Friday, 11 December

16:59

Should a Catholic vote for Ben Carson? [Edward Feser]

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During the second Republican presidential candidates debate in September, Ben Carson said that instead of invading Afghanistan after 9/11, President Bush should have used the “bully pulpit” and

declare[d] that within five to 10 years we will become petroleum independent. The moderate Arab states would have been so concerned about that, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks.

Frankly, I think this is a completely nutty position.  I can understand why someone would have opposed the invasion of Iraq.  I can understand why someone would have opposed any attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan, or even a prolonged occupation.  But not even a brief punitive strike?  Not even the hunting down of bin Laden and his gang?  That is what justice would call for, not to mention prudence.  And how exactly was Carson’s policy supposed to have worked?  How is Bush supposed to have guaranteed “petroleum independence”?  What exactly is the mechanism by which moderate Arab states would have gotten the Taliban to turn over bin Laden?  “Half baked” is too kind, and I was amazed that this response didn’t hurt Carson with Republican voters more than it did.

But as to why Carson would take such a position, I’m no longer puzzled.  It was only after the debate that I found out that Carson is a Seventh-Day Adventist.  Given his conservatism on moral and religious issues, I imagine he is fairly devout.  Now, Adventists are not necessarily pacifist, but there is a tendency in that direction, and historically they have opted for conscientious objection to military service.  Carson has to my knowledge not publicly linked his position on matters of war to his Adventism, but it is hardly implausible to suspect that there is a connection.  (Note that I am not supposing that all Adventists would necessarily agree with Carson on this issue.  The point is just that his preference for an extremely mild response to 9/11 is the sort that one might expect from someone having the traditional Adventist attitude toward matters of war and military service.) 

If no one has asked him about this, someone should.  Nor could he reasonably object to such a question.  He has famously said that he would oppose a Muslim becoming president.  Hence he implicitly accepts the principle that a candidate’s religious convictions are relevant to deciding whether or not one should vote for him. 

But leave aside questions about war and foreign policy, important though they are especially in light of current events.  There is another aspect of traditional Adventist doctrine which should be of no less concern to Catholic voters considering whether to vote for Carson, and Protestants too. 

Adventism has always put heavy emphasis on biblical prophecy concerning the last days, and ties this closely to its advocacy of observance of the seventh day rather than Sunday.  Its understanding of these subjects has been shaped by the teachings of Ellen G. White, whom Adventists regard as a prophetess.  White taught that the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon” described in chapter 17 of Revelation, that the papacy is the first “beast” described in chapter 13, and that the United States is the second beast of that chapter.  According to White, in the last days the United States will ally itself with the papacy and on its behalf enforce Sunday observance, which, White claims, will constitute the “mark of the beast” of Revelation.  Protestants will be part of this Catholic-led persecution of seventh-day observers.

Lest you think this all too bizarre to be a fair representation of White’s views, and that they must be susceptible of a more moderate interpretation, consider the summary of White’s teaching given by the recently published Ellen G. White Encyclopedia, edited by Denis Fortin and Jerry Moon, two professors at the Adventists’ own Andrews University.  Its article “Babylon in Eschatology” says:

Ellen White agreed with many of the Reformers in declaring that the “Church of Rome” is “the apostate Babylon”… This interpretation was further expanded in 1843-1844 when Adventists left those Protestant churches that had rejected the first angel’s message and regarded them also as Babylon…

Babylon is characterized by corruption and apostasy… Babylon attempts to control the consciences of individuals and to suppress religious liberty.  It seeks to form a universal confederacy of apostate powers and satanic forces… and persecutes God’s remnant…

[S]he included in Babylon both the Church of Rome… and lamblike Protestantism…

In its article on the “Mark of the Beast,” the Encyclopediasays that:

[White] held that the Sunday legislation that will bring on the mark of the beast will be initiated by the United States, whose example will then be followed by other nations of the world.

And in its article on the “Roman Catholic Church,” it reports:

[White] understood Catholicism as a static institution and further explained how, in spite of showing good will toward Protestants, it will never change… She also expressed concern that Roman Catholicism in America will ultimately attempt to control governments and people’s consciences, as it once did by deceiving Protestants into believing that it has changed.  Hence both Roman Catholicism and an apostatized Protestantism will “clasp hands” “in trampling on the rights of conscience”…

She also makes a distinction between the Catholic Church as a system and individual Roman Catholic believers… Repeatedly she emphasizes that there are many conscientious Christians in the Roman Catholic Church… and that Adventists should avoid antagonizing Catholics by making harsh comments in publications and public meetings…

As these last remarks indicate, White advocated taking a soft rhetorical tone in public and with individual Catholics, but also thought that what she regarded as the essentially satanic character of the Catholic Church as an institution would never change, no matter how gently the Church packaged its own teaching.  Changes to the Catholic Church could never be more than cosmetic. 

White is very clear about all of this in her book TheGreat Controversy, which is worth quoting at some length:

To secure worldly gains and honors, the church was led to seek the favor and support of the great men of earth; and having thus rejected Christ, she was induced to yield allegiance to the representative of Satan -- the bishop of Rome…

[T]he pope… demands the homage of all men. The same claim urged by Satan in the wilderness of temptation, is still urged by him through the Church of Rome, and vast numbers are ready to yield him homage. (p. 50)

[A] movement to enforce Sunday observance is fast gaining ground.

