Restoring the Sacred

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Words of Relevance: Winston Churchill, "Painting as a Pastime."

After the debacle known as the Dardanelles Campaign, in 1915, Churchill was forced to resign his post as First Lord of the Admiralty, and was in a bad way.  History has been kinder to him after many years, and much of the blame for that disaster, as it turns out, should more appropriately be shared with Field Marshall Kitchener and others.  In any event, before Churchill recovered and went on to save the world from Adolph Hitler, he needed something in his life to jump start his career and, indeed, his interest in a future.  He turned to something he had never before experienced: painting.  As was his wont, he could not involve himself in any form of endeavor without writing about it.  This endeavor was no different, and so we were blessed with his shortest literary work: Painting as a Pastime.

Here's Churchill in his own words:
When I left the Admiralty at the end of May, 1915, I still remained a member of the Cabinet and of the War Council.  In this position I knew everything and could do nothing.  The change from the intense executive activities of each day's work at the Admiralty to the narrowly measured duties of a counsellor left me gasping...I had great anxiety and no means of relieving it; I had vehement convictions and small power to give effect to them.
Fortunately for all of us, this "Last Lion" found something to bring him back from the abyss; he became a painter, and not just any old painter - he became a great painter whose paintings have been displayed in the finest museums in the world.  He begins his short book about this part of his life by, as usual, giving advice.

Here's the quote:
"Many remedies are suggested for the avoidance of worry and mental overstrain by persons who, over prolonged periods, have to bear exceptional responsibilities and discharge duties upon a very large scale.  Some advise exercise, and others, repose.  Some counsel travel, and others, retreat.  Some praise solitude, and others, gaiety.  No doubt all these may play their part according to the individual temperament.  But the element which is constant and common in all of them is Change."
Of course he was talking about change on a personal level.  He would never have been presumptuous enough to call on the citizens of England to vote for change of his, and their, beloved country.

The Great Hall at Blenheim Palace (birthplace of WSC) by Winston S. Churchill.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Words of Relevance: Austin Ruse, "Letter from Moscow"

Austin Ruse, he who introduced us to Brendan Kelly a few posts back, may be on to something.  In his latest post on The Catholic Thing, entitled, Letter from Moscow, Ruse states: What I know is a religious revival is going on in Russia. And the Orthodox Church is leading it.  He provides some concrete examples and commentary:
Russian Railways czar Vladimir Yakunin, whom I met with, recently engineered a visit to Russia of the True Cross of St Andrew.   Five-hour lines in the rain awaited anyone wanting to venerate it. Happily, Yakunin arranged for me to cut the line. 
I met also with young tech billionaire Konstantin Malofeev whose office is festooned with religious icons. He is working to bring Russian Orthodox and U.S. Christians closer together. 
Malofeev and many other Russians see themselves as a Christian nation sent to help other Christians around the world. For them, at least, that’s why they support the Assad regime; he’s better for Syria’s Orthodox Christians. 
He wonders if some sort of grand global alliance between the Orthodox and Catholics can be achieved and what effect that might have on the global culture war advanced by the sexual left. I wonder, too. 
The global conversation is religious. Seculars may dominate the West. But beyond, they are not really in the picture, except insofar as they can impose their ideology through international institutions and development assistance (think United Nations).
Our voices could be much more powerful if we make common cause with those who many seem to have a vested interest in silencing.
Ruse goes on to lament the undeniable fact that Russia is a nation more into prayer than our own country, yet it's Russia that is under the United Nations microscope for recently passed laws aimed at stopping the advance of the homosexual agenda.

Here's the quote:
"America is now leading an initiative to spread the homosexual agenda globally. We are appointing openly gay ambassadors among traditional peoples. The Dominicans are up in arms about this. And it’s a U.S. foreign policy priority to advance the gay agenda whenever possible. We hold gay parties at embassies, even in places, like Pakistan, where it offends. 
"But Russia is under the microscope of human rights and homosexual activists for recent laws meant to curb the homosexual advance. The Russian Duma (parliament) almost unanimously passed a law banning homosexual propaganda aimed at school children and public manifestations like parades." 

