We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Exposing deception. When (c)atholics play loosely with doctrine, Canon law(yer Dr. Ed Peters) comes to the rescue.

During times of upheaval when the Church should be a refuge for repentant sinners wherein they, having fled the cotton candy and poison which the secular world offers, can enjoy a diet of orthodox teaching for the preservation of spiritual health, the same repentant sinners must now contend with priestly wolves among the sheep and cardinal foxes in the henhouse who are serving up a mixed diet of "pernicious stuff".

The eminent canonist Dr. Edward Peters, JD, JCD, Ref. Sig. Ap., has posted yet another authoritative and insightful piece at his blog In The Light of the Law from which faithful Catholics may safely drink in order to retain their sanity, sustain hope and from which they may draw strength and wisdom to defend Holy Mother Church.

Apropos of nothing in particular—but I suppose of several things in general, like the continuing turmoil over Amoris laetitia, the Buenos Aires directives, the Roman diocesan protocol, and a torrent of commentary (including some by orthodox writers), that, in my view, just doesn’t get it yet—may I offer the following take?

You know how—long story made short—the “proportionalist school” of moral theologians took the Fourth Criterion from the traditional “Principle of Double Effect”* (the criterion that calls for weighing the good to be accomplished by a given choice against the concomitant harm to be caused by the choice) and basically presented said ‘proportionality’ as if it were the sole criterion for upright moral decision-making? Pernicious stuff in that proportionalism, using terms admittedly found in orthodox decision-making schemes and seemingly simple to apply in concrete cases, justifies choices being made that are directly opposed to the good.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Appreciating the sacral dialect of the Sacred Liturgy. A few reminders from Dr. Clinton A. Brand.

Clinton Allen Brand directs our attention to "some principles relevant for appreciating the sacral language of Divine Worship".
FYI—Clinton Allen Brand, Ph.D., K.S.G. is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas, and served as a member of the Anglicanae Traditiones Interdicasterial Commission.
An excerpt from Very Members Incorporate: Reflections on the Sacral Language of Divine Worship.

1. Liturgical language is not so much a tool of edifying information as it is the simulacrum of divine encounter and revelation; it is not and has never been the diffuse idiom of everyday communication; rather it is the Church’s focused, concentrated instrument of mediation to effect, to incarnate our participation in the saving mysteries of our faith and to immerse, to wash the faithful in the figural meanings of Holy Scripture.

2. Liturgical language is stylized, enacted speech with its own kind of mediated intelligibility, and far from excluding archaic elements it welcomes a modicum of traditional expressions and ritualized, formulaic conventions that “reach to the roots,” resonate in the auditory memory, and habituate an experience of worship wider, deeper, older than ourselves, transcending the gathered congregation in time and space to represent and configure our incorporation into the Communion of the Saints.

3. Liturgical language is recursive and immersive; it bears and demands repetition, day by day, week by week, season by season, year by year, without ever exhausting its capacity to stimulate meditation and work ongoing conversion of life; its words are “poetic” in the sense of being athletic, even ascetic, by gently, insistently stretching the limits of expression in order to exercise, train, tune, and elevate our faculties that we might lift up our hearts to God and open out our lives in love and service.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Archbishop Chaput: life, death, equality, freedom, politics, leadership, evangelization, Catholic identity.

Archbishop Chaput’s Address at the University of Notre Dame 2016 Bishops’ Symposium, “Reclaiming the Church for the Catholic Imagination.”

2016 Bishops’ Symposium
University of Notre Dame, 10.19.16
+Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Much of what I say today you probably already know. But that doesn’t prevent a good discussion, so I hope you’ll bear with me.

As I sat down to write my talk last week, a friend emailed me a copy of a manuscript illustration from the 13th century. It’s a picture of Mary punching the devil in the nose. She doesn’t rebuke him. She doesn’t enter into a dialogue with him. She punches the devil in the nose. So I think that’s the perfect place to start our discussion.

When most Catholics think about Mary, we have one of two images in our heads: the virginal Jewish teen from Galilee who says yes to God’s plan; or the mother of Jesus, the woman of mercy and tenderness, “our life, our sweetness and our hope.” We can too easily forget that Mary is also the woman clothed in the sun who crushes the head of the serpent. She embodies in her purity the greatness of humanity fully alive in God. She’s the mother who intercedes for us, comforts us and teaches us—but who also defends us.

And in doing that, she reminds us of the great line from C.S. Lewis that Christianity is a “fighting religion”—not in the sense of hatred or violence directed at other persons, but rather in the spiritual struggle against the evil in ourselves and in the world around us, where our weapons are love, justice, courage and self-giving.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Ding dong, you're done. Bell ringers fired in England.

York bell-ringers have been sacked, fired, let go, muffled. Congregants at the Minster will have to unsilence their smartphones and dial up a track if they want bells during services.

The Archbishop of York has defended the decision to sack all 30 of York Minister's bell-ringers and said they showed "repeated disregard" for its safeguarding policies.
Dr John Sentamu said he had to take action regarding a bell-ringer "on safeguarding grounds" in the summer.
He said advice was taken to "minimise risk to children, young people and vulnerable adults".
Speaking at a news conference, Dr Sentamu backed the decision made by the Minster's governing body, the Chapter of York, in order to make the church "a safe place for everyone".
He said: "Earlier this summer, it was necessary for the Chapter to take action regarding a member of the bell-ringing community on safeguarding grounds.