Marvelous in her shrewdness and cunning is the Roman Church.  She can read what is to be. She bides her time, seeing that the Protestant churches are paying her homage in their acceptance of the false sabbath, and that they are preparing to enforce it by the very means which she herself employed in bygone days…  

Its millions of communicants, in every country on the globe, are instructed to hold themselves as bound in allegiance to the pope.  Whatever their nationality or their government, they are to regard the authority of the church as above all other. Though they may take the oath pledging their loyalty to the state, yet back of this lies the vow of obedience to Rome, absolving them from every pledge inimical to her interests…

And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes. The principles of Gregory VII and Innocent III are still the principles of the Roman Catholic Church.  And had she but the power, she would put them in practice with as much vigor now as in past centuries… Rome is aiming to re-establish her power, to recover her lost supremacy.  Let the principle once be established in the United States, that the church may employ or control the power of the state; that religious observances may be enforced by secular laws; in short, that the authority of church and state is to dominate the conscience, and the triumph of Rome in this country is assured.

God’s word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power… She is piling up her lofty and massive structures, in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly she is strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike… (pp. 580-81)

End quote.  Now, contemporary Protestants are used to regarding talk of the papacy as the Antichrist and of the Catholic Church as the Whore of Babylon as a throwback to the 16thcentury.  Many of them don’t take it seriously, and find it hard to believe that anyone else still does.  But Adventism, a sect which is historically much more recent and far from the mainstream of Protestantism, takes it very seriously.  And while -- following White’s advice -- Adventists these days sometimes take a softer rhetorical tone when publicly discussing Catholicism, the substance of their view does not seem to have changed.  On its official website, in a statement on its attitude toward Catholicism, the Seventh-Day Adventist Church assures the reader that it “reject[s] bigotry,” but also says:

We cannot erase or ignore the historical record of serious intolerance and even persecution on the part of the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic system of church governance, based on extra-biblical teachings such as papal primacy, resulted in severe abuses of religious freedom as the church was allied with the state.

Seventh-day Adventists are convinced of the validity of our prophetic views, according to which humanity now lives close to the end of time. Adventists believe, on the basis of biblical predictions, that just prior to the second coming of Christ this earth will experience a period of unprecedented turmoil, with the seventh-day Sabbath as a focal point. In that context, we expect that world religions -- including the major Christian bodies as key players -- will align themselves with the forces in opposition to God and to the Sabbath. Once again the union of church and state will result in widespread religious oppression.

It is not difficult to see in this merely a more gingerly formulated summary of the basic teaching of White’s The Great Controversyquoted above.

A recent article in Adventist Review, a magazine published by the church, argues that the style and substance of Pope Francis and other recent popes should not lead Adventists to give up their traditional views about Catholicism and the papacy.  In fact, says the author, a kinder, gentler papal approach is exactly what we should expect of the beast of Revelation, who deceives precisely by lulling people into trusting him.  He also cites Ellen G. White’s warnings about how “poverty and humility” can mask a “studied aim to secure wealth and power… and the re-establishment of the papal supremacy.”  Another Adventist writer proposes that “Pope Francis represents the first beast of Revelation… whereas President Obama represents the second beast,” and insinuates that Obama might aid Francis in imposing Sunday observance (!)

Needless to say, this is crackpot stuff, and the two articles just quoted from, which seek to uphold traditional Adventist teaching on this subject, indicate that there are these days some Adventists who doubt it.  But it is so deeply woven into Adventist theology that it is hard to see how a consistent Adventist coulddoubt it.  Says the writer of the first article: “If we actually want to revise our interpretation on this point, we would have to dump our complete understanding of end-time events.”  And as a Catholic Answers article on Adventism notes:

There is a "moderate" wing of Adventism that is more open to Catholics as individuals (though still retaining White’s views concerning the papacy). In fact, White was willing to concede that --in the here and now (before the end times) -- some Catholics are saved. She wrote that "there are now true Christians in every church, not excepting the Roman Catholic communion…”

Unfortunately, this one tolerant statement is embedded in hundreds of hostile statements.  While this aspect of her teaching can be played up by her more moderate followers, it is difficult for them to do so, because the whole Adventist milieu in which they exist is anti-Catholic. The group is an eschatology sect, and its central eschatological teaching, other than Christ’s Second Coming, is that the Second Coming will be preceded by a period in which the papacy will enforce Sunday worship on the world.  Everyone who does not accept the papacy’s Sunday worship will be killed; and everyone who does accept the papacy’s Sunday worship will be destroyed by God.

End quote.  Whether and how Adventists might modify their traditional position, though, what Catholic voters need to ask is whether Ben Carson believes all this stuff.  Does he regard the pope as “the representative of Satan” and the first beast of Revelation?  Does he believe that the “Catholic Church as a system” is the “Whore of Babylon”?  Does he believe that the United States will be the second beast of Revelation and that it will at “the end of time” ally itself with the papacy to enforce Sunday observance and otherwise persecute true Christians?  And does he believe that “humanity now lives close to the end of time”?  Does he believe that Catholics, especially the most devout Catholics, “though they may take the oath pledging their loyalty to the state, yet back of this [follow a] vow of obedience to Rome, absolving them from every pledge inimical to her interests”?