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Words of Relevance: Russian Patriarch Kirill I

That's Russian Patriarch Kirill I, the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, and he's no shrinking violet.  He's brought to our attention today in a piece by John B. Manos at The Bellarmine Forum, entitled "Gay Marriage is ‘A Sign of Apocalypse’: Russian Patriarch Kiril Speaks His Mind."   Patriarch Kirill is not one to back away from controversies such as political correctness and hate speech.  He takes them on head first.  You can read the whole piece by clicking Here.  The following is just a bit of Manos:
In America, we are all too familiar with the scene where one person speaks their mind and states an opinion contrary to what others perceive to be the “correct” thing to say. Immediately, that person will be jumped on verbally and accused of being any various number of things, “arrogant,” “intolerant,” or worse, sometimes they accuse the person of hate. Unlike Orwell’s 1984, wherein the State had to bear down on Winston, and unlike Soviet Russia, where there were places where one could speak freely, modern America has perfected the art of turning the general populace into stormtroopers for speech control.
It is ironic, in the greek tragedy sense of that word, that to cite St. Paul’s list of sins or the account in Genesis is dubbed “hate speech.” There is no hate in telling someone 2+2=4, but for someone who needs it to be 5, it is hateful, mean, uncharitable, and the rest. Speaking the truth, and speaking one’s mind is punished, not by the State, but by fellow people. For some subjects, such as sodomy, it is dubbed “hate speech” to speak truthfully of it. Yet, St. Paul says that twisting the truths revealed by God into lies is precisely what causes it!
So, what does this mean to turn God’s truth into a lie, create a society where truth cannot be spoken, and where man is worshipped but not God? According to Patriarch Kiril, it is a sign of the Apocalypse.
As indicated above, Patriarch Kirill is not afraid to speak truth to the nonsense of political correctness and "hate speech."  He could not be more clear in stating his position and the position of the Church.

Here's the quote:
“If people choose this lifestyle, it is their right, but the responsibility of the Church is to say that it is a sin before God”.  (It) is not the fact of the existence of this sin – it has always existed. But we are deeply concerned that for the first time in the history of the human race sin is being justified by law. This opens up the prospect of a dangerous development, which will contribute to the moral degradation of society.”

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Words of Relevance: Peggy Noonan

