26 December 2009

The terrorist is a Muslim. . .why is the AP hiding the fact?

Anyone who spends even ten minutes a day reading the news understands why an overwhelming majority of Americans no longer trust the MSM.

AP, NYT, CNN, LAT, WaPo, etc. are so infected with leftist P.C. rot that they are no longer capable of providing the American public with simple facts.

For example, the recent terrorist attack on a Delta/NWA flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. . .the AP is scrubbing and re-scrubbing its reporting in order to hide the fact that the alleged terrorist, a Nigerian national, is an extremist Muslim with direct links to the that country's wing of the Taliban.

Why is the AP so obsessed with making sure that we don't find out that guy is a Muslim?  Basically, they don't trust the reading public to make the distinction between Muslims and Muslim-terrorists.  Because the MSM believes that we believe whatever they tell us to believe, they think that they are responsible "sending a message," that is, making sure that narratives about world-events are crafted in such a way that we don't draw the "wrong" conclusions:  all Muslims are terrorists.  Anyone who can think their way through making a baloney sandwich can figure that out.

Here's an idea, AP, et al:  you tell us the facts and we'll make up our own minds about the narrative.  It's bad enough that the federal gov't is hell bound and determined to infantilize the country's citizens in the pursuit of making us all wards of the state.  We don't need Nanny Media telling us how to think about the news.

Just do your @#$% job!

25 December 2009

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Catholic, Protestant, Other:  by the numbers.

Even the Lefties are upset with ObamaCare"For the first time in American history, Democrats are about to pass a bill that uses the coercive power of the federal government to force every American -- simply by virtue of being an American -- to purchase the products of a private company."  Duh.  This is what the GOP, the Tea Parties, and just normal Americans have been saying since July 2008!

Video of Queen Elizabeth II's Christmas address to the Commonwealth.  As an American republican (little "r"), I say:  "God save the Queen!"

From the Holy Father's Christmas homily"The medieval theologian William of Saint Thierry once said that God – from the time of Adam – saw that his grandeur provoked resistance in man, that we felt limited in our own being and threatened in our freedom. Therefore God chose a new way. He became a child. He made himself dependent and weak, in need of our love. Now – this God who has become a child says to us – you can no longer fear me, you can only love me."

Jeeves!  Saddle the dog

Santa Claus/St. Nicholas customs from around the world. . .I've visited his tomb in Bari, Italy.  The shrine and parish church is served by Dominicans. 

Tedious anti-Catholic site. . .the usual Catholic strawman beliefs debunked and refuted with the precision of a sledge-hammer swatting at gnats.  

I've run into this phenomena quite often while teaching in public universities. 

100 Ways to Freak Out Your Roommate.  Number 23 is my fav.  These would all work with spouses too. 

Probably the only thing I love more than Jesus and the Parentals:  coffee

Poll: tell me what my next book ought to be about. . .

Topic for the next book?

Nunc Dimittis: Night Prayers

Meditations for Ordinary Time

Reflections on the Nicene Creed

Meditations on the Book of Lamentations

Other (leave suggestions)


Note to trolls. . .

Attention HancAquam Trolls. . .

All comments on this blog are moderated.  I check all included links for vids and other websites. Nothing appears in the combox until I have read it and approved it. 

So. . .you can stop trying to sneak anti-Catholic, anti-Pope Benedict, and pro-B.O./socialist propaganda into the comboxes.

Not.  Gonna.  Happen.

Now, get back under your bridge!

News Miscellany

Buon Natale!  Merry Christmas!  Feliz Navidad!

Spent the last three days slowly descending into a flu-like malaise.  Yesterday, it peaked.  Better today.

The second volume of the prayer book is being edited.  I'm working on the introduction and Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP has graciously agreed to write the foreword.

The new book contains a Beatitude Rosary, which Liguori will publish as a pamphlet as well.  I'm thinking of proposing a booklet of night prayers.

Still waiting to hear from U.D. about summer teaching.  I'll be in Fort Worth most of July.  Plans to spend Sept. at Blackfriars, Oxford are still brewing.

Added a few books of poetry to the WISH LIST. . .a friar can't thrive on philosophy and theology alone!

Also, if anyone is so-inclined:  the English Chaplain needs new lectionary [Some generous soul purchased this one already!] The friars made fun of me a few weeks ago for getting the details of the gospel wrong in my homily.  When we checked, we discovered that the lectionary we have (pre-NAB translation) is different from the one I use to write my homilies (USCCB website's version of the approved text).  We would greatly appreciate it!

Anyone want to get us a Year I lectionary?

Pope attacked!

Crazy woman attacks the Holy Father at Midnight Mass. . .reports are that this is the same woman who tried to attack the Pope last year.  Apparently, she was upset over what she perceived to be an attack by the Pope on transvestites and transsexuals in his Christmas homily last year.

