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Sunday, May 3, 2015

Malcolm Muggeridge on Conversion



Malcolm Muggeridge, who converted to Catholicism in 1982, at the age of 68, credited Mother Teresa, and her prayers for his conversion.  He had met her years before while filming a documentary of her work in Calcutta.

According to an account in Literary Converts, by Joseph Pierce:

Before becoming a Catholic, but already a Christian, Muggeridge produced, in 1971, a documentary series on the life of St. Paul, entitled: Paul: Envoy Extraordinary.  During the production of that documentary, Muggeridge and his life-long friend, Alec Vidler, an Anglican priest, discussed the nature of conversion.

Muggeridge and Vidler made the following observations during their discussion, perhaps presaging Muggeridge's future "crossing of the Tiber."

Muggeridge:
"Conversion is something that you as a priest must have met with often - a person being reborn, becoming a new man.  Paul is said to have been blinded by the experience, but he was blind only because afterwards he truly could see whereas before he couldn't."
Vidler:
"Paul's conversion does seem to have been sudden, but of course sudden conversions are seldom as sudden as they seem…" 

Muggeridge:
"You mean fighting against something he knew would ultimately captivate and capture him."

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Heather Mac Donald: The Truth About Baltimore


Heather Mac Donald, contributing editor of City Journal,
wrote, on April 28, 2015, about the ongoing riot in Baltimore Maryland:
Baltimore in Flames
While the city burns, liberals place blame everywhere but where it belongs: on criminality and on family breakdown.
Mac Donald first covers the litany of well-worn excuses, provided by the talking heads of the Left, for the behavior of the rioters:

Society “refuses to help [young blacks] in a serious fashion.” 

“We’re only there when they riot.” 

“This was an extremely, desperately poor city. This was bound to happen.” 

We were seeing an “uprising of young people against the police,” the result of a “combination of anger and disparity,” 

and, of course, the usual blaming of the drug laws.

To all of the above, Mac Donald declares:
Bunk. What happened last evening in Baltimore was simply a larger and better-covered version of the flash mobs that have beset American cities for the last half-decade, in which black youths gather via social media to steal from stores and assault whites.
She provides examples:
In May 2012, for example, students from Mervo High School in Northeast Baltimore crammed into a 7-Eleven store that was offering free Slurpees as a promotion. The teens grabbed all the merchandise they could get their hands on—$6,000 worth in total—and fled from the store. The manager tried to close the door to prevent the thieves from escaping and was viciously beaten.
On St. Patrick’s Day that same year, a flash mob converged on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The Baltimore Sun reported that by the time the rampage ended, “one youth had been stabbed, a tourist had been robbed, beaten and stripped of his clothes, and others had been forced to take refuge inside a hotel lobby to escape an angry mob.
Last April, a bicyclist in Baltimore was attacked by a group of black teens who knocked him off his bike and pummeled him.
She argues further:
Perhaps if the media had not shrunk from reporting on the flash mob phenomenon and the related “knockout game”—in which teenagers tried to knock out unsuspecting bystanders with a single sucker punch—we might have made a modicum of progress in addressing or at least acknowledging the real cause of black violence: the breakdown of the family.  
So the rioting that, as of April 28th, left 24 police officers injured, 19 buildings torched, one of which was a senior center that provided affordable housing, and another the CVS drugstore that serviced the elderly of the community, is being attributed by the Left to justifiable rage.  Mac Donald is right: BUNK!



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Fr. Schall: On Sustainability



Father James Schall, who taught at Georgetown University for more than 30 years, beautifully debunked the ever growing popular ideology of "sustainability" in a post today at The Catholic Thing.  Almost all universities have “sustainability” courses. We have Earth Days. We observe ecological, environmental, earth-warming, ocean-saving, anti-fossil fuel, and sundry species-preserving movements. All endeavor to “sustain” the Earth...More perceptive thinkers, however, suspect that “sustainability” is probably the most “useful” ideology ever invented. It brings everything, especially messy human beings who are the real problem, under direct state jurisdiction. It makes Marxism look like child’s play when it comes to absolute control of man and society. 

Fr. Schall delivers his coup de grâce against this misguided belief in a world without a future, and without reference to anything greater than ourselves.

Here's the quote:
The root of the “sustainability mission,” I suspect, is the practical denial of eternal life. “Sustainability” is an alternative to lost transcendence. It is what happens when suddenly no future but the present one exists. The only “future” of mankind is an on-going planet orbiting down the ages. It always does the exact same, boring thing. This view is actually a form of despair. Our end is the preservation of the race down the ages, not personal eternal life.
“Sustainability” implies strict population control, usually set at about two or three billion (current global population is around 7.3 billion, so many of us will simply have to disappear for sustainability’s sake). Sin and evil imply misusing the earth, not our wills. What we personally do makes little difference. Since children are rationed or even produced artificially as needed, whatever we do sexually is irrelevant. It has no real consequences in this life, the only one that exists.
 To read the entire essay, click HERE.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Baltimore Mayor: We 'Gave Those Who Wished to Destroy Space to Do That'

Hillary: "Deep-seated Religious Beliefs Have to be Changed"


Hillary Clinton spoke recently at the “2015 Women in the World Summit” and said something pretty shocking, even for her.  Robert Royal wrote about it today on The Catholic Thing.

