Tuesday, 12 January


Thomas Rosica is grateful for regularity [Vox Cantoris]

Sometimes, I don't need to write a thing, it just writes itself.

As for the Holy Family, well; 


Voris is saying 50% of Catholic priests are gay. [Abbey Roads]

Ruggedly handsome.

Just because a priest is fastidious in his decorum...

I think Sr. Jeannine Gramick said the same thing - although she may have put it at 80%.  Voris' breaking news story here.

People say this stuff all of the time, but no one 'comes out' to prove it, or names names.  Everything moves along as it has always been.  It's innuendo, suspicion, conspiracy driven.  I think it's an exaggeration.  I think it's scapegoating.  I think it's a witch hunt.  I think it needlessly scandalizes ordinary Catholics to announce such things without backing them up with hard facts.

Today - what does it even mean?

Same Sex Attracted?  It's an inclination, a temptation.  What if a faithful priest, who loves Christ and loves chastity, simply experiences an attraction - yet is repelled by the very thought and recognizes it would be a sin?   What if everyone else just thinks this or that guy is gay - but he's never even thought about it?

Gay?  No one is 'gay'.  Right?  That's what 'they' say.

Sexually active homosexual?  Not a good fit for priesthood or religious life.

So.  Does Voris mean that 50% of clergy and religious are living in sin?  That they are active homosexuals in relationships with other men, or that they are promiscuous?  Is there some sort of registry for these men which one might consult to verify the stats?  Are there massive percentages of priests dying of AIDS?  Wouldn't that be front page news?

No doubt there are, and have been such men in the clergy.  No doubt there are adulterers and pedophiles as well - but these types of claims go nowhere.  They are meaningless - especially now days - where is the proof?  These stories feed anti-Catholic-anti-clericalism.  Where are the irrefutable stats and facts and confessions?  What about straight priests who fool around?

If the clergy is that corrupt - we'd know.  We knew about the scandals, we know priests can fall from grace - but to condemn 50% of priests and suggest they are destroying the Church is a very grave accusation and a genuine scandal.

Voris can get by on his rugged good looks for only so long.



The Infancy Narratives and Q [Jimmy Akin]

nativityIn this paper we will look at what the Infancy Narratives in Matthew and Luke may tell us about the way these Gospels were composed. Specifically: We will look at an argument (described more fully here) that the two Infancy Narratives are so different that Matthew and Luke did not know each others’ Gospels.

This claim has broader implications for the way the Gospels were composed, because Matthew and Luke have about 235 verses that parallel each other but that do not have parallels in Mark or John.

We will call these 235 verses “the double tradition,” because it is found in two of the four Gospels.

If Matthew did not know Luke and Luke did not know Matthew, where did the material in the double tradition come from? It represents substantial amount of material that totals more than a fifth of both Gospels, which seems to be too much to attribute to random chance. The most likely answer, therefore, would be that both Matthew and Luke used a now-lost source that scholars have named “Q.”

(NOTE: See here for other parts of my exploration of the Synoptic Problem.)


Verse-by-Verse Parallels

To appreciate the force of this argument, let’s look at the kind of parallels that we find in the double tradition. It consists both of stories and sayings.

Here’s part of a story that both Gospels have a version of.


And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (4:3-4).


The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone’” (4:3-4).

Here is some sayings material that they each have a version of.


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. . . .

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. . . .

“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (5:3-4, 6, 11).


And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

“Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh.

“Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man!” (6:20-22).

In both the story and the sayings material, the phrasing found in each Gospel is a bit different, but the material is in parallel on a verse-by-verse level—Matthew 4:3-4 corresponds directly with Luke 4:3-4, and Matthew 5:3-4, 6, and 11 parallel Luke 6:20-22.

Although there are differences in phrasing and order, it is generally possible to match up the double tradition material in this manner throughout Matthew and Luke.


Authorial Conservatism

The way the double tradition material can be paralleled verse-by-verse is striking, and it didn’t have to be that way. One Evangelist could have used the other as a source but so completely rewritten the material that such verse-by-verse parallels wouldn’t appear or would be much less common.

In fact, some might argue that this is what the Evangelist John did—that he took certain stories and sayings from the Synoptic tradition and wrote them in such a different manner that the connection is rarely obvious.

It has been claimed, for example, that his account of the healing of the official’s son (John 4:46-54) is a different telling of the healing of the centurion’s servant (Matt. 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10; note that in Matt. 8:5 the centurion asks for the healing of his pais—which in Greek can mean either “boy” or “servant”).

Similarly, it has been argued that John’s discourses convey the teachings of Jesus in a paraphrased, literary way that makes specific verse-by-verse parallels to the Synoptics uncommon (though they do exist; e.g., Matt. 10:24, Luke 6:40, John 13:16, 15:20).

The fact verse-by-verse parallels appear in the double tradition, over and over through Matthew and Luke, indicates a form of authorial conservatism: Phrasing and order might be tweaked, but the material still clearly hangs together on the levels of verses and blocks of texts.

Wherever the double tradition came from, it was treated with significant conservatism by Matthew and/or Luke, and that could lead us to expect the same for how one author would treat the Infancy Narrative of the other..


No Verse-by Verse Parallels

The striking thing is that there are no verse-by-verse parallels in the Infancy Narratives—at least no obvious ones as in the previous section.

This can be seen by comparing the verses in which Matthew and Luke describe the one event they definitely both record—the birth of Jesus:


[B]ut [Joseph] knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus (1:25).


And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (2:7).

These verses both describe the same event, but they relate it in very different ways that are utterly unlike the kind of parallels we find in the double tradition.


Lack of Parallels on the Pericope Level

The same thing is true when we compare the Infancy Narratives on the level of blocks of text, or what scholars call pericopes (per-IH-ko-PEES). While the material can be divided different ways, here is one way of looking at it.


  • Jesus’ birth announced to Joseph (1:18-25)
  • The arrival of the magi (2:1-12)
  • The flight to Egypt (2:13-15)
  • The slaughter of the innocents (2:16-18)
  • The return from Egypt (2:19-23)


  • John the Baptist’s birth announced to Zechariah (1:5-25)
  • Jesus’ birth announced to Mary (1:26-38)
  • Mary visits Elizabeth (1:39-56)
  • The birth of John the Baptist (1:57-80)
  • The birth of Jesus (2:1-7)
  • The arrival of the shepherds (2:8-20)
  • The circumcision and presentation in the temple (2:21-38)
  • Return to Nazareth (2:39-40)
  • The finding in the temple (2:41-52)

Again, the material is very different, and not just in matters of phrasing or organization. Though both narratives deal with the birth and childhood of Jesus, the topics covered in the two are strikingly different.


Two Alternatives

These lack of verse-by-verse parallels and the lack of pericope parallels suggest one of two things:

  1. Matthew and Luke didn’t know each others’ Gospels and wrote independently.
  2. One did know the other’s Gospel but chose to treat its Infancy Narrative very differently.

We may concede an initial advantage to the first hypothesis since, if one Gospel is dependent on the other, its author obviously thought highly of the work he had in front of him.

If Luke used Matthew then he thought highly enough of the material in Matthew to take a fifth of it into his own Gospel. We might expect him to do the same with Matthew’s Infancy Narrative.

Exactly the same would be true if Matthew used Luke: He used a fifth of Luke’s material, so we might expect him to do the same with Luke’s Infancy Narrative.

This initial advantage is far from insuperable, however. An author does not have to slavishly follow the same procedure in handling each part of his sources. It is perfectly possible for an author to see sufficient value in some parts of his source to include them but not enough value for his purposes to include other parts.

Indeed, we have a control case in Luke’s “Great Omission.” This is a section of Mark’s Gospel that runs approximately 75 verses, from Mark 6:47 to 8:27a. Although Luke borrows a great deal of material from elsewhere in Mark, he simply leaps over this section, apparently because he didn’t think it had sufficient value for his purposes.

This shows that Luke is quite capable of omitting large sections of his sources. In fact, at 75 verses, the Great Omission is more than twice as long as Matthew’s Infancy Narrative, which is only 31 verses. Luke was thus capable of omitting sections of his sources much longer than Matthew’s Infancy Narrative.

In view of this, we can overcome the initial advantage of the independence hypothesis if we can show that there are significant reasons why Matthew or Luke would have treated the other’s Infancy Narrative differently than the material in the double tradition.

Are there such reasons?


The Question of Length

One reason which is easy for moderns to miss entirely, or to dramatically undervalue, is the question of length. In the ancient world, books were amazingly expensive to produce.

There were multi-volume works, such as Tacitus’s Histories and Annals, which together comprised thirty books. However, only the rich could afford to author or own such collections.

As a result, epitomes (abridgments) were very popular in the ancient world. They allowed people to get the gist of a longer work without having to pay the staggering cost to own it. Because epitomes were so popular, they often survived the ages when the original, unabridged works did not.

A well known example is 2 Maccabees, which is an abridgement of a five-volume work by Jason of Cyrene (2 Macc. 2:23). The epitome of this larger work has survived and is in our Bibles today, but the original has perished.

This illustrates the price pressure on ancient authors to keep their works short. If you wanted only the rich to have your work, multi-volume collections were fine, but if you wanted a broader audience—which the Evangelists would have (see Richard Bauckham, ed., The Gospels for All Christians)—then you needed to keep your work to a single volume.

Indeed, there was even price pressure for single-volume works to be shorter rather than longer, since it cost more to author and copy longer ones. Authors of such works needed to find the right balance between content and length, delivering the highest value content for their purposes in the shortest space possible.

This is likely a factor in the popularity of the different Gospels in the ancient world. Using numbers given by Larry W. Hurtado (The Earliest Christian Artifacts, ch. 1), here are the four Gospels ranked from shortest to longest, with the number of surviving manuscripts from the second and third centuries, which is one of our best indicators of how popular they were at the time:

  • Mark (1 copy)
  • John (16 copies)
  • Matthew (12 copies)
  • Luke (7 copies)

Even allowing for randomness or “noise” in the number of the copies that have survived, Matthew and John—the Evangelists who wrote middling-size Gospels—seem to have found the sweet spot for the ancient audience, delivering the right combination of high value content and brevity.

Matthew (1071 verses) provided a broad and well-organized representation of the Synoptic tradition, being richer in content than Mark (661 verses with the shorter ending, 678 verses with the longer ending) and both briefer and less expensive than Luke (1151 verses). John (879 verses) was on the short side and provided a wealth of material not found in the Synoptics. It’s no surprise that these proved to be the most popular Gospels in the ancient world.

The full force of the length consideration isn’t felt until you try figuring out just how expensive authoring and copying such works was. While it is intrinsically difficult to do cross-cultural price comparisons, such efforts have been made.

For example, E. Randolph Richards estimates that it would have cost Paul around $2,275 to produce Romans and have one copy to mail and one to retain for his records (Paul and First-Century Letter Writing, 169). Romans contains 433 verses, and if we scale that up for the Gospels, we get these figures:

  • Mark: $3,562
  • John: $4,618
  • Matthew: $5,627
  • Luke: $6,047

The production prices would have been even more if (as is likely) the Evangelists had more than one initial copy of their work prepared for distribution, and the costs could have been multiple times the sums involved in making a single personal copy and a single copy for distribution.

In view of these prices, it’s easy to see the motivation the Evangelists had to keep their Gospels short—partly for the sake of their own pocket books but also for the sake of their readers. The longer they wrote, the fewer people would be able to afford their works and the fewer souls would benefit.

Length is likely the consideration responsible for Luke’s “Great Omission.” This is suggested by a look at its contents:

  • Walking on the Water (6:45-52)
  • People Flock to Jesus (6:53-56)
  • The Hand-Washing Controversy (7:1-23)
  • The Syro-Phoenician Woman (7:24-31)
  • Healing a Deaf Man (7:32-37)
  • Feeding the Four Thousand (8:1-9)
  • Interpreting the Time (8:10-13)
  • “Beware the Leaven” (8:14-21)
  • Healing a Blind Man (8:22-26)

The material in this section is not particularly “low value” in and of itself, but it is largely material of the same kind we find elsewhere in Mark (and Luke).

When space is at a premium—and it would be especially for Luke as the author of the longest Gospel—one only needs so many accounts of healings, exorcisms, and multiplications of loaves. It’s easy to see how Luke could have reviewed this section of Mark and decided to skip forward since he was already planning on including parallels to much of this.

This gets us back to the question of how Matthew and Luke selected the material that they did include.


How Matthew and Luke Used Mark

If Mark wrote first then it’s clear that both Matthew and Luke used his Gospel to obtain their general outline. In a sense, they both start with Mark and then supplement it.

They do this in different ways, however. Ninety percent of the verses of Mark are paralleled in Matthew, but only fifty-five percent are paralleled in Luke (B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels, 160).

Matthew thus had a stronger preference for using material from Mark than Luke did. Matthew’s default position was to include material from Mark unless there was a particular reason not to do so (as there apparently was in the case of ten percent of Markan material).

For Luke, there was a general preference to use material from Mark, but it wasn’t nearly as strong, as he was willing to let forty-five percent of the verses in Mark go without parallel.


How Matthew and Luke Used Their Source for the Double Tradition

It is sometimes argued that virtually all of the Q source must be preserved in Matthew and Luke since the original document is lost. If Q contained much material that wasn’t picked up by the Evangelists, why wasn’t it copied enough to survive?

This argument might be strengthened by an appeal to Matthew, who used ninety percent of Mark. If that’s how he handled Mark, wouldn’t he handle Q the same way?

There are easy rejoinders to this.

First, the idea that Matthew would have treated both his sources the same way is a weak assumption. He may have seen much more value in Mark than in Q and thus only preserved part of Q.

Second, there is the example of Luke, who used only fifty-five percent of Mark. If that’s how Luke treated Mark then we might expect him to treat Q in the same way. This is the flip side of the weak assumption that Matthew would have treated both sources the same.

Third, the only method we have of “identifying” Q material is the fact that it appears in both Matthew and Luke. It’s sheer speculation how the two authors would have treated a Q source, and without knowing how both of them would have treated it, we can’t infer anything with confidence about how much of it they would have used.

Fourth, the argument that if Q contained substantial additional material then it would have survived is weak.

Jesus ministered with his disciples for more than three years, and the Gospels taken together represent only a fraction of the things he said and did. This point is expressly made by John (hyperbolically) at the end of his Gospel:

But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written (John 21:25).

Memory of the majority of things that Jesus did has perished, and we can’t assume that Q would be an exception to this. The vast majority of documents from the ancient world—Christian ones included—are now lost, and the fact that an individual one survived is the exception rather than the rule.

Finally, all of the above assumes that there even was a Q. But suppose there wasn’t? What would that tell us about how Matthew and Luke handled their source for the double tradition?

The answer is straightforward.

If Luke picked up the double tradition material from Matthew then, in addition to selecting a little more than half of Mark for inclusion in his Gospel, he also took 235 verses from Matthew that he thought fit his purposes well. Most of these were taken from Matthew’s large discourses, but since Luke (apparently, on this theory) has less patience for large discourses, he put them at other locations in his Gospel.

On the other hand, if Matthew picked up the double tradition material from Luke then, after making the basic decision to use as much of Mark as possible, he went through Luke and selected 235 verses that he thought were valuable enough for his purposes to include, while still keeping his Gospel a reasonable length. He then integrated most of these verses into his five large discourses.

In either case, one Evangelist selected 235 verses—or about a fifth—of the other Gospel for inclusion in his own. To put the matter another way, one Evangelist “cherry-picked” the other—in the positive sense of selecting the best items for his purposes (not the negative sense of suppressing things he disagreed with).

One can also look at this another way, which results in somewhat different ratios.

Matthew contains 470 verses that are not paralleled in Mark. If Luke used approximately 235 of those then he would have used fifty percent of what remained of Matthew when we take away the Markan material.

Similarly, Luke contains 785 verses that are not paralleled in Mark. If Matthew used approximately 235 of those then he would have used thirty percent of what remained of Luke when we take away the Markan material.

In both cases, the Evangelist would not have a default position in favor of using material from the other Gospel. In Luke’s case, it would be a fifty-fifty tossup as to whether he used material from Matthew, while in Matthew’s case there would be a seventy percent chance he would skip material from Luke.

Whichever way one looks at the cherry-picking, it has implications for our evaluation of how each would have treated the other’s Infancy Narrative.


The Formulas They Would Have Used

One implication is that we can see the formulas that the two Evangelists would have used in composing their Gospels:


  • About 365 verses from Mark (55% of the total)
  • About 235 verses from Matthew (20% of the total; 50% without Markan material)
  • About 550 verses from other sources


  • About 600 verses from Mark (90% of the total)
  • About 235 verses from Luke (20% of the total; 30% without Markan material)
  • About 230 verses from other sources

In both cases, the procedure would have been to produce a shortened version of Mark, supplemented by select material from other sources, one of which was the other Synoptic.

In view of the limited amount that would have been drawn from the other Synoptic, the numerical burden does not fall on the Q skeptic to show why the Evangelist omitted certain material.

The burden would fall on the Q skeptic if there was a bias in favor of including material, but there isn’t. In Luke’s it’s a tossup whether he would include a particular Matthean verse, and in Matthew the odds are that he would not include a particular Lukan verse.

Of course, this looks at the question from a numerical point of view rather than a content point of view. One could still argue that the content of a particular verse would be so compelling that the an Evangelist would have used it, but this has to be argued rather than assumed, and the above numbers indicate the freedom to skip material that both Evangelists would have felt.

(Note: One could argue with the numbers above if one could show that Matthew borrowed a significant amount of material from Luke even though the same material was also found in Mark, or that Luke borrowed a significant amount of material from Matthew even though it was also found in Mark. Determining which version of a verse an Evangelist used—the one found in Mark or the one found in the other Evangelist—would require a significant amount of work that I do not presently have leisure for. The results also would be quite debatable, and they would not change much, since the Evangelist would know that the material was found in both of his sources, making it somewhat arbitrary which version he used. He still would be using only fifty or thirty percent of the remaining verses.)


The Psychology of Cherry Picking

Today, when our knowledge of Jesus is filtered almost exclusively through the four canonical Gospels, every bit of Jesus tradition takes on added value.

Imagine how exciting it would be to have a new story or saying from Jesus that we knew for a fact was accurate. It would be mind blowing!

If we put ourselves in the position of one of the original Evangelists writing a Gospel, it’s easy to imagine that we would include every scrap of Jesus tradition we knew. How could we not? Forget cost and length considerations! To do otherwise would be to risk losing a Jesus tradition for future generations forever!

But the Evangelists were not in the position we are. They had access, orally or otherwise, to many Jesus traditions that have now perished, and—except for John—they may not have had an expectation that there would be future generations. They may have thought that the world would be ending soon and that the memory of the many unwritten things that Jesus said and did would be preserved until the end.

There was therefore less pressure on them to include every Jesus tradition they knew, and this made it possible for them to cherry pick their sources without the debilitating fear that we today would have of losing traditions.

This pressure was also lessened by the fact that later Evangelists knew what the earlier ones had written. They knew that the material was already “out there” in print—that those Jesus traditions had already been preserved in writing. They therefore had less of a psychological need to include every tradition they knew.

Furthermore, as the statement from the end of John’s Gospel intimates, there was a vast pool of Jesus traditions that was still preserved in living memory. The practical realities of book writing, and the corresponding realities of evangelization through books, meant that they had to be selective in what they included.

As Martin Hengel points out regarding Luke (in this case concerning Paul, but the same applies concerning Jesus):

[W]e cannot even claim without further ado, as is the habit of so many scholars today, that Luke only knew what he reported about the early period of Christianity. He certainly knew a good deal more than he put down; when he is silent about something, there are usually special reasons for it. Only by this strict limitation of his material can he ‘put his heroes in the right perspective’ (Earliest Christianity, 36, emphasis added).

The same was true regarding the other Evangelists: They all knew a good deal more than they wrote, and we should not assume that they didn’t know a tradition just because they didn’t record it. The better question is usually why they chose to include a tradition rather than why they chose to omit one.

The assumption that an Evangelist did not know a Jesus tradition just because he doesn’t mention it is absurd given the way the later Evangelists (Matthew, Luke, and John) treated Mark in the composition of their own Gospels. None of them—not even Matthew—preserves every Jesus tradition that Mark does, yet they each knew the Jesus traditions in Mark and deliberately omitted some, in greater or lesser degrees.

When we add to this the facts that there was an even broader pool of Jesus traditions to which the Evangelists had access, and that they were writing under strong pressure to keep their Gospels short, the assumption that silence implies ignorance is more absurd still.

This puts us in a position to look directly at the choices Matthew and Luke would have made regarding the Infancy Narratives.

Both Matthew and Luke wanted to include material about Jesus birth and early life, as is obvious from the fact they included Infancy Narratives. But are there reasons why they wouldn’t use extracts from each others’ narratives the way they would have the double tradition material?

There are, and we’ll look at them from the viewpoint of each Evangelist.


If Luke Used Matthew

Matthew’s Infancy Narrative is only 31 verses. If Luke had chosen to include them, his Gospel would have grown to 1182 verses, representing an expansion of under three percent.

That’s not a big expansion, but it’s also not nothing. Considerations of length could have played some role—but a minor one—in Luke’s decision to omit Matthew’s Infancy Narrative.

What if we consider the content of Matthew’s narrative?

