Friday, September 30, 2005

Round 3, San Luis

Anand and Topalov are both still on top with 2.5/3, Svidler is in second 2/3, Polgar in third 1.5/3, Adams, Kasimdzhanov, Morozevich 1, Leko bringing up the rear with 0.5. Thanks to The Chess Mind for the info.

You can play over the games at the TWIC viewer.

Patron Saint of Bloggers

is apparently St. Jerome and today is his feast day. He certainly knew how to flame people anyway. Here’s a prayer from Aliens in This World:

St. Jerome -- we who are about to blog, salute you! Pray for us now, and in the hour of our thinking it's a good idea at the time. Give us your blessing, and drop a clue-by-four on our heads whenever we need it. Like you, saint and curmudgeon, may all our combativeness and words help us fight our way through to the Word made flesh, and may all our wandering and pilgrimages lead us to the Way. We ask also for the prayers of your patient friends, St. Paula and St. Eustochium, that we may be both patient friends ourselves and patiently befriended.

Patron saint of translators, pray for all of us crazy people who try to translate things, whether for a living or for fun, that our work may draw people together and teach them something of the truth. Pray also for the writers of translation programs, especially Babelfish, because they really are a help to folks.

In Christ our Lord, Amen.

St. Jerome, aka St. Hieronymus.

Thanks to Alicia at Fructus Ventris (what does that mean in Latin, anyway?).

Why I am a Catholic

Every Catholic (or Christian for that matter) has (or should have) a unique and compelling story to tell that would answer the above statement. But for the lazy there is Dave Armstrong’s answer. I tripped over it while cleaning up my links. See, housekeeping is both virtuous and useful.

My Magazines

I’ve also added links to the magazines I subscribe to. First Things is a first class magazine that is both intellectual and ecumenical. It tends to focus on things American, but is not parochial at all. It’s central theme is the interaction of religion and politics in modern democracies.

Catholic World Report is a good source for world news from a Catholic perspective. The new editor is Domenico Bettinelli, whose blog I also link to. It might be too self-consciously orthodox for some tastes, but I enjoy it.

And Logos is a quarterly Journal from the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota. It’s a Catholic intellectual journal but covers a broader range of issues than First Things.

And me with a high school diploma. Is it any wonder I can’t keep up with my reading?


A few, relatively minor changes. I found a script via a Ranchero link so my NetNewsWire Subscription list could be added to my Sidebar as a kind of blogroll. These are the sites that I check daily for inspiration and challenge.

And inspired by a question from The Evil Traditionalist I’ve joined Amazon Canada as an associate and put a link to a copy of Oliver Twist in the sidebar also. I figured since I’m going to be talking about books I’m reading from time to time, I might as well include a small money-making opportunity. Actually, I’ve just registered for credits to buy books. I spend way too much on books each year, so maybe this will help offset the cost.

And no, I won’t change to Green. I’m a true Blue person myself, whatever the survey said.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

More Fluff

Being a sick day, I feel free to waste time on useless things:

Your Blog Should Be Green

Your blog is smart and thoughtful - not a lot of fluff.
You enjoy a good discussion, especially if it involves picking apart ideas.
However, you tend to get easily annoyed by any thoughtless comments in your blog.
What Color Should Your Blog or Journal Be?

Hmmm.. Maybe it's time to look at the template. What does Blogger have in Green?

Thanks to Fructus Ventris for the link.

Praise from the Praiseworthy

I just have to respond to Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor’s kind remarks and citation from the Apologetics Entry. I’m blushing.

I’m suffering through a cold today. Maybe I should be sick more often. It might be improving the quality of my entries.

Apologetics a field I’ve been very interested in for years. The idea that there is a reasonable defence to all objections to the Catholic Faith appeals to me. St. Thomas Aquinas argues against the idea that there are separate spheres of truth, such that apparent contradictions between them can be tolerated. Truth is one, since it all comes from God.

Notice that this isn’t the same thing as proving every Catholic belief is true, only that they are neither self-contradictory nor contradict what we know about world otherwise.

Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor (How’s that for a snappy Latin title?) talks about Cardinal Dulles book The History of Apologetics here. And he confesses to a problem with some religions (from an apologetic viewpoint):

        ...what I don't understand, and concerning which I
        can scarcely be charitable, is not only Islam, but sects
        like Jehovah Witnesses and others. It makes me want
        to read their literature in hopes of lessening my
        disgust. Yet millions and millions of people can and
        do accept them, such that I begin to wonder what is
        the point of apologetics, or even what place
        rationalism has in religion.

