12 August 2011

Divorce, insanity, & the Real

19th Week OT
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Albert the Great Priory

Much like reporters trying to force a politician into an embarrassing public gaffe, the Pharisees throw “gotcha” questions at Jesus. They confront him with hypothetical scenarios and quibble with him over picayune, legalistic disagreements. These questions aren't motivated by a genuine desire for enlightenment or the quest for dialogue on pressing policy issues. They are hoping that Jesus will say something controversial and damage his reputation. What they don't anticipate is Jesus' command not only of the Law itself but his knowledge of the Law's foundations in the divinely created order as well. Our Lord responds to their tricky questions by going well beyond familiar hair-splitting legal distinctions and draws on what we call the Natural Law; that is, the reason, the purpose woven by our Creator into the fabric of reality itself. When asked about marriage and divorce, Jesus sets aside procedural problems and goes to the heart of the question. He quotes Genesis on marriage—a man and woman are made one flesh by God—and concludes, “Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.” How does a creature unmake what the Creator Himself has made? In more prosaic terms, how can what is real be made unreal without destroying it?

Though we may not immediately recognize this question, it is the question being asked by those who argue that marriage may not be redefined by legislative, judicial, or executive fiat. Congress, the Supreme Court, the President may no more change what marriage is than they can repeal the law of gravity or make 2 + 2 equal 5. Underlying marriage is a divine reality, an eternal truth that is not subject to the social engineering impulses of the human heart. Gravity can be tragically inconvenient even deadly but it is a force of nature, a feature of reality that cannot be wished, prayed, or voted away. Despite my best efforts as a student, algebra stubbornly held to its fundamental reality, resisting tantrums, pleadings, arguments, and threats of bodily harm. To this day, the quadratic formula haunts my memories as a terrible witness to the harsh, unyielding reality of numbers. For those who would alter reality with words alone, marriage stands as a testament to their inability to command the forces of the Natural Law and unmake that which God Himself has made. 

Divorce—as Moses understands it—springs from the inability or unwillingness of the human heart to endure the burdens of marriage. Jesus understands divorce quite differently—it's the destruction of a divinely created reality and a failure to continue giving witness to the love that he shows his Church. A man and woman joined as one flesh by God constitutes a sacramental ministry to the Church and the world. To hold that marriage is soluble is to hold that Christ can cease loving his Church. Though we recognize the notion of a “civil divorce,” we cannot recognize the actual dissolution of a marriage b/c we cannot imagine that Christ would ever stop loving his people. Thus, once married, always married and if civilly divorced then another “marriage” is an impossibility. This isn't a cruel law of a controlling institution but the recognition that we cannot unmake what God Himself has made; we cannot render what is real unreal. Moses made a concession to the hardened human heart when he allowed divorce. Were we to make such a concession, we would concede to what amounts to insanity: by sheer force of will and the application of intellect, a creature can re-create that which the Creator Himself has made. Once that concession is made, we enter a fantasy world, a world where gravity is a suggestion and algebra an art.

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11 August 2011

A parasitical political culture

One of the (um) less-flattering terms applied to the U.K. looters/rioters this week was "parasites."  Calling folks parasites makes me twitchy b/c we usually work hard to exterminate pests, vermin, etc.  We can, however, safely refer to a "parasite culture," that is, a culture that creates gov't dependency, moral atrophy, political corruption, and, eventually, economic collapse.

Witness:  California. . .

