Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Great Enema

Mark Shea is comparing complaints of sexual abuse for a single year in US public schools versus the number of complaints against priests or Catholic Church ministers in 53 years.

Consider, in a *single year* 1998, the Dept of Justice listed 103,600 cases of sexual abuse in public schools. From 1950 to 2003, there were 10,667 reported cases of clergy sexual abuse. That's 10 times as much in one year as there were in 53 years in the Church. Yet nobody is passing laws singling out teachers for special exemption from ordinary laws. Only Catholics.

This isn't the only blog on which I've seen such figures. In fact, the John Jay study pretty much confirms that the problem is far worse in other institutions. The recent spate of female teachers being charged for molestation should be an eye opener for anyone.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver also takes on the issue of changing the statute of limitations so more people can jump on the band wagon. I truly hope that there's a red hat in Absp. Chaput's future.

Just how nerdy am I?

Not surprised in the least.

I am nerdier than 65% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Disputations About Thomas

There's an interesting post at Disputations concerning Thomas's disbelief. Tom speculates that Thomas very possibly witnessed the piercing of Jesus's side, which is why he made putting his hand in Jesus's side as proof.

Email from my Stepson

I got an email this morning from my stepson (from a civil marriage that ended when I returned to the Church), who is currently finishing a year in Spain. He told me a few weeks ago that he would be trabeling to Rome. Sure enough, he attended Mass in St. Peter's Square on Palm Sunday, with the Holy Father celebrating. He was quite awed by Pope Benedict's address in 6 languages. I'm really hoping his experiences will lure him across the Tiber.

He also mentioned something about being fined twice on public transportation in Eastern Europe. Can't wait to hear that story.

Elaine Pagels: Agnostic Gnostic Scholar?

Gerald Augustinus and Domenico Bettinelli have both pointed to a CWN story debunking the "expertise" of gnostic scholarfiction writer Elaine Pagels. I have at least one of her books around here from my agnostic days. It's an enlightening exposé.

Texas's Futile Care Law

There's a troubling development in Houston. A woman, Andrea Clarke, who is fully capable of speaking and interacting with her family is being removed from a respirator and dialysis machine. See details here. It's interesting to note that the sister keeps saying how this case is not like Terri Schiavo's case. Many of us would argue that the intent of parties termination of support is wrong in both cases.

(HT to Kathy Shaidle.)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Chastity and the Unmarried Catholic

Dawn Eden, newly professed Catholic (Welcome home!) and tireless prolife blogger, has an excellent post on chastity on The Dawn Patrol, one of my daily reads (along with Happy Catholic, the Curt Jester, Albertus Minimus, Scrutinies, and a slew of others).

I married in the Church in August and can confirm that the wait is well worth it.

Patriots' Day at Recta Ratio

Thomas Fitzpatrick at Recta Ratio has a thought or two about one of his (and my) fascinations, the American Revolution. I grew up on the same stories and probably with many of the same heroes. And, oddly enough, were I able to join a reenactment group, would probably also be on the British side (the result of too many Cornwell novels).

Traditionalism and Charity

Paul posted on his disillusionment with traditionalism at Cacœthes Scribendi. DCS points out that there's no paucity of nutbars who attend NO Mass. I think the nutbar quotient can easily be filled in any human population within and without Catholicism. However, like Julie D. and Brad, I'm struck by the uncharitable encounters I've had with traditionalists online. Given the shortage of parishes offering the TLM here in Idaho, my direct encounters are limited, so my experience might be skewed by the greater representation of cranks on the Web. (I think I know one person who attends an SSPX chapel regularly.)

Nonetheless, it's the lack of charity that I've encountered on the part of some Traditionalists that sticks with me. Notwithstanding the question of whether the NO Mass is valid*, one can be 100% theologically correct and 100% condemned out of a lack of charity. St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians

1 If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Peter also speaks on the importance of charity (1 Peter 8): "But before all things have a constant mutual charity among yourselves: for charity covereth a multitude of sins."

Does this mean that charity excuses syncretism or indifferentism? No. However, one can be inculpably ignorant of matters of the faith (such as the requirement for the sacrament of reconciliation). I don't see how one can be knowledgeable of matters of faith but inculpably ignorant concerning the requirement for charity.

*I think it is a matter of faith that the Novus Ordo is a valid rite, if only in the sense that the Pope has the right to promulgate changes in the manner of worship (that is, in liturgical norms or discipline). Whether or not the Novus Ordo (when celebrated correctly) is as reverent as the Tridentine rite, in my opinion, is a matter of subjective judgment (as well as a matter of personal practice). However, unless I'm willing to claim that Pope Paul VI was not a legitimate Pope (and I'm NOT willing to accept that), I have to accept that he had the right to make decisions concerning the practice of worship, and that we are obligated to accept them as valid (not necessarily good). Where Rome is, there is the Church, or, as St. Augustine said, "Rome has spoken; the case is closed."