Basically, it consists of two stories. The first deal’s with Joseph learning of Mary’s pregnancy and his reaction (1:18-25) and the second deals with the arrival of the magi and the series of events it sets in motion (2:1-23). This could make it somewhat difficult for Luke to excerpt Matthew without including the whole of one or both stories.

Faced with that choice, he presumably would not have a great deal of interest in recording the first story. Internal indications in Luke strongly suggest that Mary herself was one of his sources (either directly or at a close remove; see Luke 2:19, 51), and he was especially interested in presenting the traditions derived from her.

It could have been difficult to pull away and re-show the situation from Joseph’s perspective, particularly without disrupting the literary rhythms he was establishing with the parallels between John the Baptist’s birth and Jesus’ birth.

Also, given Joseph’s initial intention to divorce Mary (Matt. 1:19), including him in the narrative could cause him to appear in an undesirable, negative light due to comparisons with Zechariah, who initially did not believe (Luke 1:18-20, cf. 1:45).

Regarding the second story, much of it could not be easily excerpted—the flight to Egypt, the slaughter of the innocents, and the return from Egypt to Nazareth make no sense without a discussion of the magi.

Luke could have offered an abbreviated account of the magi’s visit without going into the events their arrival caused. Indeed, some have thought he should have done so given his interest in Gentiles. Robert H. Stein writes:

Why would Luke have omitted such material as the coming of the wise men (Matt. 2:1-12)? Would not the presence of such Gentiles at the birth of Jesus have been meaningful for Luke’s Gentile-oriented Gospel? (The Synoptic Problem, 102).

Stein misspeaks, because the magi did not come at Jesus’ birth. They came up to two years after his birth (Matt. 2:16), and that of itself could provide Luke with a disincentive to mention the visit. Given his interest in providing an orderly narrative (Luke 1:3), he would have needed to indicate a lengthy stay in Bethlehem, which may have been more chronology than he wanted to go into.

Further, he already had the story of the shepherds’ visit, and they were there the night of Jesus’ birth. This tradition presumably came from Mary herself, and Luke was keen to include the traditions he had from her. If he wanted to include that story, he may have considered the visit of the magi less important to record. He would have needed to indicate that the shepherds came and then, a year or two later, the magi arrived.

We have already seen how he recorded the Feeding of the Five Thousand (Luke 9:10-17) but he omits its sequel, the Feeding of the Four Thousand (Mark 8:1-9). In the same way he may have wished to include the initial visit of the shepherds but considered this sufficient to show the miraculous arrival of witnesses, without a need to include the event’s delayed sequel.

Finally, some have argued that Luke may have had other reasons to omit the account. Mark Goodacre writes:

Luke is the only writer other than Matthew in the New Testament to give us a hint of his view of the magi and it is negative—a certain Simon Magus is one of the villains in Acts of the Apostles (8:9-24). Moreover, at least since Conzelmann scholars have been sensitive to Luke’s apparent reticence to have Jesus coming into contact with Gentiles in the Gospel. One only has to witness the lengths to which Luke has gone to keep the Centurion out of Jesus’ sight to see the point (Matt 8:5-13 // Luke 7:1-11) (The Case Against Q, 56).

Personally, I’m more inclined to see Matthew as omitting mention of the centurion’s agents as a way of keeping his narrative of the event uncluttered, but there are still sufficient reasons why, if Luke had Matthew’s Gospel in front of him, he could have decided not to include the material in Matthew’s Infancy Narrative.

Now let’s look at the possibility that Matthew used Luke.


If Matthew Used Luke

The consideration of space would have weighed heavily on Matthew if he used Luke’s Gospel in producing his own. Luke’s infancy narrative is 128 verses long. For Matthew to include it would lengthen his Gospel to 1199 verses, making it the longest Gospel and increasing its volume by twelve percent!

If Matthew had Luke in front of him, he likely wanted to produce something shorter than Luke (since he did), and going even longer would be something he would resist.

Another way of looking at this is by the proportionate length of the Infancy Narratives. Matthew’s is 31 verses long, while Luke’s is 128 verses long. This means that Luke’s Infancy Narrative is more than four times as long as Matthew’s! It’s easy to see how Matthew might have wanted to keep his Infancy Narrative shorter and not devote a large fraction of his whole Gospel to it (as Luke did, with his Infancy Narrative amounting to eleven percent of his whole Gospel).

Further, in keeping with his fundamental choice to only include select material from Luke (twenty percent of it), it is easy to imagine him sticking with his default choice to omit Lukan material when it came to that Gospel’s Infancy Narrative and not lift pericopes from it.

This is particularly the case when we look at the content of Luke’s Infancy Narrative.

First, much of it is taken up with speeches, such as Gabriel’s announcement of John’s birth (1:13-17), Gabriel’s announcement of Jesus’ birth (1:28-33), Mary’s canticle (1:46-55), Zechariah’s canticle (1:68-79), the angels’ announcement to the shepherds (2:10-14), and Simeon’s speech (2:29-35).

Second, much of the material isn’t about Jesus’ birth at all but John the Baptist’s.

Third, the material about John the Baptist’s birth is interwoven with the material about Jesus’ birth in a way that would make it difficult to pull them apart. Much of Gabriel’s appearance to Mary and all Mary’s visit to Elizabeth only make sense if read in light of the John the Baptist birth narrative.

Fourth, Luke spends time narrating how Mary and Joseph did perfectly ordinary things for Jesus that any Jewish parents would do for their firstborn son (2:21-24).

Fifth, Luke relates minor incidents like the encounter with the prophetess Anna (who isn’t even quoted; 2:36-38) and the finding in the temple (2:41-51). As heartwarming as these are, they are not high-priority items, as illustrated by their omission by the other three Gospels.

If you pull out these elements, there is basically nothing left of Luke’s Infancy Narrative, so it is easy to see how a space-pressed Matthew could have looked at Luke 1 and 2 and decided to stick with his default decision to omit rather than include. He has his own traditions about Jesus’ birth that he wants to record, he can relate the important facts about Jesus birth (see the next section) without excerpting Luke, and he knows Luke’s traditions have already been preserved in writing.


Common Elements

Thus far we’ve been looking at the Infancy Narratives through the lens of what is different between them. If not balanced, this can lead to a false impression, because the two narratives also have multiple points in common.

In his book The Birth of the Messiah, Raymond E. Brown notes eleven points shared by the two narratives:

a)        The parents to be are Mary and Joseph who are legally engaged or married, but have not yet come to live together or have [sic] sexual relations (Matt 1:18; Luke 1:27, 34).

b)        Joseph is of Davidic descent (Matt 1:16, 20; Luke 1:27, 32; 2:4).

c)         There is an angelic announcement of the forthcoming birth of the child (Matt 1:20–23; Luke 1:30–35).

d)        The conception of the child by Mary is not through intercourse with her husband (Matt 1:20, 23, 25; Luke 1:34).

e)        The conception is through the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:18, 20; Luke 1:35).

f)         There is a directive from the angel that the child is to be named Jesus (Matt 1:21; Luke 1:31).

g)        An angel states that Jesus is to be Savior (Matt 1:21; Luke 2:11).

h)        The birth of the child takes place after the parents have come to live together (Matt 1:24–25; Luke 2:5–6).

i)         The birth takes place at Bethlehem (Matt 2:1; Luke 2:4–6).

j)         The birth is chronologically related to the reign (days) of Herod the Great (Matt 2:1; Luke 1:5).

k)        The child is reared at Nazareth (Matt 2:23; Luke 2:39) (pp., 34-35).

What accounts for this material? In his book, Brown makes the following argument:

Since it is generally agreed among scholars that Matthew and Luke wrote independently of each other, without knowing the other’s work, agreement between the two infancy narratives would suggest the existence of a common infancy tradition earlier than either evangelist’s work—a tradition that would have a claim to greater antiquity and thus weigh on the plus side of the historical scale (p. 34).

Brown’s argument assumes that Matthew and Luke wrote independently of each other. Since that is what we are reconsidering, it’s logical to reject this premise and see what the results might be: If one Evangelist had the other’s Gospel in front of him, could that be responsible for these similarities?

It’s difficult to imagine Matthew or Luke being totally dependent on the other for his knowledge of traditions about Jesus’ birth. Such traditions were already out there in the Christian community, and they are reflected elsewhere in the New Testament. For example:

  • Jesus is descended from David (Mark 10:47, John 7:42, Rom. 1:3, 2 Tim. 2:8, Rev. 5:5, 22:16, etc.).
  • Jesus is from Bethlehem (John 7:42).
  • Jesus is “of Nazareth” (Mark 1:9, John 1:45, Acts 2:22, etc.).

It’s difficult to imagine an individual well-informed enough and motivated enough to write a Gospel including an Infancy Narrative not to have done his own research into the question of what happened at Jesus’ birth. Therefore, even if one Evangelist used the other, it’s unlikely that he drew all of the common elements from the other.

It is more likely that each Evangelist knew some or all of the common elements from his own sources and that he included them because they communicated things he wanted his readers to know about Jesus.

However, even if both Evangelists had their own sources for each of the common elements, this does not mean that they worked with no knowledge of the other Evangelist. As Goodacre points out regarding the possibility that Luke knew Matthew:

[K]nowledge of a source is not the same as direct use of a source, and one of the key questions is whether there are any signs of Luke’s knowledge of Matthew in the Birth Narrative. After all, Luke may well have been inspired by Matthew’s account to write his own somewhat different account. If this possibility is taken seriously, the focus shifts away from the lack of extensive parallels between Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 toward the more nuanced question of evidence for Luke’s knowledge of Matthew. In other words, rather than looking at the obvious points of divergence between the accounts, we might ask whether any of the points of contact are sufficiently marked to suggest that Luke may have known Matthew [op. cit., 56].

The same is true of the possibility that Matthew used Luke.

So: Are there indications that one Evangelist knew the other?


Indications of Knowledge?

Goodacre writes:

Though it is not often appreciated, there are indeed signs that Luke knows Matthew’s Birth Narrative. Not only do they agree on matters unique to the two of them within the New Testament, like Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, the name of Jesus’ father (Joseph) and, most importantly, the Virginal Conception, they even share words in common, including the following key sentence:

Matt 1:21

teksetai de huion kai kaleseis to onoma autou Iēsoun.

She will give birth to a son and you shall call him Jesus.

Luke 1:31

kai teksē huion kai kaleseis to onoma autou Iēsoun.

You will give birth to a son and you shall call him Jesus (op. cit., 56-57).

The initial items that Goodacre mentions could be explained other ways. The belief that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem was widely held, and it even is mentioned in John (7:42), so this was out there in the Christian community. Similarly, anyone within living memory of Jesus’ birth would have been able to find out the names of his parents. And the Virgin Birth is so striking an event that it would have been widely noted in Christian circles.

What about the word-for-word passage that the two share in common? This is certainly not the only time that heaven has directed a child to be given a particular name. In fact, we saw the same thing earlier in Luke, when Gabriel told Zechariah what to name John the Baptist (Luke 1:13).

The same thing has precedents in the Old Testament (e.g., Is. 8:3, Hos. 1:4, 6, 9). Particularly notable are Genesis 16:11, 17:19 and Isaiah 7:14, which in the Septuagint read as follows:

Genesis 16:11

su en gastri ekheis, kai teksē huion, kai kaleseis to onoma autou Ismaēl.

you are with child, and shall bear a son; you shall call his name Ishmael.

Genesis 17:19

hē gunē sou teksetai soi huion kai kaleseis to onoma autou Isaak.

your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.

Isaiah 7:14

hē parthenos en gastri lēpsetai, kai teksetai huion, kai kaleseis to onoma autou Emmanouēl.

a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

These are so similar to what we find in Matthew and Luke that it is reasonable to conclude, with Joseph A. Fitzmyer, that:

The message to Mary is couched in rather stereotyped OT phraseology for announcing the conception and birth of an extraordinary child (The Gospel According to Luke (1-9), 346).

Rather than evidence of one Evangelist borrowing this phrasing from the other, it is just as likely that they were borrowing from the Old Testament.

That’s particularly the case with Matthew, who in the next two verses indicates the origin of the angel’s phraseology, stating that the angel’s message was a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 (“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel,” Matt. 1:22-23).

While Luke could have been influenced by Matthew to use this kind of phraseology in his Gospel, the phraseology itself is too common for this to be relied upon. Luke easily could have written independently of Matthew and come up with the same phrasing from the Old Testament parallels.


Mirror Elements

If the above parallels between the Infancy Narratives are not persuasive, do any exist that are?

I think so. Brown notes that some of the common elements in the Infancy Narratives appear in different forms:

For example, while both Gospels have Jesus’ birth announced by angels, in Matthew the angel speaks to Joseph but in Luke the angel speaks to Mary (op. cit., 34).

This is not the only element of its kind. We may note several elements Brown does not record that mirror each other, in addition to the initial one:

1)        Angels speak to both of Jesus’ parents—Joseph in Matthew and Mary in Luke (Matt 1:20–23; Luke 1:30–35).

2)        The birth of Jesus is attended by celestial phenomena—a star in Matthew and a host of angels in Luke (Matt 2:2, 7, 9, 10; Luke 2:9-15).

3)        These celestial phenomena were observed by others, who were motivated to visit the child and his parents (Matt 2:1-12; Luke 2:15-20).

4)        The child’s visitors were of different social statuses (shepherds being of low education and rank and magi being of high education and rank).

5)        The child’s visitors were of different ethnicities (the shepherds being Jews and the magi being Gentiles).

Stepping outside the narrow bounds of the Infancy Narratives, we also may also add:

6)        Both Gospels include genealogies of Jesus but they are strikingly different in multiple respects (see below).

The way Matthew and Luke mirror each other on these points suggests that one was writing in response to the other. The question is: Why?

One reason might be supplemental intent—that is, one Evangelist knew the other had preserved one set of traditions in writing, and he wanted to preserve additional ones. This kind of intent is demonstrable elsewhere in the Gospels, as when John intentionally supplements Mark (see Richard Bauckham, “John for Readers of Mark,” The Gospels for All Christians; see also here).

However, the way the elements mirror each other suggests that more than just supplemental intent was at work. It has long been noted that:

  • Matthew’s narrative focuses almost exclusively on Joseph, while Luke’s focuses almost exclusively on Mary
  • Matthew accentuates Jesus’ regal dimension (his genealogy records Jesus’ descent from Solomon and the line of kings that followed him, King Herod being threatened by Jesus’ birth, and the visit of foreign dignitaries seeking to honor the new king) while Luke presents Jesus as a man of the common people (his genealogy records Jesus’ descent from Nathan, Mary praising God for his deeds on behalf of the lowly, and the visit of humble shepherds)

These are significant clues to why one Evangelist may have wanted to respond to the other. The question is: Who was responding to whom?

If Luke was responding to Matthew then he may have found the latter’s emphasis on Joseph and Jesus’ regal dimension not fully to his taste. He then balanced it by using the traditions he had regarding Mary and by bringing out the dimension of God’s compassion through Jesus on the lowly.

If Matthew was responding to Luke then he may have felt that Luke omitted information and themes which would have been important for his audience of Jewish Christians. He may have felt that Luke’s overwhelming emphasis on Mary and his populist themes needed to be balanced for a Jewish audience with an emphasis on Joseph, through whom Jesus would have had legal claim to the Davidic monarchy. He similarly may have felt that the regal aspect of Jesus needed further emphasis, and the traditions he had at his disposal allowed him to accomplish both of these goals.


A Word About the Genealogies

Having mentioned the genealogies of Jesus (Matt. 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-38), it is appropriate to say a few words about them, though they are only ambiguously grouped with the Infancy Narratives. (Matthew’s genealogy could be conceived of either as separate or as part of his Infancy Narrative, while Luke’s is found outside his Infancy Narrative, in his account of Jesus’ ministry.)

Given the well-known differences between these genealogies, including the fact that they trace Jesus’ descent through different lines, many have seen the two as evidence of the independence of Matthew and Luke. Thus Stein writes:

[I]f Luke had before him Matthew’s birth account and genealogy, one wonders if he would not have sought in some way to ‘harmonize’ the one we have in his Gospel with the Matthean version (The Synoptic Problem, 102, emphasis added).

Once again, there are plausible reasons why one Evangelist would choose to include a different genealogy than the one he saw the other using.

If Luke knew Matthew’s Gospel then several things may have leapt out at him regarding its genealogy: (1) It only goes back to Abraham (Matt. 1:1, 17), (2) it omits multiple generations in order to fit a scheme of three, fourteen-generation blocks (Matt. 1:17), (3) it’s right up at the front of the Gospel (Matt. 1:1-17), and (4) it shows Jesus descending from David through Solomon and the line of kings down to Jeconiah (Matt. 1:6-12).

Luke thus may have chosen to include his genealogy to balance each of these: Thus (1) he took his genealogy all the way back to Adam, to make explicit the parallels between Jesus and Adam as sons of God in unique ways (Luke 3:38; cf. Rom. 5:14, 1 Cor. 15:22, 45, 47), (2) he included a fuller list of the generations that is not compressed the way Matthew’s is (though it may be seen as eleven blocks of seven generations; see Richard Bauckham, Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in Early Christianity, 318-321), (3) he placed his genealogy later in the Gospel so that it would not provide the abrupt, contextless start for his Gentile readers that Matthew’s placement of the genealogy right at the front of his Gospel would have, and (4) he recorded Jesus’ descent from David through his son Nathan (Luke 3:31), thus avoiding the line of kings terminating in Jeconiah.

The last deserves special comment. Jeremiah had pronounced a curse upon Jeconiah (aka Coniah, Jehoiachin), indicating that his sons would not be king after him:

As I live, says the Lord, though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, yet I would tear you off. . . . Thus says the Lord: ‘Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days; for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David, and ruling again in Judah’” (Jer. 22:24, 30).

Because of the flexibility of the Old Testament concept of “son,” it could be questioned whether the prophecy applied to Jeconiah’s immediate sons or to all of his male descendants, in which case none of them would have a claim to being the Messianic son of David (at least not due to their descent from Jeconiah).

Whether the Messiah could be a son of Jeconiah is disputed in Judaism today, and it may well have been in Jesus’ day.

If so, Luke might have included his genealogy to make it clear that Jesus’ claim as Messiah did not rest merely on his descent from David through Jeconiah; he had a claim to being a son of David and thus a potential candidate for Messiah apart from this.

Or the problem may not have been just Jeconiah, but the entire line of kings from Solomon to David. Bauckham writes:

[I]n the Old Testament prophetic tradition, which both condemned the kings of Judah and expected a renewal of the Davidic monarchy, under a righteous king in the future, the dominant expectation was for a new Davidic king who was not descended from David through the royal line of the kings of Judah. This expectation is classically embodied in Isaiah 11:1: ‘There shall come forth a shoot (ḥōṭer) from the stump of Jesse, and a branch (nēṣer) shall grow out of his roots’ (RSV). The image is of a tree chopped down to a stump. A new shoot grows up from the roots (see Job 14:7–9 for the image). The natural meaning is that the tree of the royal house of David will be cut down in judgment, and the ideal king of the future will be derived, not from the royal line of the kings of Judah, but from the origins of the dynasty, indicated by the reference to Jesse. He will represent, as it were, a fresh start, taken, like David himself, from non-royal stock. If he is a descendant of David at all, then he will have to come of a line of David’s descendants other than the royal line through Solomon and the kings of Judah.

That this is the correct interpretation of Isaiah 11:1 is confirmed by the similar implication of Micah 5:2 (Hebrew 5:1):

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose origin is from of old, from ancient days (RSV).

The new king is to be born not in the royal palace in Jerusalem, but in insignificant Bethlehem, where David’s line began. He will derive not from the royal line of the kings of Judah, but from the ancient origins of the line, from the beginnings of David’s dynasty. Again there is doubtless the intention of going back behind the corruption of the kings of Judah and making a fresh start, comparable with God’s original choice of David himself (Jude and the Relatives of Jesus in Early Christianity, 334-335).

In fact, there appears to have been a tradition that the Messiah would be a descendant of Nathan in particular (Bauckham, op. cit., 347-354).

For each of these reasons, if Luke had Matthew’s Gospel in front of him, he may have been prompted to include his own genealogy, making the descent from Nathan rather than the line of kings ending in Jeconiah clear.

On the other hand, if Matthew had Luke’s Gospel in front of him, several things also would have jumped out about its genealogy: (1) It’s in a very non-traditional, reverse order, (2) it ends in Adam, (3) it’s in a very unexpected place, and (4) it skips entirely the line of kings after David.

Matthew then would have included his own genealogy to balance these: (1) A reverse-order genealogy was extremely unusual for a Jewish genealogy, and Matthew may well have wanted to give his Jewish Christian readers a more standard presentation of the Messiah’s lineage, (2) he may have wanted to relate the Messiah more clearly to the people of Israel and its great historic events (Abraham, David, the Babylonian Exile), compared to the universalist, Lukan genealogy linking the Messiah to the dawn of the whole human race, (3) he may have wanted to put his genealogy of Jesus before his account of the birth, which better reflects the placement of genealogies in the Old Testament and which avoids Luke’s highly unusual placement of Jesus’ genealogy after his baptism, and, finally, (4) for those unfamiliar with or unconvinced by the prophetic interpretations above (a group that may, in fact, have been a majority among ordinary people; “Of course the Messiah is a descendant of the line of Davidic kings! He’s the royal Son of David!”), Matthew may have wanted to make it clear that Jesus did have a claim to being the Messiah via descent through Solomon and the line of Davidic kings.