There is an aspect of these two (Islam and JW’s) which is rational to a fault. They are each trapped inside their own revelation, having constructed a fairly coherent internal logic that keeps them satisfied. These systems are bound, according to Aquinas, to contradict themselves and reality sooner or later since they’re not completely true. So one apologetic technique is to explore the contradictions (internal and external). I’m not sure it’s successful all that often, though.

What is baffling is the human need to believe, even in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence. Having been once convinced by a plausible, though false, system of thought we are all prone to cling to it despite all evidence to the contrary. Chesterton writes about what we now call the Fundamentalist Christian almost admiringly, particularly their stubborn refusal to concede defeat (intellectually). And I confess to admiring the JW’s when they come to the door. It takes a certain kind of courage to endure the abuse they must receive.

Perhaps relationships are the most important thing in convincing us of the truth of things. The Muslim has the Umma (community) to sustains him, the JW has the Fellowship. These satisfy a deep need to belong, that, in the case of converts to these religions, wasn’t being met elsewhere.

So what can we do? Love them, I guess. Treat them with respect and dignity. And pray for them. But I still say Aquinas is right and we shouldn’t let their false beliefs go unchallenged if they challenge us with them. Otherwise our silence may tend to confirm them in the (otherwise comforting) lie they’ve bought into.

Readworthies is up...

and worth a look. I’m particularly disheartened by the Oil for Food scandal in the U.N. What major world crisis has the U.N. averted, much less resolved? It’s appears increasingly to me to be a corrupt, crony-ridden old boys club. Re-calling Trudeau (and others) play nicey-nicey with these people trying to get a sinecure in the U.N. now fills me with sorrow. How far has it fallen since the dreams of the forties.

And whatever inspired the writer(s) to make Wesley Snipes a super-duper U.N. agent in The Art of War? He would have been better being from U.N.C.L.E. Does anybody remember that pleasant fantasy?

World Chess Championship

The second round starts this morning. Anand (the front-runner in the odds) and Topalov (tied in Fide Rating and running second in the betting) both won their first games, Polgar (of the Polgar sisters of Hungary and first woman to compete for a world chess championship [for men]) and Leko (another top gunner who tried too hard to win as white) gave up the points respectively. Morozevich 1/2 - 1/2 Kasimdzhanov and Svidler 1/2 - 1/2 Adams to round out the field.

Thanks to the Chess Mind blog for all the links.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Blog Personality?

Your Blogging Type is Artistic and Passionate

You see your blog as the ultimate personal expression - and work hard to make it great.
One moment you may be working on a new dramatic design for your blog...
And the next, you're passionately writing about your pet causes.
Your blog is very important - and you're careful about who you share it with.

Canadian Response to Sexual Abuse

I’ve made only limited comments on the homosexuality and priesthood issues that are currently dominating a lot of blog discussions. And I saw, somewhere, a reference to this study, phrased negatively something like “task force study released yesterday reports on recommendations from 1992 that were never implemented based, in turn, on a report from 1989”.

Some Canadians, I fear, have a reflexive reaction to things American to the effect that “well, we’re better than that”. It ain’t necessarily so, brothers and sisters.

Lifesite News talks about the report to the Canadian Bishops. The idea that we don’t have problems here in Canada seems to be false. I do agree that someone in authority in the Church should link these problems to “homosexuality” and “dissent” at some point, if not in this specific report.

I don’t agree that pressure from the faithful is called for, however. I believe we get the priests we deserve, by and large. We don’t need to be pressuring the church, we need to be getting on our knees and asking, no, begging, forgiveness for our tepid faith. See Revelations for God’s attitude towards the lukewarm:

         “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would
        that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm,
        and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.
        For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing;
        not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and
        naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined
        by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe
        you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being
        seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.
        Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous
        and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any
        one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him
        and eat with him, and he with me. ‘”
                Rev. 3:15-20

A people living a vibrant faith cannot help but produce good priests. The priests we complain about now came from amongst us in the first place.

Thanks to Gregory Popcak of Heart Mind and Strength for the reminder.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jesuits: Happy Birthday!

After my potentially snarky comments about the Society of Jesus in this post, Mark Shea’s podcast from Monday is a welcome contrast. I need to practice looking at the whole picture and not just focus narrowly, reaching hasty conclusions.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Concerning Odd (External) Things Catholic

I’ve had occasion to mention some in the past (here and here, for example). Father Tucker at Dappled Things does a nice job of discussing this issue here.

The comparison I tried to make when talking with candidates in the RCIA was that Catholicism is like a huge buffet table. You’re free to take as little as you like (the essentials, so-called) but you might be missing something if you don’t at least try some of the rest of the feast. And you certainly should not look down on those who try things (approved by the Church, that is) that you’re not willing to.