These are all California State Agencies

California Academic Performance Index (API) * California Access for Infants and Mothers * California Acupuncture Board * California Administrative Office of the Courts * California Adoptions Branch * California African American Museum * California Agricultural Export Program * California Agricultural Labor Relations Board * California Agricultural Statistics Service * California Air Resources Board (CARB) * California Allocation Board * California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority * California Animal Health and Food Safety Services * California Anti-Terrorism Information Center * California Apprenticeship Council * California Arbitration Certification Program * California Architects Board * California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board * California Arts Council * California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus * California Assembly Democratic Caucus * California Assembly Republican Caucus * California Athletic Commission * California Attorney General * California Bay Conservation and Development Commission * California Bay-Delta Authority * California Bay-Delta Office * California Biodiversity Council * California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists * California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors * California Board of Accountancy * California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology * California Board of Behavioral Sciences * California Board of Chiropractic Examiners * California Board of Equalization (BOE) * California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection * California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind * California Board of Occupational Therapy * California Board of Optometry * California Board of Pharmacy * California Board of Podiatric Medicine * California Board of Prison Terms * California Board of Psychology * California Board of Registered Nursing * California Board of Trustees * California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians * California Braille and Talking Book Library * California Building Standards Commission * California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education * California Bureau of Automotive Repair * California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair * California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation * California Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine * California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services * California Bureau of State Audits * California Business Agency * California Business Investment Services (CalBIS) * California Business Permit Information (CalGOLD) * California Business Portal * California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency * California Cal Grants * California CalJOBS * California Cal-Learn Program * California CalVet Home Loan Program * California Career Resource Network * California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau * California Center for Analytical Chemistry * California Center for Distributed Learning * California Center for Teaching Careers (Teach California) * California Chancellors Office * California Charter Schools * California Children and Families Commission * California Children and Family Services Division * California Citizens Compensation Commission * California Civil Rights Bureau * California Coastal Commission * California Coastal Conservancy * California Code of Regulations * California Collaborative Projects with UC Davis * California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth * California Commission on Aging * California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation * California Commission on Judicial Performance * California Commission on State Mandates * California Commission on Status of Women * California Commission on Teacher Credentialing * California Commission on the Status of Women * California Committee on Dental Auxiliaries * California Community Colleges Chancellors Office, Junior Colleges * California Community Colleges Chancellors Office * California Complaint Mediation Program * California Conservation Corps * California Constitution Revision Commission * California Consumer Hotline * California Consumer Information Center * California Consumer Information * California Consumer Services Division * California Consumers and Families Agency * California Contractors State License Board * California Corrections Standards Authority * California Council for the Humanities * California Council on Criminal Justice * California Council on Developmental Disabilities * California Court Reporters Board * California Courts of Appeal * California Crime and Violence Prevention Center * California Criminal Justice Statistics Center * California Criminalist Institute Forensic Library * California CSGnet Network Management * California Cultural and Historical Endowment * California Cultural Resources Division * California Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch * California Data Exchange Center * California Data Management Division * California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission * California Delta Protection Commission * California Democratic Caucus * California Demographic Research Unit * California Dental Auxiliaries * California Department of Aging * California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs * California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board * California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control * California Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating) * California Department of Child Support Services (CDCSS) * California Department of Community Services and Development * California Department of Conservation * California Department of Consumer Affairs * California Department of Corporations * California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation * California Department of Developmental Services * California Department of Education * California Department of Fair Employment and Housing * California Department of Finance * California Department of Financial Institutions * California Department of Fish and Game * California Department of Food and Agriculture * California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) * California Department of General Services * California Department of General Services, Office of State Publishing * California Department of Health Care Services * California Department of Housing and Community Development * California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) * California Department of Insurance * California Department of Justice Firearms Division * California Department of Justice Opinion Unit * California Department of Justice, Consumer Information, Public Inquiry Unit * California Department of Justice * California Department of Managed Health Care * California Department of Mental Health * California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) * California Department of Personnel Administration * California Department of Pesticide Regulation * California Department of Public Health * California Department of Real Estate * California Department of Rehabilitation * California Department of Social Services Adoptions Branch * California Department of Social Services * California Department of Technology Services Training Center (DTSTC) * California Department of Technology Services (DTS) * California Department of Toxic Substances Control * California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) * California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVets) * California Department of Water Resources * California Departmento de Vehiculos Motorizados * California Digital Library * California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program * California Division of Apprenticeship Standards * California Division of Codes and Standards * California Division of Communicable Disease Control * California Division of Engineering * California Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control * California Division of Gambling Control * California Division of Housing Policy Development * California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement * California Division of Labor Statistics and Research * California Division of Land and Right of Way * California Division of Land Resource Protection * California Division of Law Enforcement General Library * California Division of Measurement Standards * California Division of Mines and Geology * California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) * California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources * California Division of Planning and Local Assistance * California Division of Recycling * California Division of Safety of Dams * California Division of the State Architect * California Division of Tourism * California Division of Workers Compensation Medical Unit * California Division of Workers Compensation * California Economic Assistance, Business and Community Resources * California Economic Strategy Panel * California Education and Training Agency * California Education Audit Appeals Panel * California Educational Facilities Authority * California Elections Division * California Electricity Oversight Board * California Emergency Management Agency * California Emergency Medical Services Authority * California Employment Development Department (EDD) * California Employment Information State Jobs * California Employment Training Panel * California Energy Commission * California Environment and Natural Resources Agency * California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) * California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) * California Executive Office * California Export Laboratory Services * California Exposition and State Fair (Cal Expo) * California Fair Political Practices Commission * California Fairs and Expositions Division * California Film Commission * California Fire and Resource Assessment Program * California Firearms Division * California Fiscal Services * California Fish and Game Commission * California Fisheries Program Branch * California Floodplain Management * California Foster Youth Help * California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) * California Fraud Division * California Gambling Control Commission * California Geographic Information Systems Council (GIS) * California Geological Survey * California Government Claims and Victim Compensation Board * California Governors Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons * California Governors Mentoring Partnership * California Governors Office of Emergency Services * California Governors Office of Homeland Security * California Governors Office of Planning and Research * California Governors Office * California Grant and Enterprise Zone Programs HCD Loan * California Health and Human Services Agency * California Health and Safety Agency * California Healthy Families Program * California Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau * California High-Speed Rail Authority * California Highway Patrol (CHP) * California History and Culture Agency * California Horse Racing Board * California Housing Finance Agency * California Indoor Air Quality Program * California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission * California Industrial Welfare Commission * California InFoPeople * California Information Center for the Environment * California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank) * California Inspection Services * California Institute for County Government * California Institute for Education Reform * California Integrated Waste Management Board * California Interagency Ecological Program * California Job Service * California Junta Estatal de Personal * California Labor and Employment Agency * California Labor and Workforce Development Agency * California Labor Market Information Division * California Land Use Planning Information Network (LUPIN) * California Lands Commission * California Landscape Architects Technical Committee * California Latino Legislative Caucus * California Law Enforcement Branch * California Law Enforcement General Library * California Law Revision Commission * California Legislative Analyst’s Office * California Legislative Black Caucus * California Legislative Counsel * California Legislative Division * California Legislative Information * California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus * California Legislature Internet Caucus * California Library De velopment Services * California License and Revenue Branch * California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program * California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board * California Maritime Academy * California Marketing Services * California Measurement Standards * California Medical Assistance Commission * California Medical Care Services * California Military Department * California Mining and Geology Board * California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts * California Museum Resource Center * California National Guard * California Native American Heritage Commission * California Natural Community Conservation Planning Program * California New Motor Vehicle Board * California Nursing Home Administrator Program * California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board * California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board * California Ocean Resources Management Program * California Office of Administrative Hearings * California Office of Administrative Law * California Office of AIDS * California Office of Binational Border Health * California Office of Child Abuse Prevention * California Office of Deaf Access * California Office of Emergency Services (OES) * California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment * California Office of Fiscal Services * California Office of Fleet Administration * California Office of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Implementation (CalOHI) * California Office of Historic Preservation * California Office of Homeland Security * California Office of Human Resources * California Office of Legal Services * California Office of Legislation * California Office of Lieutenant Governor * California Office of Military and Aerospace Support * California Office of Mine Reclamation * California Office of Natural Resource Education * California Office of Privacy Protection * California Office of Public School Construction * California Office of Real Estate Appraisers * California Office of Risk and Insurance Management * California Office of Services to the Blind * California Office of Spill Prevention and Response * California Office of State Publishing (OSP) * California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development * California Office of Systems Integration * California Office of the Inspector General * California Office of the Ombudsman * California Office of the Patient Advocate * California Office of the President * California Office of the Secretary for Education * California Office of the State Fire Marshal * California Office of the State Public Defender * California Office of Traffic Safety * California Office of Vital Records * California Online Directory * California Operations Control Office * California Opinion Unit * California Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN) * California Park and Recreation Commission * California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) * California