Thursday, 10 December

21:54

Mrs. Grantly and Natura Pura [Sancrucensis]

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Certain theology students, who only know of Cardinal Cajetan through reading a little Henri de Lubac, like to accuse that eminent commentator of giving a “two storey” account of the relation of nature and grace. I suppose they think that on the Cajetanian account nature and grace relate somewhat the way they do in the heart of Mrs. Grantly in Trollope’s Barsetshire novels:

In her heart of hearts Mrs. Grantly hated Mrs. Proudie—that is, with that sort of hatred one Christian lady allows herself to feel towards another. Of course Mrs. Grantly forgave Mrs. Proudie all her offences, and wished her well, and was at peace with her, in the Christian sense of the word, as with all other women. But under this forbearance and meekness, and perhaps, we may say, wholly unconnected with it, there was certainly a current of antagonistic feeling which, in the ordinary unconsidered language of every day, men and women do call hatred. (Framley Parsonagech. XVII)


21:19

My New Book! Jesus and the Last Supper [The Sacred Page]

Ever since I published Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist in 2011, various readers have hit me with questions such as: Why didn't you discuss the Feeding of the Five Thousand, in which Jesus acts like a New Moses? What do you think Jesus' meant when he referred to the "daily bread" in the Lord's Prayer ? How can you treat Jesus' sermon in the synagogue at Capernaum in John 6 as

19:40

Writing on the Pope's Wall [Fr Ray Blake's Blog]


After the Holy Father's light show will his talk to the Curia be illustrated this year. Will he start using power-point? I'd love to see how he chooses to illustrate those 'neo-pelagian sourpusses'. "Parrhesia Day", as it has become known in the Curia, has become a day of significance, it is a day they get the drinks in to fortify themselves for the annual roasting and then to drown their sorrows afterwards. Sweepstakes are being run on what might be the insult of the year. Rough speaking by the Pope leads to rough speaking by those men (and women) who write letters for him, one Monsignor tries to include the word 'Promethean' in every letter he sends, another specialises in 'butterfly', as in 'butterfly Christians'. Its a game, but its a game about open and fearless speech, maybe a little intensified by the sense that you are probably going to sacked soon.


As for the Holy Father and the Environment, Americans get uptight about it but if saving carrier bags or turning down the heating a tad saves the Maldives or stops a turtle from getting indigestion or keeps alive a coral reef, I'm up for it. I'm with Paschal and his wager on this one: the consequences of rejecting the accepted view (if it is true) are horrendous - not quite hell but they are not good, whilst accepting it, being in harmony with the environment, is not heaven but it is an act of charity to share our resources, it is part of stewardship of creation. I have noticed in the last ten years a build up of moss on the north side of our buildings here, something not here fifteen years ago.


I have to admit I find something off putting about cats on social media, fish are probably even worse than cats but lets not get up tight about it. Old men and old ladies like those nature documentaries, and if the Pope wants to put them on the walls of his church they actually don't do any harm. Another Pope might decide to show Russian Icons, another might decide on displaying catechetical material, next year it might be naming or shaming those 'orrible 'fundamentalists', who we all hate but don't quite know who they are, or another Pope might decide to promote happy jolly Catholic families. My one quibble is that the pictures tended to be of the pretty or the fluffy, not many microbes, disease organisms or even mosquitoes.

Yes, we can get uptight, rightly so, by who the Pope is making friends with: the World Bank? the UN? Greens of varying kinds? Mmm! but in the end no-one has to look at it what is on 'his wall', even if he chooses the walls of St Peter's rather than Facebook. Obviously Italian intellectuals will think this is just a little bruta figura but that is what they have come to expect.


Now I know I am known for my radical views but why doesn't the Holy See, at least for the remainder of this Papacy reduce its carbon footprint. It would be too easy to dismiss Laudato Si as being window dressing, but a start would be for the Holy Father to abandon air travel. Rightly has he complained about "airport bishops"but most bishops I know spend a great deal of time going backwards and forwards to Rome. There is 'Skype' nowadays, or even the phone. I had to give evidence to Roman dicastery last year, six people turned up at my front door, four of them from Rome, only one of whom spoke English - ridiculous! The City of Rome authorities have said the city cannot cope with an implosion of pilgrims. It would be a positive ecological step to tell people to stay home, or if they must come to Rome not to fly, a pilgrimage is after all about the journey not the arrival.

