Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chesterton's Orthodoxy

I've been reading Orthodoxy since the beginning of Lent. I'll admit to being a bit lazy about my reading given the other things competing for my time right now (such as all that moving stuff I've been whining about for the past month).

Anyway, I've enjoyed Chesterton's reminiscence of his intellectual process from agnosticism to the Catholic Faith. I've mentioned previously that I find his style to be a tad circuitous. He tends to write around his subjects, which is pretty typical of 19th century British prose. Being paid by the column inch certainly had its impact on Dickens, so it's not surprising to see ripples in GKC's work. I prefer Waugh's directness, but GKC mental meanderings have their own pleasure.

Something else to note about Chesterton is his quotability—like Emerson without the heresy. Chapter 2 of Orthodoxy is a prime example—line after line of zingers. He describes complete self-confidence as follows:

Believing utterly in one's self is a hysterical and superstitious belief like believing in Joanna Southcote[1]: the man who has it has 'Hanwell'[2] written on his face as plain as it is written on that omnibus.

Or this on modernist theologians and their denial of the existence of sin:

If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.

Something I struggle with in many British works of the period (and evident of both GKC and Waugh) is the use of invective. I could chalk it up to an overabundance of charity, or an excess of gentility, but I think it's more likely to be due to the habit of political correctness that developed during my university studies. I'm trying to overcome that tendency, but I always struggle to find balance in that area.

I need to wrap up Orthodoxy and move on to the next book on my list by our Holy Father: Truth and Tolerance: Christian Belief and World Religions.

1. an English visonary
2. an asylum in west London

Prayers for Norberto Sanchez

A tragic accident this weekend took the lives of most of a local family this last weekend. You can read about the accident here.

Norberto Sanchez, the father of five children and the husband of the mother killed in the accident is now faced with a cost of bringing back the bodies of his family.
Most of the donation channels are local businesses, but if you would like to reach out and help this man in this difficult time, you can call Grace Arroyo at +1-208-890-3975.

Please keep Norberto Sanchez and his family in your prayers.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More Useless Fluff

So what does one do when he's taken too much time off of blogging and devolved in the TTLB ecosystem to try to regain some semblance of evolutionary complexity?*

He takes a quiz! Apparently I'm not as weird as tony at Catholic Pillowfight, who's ever so much weirder than Julie D. Being a Happy Catholic, Julie should be quite weird. But given that she's apparently as weird as I am, I guess I shouldn't be pointing fingers.

You Are 50% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

*Apparently, he also links to other bloggers in a feeble attempt to get links back.

My Lenten Journey

I'm coming clean. My Lenten journey has not been as dry as it should be. I've been holding to the prescribed fasts and abstinence (as well as my regular fast every Friday), and I've given up chocolate and alcohol (although I give myself a break on Sunday and have a couple of glasses of wine). Prayer life is doing okay. My Lenten readings haven't been as voluminous—still working my way through Chesterton's Orthodoxy. More on that later.

The move really sort of started me off on the wrong foot. Instead of a period of contemplation, I've had a period of bustle—packing, unpacking, cleaning, and various other home-maintenance tasks. On top of all this, I've been blowing off steam with one of my favorite vices/recreational activities—computer games. I guess I feel a bit guilty about spending any time playing Call of Duty 2 when I could be doing something more productive.

So now I'm trying to refocus and get back to the Lenten discipline. Or to START my Lenten discipline, as it would seem.

The Early Church Fathers and Early Christianity

I always have to roll my eyes when I here about a church that tries so hard to separate early Christianity from the Catholic Church. American Papist notes a case in point from Kyle Potter's blog.

I have a lot of non-Catholic Christian friends, and I find that none of them exhibit some of the extreme anti-Catholic sentiment that I encounter on the Web. I did have one student way back when I was an agnostic who occasionally directed an anti-Catholic jab at me. It was sort of funny given that I wasn't practicing my faith at the time, so it made the holes in his claims all the easier to deflect. However, most of my Christian friends simply know nothing about the Church. I'm teaching them little by little.

Anyhoo, when people start claiming the ECFs as non-Catholics or pre-Catholics or whatever, I have to wonder how they justify 1800 years of missing lineage in their own religious traditions. The argument is invariably from silence: Ignatius never mentioned priests; Polycarp didn't saying anything about water baptism; St. Patrick wasn't a Catholic bishop.

Can't wait to take my first Patristics class.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

What Beer Am I?

Not too surprising. I'm guessing that Spaten Optimator wasn't available on the quiz.


(66% dark & bitter, 66% working class, 100% genuine)

Okay, we all know Guinness is the best possible score on any "What Kind Of Beer Are You" test, so you can just go on and pat yourself on the back now. Like the world's most famous brew, you're genuine, you've got good taste, and you're sophisticated. What else can I say, except congratulations?

If your friends didn't score the same way, get ready for them to say: Guinness is too heavy; it's an acquired taste; it's too serious--and they probably think those things about you at times. But just brush 'em off. Everybody knows Guinness is the best. Cheers.

Link: The If You Were A Beer Test written by gwendolynbooks on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Response from the Bishop

Yikes! It's been weeks since I've posted. The family is in our new home, along with the stepdaughters' menagerie (two dogs, two cats, three fire-belly toads, one tree frog, and a paralyzed beta, as well as one visiting rubber boa). The new house needs some work, but it's nice to be a homeowner again.

I mentioned a story that was floating around St. Blogs a few weeks ago about a local priest who wrote a reader's editorial in the local paper favoring gay marriage. As I mentioned I would, I wrote a letter to the bishop noting my concerns about this event and a number of other problems in the local parishes.

I finally got a response today. One of my requests for ways to address the problem of liturgical abuse was to grant "the indult" to a local parish. (I provided a number of suggestions, as it doesn't do well to gripe and not offer any solutions.)
He recommended that I try St. George's Parish in Post Falls if I'd like to attend a Latin Mass.

Let's see... Post Falls. Here are the driving instructions.

A mere 750 miles away. We'll pack up the kids at 2:00 AM and head out. No need to worry about breaking our fast if we don't stop.

Or maybe he's trying to tell me something?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Last Night!

This is our last night in our rental. Tomorrow night, we'll be in our new home. Lot's o' work ahead. Naturally, the network goes up first.

See you on Monday. Or maybe tomorow night. ;-)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Roll Over Mahoney

Dom Bettinelli posted an entry about one of our local priests who, I'm sad to say, wrote an editorial in the local paper supporting gay marriage.

This comes just on the heels of some incidents in mass yesterday that I simply can't ignore. So, what am I going to do about it?

I'm gonna write my ordinary,
gonna write him at the diocese.
It's a pious little letter
I’m hopin’ that he’s hearin’ my pleas.
Roll Over Mahoney, I’ve got a novena to pray.

You know, my temperature's risin'
these heresies are blowin’ my fuse.
The chant and Latin call me
but the choir keeps on singing the blues.
Roll Over Mahoney and tell Levada the news.

Prayers for Albert Minimus's Younger Minimus

Albert's son is awaiting surgery for congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation. Please pray for his family and Matthew in this difficult time.

American Papist's Papist Picture of the Day

Since I can't currently offer anything witty of my own right now, I'll point to one more witty:

Check out American Papist's PPoD!