Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Maria Theresa of Spain

From Tiny-Librarian. The Queen and first wife of Louis XIV, Maria Theresa may be the one who said something vaguely similar to "Let them eat cake,"  such as "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche?" Marie-Antoinette did not say it at all. Maria Teresa, who was very religious and had many charities, would not have said such a thing out of callousness, but rather she was suggesting that the poor be given brioches and the pastries and pastry crust from the patisseries. Cake was not even eaten in France at the time. And there is no solid evidence that Louis XIV's Queen ever made such a remark either.
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An Angel in the Sun

Emmet O'Regan on World War I and the Apocalypse. To quote:
In pitting the nations of the world against each other, the true focus of Satan's attack is against the Church itself, by calling faith in an omnibenevolent God into question. A fact which is reflected in the fact that the forces assembled by Satan lay siege to the Church, which is represented by the Heavenly Jerusalem:

And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city...
(Rev 20:9)

The theme of Satan gathering the nations together for war at the end of the world is given earlier in the Apocalypse, which places these events at the Mount of Megiddo (Hebrew Har Megiddo - from which we get the word Armageddon), which should be equated with Mount Carmel - the location of the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal for the fate of the land of Israel.

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”) And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
(Rev 16:12-16)

The Apocalypse gives a number of signs that mark the beginning of the "little while" given to Satan, upon which he gathers the nations together for war. The above passage cites one sign as the drying up of the river Euphrates, which could possibly be linked to the construction of the Hindiya Barrage (completed in 1913), which required the river Euphrates to be temporarily dammed. Rev 9 mentions two further signs that herald the unbinding of Satan in the abyss towards the end of the age - a star falling down to the earth and the appearance of metal-clad flying "war horses" that look like locusts:

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. 
(Rev 9:1-4)

The most famous occurrence of a "star" or meteorite falling to the earth, and the largest impact event in recorded history, is that of the Tunguska Event in 1908 - which just so happened to coincide with the invention of military airplanes. In addition to this, the key to the bottomless pit/abyss/hell/Hades which is given to the angel in Rev 20:1 is equated in Rev 1 with the seven stars held in the right hand of Jesus - which appears to suggest that the opening of the abyss would also be marked by a rare alignment of the seven classical planets - which occurred at the beginning of Advent in December 1899, just months after Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:

In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
(Revelation 1:16-18)

It seems then that the "angel" who is given the keys of Death and Hades is none other than the figure of the pope himself - which accords with the words of Christ when he conferred St. Peter with the keys to heaven...(Read more.)
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The Fundamental Option

Part of the heresy of modernism. To quote:
...The theory holds that mortal sin is not a specific action, but an orientation that lies at the deepest level of freedom within an individual who rejects God. But given the gravity of such a rejection, the theory holds that such an orientation is nearly impossible for those of sound mind. If an individual makes the fundamental option for God, then his actions, no matter how grave, cannot be mortal sins – or damnable offenses – because, at root, the person means well.
 
Fundamental option’s separation of action from orientation, along with its revision of mortal sin, was roundly condemned by St. John Paul II in paragraphs 65-70 of Veritatis Splendor:
the so-called fundamental option, to the extent that it is distinct from a generic intention and hence one not yet determined in such a way that freedom is obligated, is always brought into play through conscious and free decisions. . . .To separate the fundamental option from concrete kinds of behavior means to contradict the substantial integrity or personal unity of the moral agent in his body and in his soul.
Yet like every heresy before it, fundamental option theory today still has adherents and proponents long after its condemnation. (History shows that the biological solution, rather than the magisterial decree, ultimately puts heresies to bed.) But it is the subject matter of fundamental option that gives it an especially pernicious and sinister color. Fundamental option is, at root, about salvation, and its proponents believe they know better than the Church, when it comes to how we are saved. (Read more.)
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Chocolat

Marie-Antoinette began each day with a cup of chocolat. From the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Chocolate was often consumed at breakfast, usually in the privacy of the bedroom or dressing room. Here, a servant is presenting the beverage to a woman in a dressing gown; there are also sweet Savoy biscuits on the table. Chocolate was considered healthy, particularly for the stomach and the voice, and its consumption was permitted even during the fasting days of Lent, provided it was served without milk or eggs. (Read more.)
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The Destruction of the Church in Iraq