The fact the two genealogies trace Jesus’ descent from different sons of David is likely explained by ambiguity in Jesus’ day regarding precisely how the Messiah would be descended from David. Indeed, the fact that people had different opinions about this is likely why Jesus’ family (among others) preserved the memory of its descent through both lines—and why the Evangelists felt the need to present both to their audiences.

In view of each of the factors listed above, for both Evangelists the point deliberately would have been not to present the lineage of the Messiah in the same way as the Gospel he had in front of him but to present it in a different way.


Overall Design

A final indication that Matthew and Luke were not writing independently is that they both came up with such similar overall designs for their Gospels. This goes beyond the Infancy Narratives and the genealogies, but it also includes them and so is relevant here.

Both Evangelists saw a promising foundation in Mark, but they wanted to expand it in order to reach particular audiences. The fact that they both expanded it in the same way suggests that one may have been prompted by the work done by the other.

One of the expansions they made was to include post-Resurrection narratives that went beyond the shorter ending of Mark. If Mark originally ended without such appearances or if its original ending had already been lost, then it is easy to understand why they did so. This would be a natural expansion that their audiences would have wanted—as illustrated by the fact that post-Resurrection appearances are also found in John (20:11-21:23), in the longer ending of Mark (16:9-19), and even outside the Gospels in Paul (1 Cor. 15:5-8).

What’s more significant is the fact that they both included Infancy Narratives, and narratives of the kind they did. Considering the possibility that Luke used Matthew, Goodacre writes:

The theory that Luke could not have known Matthew because he does not copy wholesale from his Birth Narrative is not, therefore, especially convincing. Indeed like many arguments for Q, reflection on the evidence can lead in quite the opposite direction, in favor of Luke’s familiarity with Matthew. Perhaps Matthew’s Birth Narrative gave Luke the idea of writing a Birth Narrative of his own; perhaps it was the catalyst for Luke’s identical decision to preface Mark’s Gospel with an account featuring both prenatal (Matt 1 // Luke 1) and postnatal (Matt 2 // Luke 2) stories about Jesus. Because many readers are so familiar with the Birth Narratives, it is easy to assume that prefacing a Gospel with a Birth Narrative is a natural step to take, but neither Mark nor John thought that it was such an obvious thing to do and, all things considered, the presence of a Birth Narrative in Luke is probably a sign that Luke knows Matthew (op. cit., 57).

Or it is a sign that Matthew knew Luke.

In the same way, one Evangelist may have prompted the other to include a genealogy—something no other author of the New Testament chose to do.

The overall design of Matthew and Luke—the fact that they decided to expand on Mark in such similar ways—can thus be seen as further evidence that they were not writing independently.



The argument that the differences in the Infancy Narratives of Matthew and Luke show that they were writing independently of each other is utterly unconvincing.

It rests on the premises that the two Evangelists must have been ignorant of what they did not mention or that one would have found quoting material from the other’s Infancy Narrative irresistible.

Both of these premises are false. As their handling of Mark reveals, Matthew and Luke demonstrably left out Jesus traditions that they were aware of, and there are sound reasons why both could have chosen to omit the material found in the other’s Infancy Narrative. Chief among these reasons are the then-pressing need to save space (particularly for Matthew) and the need to serve the respective Jewish and Gentile audiences they were trying to reach.

Indeed, serving the needs of these audiences is likely the reason why multiple elements of the Infancy Narratives mirror each other, which would not be expected if the accounts were independent. This applies also to the twin genealogies of Jesus, whose inclusion in the New Testament is otherwise very perplexing.

These considerations—as well as the fact that they both chose to compose Gospels that expanded Mark using the same overall design—provide a compelling alternative to the Q hypothesis that must be taken seriously.



CBS: Nancy Drew Can Be Any Ethnicity...Except White [Creative Minority Report]

Sometimes I love it when liberals speak honestly. CBS is considering a new Nancy Drew show but the actress can not be white but then he says he's totally open to all ethnicities. But love the way the executive speak.


"She is diverse, that is the way she is written," the executive told THR immediately following his time in front of the press at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour Tuesday. While Geller said it was too early in the process to explain just what he meant by diverse — whether Nancy is African-American, Asian-American or Latino, he said it would hinge on finding the right actress for the part. "[She will] not [be] Caucasian," he stressed. "I'd be open to any ethnicity."
So open minded, huh? We're open to all ethnicities...except white. So much for a color blind society.



6 Years After Haiti's Earthquake, US Ambassador to Holy See Remembers Unsung Heroes [ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome]

U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III from the 437th Air Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., airdrops pallets of water and food to Mirebalais, Haiti, Jan 21, 2010

"In the worst of times, often the best, most noble spirits, rise to the occasion"

Read more


I have to admit, the best part of the sports weekend was actually this [The Badger Catholic]

88 year old Bud Grant, former Vikings coach, trots out to do the coin toss in a polo shirt despite -5/-25 temps!



Pope Calls Priest to 'Ask Him the Favor' of Preaching Spiritual Exercises to Curia [ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome]

Pope Francis and Roman Curia

Father Ermes Maria Ronchi is a theologian of the Order of the Servants of Mary.

Read more


"The Revenant" and the Search for a Higher Justice [ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome]

Fast-streaming water

Alejandro Iñárritu's new film is one of the most talked about movies, and for good reason

Read more


A Poem Draft [Siris]


A twist of light,
a subtle knot,
has for some author vision caught,
leviathan upon a string,
where muses in their choirs sing;
and sure as France or England rise,
by treaty made,
this treaty by its magic words
lays lines of story through the skies,
turns sheep-like stars to ordered herds.

in chaos hurled,
the story-borders of the world
are formed by light:
a lamp,
a lantern,
here and there
entangled in the eddied air
shape their textures in the night.


Muttering Prayer [Fr Ray Blake's Blog]

Image result for Amethystos drunkI was struck by the first reading this morning from 1 Samuel 1:9ff. Hannah, who is a type of Mary, prays before the Tabernacle of the Lord, her lips are moving but she only mutters so Eli the priest thinks she is drunk. The Psalms so often speak of 'crying out to the Lord' or 'shouting in his presence' or 'making a loud noise unto the Lord', that,I suspect, was how Jews prayed.

Eli's accusation of drunkenness is precisely what the disciples are accused of on Pentecoste morning, 'Amethystos' they cry, 'we are 'not drunk' but filled with the Holy Spirit', and so to this day bishops wear an amethyst ring as a sign that they are not drunk but filled with the Holy Spirit.

Is muttering prayer a sign of the being filled with the Holy Spirit? Is this one of the reasons why in both East and West the Canon or Eucharistic Prayer was said sotto voce or muttered. Is muttering prayer a sign of the Spirit? Is it all down to Hannah?

In the bitterness of her soul she prayed to the Lord with many tears and made a vow, saying, ‘O Lord of Hosts! If you will take notice of the distress of your servant, and bear me in mind and not forget your servant and give her a man-child, I will give him to the Lord for the whole of his life and no razor shall ever touch his head.’
While she prayed before the Lord which she did for some time, Eli was watching her mouth, for she was speaking under her breath; her lips were moving but her voice could not be heard. He therefore supposed that she was drunk and said to her, ‘How long are you going to be in this drunken state? Rid yourself of your wine.’ ‘No, my lord,’ Hannah replied ‘I am a woman in great trouble; I have taken neither wine nor strong drink – I was pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not take your maidservant for a worthless woman; all this time I have been speaking from the depth of my grief and my resentment.’ Then Eli answered her: ‘Go in peace,’ he said ‘and may the God of Israel grant what you have asked of him.’ And she said, ‘May your maidservant find favour in your sight’; and with that the woman went away; she returned to the hall and ate and was dejected no longer.


Recent headlines. Liberalism vs Realism: a clash of cultures; women at risk. [Catholic Sacristan]

How is it that such good intentions (i.e., to give shelter to refugees) have resulted in situations in which such horrific crimes are frequently being committed against German and European women?

Read beyond the representative headlines which capture something of the intensity of the debates concerning refugee immigration from Middle Eastern regions to the West.

New York Times
Germany on the Brink
by Ross Douthat JAN. 9, 2016
On New Year’s Eve, in the shadow of Cologne’s cathedral, crowds of North African and Middle Eastern men accosted women out for the night’s festivities. They surrounded them, groped them, robbed them. Two women were reportedly raped.
Though there were similar incidents from Hamburg to Helsinki, the authorities at first played down the assaults, lest they prove inconvenient for Angela Merkel’s policy of mass asylum for refugees.
That delay has now cost Cologne’s police chief his job. But the German government still seems more concerned about policing restless natives — most recently through a deal with Facebook and Google to restrict anti-immigrant postings — than with policing migration. Just last week Merkel rejected a proposal to cap refugee admissions (which topped one million last year) at 200,000 in 2016.

Wall Street Journal
Germany Says 22 Asylum Seekers Are Among Those Sought for New Year’s Eve Assaults (WSJ)
Wall Street Journal — Updated Jan. 8, 2016 4:14 p.m. ET
BERLIN—Germany said at least 22 migrants seeking asylum were among the suspects in alleged New Year’s Eve assaults in Cologne, the latest disclosure in the aftermath of a night of violence that has put new pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming policy toward refugees.
The state government forced the police chief in the city of Cologne, Wolfgang Albers, to resign amid widespread criticism of how his force handled the incident. Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker said the police leadership apparently tried to obfuscate what happened that night, leaving her trust in the city’s top police officials “significantly shaken.”
The alleged series of attacks and thefts by migrants on New Year’s Eve in the Rhineland city of one million people—with more than 170 complaints, largely for sexual assault, filed by victims with local police—has turned into one of Ms. Merkel’s biggest domestic crises as she has tried to keep Germans behind her in welcoming refugees.
Amid widespread criticism in the news media that officials were playing down the extent of the attacks and the involvement of migrants, Ms. Merkel’s government pushed back on Friday and tried to show transparency.
New York Post
Europe is enabling a rape culture 
by Ashe Schow
January 10, 2016 | 6:26pm
In the wake of horrifying tales of sexual assault perpetrated by potentially up to 1,000 men on New Year’s Eve, German officials have made two stunning decisions.
The first, from Cologne, Germany — where the attacks took place — was Mayor Henriette Reker telling women to adopt a “code of conduct” to prevent further sexual assaults, which crossed the line into “victim blaming.”
The second, from the broader German government, was to crack down hard — not on those responsible for the assaults, but for those criticizing the Muslim immigrants who may have perpetrated them.
Let’s take a step back and remember how all of this started. On New Year’s Eve, women celebrating in Cologne were reportedly groped, sexually assaulted and/or robbed as they walked the streets.
More than 100 criminal complaints have been filed, 75 percent of which were reports of sexual assault. Two women reported being raped by the men, who were allegedly of North African and Arab appearance. Women in Hamburg and Stuttgart also reported similar attacks.
So far several dozen have been identified, most of which were asylum seekers.
But due to Germany’s desperation to prove not only that it’s the most tolerant country in Europe but also that letting in hundreds of thousands of immigrants would have no disastrous consequences, the female victims of the attacks were initially ignored by the political class. Had the alleged perpetrators been white members of a fraternity, the international response would have been completely different, as the Atlantic’s David Frum noted.
Breitbart [The following report, a few months old, offers a series of prescient observations that should encourage all people of goodwill and compassion to insist that concerns regarding threats to women's safety should be taken much, much more seriously, especially in light of recent attacks.]
Europe’s Rape Epidemic: Western Women Will Be Sacrificed At The Altar Of Mass Migration

In Norway, recent statistics revealed that 100 per cent of violent street-rapes committed in the capital city of Oslo were committed by “non-western” immigrants. It’s a similar story in Denmark, where the majority of rapes are committed by immigrants, usually Muslim.

In England, it’s been rape after rape – tens of thousands of young British girls are brutalised, tortured, beaten and raped by organised gangs comprised almost exclusively of Muslims. And now we have Germany. When Chancellor Merkel threw open the doors of her country to hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, she opened the door to the rape of German women.

Rape and sexual assault (as well as forced prostitution) is rampant within the refugee camps in Germany, and it has spilled out to the nearby towns. Rape in Germany has already been described as an “epidemic” and one that the German authorities, and media, are keeping rather quiet about. The reality is that German authorities, who know that many of these asylum seekers are rapists, will allow those men to live freely among German women – they have decided to allow German women to be raped, just like authorities all across Europe.

Women of Europe must understand what is happening here. This is not Page Three, or a Carry On film sexist joke (for the record, I wouldn’t be without my Carry On collection); this is a truly brutal hatred of women that demands we are slaves and absolutely believes it has the right to rape women who don’t submit. The men think of women this way because that is where they come from, that is what they know.
The short answer to the question raised at the top of this post is: liberals rarely considered the consequences of their rash actions which permitted many men to exploit the advantages accorded to them by governments unwilling to evaluate with a critical mind the potential for real harm to their citizens. Can anyone deny that arrogance—i.e., the assumption that liberal policies make the world a sweeter place—has played its part in blinding societies to the real and present dangers of poorly managed immigration? Are German liberals attempting to absolve themselves of the consequences of their shortsighted policies and for having ignored common sense?


Europe is in serious trouble. Only a few months ago, the EU attempted to pressure European countries to accept United Nations refugee quotas. A few countries, for example Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, resisted pressure to conform. As it turns out, those few countries correctly anticipated the destabilizing effects of admitting migrants in numbers far exceeding nations' abilities to provide adequate processing to ensure the security and safety for their own citizens.

By failing to observe common sense and address the legitimate concerns of citizens, nations such as Germany are now in a state of crisis. Those same states which have adopted liberal policies are responsible for putting their female populations at risk, and have provided the circumstances by which domestic extremist factions are using crises to fuel hatred of legitimate refugees.

The media has helped to create and perpetuate the myopic policies of liberal-progressive politicians, who are perhaps better described as non-realists, by demonizing any citizen who expresses concern and labelling said citizens as belonging to the "far right". (Anything or anyone to the right of the leftwing media is characterized by said media as "far right".) By suppressing legitimate criticism of liberal policies, the media has participated in the creation of a situation which puts women at high risk of assault. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, Britain—the experiences of those nations comprise a rapidly expanding litany of horror and sorrow for women of those countries.

The obvious questions: Do the experiences of European countries have anything to say to North Americans? How should we react to those experiences? Are we smart enough to identify any mistakes in the making?

Effective leadership.

It seems like a fair assumption to state that people of goodwill can agree that helping legitimate refugees find safe shelter is a good thing. The liberal media, given their complicity in creating current crises, should be willing to correct their behaviour by indulging an appreciation of people's concerns that necessary includes articles calling for governments to: 1) ensure adequate oversight of immigrants' applications and admittance procedures; 2) ensure citizens' safety and well being by anticipating potential threats and acting in a timely manner to suppress those threats; 3) provide to refugees an adequate program of formation in societal values and laws which protect inalienable rights; 4) ensure the rule of law is respected and, where it is not, enact swift and comprehensive action to ensure the rule of law prevails over imported negative cultural baggage that tolerates or promotes violence against women.

Act now or act later.

If liberal-progressive governments fail to act now in a reasonable manner, they may soon be compelled by unruly circumstances to act in ways that most modern societies would find repugnant. For example, what modern Western nation would resort to internment camps to protect citizens from threats to their societies? And yet, that is precisely where some nations might find themselves soon enough if they do not make the hard decisions now to ensure measured immigration which favours refugees with impeccable reputations and legitimate claims to refugee status. Failure to exercise just evaluation now in a reasonable and authentic manner which considers the common good will likely result in that failure burgeoning into restrictive measures which resemble martial law and the policies of yesteryear that saw entire classes of people or racial-ethnic groups subject to mass incarceration.


Why Are Protestant Leaders Often More Clued In than the Catholic Hierarchy? [LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH]

Franklin Graham: Sin, not Guns, is America's Problem

Here's the text of Graham's letter to President Obama:

Mr. President, you’re looking at the wrong place when it comes to the root cause of gun violence. Your executive actions will do nothing to change this horrific problem. You can take all the guns in America and put them in a pile on the Mall in Washington DC, and those guns will stay there and will eventually rust and decay. Not one gun will crawl out of that pile and shoot or harm anyone. 
It takes a human being, and a human heart bent on evil, to pick up a gun, load it, and pull the trigger. The problem we have in this country is sin. We have a government that has taken God out of society. Our founding fathers certainly did not intend this to happen.
Your proposal will do nothing to stop the violence that is being glorified by Hollywood. Every night the networks, movie channels, and theaters are filled with programming that glamorizes gun violence—guns are used to shoot, to kill, and to splatter human blood all over screens across America. 
There needs to be legislation to curb this. I would propose starting with a heavy tax on the manufacturers of any film or game that graphically depicts violence. If violent films and games were taken off the shelves, I believe we would see a dramatic drop in gun violence over the next few years. 
As a nation we have turned our back on God and this kind of violence and bloodshed is a result. The Bible tells us, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The only cure? Jesus Christ. That’s what will make a difference in our nation.
Isn't it ironic that all the liberals in Hollywood and New York have absolutely no problem with gun violence and mayhem in movies, TV, and video games; but insist on eliminating the second amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. Perhaps they are too stupid to realize that evil is first conceived in the mind before it is acted out with the body. That's why pornography is so deadly and that so many sex criminals, like serial killer Ted Bundy, first immerse themselves in violent porn before graduating to the real thing. The same with those willing to kill with a gun, a knife, a lead pipe, a candlestick, or a rope around the neck.

I'm with Graham, heavily tax those glorifying violence. The last time I went to a movie all the previews depicted non-stop graphic violence. By the time the main attraction began I was exhausted by twenty minutes of chase scenes heavily laced with explosions, gunfire, and physical brutality. And all of it was preceded by the notice that this preview is suitable for all ages. Yeah, right!

It's time to stop the liberal hypocrisy that wants to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens while teaching kids through visual and manual simulation how to use them.


Pope’s Morning Homily: Prayer Really Does Work [ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome]

Pope Francis during today's Mass in Santa Marta, 30 October 2015

At Casa Santa Marta, Tells Story of Buenos Aires Man Who Obtained With Prayer the Healing of His Daughter 


Read more


AOTM tonight debates same topic that triggered Fr. Echert removal from St. Thomas University [The Badger Catholic]

HT Abbey-Roads
Less than two years into the new millennium, Moslem terrorists attacked the United States on 9/11, murdering thousands of Americans and sending hundreds of thousands of military troops to wars that would last for years. Among those deployed was a Catholic military chaplain from Minnesota, who was called to active duty from the classroom; this priest was also the Scripture Expert for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) website.

Little did I realize at the time that there would be an ecclesiastical war awaiting me back home upon my return! Continuing my online work for EWTN late nights from a canvas tent in a deployed desert location, in temperatures that were 100 degrees hotter than back home in Minnesota, I had the following Q&A website exchange in my capacity as the EWTN Scripture Expert:

Question to EWTN:

Father Echert, just WHAT is going on in the Church? In the recently released announcement of our bishops they say that we can’t try to convert Jews to the Catholic Faith because of the Old Covenant and that Vatican II mandated this. Really! Well what if a Catholic said, “Hey forget Catholicism, I want to be Jewish!” Does it REALLY matter to be Catholic? If the likes of our bishops and Cardinal Kasper are correct then it really doesn’t. Have we lost our minds?
continue at  akaCatholic

I can't make it tonight, so I trust some of you can post a recap.




Using Goodhart’s Law to Find Happiness [Unequally Yoked]

My parish kicked off its Adult Sunday School (taught by Dominican friars) this past week with a class on happiness. We started off going through a discussion of all the things happiness is not (wealth, power, fame, honor, etc) and I liked some of the reasoning given about how you could recognize these as not [Read More...]


See - told you so: Pope Francis on "Who am I to judge?" [Abbey Roads]

And in the end ...

The truth wins out.

The journalist asked Pope Francis about his experience as a confessor to homosexual persons and about his “who am I to judge” comment, made during his in-flight press conference from Rio de Janeiro to Rome July 28, 2013.
“On that occasion I said this: If a person is gay and seeks out the Lord and is willing, who am I to judge that person?” Pope Francis told Tornielli. “I was paraphrasing by heart the Catechism of the Catholic Church where it says that these people should be treated with delicacy and not be marginalized.”
“I am glad that we are talking about 'homosexual people' because before all else comes the individual person, in his wholeness and dignity. And people should not be defined only by their sexual tendencies: let us not forget that God loves all his creatures and we are destined to receive his infinite love. I prefer that homosexuals come to confession, that they stay close to the Lord, and that we pray all together. You can advise them to pray, show goodwill, show them the way, and accompany them along it.” - CNA
I knew that.

Anti-papist Francis haters going to hate.


Reprove, entreat, rebuke [Vultus Christi]


3 Jan. 14 May. 13 Sept.

For the Abbot in his doctrine ought always to observe the bidding of the Apostle, wherein he says: “Reprove, entreat, rebuke”; mingling, as occasions may require, gentleness with severity; shewing now the rigour of a master, now the loving affection of a father, so as sternly to rebuke the undisciplined and restless, and to exhort the obedient, mild, and patient to advance in virtue. And such as are negligent and haughty we charge him to reprove and correct. Let him not shut his eyes to the faults of offenders; but as soon as they appear, let him strive with all his might to root them out, remembering the fate of Heli, the priest of Silo. Those of good disposition and understanding let him, for the first or second time, correct only with words; but such as are froward and hard of heart, and proud, or disobedient, let him chastise with bodily stripes at the very first offence, knowing that it is written: “The fool is not corrected with words.” And again “Strike thy son with the rod, and thou shalt deliver his soul from death.”

