Restoring the Sacred

Monday, November 25, 2013

Words of Relevance: H.L. Mencken: Democracy and the Narcissistic Moron

H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956), the "Sage of Baltimore," was a journalist, satirist, critic, and Democrat. He wrote many editorials while working for the Baltimore Evening Sun, nearly every one of which is a classic.

Today's quote is from the July 26, 1920 edition of the Baltimore Evening Sun and, although written and published 93 years ago, it could not be more relevant to our present time (and administration).

Here's the quote:
"As democracy is perfected, the office of the President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be occupied by a downright fool and complete narcissistic moron."

H/T: datansey00

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Words of Relevance: Gerhart Niemeyer on "Hope"

Gerhart Niemeyer (with his friend William F. Buckley, Jr.), was one of the greatest minds of our time, as attested by some of the other great minds of our time.  Dr. Christopher Manion mentioned him today in a post at The Bellarmine Forum, entitled: "Hope in the Rearview Mirror."

One of those other great minds of our time, Angelo Codevilla, wrote a tribute to his former teacher on The University Bookman after Niemeyer died, in which he said the following: "Niemeyer’s life embodied the Platonic lesson he passed on to us—that to grow in understanding is to grow closer to God."  

There are too many relevant quotes of Niemeyer provided by Dr. Manion in his referenced post to choose just one, so herewith more than one:
"...not only Communists but all other varieties of progressive have raised hope as the flag around which their supporters rally.”
“Christian hope is for things imperishable, not confined to this world – things promised by God and secured by Jesus Christ. With a view to this imperishable glory, the entire Christian life is illumined and transfigured by hope. Hope thus is an enduring quality of a Christian life, together with faith and charity.”  

But the true believers on the Left:
"have drawn their secular hopes not from Christian sources but from futuristic ideologies."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Words of Relevance: President Lincoln on The Virtue of Silence

On this the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, it's fitting to remember that the main speaker at Gettysburg that day was former secretary of state Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours on the events of the day.  Lincoln was asked only to say a few words to close the program.  He did that and much more.  His closing remarks: two hundred and seventy-two words, delivered in a littler more than two minutes, have gone down in history as one of the greatest political speeches ever delivered.  Members of our current administration, who did not pick up on the clear lesson imparted by President Lincoln that day, should pay heed to something else he said that is extremely relevant today.

Here's the quote:
"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and to remove all doubt."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Words of Relevance: Two Popes and Relativism

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI began speaking out against what he called "The Dictatorship of Relativism" even before he was elected Pope on April 19, 2005.   He spoke of it often, and even Progressive Catholics understood what he meant even if they  did not agree with him on the severity of the problem.  During his papacy, he related how relativism tended toward political correctness and thereafter to intolerance.
Here's the quote:
“In recent years I find myself noting,” how the more relativism becomes the generally accepted way of thinking, the more it tends toward intolerance. Political correctness … seeks to establish the domain of a single way of thinking and speaking. Its relativism creates the illusion that it has reached greater heights than the loftiest philosophical achievements of the past. It presents itself as the only way to think and speak — if, that is, one wishes to stay in fashion. … I think it is vital that we oppose this imposition of a new pseudo-enlightenment, which threatens freedom of thought as well as freedom of religion.”
Pope Francis, on the other hand, has given unscripted interviews recently that have some members of the Church scratching their heads and wondering how the current pontiff feels about relativism.  There have been a number of interpretations rendered by various Catholic pundits on what the Pope actually meant when he said certain things, but what he actually said seems to indicate that he feels less inclined than his predecessor to encourage the faithful to guard against the cult of relativism so pervasive in our culture.  Those hoping for an acceptance by the Church of fundamental changes in Catholic doctrine, however, have been disappointed at every turn (so far) when Pope Francis confirms that doctrine at every opportunity.  They still, though, cling to certain utterances that give them hope.  Here's the quote:
"When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem ... they're our brothers."
Apparently some of our brothers take the absence of the word "repentance," and the failure to mention what we've always been taught: "Love the sinner; hate the sin," as an encouraging sign that Pope Francis is dismissing any such admonishments.  They shouldn't do that.  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Words of Relevance: C.S. Lewis and The USCCB