Someone should ask Carson these questions, and demand that he answer them directly.  Carson has been asked about his Adventism on at least one occasion.  On the subject of Catholicism, he said: “I love Catholics. My best friend is Catholic. I have several honorary degrees from Catholic universities.”  But that does not answer the relevant questions at all, since as noted above, Adventist doctrine has to do with the Catholic Church as an institution.  That Carson speaks well of individual Catholics, as even White herself did, is no evidence whatsoever that he does not buy into the traditional Adventist doctrines about the “Whore of Babylon,” the beast, etc.  How do we know that Carson isn’t merely following White’s advice to accentuate the positive when making public statements about Catholicism?

Carson was a bit more direct when asked about the traditional Adventist understanding of the last days.  He said:

I think there’s a wide variety of interpretations of that. There’s a lot of persecution of Christians going on already in other parts of world. And some people assume that’s going to happen every place. I’m not sure that’s an appropriate assumption… If you look at what’s going on today with persecution of Christians, particularly in the Middle East, I believe that’s really more what’s being talked about.

This is a little better, but still vague and tentative.  Carson was also vague when asked about his views concerning the last days in another interview, in which he answered:

You could guess that we are getting closer to that. You do have people who have a belief system that sees this apocalyptic phenomenon occurring, and that they’re a part of it, and who would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons if they gain them…

I think we have a chance to certainly do everything that we can to ameliorate the situation, to prevent -- I would always be shooting for peace. You know, I wouldn’t just take a fatalistic view of things.

What Carson ought to do is directly and straightforwardly to answer very specific questions like the ones I put forward above.  Why does this matter?

Let me say first that the reason I think it matters is notbecause views like the ones described above are bound to be “offensive” to Catholics.  There are too many people in public life as it is who whine incessantly about “insensitivity,” and in my view Catholics should not be among them.  To make an issue of Carson’s views about Catholicism merely as a matter of identity politics, hurt feelings, etc. would be a waste of time.

That the views described above are simply nutty is more to the point.  Good judgment is, needless to say, something you want in a president.  If Carson adheres to doctrines like the ones described, that would certainly be evidence that he lacks good judgment.  

But the main point for Catholics is that it is hard to see how a president of the United States who sincerely and deeply believed doctrines like the ones described above could fail to be influenced by those doctrines in a way Catholics should be very concerned about.  If a president seriously believes that the United States is in danger of forming an alliance with the papacy for the purpose of oppressing true Christians (!), and that devout Catholics are bound to follow the papacy in doing so even if they claim loyalty to their country… would such a president even consider appointing a devout Catholic to the Supreme Court, or to any other high office?  If the U.S. government is in tension with the bishops of the Catholic Church -- as it has been in recent years, over the issue of the HHS contraception mandate -- might a president who accepts the doctrines of Ellen G. White not think this is a good thing?  For wouldn’t that make it less likely that the feared oppressive alliance of the United States and the papacy will occur any time soon?   After all, the issue of the HHS contraception mandate more or less affects only the Catholic Church.  Hence mightn’t such a president, when balancing the Adventist concern for religious freedom against the threat to religious freedom he thinks is posed by the Catholic Church, decide that defending the rights of the Catholic Church is not a top priority?  And if such a president seriously believed that we are near the “end of time” and that the papacy will be the gravest threat to true Christians at the end of time, what sort of relations might he have with the Vatican?

Carson has said that for a Muslim to become president, he would “have to reject the tenets of Islam.”  Does Carson reject the tenets of Ellen G. White?  He can hardly blame Catholics for wanting to know.

16:46

Thomism and hermeneutic violence: five Dominicans respond to Adriano Oliva [News - thomistica]

A few weeks ago on Thomistica.net one of our contributors, Tom Osborne, shared some brief thoughts on Adriano Oliva's new book Amours. Oliva, a Dominican, is the president of the Leonine Commission. In Amours he argues for a number of controversial theses, including the moral goodness of some homosexual acts and the permissibility of the reception of communion by divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. He enlists Aquinas in making these arguments.

Prior to Osborne's negative evaluation there was also a highly critical review by Thibaud Collin in La Croix, which you can find here. One of Collin's criticisms has to do with Oliva's reading -- or radical misreading, rather -- of ST, Ia-IIae, q. 31, a. 7. His comments are sharp:

Une telle argumentation repose sur des contresens qu’il convient de manifester. Il semble y avoir ici une lecture sélective du texte de saint Thomas. On rompt la cohérence interne de la doctrine thomasienne pour mieux ensuite piocher ce dont on a besoin afin de reconstruire sa propre théorie, plus proche de celle de Michel Foucault que celle du saint dominicain.

Now, five Dominicans -- Bernhard Blankenhorn, Catherine Joseph Droste, Efrem Jindráček, Dominic Legge, and Thomas Joseph White -- have responded to Oliva at First Things. Like Collin, they also charge Oliva with a radical misreading of Aquinas (among other things). You can find their comments here. I can only (not without sadness) concur with their judgments.

15:14

Thomas Aquinas and Judaism [Commentary - thomistica]

Anyone interested in “The Gifts and the Calling of God are Irrevocable” might also be interested in Matthew Levering, Christ's Fulfillment of Torah and Temple: Salvation according to Thomas Aquinas: http://www.amazon.com/Christs-Fulfillment-Torah-Temple-Salvation/dp/0268022739/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449846803&sr=8-1&keywords=levering+torah+temple

Unlike the recent non-magisterial document, Thomas's view is based on a sound interpretation of Scripture and Catholic belief.  The document more or less either ignores or sets aside the important distinctions and issues that Thomas addresses.