It is fine for the Pope to use small cars but what a tremendous sign if he abandoned fossil-fueled transport altogether, he needn't look backwards he could look forward, I am sure there are new technologies that the Holy Father could highlight. The Vatican City is made for the electric car, and if the Holy Father must travel abroad there is 'slow flight technology'.
Already the Aula Paulo VI roof supplies much of the Vatican's electricity, why not declare the Vatican a Green State, using fairtrade produce, paying a living and just wage to its employees. Let us have more than words.


16:56

UPDATED – Cardinal Turkson: Pope Francis has “invited people to some form of birth control” [Voice of the Family]

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Peter_Turkson_810_500_55_s_c1The population control movement has once again been strengthened by comments made by a senior prelate in the Vatican.

Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, told the BBC that “birth control” could help deal with the perceived problem of a “lack of food” resulting from supposed overpopulation. He stated that Pope Francis had previously called for “a certain amount of control of birth”. The cardinal said:

“This has been talked about, and the Holy Father on his trip back from the Philippines also invited people to some form of birth control, because the church has never been against birth control and people spacing out births and all of that.”

He continued:

“Having more mouths to feed is a challenge for us to be productive also, which is one of the key issues being treated over here, the cultivation and production of food, and its distribution.

“So yes it engages us in food security management, so we ensure that everybody is fed and all of that. The amount of population that is critical for the realisation of this is still something we need to discover, yet the Holy Father has also called for a certain amount of control of birth.”

He went on to state that only natural methods of “birth control” were morally acceptable. Nonetheless Cardinal Turkson’s comments will strengthen the population control movement, which often falsely argues that increases in the human population will lead to food shortages. In consequence of this false conclusion they call for increased access to abortion and contraception in order to reduce population levels.

Cardinal Turkson’s comments probably relate to the Holy Father’s remarks at the press conference held on his return flight from the Philippines on 19th January 2015:

“I reproached a woman some months ago in a parish because she was pregnant with her eighth child, after having had seven C-sections. But does she want to leave the seven as orphans? This is to tempt God. I speak of responsible paternity. This is the way, a responsible paternity.”

Later in the same press conference he said:

“Therefore, the key word, to give you an answer, and the one the Church uses all the time, and I do too, is responsible parenthood. How do we do this? With dialogue. Each person with his pastor seeks how to do carry out a responsible parenthood. That example I mentioned shortly before about that woman who was expecting her eighth child and already had seven who were born with caesareans. That is an irresponsibility. That woman might say ‘no, I trust in God.’ But, look, God gives you means to be responsible. Some think that – excuse the language – that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood.”

On his return flight from Africa, on 30th November 2015, Pope Francis seemed to suggest that the question of the intrinsic evil of condom use could not be addressed by the Church until other issues such as “malnutrition” and “hunger” had first been entirely resolved. When asked if the Church should “allow the use of condoms to prevent more [HIV] infections” he answered:

The question seems too small to me, it also seems like a partial question. Yes, it’s one of the methods. The moral of the Church on this point is found here faced with a perplexity: the fifth or sixth commandment? Defend life, or that sexual relations are open to life? But this isn’t the problem. The problem is bigger…this question makes me think of one they once asked Jesus: “Tell me, teacher, is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? Is it obligatory to heal?” This question, “is doing this lawful,” … but malnutrition, the development of the person, slave labor, the lack of drinking water, these are the problems. Let’s not talk about if one can use this type of patch or that for a small wound, the serious wound is social injustice, environmental injustice, injustice that…I don’t like to go down to reflections on such case studies when people die due to a lack of water, hunger, environment…when all are cured, when there aren’t these illnesses, tragedies, that man makes, whether for social injustice or to earn more money, I think of the trafficking of arms, when these problems are no longer there, I think we can ask the question “is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” Because, if the trafficking of arms continues, wars are the biggest cause of mortality…I would say not to think about whether it’s lawful or not to heal on the Sabbath, I would say to humanity: “make justice,” and when all are cured, when there is no more injustice, we can talk about the Sabbath.

