Restoring the Sacred

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Words of Relevance: Isaiah on The Coming of Christ (mas)

The birth of Jesus, which we celebrate today, was prophesied centuries before the event, most notably by the prophet Isaiah.  According to Wikipedia: :The oldest surviving manuscripts of Isaiah are two scrolls found among the Dead Sea Scrolls; dating from about a century before the time of Jesus, but those manuscripts have been dated to as far back as 408 B.C.  There are two well known and relevant quotes from Isaiah about today.

Here's the first:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.  
The second will be recognized from George Frideric Handel's Magnus opus, Messiah.
Here's the quote:
For unto us a Child is born,
 Unto us a Son is given;
 And the government will be upon His shoulder.
 And His name will be called 
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
 Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Words of Relevance: Pope Paul VI: the Great Prognosticator

Pope Paul VI, wrote a landmark encyclical, which was promulgated on July 25,1968.  It was entitled: Humanae Vitae.  It was perhaps the greatest, and clearest (not to mention timely) encyclical written in my lifetime.  Unfortunately, it went mostly unread, and almost totally unheeded, thanks in large part to a failure on the part of clerics to fully support it.  There was a joke making the rounds at the time about an old Italian woman listening as the Pope discussed his encyclical from his balcony at the Vatican.  The woman supposedly spoke rather loudly: "He no playa da game; he no maka da rules."  She never obviously considered that the rules were not coming from him, and neither, apparently, did any of the clerics who disagreed with him.

Breaking from the usual format of providing one or two relevant quotes, herewith is a short summary of the Prophecies of Humanae Vitae, originally published by Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, on the Blog of The Population Research Institute. 

"On July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI’s Humanae Vitae re-affirmed the Catholic teaching on life, love and human sexuality.  In that document, he listed the consequences of life lived outside Catholic teaching.  
"He predicted that:
1. Contraception would lead to conjugal infidelity.
2. Contraceptive practice would lead to a “general lowering of morality.”
3. Contraception would lead men to cease respecting woman in their totality and would cause them to treat women as “mere instruments of selfish enjoyment” rather than as cherished partners.
4. And finally, widespread acceptance of contraception by couples would lead to a massive imposition of contraception by unscrupulous governments.  
"In other words, Pope Paul VI predicted that contraception would evolve from “a lifestyle choice” into a weapon of mass destruction.  How dreadfully his prophecy has been vindicated by population control and coercive sterilization programs, fertility reduction quotas and the promotion of abortion literally everywhere in the world.
"Contraception’s destruction of the integrity of the marital act—as unitive and procreative—has dire consequences for society and for our souls.  Contraception, in other words, is a rejection of God’s view of reality.  It is a wedge driven into the most intimate sphere of communion known to man outside of the Holy Sacrament of the Mass.  It is a degrading poison that withers life and love both in marriage and in society.
"By breaking the natural and divinely ordained connection between sex and procreation, women and men—but especially men—would focus on the hedonistic possibilities of sex.  People would cease seeing sex as something that was intrinsically linked to new life and to the sacrament of marriage.
"Does anyone doubt that this is where we find ourselves today?"
I read recently (wish I could remember where) that we have entered an age of hedonistic narcissism.  Can't argue with that.

The Bellarmine Forum is running a Campaign for Humanae Vitae on their Blog site, and you can sign the petition on the website.  

You can also listen to a Podcast by Dr. Christopher Manion of the Bellarmine Forum discussing the failure on the part of many clerics (including Cardinal Timothy Dolan) to address Humanae Vitae since its promulgation, by clicking Here.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Words of Relevance: Allan Bloom and Political Men

Allan David Bloom (September 14, 1930 – October 7, 1992), one of our great professors, philosophers, and classicists, is most famous for his magnus opus: The Closing of the American Mind.  His first book was a collection of three essays on Shakespeare's plays, entitled: Shakespeare's Politics (1964), and today's relevant quote is taken from that work.  Bloom is countering the idea that the family is not the most important aspect of politics (an idea espoused by Plato and others, who believed more in the "just city").  The quote is in his essay on "Richard II":

Here's the quote:

"…the exquisitely refined souls do not belong in the best political men."