Saint Benedict refers here to Saint Paul’s instructions in 2 Timothy 4:1–5. The text of the Rule and the text of Saint Paul must be read together, allowing the light of one to illuminate the other.

I adjure thee in the sight of God, and of Jesus Christ, who is to be the judge of living and dead, in the name of his coming, and of his kingdom, preach the word, dwelling upon it continually, welcome or unwelcome; bring home wrong-doing, comfort the waverer, rebuke the sinner, with all the patience of a teacher. The time will surely come, when men will grow tired of sound doctrine, always itching to hear something fresh; and so they will provide themselves with a continuous succession of new teachers, as the whim takes them, turning a deaf ear to the truth, bestowing their attention on fables instead. It is for thee to be on the watch, to accept every hardship, to employ thyself in preaching the gospel, and perform every duty of thy office, keeping a sober mind.

This part of Chapter II is a kind of catalogue of the virtues that an abbot must have, and of the vices that he is likely to find in troublesome monks. The abbot, for his part, must be gentle and severe, rigorous and lovingly affectionate, stern to rebuke, ready to exhort, clearsighted in unmasking faults, capable of correcting those of good will with words, and of applying corrective action to the hard–hearted. As for troublesome monks, they will invariably include the undisciplined and the restless, the negligent and the haughty, the contrary and the hard of heart, the proud and the disobedient. Saint Benedict writes here out of a long experience of monastic life. The qualities that he wants to see in an abbot are the very ones that he himself had to cultivate. The faults and vices that he identifies are the very ones that he, as a physician of souls, was obliged to treat again and again. The passage of centuries has changed nothing.

One might turn this passage of Chapter II into a prayer. Saint Aelred of Rievaulx, whose feast we celebrated yesterday, did exactly this in his famous Pastoral Prayer.

Sweet Lord, I pray you, is not this your family, your own peculiar people, that has been led by you out of the second Egypt, and by you has been created and redeemed?  . . . You have gathered them together out of all parts, and made them live together in a house where all men follow a common way of life.

Hear me, therefore, hear me, 0 Lord my God, and let your eyes be open on them day and night. Spread your wings, most loving Lord and shield them stretch forth your holy right hand, Lord, and bless them; and pour into their hearts your Holy Spirit, that he may keep them in unity of spirit and the bond of peace, chaste in their bodies, lowly in their minds. May he be there to help them when they pray, and fill them with the unction and the riches of your love.

May the same loving Comforter, when they are being tempted, come swiftly to their aid; and may he help their weakness in all the straits and troubles of this life. By the same Spirit make them, Lord, to be, within themselves, with one another, and towards myself peaceable and equable and kind, obedient, serviceable, helpful, to each other. May they be fervent in spirit, rejoicing in hope, enduring steadfastly through poverty and fasting, toils and vigils, silence and repose.

Drive far from them, O Lord, the spirit of pride and of vain glory, of envy and of gloom, of weariness and slander, of distrust and despair, of fornication and uncleanness, of discord and presumption. Be in their midst, according to your faithful promise. And, since you know what each of them needs, I pray you, strengthen what is weak in them. spurn not their frailty, heal that which is diseased, give joy for sorrow, kindle what is lukewarm, establish what is insecure in them, that each of them may know he does not lack your grace in any of his trials and temptations.

I, for my part, commit them into your holy hands and loving providence. May no one snatch them from your hand, nor from your servant’s, unto whom you have committed them. May they persevere with gladness in their holy purpose, unto the attainment of everlasting life with you, our most sweet Lord, their Helper always, who live and reign to ages of ages. Amen.


The Bridegroom Revealed: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time [The Sacred Page]

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Good News: FSSP Invited to the Diocese of Fresno -- Traditional Catholics There Need Your Help [RORATE CÆLI]

There's always plenty of bad news in the world, but as New Catholic recently reminded us, we who are carrying the banner of Catholic Tradition need to rejoice in all the good that our Lord is doing in His Holy Church and among us who strive to love and revere His Holy Name.

One such example of very good news indeed is the official public announcement from the Fresno Traditional Latin Mass Society (FTLMS) that their Bishop, Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, has given them his blessing to raise funds to establish a Traditional Latin Mass parish in the Diocese of Fresno. Bishop Ochoa has invited the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) to staff the new parish. With his permission, FTLMS is searching for a church building to purchase in the Fresno-Clovis area and has identified an ideal property for a growing new parish -- a property both reasonably priced and conveniently located.

They have just sent out a fundraising letter (see below) asking for help. If you can contribute anything to the cause, it will forward this noble and notable initiative, so that California -- the land where St. Junipero Serra celebrated the Mass of the Ages -- can enjoy the blessing of another FSSP apostolate like the ones already in Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego.  Please help if you can. 

The FTLMS website has more information about making a donation by check, PayPal, or credit card.


Die Jahrhundertode des Tiara- und Lorbeergekrönten [Denzinger-Katholik]

Diese Tage ist mir Leo XIII. besonders präsent, oder genauer gesagt, seine Dichtkunst, von der auch auf einem Nachbarblog bereits die Rede war. Papa Pecci schrieb schon italienische und lateinische Gedichte, lange bevor er Papst war. Das erste Erhaltene mit 11 Jahren zur Erstkommunion, in der Studienzeit trat er der poetischen "Gesellschaft der Arkadier" bei ... aber zur größten Blüte gelangte sein dichterisches Schaffen wohl erst mit der Papstwahl. Hier konnte er sich Erholung verschaffen, seine Gebete in kräftige Hymnen und demütige Bitten fassen, Freunde ermuntern, erheitern ... aber nicht zuletzt auch der schweren Last des Amtes, der Sorge um Welt und Christenheit im goldenen Latein des Horaz und Vergil Ausdruck verleihen. So fügte er also an die Dreifachkrone auch noch den Lorbeer der Lyrik.

Das Gedicht, welches ich hier in einer freien Übertragung wiedergebe, könnte womöglich auf den ersten Blick etwas unpassend erscheinen. Der Jahreswechsel ist inzwischen vorbei, und ein neues saeculum feierten wir vor einigen Jährchen. Aber ist das letzte Jahrhundert nicht auch wie das 19. ein langes? Vieles jedenfalls schleppen wir selbst noch mit in dieses neuerliche Fin de Siècle ... oder aber ächzen noch unter der alten Last. Und ziehen nicht vielleicht auch schon die Zeichen eines neuen Läuterungsfeuers auf, wie der erste Weltenbrand, in dessen Stahlgewittern gleichsam eine neue Erde wie unterm Schmiedehammer feurig-gewaltsam geformt ward? Mir scheint jedenfalls, dass folgende Verse, am 31.12.1900 verfasst ... genau so gut ein gutes Jahrhundert später passen ... wenn nicht noch besser:

Zum Ende sich neigt die gepriesene Zeit,
Die Künste und Wissen geehret,
Des Weltalls Kräfte enthüllt und genutzt,
Die Wohlfahrt des Volkes gemehret.

Es singe, wer mag, nun im Liede ihr Lob! - 
Mich drängt es, mit Schmerz zu beklagen
Beim Scheiden das Weh, vom Jahrhundert gebracht!
Ich schaue mit Zittern und Zagen

Die Male der Schande im Spiegel der Zeit:
Entsetzliches, blutiges Morden,
Zerschlagene Zepter und Throne und Gräu'l
Entfesselter, zuchtloser Horden:

Ich sehe, o Jammer, vom schmählichen Krieg,
Mit tausend Ränken erfunden,
Die Feste umtobet des Vatikans,
Die Zierde der Weltstadt geschwunden:

Die Fürstin der Städte der Krone beraubt,
In Würden durch Knechtschaft getragen,
Die Heimat der Päpste, Jahrhunderte hehr
Und Völkern, in Trauer und Klagen:

Gewichen von Gott ist das Recht und Gesetz,
Verschwunden die Tugend, der Glaube:
So fällt, vom Altare gerissen, das Recht
Dem Zweifel, der Willkür zum Raube.

Vom Wahnwitz betört, ein verruchtes Geschlecht -
Hört! - Sätze voll Bosheit ersinnet,
Die stumpfe Natur als waltende Macht
Der Gottheit zu preisen beginnet,

Der Menschheit Uranfang und edleren Keim
In albernem Dünkel beklaget,
Der Tier und Menschenwelt Grenze und Kluft
Verwirrend, Gebilden nachjaget.

Es mehrt sich die Frechheit anmaßend und dreist,
Das Hehrste wird schamlos verachtet,
Selbst Christi Gebot, sein Wesen und Werk
Als Märchen und Posse betrachtet.

Wie wälzt sich im Pfuhle der Laster der Stolz
In blindem, ohnmächtigen Wüten!
O wollet, ihr Menschen, in heilsamer Furcht
Die göttliche Satzung stets hüten!

Denn Er, euer Leben, die Wahrheit allein, 
Die Pforte des Himmels, die wahre,
kann wenden allein euch Kindern des Staubs
Zum Heile die fliehenden Jahre.


O Jesus, du Richter der künftigen Zeit!
Dem neuen Jahrhundert zum Segen
Die trotzigen Völkern mit göttlicher Kraft
Erhalte auf besseren Wegen.

Froh lasse die Saaten des Friedens gedeih'n!
Haß endlich und Aufruhr entschwinde
Und Kriegsnot! Der Ruchlosen Arglist und Trug
Verbann' in der Hölle Abgründe!

O lenke die Fürsten! Sie dränge ein Geist
Sich deinen Geboten zu fügen!
Ein Hirte soll leiten die einige Herd',
Ein Glaube auf Erden obsiegen!

Übersetzt von Bernhard Barth: Des Papstes Leo XIII Sämtliche Gedichte nebst Inschriften und Denkmünzen. Köln: J.P. Bachem 1904, S. 111f. Das lateinische Original findet sich z.B. in Joseph Bach: Leonis XIII P.M. Carmina. Inscriptiones. Numismata. Gleicher Verlag, 1903 - beide Personen waren interessanterweise am Bischöflichen Gymnasium St. Stephan zu Straßburg tätig.


Fictional Characters and Political Boundaries [Siris]

There is a small industry in philosophy discussing the question, "What kind of thing is a fictional character?" One thing that I think is often not considered enough in these discussions is the large group of analogies between fictional characters and things like political borders.

If we compare "Sherlock Holmes lives in London" with "The political boundary between Texas and Mexico is the Rio Grande", there is nothing more to our use of the latter than there is for the former. That is, it's all just texts and derivatives of texts. If you go down to the border, to be sure, you'll see signs and the like indicating that the border is there, but if you go to Baker Street in London you'll see signs about Sherlock Holmes, too. One of the families of views about fictional characters is possibilism, the idea that while a character like Sherlock Holmes does not exist in the actual world, he does exist in some possible worlds. It makes a fair amount of sense of characters in stories (more than is sometimes admitted), although there have always been difficulties with the mechanics of it. If we take seriously the analogy between fictional characters and legal/political fictions like borders, it's difficult to see how it would work at all. Besides the usual objections to possibilism, all of which still apply, what would it mean to say that the political border between Canada and the United States, not existing in the actual world, exists in some possible world? Political borders do not represent physical boundaries. They just are legal boundaries, designated by legal fiction, and the fact that they often involve reference to physical features seems quite analogous to the fact that fictional characters often involve reference to them. And people do not cause wars, have riots, yell "54° 40' or Fight!" about things in merely possible worlds.

What is perhaps more generally interesting is that much discussion of fictional characters puts great emphasis on their nonexistence. Much of this discussion is vitiated by a tendency to try to smuggle ontological features into the existential operator, which is nothing more than a positing operator -- in logic or mathematics, using the existential operator tells us nothing more than that something is posited, and does not on its own give us any account of why we are positing it, which is all that could be relevant here. But the thing about political borders like the International Boundary is that they are fictional entities that do (in some sense) exist. The International Boundary, despite being entirely an artifact of the human mind, has real-world effects. (So, for that matter, does Sherlock Holmes's living on Baker Street in London, as you can see if you ever go to Baker Street in London.) When we talk about it we are not talking about a merely possible world or a semi-Platonic realm, but about the actual world as described in treaties and the like. Fictional anti-realism about political borders seems, at least at first glance, to leave us with nothing but muddled sets of muddles.

One could deny, of course, that political borders are fictional entities, but, again, there seems nothing more backing up their purported non-fictional status than we get with Sherlock Holmes. And political borders, of course, are not the only such legal artifacts that have analogies to fictional characters; they simply are an example that throw a wrench in some common assumptions about fictions.

Nothing about the analogy is determinative on its own; but it does seem that anyone seriously putting forward a theory about the status of fictional characters needs to consider it, and either extend the theory to such legal artifacts or give a principled account of why they are relevantly different.


The Catholic Actor Who Turned Down the Role of James Bond [Creative Minority Report]

Sean Connery and Roger Moore should thank Catholic actor Patrick McGoohan for their careers.

There's no doubt that the role of James Bond has created many careers including (and originally) Sean Connery's. Most actors would do just about anything to be cast in that role even today. But when the role was first cast, one Catholic actor turned down the role because of its reliance on sex and violence. But this wasn't just any actor. It was Patrick McGoohan whom Orson Welles admitted to feeling "intimidated" by his acting ability.

It was in 1960 when every actor wanted the role of James Bond. “I thought there was too much emphasis on sex and violence,” McGoohan explained a few years after turning down the role.

Please continue reading at The National Catholic Register>>>



Archbishop Léonard: "Final Report of the Synod is Ambiguous" -- "Clear Word" from Pope Francis Expected [The Eponymous Flower]

A Picture That Defined the Time in Office of Msgr. Leonard: Prostitutes
Attack Praying Archbishop 

(Rome)  On his departure as Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Primate of Belgium,  Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard has criticized the final report of the Synod on the Family which remains "ambiguous in the delicate points". With an appeal, he called Francis to exercise his Petrine ministry in unity and continuity with tradition, and to speak in terms of marriage and family in a "clear statement".
"Among others, one of the most unaccountable, barely comprehensible torpedoes that were fired during the reign of Pope Francis, had hit the Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, Msgr. André-Joseph Léonard," said the Vatican expert Marco Tosatti in today's issue of the daily newspaper La Stampa , Archbishop Léonard was unceremoniously retired after only five years at the helm of the European "capital" with the completion of his 75th year of life without having received the cardinal's hat, which   all of his predecessors got since the creation of the Kingdom of Belgium.

Archbishop Léonard Took Over an Empty Seminary, Leaving a House with 55 Seminarians

The political mercenaries [indeed, prostitutes] of FEMEN attacked the Archbishop twice in front of cameras. Since then, the rumor  stubbornly remains, that someone in Belgium  had spent a lot of money  to publicly expose the Archbishop publicly to humiliation. As Archbishop Léonard took over his archdiocese in 2010, there were only four seminarians in the seminary. Now he hands over to his successor a seminary with 55 seminarians preparing for the priesthood.
Léonard was 20 years a professor at the Catholic University of Leuven and thirteen years Bishop of Namur before  Pope Benedict XVI. summoned him to Brussels. He was to sacrificed in five years as Primate of Belgium. The situation was already difficult in the liberal climate of the country  for the church. Léonard was also a victim of his predecessor, Godfried Cardinal Danneels, who made ​​no secret of the aversion to the successor who  replaced him. In sum, Léonard remained largely isolated among the  Belgian bishops. Léonard, then still bishop of Namur, was the only bishop in the country who defended Benedict XVI., when the Belgian parliament attacked the Catholic Church leader because of the Church's teaching on contraception.

The reluctance of his predecessor

The 2010 appointment of Léonard had been seen as an attempt to initiate a change of course in the church in Belgium. With the resignation of Benedict XVI. and the election of Pope Francis the approach turned out to be an illusion. Cardinal Danneels saw the opportunity for revenge. While Leonard was demonstratively ignored by Pope Francis, Danneels, who is one of the Francis electors went  to Rome.  Despite his dubious role in homo-clerical milieu of Flanders, Danneels was appointed by Pope Francis personally and in the first place in the Synod of the two Synods on the Family. His direct   access to the Pope continued unaltered, despite last year's publication of an authorized Danneels biography wherein the cardinal revealed that since the 1990s, he was part of a secret circle which included individuals at the highest level in the Church among cardinals and bishops named for its  meeting locale "The Sankt Gallen Group." Among themselves, the members of the secret circle would be described as "mafia". The aim of the progressively minded circle's highest dignitaries was the "reconciliation" of the Church with liberty, equality and fraternity, and, though unsuccessful, preventing the election of Pope Benedict XVI. With the election of Pope Francis both had been caught up, which was mediated by Cardinal Danneel's assessment, which leaves no room for doubt.

Expected "clear statement" of the Pope - the final report of the Synod of Bishops was "ambiguous"

Shortly after his retirement, Léonard answered some questions at the French weekly magazine Famille Chretienne.
First, Léonard declared himself to be "disappointed" by the final report of the Synod. He did give a positive report of the final editing. Ironically,in  the most delicate points it remained an ambiguous document."Some bishops have told me that the texts were deliberately formulated ambiguously, so that they can be interpreted  in different directions," said the archbishop .
For this reason, Monsignor Léonard  directed an appeal to Pope Francis:. "I therefore hope that we will get a nuanced and sympathetic but clear word about teaching and discipline of the Catholic Church in matters of marriage and family. It is the moment for him to exercise his Petrine mission for the unity and continuity in the tradition, as he has announced it in his speech upon the completion of the first family Synod."
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Trans: Tancred vekron99@hotmail.com


The Crucifix and Your Work [Taylor Marshall]

Every day we do things that we love and things that we do not love. Place a small, non-ostentatious crucifix near your work. On the kitchen counter. In the laundry room. On your desk at work. If you are on a laptop at a coffeeshop, open tab and Google search one of the famous crucifixion paintings and leave it open in that tab. Here’s mine today:

Peter Gertner Crucifixion

Do your daily tasks under the shadow of the cross. You’ll find happiness and peace there throughout the day.


The post The Crucifix and Your Work appeared first on Taylor Marshall.


Have you encouraged your sons to consider the priesthood today? [The Badger Catholic]

In 2015 there was a 25% increase in ordinations to the priesthood as 595 men were ordained last year, up from 477 in 2014.
Great news!!
Indeed, the USCCB study reveals that nine percent of all ordinands reported being discouraged from considering a priestly vocation by a priest or other clergyman, and 12% report that their fathers, and nine percent of their mothers discouraged them from the priesthood.
 Do you really want to be remembered eternally as that guy?
But this positive news is often rejected by progressives. Today, the renewal is most pronounced in Madison, Wisconsin under the inspiring leadership of Bishop Robert Morlino. Last spring, the Diocese of Madison announced a vocations initiative intended to raise funds to support the tremendous surge in vocations in that Diocese. There are now 33 seminarians, up from just six in 2003 when Bishop Morlino arrived. The diocese needs $30 million to educate current and future seminarians—and they distributed pledge cards—asking parishioners to dig deep—and they more than met the challenge.
We know why progressives in fact do not want vocations.  They want women priestesses.   They want married clergy (of course it's allowable, but something that certainly would not increase vocations to the priesthood).  They want the laity to perform the functions of the priestly ministry.  And they want to fundamentally change what the Catholic Church teaches and practices; so we can cast off the superstitious mumbo jumbo and all be the best modernist humanitarians we can be.
The success in Madison and elsewhere shows that faithfulness and orthodoxy are compelling and attractive. Meanwhile, progressivism relies on a tired and sterile rebelliousness.
They know it and it's got them scared.  Bishops must remember this if they want to secure the future of their dioceses.  Not just in private, but public acts of orthodoxy and dare I say traditional Catholic devotion are attractive and beautiful.

read the whole report over at Catholic World Report


TLM Attendance: A ceiling built on a lie [AKA Catholic]

National Catholic Register recently published a post by Monsignor Charles Pope, Urgent Warning About the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass, that’s getting a decent amount of attention. The gist of the piece concerns Msgr. Pope’s observation that the number of Traditional Latin Mass attendees seems to have hit a “ceiling” in recent years. He suggests, therefore, that something must be done in order to better promote the ancient rite beyond the “certain niche group of Catholics” to whom it appeals. He states: Some years ago (as far back at the early 1980s) we who love the Traditional Latin Mass more »


Good News, PBS Believes in Satan. Bad News, They Think It's Ted Cruz [Creative Minority Report]

David Brooks, the alleged conservative at the New York Times, was on PBS to discuss politics and he called Ted Cruz "satanic." And then the other guest, David Corn, gets almost giddy and joins in by calling Ted Cruz's father "satanic" for believing in traditional marriage.

