Friday, July 27, 2012

What Does Evil Look Like?

This.  Excerpts:
...When faced with mindless massacres, we don't have a rational answer—and that is the rational answer. What I mean is that the further one goes down the path of Evil, the more it becomes irrational and mindless. Evil, by its very nature, is a lie, a subterfuge, a deceit and a vast web of contradictions and inconsistencies. Evil is, by it's nature, the darkness and the chaos—where what seems reasonable is only a smoke screen for the absurd, and what seems logical is a pretext for irrationality.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Alleluia in Aurora

Praising God as a response to tragedy.  Excerpts:
...It’s important to note that to sing praises to God amongst destruction and violence is not the same thing as saying “Hey God we think you’re awesome for allowing these horrible things to happen.” To sing praise to God amidst destruction and violence is to simply put evil in it’s place. It’s to draw a line and say here and no further. For the devil surely hates the sound of alleluia...

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Reason for Existence

Humans exist because God desired more children.  Deification, divinization, or divine filiation are all names for the process by which the divine life and love is restored in us through prayer, the sacraments, Scripture reading and meditation, works of mercy, and the whole Christian life in the Spirit.  God loves us--that is why we are here.  We fell--that is why we are in such a mess.  Divine love entails utter self-gift, which human nature experiences as utter self-sacrifice--that is why we are called to suffer and die.  For more on how all this works, see this excellent overview

Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Michael O'Brien Opposes Harry Potter

Summed up in one review of The Father's Tale.  Excerpts:
...Readers familiar with O'Brien's work are no doubt aware that he proceeds from an essentially Manichean worldview befitting of an ascetic. He employed this worldview to great effect in the novel `Father Elijah,' which dealt with the beginning of the apocalypse and necessarily categorized characters and situations as good or evil. This time, however, in the confines of a more conventional work--and let us here posit that `The Father's Tale' is not a work of fantasy, sci-fi, or apocalypse, but general fiction--the worldview causes the book to suffer from several serious handicaps.

Chief among these is the treatment of characters. Most seemed childishly one-dimensional. The good are pure, innocent and worthy of our unquestioning admiration; those that are not good are portrayed as sinister, insensitive and unfeeling: beyond redemption. There is very little gray area....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cardinal Mahony on the HHS Mandate

Cardinal Mahony is far from a conservative voice in the Catholic hierarchy, and yet...You may recall his reaction from the earliest days of the controversy:
...I cannot imagine a more direct and frontal attack on freedom of conscience than this ruling today. This decision must be fought against with all the energies the Catholic Community can muster...

For me there is no other fundamental issue as important as this one as we enter into the Presidential and Congressional campaigns. Every candidate must be pressed to declare his/her position on all of the fundamental life issues, especially the role of government to determine what conscience decision must be followed: either the person's own moral and conscience decision, or that dictated/enforced by the Federal govenment. For me the answer is clear: we stand with our moral principles and heritage over the centuries, not what a particular Federal govenrment agency determines...
Now, there's more:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wealthy Americans, Europeans Seek Fewer Africans

Cause that doesn't sound strange at all.  Excerpts:
It was almost embarrassing to watch. African presidents stepped up to the stage to make promises to Melinda Gates and donor countries, as European leaders held out the elusive dream of  ‘development’  if only these countries will dedicate themselves to free access to contraception...

The mingling outside the hall was stiff and uncomfortable, with many standing alone. Only the young staffers seemed happy to be there...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What The World Needs Above All Else

The meaning of life.  Excerpts:
...Pope Benedict's message at Subiaco identifies what the world needs above all else. "We need," he said, "men who hold their gaze directly towards God..."

...People are drawn to Saint Benedict because in him they see a man who "held his gaze directly towards God." People are drawn to Benedictine monasteries because in them they expect to find men and women who "with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into His likeness from one degree of glory to another" (2 Cor 3:18). People come to monasteries in search of a place where there is evidence of a divine inbreaking: traces of the Kingdom of Heaven, glimmers of the glory of God shining on the Face of Christ.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Beauty in the Church

Absolutely necessary.  Excerpts:
...One of my cousins is a Capuchin priest. He has worked very closely with the very poor and disadvantaged for decades, and he bristles when people talk about “frivolous beauty” or “liturgical pomp”, and when they declare that beautiful things should be stripped down and sold for the poor. “You help the poor by being with them, living and working with them; being one with them, because one of the biggest needs of the poor is the reception of a simple message: ‘You’re as important as anyone; you are loved and loveable.’ You don’t send that message by making the world uglier for them.”

Sell everything in a church, strip it down and you buy some temporary assistance; then the people who sold all that sinful, frivolous beauty go back home, feeling pretty good about themselves and all the ‘help’ they gave to ‘the poor.’ But when the money runs out — and my cousin says money running out is one of the few things you can bank on — then for the poor who remain, “it’s back to business as usual, but with nothing beautiful for them, anywhere.”...

...In no other aspect of our lives do we demand a reason for beauty or question its purpose. We accept and appreciate beautiful art, music, or a sunset for what it is and allow it to uplift us. For some reason beauty is not suspect except when found in the Church. Then it becomes a waste of money, gaudy excess, and idolatry. Suddenly we are expected to ban beauty in His own house when He Himself made us with this desire to create and appreciate beauty? How odd.

Michael O'Brien: Writing News Before It Happens

Sometimes prophetic.  Excerpts:
...The mutineers maintain, anonymously, that they are doing this for the good of the Church itself. It is a recurring justification in history. They say that from the scandal they want to produce a regeneration of Christianity. But many of their "secular" supporters are interested in a collapse of the Church. Not that it be regenerated, but humiliated.

Conflicts within institutions can be managed. But betrayal much less so.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Nothing More Relativistic Than Fascism"

Relativism does not lead to tolerance.  I call Benito Mussolini to the stand:
Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The "Bomb" in Obamacare

An interesting argument from Forbes.  Excerpts:
...[The Bomb is] the provision of the law, called the medical loss ratio, that requires health insurance companies to spend 80% of the consumers’ premium dollars they collect—85% for large group insurers—on actual medical care rather than overhead, marketing expenses and profit. Failure on the part of insurers to meet this requirement will result in the insurers having to send their customers a rebate check representing the amount in which they underspend on actual medical care.

This is the true ‘bomb’ contained in Obamacare and the one item that will have more impact on the future of how medical care is paid for in this country than anything we’ve seen in quite some time.  Indeed, it is this aspect of the law that represents the true ‘death panel’ found in Obamacare—but not one that is going to lead to the death of American consumers. Rather, the medical loss ratio will, ultimately, lead to the death of large parts of the private, for-profit health insurance industry.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

India, Catholicism, and Miracles

As if Mother Teresa wasn't enough...coolness abounding, apparently.  Excerpts:
...According to the prelate, the numerous unexplained healings which preceded and resulted from prayer, are the main reason for this extraordinary increase in Catholics - 40% over 35 years - in this remote corner of India. The bishop is informed of things like this on a regular basis; and the stories “baffle me. I have a theological mindset and it is easy to become sceptical about this kind of thing. But the interested parties are absolutely convinced that what happened to them was real.”


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