 

 

12:30

"Oh, you should see my trail of disgrace" [Καθολικός διάκονος]

As we steady ourselves to turn the corner of Advent, coming to the end of the week that began with the Baptist's call to repentance, our traditio for this Second Friday of Advent is a shortened version of an old song, Felt's "Primitive Painters," featuring the lovely Scotswoman Elizabeth Fraser on guest vocals. "Primitive Painters" was released in 1985 on Felt's Ignite Seven Cannons album.



And so we wait for the darkness to be overcome by the Light, we wait for the storms of life to cease, to come to the end of our journey, as Eliot beautifully expressed in his poem "Little Gidding" -
With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this
     Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning


I don't care about this life, they say there'll be another one
Defeatist attitude I know will you be sorry when I've gone
Primitive painters are ships floating on an empty sea
Gathering in galleries, we're stallions of imagery

11:12

Humility the Path to Linguistic Glory [Edinburgh Housewife]

Today is Polski Piątek, and the last day before Christmas I will think about Polish stuff. B.A. and I are going to Umbria for Christmas, so I must pack up all the Polish in my brain and shove it into a mental closet to make room for the Italian I am going to spend the next week reviewing.

If you take Polish classes, it is very helpful to have Polish friends around to help you with your homework. All over Edinburgh there are Poles of every class and condition hunched over the assignments of their "foreign" friends, lovers or spouses. "The girls at work translated it for me," one chap would say of the Polish songs he presented to class. His songs were always Polish Praise & Worship hymns, and as a matter of fact, the number of Catholics in the top grade is now so high, our teacher has started sending her fictional characters in our readings to Mass on Sundays.

Usually I do my assignments on my own but take or send any extraordinarily long passage to Polish friends to correct. The Principal Authority, however, is Polish Pretend Son, who is rather like the stern priest who shouts his homilies but then is very kind in the confessional. The most important thing about PPS, as an arbiter of Polish, is that he does not let any error slide. So it was with mingled joy and trepidation that I brought my most recent assignment to him on Monday and sat beside him on the couch.

"This is very lazy," said PPS (or words to that effect). "It is all in the nominative case!"

"Whoops," said Seraphic who, when PPS was busily being born, was either dancing with super-cute guys at the Brebeuf College School Christmas Dance or writing all about them in her journal.  "I suppose some of it should be in the genitive."

"HMMph", uttered PPS, which is PPSski for "Yes."

I busily worked that section , and then inquired about the next. PPS looked at it for a long time.

"This is all wrong," declared PPS.

"Oh dear."

For the entertainment of Polish readers and learners, I will now present two versions of my essay, the first draft and the final, so you can see how pathetic my first draft was and I can relive once again my errors, for this is the path to linguistic glory.  (The most egregious errors will be underscored.)

Before I do that I should mention there is a bit of biographical exaggeration, as what counts in Polish class is not factual truth but getting whatever Polish you know onto paper or into ears. I will fix this for the translation.

First draft (exceedingly terrible)

Jestem pisarką i niezależną dziennikarką od ośmiu lat. Najbardziej mi podoba się pisanie noweli ale muszę też pisać artykły wstępne i rownież wiadomość, żeby zarobić pieniądze.

Piszę dla "Catholic Register", tygodnik w Toronto, i dla "Catholic World Report" dziennik w siecię, który jest czasopismo mojego wydawnictwa w USA, które opublikowało moją pierwszą powieść.

Kiedy pracuję dla "CR", opiniuję delikatnie o jakąś sprawie życie, n.p. jak mam tym roku gotować dla bożonarodzeniowego. A kiedy piszę dla "CWR", mam nagrać wywiady, n.p. z księdzem ukraińskim o wojnie, albo przeczytać kziążki, n.p. "Bóg albo nic" przez Kardynała Sarah, albo tłumaczyć jakiś artykły na Polski.

Mnóstwo artykłow w CWR należą do USA--ja zamuję się wiadomościmi z Kanady i z Europy też. Podoba mi się napisać o nowinych w Kosciele Polksi. Mam tłumaczyć, a to jest zabawa....

Final draft 

Jestem pisarką i niezależną dziennikarką od ośmiu lat. Najbardziej podoba mi się pisanie noweli, ale żeby zarobić pieniądze, muszę też pisać felietony i reportaże.

Piszę dla Catholic Register, tygodnika w Toronto i dla Catholic World Report, dziennika internetów, który jest czasopismem mojego wydawnictwa w USA, które opublikowało moją powieść.

Kiedy pracuję dla CR, piszę o przyziemnych sprawach, np. co mam ugotować na Boże Narodzenie. Natomiast, kiedy piszę dla CWR muszę nagrywać wywiady, np. z księdzem ukraińskim o wojnie, albo czytać książki, np. Bóg albo nic kardynała Sarah, albo tłumaczyć artykły z Polski.

Mnóstwo artykłów w CWR dotyczy USA; ja zamuję się wiadomościmi z Kanady i z Europy. Lubię pisać o nowinach dotzczących polskiego Kościoła. Muszę robić tłumaczenia; co jest dla mnie dobrą zabawą.

I hope that is all right. My corrected draft was rather a mess. I showed it to my teacher yesterday, so she could correct anything I missed, and it was mostly the punctuation.

Translation 

"I have been a writer and freelance journalist for eight years. I like writing stories best, but in order to make money, I must also write opinion pieces and news.

"I write for the Catholic Register, a weekly paper in Toronto, and for Catholic World Report, an internet daily, which is the magazine of my publisher in the USA, who published my novel. [And very tired my classmates must be of hearing about it, too.]