Update:  Father Prior told me this morning before Mass that the Italian press is reporting that the woman only wanted to kiss the Pope.  

It's time for the Vatican to bring back the office of the verger.  May I suggest that the Pope's security forces employ several large seminarians from the N.A.C. to run interference for the Holy Father.  Get a couple of corn-fed American boys equipped with virges between BXVI and the crowd and I guarantee you that wacko's like this won't do this sort of thing again.  

Who will stand against the culture of panic?

We live in a culture of panic.  One alarm after another is triggered to warn us of impending doom.  So divided is our attention, so fragmented our instinct for survival that we flail around in constant fear, stampeding toward any exit that promises safety.  This panic is a prank, a very dangerous prank.

When it comes to living within human history, the postmodernist mindset is crippled by a dual-diagnosis:  Chronic Amnesia and Addiction to Novelty.  Why is this crippling?  The double whammy of forgetfulness and jonesing for novelty produces a person who never learns from history and doesn't care about the future.  What matters to the PoMo mind is the illusion that the human person is an invention of the moment, a temporary construct built to be destroyed when the next wave of weird washes over the ever-eroding beach head of culture.

Without a past for support and no possibility of a future, the postmodern person is a randomized, free-floating miscellany--no frame, no program, no design, no function--little more than a walking/talking focus for experimenting with ad-hoc identities.  Having abandoned tradition, history, God, nature, etc. he is left to navigate his passions with the compass of animal instinct.  Think of how injured animals lash out at those who would help them.  Think about how animals react to threats.  How easily animals are domesticated with a little training from a determined master.  Now, think of a herd of human animals reacting on instinct to real or imagined threats.

The practical purpose of enlightened self-government is to prevent a determined master from domesticating the herd for his ends.  Mao understood that China would never embrace his imperialist ambitions so long as his people remembered their history.  Hitler understood that Germany would never embrace his genocidal agenda so long as his people clung to reason.  Stalin understood that the road to his political deification would be built on the raw exercise of terror in the vacuum left by an artificially created economic collapse.  Narcissists of this caliber understand that a herd cannot be panicked unless its attention is focused on a threat and all the rational means of addressing the threat are eliminated. 

The absence of God, tradition, history, nature, etc. leaves the human herd at the mercy of the strongest ego.  This is highly dangerous.  What's even more dangerous is that the strongest ego has likely created the conditions for our panic and then heroically stepped in to lead the herd to safety.   It's only after we are falling off the cliff that we realize that "safety" is really slavery.

Who or what can stand against the determined master and prevent the herd from being spooked?

All you need to do to answer that question is look around and find the institution or institutions that are regularly demonized by the dominant culture.  Look for the people who are consistently reviled for obstructing "progress," the ideas that are dismissed as unable to "move us forward."  Who is it that recalls the past, points to our historical mistakes, and draws a contemporary lesson for our future?  Who or what refuses to hate tradition for no other reason than that it is "outdated"?  These people, ideas, institutions are the enemy of the narcissist because they fearlessly report that the master determined to panic us is not our master.  And never will be.

True freedom comes with a past, a present, and most especially, a future.  Today, our only Master is born.  And though he came with a sword, he brings peace. 

24 December 2009

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Amateur:  ObamaCare is our Only Hope. . .it must be passed NOWNOWNOW!!!  Um, nevermind, says B.O., it can wait 'til Feb.  It's time to put the adults back in charge of our gov't.

Best Movies of the '00's:  Snob Alert!  No Redneck Movies appear on this list.  How do I know it's a snobby list?  The first movie is about African genital mutilation. (And b/c our Resident Troll has willfully decided to interpret this link as a vote for genital mutilation:  I hate Snob Movies.  That's the point of calling this list snobby.)

Very cool Christmas story.

Catholic vs. Protestant = Analogical imagination vs. dialectical imagination

Excellent question.  The answer is:  "You can't."

I want a pair of these!

Zombie Pumpkin Snowman. . .it's getting real, folks.

23 December 2009

Newt Lobs the Reddest of Red Meat

Newt Gingrich is not one of my fav politicians.  But this series of vids by The Newt is excellent.  He makes several outrageous suggestions for restoring the republic ("Abolish the Ninth Circuit!") and throws some serious slabs of red meat to his base.

My guess:  we'll see "Vote the NEWT!" in 2012.

What is the Incarnation?

The Nativity of Christ, or Christmas ("Christ Mass"), celebrates one of the most important events of the Church:  the incarnation of the Son of God.  Like the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, etc., the Incarnation is one of those rock-bottom Christian beliefs that most Christians assent to but probably don't really understand.  Though Catholics all over the world affirm their belief in the incarnation every Sunday by reciting the Creed, how many could explain this tenet of the faith in the simplest terms?

Let's start with a story. . .

