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Showing posts from September 1, 2013

Well, That's Interesting

There's something oddly existential about this . It resonates deeply, but not as much as it might, because I don't think we get a choice to make our meaning, or to imagine our audience. Whichever one we have, we may not even know all that much about them, unless they choose to interact with us, or us vice-versa. But I really don't know much about literary criticism. What I do know is that the indomitable Alan Noble of Christ and Pop Culture said he was leery of critics becoming artists, presumably because it was yet another derivation from that which was created. That, or artists don't like others making a buck off of them. In fairness, all kidding aside, I think Alan simply wants to recognize the distinction in what the artist and the critic are doing, and that's fair enough. (I'd quote you, Alan, but I can't find it. I hope you trust me.) In broad outline though, Hirsch's analysis here is amazing, because it hits upon the central resonant truth of th


5 Piquant Thoughts About That 5. Normally, John Kerry and John McCain entirely agreeing on anything should either cheer or terrify any person, depending. "How odd!" I say. And then I remembered why I called McCain the "Republican John Kerry." Both of them are entirely convinced of their own righteousness in any cause, irrespective of the evidence. Harsh, but true. 4. It'd be hilarious to point out to all these Obama supporters just how much they sound like Bush supporters, circa 2003, (and I would know) but for the fact that our nation itself teeters in the balance, pushed to the brink by the ill-considered deployment of unilateral executive authority and military intervention over many decades. No, I do not consider that exaggeration. Not even close. 3. An absence of principles in the presence of power means tyranny, whether from oneself in imposing it, or in acquiescing to what is unjust. As a nation, we have been without clear principles for a long time

Truth, Straight Up, No Chaser

Read me . Right at the beginning. I'll accept the charge that I was biased from the beginning, in this one sense: If you don't actually live in the intellectual space where you could be wrong in protesting the Catholic Church, you could read every Catholic book known to man, but you didn't truly consider it. Seeking God is a whole self sort of endeavor; if it doesn't scare you, if it doesn't drive you to prayer, then there is something you have left of yourself on the table. Some of you are out there saying, "I looked into it, like you have, and I just didn't reach the same conclusion. Fair enough?!" That'd be fine, if it were true. But some of you never really step out of your paradigm and into the other. Any person who does inevitably gets his pronouns confused; the Catholic Church is a live option. It's a mind that straightforwardly says, "If this were true, what would it mean? What's different? How then do I test this claim? What e

Authority And Fullness

As I think back over the journey from Reformed seminarian to Catholic theologian impersonator, one of the hardest and best questions concerns the nature of the Church. If we say that the church catholic is fundamentally invisible, we then essentially eviscerate the visible community as a means of discerning divine truth, because the concept necessarily includes both what my visible community holds, and presumably its opposite held by someone else, provided that I have concluded this variance is permitted, and is not damnable heresy. Why I have the right to conclude anything concerning the true doctrine of God, and thus the contours of the community which declares it is a question I had avoided for too long. You either have to be a true-blue evangelical and say we lucked out, that the evangelical "consensus" (whatever that means) emerged context-less and chaotically--paging Mark Galli !--or you are duty-bound to submit to whomever and whatever you find that actually produced t


It's cool to be Catholic/catholic (see what I did there?) because we use words other Christians use, but the meaning tends to be different. One of these words is "conversion." For us, conversion does not refer to only the moment of initial justification, though it certainly includes it. Rather, any time we willingly correspond with the grace of God that makes us more and more conformed to the image of the Son (Romans 8:29), we call it conversion. We could say that one may not even lose friendship with God in undergoing conversion. Indeed, we should desire never to be outside of God's friendship because of mortal sin. But even if we have gravely sinned, we can be renewed in our baptism by confessing our sins, (1 John 1:8-9) because St. John says just a couple verses later that Jesus is our righteous advocate before the Father (2:1). It's so nice to finally understand St. John in his letter here! There's so much to discourage the reader/hearer if we don't ma

The Joy Of Logic

I'm now starting to get a sense of why so many people like it, and philosophy in general. It gives people tools to seek truth, and to evaluate arguments dispassionately, or so we hope. There is a mathematical quality to it. And the thing is, you can't get mad at a correct math equation; you just have to deal with it. Not that I know anything about sound arguments, but it makes me wish I had studied philosophy. Alas... Off to read the Psalms. In one sitting. On purpose.

If I May

5. I say what I think, and hopefully what's true, in a charming combination. 4. Don't like getting rebuked? Don't violate the Catechism blatantly. 3. Gay sex can land you in Hell, but hating those Jesus loves will get you there even quicker. 2. If you whine about what I said, I've no qualms about tagging you in a post. 1. A good intent alone does not establish the moral rectitude of any action.

It's Not Weird To Be A Traditionalist

Apparently, there's a spat going on between faithful Catholics concerning this. Catholic Answers has been going back and forth with The Remnant newspaper about the use of the word "traditionalist," because more than a few apologists have used the term "rad-trad" for a certain subset of people they consider weird or strange. If you hadn't noticed, I'm a theology buff/aspiring theologian, so as tempting as it is to tag people as a kind of cultural shorthand, it must be avoided. A few brief points: 1. The Tridentine Mass was never suppressed. Ever. The fathers of Vatican II and Pope Paul VI never intended the Novus Ordo to replace the Mass that had served us in the West so well for so long. Dissenters misled the people on this very point. 2. There is now no permission required to celebrate the Tridentine Mass, AKA the Extraordinary Form. If a stable group requests to celebrate it, a priest must take steps to accommodate them. If he ignores you, he's

Vatican II: The Pastoral Council

What does it mean to be "pastoral?" In a few words, it means to shepherd and to lead. When we say that Vatican II was a "pastoral Council," what do we mean? Well, let's say in summary that various new ideas, events, and the sins of mankind had so confused mankind, had so much taken their toll, that man no longer spoke the spiritual language with which Mother Church had grown accustomed to speaking. Somewhat distressingly, you could say that man, and even a large portion of the Church's children, were not spiritual people. Part of being a spiritual person is to believe and act as though God really has spoken and acted in Jesus Christ--also that it matters for my life--and to accept those whom Christ has sent. It goes without saying that the successors to the Apostles, including the successor of Peter, can't give up on their mission, even when the "sheep" don't know who you are, won't listen, and are not even convinced or aware that we&#