"When I work for the CR, I write about everyday things, e.g. what I must cook for Christmas. However, when I write for CWR, I must conduct interviews, e.g. with a Ukrainian priest about the war, or read books, e.g. God or Nothing by Cardinal Sarah, or translate articles from Poland. [Not to republish but for myself, to understand the story and to get quotes.]

"Most of the articles in CWR are about the USA; I [concern myself] with news from Canada and Europe. I love to write news about the Polish Church. I have to translate; I think this is great fun..."

***
Meanwhile, here is my latest article for Catholic World Report. Some readers will probably be shocked, and other readers will probably be impressed. Just remember that this Polish story has nothing to do with a North American or British context and everything to do with A) Polish history and B) contemporary events in continental Europe.

P.S. I know perfectly well that Gazeta Wyborcza is a left-wing, liberal newspaper highly critical of the Church. It is, however, a mainstream, national daily paper with a large (albeit rapidly falling) readership. It's not the Morning Star.

08:01

Rektor von Jesuiten-Hochschule Sankt Georgen segnete Homo-Paare [Mathias von Gersdorff]

Frankfurter Dom. Foto: J. Saidl Der Rektor der Jesuiten-Hochschule Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt/Oberrad, Prof. Ansgar Wucherpfennig S.J., sagte, „er habe schon homosexuelle Paare gesegnet, so wie andere Priester auch“, berichtet die „Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung“ am 11. Dezember 2015.Die Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule der Jesuiten ist bekannt für ihre extravaganten theologischen

05:30

Saint-Serge Series in Eastern Christian Liturgics [Eastern Christian Books]

I recently received in the mail two books from Aschendorff Verlag out of Münster, the 58th and 59th volumes in their series "Semaines d'études liturgiques Saint-Serge." The Saint-Serge Institute, of course, needs no introduction as the leading centre of French Orthodox intellectual culture for most of the last century. These are fascinating collections of scholarly articles.

The 58th volume, edited by two Orthodox scholars André Lossky and Goran Sekulovski, is entitled Jeûne et pratiques de repentance : dimensions communautaires et liturgiques (2015), 332pp.

About this collection the publisher tell us:

La question des jeûnes et autres restrictions est fréquemment objet d’annonces médiatiques; elle suscite des débats et des commentaires, parfois sans beaucoup de discernement sur le sens de ces pratiques, qu’il s’agisse d’actes religieux ou par exemple d’une grève de la faim. Les organisateurs des Semaines d’études liturgiques Saint Serge de Paris ont choisi de consacrer en 2011 un colloque ayant proposé plusieurs approches, principalement mais non exclusivement chrétiennes. Les lecteurs trouveront dans ces pages un éventail d’exposés soit introductifs, soit voulant présenter des réflexions et recherches plus spécifiques, ainsi que les riches échanges ayant suivi les communications. Par-delà les diversités, les pratiques religieuses de restriction, alimentaire ou autre, demeurent l’expression d’une attente et d’une soif de Dieu.
Depuis 1953, les Semaines d’études liturgiques organisées à l’Institut de Théologie orthodoxe Saint Serge à Paris réunissent des chercheurs principalement chrétiens invités à examiner ensemble des pratiques liturgiques observées hier ou aujourd’hui par diverses traditions, dans un but de découverte réciproque et de dépassement des incompréhensions.
This collection features articles on Lutheran and RC liturgical issues, but the majority of the chapters are devoted to Orthodox liturgical questions, with several on Lenten liturgical practices in both Byzantine usage as well as in the Coptic church; there are also numerous chapters on monastic practice, along with several on fasting customs. About 90% of the collection is in French, but the chapters on fasting in the Ethiopian Church, and in the Eparchy of Mukachevo, are both in English.

The 59th volume, under the same editorship, is entitled Liturges et liturgistes: fructification de leurs apports dans l'aujourd'hui des églises (2015), 371pp.

About this collection the publisher this time gives us an English blurb:

The 59th Semaine d’études liturgiques (Week of Liturgical Studies) offered its participants an opportunity to reflect on the issue of reception of the work of several known liturgists in various communities. These pages contain basic introductory presentations, followed by other studies of examples addressing liturgists and reputed liturgiologists, and the examination of some specific aspects concerning the concrete reception of the results of scholarly studies in liturgy. Since 1953, the Semaines d’études liturgiques organized at the Orthodox Theological Institute of Saint Serge in Paris bring together mainly Christian researchers. Participants are invited to examine together liturgical documents and observed practices, yesterday or today, by Christian communities, from an ecumenical perspective and with a scholarly approach. The purpose of these meetings, animated by a fervent hope of overcoming misunderstandings, is a mutual discovery of the various liturgical traditions and their possible convergences
As with the above collection, the majority of articles are in la plus belle langue, though three are in English. Many of the articles engage well-known liturgists, liturgical scholars, or historians of the 20th century including Dom Odo Casel, Dom Gregory Dix, Cipriano Vagaggini, Dom Bernard Capelle, and Anton Baumstark. There are chapters on Mt. Athos, and Slovakia, this latter focusing on prostop'enie chant among Greco-Catholics.

Both collections clearly merit a place in every serious liturgical library.

05:04

Go Forth and Subtract??? [One Mad Mom]

I really can’t take too much more of these. I’m going to channel Trump and ask if the Vatican can put a moratorium on interviews until they can find out what the hell is going on!!! As a mother of a brood, I cannot tell you how utterly offensive and pathetic I find this one. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-cardinal-claims-pope-called-for-birth-control-suggests-it-as-soluti

PARIS, December 9, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – In an interview this morning, Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said that Pope Francis “has called for a certain amount of control of birth,” while specifying that this would not include methods like the birth control pill.