Here's the transcript from CNS News:

BROOKS: “Yeah, Ted Cruz is making headway. There’s — you begin to see little signs of liftoff. Trump has sort of ceilinged out. Carson’s collapsing. And Cruz is somehow beginning to get some momentum from Iowa and elsewhere. And so people are either mimicking him, which Rubio is doing a little by adopting some of the dark and satanic tones that Cruz has, and so…”

WOODRUFF: “What did you - let me just ask, what did you just say? “

BROOKS: “Well, if you go to a Cruz - if you watch a Cruz speech, it’s like, we have got this enemy, we have got that enemy, we’re going to stomp on this person, we’re going to crush that person, we’re going to destroy that person. It is an ugly world in Ted Cruz’s world. And it’s combative. And it’s angry, and it’s apocalyptic.”
Ya' gotta' love PBS. Three liberals sitting around calling a conservative "satanic" and they consider themselves the high-minded folks who look down their nose at regular folks.

The funny thing is that to them "satanic" just means someone I disagree with.

Idiocy. Oh wait, taxpayer funded idiocy.



Bundesrat will Werbeverbot im Ausland: Auch für Prostitution und Pornografie? [Mathias von Gersdorff]

„Bundesrat-A“ von campsmum / Patrick Jayne and Thomas - Modification of File:Bundesrat.jpg, Original at Flickr. Lizenziert unter CC BY 2.0 über Wikimedia Commons  Der Deutsche Bundesrat will gegen deutsche Werbetreibende vorgehen, die im Ausland Werbung platzieren, die in Deutschland illegal ist. Der Bundesrat beabsichtigt damit vor allem, die Veröffentlichung verfassungsfeindlicher


Aphasia and Annual Updates [The Paraphasic]

Occasionally it disturbs me that I have taken the name of a serious medical condition and used it as the title of my blog.  When I started The Paraphasic, it was called "Paraphasic Manifestos", the idea being that I frequently express myself poorly and fail to think things through to the extent that I should, so that the blog would be a collection of over-serious ideological declarations ("manifestos"), riddled with errors of speech and mis-expressed ideas ("paraphasic").  The wryness of the title doesn't really match the seriousness of actual aphasia and paraphasia, though, which makes it seem (perhaps once a year or so) like it might be irreverent.  I hope no one has been offended by it.

This morning I discovered several videos on YouTube dealing with forms of aphasia.  First there was this video of Byron Peterson, who suffers from Wernicke's Aphasia, a condition in which he speaks fluidly (and with normal intonation and gusto, even) but the words his mouth produces have little connection to the thoughts he means to express by them ("word salad").  Mr. Peterson's account of himself in this video is wonderful.  I hope that, should I ever lose language, I am half as easygoing and cheerful as this man.

Mr. Byron's video led me to a bunch of other videos, including several by a woman named Sarah Scott.  Ms. Scott suffered a stroke at the age of 18, with resulting aphasia.  Over the past six years she has recorded annual video interviews in which she discusses her progress, current difficulties, and what she's doing.  Here are the first and sixth of these update videos.

Ms. Scott's videos led me to another series of update videos, done by a man named Jack Hurley, who suffered a stroke at age 15, resulting in Broca's Aphasia, from which he has largely recovered.  Here is the first of Mr. Hurley's update videos, in which he gives an account of his stroke and personal difficulties.

These update videos seem to be common among people who experience aphasia.  It's a great idea because, as Ms. Scott explains above, progress can be very slow, and can seem non-existent, but it's relatively easy to notice differences in a video record.  The videos function not as diaries or annals so much as recorded demonstrations of a person giving an account of himself, so that one can see "where I was" in terms of speaking ability and fluency at a given stage.

It would be interesting to do the same thing, not on account of aphasia, but just to track one's life — once a year, a general account of oneself, one's difficulties, and one's present occupation.  Could be worthwhile.


Anguish of Soul [Laudator Temporis Acti]

F.D. How, Six Great Schoolmasters, 2nd ed. (London: Methuen & Co., 1905), p. 124 (on Benjamin Hall Kennedy):

[I]n a fit of sudden exasperation at the sound of a false quantity he threw up his hands and cried, "Ah, the anguish of my soul! I'll give up education altogether!"
Id., p. 125:
Dr. Kennedy used to say, "My Sixth Form is the hardest Sixth Form in England, and I intend it to be so."


Ravasi's Tweet on Bowie [Vox Cantoris]

Gianfranco Ravasi is a curial Cardinal. Many of you know he has tweeted out about the death of a bisex addicted, drug-addicted, androgenous, anti-Christian rocker. I could care less for any of his music; even growing up in the 70's I couldn't stand his work. I thought he was grotesque and untalented. We should pray that the Lord has mercy on that poor afflicted soul who knew of Him, but did not know Him, unless it was in the last hours.

For a Catholic Cardinal, and one in the Vatican, to send out such a message, sends the wrong message. What kind of fools and idiots are these Roman prelates to lionise such a man?

Barona has an excellent take on this, "Santo Subito," according to the world.

However, I urge you to visit the page of Joseph Sciambra for a perspective that is profound, personal and must-reading by moral theologians and prelates such as the incompetent, Ravasi.

Given Sciambra or Ravasi, my bets are on Joseph for the one with more of a Catholic heart and mind.

Ravasi is quite the Tweeter; funny, I would have thought the world's greatest evil might be eucharistic sacrilege, abortion, genocide, infanticide, doctor-assisted-death, pornography, illegal drug trafficking, sodomy, murder, depriving just wages, rampant greed. Who knew that it was sadness?

What a hireling.


The Baptism of Jesus: Divine and Human Paternity [Καθολικός διάκονος]

I am not surprised that the best thing I read this year on the Lord’s Baptism was written by an Evangelical pastor. Writing in Christianity Today, Jeff Strong, who pastors a Covenant Evangelical Church in British Columbia, shares his experience of growing up with a Dad whom he describes as being apathetic towards him. While he admits that his father’s indifference, which persists even now, still haunts him, he shares a powerful testimony to the healing power of the Gospel. The power of his testimony does not lie in some silly, imagined “cure” of the kind often claimed by people who would simply rather not grapple with things as they are, such as a moment when his Dad’s indifference simply stopped mattering to him (I think one would have to question the divine origin of such a realization), but derives its power directly from the Gospel.

I was blessed with a loving father. However, my Dad (who passed away 5 years ago next week) and I were very different people. We went through a fairly prolonged, but not bitter, estrangement for 5-6 years when I was in my 20s. I have no doubt this stemmed from the choices I made that either actually disappointed him or that I imagined disappointed him. Chief among these would be leaving Mormonism and becoming Catholic, perhaps followed closely by my decision to study Philosophy and History, which he largely viewed as a waste of time and money. Our estrangement, which was never total, only ended when I married. No matter what, I knew my Dad loved me. We had a wonderful relationship the last 18 years of his life, a grace for which I am very grateful.

Unlike Strong, my Dad was neither apathetic nor indifferent towards me, but neither was he terribly pushy, even if he did take opportunities once in a while to criticize me, especially when I was younger and simply trying to find my way in the world. I accepted then as I do now that it is sometimes a father’s duty to set forth expectations for his children, especially as they become young adults. In my experience both as a son and as a father, this can cause resentment and bitterness on both sides. Nonetheless, I think it’s important to help my children move from being what I call pseudo-adults, someone who has reached his majority and claims all the rights and prerogatives of adulthood, to becoming an authentic adult, someone who also assumes the duties and responsibilities that come with being an adult.

While it is certainly no original conclusion, my overall point is that human fathers are, well, human. Stretching my articulation of the obvious, children of human fathers are also human. Being human not only means that we’re limited, but also that we’re sinful. In other words, we can do the right things in the wrong way; good intentions don’t always result in good acts.

In my 21+ years of being a father I know it is all too easy to violate St Paul’s exhortation not to provoke our children (Eph 6:4; Col 3:21). I know I am guilty of such provocations, especially when I consider my relationship with my oldest son. The transliterated Greek word translated “provoke” in Ephesians 6:4 is paragizo, which means something like “do not deliberately anger.” In Colossians 3:21 the transliterated Greek word translated as “provoke” is ereqizo, which comes closer to meaning “exasperate.” I am convinced that, at some point, all of us must learn to accept the humanity of our parents, which means, among other things, forgiving them for things both real and imagined. At least for me, this was/is no easy thing.

Commenting on Jesus’ baptism according to St Mark’s account of the Lord's baptism, which is conveyed in three verses (Mark 1:9-11), Strong notes, “We witness both beauty and heartache.” This theophany, which is the first explicit manifestation of God’s triunity, this “outpouring of love and affirmation from the Father,” occurs prior to the Lord “setting his face toward Jerusalem – and toward the cross.”

Strong points out a fact in light of the chronology of our Lord’s life: this outpouring of the Father’s infinite and æternal love for his Son occurs before Jesus performs one deed, utters one teaching, or performs one miracle. This is genuine fatherhood! “God,” Strong points out, “is the kind of Father who would disrupt reality in order to show his Son just how much he delights in and loves him.”

Rather than being off-putting, the divine paternity of God should be the rock on which we, as Christians, build our lives. Improbably, no matter what, God loves you and there’s nothing you can do about it. Jesus Christ is proof-positive that we are God’s children whom he loves and with whom he is well pleased: “In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).

Like most fundamental tenets of our faith, God’s perfect paternity is both a comfort and a provocation. It seems to me that God’s perfect fatherhood must be a comfort before it can serve as a provocation. In contrast to how a variant of “provocation” is used in the verses from Ephesians and Colossians I invoked earlier, in this context “provocation” means pro + vocation = for my divine calling.

This strikes me as a fitting note for me as I embark on this brief season of Ordinary Time, which I plan to use as a preparation for the holy season of Lent.


Campaign Thoughts [Laudator Temporis Acti]

Franklin P. Adams (1881-1960), "Campaign Thoughts," In Other Words (Garden City: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1912), pp. 57-58:

This is a presidential year.
    (An unassailable reflection.)
"Things will be better," so we hear,
                "After election."

Now comes the questing of the Vote,
    The Call to Arms, the Appeal to Reason,
The Keynote Speech, the Clarion Note —
                This is the season

When everywhere and roundabout,
    From coast to coast, and vicy-versy,
The candidates will speak and spout,
                Sans fear or mercy;

When from the Peerless Pines of Maine
    To California's Pebbly Beaches,
We are enthralled by the campaign,
                And many speeches.

Perhaps I ought to add "enthralled,"
    (Cf. line 3, above tetrastich)
As Mr. Ward once might have drawled
                Was wrote sarkastick.

And therefore I demand a word,
    A message to This Glorious Nation.
I crave the right of being heard
                On Conservation.

On Conservation: Not of trees
    Of waterways, or fish, or horses —
Of something greater far than these:
                Human Resources.

Resources wasted in campaigns,
    In oratory dry and juiceless.
The waste of energy and brains
                Strikes me as useless.

For him I'd vote who said "Enough!
    I scorn the terrible traditions
Of the campaign. I leave that stuff
                To politicians."

That's all. I might do five or six
    More stanzas, but I find it dreary.
Do you care much for politics?
                They make me weary.

Confirmed: Priestly celibacy, homosexual clergy to be the next battlefields in this PontificateIs this also the opening of the war over "decentralization"? [RORATE CÆLI]

Sandro Magister's latest column (Married Priests. The Germany-Brazil Axis) published today, carries more concrete proofs of Pope Francis' openness to creating "exceptions" to the law of priestly celibacy in the Latin Rite, with support from German and German-Brazilian clerics. This time we are no longer dealing with mere rumors or speculation, but direct affirmations by two well-known clerics who have corresponded or spoken with the Pope that he is indeed willing to consider the possibility of married Latin-Rite priests, at least in certain regions of the world (beginning with the Amazon), with the hope that the reform will then "develop a dynamic of its own".

Hand in hand with the push for married clergy is the call for openness to having "celibate" homosexual priests, which the German liberals evidently treat as part and parcel of any "solution" that relaxes the current laws regarding priestly celibacy. 

Magister does not mention "decentralization" in relation to this issue, but it is clear that the issue of "regionalizing" the question of clerical celibacy is completely in line with it. Take note that the next meeting of the Council of Cardinals (February 8-9, 2016) will already discuss the decentralization of the Church. In that same month, Cardinal Baldisseri will convene a seminar with "specialists" that will discuss how to make the Catholic Church more "collegial" and "synodal" and how to further revise the synodal process itself.

Raising the issue of celibacy so soon after the debates over communion for "remarried divorcees" also risks causing splits among African Catholics; it is no secret that celibacy is a matter of controversy among many African Catholics who are otherwise conservative on matters of morality. 

From Magister's column (emphases mine):

Last November 25, the “Katholische Nachrichten-Agentur,” the press agency of the German bishops, published news of the correspondence and of signals of “openness” from the pope. And on January 4, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” interviewed [Benedictine theologian Wunibald] Müller and asked him for more details:

Q: You wrote a letter to Pope Francis.

A: I asked for a relaxation of celibacy. There should be married priests as well as celibate, homosexual as well as heterosexual.

Q: And the response?

A: Francis thanked me for my reflections, which made me very happy. He says that my proposals cannot be realized for the universal Church, but I think that this does not rule out solutions at the regional level. Francis has asked the Brazilian bishop Erwin Kräutler to find out if in his diocese there are married men, of proven experience, who could be ordained priests. The pope is seeking places where something can be changed that can then develop a dynamic of its own.

Erwin Kräutler ... the bishop who is retiring for reasons of age from the immense Amazonian prelature of Xingu but is still very active as secretary of the episcopal commission for the Amazon, is precisely the Brazilian bishop who a few days before Christmas had yet another conversation with Pope Francis about the possibility of recourse to a married clergy in territories dramatically devoid of celibate clergy.

Vatican Radio covered the news of the conversation between him and the pope in an interview with Kräutler on December 22:

Q: What did the pope say about communities without a priest to celebrate the Eucharist?

A: He told me that we must make concrete proposals. Even bold, daring proposals. He told me that we must have the courage to speak. He will not take the initiative on his own, but in listening to people. He wants the creation of a consensus and the beginning of attempts in a few regions aimed at making it possible for the people to celebrate the Eucharist. If one reads the apostolic exhortation of John Paul II “Dies Domini,” this says very clearly that there is no Christian community if there is no gathering around the altar. According to the will of God, then, we must open up ways so that this may happen. In Brazil a commission is already working on what these ways may be.

Q: So what should we expect on this point from the pontificate of Francis?

A: A turning point. Even more, we are already at a turning point. I believe we have already come to a point of no return. Even the next pope or the one after him will not be able to turn back from what Francis stands for and is doing today.

In a previous article of July 12, 2015 in the Italian magazine “Credere,” Kräutler had confirmed that “the pope asked the commission for the Amazon for a concrete proposal as far back as last April,” and since then “we have been hypothesizing a few ways for all communities to have the possibility of participating in the Eucharist more than three times a year.”

Among these “ways” is precisely the ordination of married men, in order to compensate for the fact that - as Kräutler went on to say - “for 800 communities we have only 30 priests, and the region is truly very vast.”

It must be said, however, that the lack of vocations to the priesthood in Brazil could also be due to the terrible example that part of the clergy of that country are giving, if there is truth in the depiction provided a while ago by a Catholic magazine as authoritative and unexceptionable as “Il Regno”:

“The faithful have no alternative but to gather in church to celebrate a sort of priestless Mass even in the cities where there is no lack of priests. On Sunday they could fan out to the various churches, but instead they prefer to concelebrate among themselves and leave the faithful to the mercy of unbridled fanatics, when the fanatics are not the celebrants themselves, who sometimes modify the liturgical texts as they please because they are not even capable of understanding them, who turn the singing of the Sanctus into a dance rhythm, who do not commemorate the pope, the bishop, the deceased. Priests so shiftless that typically on Mondays, like the barbers in Italy, they take a day off and do not celebrate Mass, not even in the cathedrals. Or do not visit the sick, do not bring viaticum, do not celebrate funerals. And they cannot always justify themselves by bringing up the scarcity of their numbers.”


Coffee-Table Inanities [Laudator Temporis Acti]

Angus Calder (1942-2008), "Iam pauca aratro iugera regiae," Horace in Tollcross: eftir some odes of Q.H. Flaccus (Kingskettle: Kettilonia, 2000), p. ? (line numbers added):

Soon, I foresee, all the cornershops will go under
crushed by the chains fastened by megamoney.
      With sparrowhead sales staff lounging bored,
      book superstores will outglare city lights.

Once scholarly codgers yarned about their shelves        5
where editions published decades before still peeked
      — ignorance, now, is insouciant about prices
      which then provided small dealers canny margins

when little lefty presses stood some kind of chance
and a slightly-nicked cover could get you a nifty discount.        10
      Johnson would have detested these glitzy mazes
      of glib fiction and coffee-table inanities.

In my far youth, we valued public ownership,
and private wealth conducted itself discreetly.
      Now it's consume! in yer face, consume!        15
      Entrepreneurs ettle to bottle the rain.

No one back then dared dispraise engine drivers — mighty
those gods who commanded our trains: and public libraries
      were cherished like Pallas Athene's temples,
      which, for us, in effect, they were.        20
As the title indicates, Calder's poem is an imitation of Horace's ode on unrestrained real-estate development (2.15), here translated by W.G. Shepherd:
Now regal villas will leave few acres
for ploughing; on all sides ornamental ponds
will appear as extensive
as Lake Lucrinus; bachelor plane-trees

usurp the elm; beds of violets        5
and myrtles and all olfactory crops
scatter their scents in olive-groves
which previous owners farmed;

dense laurels exclude the burning strokes
of the sun. This is not the norm        10
our ancestors divined, that Romulus
and rough-bearded Cato prescribed.

For them private wealth was small,
the commonweal great: no private
north-facing shady porches        15
were laid out with ten-foot rules:

the law forbade abuse of the common turf
and enjoined the adornment at public expense
of towns and temples
with fresh-hewn marble.        20
The Latin:
Iam pauca aratro iugera regiae
moles relinquent, undique latius
    extenta visentur Lucrino
        stagna lacu, platanusque caelebs

evincet ulmos; tum violaria et        5
myrtus et omnis copia narium
    spargent olivetis odorem
        fertilibus domino priori;

tum spissa ramis laurea fervidos
excludet ictus. non ita Romuli        10
    praescriptum et intonsi Catonis
        auspiciis veterumque norma.

privatus illis census erat brevis,
commune magnum: nulla decempedis
    metata privatis opacam        15
        porticus excipiebat Arcton,

nec fortuitum spernere caespitem
leges sinebant, oppida publico
    sumptu iubentes et deorum
        templa novo decorare saxo.        20
Eric Thomson writes in an email about Calder's poem:
I like the poem partly because I share his dismay at the demise of the corner-shop (supermarket chains are man-forged manacles of woe) and the aesthetic and cultural degeneration of the bookshop into a 'glitzy maze of glib fiction and coffee-table inanities' and partly because Ramsay gave Horace the keys to the city of Edinburgh two hundred years ago and there he is always welcome and at home. C.H. Sisson transposed the same ode to London; someone needs to do the same for the Spanish Costa del Sol, where the golf courses, lego-built hotels and gaudy villas encroach on the old groves of the hinterland.

'Once scholarly codgers yarned about their shelves...': I suspect that 'yarned' is partly Scots 'to yarn' – 'yearn' (for the books they couldn't afford to buy), but there is tweed yarn there too. I remember attending a Classics association meeting at Edinburgh University and amusing myself by counting how many of those attending were wearing (Harris) tweed jackets with or without elbow patches — virtually the lot as far as I could see.


Another Traddie Sin [Opus Publicum]

Some people have no doubt heard the expression “traddie sins,” which usually refers to the tendency of some (perhaps many) traditional Catholics to believe that their localized iteration of traditionalism is the pure expression of traditionalism at the expense of every other. “I go to a Society of St. Pius X chapel, not those of compromised groups like the Fraternity of St. Peter…”; “I attend a church run by the Institute of Christ the King and have nothing to do with quasi-schismatics like the SSPX…”; “The garage my vagante bishop says Mass in once every third month uses the 1954 Missal…;” etc. There are others, of course, ranging from uncharitable judgmentalism toward so-called “Novus Ordo Catholics” to a chauvinistic attitude toward the Christian East. Ah, but the list grows. A fairly new, and rather pernicious, tradide sin is the tendency to assume that if a priest, bishop, or pope supports a socio-political position connected in some way with the platform of the American Democratic Party, then then such a position is not only evil, but the espouser has fallen into some deep abyss of doctrinal error and must be renounced immediately.

There was a time, not long ago, when one could still find authentically Catholic reflections on the full array of political problems facing us, the poor heirs of late modernity. Instead of adopting present-day ideologies, these Catholics would attempt to confront topics like economics, law, war, and so forth using the age-old wisdom of the Church coupled with the light of natural reason. Sometimes the results of this thinking aligned (loosely) with the political platform of some party or another, but oftentimes the conclusions were quite different. For instance, both Democrats and Republicans support capitalism; they just disagree marginally about the level and manner of government intervention required to keep the system running “smoothly.” Catholics, on the other hand, know better. They know, from both the Church’s social magisterium and natural law, that capitalism is avarice by another name and that a just economic ordo must provide workers just wages while also upholding the common good.

What about current “hot button” issues like immigration, gun control, and climate change? Here matters are a bit murkier due to the dearth of intelligent commentary on all three. Although Pope Pius XII set out some principles on immigration and refugees, for the most part Catholic thinkers have deferred to the rhetoric of international bodies rather than tried to come to grips with the dynamics of the problem in a truly Catholic way. In the U.S., the bishops have largely folded on the issue completely without bothering to interject nuance into their pro-immigration position while certain sectors of traditional Catholicism have come out howling statements that would make Donald Trump proud. Both “sides” miss the point, and each seem to be more concerned about aligning with a particular liberal-secular mindset than drawing on timeless principles.