The archangel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces to her that God has chosen her to be the mother of the Christ Child, His Son.  Mary says, "Your will be done" and the Holy Spirit descends on Mary, giving her the child.  Nine months later the Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Simple enough story, right?  If we left the incarnation there, we would still have the basic truth of Christ's arrival into the world.  Things get a little more complicated when we start to think about what it means for the Son of God (who is God) to take on human flesh and live among us.  How does the God of the Old and New Testament become incarnated yet remain sovereign God?  We are immediately confronted by what theologians call "the Christological question":  how is the man Jesus also God?

Before this question was settled by the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D., a number of answers were offered and rejected:

Jesus is really a man who possesses God-like qualities.
Jesus is really God in the appearance of a man.
Jesus is half-God and half-man.
Jesus' soul is divine but his body is human.
Jesus' body is human but his mind is divine.

Complicating matters even more was the lack of an adequate theological vocabulary with which to think about and write about the incarnation.  Early Christian theologians turned to the available philosophical vocabularies for help.  The most prominent philosophical system in the first few centuries of the Church was a developed form of Platonism.  Borrowing heavily from the Platonists, the Church Fathers crafted a creedal statement that said:  The Father and the Son are the same in substance ("consubstantial"), meaning that they are the same God.:  "God from God, light from light, true God from true God." The Son was not created in time like man but rather begotten from all eternity.  He "became incarnate" through the Virgin Mary--fully human in all but sin. 

This creedal statement defined the orthodox position of the Catholic Church.  However, interpretations of the creed abounded and additional councils had to sort through them all in order to discover the orthodox expression of the true faith.  In the end, the Nicene Creed was taken to mean that Jesus was fully human and fully divine:  one person (one body/soul) with two natures (human and divine).  "Person," "essence," "being," "nature" are all terms borrowed from Greek philosophy.  So, as the West discovered new ways of thinking philosophically, these terms took on different meanings and our interpretations of theological expressions of the truth developed as well.  The basic truth of the incarnation does not change; however, how we understand that truth does change.

For example,  the Greek word we translate as "person" is prosopon, or mask.  This term was used in the Greek theater to denote the different characters played by one actor.  A single actor would hold a mask in each hand and shift the masks in front of his face to say his lines, indicating that the lines were being said by different characters.  Applying this term to God, the Blessed Trinity, we arrive at a single actor (God) using three masks (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).  Same actor, different characters.  Ultimately, this metaphor is woefully inadequate for expressing the deepest truth of the Trinity.  Yet, we still say that the Trinity is three divine persons, one God.  "Person" as a philosophical term used to describe a theological truth had to be developed.

Eventually, we came to understand several vital distinctions:  The Church uses the term "substance" (rendered also at times by "essence" or "nature") to designate the divine being in its unity, the term "person" or "hypostasis" to designate the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the real distinction among them, and the term "relation" to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each to the others (CCC 252).

 So, God is one substance; three divine persons; distinguished  from one another not by their natures or persons but by their relations one to another.  The incarnation then is the second divine Person of the one God becoming a human person with two substances or natures.

You are one person with one nature:  "I am human."
God is three divine persons with one nature: "I am divine."
Christ is one person with two natures:  "I am human and divine."

Aquinas, quoting Irenaeus, writes, "God became man so that man might become God."  The incarnation of the Son makes it possible for us to become God (theosis).  This is how Catholics understand salvation.

Merry Christmas!!!

Coffee Cup Browsing (All the Bowls were Dirty Edition)

Yup: "Obama's rhetorical audacity breeds cynicism, because utopianism always comes up short. Obama has many victories ahead of him, but his cause is already lost."
B.O.'s differential approval rating is -21%.   As predicted, he's as unpopular as GWB in the last months of his second term. . .all by Christmas.
GOP has eight point Congressional polling lead over Dems. . .but they don't deserve it. 
For Legal Fan Boys and Girls:  Reid's ObamaCare super-majority trick to prevent repeal is unconstitutional.  Why?  Congress rules by simply majority, therefore, one Congress cannot legally prevent a future Congress from following constitutional requirements.
Michael O'Brien on America's Twilight culture:  "Even though modern man denies the authority of moral conscience, he cannot escape it. He is created in the image and likeness of God, and deep within the natural law of his being the truth continues to speak to him, even as he adamantly denies the existence of God (in the case of atheists) or minimizes divine authority (in the case of nominally religious people, the practical atheists). In order to live with the inner fragmentation, which is the inevitable effect of violated conscience, he is driven to relieve his pain through three diverse ways. . ." Read them here.

How historical ignorance perpetuates the "Hitler's Pope" myth about Pope Pius XII.  Publishers caught altering innocuous pic to make an ideological point.

More discussion of the doctored photos here.

Is the Blessed Mother appearing in Cairo?  Whether she is or isn't doesn't change the Church's teaching on her proper place in God's plan of salvation.  IOW, no one's salvation is endangered by believing or disbelieving the truth of this phenomena.