In watching the soon-to-be-completed meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I was reminded of something C. S. Lewis said in his great work: The Abolition of Man.  His prescient observations struck me in particular when the incoming USCCB president, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, was interviewed last night by Colleen Carroll Campbell, on EWTN, about the infamous HHS mandate.  Sadly, he sounded more like a politician ( a pretty secular one) when attempting to answer her inquiry as to what the bishops intended to do when the mandate becomes binding.  He spoke blandly about the court cases (which he expects will find their way to the Supreme Court) and expressed the hope that they will, eventually, be resolved in our favor.  I kept waiting for him to say as forcefully as a bishop might (think St. Peter or Andrew), "In any case, regardless of the outcome of these civil maneuverings, WE CANNOT and WILL NOT COMPLY," but that would not be nice.

That is what brought to mind this relevant quote from C.S. Lewis.

Here's the quote:
"The operation of The Green Book and its kind is to produce what may be called Men without Chests.  It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken of as intellectuals.  This gives then the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks intelligence.  It is not so...It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out.  Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so."


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Words of Relevance: Pope Leo XIII on Socialism

In the midst of all the media spin over recent candid interviews by our current pontiff, it might be instructive to go back to one of the lions of the Catholic Church for a clear understanding of the Church's position on socialism.

In his encyclical, QUOD APOSTOLICI MUNERIS (On Socialism),  promulgated on 28 December 1878, Pope Leo XIII denounced socialism as "a Satanic counterfeit of the Gospel." He had much more to say about it, but one particular quote stood out.

Here's the quote:
“...they assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law; and by a scheme of horrible wickedness, while they seem desirous of caring for the needs and satisfying the desires of all men, they strive to seize and hold in common whatever has been acquired either by title of lawful inheritance, or by labor of brain and hands, or by thrift in one's mode of life. . . .But the boldness of these bad men, which day by day more and more threatens civil society with destruction, and strikes the souls of all with anxiety and fear, finds its cause and origin in those poisonous doctrines which, spread abroad in former times among the people, like evil seed bore in due time such fatal fruit.”

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Words of Relevance: C. S. Lewis: The Greatest Evil

The oft quoted C.S. Lewis (29 November 1898 - 22 November 1963)
provides for us today one that is perhaps the most relevant of all his aphorisms.  It is especially relevant to those among us most negatively effected by the policies of our current administration.

Here's the quote:
“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Words of Relevance: Vladimir Putin: Religion and Political Correctness

Believe it or not, that's Vladimir Putin, president of Russia and Russian Patriarch Kirill I, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, with whom he has become quite friendly.
The following is from the Moynihan Report, Letter #94:

On September 19, Putin spoke at an annual gathering to discuss Russia's future in Valdai, Russia (near Novgorod).

"Putin urges Russians to return to values of religion," was the title of an AP report by Neil Buckley, present at the meeting. 

"Vladimir Putin called on Russians to strengthen a new national identity based on conservative and traditional values such as the Orthodox church, warning that the West was facing a moral crisis."
This is amazing stuff, and much of what Putin said at that gathering was extremely relevant here in the United States, but some of it hit like a ton of bricks.

Here's the quote:
“A policy is being conducted of putting on the same level multi-child families and single-sex partnerships, belief in God and belief in Satan. The excesses of political correctness are leading to the point where people are talking seriously about registering parties whose goal is legalizing the propaganda of pedophilia.  People in many European countries are ashamed, and are afraid of talking about their religious convictions. [Religious] holidays are being taken away or called something else, shamefully hiding the essence of the holiday.”

Here's an earlier post on Russian Patriarch Kirill I on "gay marriage" and political correctness:

And: Today, November 7, 2013, it was announced that Pope Francis will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vatican City, on November 25.