Restoring the Sacred

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

O'Reilly: The Real Story About Syrian Refugees

This was posted on Western today.
They posted the following excerpts from O'Reilly's talking points memo.
“Fifty-four percent of American oppose taking in Syrian refugees even after they’ve been screened for security,” he said.
 “The reason most Americans do not want to accept Muslim refugees is not based on ethnicity or religion – it is based on security.”
“The majority of Americans have no confidence at all that the Obama administration can protect them from harm,” he said, noting that current leaders are “so liberal, so frightened and so chaotic that they cannot provide security for we the people.”
and concluded with this:
To help illustrate his point, O’Reilly cited two Obama policies – lax border security and the release of more than 36,000 convicted criminal aliens – as evidence that this administration has made America less safe.

1 Peter 5: The Pope, the Prelates and Braveheart

This is from 1 Peter 5 today:
The movie Braveheart dramatizes the heroic struggle, led by the commoner William Wallace, for Scottish independence. In one scene, the Scottish nobles gather after some initial victories by William Wallace over the English. The nobles begin bickering over how best to negotiate with the English King, Edward Longshanks, for they fear losing their lands and moneys if they push Longshanks too hard. Disgusted, Wallace begins to walk out of the room when he is stopped and asked his plans:
Wallace: I will invade England and defeat the English on their own ground.
Lord Craig: Invade? That’s impossible.
Wallace: Why? Why is that impossible? You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from Longshanks’ table that you’ve missed your God-given right to something better. There is a difference between us. You think the people of this country exist to provide you with possession. I think your possession exists to provide those people with freedom. And I go to make sure that they have it.
I’m often reminded of this scene when I see how Catholic leaders today – clerical or lay – act in relation to the world. Although the Catholic Church has been given the words of everlasting life, most Catholic leaders seem content to squabble over the scraps from the world’s table – working to make Catholicism palatable to polite society, simply satisfied with the continued existence of the Church and doing nothing to expand her footprint. When anyone suggests that perhaps we should “invade England,” i.e., resist the world’s lies completely and work for its total conversion to Catholicism, these same leaders are quick to say, “That’s impossible,” for all sorts of timid reasons – “No one will listen to us,” “We have to meet people where they are,” and “We can’t be triumphalistic.” But it is fear of rejection – and fear of losing their current comfortable positions – that is driving their timidity. All the while faithful Catholics are denied their God-given right to something better – a full and unadulterated proclamation and practice of Catholicism.
What would such a proclamation and practice look like? Here are some starters:
Full-throated defense of the Church’s moral teaching. No more tepid justifications for why we should go along with the death march that is our modern culture: “We must accompany people on their journey.” “We are just making a pastoral, not a doctrinal, change.” Instead we need a robust defense and explanation for why the Church’s moral teachings are the only sane ones in an insane world, and an exhortation to follow them, that we may find true joy and peace.
Condemnation of error and those that promote it. No more acting as if orthodoxy is an option, while souls are falling deeper and deeper into sin and error. Leaders need to treat theological error for the serious danger it is: something that can separate us from God for all eternity. Further, those who promote error need to be publicly and strongly resisted, not given tenured positions at “Catholic” universities (or promoted to Cardinalate dioceses).
A liturgy that reflects the grandeur of what it is celebrating. No more insipid, uninspiring liturgies that either would be more at home in a Gilbert & Sullivan show or reflect a deep-seated apathy toward the Faith. We need liturgical celebrations to be reverent, serious, and awe-inspiring. Did I mention reverent?
Proclamation of the superiority of Catholicism. No more acting as if every Tom, Dick and Martin Luther has more religious wisdom than Thomas Aquinas and Augustine put together. We need to start proclaiming that the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, and that eternal salvation comes through her. Souls are depending on it.
A concern for the next life more than this life. No more treating recycling campaigns and government social programs as if they are more important than the eternal destination of souls. Our sights have been set so low over the past few decades that we forget that it is only the Church that has the means to solve the greatest problems in existence: sin and death. The guiding principle of every action of a Church leader must be “Will this help or hinder souls getting to Heaven?”
For far too long Church leaders – again, lay as well as clerical – have thought that their positions exist to provide them with prestige, invitations to dine with the Important People, and as a means to book deals, TV shows, and speaking engagements. In reality their positions exist to provide people with the path to eternal life. Only if they stop squabbling for the world’s scraps and instead “invade England” –  i.e., confront the world head-on and work for its complete conversion – can the Church fulfill her mandate, given to her by Christ, to “make disciples of all nations” and thus conquer, instead of conform to, the world.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Feast of Christ the King: VIVA CRISTO REY!

