Restoring the Sacred

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Words of Relevance: Thomas Babington Macaulay

Thomas Babington Macaulay (25 October 1800 – 28 December 1859), one of the greatest essayists of The Victorian Period, in his essay on Lord Bacon, compared the philosophy of Lord Bacon with that of Plato. What Macaulay said in his comparison of the two should strike a chord with anyone living here today.  See if you can discern the relevance.

Here's the quote:
The aim of the Platonic philosophy was to raise us far above vulgar wants.  The aim of the Baconian philosophy was to supply our vulgar wants.  The former aim was laudable; but the latter was attainable. 

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Words of Relevance: Fr. Jerzy Popieluszko

Father Jerzy Popieluszko, a Plolish Catholic Priest was murdered by three agents of the Polish Communist Intelligence Agency, on October 18, 1984.  He was declared a martyr and was beatified, on June 6, 2010.  He was murdered because of his strong identification with the Solidarity movement in Poland, and because he spoke out publicly against the tyranny of the Communist regime ruling his country.  He was no shrinking violet trying to go along to get along with evil.

George Weigel in a post today at First Things, tells of a contemporary Via Crucis in which figures from modern Polish Catholic history are “inserted” into the traditional Stations of the Cross. The bronzes themselves are well-done, but what is particularly striking about the Pasierbiec Via Crucis is the idea that animates these sculptures—the idea that we can, and should, imagine ourselves living inside the biblical story. 

At the sixth station there in the village of Pasierbiecin, Krakow, ...Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko, the martyr-priest of Solidarity, relieves Jesus of some of the weight of the Cross while Veronica wipes the Holy Face; the message Father Jerzy preached during martial law in inscribed on the cross.

Here's the quote:
“Overcome evil with good”

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Words of Relevance: Henry Kissinger

The quote today is from Henry Kissinger, considered by some to be one of the most erudite, and influential, men of our time.  The quote is being used because of its relevance to the debate on "same sex marriage."  It was used today by Robert Royal, editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing Blog, to caution those who are ready to surrender on this crucial issue that history does not always turn out the way the "well informed" are sure it will.  So, those inclined to turn their backs on Church teaching, and accept evil because of its inevitability, should harken to the words of this man, who at least two American presidents relied so heavily upon.  The quote by Kissinger (which became an issue in the 1976 presidential campaign), in which he offered perhaps his least enlightened prognostication, is being used here to encourage the faithful who refuse to buckle under to the opinions being expressed in our secular society (even when those opinions are being offered by "experts").

Here's the quote:
“The day of the United States is past and today is the day of the Soviet Union. My job as Secretary of State is to negotiate the most acceptable second-best position available.” 
Ah, yes, BUT, on December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union was relegated to the "ash heap of history," as predicted by President Ronald Reagan, in 1982.

Robert Royal concludes his piece with this:
"The gay surge in the West may seem much less likely to be reversed. There are days we all feel that way. And it may be so. But there’s only one way to find out. And it’s not pre-emptive surrender."

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Words of Relevance: Malcolm Muggeridge Memories

Malcolm Muggeridge,  the British journalist, author, soldier and spy - and yet another intellectual who "crossed the Tiber" late in life and became a Catholic, was visited at his home two years before he died by author and editor George Marlin, who wrote about that visit today on The Catholic Thing Blog.  Their conversation included Muggeridge's impressions of: Ronald Reagan, Mother Teresa, William F. Buckley Jr., and Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  You can read the whole piece by clicking on the link above.

The conversation turned to social issues, and Muggeridge, never a fan of political correctness, spoke candidly about problems he sees prevalent in our culture (and this was back in 1988).  He would not be happy to witness the further deterioration of things since his death in 1990.

Here's the quote:
“Abortion and the homosexual rights movement are the two bad things in our time,” he said. I described New York City’s moral bankruptcy, and he replied:  “The Devil is a very big and clever person, particularly in New York. And he fools many New Yorkers by convincing them they are very smart.”

