Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Here I stand...corrected

Old Oligarch's critique of Cardinal Dulles's First Things commentary on Catholic pro-choice politicians has won me over. Having taken a course w/Dulles in div school, I've got a soft spot for the American master of Catholic thought that's perhaps too soft. OO overcomes two of my previous concerns: doubts over the pragmatics of refusing Eucharist to individuals in a manner commensurate with the dignity of the Mass, and doubts over canonical precedent. He actually makes my concerns look pretty dumb. His critique may also call into question Ratzinger's distinction between "formal cooperation" and "remote material cooperation" in evil, which may be (mis?)interpreted as relieving the lay Catholic voter from having to maintain a strict perichoresis between political morality and Eucharistic discipline. Other than that, OO and Ratz seem to be of one mind.

Extreme wife-carrying

I've attended too many Korean weddings where the groom at some point traditionally carries the bride around the ceremonial wedding table a few times. But I had no idea the Finns take this ritual to a whole new level. The "Estonian Carry" is an invention of athletic genius, so intuitive too. Raise the woman's hips (center of gravity) higher to gain improved stability and ease of movement. It's right out of the backpacking textbook. Even more ingenius is the prize: the wife's weight in beer.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

When Lord, when will it end?

And the Church's honor sinks to a new low. Doesn't Scripture say something like, "The Gates of Hell shall not prevail against thee, especially if you've got Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection"? Here's the real tearjerker from the AP article: In a deposition taken before his death, Grammond [Portland's pedophile priest at the center of the lawsuits] said, "I'd say these children abused me. They'd dive in my lap to get sexual excitement." Thanks to Dante, I think we can safely imagine what's happening to Grummond right now.

Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion

I'm with Ratz. Nice to see the principle of double effect still in effect.

A good Protestant church is hard to find

From a Touchstone writer to his college-age daughters on the Scylla & Charybis choice between liberal and fundie Protestant churches:
If I lost my faith, I would skip the step of being a religious liberal, and go straight to secularism. If I believed what the liberal believes, I wouldn't waste time on church. I can do without the sanctimonious company, thank you, don't need a moralizing homily from a second- or third-rate intellect that's pretending to be Christian (I would know enough Bible to know that real Christianity would look more like "fundamentalism"), and can give to worthy causes without the added middle-person, thank you. And I would deplore the first-rate intellect in the liberal pulpit as infected with a strange weakness that, against all sense and reason, made it religious. Sunday mornings would be better spent on recreation, like writing mocking, sarcastic letters to Touchstone in which I attempted to blend the best qualities of Bertrand Russell, Bernard Shaw, Nietzsche, Ingersoll, Screwtape, and the Grand Inquisitor.
The rest of the letter illustrates the subconscious denial of Catholicism that plagues so many conservative Protestants. Minus this parenthetical paragraph of sound judgment, the letter goes to extraordinary lengths to equate fundamentalists with "legalism" and to identify Catholicism as the prototype of this legalism. Of course, in step with Touchstone's ecumenical fashion, it insists that Protestantism is just as susceptible to the liberal/legalist dichotomy as Catholicism. Well, thanks a lot. Hutchens nonetheless seems desperate to avoid the possibility that the Catholic Church might actually transcend the liberal/fundie dichotomy that his daughters find so troubling. He resorts to a cute rehearsal of Luther's law vs. grace argument to strike that classic "Here I Stand" pose. I would take his line a few steps further: "If I lost my faith in the Catholic Church, I would skip the step of being a Protestant and a secularist, and go straight to hell."

Ultrasound icongraphy

Rumsfeld has been taken to task for ignoring the gravity of the horrors at Abu Ghraib until pictures flooded mediasphere. He himself acknowledged the power of those images to drive home the truth. Similarly, these new cutting-edge ultrasound images of the fetus from 12-weeks drive home the truth. Fetuses are enwombed babies -- full human beings. How the pro-choicers and embryo-eating scientists can rationalize their way out this is the real hocus pocus superstition of our era. Be sure to click the link to more pics under the 2nd pic. From the BBC (not exactly your garden-variety extremist anti-abortion cult).

Thursday, July 01, 2004

The Church of Former-Day Sluts

On why Madonna would attain to the highest expression of "reinvention" in the Catholic Church.