Future Re-reading

While wading through the unfinished and the not-yet-read books in my library, I still have hopes of re-reading some previously read ones. In particular, N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God. It’s rather long, but a good read, if you’re patient.

Any Welborn has a good blog article on this book. Read the Comments section too.

Papal Politics and Jesuits

Here is a more complete story about the alleged diary of a cardinal from the Papal Conclave that elected Benedict XVI. I’m loath to continue the conversation since the diary would seem to involve one of two things: an ex-communicable breaking of vows (the cardinals and their entourages swore a solemn oath of secrecy) or a lie (if the whole thing is invented from whole cloth).

The only charitable explanation I can come up with on short notice is that the diary is real but that the cardinal in question did not mean for it to be published. But even writing down a diary of something that can never be released to the public is imprudence at best. And failing to keep it secure seems another sin of omission.

After all that, however, my real interest was in the motivation behind the release of the alleged diary. I’ve already suggested that this was a stealth vote for Bergoglio at the next conclave in somebody's comments.

The suggestion in the story above that it was a disguised attack on the Pope from the direction of some Jesuits is curious. The tension between the order and some of its’ members on the one hand and the Papacy on the other is well-known in Catholic circles, though deplored by many, including yours truly.

The Jesuits have a special fourth vow of loyalty to the Pope which makes the controversies of the last forty years or so all the more painful. We were blessed to have a Jesuit priest preach at our parish many years ago. It was the first and, so far, only time that a priest attempted to defend sexual continence as taught by the Church from the pulpit. It was a carefully reasoned, unblushing account of the folly of modern sexual ethics at a regular Sunday Mass. That, at least, gives me hope for the Jesuit order.

In the meantime, I hope this Pope has a long and prosperous (theologically speaking) life. And I hope, as I did at the last conclave, that we get the Pope we need, not the one we deserve.

New Orleans, Louisiana and Katrina

It’s stories like this that disturb me at bit. Life is different down there (or was). The wife and I had a chance to stay in the French Quarter for a couple of days a few years ago. We still cherish the memories. Does it have to become something bustling and business-like to avoid the corruption? Can’t they live easy below the water line and have somebody trustworthy taking care of the levees?

Thanks to Oswald Sobrino at Catholic Analysis for the link.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

New Secret Revealed from Papal Conclave!

There has been some buzz about a cardinal supposedly revealing what happened during the four votes that led to Cardinal Ratzinger’s election. Now something far more believable coming directly from the Pope himself. ;-)

Thanks to Catholic Light.

Oh yes, Reading...

When not cheering on Notre Dame (a win) or the Canucks (a loss) or otherwise wasting my life away in front of the tv (what is that thing doing on?) I’m supposed to be catching up on my reading.

So I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finally finished Oliver Twist. My previous knowledge had been limited to the musical
Oliver! Not the worst way to start, however.

Dickens is such an excellent story-teller that the moralizing is forgiven. Some of his descriptions are rip-roaringly funny. From the book, one that tickled me was where he described the magistrate who was trying young Oliver for the theft of a book:

Mr. Fang was a lean, long-backed, stiff-necked,
middle-sized man, with no great quantity of hair: and
what he had, growing on the back and sides of his
head. His face was stern, and much flushed. If he
were really not in the habit of drinking rather more
than was exactly good for him, he might have brought
an action against his countenance for libel, and have
recovered heavy damages.

Priceless. And the comments of Mr. Bumble on being assured that his supposed authority over his wife would result in them both losing their parochial offices are well captured in the movie:

“That is no excuse,” replied Mr. Brownlow. “You were
present on the occasion of the destruction of these
trinkets , and, indeed, are the more guilty of the two,
in the eye of the law; for the law supposes that your
wife acts under your direction.”

“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeez-
ing his hat emphatically in both hands, “ the law is a
ass--a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law’s a
bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is, that his eye
may be opened by experience--by experience.”

The book revels in the newly married Mrs. Bumble giving Mr Bumble a sound thrashing earlier that makes his complaint now all the more comedic.

An excellent read, though a bit overlong for Twenty-First Century tastes. Next on tap Ten Days to Destiny, the Battle for Crete 1941, by G.C. Kiriakopoulos.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Conversion Stories can be Good for You

So here’s one from the Sheepcat blog, courtesy of Amy at Open Book. It’s a good story.

It was Chesterton who wrote “the Church is a house with a hundred gates; and no two men enter at exactly the same angle.”. Each convert finds their own door, which is to say their own reasons. And each one is right.

Amy Welborn makes the NYT

New York Times that is. She’s been published in the Op-Ed section. She talks about the upcoming seminary visitations down in the States. She broke the news on her own Blog today.