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Words of Relevance: Pope Francis on "The Theology of Sin"

William Doino, Jr., writing today at First Things, talks about Pope Francis and the Theology of Sin.  He contrasts the views of the Pope with those of the secular world (the Pope's views, of course, are those of the Church), and seems to be addressing his comments to the "I'm OK, you're OK;" "It is what is is;" "We're all going to heaven as long as we love each other" crowd with the teachings of the Church through the centuries.  The concept of "shame" seems nowhere to be found in our secular culture, and that (pardon the pun) is a shame.  Here's Doino:
(Pope) Francis takes if for granted that sex outside of marriage (to cite only one sin) is gravely wrong; the world does not—and increasingly doesn’t even believe in the proper definition of marriage. The Pope maintains the urgency of confessing our sins; the world believes in celebrating and justifying them. The Pope believes it essential to acknowledge and promote a healthy Christian concept of shame; whereas the world mocks the very idea of shame. Perhaps that is why Francis, in his April address, reserved some of his strongest words for the “unashamed...”
Pope Francis, addressing his fellow Jesuits on the Feast of their Founder, Ignatius of Loyola, had much to say about the absence of shame in today's society, and one quote in particular stands out.

Here's the quote:
"I do not know if there is a similar saying in Italian, but in our country [Argentina] those who are never ashamed are called “sin verguenza”: this means “the unashamed,” because they are people who do not have the ability to be ashamed and to be ashamed is a virtue of the humble, of the man and the woman who are humble."

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Words of Relevance: Cicero (On Duties)

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 B.C. - 43 B.C.), considered perhaps the greatest of Rome's orators, never missed an opportunity to castigate Julius Caesar, for what Cicero considered his unlawful ambitions and his demagoguery. Caesar, you will recall, was assassinated on the Ides of March, 44 B.C.,

Cicero wrote his great essay: De Officiis (On Duties), the last of his dogmatic works, in 44 B.C., the last year of his life.  The essay, which is divided into three books and written in the form of a letter to his son, contains many statements one could easily find relevant to our times.  He clearly had disdain for the "change" to the republic brought about by the reign of Caesar, and was not afraid to trumpet his feelings.  He even made clear what he thought about the successors of Caesar who implemented Caesar's policies after his death.

Here's the quote:
"For my part, when the republic was being run by the men to whom it had entrusted itself, I devoted all my concern and all my thoughts to it.  But then a single man came to dominate everything, there was no longer any room for consultation or for personal authority...I only wish that the republic had remained in its original condition, rather than fall into the hands of men greedy not merely for change, but for revolution."

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Words of Relevance: Sean Cardinal O'Malley on Abortion & Euthanasia

Relevance can work in both directions.  Yesterday's post on Hippocrates had relevance to what is happening today in the practice of medicine.  Today's post has relevance not only to the words of Hippocrates from 2500 years ago, but also to the wording of the current poor excuse for the Hippocratic Oath.  

Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and the most courageous of Catholic Bishops in America in defense of the unborn, spoke at this year's March for Life in Washington, D.C.  He linked the evil of Abortion with the upcoming threat of Euthanasia, already a reality in parts of Europe. 

Here's the quote:
"A society that allows parents to kill their children will allow children to kill their parents."

Here in America we rely (as usual) on one of our trusty euphemisms: we call it Physician Aid in Dying (PAD) or physician assisted suicide, already legal in Oregon, Montana, Washington and Vermont. 

Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini. 

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Words of Relevance: Hippocrates & Abortion

Most of us are familiar with something called the Hippocratic Oath, which, unfortunately, is no longer administered in our medical schools.  Hippocrates, considered the father of western medicine, practiced and wrote during the Age of Pericles.  He lived roughly between the years: 460 B.C. and 370 B.C.  The oath attributed to him, which is not long, can be read HERE.  A modern version, HERE, currently in use has glossed over some of the proscriptions in the original and obliterated certain other parts (you can probably guess one of the parts that was obliterated even if you haven't seen the current version).  The conspicuous absence of the proscription against the taking of life could make one think there might just have been some heavy lobbying by the "pro-choice" folks who couldn't bear the language removed from the original.  The quote below is from the original, and is NOT in the current version:
"I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art."