Father George Rutler's Homily on the Feast of Christ the King:
  November 22, 2015 
by Fr. George W. Rutler
Our former church was begun in 1857 and rebuilt after a fire in 1892. When I kneel before the high altar, which was moved to its present location in 1907 to make room for the Pennsylvania Station, I think of how the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been offered there through the Civil War with its Draft Riots and lynchings, and two World Wars, as well as Korea and Vietnam, with their victory parades and funerals for the young men killed in them. Workers and firemen who worshiped at this altar were killed at the World Trade Center. Every altar in the world is a focus of the human drama, and while Christ died once and rose in victory never to die again, his death transcends time in his merciful union with all human suffering. This is why Pascal said paradoxically in his Penséesthat the Risen Christ “is in agony on the Mount of Olives until the end of the world.”
   When the haters of remnant Christian civilization struck Paris last Friday the 13th, many kept saying that it was “unreal” and “inexplicable.” But the blood was real, and the cruelty was totally explicable by the history of false religion and its embrace of evil. Fittingly, when the attack began in that concert hall, the band was playing a cacophonous piece, barely distinguishable from gunfire, called “Kiss the Devil.” Only those afflicted with the illusion of secular progressivism as a substitute for the Gospel seemed bewildered. Evil is real and explicable by the Fall of Man. Through the battles that have been fought and endured as Mass was being said on our altar, those who knelt here have promised to renounce Satan, and all his evil works, and all his empty promises.
   It is different now that a whole generation has been taught to think that there is no evil to resist, and no holiness to attain. The highest ambition of our new “therapeutic culture” is no loftier than the desire to “feel good” about oneself. We were solaced by politicians telling us that ISIS has been “contained” and is less dangerous than climate change. While Christians in the Middle East were being slaughtered in what the pope himself called genocide, although our own State Department refused to call it that, coddled and foul-mouthed students on our college campuses were indulging psychodramatic claims of hurt feelings and low self-esteem. They are not the stuff of which civilization’s heroes are made, and when the barbarians flood the gates, their teddy bears and balloons will be of little use.
   Christ is the King of the universe because “He is before all things and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). To deny that is to be left in a moral whirlwind, thinking that evil is unreal and the actions of evil people have no explanation. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Paul Ryan and Catholic Social Doctrine

George Weigel, writing today at Catholic World Report, compares three men who had the opportunity to make Catholic social teaching viable though out the United States.
Over forty years of teaching and writing about Catholic social doctrine, I’ve gotten to know three men who had the opportunity to embody the Church’s social teaching for a national audience. Two of them couldn’t pull it off, for different reasons.
Those three men, as pictured above are: Sargent Shriver, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and now the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.  The opportunity was missed by Shriver and Moynihan, but Weigel has high hopes for Paul Ryan.  You can read the essay by clicking HERE.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tom Wolfe on Intellectuals and People of Intellectual Achievement

Author Tom Wolfe was featured today in the Notable & Quotable section of the Wall Street Journal:
Nov. 1, 2015 5:06 p.m. ET
From an interview with author Tom Wolfe by the National Endowment for the Humanities, on the occasion of his being honored as the NEH’s Jefferson Lecturer in 2006:
"I make a distinction between intellectuals and people of intellectual achievement. . . .
"An intellectual feeds on indignation and really can’t get by without it. The perfect example is Noam Chomsky. When Chomsky was merely the most exciting and most looked-to and, in many ways, the most profound linguist in this country if not the world, he was never spoken of as an American intellectual. Here was a man of intellectual achievement. He was not considered an intellectual until he denounced the war in Vietnam, which he knew nothing about. Then he became one of America’s leading intellectuals. He remains one until this day, which finally has led to my definition of an intellectual: An intellectual is a person who is knowledgeable in one field but speaks out only in others."

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sundays are for Beauty: The Bells of St. Mary's

Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman from the movie: The Bells of St. Mary's 1945.