Performance Review (CPR) * California Permit Information for Business (CalGOLD) * California Physical Therapy Board * California Physician Assistant Committee * California Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services * California Policy and Evaluation Division * California Political Reform Division * California Pollution Control Financing Authority * California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo * California Postsecondary Education Commission * California Prevention Services * California Primary Care and Family Health * California Prison Industry Authority * California Procurement Division * California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) * California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) * California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) * California Real Estate Services Division * California Refugee Programs Branch * California Regional Water Quality Control Boards * California Registered Veterinary Technician Committee * California Registrar of Charitable Trusts * California Republican Caucus * California Research and Development Division * California Research Bureau * California Resources Agency * California Respiratory Care Board * California Rivers Assessment * California Rural Health Policy Council * California Safe Schools * California San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission * California San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy * California San Joaquin River Conservancy * California School to Career * California Science Center * California Scripps Institution of Oceanography * California Secretary of State Business Portal * California Secretary of State * California Seismic Safety Commission * California Self Insurance Plans (SIP) * California Senate Office of Research * California Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program * California Small Business Development Center Program * California Smart Growth Caucus * California Smog Check Information Center * California Spatial Information Library * California Special Education Division * California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board * California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) * California Standards and Assessment Division * California State Administrative Manual (SAM) * California State Allocation Board * California State and Consumer Services Agency * California State Architect * California State Archives * California State Assembly * California State Association of Counties (CSAC) * California State Board of Education * California State Board of Food and Agriculture *California Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) * California State Children’s Trust Fund * California State Compensation Insurance Fund * California State Contracts Register Program * California State Contracts Register * California State Controller * California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) * California State Disability Insurance (SDI) * California State Fair (Cal Expo) * California State Jobs Employment Information * California State Lands Commission * California State Legislative Portal * California State Legislature * California State Library Catalog * California State Library Services Bureau * California State Library * California State Lottery * California State Mediation and Conciliation Service * California State Mining and Geology Board * California State Park and Recreation Commission * California State Parks * California State Personnel Board * California State Polytechnic University, Pomona * California State Railroad Museum * California State Science Fair * California State Senate * California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) * California State Summer School for the Arts * California State Superintendent of Public Instruction * California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) * California State Treasurer * California State University Center for Distributed Learning * California State University, Bakersfield * California State University, Channel Islands * California State University, Chico * California State University, Dominguez Hills * California State University, East Bay * California State University, Fresno * California State University, Fullerton * California State University, Long Beach * California State University, Los Angeles * California State University, Monterey Bay * California State University, Northridge * California State University, Sacramento * California State University, San Bernardino * California State University, San Marcos * California State University, Stanislaus * California State University (CSU) * California State Water Project Analysis Office * California State Water Project * California State Water Resources Control Board * California Structural Pest Control Board * California Student Aid Commission * California Superintendent of Public Instruction * California Superior Courts * California Tahoe Conservancy * California Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists * California Tax Information Center * California Technology and Administration Branch Finance * California Telecommunications Division * California Telephone Medical Advice Services (TAMS) * California Transportation Commission * California Travel and Transportation Agency * California Unclaimed Property Program * California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board * California Unemployment Insurance Program * California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission * California Veterans Board * California Veterans Memorial * California Veterinary Medical Board and Registered Veterinary Technician Examining Committee * California Veterinary Medical Board * California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board * California Volunteers * California Voter Registration * California Water Commission * California Water Environment Association (COWPEA) * California Water Resources Control Board * California Welfare to Work Division * California Wetlands Information System * California Wildlife and Habitat Data Analysis Branch * California Wildlife Conservation Board * California Wildlife Programs Branch * California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) * California Workers Compensation Appeals Board * California Workforce and Labor Development Agency * California Workforce Investment Board * California Youth Authority (CYA) * Central Valley Flood Protection Board * Center for California Studies * Colorado River Board of California * Counting California * Dental Board of California * Health Insurance Plan of California (PacAdvantage) * Humboldt State University * Jobs with the State of California * Judicial Council of California * Learn California * Library of California * Lieutenant Governors Commission for One California * Little Hoover Commission (on California State Government Organization and Economy) * Medical Board of California * Medi-Cal * Osteopathic Medical Board of California * Physical Therapy Board of California * Regents of the University of California * San Diego State University * San Francisco State University * San Jose State University * Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy * State Bar of California * Supreme Court of California * Teach California * University of California * University of California, Berkeley * University of California, Davis * University of California, Hastings College of the Law * University of California, Irvine * University of California, Los Angeles * University of California, Merced * University of California, Riverside * University of California, San Diego * University of California, San Francisco * University of California, Santa Barbara * University of California, Santa Cruz * Veterans Home of California