(Voice of the Family’s response to these comments can be read here.)

Cardinal Turkson endorses environmentalism, without recognising the threats posed to the family

On Friday 4th December Turkson delivered a lecture in London at the annual Paul VI Memorial Lecture organised by CAFOD, the official overseas aid agency of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Cardinal Turkson gave his full backing to the climate change agenda without displaying any recognition of its close interconnection with the movement for population control.

In his lecture Turkson stressed that Pope Francis wants “one world with one common plan” that will reach an “enforceable international agreement” at the Paris climate conference. Pope Francis, said Turkson, “denounces” those who oppose such an agreement; the pope believes that they have”obstructionist attitudes” which include “denial of the problem; indifference; nonchalant resignation; or blind confidence in technical solutions”.

The cardinal went on to praise the “ancient wisdom of indigenous peoples” and said that we must all act in accordance with this wisdom; quoting Laudato Si he said that “all branches of science and every form of wisdom including culture, religion and spirituality” he said “need to combine in an integral ecology.” He also stated that we couldn’t expect non-Christians to pray and that we must therefore join them in their methods of meditation. Turkson praised CAFOD’s “Living Simply” programme, including  “using creation theology in liturgical practices”.

Another important revelation in the cardinal’s lecture was that in Laudato Si Pope Francis deliberately chose to downplay the concept of man’s “stewardship” over the environment. Cardinal Turkson said that the pope deliberately chose not to emphasise this “old language”, using the word “stewardship” just twice and preferring instead to use the word “care”.

Cardinal Turkson’s lecture was preceded by a brief speech by the director of CAFOD, Chris Bain, who endorsed the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a “better platform than ever before” for international development, which “leaves no-one behind”. In reality, the SDGs call for universal access to reproductive health care, which means universal access to abortion and contraception.

(A partial text of Cardinal Turkson’s talk can be read here. It should be noted that this text is not identical to the speech as delivered on 4th December. Certain remarks cited above, which are not in the printed text, were heard and noted by a member of the Voice of the Family team who was present at the lecture.)

The Vatican’s collaboration with the population control agenda

On 18th June 2015 Cardinal Turkson launched the encyclical Laudato Si alongside Professor  Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a climate change scientist who believes human population growth must be reduced, and Carolyn Woo who heads a Catholic Relief Services, an organisation that has helped to fund abortion and contraception worldwide.

From 13-15 November 2015 Professor Schellnhuber and Dr Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and a leading advocate of abortion and contraception, were invited to contribute to a workshop in the Vatican which discussed how to use “children as agents of change” in the cause of environmentalism and sustainable development. In its briefing for the event the Pontifical Academy for Sciences warned against “parents” and “agencies”, which “basing themselves on religious principles, oppose scientific evidence to the detriment of children.” The PAS continued by asserting “that schools will have to absorb the UN Sustainable Development Goals, proclaimed in the fall of 2015, and to reconsider their science education in order to deal with interdisciplinary, complex issues which demand a new vision.” The Sustainable Development Goals include calls for universal access to “reproductive health”, that is, universal access to abortion and contraception, and “universal” includes children.

The Pontifical Academy for Sciences is led by Dr Margaret Archer, who assisted Jeffrey Sachs in the drafting of a draft version of the Sustainable Development Goals. Earlier this year, after the PAS’s collaboration with pro-abortion advocates was criticised, she told a pro-life activist “I am appointed by the Pope and responsible directly to him. I’m afraid that leaves you and your cohort out in the cold.”

The Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies for Sciences and Social Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, also appointed by Pope Francis, has gone so far as to deny that “reproductive health” has any relationship with abortion and contraception. He said that the SDGs “don’t even mention abortion or population control. They speak of access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.”