The same can be said of gun control and climate change. While the latter topic is more controversial due to the contested science on which it is based, there is no way any Christian can deny that we are not free to do to God’s creation whatever we so please. As for gun control, while the hyperbolic squealing of certain Left-leaning pundits needn’t be taken seriously, has any Catholic thinker explored why, in the United States at least, there is such an appalling gun fetish to the point where the Second Amendment is practically perceived as the highest law of the land? No, curtailing access to certain types of firearms probably won’t stop mass shootings and other acts of violence, but that doesn’t mean anyone ought to have open access to purchasing a small armory. Do traditional Catholics recognize this? Or do they believe that any pastoral statement against widespread gun ownership is ipso facto bound up with some creeping super-liberal agenda which must be resisted at all costs?

One of the great fruits of traditional Catholicism is reminding contemporary Catholics what the Church has timelessly taught while looking for ways to apply past teachings to today. While some traditionalists continue to work hard at this meta-project, traditional Catholicism in America—like all forms of Catholicism in America—has a difficult time thinking past American-style ideological categories. America first; Catholicism second. Escaping the horizon of liberalism is no easy task, but there’s not much of a future for Catholicism (or any other form of Christianity) in these lands unless we do.

Filed under: Catholic Social Thought, Church, Politics


Not Performing [Fr Ray Blake's Blog]

"Are you dead, Pater?" No, I just allowed myself to absord and be absorbed by the Christmas Mysteries, so a belated and Happy Christmas and blessed New Year to you all.

We are keeping our crib up until the Purification.

Reflecting on the images of hovering priests and twirling priests that my 'friends' have posting on social media over the holidays, and my own misanthropy of throwing a Christmas present of a CD of a group of Irish singing priests into the rubbish bin. I have been thinking lately of the terrible burden some priests have of thinking they have to perform or entertain, that unless they are amusing, witty, brilliant, wise, clever ....the world is lost. The performing priest is something new, unknown to Tradition, I like Waugh's analogy of the workman priest going up to the altar to mutter the Mass. Celebrating Mass as if it were a performance, or as if it, any of it depended on the priest is a terrible burden, and I suspect is deleterious to a priests spiritual life. If he performs at Mass what about the rest of his life? Christian is the work of the tradesman, on a par with carpentry or fisherman, not the work of actor or impresario.

After thirty years of priesthood, I wonder whether I should have been ordained, that I have been given this extraordinary gift leaves me rapt with wonder. I know that if God had not given me this grace I would probably be lost. I am in many ways a bit rubbish at being a priest. people have expectations of me and I continually fail to meet them. God has expectations of me and I fail to meet them. There were Christmas cards that thanked me for my preaching and teaching, for my pastoral care, for my offering Mass in a particular way, even for this blog. What I am convinced of is that whatever good I might do is not my doing, it is His.

All the Masses we offer here are offered ad orientem, I can't help performing a little (rhetorically I mean) when I preach but the celebration of Mass is consciously not 'performed' just done according to the rubrics, I have a fear that my personality is more likely to repel than attract. I here stories from other parishes and think if I was a laymen I would run screaming from the Church. Presenting people with the Mass is salvific, God works through the liturgy. There is something liberating in the knowledge that 'Jesus is the Saviour' and I am not. This is really the message of Christmas, we live in Grace, amidst starlight and angels, all that is required of us is fidelity, an attempt to be charitable and the hope that Christ will take care of things.

The Incarnation brings about a renewed reality, it is not what we do but it is what he does that matters now. The God who empties himself of his divinity and pours out his Spirit on humanity has poured himself into the world through his Church, and we, especially we priests, are witnesses to this mysterious new reality.


The Good Samaritan [Dominicana]

At the closing session of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI noted: “The old story of the Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the council. A feeling of boundless sympathy has permeated the whole of it.” Pope Francis appeals to this comment in Misericordiae Vultus, the Bull in which he establishes […]


Join Cardinal Burke in rosary crusade for Church and society [Voice of the Family]


Cardinal Burke with rosary(Steve Weatherbe, LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke is calling on faithful Catholics to “storm heaven” by joining with him once a month in the Mass and the rosary to pray for hope and guidance out of the Church’s current “confusion.”

The grassroots lay organization Catholic Action for Faith and Family has put up a page on its website for “Rosary Warriors” to sign on to the joint effort, which Cardinal Burke launched with a Mass on December 8.

“As Catholics we find ourselves in a general crisis of culture,” the organization’s spokesman Thomas McKenna told LifeSiteNews. “We seem to be losing the battle against same-sex marriage, we see Planned Parenthood killing babies and selling their body parts and nothing is done to stop them, and euthanasia is being brought in through the backdoor.” Then there is the state of “confusion” in the Church itself flowing from public statements by high officials.

Join Cardinal Burke in “Operation Storm Heaven” here!

“Cardinal Burke hears from ordinary Catholics all over the world and believes they are in danger of becoming discouraged and disheartened,” said McKenna, who has interviewed Cardinal Burke several times for EWTN. “He tells those people the answer is hopeful prayer. So we are offering a way to fight back by joining in prayer.”

For a month now Catholic Action has used its website to call for “Rosary Warriors” to “Storm Heaven with Prayer” by praying the Rosary on the first day of the month in union with the Mass and, they hope, with one million other Catholics.

So far Catholic Action has signed up 15,000 on the website. All are invited to state their personal prayer intentions and are committed to pray for a lengthy list of more general ones.

Though McKenna refers to events in the wider culture, especially in the U.S., as incentives to this campaign, its webpage leads off a long list of the campaign’s intentions with prayers for the Church itself: “For Holy Mother Church: that Our Lord guide the pope, the bishops and all members of the clergy to be holy in all things, faithful shepherds, beacons of truth, and defenders of good” and “May all confusion be dispelled from the hearts and minds of all people and may the light of truth shine in them.”

It then lists these intentions:

  • For our families and the family institution that is being so attacked in our world;
  • For the conversion of all sinners to the true faith;
  • For the salvation of my soul, the souls of my loved ones, and the souls of all;
  • For the sanctification of each and every Catholic, especially for my personal sanctification. May I live holy every moment of every day of my life. May I be a true follower of Jesus Christ in all things.
  • To make each and every one of us a faithful soldier of Christ in the struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil;
  • To obtain the graces necessary to stop abortion, stop the onslaught of the homosexual revolution, to overturn legalized same-sex marriage, to stop the spread of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia, and to stop the culture of death in all its forms and establish the culture of life in all souls, in all minds and in all hearts;
  • For our beloved nation and for every nation on earth.

“People who identify themselves as Catholics form a sizeable bloc of voters in this country,” said McKenna. “If we all knew and understood our Church’s position on many public issues we could have a real influence.” Catholic Action’s general purpose is to educate Catholics about Church teachings, but McKenna believes there is “a crisis in catechesis” which has left Catholics to believe what they want about issues such as homosexuality and abortion, which turns out to be whatever the culture believes.

Cardinal Raymond Burke himself has committed to offer the Mass he says on the first of each month for both general intentions and all the personal intentions of the “Rosary Warriors,” who in turn agree to pray for the intentions of all the others. “This way our prayers have much more strength,” said McKenna.

The post Join Cardinal Burke in rosary crusade for Church and society appeared first on Voice of the Family.


Vatican II debates [Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment]

New Liturgical Movement has now made available a new, second tranche of the Speeches made at Vatican II; very useful and often amusing. I went back and browsed through the debates on Liturgy in the NLM's first tranche. Not scientifically, mind; I made no notes; what follows makes no claim to precision or accuracy. I am not an academic historian. I just enjoyed myself. Thanks to NLM for this handy


Epiphany in Oxford [LMS Chairman]


I thought I'd post some photos of the Sung Mass I attended for the feast of the Epiphany, one of the Holy Days it is the privilege of those attached to the Traditional Mass to attend on the proper dates.


In terms of encouraging people to try the EF, and in generating controversty, the Bishops' 2009 decision to move the Epiphany, Ascension, and Corpus Christi to the nearest Sunday is truly the gift that keeps on giving. I read that the Bishops are reconsidering the matter. But then I heard that two years ago as well. We shall see.


In the meantime, there will be many beautiful Masses on the Ascension, 40 days after Easter, for Catholics in England to attend, celebrating that important feast, but only in the Traditional form. If you are near Oxford, you shouldn't miss the chance to go to St Birinus', Dorchester on Thames, where the Parish Priest always gets in polyphonists and has a High Mass is his lovely little church.

Support the work of the LMS by becoming an 'Anniversary Supporter'.


Überwiegende Mehrheit unter 30 wünscht sich traditionelle Familie [Mathias von Gersdorff]

„FamiliaOjeda“ von Ojedamd - Eigenes Werk. Lizenziert u. CC BY-SA 3.0 über Wikimedia Die klassische, traditionelle Familie wird nach wie vor von der überwiegenden Mehrheit der Deutschen als Ideal angesehen. Das ergab eine Umfrage von Forsa für die Zeitschrift „Eltern“.67 Prozent möchten in einer klassischen Familie leben. Etwa 25 Prozent in einer Großfamilie mit drei Generationen. 86 Prozent


Simple Gestures and Signature Graces [The Jesuit Post]

The holidays in Spain are not unlike the holidays anywhere — food and family, travel and church, lots and lots of shopping. Of course there are cultural peculiarities but the basic rhythm is familiar — bursts of frenzy interrupted by occasional moments of nostalgia, gratitude, or wonder.

My holidays were especially blessed by the visit of my mother and sister. Whatever happiness I’ve found in Madrid over the past year and a half I did my best to share with them. There were lots of churros and chocolate, old winding roads and graceful gothic churches. There were many curious questions, plenty of laughter, and more photos than you could shake a selfie-stick at.

As we strolled through one of the many museums, my sister mentioned that in old portraits the appearance of one or two visible hands was a sign of wealth, that you would have to pay extra for the hands. Who knows. But looking back on our photos, I notice our hands and the many gestures we made with them — embracing one another, holding various foodstuffs, or hiding away in a pocket on a cold rainy day. Phone calls are good and selfies are nice, but given the chance, you should pay extra for the hands. The hands say everything.


When my mother and sister left Madrid I was headed to Rome for a meeting. So, after leaving them at the airport, I went straight to the immigration office to complete a tedious bureaucratic task concerning my residency card. I found myself thrust into the close proximity of total strangers waiting for hours in an overcrowded partially converted prison. After a week of sightseeing and museums I began to look at those strangers as my sister and I had looked at those old portraits. These folks weren’t wealthy (the wealthy are hard to come by in immigration offices, let alone prisons), but even still, I was sure to notice their hands, their gestures, their nervous tics, their particular way of removing their coats or putting them on again.

I stood near a very tall man who was pushing a child’s stroller with one hand while cradling his newborn daughter close to his chest with the other. She was, because of his considerable height, right before my eyes and, because of her infant fragility, absolutely precious. She slept peacefully while the rest of us nervously awaited our turn with the immigration officers, waiting to process our paperwork, to sign documents, to beg for some bureaucratic mercy.

As the young father drew nearer to the counter he gently placed the child flat on her back in the stroller. Her eyes popped wide open in a startled realization that something had changed, that she was no longer in the protective arms of her dad. She began the first stuttering gasps of a shrieking cry for help. The man stood over her, tall as a tree, looked straight into her eyes, bent down toward her, extended his long arm, and placed his thin right hand firmly on her chest.

The gesture reminded me of someone single-handedly palming a basketball or a skilled mason carefully laying a stone. He simply pressed her into the stroller, gently but firmly, not unlike a baker testing a freshly kneaded mound of dough. It seemed both a blessing and an affirmation — You’re alright; you’re right here; you’re exactly where I put you. With this gentle pressure on her body and beneath his reassuring gaze, her eyes widened again for a moment as she made one last fitful yawn before exhaling softly and returning to sleep.


My own prayer is often inspired by visualising the simple gestures of a scripture story — imagining the gentle pressure of an embrace, the soul searching power of a momentary gaze, the reconciling truth of a simple footwashing. Small gestures say a lot — the holding of a hand, the wiping of a tear, the anointing of a wound.

Jesuits say of Jesus that we know who we are by looking at him. I would add that, because of him, we can say the same of all those strangers standing in line at the immigration office in that overcrowded prison. In the poor and vulnerable we can know who God is. In the loving gestures of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, we can know who God is. In the work of our own hands, in simple acts of mercy and love, we can know who God is. And we can know who we are by looking at each of them.

As my turn came, I handed over my paperwork and, when I was asked to do so, I took a cheap pen in my hand and made the simple gesture that records my presence, that signifies my identity. With my signature I made the sign that lets the world know that I am. And, in that moment, standing near that father and his precious child, remembering the recent embrace of my mother and sister, it was enough. It was enough to know that in this sometimes cold and confusing world we are all held in love. It became quite clear to me that we are not unlike that child and God is not unlike that father. And, in that moment, that I am was enough for me.




The cover photo, from Flickr user Bonnie Natko can be found here.  


The Beauty of Holiness: St Benet Biscop [iBenedictines]

These days we are more likely to talk about the holiness of beauty than the beauty of holiness, but I think the old phrase still has value. St Benet Biscop, whose feast we keep today, is often lauded as the (…)

Read the rest of this entry »


Which Diversity Matters (If Any)? [RSS]

Julie R. Posselt, an assistant professor in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan, has written a new book, Inside Graduate Admissions, about what she observed after obtaining permission to sit in during the meetings of the graduate admissions committees of six highly-ranked departments at three research universities and interview some of their members.  I haven’t yet read the book, but it sounds interesting.

One of Professor Posselt’s themes is widespread discrimination in admission in favor of everyone but East Asians, against East Asians.  I don’t know whether the author herself is upset about this, but some of the reviewers are; they seem to view it as a blow against “diversity.”  That’s nonsense, of course.  In my experience, the professors on graduate admissions committees really do believe that they should admit grad students of many different ethnicities and colors, and that’s why they discriminate against Asians.  They don’t want lower-scoring non-Asians to be squeezed out.  I am against double standards too, but for a different reason:  Merit.  If Asians dominate college admissions so that non-Asians are squeezed out, so be it.  Maybe it will motivate non-Asians to work harder.

The one kind of diversity that does have some claim to consideration in admissions is diversity of thought.  However, this is the sort of diversity that professors don’t believe in.  One of Posselt’s anecdotes is most revealing.  Admissions committees give enormous weight to GRE scores, and the applicant under consideration certainly looked good by that criterion.  The committee also acknowledged that her personal statement reflected the capacity for rigorous independent thought.  However, she came from a small religious college.  One committee member complained that its faculty were “right-wing religious fundamentalists.”  Another joked that the school was “supported by the Koch brothers.”  The committee chair said “I would like to beat that college out of her” and asked whether she was a “nutcase.”  She wasn’t rejected during that round, but she was during the next.

I have found this sort of thing to be all too typical.  It may seem bizarre that even though the members of the committee were being observed, they made no effort to conceal their malice against religion.  But this is easy to explain.  A great many university liberal arts professors view religion as the very definition of bigotry, and dogmatic rejection of faith as the very definition of open-mindedness.  It would never occur to most of them that they might seem narrow-minded to an observer.  The notion of a bigoted secularist would seem to them a strange paradox.

That is why when religious students write to me for advice about getting into grad school, I tell them don’t mention your faith.  They can’t be saved from battles, and shouldn’t be; but with luck, the battles can be delayed until they get their foot in the door.  Then cry reason and let slip the dogs of argument.


Register now for the Roman Forum Summer Symposium [RORATE CÆLI]

Below, please see the information for this year's Summer Symposium in Gardone Riviera, Italy. Whether you attend or not, please consider helping the Roman Forum accomplish its critical work towards restoring the Church. Click here to find out how to help.

To learn more or to register for the Symposium, click here. Or, email Dr. Rao @ drjcrao AT aol.com

Coronation of Harold II [Tea at Trianon]

From Once I Was a Clever Boy:
The scene of the coronation of King Harold II in the Bayeux Tapestry appears to be the earliest surviving depiction of a specific English coronation, even if it has been questioned whether he was in fact crowned by Archbishop Stigand of Canterbury, who was under censure as a pluralist, and not by Archbishop Ealdred of York.

The enthroned King, with crown orb and sceptre, flanked by the Archbishop and the officers of state holding the sword is an image that thas been repeated down the centuries. (Read more.)
Author Helen Hollick has an article on 1066 HERE.


Léonard, appello al Papa (Tosatti) [Il Blog di Raffaella. Riflessioni e commenti fra gli Amici di Benedetto XVI]

Clicca qui per leggere il commento. Danneels sì, Léonard no...de gustibus, per non dire altro! Immaginate che cosa sarebbe accaduto se Papa Benedetto avesse avuto consiglieri così discussi (conservatori ovviamente...).


Please pray for Mark Shea ... [Abbey Roads]

Apparently Mark Shea will be braving the cold and coming to St. Paul for a debate tonight.  Seriously - he is walking into an extremely hostile environment ...

It will certainly be an interesting, if not confrontational exchange, especially since the parish wherein the debate takes place has for it's pastor the Rev. John Echert, a former professor at St. Thomas University in St. Paul, Minnesota, whose position on the subject of conversion of the Jews cost him his job at the University of St. Thomas:

That response also cost me my tenured position at our seminary and Catholic university. When I returned from the desert and was released from active duty, I was not allowed back into the classroom. I was falsely accused of being “anti-Semitic” by a bishop and a rabbi but I refused to retract my statement. In the end the controversial document Reflections on Covenant and Mission was dumped, as was I. But divine providence rescued me to become pastor of churches at which we offer Tridentine Masses daily. - JP Echert

God is good.

Good luck Mark.

h/t Badger

Sheen on the Antichrist [Tea at Trianon]

In the words of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen:

Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first ‘red.’ Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as ‘the Prince of this world,’ whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?

The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s. (Read more.)


Bridal Trains [The Rad Trad]

"Bigger is better" has been the maxim of life for any number of Texan truck drivers, Nazi battleship engineers, bridal dress designers, and cardinals' clothiers. A recent feature by Dr. Kwasniewski on the cappa magna swiftly devolved into a debate as to whether or not a cardinal's cappa should be more magna than Diana Spencer's wedding dress (in case any of you are too young, a rather pleasant song about Marilyn Monroe was destroyed in her memory). 

The modern cappa is a baroque elaboration of the cloak cardinals wore in public processions during the high and late middle ages. Similarly, the galero was once a broad brimmed hat for outdoor use. Cardinals wore the vesture of their office (cope for bishops, chasuble for priests, dalmatic for deacons) with the mitre as choir dress in the presence of the Pope. The cassock may have had a bit of train for dramatic effect, but it paled in comparison with what succeeded it centuries later.

No train, no lace. Meets all your processional needs!
Invested with positions of authority, cardinals fused their often dynastic trappings with ecclesiastical vesture. The long trains worn by kings were imitated both by brides and bishops alike, as was the penchant for silk and lace. The pope himself wore an enormous train called the falda at Papal Mass. Pius XII shortened the permitted train only to have John XXIII re-lengthen it. Paul VI's prohibition of the cappa in the city of Rome, possibly concerned that the newly impoverished Vatican liturgy might be overshadowed by one of the titular churches, meant fewer owners of this garish garment. 

True origin of the cappa: statecraft, as practiced by
Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal de Richelieu.
Athwart my instinct to favor historicity in vestments, I am quite happy this particular piece of frippery has declined from general wear. Revivals of its use in solemn ceremonies are remarkably anachronistic. Some older images of the ICRSS employing Cardinals Medina and Stickler show men accustomed to the vestment, since they remembered when it was normal. More modern wearers are less successful. Cardinal Burke is a short, stout man with a stiff gait; trailed by 20 feet of silk he appears in need of liberation from his Tuscan jailers. Shred the lace and cut the capes.

As an aside, this blog's tendency to highlight lingering medieval and pre-medieval liturgical practices is not purely for aesthetic value, although well executed gothic and Roman quash baroque vainglory as Joshua did the Canaanites. The liturgy until the Counter-Reformation era was more organic, more engaging, more instinctive, and more indicative of the religious instinct of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. We can learn much from those periods. That said, I appreciate something unique when it comes my way. Take, for instance, this distinct wedding and nuptial Mass celebrated by the FSSP at the Ordinariate parish, Our Lady of Atonement, in San Antonio, TX. A colorful neo-gothic sanctuary housed under a rood screen, a conical chasuble, Josquin des Prez's Missa Pange lingua, and no pixelation makes for a very photogenic wedding. I am not sure what the bride and groom are wearing, ethnic clothes or something germane to the author's self-professed medievalism. It is worth a peak if you have a "boutique liturgical fetish." The bride does have something of a train. She is fortunate that a cardinal did not attend, his would have been bigger.


Notes on Julia Kristeva, Psychoanalysis, Eastern Christianity, and Today's European Refugee Crisis [Eastern Christian Books]

More than twenty years ago now when I was studying psychology and thinking of training as a psychoanalyst, I came across the name of Julia Kristeva, but never read much beyond a few sentences in some textbook or other purporting to describe briefly who she was and what she was on about.