Who needs to apologize? From Opus Publicum:
Alot of focus has been placed recently on Mark Movesian’s First Things (FT) blog piece on the deplorable situation of Christians in Iraq, “A Line Crossed in the Middle East.” You should go read it; it’s quite good. The article does, however, inadvertently raise the question a friend of mine asked, “What responsibility does FT bear for Iraq?” For those of you too young to remember, during the 1990s and 00s, FT was the main hub for neoconservative Catholicism. The late Fr. John Neuhaus, along with his ideological sentries George Weigel and Michael Novak, beat the war drums leading up to the United States invasion of Iraq in 2003 while trashing those Christians who stood in the way.

While FT has undergone some significant internal shakeups since the death of Neuhaus in 2009, the magazine—which at this point is a minor Catholic institution—has never publicly repented of its support for the Iraq War and, by extension, the misery which followed it.
Soul searching does not come easy for Americans. When we do it, we do it begrudgingly. When political leaders such as our current President, Barack Obama, issues public apologies on the world stage, it is taken by many as a sign of weakness and shame. To own up to a past mistake or bad intellectual bet amounts to a self-inflicted reputational gunshot wound, or so we often fear. While it is understandable—though hardly defensible—that overtly ideological rags such as The National Review, The Weekly Standard, and Commentary aren’t falling over themselves to issue mea culpas for America’s Mid East debacle, shouldn’t we expect better of a Catholic publication? It seems almost self-serving and shallow for FT to run pieces condemning the genocide in Mosul without first coming to grips openly for its support of the military action which made a murderous band of radicals like ISIS possible.

Now, some might say that FT only had a “minor role” to play in the Iraq affair, and to a certain extent they are right. In the grand scheme of things FT is a small-time player compared to mainstream conservative publications. For American Catholics, however, FT was, and still remains, a powerful voice. At the very time when certain Catholic intellectuals in America and Europe were expressing skepticism toward the justness of going to war with Iraq, FT was there to set consciences at ease that invading a country which had not attacked the United States was meet and right. There are more than a few Catholics in “my generation” (I am 34) who will say with a straight face that FT tipped their hearts and minds to backing the American invasion of Iraq. Besides, no matter how one judges “influence,” there is no doubt that FT came out for the war and dedicated column space to defending it. That is sufficient for putting them on the culpability hook.

Others might argue that while the FT of the 1990s and 00s bears responsibility for getting into bed with neoconservatism and supporting the Iraq War, today’s FT is a different story. The editorial leadership has changed and many of the regular contributors were not around back then. Ideologically speaking, FT appears to be more diverse than it ever was. Are the children responsible for the sins of their fathers? Well no, not directly. However, as custodians of a publication which committed itself to a disastrous political position, the current editorial leadership, along with its supporting staff, owe it to the Christians now suffering terribly in Iraq to repent of the publication’s misdeeds. Perhaps no single editor or writer on FT is responsible, but here we are talking about a publication/institution which still carries a lot of heft. Shouldn’t it be easier for the current leadership at FT, as compared to the old guard, to take a hard look at the magazine’s past position on Iraq and publicly distance themselves from it? (Read more.)

Via A Conservative Blog for Peace. Share

Monday, July 28, 2014

Touching His Robe: Reaching Past the Shame and Anger of Abuse

Touching His Robe by Leslie G. Nelson is a must-read for survivors of trauma, particularly the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. Let me first say that this sort of crime has occurred throughout history; it is not endemic to our own corrupt times as many think. I once read from an old manual for parents written by a priest in which the author enjoined mothers to have the greatest vigilance about whom they chose to care for their small children. The priest said that if they knew what he had heard in confessions they would never leave their children at all. The problem is that today, because of the easy availability of pornography on the internet, persons with such a weakness are probably more likely to transgress the laws of God and of nature than in the past, having built an almost incurable obsession. At any rate, we are speaking of a disease from which children must be protected. And, if having failed to protect them, we must be grateful for those like Mrs. Nelson who are able to articulate, through their love for Christ, both the their agony and their pilgrimage to wholeness.