UPDATE: I read this interview with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand on Phillip Blosser's blog that discusses the TLM and problems with irreverence. I do think there's some legitimacy to the idea that it's more difficult for liturgical abuses to creep in when the liturgical language is not a native, living language. Not many priests would be so fluent in Latin that they could perform the liturgy off the cuff. However, Dr. von Hildebrand's point is that the irreverence was present prior to the change to the NO. Reverence is foremost an interior response. It can be reflected in various external forms.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Passiontide Acronym Meme

Anonymous Teacher Person (who's becoming less anonymous all the time has tagged me with a meme that she picked up from Matthew Lickona's blog.

Here are the directions:

Pick a word related to the Passion, and turn it into an acronym about Church politics, events, or something.


How about SCOURGE?


Okay, not very good. I think the week's fasting is getting to me.

A blessed Easter weekend to you all!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thoughts from Benedict XVI

Still reading the Holy Father's book, Truth and Tolerance. I'm still taking my reading easy for the time being. That will come to an end at the end of the month. I'll be starting my next course at Holy Apostles then, and it'll be back to the grind (not that I mind).

Anyway, Pope Benedict discusses the separation of faith and reason and the resulting chaos that has ensued both in the realm of religious thought and science. Okay, chaos is my word. However, he does reiterate something that I encountered in so much of my reading last semester—that reason has largely confined itself by cutting its ties to metaphysics, and that science with no recourse to metaphysics or religious thought along with religious thought with no recourse to reason results in patholigical forms of both:

"[S]cience becomes patholigical and a threat to life when it takes leave of the moral order of human life, becomes autonomous, and no longer recognizes any standard but its own capabilities."

He mentions some conversations that Werner Heisenberg had with two other physicists concerning the division of science and religion and the horrows that could result. This was in 1927. If only Heisenberg could have recognized his own complicity in that horror.

More from the Bishop

I noted in the combox of an earlier post that some interesting new developments have occurred concerning the letter I wrote to the bishop. It would be nice to think my letter had something to do with it, but I'm sure he received more letters than mine.

Anyway, Bishopn Driscoll put an article in the Idaho Catholic Register that made his position crystal clear:

"To sum up, the Church has been and is very clear about its definition of marriage. The Catholic Church in these United States sees that the nature and purpose of marriage established by God can only be the union of a man and a woman and must remain such in our civil laws."

He then called upon us to form our consciences based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition.

All I can say is, "GO, BISHOP DRISCOLL!"

I hope to hear more of this line of thought from our shepherd.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

New Papal Nicknames

Fearing papal appellative exhaustion, one of the Whapsters has come up with a list of new nicknames for various popes.

It's a promising start.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Development of Religious Thought

I'm reading te Holy Father's book, Truth and Tolerance, right now. Not surprisingly, he starts by changing the camera angle on the question of spiritual experience. He distinguishes three paths for the development of religious thought beyond the confines of myth: mysticism, which places absolute value on an unnameable experience; monotheism, which puts absolute value on the Divine call; and "enlightenment," which puts absolute value in rational knowledge. Because the latter is primarily a rejection of absolute religious or spiritual values, except inasmuch as they aid the development of society. In the first chapter, then, he focuses mostly on mysticism and monotheism.

He notes that the commonly accepted view of the mystics (and a mistaken view) is that monotheistic religion is somehow a stalled or stunted form of spiritual experience and that one must essentially divest oneself of the illusion of personhood to attain a true glimpse of the Divine. This sets up a God that is essentially passive, one that waits to be experienced. However, he distinguishes the path of the monotheist from the non-Christian mystic by positing that monotheism is not a stunted path but one in which the active principle is God, not man, and that it is God's Divine call to us (and His revelation) that enables us to experience Him.

The mystic sees himself as someone who has progressed beyond the secondhand religious experience of the believer and is the possessor of the firsthand religious experience. From the monotheistic perspective, ALL spiritual experience beside God's is is secondhand, and we receive it through God's Divine call. By secondhand, the Holy Father means that the experience of a believer comes as an indirect experience from those who are really in the know. Here is the narrow gate of the Gnostics.

The lure to contemporaries who delve into Eastern mysticism or who fuse different spiritual traditions is the notion that they're set apart from the masses and somehow more "enlightened." They believe the lie that they can be like Gods. Oddly, as much as the mystical experience is about annihilation of the self to experience the oneness, most New Age spirituality is all about the self, about individuality, about something being "true to me." New Age spirituality is more about self-absorption than religious experience.

However, the monotheist, by submission and obedience to a Divine Person (or three Divine Persons, for Christians), preserves selfhood while seeking a greater Divine person. Individuality is preserved in a monotheistic religious experience without it being centered on self.

UPDATE: Just to clarify, the last two paragraphs are my thoughts. The first three are a synopsis of the first chapter of the book.