Some clips:
So when Mrs. Clinton spoke the other day at the “2015 Women in the World Summit” about how “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed” in order to secure abortion, contraception, and women’s empowerment, it caught my attention. And it should catch yours at well. Because if you take seriously what you see in that performance – and the Clinton team’s MO is to focus-group and poll and triangulate positions in all sorts of ways to see how they’ll play – it poses a very dangerous threat to the daily life of Christians in America.
Royal went on: Make no mistake. What Mrs. Clinton put forward the other day, though not necessarily a majority view, is quite able to function as one all the same because some quite powerful elites want it to be so. 

And finally:
My shock is that a likely candidate for president of the United States has no hesitation in calling publicly for changing other peoples’ religious beliefs. That would once have been thought un-American, an affront to our proud religious pluralism... 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Screwtape and "Death with Dignity"


Carrie Cress, Ph.D. drew on C. S. Lewis' classic: The Screwtape Letters yesterday in an essay she wrote for Catholic World Report, entitled: Screwtape and the Marketing of Suicidism.

Those not familiar with The Screwtape Letters can read a brief summary of C. S. Lewis and his classic by clicking HERE.

Cress composed her own tongue-in-cheek version of the great classic to bring clarity to the whole concept of "death with dignity."  She titled her parody, “Marketing Murder Through Suicide,” and it's reproduced below in its entirety.
Screwtape: “So Wormwood, how are our numbers this year?”
Wormwood: “Well, pretty good. Loads of suicides that featured massive casualties are really up. ISIS and Co. have been a great investment.”
Screwtape: “Yeah, they keep falling for that 5000 virgins thing you came up with awhile back. Let’s continue that program. You know I was against it at first, but it really is working. Go figure. What else you got?”
Wormwood: “The Dutch are not disappointing us either. You know we convinced them that the most compassionate thing we could do is to let those who want to die die – and they took to that like fish in water. Well, we have added a second tier to that program and now they are killing off those they think should die – the mentally ill, terminal patients, etc…”
Screwtape: “Excellent. Is this catching on anywhere else?”
Wormwood: “We have to start slowly, and get suicide normalized first, but there are big gains in North America. That Brittany Maynard case was huge for us. One people believe that life is theirs to keep or destroy, anything is possible. Won’t be long before we can roll out the second phase, particularly now that health costs are going up and no one wants to pay for vegetables.”
Screwtape: “I was a genius to come up with that 'death with dignity' line. It works every time, you know.”
Wormwood: “Yes, and western mortals also really like the 'physician-assisted suicide' tag. Makes suicide sound clinical and legit.”
Screwtape: “Indeed.”
Wormwood: “I have to say, that frightening Fulton Sheen [shudders] had this figured out in the 1940s, when he called it 'suicidism' and said it was 'symptomatic of a spiritual disintegration' and 'a plunge into the irrational and the meaningless self-destruction'. Thankfully, few noticed then and even fewer care now. Ooh, but I do love a good explosion of meaningless self-destruction—it makes me smile!”
Screwtape: “There, there; calm yourself. We must not let our delight in death distract us from further opportunities. What other notable advances can we claim?”
Wormwood: “My honorable mention of the year is Andreas Lubitz, pilot of GermanWings Flight 4U 9525. This is the stuff that nightmares are made of, which is a dream come true for us. Of course, we had our best guys on it for years, but we finally hit pay dirt. The promise of fame, in the end, was just too much and Lubitz did all the heavy lifting – and locking – for us. I think we should use this as our model for the year. Groundbreaking stuff.”

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

George Will, Hillary, and the First Amendment


George Will delivered the keynote address at the inaugural Disinvitational Dinner, on April 15, 2015.

The following is from today's Wall Street Journal's Notable & Quotable section:

From columnist George F. Will’s keynote address at the inaugural Disinvitation Dinner, hosted in New York City on April 15 by the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale to honor those whose invitations to speak at U.S. universities were retracted because of their views:

Free speech has never been, in the history of our republic, more comprehensively, aggressively and dangerously threatened than it is now. The Alien and Sedition Acts arose from a temporary, transitory fever and were in any case sunsetted and disappeared. The fevers after and during the First World War and in the early culture war era also were eruptions of distemper rooted in local conditions and local issues bound to disappear, which they did.
Today’s attack is different. It’s an attack on the theory of freedom of speech. It is an attack on the desirability of free speech and indeed if listened to carefully and plumbed fully, what we have today is an attack on the very possibility of free speech. The belief is that the First Amendment is a mistake. . . .
Yesterday the Democratic Party, the oldest political party in the world, the party that guided this country through two world wars and is more responsible than any other for the shape of the modern American state—the Democratic Party’s leading and prohibitively favored frontrunner candidate for the presidential nomination announced four goals for her public life going forward, one of which is to amend the Bill of Rights to make it less protective. It’s an astonishing event. She said that she wants to change the First Amendment in order to further empower the political class to regulate the quantity, content and timing of political speech about the political class—and so far as I can tell there’s not a ripple of commentary about this on the stagnant waters of the American journalistic community.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Francis Cardinal George Died This Morning R.I.P.


Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop Emeritus of Chicago, died this morning.  Requiescat in Pace.

He was Archbishop of Chicago for 17 years, and recently was credited with probably the most prescient quote from a U. S. Cardinal, considering the present climate of intolerance of religion in the public square.

Here's the quote:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”

Matt Walsh: Time for a Competent Adult to be President - Not Hillary Clinton


From Matt Walsh:
Hillary Clinton announced her presidential campaign yesterday. I know some of you might not be hugely interested in politics, and I don’t blame you, but you should know a thing or two about this woman.
You should know that she is one of the most corrupt, despicable, dishonest human beings to ever ascend to a position of power by riding someone else’s coattails. Accuse me all you want of “not being a Christian about it” but I will say right now that Hillary Clinton is a dirty, rotten, thieving liar. She really is. And all you have to do is read a little bit about her exploits to see it.
Stop saying it’s “time for a woman.” There’s no time for that kind of logic. We can’t take the affirmative action approach to the presidency again. We tried that, and look what happened. It isn’t time for a woman, it’s time for a good person, regardless of gender.
And, I guarantee you, Hillary definitely isn’t that person:
To read the whole essay, click HERE.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Professor Robert Spaemann: No Sugarcoating on Marriage


Professor Robert Spaemann, gave an interview on matters related to the upcoming Synod of Bishops on The Family, and excerpts were reported at Rorate Caeli.
Question: Marriage cannot any more be taken for granted in certain circles today. The Church's idea of marriage is questioned more and more. How should one now act? Would you say that the Church abandons her ideal of marriage if she more and more adapts to present trends?
Spaemann: Yes. The tendency is strong to adapt to all trends, so that the people do not run away. But one always has to look into the Gospels. The masses ran after Jesus, but then he spoke about giving His Body to eat and His Blood to drink. He did not try to make it look attractively pleasant, and the people were shocked and ran away. Jesus asked the apostles: "Do you also want to run away?" But St. Peter answered: "No, Lord, even though we did not understand you, either, but you have words of eternal life, and where else should we go?" That should be the reaction of the people...       
Question: Can these trends be traced back to the dominant image of God? The merciful God stands often above everything else. Anything threatening is excluded, especially with respect to the teaching of children. 
Spaemann: A third of the teaching of Jesus consists of threats which one now wants to eliminate altogether. Nothing is to be feared. God takes us as we are. This is specious smooth talk. Rather one has to say: No, Jesus does not take you as you are. In his homily he demands: Return, you are on the wrong path! Of course, Jesus accepts the sinner and when the repentant son comes back home, the father gives a feast. But, why does he make a feast? Because he has come back home. The father did not go out to the pig troughs.
Question: Mercy has been demanded also in the debate about the “remarried” divorcees and their admittance to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. There is a broad conception that the indissolubility of marriage and the concept of mercy are two competing principles. How can it be shown that these two principles are not contrary to one another?
Spaemann: Mercy consists in helping someone who suffers in his concrete situation and in helping him to attain to eternal life. Christianity is not a “wellness” religion. If a doctor tells me for example: “You should not smoke any cigarettes any more, otherwise you will die in a half a year” – and when I then say: “O, dear doctor, please be merciful” – that is false mercy. The doctor can only help if the patient follows his advice. The Church is in the place of the doctor. When a cohabitation in a second bond is allowed, when one justifies it with the argument that there has grown a new bond, the question arises, how many times does one have to sleep intimately with someone, until it is not any more a sin, but, rather, a deed that is pleasing to God. Each act of adultery is a grave sin. That is the traditional teaching of the Church. [...]

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Fr. Z: How a Small Christian Business Should Respond to a Demand to Acknowledge a Gay Wedding


Fr. John Zuhlsdorf offered some suggestions recently to small business owners being forced by the state to act against their religious beliefs when asked (demanded) by gay couples to provide services for their "wedding."

Here they are:
When they come to destroy your business because you are pro-traditional family:

When some homosexual couple comes to your Christian business for services at their immoral event, don’t panic.  Go ahead and take their business!
Then explain what is going to happen next.
Tell them that the food and services will be just fine.  And then inform them that all of the money that they pay for the services will be donated to a traditional pro-family lobby.   If it is something like catering, where your employees have to be there to provide services, tell them that all your people will smile, be professional, and everyone of them will be wearing crucifixes and have the Holy Family embroidered on their uniforms.  Then show them pictures of your uniforms.  When the truck pulls up, speakers will be playing Immaculate Mary.  Show them the truck and play the music.
“Oh, you would be offended by that?  I’m so sorry.  You approached us because we are Christians. Right?  We are happy to provide services for you and we are grateful that you chose to come to our Christian catering business.  We just want to be of help.”
Then tell them that you will take out an ad in the paper to let everyone know what you did with their money, thanking them by name for their business so that you could make the contribution.
I suspect this approach, if adopted far and wide, would put an end to attacks on Christian businesses.