Hardly elementary, my dear Watson

For all the critical humanism taught in the core curriculum at UChicago's College and for all the Mary Ann Glendons, Leon Kasses, and David Brookses it produces, you still get Carl Sagans and Nobel-prize winning James Watsons who are just nuts, as in this encounter with the latter:
Watson looked me in the eye and told me he was qualified to advocate in favor of mothers choosing to abort "unhealthy" children because he wished he could have aborted his own son, who is mentally handicapped.

He went on, unprodded, to say that he was an "unbeliever," so he was sure he would have had no moral qualms about killing his own child.
...proving once again that a strong "liberal education" is hardly any prophylactic against monstrous evil, or maybe that they just needed to spend less time in Kent Hall and more in Cobb Hall. Or I'm just a fool since nowadays UChicago profs are disavowing any moral formation in the "Aims of Education."

Cardinal Dulles on Catholic politicians

What a clear, calming, judicious voice in the American church.

Catholic photo exhibit

A gorgeous presentation of images of life in the Archdioceses of Baltimore and DC by Catholic photographer Pavel Chichikov. They range from awe-inspiring (like the Corpus Christi procession), to warmly mundane (like a tombstone w/soda bottle on it), to bone-chilling (like the pro-lifers with posters of aborted fetuses)--sums up our Church. Images speak volumes indeed.

"A good war is hard to find"

Terrific article on Flannery O'Connor and her putative take on the symbolic perversions of Abu Ghraib.:
For O'Connor—whose characters are some of the most memorable grotesqueries in American literature—the grotesque makes visible hidden "discrepancies" between character and belief. Such images "connect or combine or embody two points; one is a point in the concrete and the other is a point not visible to the naked eye."
According to O'Connor, the South was not so much "Christ-Centered" as "Christ-Haunted." She believed that the most challenging images of Christ were pushed aside in the South in favor of more palatable ones, ones that would allow for the continued separation and inequality between the races. However, these sublimated images eventually return as "fierce and instructive" ghosts, to cast menacing shadows across the landscape. These menacing shadows are the raw material of much Southern literature, from the well-mannered, sober Eudora Welty to the drunken tortured genius of Faulkner. And as Susan Sontag pointed out in her New York Times Magazine essay about Abu Ghraib, "The Pictures Are Us," those same ghosts can be seen in the lynching photos of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Ut Unum Sint

You can always count on Gerard Serafin to keep our eyes on the prize of communion with the Eastern Orthodox. I can't believe he's one of the few in St. Blogs to cover the participation of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople at the papal Mass for the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. The Vatican will return the gesture by sending a delegation on the Feast of St. Andrew. It's the 40th anniversary of the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras! Check out his site and check out the sights. He juxtaposes three pictures that beautifully demonstrate the eschatalogical nature of the Kiss of Peace between Rome and Constantinople. Moving images.

VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2004 (VIS) - Made public today was a note on the visit of His Holiness Bartholomew, ecumenical patriarch, to John Paul II. This year the patriarch will lead the delegation from Constantinople to commemorate the meeting of Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras in Jerusalem in January of 1964.

The patriarch - who previously visited the Pope in 1995 - and his entourage arrive in Rome today and will be received by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State. They will stay at the St. Martha Residence in the Vatican until their departure on July 2.

On June 29 in the morning, the patriarch will meet with the Pope in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. During the meeting, they will exchange speeches and gifts and sign a common declaration. Then the patriarch will see Cardinal Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano and will visit the Vatican Basilica where he will pray at the Altar of the Cathedra and at Paul VI's tomb which is in the grotto.

In the afternoon, he will participate in a Eucharistic celebration in St. Peter's Square, presided by the Holy Father on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles.

On June 30, the traditional bilateral talks between the Holy See and Fanar will take place. These talks are scheduled on the occasion of the exchange of delegations for the patron feasts of the two sees, St. Andrew in November and Sts. Peter and Paul in June. That same afternoon, the patriarch will receive an honor from the City of Rome and later will be welcomed by the Community of Sant'Egidio in his patronal church of St. Bartholomew.

According to the note, His Excellency Gennadios, metropolitan archbishop of the Greek-Orthodox in Italy and exarch for Southern Europe of the Ecumenical Throne, asked His Holiness Bartholomew I to preside at the inauguration on July 1 of the liturgical use of the church of St. Theodore on the Palatine which Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, has entrusted to the Greek-Orthodox community in Rome for liturgical celebrations and pastoral care upon the express wishes of the Pope.

The patriarch will meet again with John Paul II during a fraternal luncheon in the Apostolic Palace in which members of the entourage will participate as well.

On July 2 at midday, His Holiness Bartholomew I will leave Rome.