However, the Holy See, the pro-life pro-family movement, and delegates to the United Nations have long known, and repeatedly demonstrated, that terms such as “family planning”, “sexual and reproductive health”, and “reproductive rights” are euphemisms for contraception, sterilisation and abortion. Archbishop Sorondo’s comments contradict the Holy See’s policy, pursued for nearly three decades, of opposing the use of these terms.

Catholics must no longer be in any doubt: the influence of the global population control movement on the Vatican is very strong indeed.

UPDATE (11/12/2015): Cardinal Turkson has issued a clarification in which he indicates that he should have referred to “responsible parenthood” rather than “birth control” in his remarks to the BBC that are quoted above. He also states that “the pope used the unfortunate expression of ‘breeding like rabbits'”.

Unfortunately Cardinal Turkson’s clarification leaves unanswered the question as to whether he believes, as suggested in his comments to the BBC, that the world is facing a population problem that is leading to food shortages.

The cardinal said:

“Having more mouths to feed is a challenge for us to be productive also, which is one of the key issues being treated over here, the cultivation and production of food, and its distribution.

“So yes it engages us in food security management, so we ensure that everybody is fed and all of that. The amount of population that is critical for the realisation of this is still something we need to discover, yet the Holy Father has also called for a certain amount of control of birth.”

Such comments are highly irresponsible as they give credence to the proponents of overpopulation and to the aggressive attempts of governments and international aid agencies to reduce birth rates through abortion and contraception.

 

The post UPDATED – Cardinal Turkson: Pope Francis has “invited people to some form of birth control” appeared first on Voice of the Family.

16:26

Literatur für einen romantisch-gemütlichen Adventsabend [Denzinger-Katholik]

Da mir zuweilen gesagt wird, meine Eremitage sei wenig wohnlich eingerichtet, habe ich allen mir zu Verfügung stehenden vorweihnachtlichen Kitsch aufgeboten, um besinnlicherweise den ein oder anderen jüngeren Bucherwerb zu studieren ... 


15:06

If we do discuss ‘clerical celibacy’, let’s really discuss it [In the Light of the Law]

The ever-informed Sandro Magister suggests that the next Synod of Bishops will treat “married priests”. After seeing what the last two synods did with non-negotiable matters such as extending Eucharistic communion to divorced-and-remarried Catholics—something that should never have been debated, but was debated, with negative consequences for the faithful’s understanding of Church teaching and discipline in several areas—I do not relish seeing a crucial-but-negotiable matter (such as married clergy) treated in a synod any time soon. But on the chance that Magistro is right let me suggest three areas that, in regard to married clergy, would require careful study.

1. Clerical continence. Western tradition, and the canon law that upholds that tradition, calls without question for a completely sexually-continent clergy. Yet, in the space of one generation (at most two) that shining observance has been inadvertently but completely forgotten, first among tens of thousands of married deacons and now among thousands of married priests. No coherent synodal discussion of clerical celibacy can take place without deciding, once and for all, whether “perfect and perpetual continence” (1983 CIC 277 §1) grounds that discipline. Naturally—and though I limit my contribution to this discussion to matters of law which, as we know, often protects truths it does not articulate—the canonical question of clerical continence will eventually turn, I suspect, on a deeper theological understanding of the character of priest as Spouse and on the nuptial imagery of his actions in the Eucharistic sacrifice.

2. Clerical celibacy. Besides the unspoken (unspoken because, until a few decades ago, it was so obvious) foundation that clerical continence provides for clerical celibacy, most defenses of clerical celibacy have turned on practical matters such as the higher costs of married clergy and the complications that married life bring to ordained ministry. While interesting, such secondary concerns do not persuade that clerical celibacy is itself a good to be pursued. Recently, however, canon law and ecclesiastical literature has begun to recognize celibacy itself as “a special gift of God” (1983 CIC 277 § 1), suggesting that clerical celibacy, besides working in support of the more central value of clerical continence, and besides offering some practical advantages to Church administrators, is a value worth studying, embracing, and sharing. Clerical celibacy qua celibacy, therefore, must be treated by a synod, and not just celibacy qua fence-around-the-law of continence, or celibacy qua cost-savings scheme for ministers.