Peggy Noonan (welcome back, Peggy) wrote a piece that needed to be written the other day in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: "How to Find Grace After Disgrace." Click on the link to read the whole piece.  Noonan uses the compare and contrast method to differentiate between our disgraced public figures and the most famous disgraced London politician of the last century: John Profumo.
  Our homegrown moral degenerates could have learned a lot from Profumo, but they didn't.  Here's some of what Noonan had to say:
It was 50 years ago, the spring and summer of 1963. The prime minister was Harold Macmillan, the last Conservative giant before Margaret Thatcher...
It came out that the secretary of state for war, John Profumo, 48, had become involved with a group of people who gathered at Cliveden, the country estate of the Astor family, about whom controversy had swirled since World War II.
At a pool party hosted by the society doctor, he met a young woman, 19-year-old Christine Keeler, who was either a dancer or a prostitute depending on the day and claimant. They commenced an affair. But Miss Keeler was also, she later said, romantically involved with the Soviet naval attaché assigned to London. Yevgeny Ivanov was there the day Profumo met her. And as all but children would have known, a Soviet military attaché was a Soviet spy.
When Profumo was caught, he panicked—and lied. That’s what did him in. And his lie was emphatic: He’d bring libel charges if the allegations were repeated outside the House (sound familiar yet?).
Profumo—humiliated on every front page as an adulterer, a liar, a man of such poor judgment and irresponsibility that he mindlessly cavorted with enemy spies—was finished. Alistair Horne, in his biography of Macmillan, wrote of Profumo after the scandal as a “wretched” figure, “disgraced and stripped of all public dignities.”
Because Profumo believed in remorse of conscience—because he actually had a conscience—he could absorb what happened and let it change him however it would. In a way what he believed in was reality. He’d done something terrible—to his country, to his friends, to strangers who had to explain the headlines about him to their children.
He never knew political power again. He never asked for it. He did something altogether more confounding.
He did the hardest thing for a political figure. He really went away. He went to a place that helped the poor, a rundown settlement house called Toynbee Hall in the East End of London. There he did social work—actually the scut work of social work, washing dishes and cleaning toilets. He visited prisons for the criminally insane, helped with housing for the poor and worker education.
And it wasn’t for show, wasn’t a step on the way to political redemption. He worked at Toynbee for 40 years...He didn’t give interviews, never wrote a book, didn’t go on TV.
When he died in 2006, at 91, the reliably ironic Daily Telegraph wore its heart on its sleeve. “No one in public life ever did more to atone for his sins; no one behaved with more silent dignity as his name was repeatedly dragged through the mud; and few ended their lives as loved and revered by those who knew him.”  (Just a guess here, but I doubt anyone will ever say that about our three most famous philanderers.)
So what are we saying? You know.
We’re saying the answer to the politician’s question, “What is the optimum moment at which to come back from a big sex scandal, and how do I do it?” is this:
“You are asking the wrong question.”
The right questions would go something like: “What can I do to stop being greedy for power, attention and adulation? How can I come to understand that the question is not the public’s capacity to forgive, but my own capacity to exercise sound judgment and regard for others?
“How can I stop being a manipulator of public emotions and become the kind of person who generates headlines that parents are relieved—grateful—to explain to their children?”
Noonan answers her own question, and
Here’s the quote:
You can do what John Profumo did. You can go away. You can do something good. You can help women instead of degrading them, help your culture and your city instead of degrading them.
You can become a man.
H/T: bmck1

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Words of Relevance: Blaise Pascal

Today’s quote is certainly as relevant today (thanks to the current political status quo in Washington) as it was in the 17th century when first penned by French Mathematician Blaise Pascal.

Here’s the quote:

Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Words of Relevance: Daniel P. Moynihan

In a paper entitled: "Defining Deviancy Down,"written for The American Scholar, in 1993,  Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who worked in both Republican and Democrat administrations before serving four terms in the United States Senate, as a Democrat, representing the state of New York, warned of the impending results of our changing culture.  The breakdown of the American family, as he saw it, was the source of most of our cultural ills, and all those ills were exasperated by our willingness to accept new “standards” of behavior.  Sounds a bit like “the new normal,” doesn’t it?

Here’s the quote:

I proffer the thesis that, over the past generation...the amount of deviant behavior in American society has increased beyond the levels the community can"afford to recognize" and that, accordingly, we have been re-defining deviancy so as to exempt much conduct previously stigmatized, and also quietly raising the "normal" level in categories where behavior is now abnormal by any earlier standard. 

Imagine a politician today - especially a Democrat - having the courage to call deviant behavior, deviant.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Words of Relevance: Brendan Kelly

That's Brendan Kelly of Great Falls, Virginia (RIP), meeting with Pope John Paul II, at Castel Gandolfo, in 2001.  Please click on the below link to read his whole story.  If it doesn't move you, you have no soul.

