Saturday, December 19, 2015

Items of Interest: Week of Dominica III Adventus

Please: Don’t Respect My Beliefs
by Marc (Bad Catholic). «Respect for other beliefs, tolerance of other religions, acceptance of other cultures — these doctrines are usually sugar-sweet forms of violence. This seems to me the only adequate explanation as to why our age is simultaneously respectful and racist; liberal and segregated; proud of diversity and incapable of actually enjoying diverse company outside of mandatorily diverse institutions — a schizophrenic personality that imagines itself open to the Other in all her differences while fearing, more than most things, any actual contact with the Other.»

The Synod’s Final Report is Out in English, and It’s Remarkably Strong
by Glenn Stanton (National Catholic Register). «The world was gleefully told by the enlightened—again and again and again—that it looked as if the Church was finally going to join the modern age by surrendering to the self-evident verities of the sexual revolution. Giddy at the prospects of Pope Francis’ supposed reforming spirit, the gay community’s leading magazine canonized the Holy Father as their “Person of the Year” before the Synod even started. While this chatter of reformation made the heterodox hopeful, it made the orthodox anxious. But all that is over now and there’s a very good reason that you’ve not been blasted with the news of the synod’s conclusions. It not only dashed the hopes of those who hoped the Church would jettison its historic and biblical teaching on sexual ethics, it blew them to hell.»

Abortion, Murder, and the Law
by Christopher Kaczor (The Catholic Thing). «Like laws against illegal drugs, the law should focus on the drug dealers who profit from endangering others rather than on drug users who often suffer from their use. Similarly, laws against abortion should focus on abortionists who profit from killing, rather than women who often suffer from abortions.»

The O Antiphons in Middle English: ‹To þe we clepe with alle owre hert and brethe›
by A Clerk of Oxford. «In medieval England, 16th December was the first day of the O Antiphons. (In other parts of the church they began on 17th December, but they lasted eight days, rather than seven, in English tradition.) Every day between now and Christmas Eve, at Vespers, in the early dusk of a midwinter evening, the antiphon would be one of these ancient songs of longing and desire, which address Christ by a series of allusive titles drawn from scriptural tradition and appeal to him: Come. So memorable was the beginning of these antiphons that it was marked on 16th December in calendars like the one above, almost as if it were a saint's day - not an honour often accorded to liturgical antiphons.»

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Items of Interest: Week of Dominica II Adventus

Guadalupe and God’s Word: A Biblical-Theological Interpretation of Her Apparition
by Paulino Forte (Homiletic & Pastoral Review). «When Miguel Sánchez published Imagen de la Virgen María in 1648, he did more than document the first apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the New World. Scholars agree that his account became a lens through which clergy and faithful interpreted Our Lady of Guadalupe by promoting a set of Marian themes that explained the significance of the apparition. In the pages that follow, I will present the key interpretative elements of Sánchez’s book—primarily, Mary as the Woman from Revelation 12, the New Eve and the New Ark of the Covenant—and examine how his Patristic-influenced theology made a compelling argument for the uniqueness of her apparition. This will include a brief review of the liturgical readings from her feast day that reflect the typological interpretation employed by Sánchez.»

Our Lady of Guadalupe & the Renaissance of Civilization
by Peter Howard ( «The global significance of Mary’s appearances in Guadalupe cannot be underscored enough. What took place in 1531, and the Marian revolution which followed for the next eight years, is a message for all the world! Let’s briefly look at the history of this event in order to appreciate its more important spiritual significance. It is a history contextualized between the seemingly endless conflict between Christianity and Islam and, more broadly, the culture of life versus a culture of death.»

Nican Mopohua: Here It Is Told
by Antonio Valeriano. The original source document on Our Lady of Guadalupe, in parallel English and Nahuatl versions.«Here it is told, and set down in order, how a short time ago the Perfect Virgin Holy Mary Mother of God, our Queen, miraculously appeared out at Tepeyac, widely known as Guadalupe.»

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Items of Interest: Week of Dominica I Adventus

The Desire of Nations
by David Bentley Hart (First Things). «Some Christians, it is my experience, become terribly anxious when confronted by the similarities between the language of Christianity in the early centuries and that of many of the pagan devotions of late antiquity (just as certain of Christianity’s cultured despisers rejoice in them). And, of course, some of the more primitivist strains of Protestantism have historically take these similarities as proof of something corrupt and even perhaps diabolical in the Catholic forms of Christian belief and observance. Whatever the case, it is simply a fact that neither in the intensity of its piety, nor in the spiritual longings it answered, nor even in its liturgical and sacramental conventions, did Christianity bring something entirely novel into the world. As early as the late first century, Christianity was in very many places—morphologically, but also in its dogma—a ‹mystery religion› of a sort known throughout the empire, offering salvation through sacramental initiation into a corporate association and sacramental devotion to a savior deity. And it would be pointless to deny that, say, the iconography of Isis and Osiris might conceivably have influenced later Christian iconography of Mary and Christ, or that something of the ancient reverence for the Magna Mater deorum lived on in Christian veneration of the Mater Dei—radically transformed perhaps, redeemed if one likes, flowering into a new kind of devotional beauty, but springing up from the same roots of spiritual longing and imagination.»

Calculating Christmas: The Story Behind December 25
by William J. Tighe (Touchstone). It's that time of year again... «Many Christians think that Christians celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th because the church fathers appropriated the date of a pagan festival. Almost no one minds, except for a few groups on the fringes of American Evangelicalism, who seem to think that this makes Christmas itself a pagan festival. But it is perhaps interesting to know that the choice of December 25th is the result of attempts among the earliest Christians to figure out the date of Jesus’ birth based on calendrical calculations that had nothing to do with pagan festivals. Rather, the pagan festival of the ‹Birth of the Unconquered Sun› instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the ‹pagan origins of Christmas› is a myth without historical substance.»

On Shooting Abortionists
by Mark Shea (Catholic and Enjoying It). «We know in our bones–if we are not crazy–that murdering abortionists is not the way to demonstrate an authentically prolife position. And so we recognize the sanity of saying, as our very first response to such killings, ‹All truly prolife people denounce this wanton act of cold-blooded murder, re-affirm the right to life for *all* human beings, pray for the victims, demand swift judgement for the shooter, and offer ourselves in service to all those suffering from this crime.› But then the questions crowd in.»

Is Robert Dear Another John Brown?
by Jamelle Bouie (Slate). «Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Eric Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League voiced his dismay with accusations of blame. ‹It’s extremely frustrating, and I don’t see anything we could possibly do,› he said. ‹Like anyone, he’s going to pick up on the news of the day but what he does with the news is beyond our control. I don’t know how we’re going to fight abortion without talking about it.› He continued: ‹Should William Lloyd Garrison have kept quiet about slavery because of madmen like John Brown?› That’s a big question. And an important one. Even if it’s an idle comment, by raising the specter of John Brown, Scheidler sheds light on the key tension in this discussion, which goes beyond — but is tied to — the question of rhetoric.»

Orthodox Rabbinic Statement on Christianity — To Do the Will of Our Father in Heaven: Toward a Partnership between Jews and Christians
by The Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation. «After nearly two millennia of mutual hostility and alienation, we Orthodox Rabbis who lead communities, institutions and seminaries in Israel, the United States and Europe recognize the historic opportunity now before us. We seek to do the will of our Father in Heaven by accepting the hand offered to us by our Christian brothers and sisters. Jews and Christians must work together as partners to address the moral challenges of our era.»