Speaking to the BBC outside of the climate change talks in Paris, the cardinal suggested that limiting births can “offer a solution” to difficulties such as water and food shortages that are said to come from overpopulation and climate change.

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.

Well, thanks for that clarification on the pill, but, Cardinal Turkson, you’ve just handed one to the enemy. Children are not now, nor have they ever been, the problem. They are not the reason for any water or food shortages. This is completely naïve. What’s next? Are children also responsible for global terrorism?

I’d also like to remind you all of a warning several people gave about so-called “climate change.” We’ve been warned by several good and faithful servants that this was where we were headed with it – the suggestion of overpopulation and need to get rid of people as the solution.

Now, if someone offers an idea and the solution is to get rid of or prevent God’s great gift of life, how righteous can that idea really be? There’s no slippery slope anymore. We just jumped off a cliff with this one.

I remember a little command to “go forth and multiply, fill the world and subdue it.” Um, it ain’t filled and it ain’t subdued. I’ll tell you exactly who understands that and it doesn’t seem to be Cardinal Turkson. http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/12/10/pew-muslims-will-largest-world-religion-end-century/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social The facts of this article are enough reason to do just the opposite of what you are suggesting. Are you really encouraging us to give the world over to Islam – peaceful or radical? You see, they are playing the long game (the one we used to rule), but you’ve just encouraged us to forfeit and surrender, Cardinal Turkson. Limiting Catholics would be close to spiritual suicide, and in many cases, physical suicide. Like I said, they are playing the long game, and God, of course, knew all about that when he gave that command.

Cardinal Turkson, described by the BBC as the Vatican expert on climate change, said while the critical level of population remains to be determined, the pope has nevertheless called for control of births.
“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,” he said.

“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.”

Holy @#$@%$#! (Yes, I’ve been pushed to comic book swearing!)  I feel like I’m reading the beginning of a dystopian novel! Really, Cardinal Turkson? Think just for a moment about what you are saying. Is bringing life into this world really the problem, or is it the blatant disregard for human life which you are promoting right now? “If it’s burdensome, get rid of it” is pretty much what you are saying.

“This has been talked about,” he added, “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. So yes, it can offer a solution.”

Somebody get this guy a hat. He’s been out in the sun too long. Realllllyyyy??? The Church is against birth control in all its forms. What it is NOT against is Natural Family Planning for serious situations. See? Was that so hard, Cardinal? What you managed to do was to lump birth control in with Natural Family Planning, and this does not make sense. One involves periodic continence, and the other involves a defilement of the marital bed and makes the marital act closed to life. Honestly, this ain’t rocket science. Is this another wrecked soundbite or something more?

The cardinal was referencing Pope Francis’ in-flight interview on the return from Manila where the pope urged “responsible parenthood,” and chastised a woman as irresponsible for having seven children by C-section. The pope said Catholics should not breed “like rabbits.”

I’ll admit, this one has always bugged me. I mean, quite frankly, when a husband and wife, in prayerful consultation with Our Lord, engage in the marital embrace during the fertile period, “who am I to judge?” I’ve actually known people who had 7 children by c-section, and I cannot imagine the world without any of them. And, yes, Catholics shouldn’t “breed like rabbits.” Last time I checked, rabbits weren’t graced with rational thought.

While advocating control of births, Turkson specified that he was not endorsing the birth control pill. “You don’t deal with one good with another evil: the Church wants people to be fed, so let’s do what the Church feels is not right? That is a kind of sophistry that the church would not go for,” he said.

The cardinal was likely referring to natural family planning, a method of birth regulation which allows a couple to know when the fertile times of the woman are so that they might either achieve or avoid a pregnancy.

Mr. Westin is much less suspicious than I am. And, while we’re at it, let’s talk sophistry. How about the one where bringing children into the world is the root of all evil? Might there just be some other possible explanations – like ridiculous government regulations and waste, warring factions, or greed – that might truly be the root of the problem for our poor? You gotta wonder how it would go if the Cardinal suggested that Muslims think about limiting their births. I’d pay to see that one.

At this point I will turn our readers to Stephen Mosher and the Population Research Institute (https://www.pop.org/). I’m sure he’s already responded to this someplace, but he has done much research and written about overpopulation and the lack thereof. Wouldn’t it be just awesome if the Vatican consulted with him? If you haven’t perused this site, please get really educated , really fast in this area, because I’m reasonably sure one of your friends just read some lame article over at the National catholic Reporter touting Cardinal Turkson as having approved birth control.


01:18

San Bernadino as Cultural Artifact [The TOF Spot]

One of the benefits of anti-social media is that it encourages the Usual Suspects to opinionate in a sort of spasm, thereby revealing their hearts. Shortly after the San Bernadino shootings, several "tweets" (as TOF believes they are called) made announcements akin to the following:

Alan Colmes @AlanColmes
Planned Parenthood Clinic Across Street From San Bernardino Shooting
http://colm.es/1Tw8tpd 
This and other tweets were found here.
It actually wasn't across the street. It was over a mile away. But there are many folks who play by Deming's Funnel Rule #4. That is, they center on the most recent result. Some fruitcake had shot up a Planned Parenthood Clinic shortly before and killed three people; so this must be another. In the same spirit, generals in 1914 expected a replay of the Franco-Prussian War, and in 1939, a replay of the Great War. Activists today often seem to think they are reliving the Sixties™. But Funnel Rule #4 always results in flying way off target.

