Search This Blog

Loading...

Thursday, November 03, 2016

A little dose of Byzantium.





A Byzantine fresco of Joshua, the Hosias Loukas Monastery, Greece. Dated to the late 12th-early 13th Century. 

If you want an idea of what a contemporary Byzantine army officer looked like, right down to the lamellar armor and sword, there you go.

As always, give it a click for more detail.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

I like this icon.






Allegory of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Tree of Life by Father Andrew Tregubov.

You can click to embiggen.


For the curious, it is cropped from the cover of this book. See also Rev. 22:1-2.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Magisterium of the Moment.

One of the staples of Catholic apologetics is that the Catholic magisterium safeguards the truth and ensures a unity and clarity that Protestantism lacks.

I would not be so sure of that. In fact, I would say (and have said before) that the current pontiff is demonstrating that the magisterium is little more than the mouthpiece of the reigning pope and only safeguards whatever iteration of whichever truth he wishes to utter. In short, the magisterium is sola papam currentis.

Why no, I am not a Latinist? How could you tell?

This thought was driven home by a recent piece at the estimable One Peter Five: Amoris Laetitia and John Paul II by Josh Kusch.

In short, Kusch spells out with undeniable clarity that Amoris Laetitia expressly contradicts the magisterial statements of Francis' predecessor, and does so in a particularly unsavory fashion--by either partial quoting or choosing to ignore prior statements altogether. For the latter, Kusch points out how the encyclical Veritatis Splendor flatly contradicts what Francis wants to say--so Francis ignored it. To wit:

The negative precepts of the natural law are universally valid.  They oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance. It is a matter of prohibitions which forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception.  (VS 52)

The negative moral precepts, those prohibiting certain concrete actions or kinds of behavior as intrinsically evil, do not allow for any legitimate exception. They do not leave room, in any morally acceptable way, for the “creativity” of any contrary determination whatsoever. (VS 67) 

When it is a matter of the moral norms prohibiting intrinsic evil, there are no privileges or exceptions for anyone. It makes no difference whether one is the master of the world or the “poorest of the poor” on the face of the earth.  (VS 96)

It would be a very serious error … to conclude that the Church’s teaching is essentially only an “ideal” which must then be adapted, proportioned, graduated to the so-called concrete possibilities of man. (VS 103)  

It is in the saving Cross of Jesus, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, in the Sacraments which flow forth from the pierced side of the Redeemer, that believers find the grace and the strength always to keep God’s holy law, even amid the gravest of hardships.  (VS 103)

As Kusch ably demonstrates, each contradicts certain central assumptions in the later text.

And yet, the Vatican's official newspaper is at pains to assert that the later text is, in fact, authoritative.

So Veritatis Splendor--with its forceful restatement of Catholic moral teaching--has been round-filed after less than a quarter of a century?

Anyone else see the problem here?


What I have not been able to suss out is precisely why I should salute Francis' newest flag when he burnt John Paul II's. His actions completely undercut his claimed "authority."

Rather than call Amoris Laetitia "authoritative," isn't the honest answer "wait at least a couple of popes and then see?" 

Of course, progs are brandishing it like new holy writ. To be expected, yes, but wholly dishonest if one is following McCormick's contemptuous course. But I don't see any honest reason why I should regard it similarly. 

If this is Catholicism, then I never really understood it. And if the magisterium is just the press office of the current officeholder, then cue Flannery O'Connor.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Speaking of electric Praetorians...


Recently, one of the pope's unpaid Yankee spin doctors issued his first statement on the pope's destructive "You probably aren't married--but that couple shacking up might be!") blurtations on marriage.

I won't link to him, but if you're curious, he blogs at Patheos and has a cringe-inducing long sword logo at the top of his page. 

As I said, he didn't discuss the original statement, nor does he acknowledge the pope's assertion that cohabitation can be real marriage.

In any event, this particular electric Praetorian asserts that the real problem is not the actual statements themselves. No, of course not. 

No, rather the really damaging thing is that Catholics don't accept the fact that it was supposedly just a misstatement, and one (at best partially) "corrected" by a post-hoc Orwellian transcript scrubbing.

Never mind that the no-doubt increasingly-retirement-yearning Fr. Lombardi only discussed the Minitrue treatment because journalists brought the bowdlerized transcript to his attention.

Nope. The Blurts Heard 'Round The World are shruggable, since such were (partially) altered without comment or explanation.

Something tells me that if this writer were verbally referred to as a "Cincinnati-area Scientology official" he would not be, shall we say, entirely mollified if he were to be handed a "transcript" that said "Cincinnati-area resident." 

It should not be hard to explain that such damaging blockbuster statements cannot be "recalled" that way, much less repaired.

As a Michigan jurist said in another context: that which is "announced with flourishes and fanfare at noonday should not be revoked by a pennywhistle trill at midnight."

But that's what the Vatican tried to do.

Apparently, however, in the Age of Francis, we all have to learn that the problem is not Francis's words and actions, but rather our reaction to his words and actions. And those reactions must account for the memory-holing of the historical record.

In other words, tighten your cilice and shut up.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It's the end of marriage as we know it--and he feels fine.

Some additional thoughts on the pope's latest joy-buzzer pronouncement.

1. You'd think that the total failure of the Church's sanctifying mission with respect to the sacrament of marriage would not be brought up offhand in response to a question, but would be front and center, an all-hands-on-deck moment. And it would be delivered in a tone of horror, not with the offhand sadness of an American who just saw a CNN report about a typhoon hitting Bangladesh. 

2. In fact, you'd think that he might have hit us with this crucial supposed fact during, I don't know...one of those Synod on the Family confabs we just suffered through twice during the past two years? 

"Oh, hai, guys--I think we might want to talk about the fact we're running nullity factories in every diocese in the world, and might want to do something about that. Sound good?"

Did he? Did anyone? Cardinal Kasper did, but it too was offhand, and not during the Synod. And he was sneered at by the pope's electric Praetorians...who again proved to be as reliable as a rain dance.

So, apart from that, was this Church-shaking fact broached? Nope. 

3. Another ideal spot to maybe enlighten everyone about this continuing disaster would have been in Amoris Laetitia, but... again, nada.

4. Finally, he's been a priest for nearly fifty years. He's part and parcel of this explosion of allegedly invalid marriages. But do you see the slightest glimmer of a mea culpa, of ownership here? Nope. Apparently, like typhoons, bad things just happen to good bishops.

So, if you're wondering about why I don't take the "great majority of marriages are null" blurtation seriously, there you go. Taken together, he's just engaged in the equivalent of dorm-room spitballing.


Monday, June 20, 2016

I have a new line to greet my Catholic buds with.



"So, how's married life treating you? 

Oh, that's right: I need to ask the shacked-up couple down the street!

So, how's probably-not-married life treating *you*?"

I know--yuck yuck. 
 
The progressive joy-buzzer papacy continues to inspire. I wonder which of his flock he'll express his abiding contempt for in July?

Stay tuned!