The following is from a piece at The Catholic Thing, by Austin Ruse:
Brendan was born with Down syndrome. At four, doctors diagnosed him with leukemia, a cancer with a high rate of remission – but the treatment is devastating. They turn a fire hose of chemo into your body and then pump you up with massive doses of steroids. This can go on and off for months and with terrible effects.
After his diagnosis, his family applied to the Make-a-Wish Foundation: he wanted to meet the pope. Make-a-Wish didn’t quite believe him since only one other child had ever asked for that. So they met with him privately, tempted him with Disney World, a submarine ride, baseball stars. They wanted to make sure meeting the pope was his wish and not his parents’. Brendan insisted.      
In September 2001, the family gathered with others at Castel Gandolfo waiting to meet John Paul II. When the pope entered, rather than wait his turn, Brendan broke and ran to the pope and stood holding his arm as he greeted all the other pilgrims.  Brendan would not move and the pope loved it. He kept glancing at Brendan and smiling.
As the pope began to leave, indeed when he was out the door and around the corner, Brendan shouted out, “Good-bye Pope.” John Paul the Great returned and the family snapped the picture you see in this column.
Brendan's devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament was manifest throughout his entire short life.  Here's more from the Ruse piece:
Brendan would not pass a church without blowing a kiss and shouting, “Hi, Jesus.” So normal and natural was this that a priest of Opus Dei still sermonizes about this as an advanced state of the interior life.
So in love was he with the Eucharist that after chemo, when he had to be isolated because his immune system was ravaged, the family would sit outside the church in their massive black Suburban. At Communion, Father Drummond would walk down the aisle, leave the church, and go outside. Brendan’s window went down and the priest would give him the Blessed Sacrament.
Brendan suffered with leukemia nearly his entire life. He got it at 4 and underwent two-and-a-half years of treatment. It returned at age 10 with another two years of treatment. At 14, it came again and he underwent a bone marrow transplant.
He offered all his pain for others. Among his special intentions has been Bella Santorum. Because of her own devastating disability, she should have died within hours of birth.  In intense pain Brendan would shout, “I love you, Bella.”  Bella still lives.
Two weeks before Brendan's death at the age of 16, his body was so ravaged by his chemo treatments that his aunt, who was helping him into bed, could pat him only on his head as every other part of his body was racked with pain.  What he said to his aunt that night could be the most poignant and selfless statement made by a 16 year old in the modern era.

Here's the quote:
 “Aunt Kelly, I am so happy. All you need to be happy is to open your heart to Jesus.”

Brendan Kelly, pray for us.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Words of Relevance: Leandro Martins

That's Leandro Martins embracing Pope Francis yesterday, after being invited to attend the Pope's private morning Mass at the Vatican.  Martin's story is one that should be published widely, but won't; it's too uplifting.  You can read an account published today on   The Moynihan Letters.  It's not long.  One has to be pretty selective in choosing a favorite quote from such an account, but I have one.

Here's the quote:

"What I found interesting was that after Mass was over the Pope came out and sat by himself. That surprised me. Then I thought I was not going to have a chance to meet him, but Monsignor Alfred brought me outside the chapel and we met and talked. What surprised me was the simplicity of the chapel. It's so simple. He's a simple man and everything is simple there. In these days of ostentation, where having stuff and being someone is more important than things that really matter, he speaks to people like me, he offers a different vision."

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Words of Relevance: Fr. Barron

Videos will not often be included in our new format, with the exception often being given to Fr. Robert Barron of Word on Fire.  In this video Fr. Barron takes on the likes of Christopher Hitchens (RIP) and Bill Maher, both of whom somewhat proudly wore the title, atheist (Maher still does).  In his analysis of the latest Encyclical from Popes Benedict and Francis: Lumen Fidei, Fr. Barron addresses the supposed dichotomy of Faith and Reason.  Every sentence of Fr. Barron is worth quoting, but it's a short video, and anyway one has to choose, so...

Here's the quote:

Who is God?  God is not an object in the world, precisely because God is the creator of all things.   Faith is not irrational; in fact, faith is the reasonable response to the creator God.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Words of Relevance: St. Therese of Lisieux

Today's quote is from The Story of a Soul, the autobiography of Therese of Lisieux, "The Little Flower," about whom Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said:

“Theresa received permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux at the tender age of fifteen. Her name in religion – Sister Theresa of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face – expresses the heart of her spirituality, centered on the contemplation of God’s love revealed in the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.

 In imitation of Christ, Theresa sought to be little in all things and to seek the salvation of the world. Taken ill in her twenty-third year, she endured great physical suffering in union with the crucified Lord; she also experienced a painful testing of faith which she offered for the salvation of those who deny God. 

By striving to embody God’s love in the smallest things of life, Theresa found her vocation to be "love in the heart of the Church". May her example and prayers help us to follow "the little way of trust and love" in spiritual childhood, abandoning ourselves completely to the love of God and the good of souls.”