3. Eastern approaches to married clergy. I say Eastern “approaches” to married clergy because there is not, contrary to popular impression, just one approach among Eastern Catholics. Not all Eastern Churches allow married clergy, and among those that do permit it, not all clerics marry. Still, Eastern Catholic Churches generally accept married men into holy Orders and allow those men to live more conjugato. Now, for reasons that go beyond canonical, Rome has long steered clear of directly addressing how a married, and essentially non-continent, clergy took hold in the East (though most eyes look back to the controversial Synod of Trullo) and asking, in that light, whether this practice should be merely tolerated, mutually respected, or positively protected. A synod purporting to treat of clerical celibacy in the Catholic Church must honestly address the divergence between East and West in this regard.

In sum, the degree to which a synod (if one is called) on clerical celibacy addresses, or avoids, clerical continence, celibacy in its own right, and Eastern observances, will be the degree to which a synod may be taken as competently considering clerical celibacy. + + +

Unus ex Patribus [in Coetu de S. Hierarchia] animadvertit in historia Ecclesiam fuisse reformatam quando in honorem restituta fuit lex coelibatus. Communicationes XVI: 177.


15:02

Travelling on Business [Edinburgh Housewife]

I have a sad tale from a reader who travelled on business to a traditionally macho nation. She was there for some weeks, long enough to get to know some of the men there, also employees of her multinational employer. I shall call the two principal men Hans and Franz although this was not a German-speaking country.

Hans was a cheerful chap with a steady girlfriend, but also apparently the sort of man who complains that other guys get all the girls.

Franz was charming, handsome and, according to Hans, was one of those guys who gets all the girls.

To make a long story short, Franz began to flirt with our heroine, whom I will call Sally, in a way that shocked her. To paraphrase, "Do you always talk to female colleagues that way?" she demanded. "Only when I like them," quoth he.

This carried on for a bit, Franz oozing charm and handsomeness, and Sally trying to figure out if he was at all serious when he said he wanted to kiss her. One day she and Hans spotted Franz with another girl. "Something's brewing there," said Hans, and Franz and the other girl disappeared. Who knows where?

But Franz continued to make his flirtatious remarks, including that he did not want to talk, he wanted to kiss, and when Sally was preparing to go home to her English-speaking country, even though they have never really had a serious conversation, he asked her if she would like to be his girlfriend.

Sally was shocked, doubtful, thrilled. No-one had ever asked her to be his girlfriend before. But being a practical woman, she asked how that would be possible, as they live so far away. He suggested sexting. I'm not sure what Sally said to that--I suspect she let it slide. At any rate, Franz gives sexting the old college try when Sally gets home, she tells him off, and that is that.

Except that Sally really misses him and wonders if she should contact him to apologize and explain, and if she made a terrible mistake in not agreeing to be his girlfriend.

And my head fell into my hands, for I had got Franz's number when I read the part of the story in which he said that he wasn't interested in talking. But to be frank, I had half Franz's number, thanks to Hans' subtle English-is-his-second-language warnings.

Talk about a culture clash. I wonder if innocent Sally confused player Franz as much as he confused her.

I think women from English-speaking nations should be taken aside and warned about men from non-English speaking nations before business trips.* It should be banged into our heads that not all countries have the same codes of office conduct, and not all men take them as seriously as the men in our offices.**  A Single woman travelling alone who is leaving in a few weeks is still a Single woman travelling alone who is leaving in a few weeks.  If that Single woman is travelling to a country where having sex with as many pretty women as possible is a national past-time, she is more likely to be hit on by male colleagues than she would be at home.

Manager: Franz, I hear from head office in London that you made sexual overtures to Sally.

Franz: Ah, Sally. So sexy, so foreign.

Manager: Did you score?

Franz: (long pause). Alas, no.

There are useful little books for business travellers, and I highly recommend that everyone who works with people from other countries read them. For example, the behaviour of one of my foreign colleagues in the theologate seemed to me so odd that I read a business travel guide to his country, and much was made clear.

