come to believe that, among other things, the Word made flesh would not sanction the moral and doctrinal laxity that passes for religion in other communities. How excited do you think a convert gets when he finds out that matters of faith and morals will never change, nor will they be subject to a majority vote?

If I may be direct, I don't think we should blame the pastors for any number of failures which are actually evidence for a profound lack of conversion. "If only Francis valued precision like Benedict! Sin abounds because Francis would rather be liked than preach the truth!"

Or our pastors rightly expect that a person with a living relationship with the Holy Trinity doesn't need to be hectored like the basics of morality are a new concept. No one walks away from the Church on account of its teachings? I disagree; I don't think the faithful are the ones who utter the phrase, "Catholic guilt."

I'm all for a clear-eyed assessment of what we're doing right, and what we could improve. That said, I think a lot of people enjoy being armchair bishops. After all, if things will get better when Francis is gone, I don't have to look at myself.

The Judge Of All Is Very Near (Some Thoughts On CCC, 1858-1862)

I need to tell you up front that I'm a worrier. I'm what we call "scrupulous." So this is pretty scary stuff, but at the same time, realize that a former Calvinist looks at the Ten Commandments very differently than the bishops likely do when they wrote paragraph 1858. I simply imbibed the notion that we are guilty of all of these daily. This is why Christ had to "die in our place"; we had no shot at keeping the law, or so we thought.

So let me say that I don't want to minimize any sins that are committed, especially if they are particularly grave. Abortion, other kinds of murder, large-scale theft and deception, fornication, adultery, and who knows what else are committed all the time, sometimes by us.

Mortal sin is real, and it is a possibility of human freedom. But also realize that the One who will judge us is the same one who died for us when we cared nothing for him. And He comes to us in the Eucharist. He loves us! He's looking right at us, and into our souls. Recalling the book of Leviticus, the people could eat the meat of the sacrifice once they had been pardoned. It represented that what had been broken had been restored. The eating was fellowship with God, and his priest. How much more the Eucharist, the thanksgiving of a new and better covenant! He is both victim and priest; if we can say the Confiteor with contrition, if indeed we are honest when we say, "Lord, I am not worthy, that You should enter under my roof,..." and yet, there is no reason to be downcast at the celebration of Mass, assembled in His presence, then let us eat without fear.

Friends overlook countless oversights and mistakes in their enjoyment and love of one another. It's no different here, even though Jesus does all the overlooking and forgetting. If you can look him in the eye, as it were, then eat. We of all people should know and believe that God is not an ogre, delighting to cast us out at the earliest opportunity. It's quite the opposite!

 He saved us, and made us friends. He made us family. There is a certain amount of unworthiness we all feel, especially if we have been very loved. But wouldn't we hurt our family, if, though they told us repeatedly they had nothing against us, we refused to come and eat with them?

Count me as one more likely to harshly accuse himself more than I have ever been accused. There is danger in this, also. Let us not accuse ourselves more than the Law and conscience requires.

Disney's "Brave" Is A Horrible Movie

Yeah, I said it. It's a pile of Gnostic heresy, wrapped in the story of a strong, tomboy girl. They even managed to paint the father in a good light. But the pagans are done emasculating men; they've got bigger fish to fry. Consider:

1. Merida's helper is a witch. Not a fairy godmother kind, either. An actual witch.

2. This movie is set very near the second millennium after the appearing of Our Lord, if not after it. In Scotland. Seriously, let that sink in. Our protagonist and her family, and everyone they know, are pagans. Why are we OK with this? It's not even remotely accurate.

3. Our concluding monologue, which is where you give us the take-away for the entire movie, is about strength, independence, and "finding your inner voice."

I hated this movie, and you should, too.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

If You Are Discouraged, It's Not From God

I bring you this dispatch from the Department of the Blindingly Obvious, because frankly, I forget this often. If we don't rebuke it in our thoughts, and our adversary who brings it to us, we give sin a foothold.

If you surrender to sin, prepare to be discouraged. Our adversary loves to pile it on when that happens. But if God is for us, who can stand against us? God loves us and died to free us from sin. We know this, but in the thick of the battle, we forget.

Happy Feast, everybody! St. Paul, pray for us!

Movie Quote Sidebar: My friends, I wanted to type "our old adverse-ary" but I figured Sean Connery jokes would be 1. a little tacky in the midst of the encouragement; and 2. fly over the heads of most of you. But here's a good chunk of the quote, from the film, "The Hunt For Red October":

"And once more, we play our dangerous game, against our old adversary, the American navy. For forty years, your fathers before you, and your older brothers played this game, and played it well. But this time is different. We have the advantage...." I remember other parts of the speech, but not the order it comes in, which is pretty shocking, considering I may have seen this movie 84 times. OOH, here's a good line: "It reminds me of the heady days of Sputnik, and Yuri Gagarin, when the world trembled at the sound of our rockets. And they will tremble again, at the sound of our silence."

It's time to put this out in the open: the movie is better than the book. However, the book provides the back story. What is motivating this celebrated Soviet submarine captain to steal a new submarine equipped with dozens of nuclear missiles and a nearly silent propulsion system, and defect to the United States with most of his officers? His wife died at the hands of a drunk doctor at a state-run hospital. Somebody alert the president! Some guy will steal our best submarine, and hand it to Singapore in protest.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sometimes, The Best Prayers Are The Short Ones

Everybody has mountains to climb. Nobody's Golgotha is the same. And what would be a trivial test for one person is a crucifixion for the one who receives it. Here's the bottom line: passing the tests isn't a matter of grand, dramatic acts; it's the little things. If we are persevering, it's in the little things; if we fail, we fail in little things.

Our trials are huge to us, but they don't test God or surprise Him. If all we can do is cry out like Peter, "Lord, save me!" it's better than forgetting he's there, and taking the wide, easy road that leads to destruction. Perhaps we have, and many times. Yet Jesus himself said, "He who comes to me, I will never drive away."

Our prayer of repentance, which we must pray to hear ever new and more deeply, is, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"