More recently, however, I have had a chance to dive into her works more deeply as part of some on-going research I'm doing on the uses and abuses of memory in Catholic, Orthodox, and Islamic contexts and inter-relations. So consider this a brief note for those who may be interested in learning more about Kristeva.

Kristeva's book In the Beginning Was Love: Psychoanalysis and Faith shows some familiarity with the Christian East as Kristeva recounts part of her early adolescence in which she tried to see if she could will herself to faith, which she found strangely attractive after spending some time contemplating a Byzantine icon of the Mother of God. (Her interest in Byzantium, perhaps motivated by or connected to her birth in Bulgaria, has generated Murder in Byzantium: A Novel, which I have not read yet.) She describes herself as not successful in trying to have faith, but it didn't leave her bitter or hostile but instead genuinely open to learning what she can about both the particular teachings of Christianity, as well as to the whole phenomenon of faith.

The rest of In the Beginning Was Love is a rather anemic and staccato series of reflections on faith, including two chapters that move systematically through each line of the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. She shows herself far more open to the idea of faith, and far less convinced that it simply fulfills some kind of infantile neurosis--a position usually attributed to Freud, though I would also note here that I found a copy of Sigmund Freud: Psychoanalysis and Faith, Dialogues with the Reverand Oskar Pfister in a wonderful used bookstore in Indianapolis over Christmas, and I have been very impressed with the correspondence, most of which is from Freud's side as many of Pfister's letters have been lost. Freud's tone is consistently extremely gracious and kind, and he here evidences a sincere openness to trying to see faith as something more than a wish fulfillment or neurosis. He is unfailingly polite and modest, and recognizes the hermeneutic limits of psychoanalysis when it comes to metaphysical and theological questions. In fact, I detect in this book something approximating an inchoate desire on the part of Freud to have faith as Pfister has it. (How much faith Pfister himself had remains open to debate. He seems nothing if not an early proponent of what the contemporary sociologist Christian Smith has memorably called moralistic therapeutic deism, which perhaps explain's Freud's attraction to him and subsequent friendship with him.)

Kristeva's other book, which I have just begun, will be of obvious interest to Eastern Christians and our perpetual problem of ethno-nationalism or phyletism: Nations Without Nationalism (Columbia University Press, 1993).

It is striking to me, reading this book in 2016 with the on-going European refugee crisis, just how much relevance it still has after it was first published in French in 1990, and translated into English three years later. She asks such questions as "Will France be able to welcome without too many clashes the flow from the other side of the Mediterranean?" Little did she know a quarter-century ago how that flow would become a flood today into Germany, France, and elsewhere.

She notes, in 1990, the increasing mania then of "discovering one's origins" and then using the founding mythologies of my group or nation as a source not only of personal identity, but also of a collective ideology with which to exclude if not destroy others who are not pure laine, who become objects of hatred that may well be little more than a projection of my internal self-loathing.

Like In the Beginning Was Love, Nations Without Nationalism is clearly an essai in that form which French writers use so well but many others find frustrating: not as a finished product tightly wrapped up, but as a somewhat discursive and almost playful place in which the author seeks essayer disparate ideas. Thus after only a few brusque paragraphs contemplating French immigration and struggles, she moves on to consider how America has historically handled questions of immigration and identity; how the United Kingdom did; and how the ancient Greeks did. She then returns to France, noting that "Nowhere is one more a foreigner than in France." Looking towards the year 2000, she predicts that "the matter of Arabian immigration in France" will remain the most pressing problem--a prescient argument indeed seen from today's perspective!

Then, curiously, she suddenly lurches to considering the life and work of St. Paul, noting how his writings challenged the ancient ideas of nation and kinship, giving Christians and the world a new definition: "there is neither Jew nor Greek for all are one in Christ Jesus." Though Christians, as she recognizes, have often failed to live up to this vision of a universal community transcending all our particularities, nonetheless we must "bow, in passing, to Paul's psychological and political sensitivity."

Returning again to France, she sounds what seems an appropriate call for France--and perforce the rest of Europe--to assume a greater confidence in its own ways of life, and a greater willingness to defend those ways of life in the face of Arab-Muslim immigration and the latter's very different cultural mores. How little that call seems to have been heeded in the intervening quarter-century! In this regard she wants a return to what she sees as the ideals of the Revolution: the creation of a pact among sovereign individuals freed from other attachments, including the hateful shackles of nationalistic identity in which I am at war with all those who are not part of my family, clan, and nation. She seems to suggest that such a pact, such an ideal from the Revolution, has commendable Christian origins--though, of course, many Christians, pre-eminently Catholics in France and Western Europe--saw the revolution as nothing more or other than "demonic," as Joseph de Maistre unsparingly put it.

After a brief foray into ancient Jewish laws about foreigners, she then considers--as many others have, perhaps especially Paschalis Kitromilides, not least in his essay "The Legacy of the French Revolution: Orthodoxy and Nationalism" in The Cambridge History of Christianity: Volume 5, Eastern Christianity--the pivotal role played by the French revolution in developing theories of nationalism and the "sovereignty" of the nation-state, theories which have, as I've demonstrated elsewhere, proved to be so pivotal in the rise of not just the modern nation-states of, e.g., Greece, Romania, and Russia, but the concomitant rise in their Orthodox national churches as well.

If time allows, I hope also to read Kristeva's Hannah Arendt. Arendt's famous studies of the banality of evil, and of The Origins of Totalitarianism retain important explanatory power for Eastern Christians--especially in Russia--still struggling to find ways of dealing with the communist past. 


For the record: full text of Ross Douthat's "A Crisis of Conservative Catholicism" now online. [RORATE CÆLI]

In recent days two articles have provoked much discussion about the true state of both Catholic Traditionalism and Catholic Conservatism. The first is Msgr. Charles Pope’s article “An Urgent Warning About the Future of the Traditional Latin Mass” which argues, on the basis of anecdotal evidence, that not only are the numbers attending the TLM not growing, but that these might soon decline. I hope to find time to say something about this in the coming days. 

The second is the Ross Douthat’s 2015 Erasmus lecture “A Crisis of Conservative Catholicism”, the full text of which has just been published by First Things

For not a few Traditional Catholics most of the points raised in this lecture are not surprising at all. The hollowness of what Douthat calls the "conservative master narrative" about the supposed "renewal" under the previous two Pontificates, the fact that Catholic liberalism is much more resilient than it has seemed to be, and the doctrinal ambiguity that lies behind the conservative facade of the Wojtylian-Ratzingerian hierarchy, would have been obvious to our regular readers (and those of other resilient Traditional Catholic sites) in the past decade. 

Nevertheless, it is one thing to give numerous individual counter-examples to the "conservative master narrative". It is another thing to actually spell out, in a very stark manner and in the open, the weakness of this narrative and the actual trends that belie it. Few have done this, and Douthat's stature and position as an opinion-maker ensures that this assessment of the internal weaknesses of Catholic conservatism will gain greater attention than would other similar assessments. 

Some might criticize Douthat for damaging conservative morale and for encouraging liberals. (The same with Msgr. Pope.) Nevertheless, perhaps the time has come for Conservative Catholics -- and even Traditionalists -- to openly ask painful questions. Have we allowed ourselves in various ways to be deluded by our own rhetoric and slogans, by our own wishful thinking, resulting in a dangerous complacency? Are we not now seeing, post-Benedict XVI, the bitter disappointment inevitably caused by unrealistic hopes? Have we allowed ourselves to be carried away by the demands of "PR" and the need to boost morale, at the expense of refusing to admit just how severe the crisis in the Church really is, and how distant its resolution actually remains? Most importantly: what must we do, as Catholics who understand the severity of the crisis but who refuse to surrender to hopelessness and despair?

(One of Rorate's posts yesterday, Priests Living in Fear of their Bishops, points out the isolation of many conservative priests and seminarians and why it is unrealistic to expect that the "John Paul II / Benedict XVI" generation of priests will save the Church.)


Married Priests. The Germany-Brazil Axis [Chiesa -]

In the accounts of a German theologian and a Brazilian bishop, Francis’s plan to allow local exceptions to the norm of clerical celibacy. Beginning with the Amazon


What is a "peronal relationship with Jesus Christ," and what role does it play in one's salvation? [Musings of a Pertinacious Papist]

Let's start with the Old Testament Patriarchs, Moses, Joshua, Esther, Ruth, David, and the Prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos, for starters. Does any Christian doubt the likelihood of their salvation? Yet did they have a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ"?

Jesus famously declared: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but through me." (Jn 14:6) If this is true, and the Old Testament saints are in heaven, they are there only by virtue of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, even if they could not have personally known anything about Jesus, who would only come centuries later.

What this suggests is that salvation through Christ is based on the objective fact of Christ's substitutionary atonement and the incorporation of the faithful into His mystical body by the means provided by God during particular dispensations of salvation history. For the Old Testament saints, this meant the animal sacrifices prescribed by God through the Hebrew patriarchs and prophets, whose rituals looked forward to the promised Redeemer. For those of us who have lived since the publication of the New Testament, this means the re-enactment of the sacrifice of Christ in the Lord's Supper, which looks back to the Passion of Christ and His once-for-all sacrifice in human history.

Michael Voris seems to have something of this sort in mind in his provocative new "Vortex" feature entitled "Personal Relationship With Jesus Christ" (Church Militant, January 7, 2016). He may seem unnecessarily harsh in his denunciation of the prevalent Protestant-like talk about the need for a "personal relationship with Jesus" among many contemporary Catholics. But if you listen closely, I think the real message may be something else.

Yes, it's true that a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ" doesn't seem to have played much of a role in the redemption of the Old Testament saints. Nor does it seem essential (or even possible!) in the salvation of a child who dies in infancy, or those who are severely mentally retarded.

But on the other hand, perhaps Voris' point is that a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ" is very much the key to one's salvation, but that it has been misunderstood by those who take it to mean something purely subjective and experiential. What could possibly involve a more personal relationship with Jesus Christ than any of the seven sacraments? By being baptized into his Body? By becoming a partaker of the divine nature by way of Holy Communion? By being absolved by Him of one's sins through the sacrament of Confession? But the point is that all of these are objective performances, things one does. That is, they are more than mere experienced feelings of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

On this reading, perhaps even Abraham and the other Old Testament saints very much had "a personal relationship with Jesus Christ," even if it wasn't expressed in ways familiar to contemporary evangelicals and evangelical Catholics. After all, Jesus said to His fellow Jews: "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." (Jn 8:56) I doubt this means that Abraham understood that God would become incarnate as a historical man named Jesus. Yet by faith he certainly is said to have trusted in the redemptive promises of God; and one of those promises, if yet seen only inchoately in Abraham's day, was the promise of a Messiah, which came gradually into focus as the fullness of time -- the time of Jesus' birth -- drew nearer.

So did this entail having certain feelings and emotional experiences on the part of Abraham. That he felt things profoundly during certain junctures in his lifetime, I have not doubt. But the point, I think, would be that his salvation rested on something objective: keeping the terms of the Covenant God imposed upon him. This is where his faith effectively came to expression; just as ours comes to effective expression in our keeping the terms of the New Covenant imposed on us -- that is, in our fulfillment of the precepts of the Church.


Correspondence: traditional miscellany [Musings of a Pertinacious Papist]

For the record, here is a piece of second-hand traditionalist correspondence [forwarded to me but not addressed to me] that I received last October, which I believe some of you may find of interest, for what it's worth:

Sire's Paul VI is beautifully written but he's no authority. Don Luigi Villa is and his book Paul VI Blessed? is online. Anyone who reads Roberto de Mattei's Second Vatican Council will not be surprised by the character of Giovanni Montini. The translators of de Mattei are Ignatius Press authors. I think Ignatius sponsored the translation and then sent it to a schismatic press (Loreto) to insure that it would be buried forever. Two reviews have appeared. One by Howard Kainz (The Catholic Thing) and one by Michael Miller (Catholic World Report). Neither tell you what's in the book. Only [the blog, Unam Sanctam Catholicam] gives it a worthy review. Few Catholics who read English know the importance of Jean Madiran Robert de Mattei wrote the best tribute, Hommage to Jean Madiran. From 1958 Madiran ran the best Catholic journal in the world, Itineraires. His chief theologian was Fr. Roger Thomas Calmel [pictured right], who happened to be a saint. No book tells the story of the Left's takeover of the Church than the biography of Fr.Calmel. He fought the modernists in his own order. The biography sings from. the personal letters, articles and preaching of this very humble and brilliant theologian. Msgr. Lefebvre called him his spiritual father though he was the younger man. While Msgr. Lefebvre was in Africa in the critical years for the Church in France, Fr. Calmel was on the front lines in the struggle for the faith. He was the first to declare his refusal of the new mass. No one knows the story of the condemnation of Action Francaise and its consequences. The right was defeated and no conservative priest could become a bishop in France. Achille Lienart was the new model of a bishop and he would lead the revolt at Vatican II. Few Catholics know the important details about L'Action Francaise and its condemnation, consequential not just for France but every Catholic. Gregoire Celier does a superb job of sorting out the issues on his two articles on Charles Maurras (online).
[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]


Gilbert Magazine's Strange Ideas about the Muslim Infiltration of the West [LES FEMMES - THE TRUTH]

The West, including the United States, is being inundated by a massive influx of Muslims fleeing Syria.  They join the hundreds of thousands already admitted from countries that hate us. Are they truly refugees or is the massive infiltration of Muslims to the West a silent invasion, Al-Hijra in fact, i.e., taking over a country by immigration?

I read a head-shaking editorial in the Nov-Dec issue of Gilbert Magazine yesterday by Sean Dailey. It argued in favor of welcoming Syrian refugees saying that opposition is fueled by baseless fear of terrorism that is generating a "rage" unrelated to "clear thinking." According to the writer, "fear sees every desperate foreigner as a terrorist," while most are just individuals "fleeing horrific violence and oppression." He concluded his editorial by equating refugees with the holy family seeking shelter.
Not once in the editorial did he raise the fact that the large influx of Syrian refugees are almost exclusively Muslim (No persecuted Christians welcome, thank you!) and are changing the West and moving her inexorably in the direction of a worldwide Islamic caliphate.

It is a strange position for a magazine that extols a man who wrote an epic poem about the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. It is often called the "last Crusade" and was fought by the Christian West (organized by Pope Pius V) to stop the Ottoman Empire's invasion of Europe.

What would Chesterton say about Muslim immigration?

I think he would oppose it as I believe St. Thomas Aquinas would. Here's how Chesterton describes the followers of Islam. “…out of the desert, from the dry places and the dreadful suns, come the cruel children of the lonely God; the real Unitarians who with scimitar in hand have laid waste the world. For it is not well for God to be alone."

Chesterton actually wrote a novel warning about the Islamization of England titled The Flying Inn. It shows the government elite captivated by Islamic ideals. The two protagonists, resisting the government's transformation of the culture, "fly" about England in their car (the flying inn of the title) with a barrel of beer, a wheel of cheese, and a pub sign. They set up shop here and there along the way to dispense  and cheer, while being pursued by government elites and their lackeys who want alcohol banned (at least for the common people).

William Kilpatrick has an interesting article at Crisis Magazine, Chesterton's Islamic England, describing how clear-sighted Chesterton was in warning of the colonization of England by Islam:
Chesterton’s prophetic novel hits uncomfortably close to home. One thing he didn’t anticipate, however, is that the final Islamization of England could be accomplished without importing a foreign army. Since modern England has already imported enough Muslim immigrants to engineer a significant cultural shift, an occupying army won’t be needed. Otherwise, Chesterton was right on target. He foresaw that an Islamic takeover would be facilitated by cultural elites eager to show their tolerance for new ideas and fashions and their corresponding disdain for traditional culture.
You have to read the entire article to recognize the length and breadth of the enabling of Jihad by Al-Hijra taking place, not just in Europe, but here in the U.S. as children are indoctrinated in Islam in school and we are constantly brainwashed with the idiocy that Islam is a "religion of peace."

Who would have thought that the Islamic invasion would be facilitated using Chesterton's own words by those who claim to know the great man best? I'm frankly baffled by the editorial board at Gilbert.

But I offer you Chesterton himself in the video below who says, "I'm not much of a crusader, but at least I'm not a Mohammedan." I do not think he would celebrate the Islamization of either England or America. This article describes the situation three years ago. Ask yourself whether things are better now or worse?


Late Have I Loved You – On the Delay of Marriage in Our Culture and the Flawed Notions That Underlie It [Community in Mission]

In football, if the offense takes more than thirty seconds between plays, they are penalized for “delay of game.” The result is lost yardage; they are now farther away from the goal line. The delay thus brings loss; progress toward the goal is hindered; victory becomes less likely, not more. I’m sure the offense would always like a little more time in the huddle in order to ensure that everyone knows exactly what to do. But there comes a moment when they must break out of the huddle and execute the play even if more time would have been ideal.

This also happens in “real life.” Deliberations have their place, but delay can be costly and can actually set us back from our goals. Life keeps moving forward even when we don’t feel prepared or completely certain of the outcome.

Related to this is an old saying, “If something is worth doing well, it’s worth doing poorly.” The point is not that we should plan to do something poorly, but rather that if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing, even if we wish we could have more time to plan/control better. One might have envisioned a nice cookout with steaks on the grill, but due to time constraints and limited funds it ends up being hot dogs and hamburgers. But it was still worth doing, and a nice time was had by all.

With this in mind, I’d like to discuss an increasingly large problem in our culture: the delay of marriage by young people. Many today are in their thirties by the time they marry. There are many reasons for this that are beyond the young adults themselves, but the bottom line is that delayed marriage is not indicative of a healthy culture. Marriage and family are the foundation of a healthy culture, and the lack of this anchor causes many to drift into unhealthy and counterproductive attitudes and behaviors. This “delay of game” brings penalties, both personal and societal, that cause us to “lose yardage” and make victory less likely.

Marrying and raising children within a family is demonstrably better for men and women than remaining single. Those in traditional marriages are on average healthier, happier, more affluent, and mature more quickly. It is also better for the culture when young people get married. Getting married and having children help men and women to become more responsible, more mature, and to make better decisions that are less wasteful and selfish. It helps them to think of others, and to learn to settle down into more stable, frugal, generous lives. All of this is good for culture and society.

A recent article by Dennis Prager in National Review speaks to the flawed thinking that has given rise to the delay of marriage. He does not deny, nor do I, that young adults today face many personal and cultural obstacles. But he also thinks that the obstacles are often overstated, and that it is time for all of us to work more at facilitating earlier marriages by encouraging young adults to be more intent on this goal.

I have presented Prager’s remarks in bold, black italics; my remarks are in plain, red text.

The statement “I’m not ready to get married” … said by more and more Americans between the ages of 21 and 40 (and some who are older than that) … usually qualifies as both meaningless and untrue. … So, here’s a truth that young Americans need to hear: Most people become “ready to get married” when they get married. Throughout history most people got married at a much younger age than people today. They were hardly “ready.” They got married because society and/or their religion expected them to. And then, once married, they tended to rise to the occasion.

Here is the opening salvo: it is always be possible to be more ready to do something. But the trap is that when you can always be more ready, you’re never quite ready enough.

For me, there is nothing like a deadline to help me accomplish a task. But the expectation in our culture today that young people should marry is so weak that few sense any urgency or “deadline” until they are well into their thirties. And it’s usually more the women than the men feel it. The biological starts to loom large for a woman when she hits her mid-thirties, but for a man it doesn’t. Thus there is little to no expectation that binds men and women equally to set about the task of looking for a spouse and getting married.

At one time we thought it was the most natural thing in the world for men and women to want to marry each other; apparently that is no longer the case.

A promiscuous culture has taken away one very central lure of marriage: approved access to sexual intimacy. Further, there is the notion that a marriage is supposed to be a perfect union and that the ideal mate must be found. Add to this the ordinary fear that getting married has always provoked.

I remember as a boy being up on the high diving board at the local pool. Standing up there on my own looking down at the water so far below caused me to freeze up. A few things “unfroze” me: someone coming up the ladder behind me, my friends down below encouraging me, and everyone else expecting me to go ahead and make the dive and chiding me for my delay. I felt unprepared, but off the board I went. I “got ready” by just doing it.

… at least two bad things happen the longer you wait to get “ready” to be married. One is that, if you are a woman, the number of quality single men declines. … as Susan Patton, a Princeton graduate, wrote … “Find a husband on campus before you graduate … You will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.”

In a big pool there are lots of fish; in a smaller pool, fewer fish.

The other bad thing that happens when people wait until they are “ready” to get married is that they often end up waiting longer and longer. After a certain point, being single becomes the norm and the thought of marrying becomes less, not more, appealing. So over time you can actually become less “ready” to get married.

Yes, we are very invested in the familiar, even if it has hardships. Further, it gets harder to change as we age. Those who are older are less willing and able to adjust to the changes that marriage brings.

And one more thing: If you’re 25 and not ready … [saying] “I’m not ready to get married” means “I’m not ready to stop being preoccupied with myself,” or, to put it as directly as possible, “I’m not ready to grow up.”

You may think Prager unkind here. And perhaps he generalizes a bit too much. But let’s admit that we live in a narcissistic culture, one in which most people take a long time to grow up and some never do.

