Restoring the Sacred

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Words of Relevance: Alexis de Tocqueville & Income Inequality

Alexis de Tocqueville's main piece of writing, Democracy in America,
was published in 1835.  It tells of what he found during his travels through the New World "from the perspective of a detached social scientist."  His observations on the American view of equality (which hasn't changed in almost 200 years) might come as a surprise to Barack Obama, and his acolytes, who prefer to engage in class warfare because it aids their political agenda.

Here's the quote:
Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.  

(Don't miss the quote on the above photo)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Words of Relevance: Fr. Schall: Redistribution & Production

We could quote Fr. Schall every day (we did in our last post) because he is one of the most prolific, and relevant, of Catholic writers.

Today while reading one of his latest books: Another Sort of Learning,
today's quote was found in Chapter 14: "The Recovery of Permanent Things." 

In discussing the often ignored relationship between production and redistribution, Fr. Schall provides extremely relevant information to those consumed by the concept of social justice without realizing how unjust their social justice can be.

Here's the quote:
We go toward redistribution as if the problems of production and their relations to justice and benevolence have somehow disappeared.  Paul's (St.Paul) "If a man will not work, neither let him eat" has been replaced by a sort of secular version of the old Communion Antiphon, "Take and receive."…Clearly we do not understand, as P.T. Bauer has remarked, that "profit" is earned.  Distribution follows production and does not exist outside of it.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Words of Relevance: Fr. James Schall: Do What You are Doing

James Vincent Schall, S.J. (born January 20, 1928), writing today on the Blog of The Catholic World Report, tells of being teased by a fellow priest in the rectory on January 12th, the day of the announcement of additions to the Cardinalate by Pope Francis: “Well, Schall, I see you didn’t make it again.”

Of course Fr. Schall, who never misses an opportunity to teach, replied with our quote of the day.

Here's the quote:
We cannot go through life “missing” the things we were never cut out for in the first place. St. Ignatius, I believe, has a phrase that advises us to “agree quod agis—do what you are doing.” It has the implication that we are to try to do it well, even if we are not cardinals. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Words of Relevance: Michael Joyce: Change the Church?

Michael Joyce (full disclosure: we're related), the speaker on the below linked video, was concerned about the lack of Catechesis in the Church, and decided to do something about it.  He created his own website, which he called Christian Church Logic.  He has now completed his third video presentation which will be posted below.  It's a short video, but is filled with many words of relevance.  Of course we've chosen a favorite (or three).

Here's the quote:
As a truth, marriage can only be between a man and a woman: truth can't change; truth is eternal.  Gay marriage was either always possible and always will be possible, or it was never possible and never will be possible.
The Catholic Church's Sacrament of Matrimony is a covenant uniquely expressing what it means to be a man and a woman: equal, different, complementary.
The Catholic Church's teachings on sex and marriage are beautiful, deep, rich, and life changing.
Here's a link to the new the video:

Please visit the website (linked above) and watch (and share) the first two videos when you have time.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Words of Relevance: Churchill on Architecture

Colette Arredondo, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame's School of Architecture, wrote an interesting piece at City Journal yesterday entitled: Sacred Revival.

Her essay is actually a review of a recent book by Duncan Stroik, a professor of classical architecture at the University of Notre Dame, entitled: The Church Building as a Sacred Place: Beauty, Transcendence, and the Eternal.

Early in her essay, she provides us with the quote of the day from Sir Winston Churchill, but she goes on to list examples in Stroik's book lamenting the loss of the sacred, most especially in the architecture of Catholic churches.  Some examples:
Stroik seeks an architecture that is inherently Catholic. For him, the “form follows function” concept is at odds with the purpose of a church building, which needs to do more than just serve the programmatic function of the liturgy. Catholicism is a religion of the senses, he explains. The architecture of its buildings should contribute to an atmosphere of transcendence.
In Catholic architecture today, fan-shaped and semicircular churches, with sloped seating for sightlines, are all-too-common. High altars have been replaced with priest’s chairs. The tabernacle has been displaced from the central axis of the church and moved to a distinguished but separate location... “the greatest loss of the sense of the sacred in our churches in recent decades is the disregard or demotion of the sanctuary within the house of God.”
Stroik clearly favors the traditional basilica and cruciform churches, in part because they are instantly identifiable as churches, which many modernist church buildings are not.  
Arredondo, as stated, opened her essay with the quote of the day by Churchill, who, in May 1941, after German bombing had destroyed the Commons Chamber of the U.K. House of Commons, and when discussions were underway as to how to rebuild "in a way that preserved the 'form, convenience, and dignity' of the destroyed chamber, which dated to 1852," said the following in a speech before the Commons:

Here's the quote:
 “We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.” 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Words of Relevance: W. F. Buckley: STOP!

William Frank Buckley, Jr. (November 24, 1925 – February 27, 2008), was, for his entire adult life, the de facto leader of the American Conservative movement.  He wrote more than 50 books on various topics, and even found time to write a series of novels featuring a mythical CIA agent, Blackford Oakes.

In 1955, he founded the Conservative journal, National Review, and remained its editor-in-chief until 1990.  The magazine became, and has remained, the standard-bearer of American Conservatism.

In 1965, he ran for Mayor of New York, and when asked what he would do should he win, replied: "I would demand a recount."  His most famous quote, though, was coined at the introduction of his beloved National Review, by way of its mission statement, issued on November 19, 1955.

Here's the quote:
It stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.
Why are Buckley's words so relevant today?  Fifty-eight years later, the voters of New York City elected a man, who by all appearances is the most Left-wing radical politician (and that is by far the kindest appellation that could be used in describing him) that could be found in the city, to serve as their mayor.  God help them.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Words of Relevance: W. B. Yeats "The Second Coming"

William Butler Yeats,  probably the most renown of Irish poets (he even served two terms as an Irish Senator), is remembered for many of his writings other than the one deemed, at least in this corner, his most prescient.  Written in 1919, The Second Coming
presages our current state of affairs with elected officials.  Surely his two terms in political office had some influence on his writing.  Here's the first stanza of the poem without the last couplet, which will be the quote of the day:
    "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
Here's the last two lines, and today's quote:
    "The best lack all conviction, while the worst 
            Are full of passionate intensity."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Words of Relevance: Chesterton: What's wrong with the world?

G. K. Chesterton (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) was once asked by a London newspaper to join with other recognized authors and erudite thinkers of the time to comment on the perennial question: "what's wrong with the world."  His answer was sent to the newspaper by letter, which is today's quote:

Dear Sirs,
I am.
Sincerely yours,
G.K. Chesterton 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Words of Relevance: John Henry Newman: Evil and the World

The Catholic Thing Blog today posted one of the always extraordinary sermons of John Henry Cardinal Newman.  Their post is "Adapted from No. 7 of Sermons on Subjects of the Day."

Newman, writing almost two centuries ago, clearly points out a problem that, if anything, has been exacerbated by our culture today.

Here's the quote:
"The one peculiar and characteristic sin of the world is this, that whereas God would have us live for the life to come, the world would make us live for this life. . . .not for the next. It takes, as the main scope of human exertion, an end which God forbids; and consequently all that it does becomes evil, because directed to a wrong end. . . 
"The world has many sins, but its peculiar offence is that of daring to reason contrary to God’s Word and will. It puts wrong aims before itself, and acts towards them. It goes wrong as if on principle, and prefers its own way of viewing things to God’s way…"