27 October 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

CCHD seems to be moving toward reforming itself.  "Policies and mechanisms" are only as strong as the people charged with enforcing them.  If the review panel is independent of the organization's bureaucracy and appointed by bishops, then maybe this will be a move in the right direction.  We'll see.

This column on next week's election pretty much sums up my own feelings on the state of American politics in 2010.   Extra points for referencing the Coming Zombie Apocalypse.

Wow. . .MN Democrats are putting their 19th century anti-Catholic Know-Nothingism on public display.  I hope MN Catholics who vote Democrat are paying attention to this.

Voting fraud already starting in NV. . .voters complain that their ballots were marked for Harry Reid even before they started voting. 

Dominican nuns [sic] to acquire the JPII Cultural Center in Detroit.  Hey, sisters!  If you decide to turn the place into a school, let me know. . .I may know a fellow Dominican who can teach for you.

Great article on why you shouldn't give a dime to UNICEF this Halloween.  Bonus points for using the title of a Flannery O'Connor short story as the post title.

Vid that appears to show a woman chatting on a cell phone. . .in 1928!  Prolly not.  No cell towers back then.  Obviously, she's using a communicator from her Temporal Displacement Pod.  Duh. (H/T:  fra. Auggie)

Remember that GOP congressional candidate that the MSM reported was go around calling for armed revolution against the gov't?  Well, not so much

Just in time for Halloween. . .A Catholic Field Guide to the Undead! One small quibble:  the post's author quotes C. S. Lewis. . .the idea that Lewis expresses in the quote is not a proper Catholic understanding of the human person.

Lesson for the day:  even evil people can get good grades, or something.

I know what you mean! You can only milk a dead cow once.
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  1. I confess, I don't see the problem with the C.S. Lewis quote on the Catholic Field Guide to the Undead.

    “Humans are amphibians – half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time.”

    It's certainly not true that we are half spirit and half animal; but as human beings we are uniquely situated, the only beings in which matter and spirit are naturally conjoined. As intellects, we are immortal; as animals with material bodies, we do inhabit time.

    Certainly you can read the passage as espousing Cartesian dualism; but given that he was writing colloquially and for a non-theologically trained audience, I think that's reading too much into it.

  2. Will, Lewis' quote sounds too much like Platonism to me. The human person is body + soul not half and half. The person lives in time...body and soul together.

    The idea that our bodies are "down here" and our souls "up there" has lead to some of the worst heresies in the Church's history--Janenism, the Cathars, etc.

  3. fr. Dismas, OP3:40 AM

    I thought I read elsewhere that they were planning on this as a studium of some sort (plugging into CUA/DHS as well, I imagine).

    See: http://www.insidecatholic.com/myblog/dominican-sisters-of-mary-to-purchase-john-paul-ii-cultural-center.html

    So send your CV in now! ;)

  4. Laura7:05 AM

    The quote from Lewis needs to be taken in context. It's coming from the mouth of Screwtape. Not everything that comes from the mouth of a devil is going to be 100% correct. And while the ratios are wrong, the point is correct. There is something unique about humans, and that something offends the devil very much. Colloquial speaking tends to be far less precise than philisophy, but the precision of the correct statement would be lost on most of the audience.

    Or to put it another way, if you went through the trouble of explaining the correct theology, at the end most people would say, "yeah, we're half and half". And that is because being material creatures, our mind are tied to imagination, and ultimately the idea of spirits are unimaginable, literally. Conceivable, yes, but unimaginable because imagination requires something available to the senses.

    So, while incorrect, and while Lewis had ideas that were (unsurprisingly) not Catholic in a few places, I don't think this is some kind of Cartesian dualism. I think he is stating things as close to truth as a devil is capable of, keeping in mind that a devil is going to have a skewed vision of things, and as well as his audience is likely to get it.

    It is also possible that it is a distinction Lewis himself would not have seen.

    This does, by the way, bring up the question Tolkien had of whether "Screwtape" was even a good project to begin with.

  5. Father,
    I'm very pleased that you chose to link to the 'Undead' piece, thank you.

    As to your small quibble, I think that the instructive word in the quote is 'amphibian', and not the word 'half'.

    Don't believe everything Screwtape says!

  6. Anonymous12:29 PM

    I know Pastor Broden, the black Congressional candidate framed by Brad Watson of WFAA TV in Dallas. Brad Watson is a notorious lefty type who "knows what is best" for the rest of us. Pastor Broden is a very good man, a patriot, and except for not being Catholic, is really a great candidate (he's still good, I'd vote for him if I lived in his district). He's running against one of the most corrupt members of Congress, in a tough, gerrymandered district. What's been great about his candidacy, which drives liberals like Watson nuts, is that its brought out the fact that there are large numbers of black conservatives, many of whom I've had the priviledge to meet (Pastor Broden and I, and some of his supporters, have been involved in some local radio). Eddie Bernice Johnson will probably win, but I'm very proud of the campaign Paastor Broden has run.

  7. It is b/c Lewis is speaking informally rather than academically that his mistake is so dangerous. I run into good Catholics all the time who see the human person as a meat machine animated by a ghost. Granted, he is not being precise b/c he is being informal...but most people reading his definition of the person will come away thinking that they are merely fleshy anchors for a spirit desperately seeking release. That's Platonism, not Catholicism.

  8. Anonymous10:04 AM

    I think that JPII center that the sisters are going to purchase is in Washington, DC, right across the street from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, not in Detroit.

  9. The purchase is indeed of the JP2 Cultural Center in DC on Harewood Rd., just across the street from the Shrine and CUA. The plan is to turn it into a house of studies for new sisters, specifically to earn education degrees from CUA as they progress to teaching positions in the community's apostolates.

    The Cultural Center was a project of Cardinal Maida from Detroit, but it never really gained any steam after opening. The building looked a bit like a modernist bunker, and the exhibitions weren't much to see, apart from some memorabilia related to John Paul.

    I thought Fr. Reese's quote was particularly interesting. Of course, you can't read a mainstream media article on the Church without a quote from Fr. Reese, and he seems completely unenthused and even suspicious of the project. "Where is the money coming from?" I used to get mailings every week from Ann Arbor begging donations to house all of the new sisters; I imagine that that money is coming from generous donors who can see the Holy Spirit at work in the Church, inspiring the young to consecrate their lives to God.

    I'd especially like to see some sort of cooperation with the Dominican friars of the Province of St. Joseph, whose House of Studies is just around the corner.

  10. Anonymous10:27 AM

    Observation about Lewis: I had a wonderful lit. teacher who laughed that people would say, "In the words of Shakespeare, 'To Thine Own Self Be True.'"

    She reminded us that those were actually the words of the CHARACTER, Polonius, who was a fool. Perhaps the same principal should be applied to Lewis.

    Re: Abortion versus the Poor. Unfortunately, the former gets more "air time." What the Church does regarding the latter is simply not known. I don't know what the Church DOES for the poor. As an example.

    I'd love to hear and pass the word on!