The one thing anti-social media doe not encourage is waiting for the information before whistling for your dog. Other "tweets" pushed other popular thought-cliches:

StillGotHisBack @IslandGalObama
Obviously the shooter isn't black...they haven't shot him yet.
This differs from "this-must-be-just-like-the-previous-event." In this genre of tweet, the "tweeter" is merely using the incident to dog whistle his own beliefs about the-way-the-world-works to others who agree with him. While police shootings are a legitimate concern -- two incidents within a few miles of TOFian world headquarters are here and here -- folks like this "tweeter" were imposing their own template on the San Bernadino events, eager to recruit the incident into their own narrative. In fact, at the time of the tweet, both shooters had been already shot and killed. Not because they were black (they weren't) but because they were engaged in a running gun-battle with police.

Speaking of imposing one's personal concerns....
Markos Moulitsas @markos
Yo GOP, kinda hard to talk about "keeping people safe" when your peeps are shooting up America.
No tragedy is so great that it cannot be used to score partisan political points. However, it is not clear that America is being shot up by Republicans more so than by, say, drug gangs and mentally deranged individuals. The OKC bomber was an atheist, but it would be silly to blame that act on atheism. And as it developed the San Bernadino killers did not prove actually to be GOP activists.

Geraldo Rivera, after eloquently informing his tweetees that "The 2d Amendment is Stupid!!!" and "The NRA is full of shit," demanded outrage from us:
Geraldo Rivera @GeraldoRivera
The key now is for us to be as outraged by San Bernadino massacre as we would be if Muslim extremists were doing the killing. This is terror
Indeed it was terror, and we are as outraged "as if" it was carried out by muslim extremists. The fascinating thing is Mr. Rivera's bizarre dismissal of what soon proved to be the case. His tweet will go into the dictionary under "irony."

Democratic politicians also projected their own concerns onto the incident:
Martin O'Malley @MartinOMalley
Horrifying news out of . Enough is enough: it's time to stand up to the @NRA and enact meaningful gun safety laws
Ex-Gov. O'Malley apparently believed the attack had been carried out by NRA members. He also apparently believes the existing gun laws of the Federal Government and the State of California are not meaningful. Hillary and The Bern, as well as POTUS, also took this line. In the Middle Ages, there were instances in which inanimate objects were put on trial. US courts have a similar provision for in rem cases. Two early examples:
So perhaps they were operating within that worldview. It is much as if a contractor were to build a defective house and the homeowner comes back and sues his hammers.

This is neither the time nor place to noodle about the hijacking of the tragedy by those who fear the instruments more than those who wield them. There are genuine and legitimate concerns, but TOF gets a headache when he rolls his eyes too much.


Meanwhile, Republicans were also "tweeting" over the events.  Ted Cruz was typical:
Ted Cruz @tedcruz
Our prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders in San Bernardino who willingly go into harm’s way to save others
Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Paul Ryan, and others "tweeted" their prayers also. The survivors in fact asked for people's prayers, but there is something about such public effusions that strikes TOF as blowing the trumpet before one (Matt 6)

The best example was Donald Trump, as always the harlequin of US political pantomime, who could not resist putting himself first:
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
Heading to Manassas, Virginia, for a rally. Will have a moment of silence for the victims of the California shootings. So sad!
No offers of thoughts or prayers from The Donald. Oh, well.

The Usual Suspects responded in their usual tin-eared fashion. From ThinkProgress, we heard:
igorvolsky @igorvolsky
Your "prayers" aren't enough, Sen. Cruz. Do something helpful & support actual gun reform. https://twitter.com/tedcruz/status/672160155992100864 
The "scare quotes" around the word prayers are priceless. And of course, he stayed on message and brought things back to gun control, although how supporting gun reform would have helped the people in San Bernadino is unclear.
Markos Moulitsas @markos
How many dead people did those thoughts and prayers bring back to the life?
https://
twitter.com/Reince/status/672171963750744064 
It does not seem to have occurred to "Kos" that prayer might have some purpose other than bringing dead people back to life. Well, people often misunderstand what they are unfamiliar with. The whole idea of prayer was mocked by a rain-shower of "tweets." One even reacted to "thoughts and prayers" by hectoring us to "Stop thinking. Stop praying." The NY Daily News went with a front-page editorial:

A piece of actual good advice came from here:

Chris Murphy @ChrisMurphyCT
Your "thoughts" should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your "prayers" should be for forgiveness if you do nothing - again.
but maybe not in the sense the "tweeter" intended. As it became clear that the killers were motivated by jihadist beliefs -- a sentiment notably absent from most of the commentary, and even the police and news reports had to be dragged kicking toward the conclusion by the accumulating evidence -- hey, maybe it was workplace violence and the killers just happened to be muslim! -- the steps needed to stop the carnage also became clearer. The first to suggest anything addressing the actual cause of the slaughter was Donald Trump who, as usual, jumped the shark and nuked the fridge and suggested banning all muslim immigration. This despite the fact that one of the two killers in San Bernadino and Nidal Hassan at Ft. Hood were born in America.

But wait! (TOF hears your cries) What about that fruitcake in Colorado, the racist in Charleston SC, the mentally ill young man in Newton CT, and others. They were not jihadis like these two or like or Major Hassan at Ft. Hood and possibly Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez in Chattanooga.