It actually gets worse: language inserted into the current version is a clear start down the path to Euthanasia.  Here's that scary quote:
"Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.

I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person's family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick."

Nice to know they don't want to play God, but that "awesome responsibility" (to take a life) just might make it necessary, especially if the "illness may effect the person's family and economic stability."  Seniors beware!

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Words of Relevance: Divine Creation and The Virgin Birth

Today's quote comes from Anthony Esolen, writing at The Catholic Thing Blog.  With help from Anne Roche Muggeridge, daughter-in-law of Malcolm Muggeridge, the Intellectual who came to the Catholic faith late in life, he deconstructs the arguments of those who want to play both sides of a question.  For instance, those who can accept that God created the universe, but cannot accept that He could cause a virgin to give birth.  He addresses those players of both sides by saying:
Or are we to believe that the God who created a universe from nothing cannot fructify the ovum in a woman’s womb?  This is another example of the mythologizing of the self-styled demythologizers, the bunko artistry of the debunkers.   
After inserting the knife, he twists it, and,

Here's the quote:
"It’s coherent to believe in both the divine creation of the world and the virgin birth of Jesus.  It’s coherent to believe neither.  But it’s incoherent to believe the first and that the second is impossible." 

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Words of Relevance: Samuel Whittemore

Today's quote is about, rather than by, this oldest known (but not very well-known) combatant in the American Revolutionary War, Samuel Whittemore.  He was apparently more of a doer than a speaker, as nothing ever said by the man could be found.  His deeds, though, and the deeds of others like him, speak louder than the words of all the politicians that have followed them.  Without their selfless efforts, today's politicians wouldn't have a country to "serve."

Today's quote is from Wikipedia, and chronicles the retreat of British forces after the Battles of Lexington and Concord.  Here's the quote:
Whittemore was in his fields when he spotted an approaching British relief brigade under Earl Percy, sent to assist the retreat. Whittemore loaded his musket and ambushed the British from behind a nearby stone wall, killing one soldier. He then drew his dueling pistols and killed a grenadier and mortally wounded a second. By the time Whittemore had fired his third shot, a British detachment reached his position; Whittemore drew his sword and attacked. He was shot in the face, bayoneted thirteen times, and left for dead in a pool of blood. He was found alive, trying to load his musket to fight again. He was taken to Dr. Cotton Tufts of Medford, who perceived no hope for his survival. However, Whittemore lived another 18 years until dying of natural causes at the age of 98.
H/T: robpmck

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Words of Relevance: Homer

Those of you who have studied some Greek need no introduction to the blind poet of Ancient Greece.  Those of us who were briefly introduced to him in high school, or before if we attended good schools, are at least familiar with his two greatest epic poems: Illiad and Odyssey.

Writing about 800 years before the birth of Christ, Homer obviously spoke for generations to come in both of those works.  One living in the United States today would surely find relevance in much of what is said, for example, in Illiad. The poem covers only the tenth and final year of The Trojan War, but gives the reader a detailed account of that year.  One particular quote should strike us as prescience at the highest level.

Here's the quote:
“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.” 

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Words of Relevance: Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke, the irish statesman remembered chiefly for his support of the American Revolution and his clearly stated opposition to the French Revolution, wrote a piece entitled Reflections on the French Revolution in which he laments the loss of civility (to put it mildly) on the part of those responsible for the wanton slaughter.  Reading Burke it is easy to see why he is considered the father of modern Conservatism, and a representative of classical liberalism, which is the same thing.  There are several indications of his strong preference for Conservative principles throughout the piece, but one particularly stood out.

Here's the quote:

"When ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss, cannot possibly be estimated. From that moment we have no compass to govern us; nor can we know distinctly to what port to steer."

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