It is said that the only places they can cut is Police and Fire. . .

It doesn’t matter whether you are a Democrat, a Republican or Independent. This list has to shock you.

Over the years, our politicians have created this enormous pork barrel of agencies that employ over 350,000 people directly and countless more via contracts with the State. All of these people get salaries, medical coverage and pensions at our expense.

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10 August 2011

Vicious Rioting in Manchester, UK!

If British Prime Minister, David Cameron doesn't call in the military after seeing this video. . .he should be removed from office.

The Brits will be OK so long as they keep up their eccentric sense of humor! 

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Coffee Cup Browsing (Anarchy in the UK Edition)

"What’s the cause of the riot? I’m guessing lack of incoming fire."  Heh.  Watching the news about the U.K. looting/rioting, I keep thinking about how these thugs would scatter if we sent an American riot squad over there.  In America, Po-po don't play.

Maybe these coppers trained in the U.S.?

Yup:  "Years of liberal dogma have spawned a generation of amoral, uneducated, welfare dependent, brutalised youngsters."  Coming soon to a neighborhood near you. . .

London Metro Police were ordered to "observe and contain" looting!?  Oh, this ain't gonna end well.

Keeping that upper lip British-stiff.

Multi-culties are to blame for the riots. . .well, yea. . .them and lots of others.  When the State runs out of other people's money, the Wards tend to get grouchy.

50 Powerful Pics from the London riots.

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We cannot die fast enough

St. Lawrence
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Albert the Great Priory

Growth often requires death. Hold in your imagination for a moment the image of a seed, a single germ from which a plant will sprout. Now imagine that plant growing, blossoming, and producing healthy fruit. For this process to work, the seed, the germ of the plant, must die. It must cease to be what it is to become what it was made to be. We can expand the image of the growing seed to include acorns, pits, spores, and eggs. Even the human zygote must cease being a zygote to become a fetus. Growth often requires death; it also requires generosity and risk. Any farmer or gardener can tell you that every abundant harvest started with a generous planting of seed. Take melons for example. Planting watermelons and cantaloupe is a generous gamble—generous in that you put four or five seeds in the ground for each plant you hope to grow and a gamble b/c you're betting that some of those seeds won't germinate. You plant more to harvest more. Such is the work of faith in the world, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” 

If we put Jesus' teaching together with Paul's we come away with a frightening combination: in order to produce an abundant harvest for the faith, we must risk a generous death; that is, we must gamble what we are right now against the chance of becoming what we were made to be. But why is this frightening? It sounds like a perfectly comfortable version of modern humanist psychology. Be the best you can be! It's frightening b/c the best WE can be is Christ; we were made to be Christ. And Christ has but one purpose: to die for another. “. . .unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. . .Whoever serves me must follow me. . .” If we will be Christs, we must fall and die. For some, falling and dying are quite literal. St. Lawrence, for example. Or the thousands who die everyday around the world simply b/c they follow Christ. They are martyrs and their blood seeds the Church. 

For most of us, our falls and our deaths are much less bloody, much less painful but no less vital to the health of the Body of Christ. We fall from power and control, the attention of the limelight, the heights of success; we die to the illusions of false humility; the fantasies of a theatrical holiness. Perhaps the hardest fall, the cruelest death I might suffer is the death of the delusion that I am the hub around which the rest of the world turns. Being one member of a Body will kill that lie. But it is a lie that must die if I am to produce an abundant harvest for the faith. Jesus tells us that the seed must fall and die, but he doesn't lay out for us a systematic program for how we accomplish this. Instead, he says, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” Loving our lives in this world means clinging to the natural order of a creation that is always changing, always passing away. Hating our lives in this world means clinging to the supernatural order that draws each of us toward the Love who made us. Our task—in falling, dying, and producing abundant fruit—is to give witness to and make manifest that supernatural order so that everyone might see and hear and know Him who loves us. Truly, we cannot be too generous in our falling and dying, too reckless in our planting and reaping. We cannot fall and die fast enough in bringing to Christ all those who need his mercy and seek out his saving Word.

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09 August 2011

Nihilism, Logos, & the New Evangelization

No, I'm not sick. . .nor have I been assumed into heaven! 

U.D.'s server was down from Saturday to early Monday morning.  So, when the thing came back on, I had a backload of email to deal with.  

Also, the day-retreat with the OP Laity was fantastic!  They asked excellent questions and made insightful comments. . .as always.  

If you are interested in the texts I used for the retreat, check out JPII's Novo millennio ineunte (2000) and BXVI's follow-up to NMI in 2000, The New Evangelization:  Building a Civilization of Love and his now-famous pre-Conclave homily from 2005, wherein the future Holy Father coins the phrase "dictatorship of relativism." 

My memory and long-experience with PoMo theory provided most of the fodder for the conference on cultural nihilism and its various rotten fruits in the academy and the Church.  The info on social constructionism came from various internet sources, and I cribbed a few broad notions from the excellent book, Theory's Empire:  An Anthology of Dissent.  

The overall theme of the retreat:  intolerant forms of scientific materialism and cultural Marxism have made it difficult (if not yet impossible) for believers to engage the Public Square in serious spiritual discussions.  Our concerns/priorities are simply "ruled out of order" as private prejudices and consigned to the impotent safety of individual preference and/or mythology.  Various forms of postmodern ideology have eroded the authority of public reason and elevated the narratives of identity politics and power as the sole arbiters of right and wrong.  Since these narratives have no anchor in anything beyond their own structures as narratives, nihilism inevitably results.  The project of the New Evangelization is more than just getting "butts in the pews;"  it's about returning the West to its rational roots, that is, once again educating the public in the intelligibility and purposefulness of reality.  Historically, in the West, we have understood this reality to be the Logos, or the Christ who is the embodiment of Love and Truth.

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