The fact is that although all people belong to one great family called the human race, and we all share a lot in common, we also have significant cultural differences, and some of them--a lot of them--pertain to sexuality. One piece of evidence is the national indicator for virginity loss by age 15. In Canada, roughly the same number of boys (24.1%) and girls (23.9%) have had their first "sexual experience" by the age of 15.  In Israel, however, it's 31% of boys, and 8.2% of girls. Could there perhaps be a stronger sexual double standard in Israel than there is in Canada? Hmm....

Grandmothers fearlessly used to warn their granddaughters about men from other countries, and my own grandmother warned me against Italian men before I went to Italy, predicting that my bottom would be pinched black and blue. Well, maybe that was true in the 1950s, but nobody pinched my bottom in Italy in 1998, 1999, 2010 or anytime since. I suspect Grandma was seriously out of date.

But that said, the whole world is not London or New York or Toronto and so we shouldn't be caught off guard when men do not act like most men born in London, New York or Toronto. When the elevator boy at your resort in Egypt (France, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Turkey, Poland) tells you that he has fallen in love with you at first sight, he is lying 99% of the time.

The older I get, the more amused I am at the idea of foreign elevator boys, foreign seminarians, foreign owners of grocery stores telling me that they are in love with me, but then I'm happily married.

It's not so funny for women who are lonely and wish they did have a boyfriend, let alone a husband. The battle between good sense and wishful thinking must be very bloody when an American/English/Canadian woman is suddenly romanced by a handsome man from a macho country where constantly hitting on women is just what men do there.  And unless marriage is a ticket out of poverty, marriage to Foreign Woman is almost never on their minds. The goal here is not marriage. The goal here, if it is not just flirtation for flirtation's sake, is sexy fun bedtime with as few complications as possible. Thus your ticket home makes you even more attractive.

Update: There are two heroes in this story. The first is Sally, who strove to remain professional. The second, of course, is Hans, who tried to balance loyalty to his pal Franz with warnings to Sally.


*That said, the most devastating film about bad workplace behaviour I ever saw, The Company of Men, was set in the USA. That though was about men who were vicious woman-haters, not men who think women are like fine wine and other valued comestibles.

**That said, not all the men in our workplaces are so good about that, either. I've heard some eyebrow raising stories about British workplaces.




14:37

Caledonian Expedition [Andrew Cusack]

Sun, sand, champagne, Scotland: there’s not much more you could ever want, but to have an alignment of these four in the month of October is rare. It had been quite some time since the Cusackian feet had last graced the cobbles of the beloved ‘auld grey toun’ – the Royal Burgh of St Andrews – but a friend got in touch on a Monday morning with the provocative text “Scotland Friday?” I couldn’t resist.

Tatty and Tessa provided much amusement, and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards hosted a cracking afternoon of beach polo followed by a long, bibulous evening in their Officers’ Mess at Leuchars. I even ran into my old tutor, the Rt Rev Dr Ian C Bradley, now Principal of St Mary’s.

The auld grey toun flourishes…

13:48

„Ein Wochenende mit Thomas von Aquin“ [Scholastiker]


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Passend zu den letzten Blogbeiträgen veranstaltet das vor fast genau einem Jahr gegründete Institut für Thomistische Philosophie iTP im Mai 2016 ein Studienwochenende zu den Gottesbeweisen bei Thomas von Aquin. Das Wochenendseminar mit dem in der Überschrift genannten Titel wird im Schwarzwald stattfinden und richtet sich an philosophisch interessierte Laien und Studierende aller Studienfächer. Wie die Website des Instituts meldet, ist eine Anmeldung bereits möglich. Es stehen nur 20 Teilnehmerplätze zur Verfügung.




Die Gottesbeweise

An verschiedenen Stellen seines Werkes (De Ente et Essentia – Summa contra gentiles – Summa theologiae) präsentiert Thomas von Aquin insgesamt fünf Argumente für die Existenz Gottes, die sogenannten Quinqae viae (fünf Wege).
An dem Wochenende werden diese fünf Gottesbeweise allgemeinverständlich vorgestellt und gegen die bekannten Einwände und Gegenargumente verteidigt.
Das Wochenendseminar in gemütlicher, landschaftlich reizvoller Umgebung, richtet sich besonders an philosophisch Interessierte.