Dem congressional districts get lion's share of stimulus money.  Please don't suggest that B.O. used tax-payers' money to buy votes for his party!  That would be wrong. . .

Redneck Movie of the Year!  Includes Rambo-esque Priest, Apocalyptic Vampires, Vague Avenging Priestess, and a Wasteland.  All it needs now to be the Redneck Movie of the Decade is a troupe of Zombies, an Emo Werewolf, a Mad Nazi Scientists, and at least three Elf-like Warriors.  Oh, and a dragon of some sort. . .

Women in S. Korea are given extra-wide parking spaces.  No comment from me on this development.  However, I will provide a link to a video that argues for the justice of the provision.  

Real answers to exam questions from. . .ummmmm. . .not the brightest of the Lord's little angels.

Now all they need is some cole slaw, hush puppies, and beer!

21 December 2009

Coffee Bowl Browsing

Obamacare turns health-care into a public utility. . .um, that's probably unconstitutional.

Dispensing with democracy in the name of "global justice"

Anticipating a rebellion against Democrats in 2010, Reid changes Senate rules to require a supermajority to repeal Obamacare

My kinda flowchart:  where to eat?

Wrong, wrong, wrong. . .so, so wrong.

One for SuperMom:  these are not the hooligans you are looking for.
Dear Abby letters:  the good, the bad, and the painfully true.

A very strange video that explains synesthesia.

Pantheism: intellectually lazy & pelvic-obsessed

Ross Douthat mediates on the American love-affair with pantheism:

[. . .]

Today there are other forces that expand pantheism’s American appeal. We pine for what we’ve left behind, and divinizing the natural world is an obvious way to express unease about our hyper-technological society. The threat of global warming, meanwhile, has lent the cult of Nature qualities that every successful religion needs — a crusading spirit, a rigorous set of ‘thou shalt nots,” and a piping-hot apocalypse.

At the same time, pantheism opens a path to numinous experience for people uncomfortable with the literal-mindedness of the monotheistic religions — with their miracle-working deities and holy books, their virgin births and resurrected bodies. As the Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski noted, attributing divinity to the natural world helps “bring God closer to human experience,” while “depriving him of recognizable personal traits.” For anyone who pines for transcendence but recoils at the idea of a demanding Almighty who interferes in human affairs, this is an ideal combination.

[. . .]

Pantheism offers a different sort of solution [to the problem of evil]: a downward exit, an abandonment of our tragic self-consciousness, a re-merger with the natural world our ancestors half-escaped millennia ago.

But except as dust and ashes, Nature cannot take us back.

Pantheism (All-is-God) is a cheap dorm room spirituality deeply pondered by sophomore philosophers after one too many hits on the bong.  Quoting scientism's prima donna, Richard Dawkins, "pantheism is a sexed-up atheism."  As Douthat notes, for R.D., this is a compliment. 

Why is pantheism "cheap"?  The idea that the universe is God is cheaply purchased because it requires the believer to believe nothing more than exactly what he wants to believe; that is, the idea of pantheism is intellectually, spiritually, and religiously priced so that the believer has to spend as little as possible to be its proud owner.  Intellectually, pantheism dismisses the problem of evil by simply dissolving the difference and distinction between Good and Evil.  Spiritually, it eliminates our search for the transcendent divine by declaring all spiritual connections to be immanent in nature.  Religiously, and this is its real attraction to most, pantheism's only ethical/moral restrictions are "Reduce, reuse, recycle."  

Once evil is conquered by semantic fiat; and the transcendent is naturalized; and human morality is forever linked to the demands of environmentalism, all those pesky problems of traditional theism can be safely ignored.  We no longer have to worry about questions of truth, right/wrong, human rights endowed by a Creator, the search for perfection in God, etc.  In fact, probably the most appealing aspect of pantheism is the notion that we are perfect just as we are. . .well, except that we are constantly harangued by the Gaia priesthood to observe the Law of Carbon Reduction.

Politically, pantheism is attractive because it allows our ruling class to ignore annoying concepts like the sacredness of human life, the sacramental nature of our vows to one another, the unique place of the family in human culture, and the Really Bothersome Notion of Individual Freedom in the Pursuit of Happiness.  Once these theistic concepts are dissolved into the morass of pantheistic naturalism, we can safely abort our children, abandon our commitments in marriage, engineer fake family structures with divorce and SSM, and impose socialist communitarianism.  All of which, of course, transfer political power to the State and enrich our Betters.

Pantheism has everything the intellectually lazy, pelvic-obsessed American loves:  bumper sticker spirituality, no-guilt morality, and cafeteria religion.  That these are paid for with the loss of individual initiative and personal freedom is not at all a worry. . .Big Government has our best interest at heart.