In reading Touching His Robe what struck me the most is the recurring tendency in the victims to struggle with the overwhelming urge to commit suicide. More than anything else, this made me understand the damage done to their psyches as small children, when  not only their bodies but their souls were violated by a person whom they trusted. Part of the mystery of each person is the mystery of their sexuality, and when that mystery is violated, then there is no other mystery but that of death. This became clearer to me more than ever while reading the book.

While the subject is a bitter one, Mrs. Nelson infuses the book with hope which comes directly from her love for her Savior. Touching His Robe is full of the wisdom the author has gleaned from her own experience and from working with other victims. It comes from her life of prayer and her pondering of the Scriptures. There are many practical suggestions and resources offered for those suffering from the trauma perpetrated upon them when they were too young to process it. It shows the support which can come from the ecclesial community when a member of the Body of Christ is enduring torment. What is offered in Mrs. Nelson's book is the best of pastoral and psychological counseling, helpful in its brevity and frankness. Every parish library should have a copy of it. There are no words of praise lavish enough to express the admiration I feel for persons such as Mrs. Nelson who have the courage to speak out about their journey towards healing

(*NOTE: This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.) Share

Mysticism and the Magisterium, Part I

From Fr. Angelo:
I begin this series on Mysticism and Magisterium with the notion of “thinking with the Church” because discernment is so basic to the spiritual life.   For a Catholic, every authentic spirit is characterized by its “ecclesiality,” which means that the Holy Spirit works in and through the Church and always leads to communion with the Church.
In recent years, the sacred magisterium has frequently recommended the sentire cum ecclesia in order to remind us that a true sense of faith implies “a profound agreement of spirit and heart with the Church” (Donum Veritatis  [DV] 35).   One’s personal faith must be the faith of the Church.   It is “never an isolated act” of an individual or even a group within the Church.   In fact, St. John Paul II told religious that by thinking with the Church they become “experts of communion,” and “architects” of God’s plan for unity within the Church (Vita Consecrata [VC] 46).   We are one with Christ because we are of one mind and heart through our communion with the Church.

This ecclesiality runs directly contrary to the modern religious spirit, which is the worship the autonomous personal conscience.   Most often today this radical autonomy takes the form of personal moral relativism, which is a private disregard for what the Church teaches, say, for example, in regard to its condemnation of contraception.   More serious, however, is public dissent from Church teaching, especially by well-known figures, whose scandal harms the unity of the Church in a profound way.

Unfortunately, it is not only the progressives who have adopted this individualistic spirit. Even in the name of Tradition, some today speak of a pre- and post-conciliar Church, thus creating a rupture between the past and the present.   In this way, they submit everything the magisterium has to say to a test that ultimately sets the Church against itself.

Finally, the autonomous personal conscience sometimes lays claim to a false discernment when it sets private revelation and presumed personal graces against the magisterium.   The desire for union with God sometimes leads individuals to attach themselves to extraordinary manifestations of the “spirit,” but in such a way that weakens their attachment to the Church.   Thus, Catholics continue to embrace New Age spirituality, or some dubious private revelation, or a personal insight even though they know that their conviction runs contrary to Church teaching or discipline.

The discernment of spirits is so important today because there are many voices competing for our attention, and it is all so easy to assume that that what we hear, or even what we think and say comes from God.   We need to be careful, especially when we are tempted to think differently than the Church—to disregard or disparage her doctrine or choose a path that sets us at odds with the sacred magisterium. (Read more.)
 Via Terry Nelson. Share

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Faithful

From Tiny-Librarian:
“Louis-Auguste, please understand one thing. I will never agree to leaving you. If I die, it will be at your feet, the children in my arms. My place is at your side; to escape without you would be cowardice and only playing into the hands of our enemies. Whatever storms assail us, we will face them together.”
Trianon - Elena Maria Vidal

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