Referent:            Dr. Rafael Hüntelmann

Termin:              Freitag, 20. Mai 2016 – Sonntag, 22. Mai 2016

Ort:                     Exerzitienhaus Porta Caeli, Tannenäckerle 1,
78730 Lauterbach (Schwarzwald)

Anmeldung:       bis 15. Mai 2016
                            (begrenzte Teilnehmerzahl: 20)

Kosten:               Kursgebühr, Übernachtung mit Vollpension im Einzelzimmer: 150 Euro
(Doppelzimmer pro Person 130 Euro)

13:28

No ‘Malvinas’ Here [Andrew Cusack]

Some difficulties of Latin place names in 1930s cartography

It’s no great secret I’m a lover of maps. When calling in to the Secretariat of State on the terza loggia of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican the other day, I was very pleased to see the cartographic murals there, including the two hemispheres done by Ignazio Danti in the 1580s. Moving to the next interior offices, however, the visitor is greeted by a much more recent mappa mundi, dating from the 1930s, replete with the glamour of empire’s heydey.

As you might expect, I quickly gravitated to South Africa, where the Latin of whichever particular interwar geographer it was aroused particular curiosity. He rendered Cape Town as ‘Capitopolis’ where perhaps more properly it should be ‘Civitas Capitis’ (or much more rarely ‘Urbs Promontorii’). Civitas Capitis is the name of the Archdiocese, and as the Church is, in a sense, the chief extant authority on Latin, there is an argument for favouring Vatican usage of Latin toponyms. Sometimes, as in the case of Cape Town, they try to use Latin words to approximate the name of the place. Other times, such as with Bloemfontein, they simply use the name as it is (rendering it with appropriate Latin word endings as required).

But looking at Bloemfontein on the map, we see the curious name of ‘Antherogrenopolis’, a Latin toponym I had never heard before and which the Archidioecesis Bloemfonteinensis doesn’t use. Bloemfontein is an Afrikaans placename meaning ‘spring of flowers’ or ‘blooming spring’, but ‘anthero-’ presumably refers to the anther which is merely part of the stamen of a flower, while the ‘greno-’ bit I’ve no idea. (Perhaps a proper Latinist can advise?) I would think something along the lines of Florifonsopolis might be a much closer approximation to Bloemfontein.

Also they seem to have attributed to Bloemfontein the status of capital city, neglecting the more appropriate candidates of Pretoria (the executive capital) and Cape Town (the seat of the parliament). Bloemfontein is merely the seat of the Supreme Court of Appeal. As such it was the undisputed judicial capital from 1910 until the 1990s when the Constitutional Court was set up in Johannesburg. Does this mean South Africa, which previously had three capitals (executive, legislative, and judicial) now has four?

More satisfying was looking towards a certain archipelago in the South Atlantic and seeing it under its perfectly correct name: Insulae Falklandianae.

13:28

Not the Authorial Intent [Edinburgh Housewife]

I was reading a British tabloid about conditions for refugees (and villagers) in eastern Germany, and I thought, "Even a  foreigner like myself--who spent one summer in Germany nine years ago--would know what a really bad idea it would be to send hundreds of (legal? illegal?) immigrants to a small town in eastern Germany."


And I wondered how a Catholic South Asian girl I knew in western Germany, Darli, was doing, and whether German resentment for a million new "southern" neighbours is affecting her. Once when we went out for dinner at a restaurant, the waitress addressed her in English and then me in German. Darli upbraided her for this in German, for she had actually grown up in Germany. The waitress had assumed that I, being white, spoke German, and Darli, being brown, didn't. 

Frankfurt-am-Main is a cosmopolitan city, and I saw quite a non-Germans (or New Germans) while I was there, beginning when I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror in the mornings. I really liked the Germans (Old and New) I met. In general the quiet, solemn people on the trams or in the seminary reminded me of my parents, especially my father, who has German roots. They weren't much for striking up conversations with strangers at tram stops, although I do remember a silver-haired gent exclaiming to me over the news that George W. Bush had tried to give Angela Merkel a shoulder massage. "This is not how he should treat a German Woman!" he exclaimed.