I would argue that our whole culture is fixated on teenage issues. We are titillated by and immature about sex; we demand rights but refuse responsibility; we rebel against authority; we act like “know-it-alls”; we are forever crying about how unfair things are and how mean some people can be. This is teenage stuff, but our culture seems stuck in this mode.

Having been brought up on a steady diet of this sort, young adults (understandably) are going to have a harder time breaking free of narcissism and immaturity. But recognizing the problems is a first step toward getting better and getting ready.

People didn’t marry in the past only because they fell in love. And people can fall in love and don’t marry—as happens frequently today. People married because it was a primary societal value. People understood that it was better for society and for the vast majority of its members that as many individuals as possible commit to someone and take care of that person.

I would only add here that in the past people married in order to survive. They had children to survive. There was no Social Security and no retirement plans. Your children were your Social Security.

I do not argue for a dismantling of the whole Social Security system or of retirement plans, but I do argue that they have had unintended effects: the government has increasingly taken on a role that families once filled. People used to take care of those in their family, and this respected the principle of subsidiarity. Today, this has responsibility has been shifted to an impersonal government body. The “welfare system” (personal and corporate) has created an unhealthy dependence on government. This has the dual effect of reducing the perceived need for family ties and interfering with them when they do exist.

The argument [is invalid] that the older people are when they marry, the less likely they are to divorce. … The latest data are that those who marry in their early thirties are more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late twenties.

People may be more mature in their thirties but they are also more settled in their ways and more accustomed to the single life.

And then there is the economic argument. Many single men, for example, say they are not ready to get married because they don’t have the income … In fact, marriage may be the best way to increase one’s income. Men’s income rises after marriage. They have less time to waste, and someone to help support—two spurs to hard work and ambition, not to mention that most employers prefer men who are married. And can’t two people live on less money than they would need if they lived each on his or her own, paying for two apartments?

Frankly there is just more to work for when one is married. And combined resources, financial and otherwise, lead to a more “diversified portfolio.”

In addition to economic benefits, the vast majority of human beings do better when they have someone to come home to, someone to care for, and someone to care for them. And, no matter how much feminists and other progressives deny it, children do best when raised by a married couple.

This is just plain common sense.

Throughout history, and in every society, people married not when they were “ready” to marry but when they reached marriageable age and were expected to assume adult responsibilities.

Yep! And we err by not insisting on these things. People at every stage of life need a little pressure to encourage them to make beneficial moves.

The “greatest generation,” which lived through the depression and fought in WWII, did indeed make enormous sacrifices. But it would seem that they failed to pass on to their children the notion of duty and sacrifice. The baby boom generation thus ended up self-absorbed and under-disciplined. They threw a miserable revolution in the late 1960s. The tsunami-like devastation wrought by this revolution afflicts us to this day and has a lot to do with the demise of marriage, family, and (healthy) disciplined sexuality in the culture.

Finally, this [situation] reflects another negative trend in society—that of people being guided by feelings rather than by standards or obligations. In life, behavior shapes feelings. Act happy, you’ll become happy. Act like you’re single, you’ll remain single. Act like you’re ready for marriage, you’ll become ready for marriage. Do it, in other words. Then you’ll be “ready.”

Yes, other things being equal, this is true. Now please, don’t treat this as an absolute and consequently reject it. Understand that it is a general principle. There are times when other factors are involved; the correlation is not 100%. But I know (as I think you do) that when I do right and I do good, I “feel” better.

Finally, a disclaimer: I have written a lot on this blog about issues related to the delay of marriage, to the vocation, and so forth. And whenever I do, I find that some readers take articles like this one very personally and get offended. This piece is a commentary on cultural trends, not on your personal life. There are always going to be specific, individual factors that affect the outcome in a particular situation; those cannot reasonably be included in wide-ranging column addressed to thousands. If you are in your thirties and unmarried, there may be good reason for that. But this article is not about you; it is about an overall trend that is not healthy for a culture. Young adults today are not wholly to blame for marrying later in life. The adults in their lives, and institutions like schools and the Church, also bear some responsibility. These negative effects flowed from what we have done and what we have failed to do, individually and collectively. This is about all of us. I pray that this disclaimer will avoid the posting of angry and bitter responses in the comments section that bespeak readers who take personally what is not meant personally.

The post Late Have I Loved You – On the Delay of Marriage in Our Culture and the Flawed Notions That Underlie It appeared first on Community in Mission.


INTERVIEW: Investigative journalist Randy Engel [AKA Catholic]

In recent months, I’ve had the sincere pleasure of speaking with Randy Engel – one of the nation’s top investigative reporters and, as many readers of this space know, the author of The Rite of Sodomy – Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church. What you may be surprised to learn (as was I) is that she’s also a novelist. In the following interview, we discuss her new book, Marrano – A Novel of Faith, Mystery, Murder and Mayhem at the Vatican. LV – I have to admit that I was surprised when I received a review copy of your latest more »


Understanding an Argument for Q [Jimmy Akin]

q-redThere is a clear literary relationship between three of the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

That’s why these three are known as the “synoptic” Gospels—because they offer a “shared view” of Jesus’ life (Greek, sun = “together” + opsis “seeing”).

The question of how they are related is known as the Synoptic Problem, and you can read my discussions of it here.


Which Evangelist Wrote First?

Through much of Church history, the dominant view has been that Matthew’s Gospel was the first to be written and that Mark either abbreviated Matthew or that Mark combined and abbreviated both Matthew and Luke.

After careful study, I would argue that neither of these proposals fits the evidence. Mark did not abbreviate Matthew (see here), nor did he combine and abbreviate Matthew and Luke (see here). Further, the earliest testimony we have—likely from one of the other authors of the New Testament—indicates that Mark wrote first (see here and here).

I therefore conclude that modern scholars are most likely correct when they argue that Mark wrote his Gospel first and Matthew and Luke used it as sources.

I am skeptical, however, of the claim of many modern scholars that Matthew and Luke also used another, now-lost, source known as Q (from the German word Quelle = “source,” though see F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, ch. 4, fn. 9).


Kinds of Material Found in the Synoptic Gospels

The fundamental reason that scholars propose the existence of a lost Q source is that the material in Matthew and Luke falls into one of four categories:

a)    Material that Matthew and Luke have in common with Mark

b)   Material that Matthew and Luke have in common with each other and that is not found in Mark.

c)    Material that Matthew alone has.

d)   Material that Luke alone has.

On the view that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source, we can assume that both Evangelists derived the category (a) material from Mark.

The category (c) material, which is uniquely found in Matthew, must have come from sources unique to Matthew, and the same would be true for the category (d) material that is uniquely found in Luke.

But what about the category (b) material—the material in both Matthew and Luke that couldn’t have come from Mark, because it isn’t in Mark?


Explanations for the Material in the Synoptic Gospels

Scholars seem capable of proposing a limitless number of complex, convoluted ways that this material can be explained—involving a tangle of hypothetical sources and lost editions of the Gospels—but Occam’s Razor suggests that we not turn to these unless simpler explanations fail.

This makes our job easier because there are four, and only four, simple explanations for the category (b) material:

  1. Matthew and Luke got it from a hodgepodge of different sources, and it happened to end up in both Gospels by chance
  2. Matthew and Luke both got it (or most of it) from a common source, which is now lost
  3. Luke got it from Matthew
  4. Matthew got it from Luke

If the material that Matthew and Luke have uniquely in common amounted to only a few verses—perhaps a few sayings or stories of Jesus—then we might chalk this up to chance.

The difficulty with this view is that there is rather a lot of material in category (b): It amounts to around 235 verses, which is 22% of the verses in Matthew (1071 verses in total) and more than 20% of the verses in Luke (1151 verses in total). In both cases, the category (b) material amounts to more than a fifth of the respective Gospels.

This seems like too much material to attribute to random chance.

That points us to the possibilities that there is a lost source (dubbed Q), that Luke got the material from Matthew, or that Matthew got the material from Luke.

Why do modern scholars prefer the first of these proposals?

To some extent, it may be because of peer pressure. Around a hundred years ago, scholars began to prefer the first proposal—the Q hypothesis—and there was a snowball effect. They saw their peers adopting this proposal, and they naturally adopted it, too.

This tendency is sometimes called the bandwagon effect, and it is a known phenomenon in human psychology. However, that doesn’t mean that it is more likely to lead to the truth. Objectively, one still needs reasons to prefer the proposal favored by the majority to the alternative proposals.

So: Are there reasons to prefer the Q hypothesis to the alternatives that Luke got the material from Matthew or visa versa?


Christ’s Infancy and Resurrection

One way of trying to answer the question is to go through Matthew and Luke in minute detail—looking at the Greek text of individual verses to see what they tell us about the possibility that each of the proposals is correct.

This is an important task, but it requires a close reading of the Greek texts which is not easily accessible to the average reader. Many of the individual data points are also quite technical and debatable.

My preference here is to look at larger elements of the text which are found even in translations of the original language, such as modern English Bibles.

Even if we here put aside the details of individual verses, it is clear that there are certain passages in Matthew and Luke that could serve as tests for how the Synoptic Gospels were written.

These are the Infancy Narratives, which deal with Jesus’ birth and infancy (Matt. 1:8-2:23, Luke 1:5-52) and the Resurrection Narratives (Matt. 28:1-20, Luke 24:1-53).

The argument is that these two sections are so different from each other that Matthew and Luke did not know each other’s Gospels. In other words, if Luke knew Matthew (or visa versa) then he would not have written his Infancy Narrative or his Resurrection Narrative so differently from the other Gospel. They would have been more similar to each other.

A version of this argument is implicitly offered by Robert H. Stein, who writes:

One final argument that can be listed against the theory that Luke used the Gospel of Matthew as a source is the lack of M [i.e., category (c)] material in Luke. (The same type of argument can also be made for Matthew’s not having used Luke, i.e., the lack of any L [i.e., category (d)] material in Matthew.) . . . Why would Luke have omitted such material as the coming of the wise men (Matt. 2:1-12)? Would not the presence of such Gentiles at the birth of Jesus have been meaningful for Luke’s Gentile-oriented Gospel? Why would he have omitted the flight to Egypt and return to Nazareth (Matt. 2:13-23); the story of the guards at the tomb (Matt. 27:62-66) and their report (Matt. 28:11-15); the unique Matthean material concerning the resurrection (Matt. 28:9-10, 16-20); and so on? Added to this is the observation that if Luke had before him Matthew’s birth account and genealogy, one wonders if he would not have sought in some way to ‘harmonize’ the one we have in his Gospel with the Matthean version (The Synoptic Problem, 102).

I say that Stein’s version of the argument is implicit, because he does not note that each of his examples is drawn from either the Infancy Narratives or the Resurrection Narratives (a point made by Mark Goodacre; The Case Against Q, 55).

An argument from the Infancy and Resurrection Narratives is legitimate in principle. If one Evangelist used the other then we would expect there to be traces of that in his presentation of Christ’s infancy and resurrection. If we find no such traces then that suggests Matthew and Luke wrote independently. And, in that case, the material they have in common would most probably be attributed to a lost source (Q).

However, before adopting this conclusion, we need to ask whether the two narratives are really so different from each other, whether they can be explained by Luke using Matthew or Matthew using Luke, or whether there are reasons why one Evangelist would avoid using the other in these parts of his Gospel.

This we will do in the next two posts.

Up next . . .


Further dialogue with the Anglicans in the shadow of schism? [Semiduplex]

Edward Pentin also has a very interesting piece about the Anglican conference in Canterbury. He begins,

The Anglican Communion stands on the verge of formal schism this week, as its leaders began meeting today to discuss the issue of homosexuality and other matters in Canterbury, England.

The five-day meeting, called by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, is seen as a last-ditch attempt to keep the ecclesial community together following a long-running dispute over homosexuality and deeper differences over how Anglicans should interact with today’s largely secular, post-Christian society.

(Emphasis supplied.) We, of course, are interested in this as the Anglican church is an interesting topic. Not being Anglican or a member of one of the Ordinariates, we would not however say we have a rooting interest one way or the other. Except with respect to this point:

The Vatican, meanwhile, is watching events in Canterbury closely. It argues that, for dialogue between Rome and Canterbury to effectively continue, the Anglican Communion must stay as one, but it recognizes that its dispersed authority model makes that an almost impossible task. It is perplexed at Anglicans’ wish to allow local and regional bishops to decide on doctrinal matters without seemingly having a sense of what is owed to the communion as a whole, but recognizes that Welby is not, as he has said himself, an “Anglican pope.”

(Emphasis supplied.) Wait, what?

We were under the impression that the Anglicans drew a bold line through, not under, further dialogue with Rome when they went forward with making some women bishops. One can get into Apostolicae curae and whether Anglican orders were ever valid—the good and holy Pope Leo XIII reached his own conclusion, notwithstanding contrary views—but it’s not really necessary now. Whatever you’d have to do about women presbyters (and Rome’s answer is simple but perhaps hard to sell to the female ministers), you’d have to do about women bishops and the presbyters they ordained, man or woman.

Which is, of course, to say that whether there is one Anglican communion or a Canterbury Group and a GAFCON, the question is not whether Rome can conduct dialogue with all Anglicans. It can’t. The question is whether Rome can conduct fruitful dialogue with some Anglican jurisdictions. And that’s a harder question to answer, as it seems that the GAFCON jurisdictions take the protestant and reformed bits of the Anglican identity somewhat more seriously than the Canterbury side of the line of scrimmage. On the other hand, it is good to see that Rome is taking the Anglican crisis seriously, since the Anglican crisis could expose some of the potential fault lines within the Church. But one doubts that that is the message that they’re taking away from all this.

Obviously, it would be good if the Anglicans returned to full communion with Peter, but dialogue is a two-way street.


David Bowie [The Paraphasic]

I would like to write up some thoughts on David Bowie.  I haven't formulated them yet, but I recommend this interview from 1999, which is really quite interesting.


Der Kardinal der sein Kardinalat niederlegte [et nunc]

Normal 0 21 false false false DE X-NONE X-NONE - oder: der etwas andere Jesuitenkardinal.

Louis Billot wurde am 12. Januar 1846 „im lothringischen Sierck (nahe der deutsch-luxemburgischen Grenze) geboren [und] trat nach seiner Priesterweihe 1869 in Angers in den Jesuitenorden ein. Nach seiner Ausbildungszeit war er tätig als Dozent im Orden und an der katholischen Universität von Angers, die erst kurz zuvor (1875) von Bischof Charles-Emile Freppel gegründet worden war. Er wirkte als Lehrer für Exegese in Laval und für Dogmatik in Angers (1879-1882) sowie im Scholastikat der Jesuiten während des Exils auf der Kanalinsel Jersey (1882-1885). Aufgrund seiner theologischen Qualitäten wurde er 1885 nach Rom gesandt und hatte bis 1911 einen Dogmatik-Lehrstuhl an der Gregoriana inne - Kardinal Franzelin hatte dort als Vorgänger gelehrt. 

Seit 1909 arbeitete Billot als Konsultor des Hl. Offiziums. Papst Pius X. ernannte ihn 1911 zum Kardinal. In den folgenden Jahren war er Mitglied verschiedener Kongregationen (Sakramente, Studien, Hl. Offizium) sowie der Bibelkommission. 1927 erklärte er seinen Verzicht auf das Kardinalat, als Reaktion auf die Verurteilung der Action francaise durch Pius XI., mit welcher er sympathisierte.  Er lebte die letzten Jahre sehr zurückgezogen und starb [am 18.12.] 1931 in der Nähe von Rom.“

(Claudia u. Peter Barthold in Louis Billot SJ. Tradition und Modernismus.)


„Bekannt ist […] seine Messopfertheologie: Er vertrat die so gen. Immolationstheorie‘, wonach durch die Doppelkonsekration (Brot, Wein) eine mystische Schlachtung des Lammes Gottes symbolisiert werde, eine Meinung, der sich z.B. auch Ludwig Ott (1906 - 1985) angeschlossen hat. Die 1947 von Papst Pius XII. in seiner Enzyklika "Mediator Dei" gegebene Erläuterung ist dem nicht unähnlich: ‚Durch die Wesensverwandlung des Brotes in den Leib und des Weines in das Blut Christi ist nämlich sein Leib ebenso gegenwärtig wie sein Blut; die eucharistischen Gestalten aber, unter denen er gegenwärtig ist, versinnbilden die gewaltsame Trennung des Leibes und des Blutes. So wird das Gedächtnis seines Todes, der sich auf Kalvaria wirklich vollzogen hat, in jedem Opfer des Altares neu begangen, insofern durch deutliche Sinnbilder Jesus Christus im Opferzustand dargestellt und gezeigt wird.‘

Billot bekämpfte den Modernismus und widerlegte dessen Irrtümer vor allem in seinen Werken über die Inspiration, die Tradition, die Sakramente und die eingegossenen Tugenden.“(kathpedia)

Der etwas andere Jesuitenkardinal:

Louis Cardinal Billot SJ


David Bowie, RIP [Καθολικός διάκονος]

Like many people, I was surprised to learn early this morning that David Bowie passed away. His passing came two days after his sixty-ninth birthday. It was on his last birthday that his 25th album, Blackstar, was released. No doubt there are many better places where you can read about David Bowie’s life and accomplishments. I just wanted to pass along some thoughts one might expect to find on the blog of a clergyman on the passing of such an influential artist.

One cannot have any familiarity with David Bowie’s life and music and not have a sense of the depth from whence most of it came. I found it interesting to read in an article in the Guardian newspaper that Bowie did not consider himself to be a naturally gifted performer and once confessed that he did not really enjoy performing live. The same article quotes Bowie as saying, "My entire career, I’ve only really worked with the same subject matter. The trousers may change, but the actual words and subjects I’ve always chosen to write with are things to do with isolation,abandonment, fear and anxiety," then in what I can only imagine to be a wry tone, he said, "all of the high points of one’s life."

David Bowie in 2013

In 2004 he told Ellen DeGeneres that he tried Christianity at one point. Apparently the point at which he tried turning to Christ was a very low-point, occurring shortly after he achieved fame with his Ziggy Stardust persona, towards the end of a few years he spent mostly in Southern California in the grip of what was, by all accounts, a serious cocaine addiction. As Leonardo Blair wrote in a Christian Post article, it was at that time he wrote what was probably his most explicitly religious song - "Station to Station," which is deeply rooted in the Stations of the Cross.

In a 2003 BeliefNet interview, when asked if his questions about reality had changed over the years, Bowie replied,
I honestly believe that my initial questions haven't changed at all. There are far fewer of them these days, but they're really important. Questioning my spiritual life has always been germane to what I was writing. Always. It's because I'm not quite an atheist and it worries me. There's that little bit that holds on: "Well, I'm almost an atheist. Give me a couple of months
In the same interview, when asked what his priorities were over the next few years, he talked about how over the previous 10 years his life had stabilized after his marriage to Somali-born model, Iman, and how at ease he was with being "a family-oriented guy," which he said he didn’t previously think was part of his makeup. "But," he quipped, "somebody said that as you get older you become the person you always should have been, and I feel that’s happening to me." He then added, "I’m actually like my dad!"

Even then, 13 or so years before his death, as a man in his mid-50s, with reference to God, Bowie sagely observed, "That's the shock: All clichés are true. The years really do speed by. Life really is as short as they tell you it is. And there really is a God--so do I buy that one? If all the other clichés are true... Hell, don't pose me that one." The interview ended on that note.

Here's a video for the song "Lazarus" off his Blackstar album:

Look up here, I'm in heaven
I've got scars that can't be seen
I've got drama, can't be stolen Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I'm in danger
I've got nothing left to lose...


A fresh shipment of tea leaves [Semiduplex]

The Holy Father has a new book out tomorrow—a lengthy interview or series of interviews with Andrea Tornielli called The Name of God Is Mercy—and Edward Pentin has some extracts at the National Catholic Register. We found this passage particularly interesting, largely because almost no one talks about John Paul I these days:

The Holy Father also remembers being touched by the writings of his predecessor Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani. “There is the homily when Albino Luciani said he had been chosen because the Lord preferred that certain things not be engraved in bronze or marble but in the dust, so that if the writing had remained, it would have been clear that the merit was all and only God’s. He, the bishop and future Pope John Paul I, called himself ‘dust’.”

“I have to say that when I speak of this, I always think of what Peter told Jesus on the Sunday of his resurrection, when he met him on his own, a meeting hinted at in the Gospel of Luke. What might Peter have said to the Messiah upon his resurrection from the tomb? Might he have said that he felt like a sinner? He must have thought of his betrayal, of what had happened a few days earlier when he pretended three times not to recognise Jesus in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. He must have thought of his bitter and public tears.”

“If Peter did all of that, if the gospels describe his sin and denials to us, and if despite all this Jesus said [to him], ‘tend my sheep’ (John 21), I don’t think we should be surprised if his successors describe themselves as sinners. It is nothing new.”

(Quotation marks in original.) However, we suspect, since the anticipation is that the Holy Father will issue his post-Synodal exhortation sometime this year, that The Name of God Is Mercy will be read and re-read for hints, if one needs or even wants further hints, on the Holy Father’s inclination on the Kasperite proposal. It is our understanding, however, that the interviews took place prior to the Ordinary General Assembly in October 2015, so we wonder if the book has been tweaked or edited to reflect any shifts in the Holy Father’s thinking since then.


This Hologram Tech Looks Pretty Crazy Awesome [Creative Minority Report]

Wow. Give these guys their billion dollars, you rich entrepreneur investor types.



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