Solutions require we address causes, not symptoms; and different causes oft require different solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all even if the end results are similar. But about this subject perhaps more in a later post.


01:00

Berufen zur höchsten Höhe [BRUNONIS]

IL208-Z.23.3


In Bezug auf ihre innere Reinigung werden im Himmel alle Seelen gleich sein, die eine wird nicht reiner sein als die andere, weil alle vollständig rein sein müssen. Nach diesem Gesichtspunkt ist die Berufung für alle die gleiche, alle sind berufen, auf die höchste Höhe zu kommen. In diesem Sinne hat das Gebot, das mich verpflichtet, Gott aus meinem ganzen Wesen zu lieben, den gleichen vollkommenen Umfang für mich, wie für die Heiligen und für die Engel. Das Wort Gottes in seinem großen Gebot ex toto besitzt eine grenzenlose Strenge. Kein Flecken, keine Unvollkommenheit, kein Staub darf in meiner Seele sein, ebenso wenig wie beim Engel. Ich bin also zur vollkommenen Reinheit, zur höchsten Vollendung berufen.

Hier muss man jedoch einen Unterschied ins Gedächtnis rufen. Es gibt in der Arbeit des innerlichen Lebens und in seinem Aufstieg auf den fünf Stufen der Frömmigkeit zwei Teile: der eine, negative, besteht in der Reinigung; der andere, positive, besteht in der Verherrlichung.

Während dieses sterblichen Lebens schreiten diese zwei Teile der Entwicklung für das Göttliche niemals getrennt vorwärts. Jede Reinigung ist von einer Erweiterung der Seele und von einem Wachstum an Verdiensten begleitet.

(Dom François de Sales Polien, IL, 20151211)
Normal 0 21 false false false DE X-NONE X-NONE


00:49

Poisonous [Over the Rhine and Into the Tiber]

While browsing the website of the Cincinnati public library I came across a gem, the autobiography of Father Francis Finn. I ordered it into the Harrison branch and picked it up last week.

Many people know Father Finn from the childrens books he wrote. The Tom Playfair series were his most famous. He wrote many others including several set in Cincinnati in and around St. Xavier parish on Sycamore St. downtown.

He states “…I was, in 1901, put in charge of St. Xavier School, a position which I have held for twenty-seven years.”

Father Finn makes a statement early on in the book that sums up a feeling that my wife had instinctively from the time our children were very young and which I have, over the years, come wholeheartedly to agree with.

“Came a day, as movie writers would have it, when I learned to read. Along with this new gift came a period of sickness, and I buried myself in what books I could get. My beloved nurse Connie fell dangerously ill at this time. Having made her peace with God and convinced she was no longer for this world, she disposed of many of her belongings. To me she gave five or six books, among them “Fabiola,” by Cardinal Wiseman, “Scalp Hunters,” by Marion Leeds, and “Rosemary,” by Huntington.
Connie recovered, but I kept the books; and with reading “Fabiola” came a new period in my life. The beautiful story of those early Christian Martyrs had a profound influence on my life. Religion began to mean something to me. Since, the day of reading “Fabiola,” I have carried the conviction that one of the greatest things in the world is to get the right book into the hands of the right boy or girl. No one can indulge in reading to any extent without being largely influenced for better or for worse. Only yesterday, just before I took up these recollections, word came to me that a brilliant young man, an outstanding student of our college in Cincinnati, had lost the faith. I was more shocked than astonished. I had known the boy well and thought much of him. But I had also known that even in his callow youth he had read books against the faith, books dangerous to morals, and books of every kind provided they had some claims to literary merit. In a word, he had browsed without discriminating between the good and the poisonous. The result was as might have been expected.”

I would think in this day and age we could add movies, TV shows, music, video games and social media to the things we need to discriminate.

P.S. Another interesting tidbit of this is that Xavier students were losing their faith long before Father Overberg showed up on campus.


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January 2016
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
December 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
November 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829303101
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30010203040506
October 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293001020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
September 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293001020304
August 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930310102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31010203040506
July 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29300102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930310102
June 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29300102030405
May 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
April 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30310102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930010203
March 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
23242526272801
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30310102030405
February 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829303101
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272801
January 2015
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29303101020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
December 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29303101020304
November 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930310102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
October 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29300102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930310102
September 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29300102030405
August 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
July 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
June 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829303101
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30010203040506
May 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293001020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
April 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293001020304
March 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
24252627280102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31010203040506
February 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930310102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627280102
January 2014
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30310102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930310102
December 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
25262728293001
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30310102030405
November 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293001
October 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
August 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29303101020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
July 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29303101020304
June 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930310102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
May 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29300102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930310102
April 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29300102030405
March 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
25262728010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
February 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728010203
January 2013
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
December 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829300102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31010203040506
November 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
29303101020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829300102
October 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29303101020304
September 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930310102
03040506070809
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
June 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293001
May 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
March 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282901020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
February 2012
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30310102030405
06070809101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282901020304
December 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293001020304
05060708091011
12131415161718
19202122232425
26272829303101
November 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293001020304
July 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
27282930010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
April 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293001
March 2011
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
November 2010
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
01020304050607
08091011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29300102030405
August 2010
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829303101
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30310102030405
June 2010
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
31010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293001020304
January 2010
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
28293031010203
04050607080910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
December 2009
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
November 2009
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
26272829303101
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30010203040506