As a Foreign Woman I attracted some attention. A young man of "southerly appearance" insisted on following me as long as possible on my journey back to the seminary, speaking sweet English words of love which scared the living daylights out of me. But a few dead-drunk teenagers of Germanic appearance actually tried to mug me just before dawn on the tram back from a night club. Well, one of them did. He came lurching up to my seat and demanded money in schoolboy English. I forget what I said, but it was along the lines of "No. Buzz off, kid" and he wobbled back to his friends. 

All this reminiscence is just to remind you that in order to understand the Germany the migrants have walked to, you could do worse than to buy my lovely novel Ceremony of Innocence (Ignatius Press, 2013),  in which I seem to have predicted Pegida, clashes between Pegida and AntiFa and "Nazi villages". That said, I see that the latest Amazon comment says the events are "somewhat dated", which makes me laugh as the novel's events are fictional, but also because I know exactly what he or she means. 

The background is a snapshot of Germany as it was in 2006-2008, and of course it is no longer the same place seven years later. For one thing, there is no way Dennis would stick earbuds in his ears: definitely he would have those nice cushioned headphones. Also he would be on his smartphone all the time, and Catriona would have been in constant touch with her young friends by text instead of emails.      

Ah well, I shall just have to write something else. I would love to link Benedict's abdication to something to do with Dennis and his cardinal great-uncle, but I feel about shy writing fiction about a living pope, er, emeritus. 

08:06

Palindrome in klösterlichen Gratulationsschriften [EUCist News]

Ein Palindrom (griechisch für ‚rückwärts laufend‘) ist eine Zeichenkette, die dieselbe Reihenfolge ergibt, egal ob von vorn oder von hinten gelesen. Gratulationsschreiben der Barockzeit greifen oft auf dieses rätselhafte Wortspiel zurück, wie wir anhand der folgenden Textbeispiele sehen.






In einem Fall kommt bei der Buchstabenfolge die Abbildung eines Kelches durch buchstäbliche Wortmalerei (!) zustande, denn man feierte in diesem süddeutschen Kloster das Weihejubiläum des Abtes. Zugegeben: Bei manchen Palindromen ist es gar nicht so einfach, den Sinn zu entziffern; manche sind auch fantasievoller als andere. Das kürzeste und wohl verbreiteste Palindrom geht auf Tertullian zurück und hat auch einen tiefen theologischen Sinn: Ave Eva! Damit wird der Sündenfall der einen Frau durch die Auserwählung der Immakulata (Grußwort des Engels Gabriel an Maria) geheilt. Mehr Beispiele von Palindromen gibt es hier


01:00

Was wird für mich das Fegfeuer sein? [BRUNONIS]

IL208-Z.23.2


O mein Gott! Was wird also das Fegfeuer sein? Was müssen seine Flammen in mir alles verzehren? Nicht bloß die Sünden, nicht bloß die Unvollkommenheiten, sondern alles, was menschlich ist, alles Geschöpfliche?

Müssen sie die volle Umgestaltung meines Wesens bewirken? Wenn diese Wirksamkeit in dieser Welt bei den Heiligen so lange, so schmerzvoll ist; wenn soviel Kreuz und soviel Trübsal erforderlich ist, um sie zu vollenden; wenn mich ihre Entäußerung vom allem zum Zittern bringt, mein Gott, was wird für mich das Fegfeuer sein!

Mir wird jetzt sowohl die kleine Zahl der Seelen klar, die direkt in den Himmel eingehen, als auch die Lehre der Kirche vom Fegfeuer und warum sie so sehr darauf dringt, dass für die Toten gebetet wird. „Wenn ich Zeit bekomme, an der Schwelle der Ewigkeit," spricht der Herr, „richte ich mit Gerechtigkeit." (Ps (74) 75,3). Sieh hier das Gericht der Gerechtigkeit.

(Dom François de Sales Polien, IL, 20151210)
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