Here's the quote:

"I realized thoroughly that joy is not found in the things which surround us, but lives only in the soul.  One could possess it as well in an obscure prison as in the palace of a king."

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Words of Relevance: Roger Kimball

Roger Kimball, editor and publisher of “The New Criterion,” in his latest book: The Fortunes of Permanence: Culture and Anarchy in an Age of Amnesia (June 2012), addressed the problem of public (government) education, and the resultant rise of home-schooling.

Here’s the quote:

Only a few years ago, it was a fringe phenomenon, allied almost exclusively to certain conservative evangelical sects.  Today, home schoolers come from every religious and social background.  In 1990-1991, 76,000 children were home-schooled.  The estimate for 2011 is more than 2 million.  That explosion is not only evidence of disenchantment with the intellectual failure of public schools: much more it betokens disenchantment with the moral tenor of public education.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Words of Relevance: Abp Charles Chaput

Today's quote if from  Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, from a speech he delivered, on July 8, 2013, at the National Shrine, Washington, D.C., as part of the National Shrine’s Year of Faith lecture series.  He was speaking about the secularization of our society.

Here's the quote:

The more secular we become, the less we care about the true, the right and the lasting. And here’s the reason: We don’t really believe they exist. Or we simply don’t care.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Words of Relevance: Mother Teresa

In a piece at "First Things" this week, the author, Kate Monaghan, quotes from Mother Teresa speaking about spiritual poverty: Mother Teresa said she had never seen such poverty as that which she had witnessed in the United States. But she wasn’t talking about physical poverty.

Here's the quote from Blessed Mother Teresa:

“I have been to many countries and seen much poverty and suffering . . . But of all the countries I have been to, the poorest one I have been to is America. . . America suffers most from the poverty of loneliness.”

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Words of Relevance: Pope Francis

Today's quote is from the first   Encyclical of Pope Francis: Lumen Fidei., issued in Rome, on June 29, 2013.  The Decalogue, as most Christians know, refers to The Ten Commandments.

Heres' the quote:

The Decalogue is not a set of negative commands, but concrete directions for emerging from the desert of the selfish and self-enclosed ego in order to enter into dialogue with God, to be embraced by his mercy and then to bring that mercy to others. Faith thus professes the love of God, origin and upholder of all things, and lets itself be guided by this love in order to journey towards the fullness of communion with God.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Words of Relevance: St. Benedict of Nursia

Today's quote is from St. Benedict of Nursia., the father of Western Monasticism, whose Feast Day is celebrated today:

"He should know that whoever undertakes the government of souls must prepare himself to account for them." 

The leaders of the Progressive Church should take special note of this admonition issued by St. Benedict more than 1500 years ago.

H/T: luv2sing7

Finally today, we just received this photo of Pope Francis, which should be sent round the world.  I would caption it "Pentecost Redux."  What do you think?

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Words of Relevance: George Weigel

Time to get back in the game after a hiatus of some eight months caused by melancholia bordering on despair over the election results of November 2012.   We'll be trying a new simple format aimed at alerting readers to important quotes (that might have gone unnoticed by readers of the mainstream media), most of which will be positive in content and tone.  Since such quotes might prove difficult to find every day, there will be some that remind us just how perilous are these times - especially for Christians and other believers in religious freedom.

Today's quote is from George Weigel, in a piece he posted at "First Things" today, entitled: "Continuing to Fight for Marriage."

Here's the quote, which totally deconstructs the main thesis of the majority decision in the DOMA case:

"Our opponents have been given high-caliber rhetorical weapons to launch against us; we need not doubt that they will. And if some way isn’t found to counter that false analogy between racial bigotry and marriage rightly understood, we are not going to win many state-level battles in this period when we’re permitted to conduct them."

It is more than ironic that a man who calls himself a Catholic (Justice Kennedy) would write a majority opinion that labels as "bigots and enemies of civility" those members of his own Church who follow the teachings of that Church.

Adjutorium Nostrum in Nomine Domini!

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