The whole let’s-root-out-the queers thing has been discussed quite a bit amongst the Catholic Blogs. It broke out most recently with the breaking news story on Catholic World News that the Pope would be issuing a formal ban on ordaining homosexual men. The Editor of CWN promptly broke the news on his Blog Bettnet. Nothing has been seen to date of the actual document but that hasn't stopped the talk.

The more moderate positions are somewhere between “it’s a prudential decision considering 80% of the sexual abuse cases were homosexual” to “it isn’t going to work, real died-in-the-wool queers will dissemble and get through and honest Catholic men with SSA (Same Sex Attraction) will self select themselves out of seminaries”.

And all of this noise over a document from the Vatican that hasn’t actually seen the light of day, though it’s been talked about for months, if not years. If the document is never issued, I will wonder if all this brouhaha was about nothing or if it helped persuade the Pope not to publish it. Indeed, a good deal of the MSM (Main Stream Media) coverage could be seen as precisely a pre-emptive strike to achieve just that. Amy’s article strikes a nice balance from the near hysteria coming from supposedly secular quarters.

Somehow, however, I don’t see this Pope bending to secular (and Catholic homosexual) pressure. The Zeitgeist isn’t Pope Benedict’s big concern.

The Joys of the Internet and Blogging

One of which is the ability to have others cast their nets and then summarize their findings, which you can then investigate as interest dictates. One of my favourite Bloggers has just resumed his summary collection: Lane Core’s Blogworthies.

For one thing I was reminded about the blog The Pertinacious Papist and syndicated it based on this article.

Check them out.

Simple Chess

One of the possible delights in chess lies in openings that lead to impossibly complicated games. I still have a soft spot for the Muzio Opening.

Apparently here is another brain-frying opening from the Botvinnik variation of the Semi-Slav. Talk about strange!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Social Justice Conservatism?

An interesting article in OpinionJournal today that advocates social justice from a (Margaret Thatcher/Ronald Reagan) conservative perspective. Thanks to Oswald Sobrino at Catholic Analysis for the link.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Catholics and Mary and Jews?

Mark Shea thinks he sees an affinity of Jewish converts to Catholicism for profound mystical encounters with Mary. There’s an interesting conversation in the comments section of this article, including a some converts, Jewish and otherwise.

Apropos of Mary, the question of why do Catholics pray to Mary can be somewhat flippantly answered: because no good Jewish boy would ignore his Mother.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bible Reading III

Mark Shea has a nice article at Catholic Exchange here. Give it a read if you’re wondering how to read the Good Book.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Another Podcast Subscription

I’ve added Mark Shea’s Rock Hard to my list. Thanks to Victor Lams at Et Cetera for the notice.

As I keep adding to the subscription list, I need to think about getting an mp3 player. My two treasures (daughters in the vulgar) have hinted at a Christmas present of this nature. Can i wait that long? Christmas is so far away!

Isn't Nature Wonderful?

For example John Schultz of Catholic Light shares his experience. Enjoy one of the audio clips he linked to.

In days past when the family used to go out for Sunday drives in the country and the mephitic odour of newly-spread manure would sometimes invade our senses. That’s when Dad (yours truly) would respond enthusiastically: “Ah! Fresh country air.” Suitable, city-bred reactions would ensue from the back-seat.

Even as a suburbanite born and bred, I still have that oh-it-must-be-so-wonderful-to-live-in-the-country feelings from time to time. Not sure I’d last very long without a broadband connection, though.

Another Very Catholic Thing

This is a semi-annual event (three times a year). Just where does faith leave off and superstition begin?

(Thanks to Father Tucker at Dappled Things).

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Politics and Housekeeping

Politics is a fascinating area of human endeavour; and I’m including Canadian, American and World politics in this. But I’ve avoided commenting on a lot of newsy items. There’s the political issues around the Hurricane and New Orleans (or NOLA as many put it). The Roberts Confirmation hearings are interesting to me as an exercise in representative democracy dealing with the power of judges. There’s plenty to comment on. So why haven’t I brought them up?

In the case of NOLA and the blame-assignment game, I have three reasons for limiting comments:

        1. There’s already plenty of comment from many different perspectives, many, if not most, of whom will be better placed to make intelligent and worthwhile observations.
        2. Much like Pearl Harbour and 9/11, the full story may never be known, and will only likely be mostly known several years after the event after painstaking sifting and cross-examination of the witnesses and documents. Any comment, even to agree with someone else, would be rushing to judgement (or hasty generalization).
        3. My immediate prejudice is to share the blame assignment all around. The idea that some officials and employees at the federal, state and local levels were all guilty of screwing up just suits my view of life. And that all the people in the path of the Hurricane are absolutely blameless seems doubtful to me on general principle. See this for example. Sissies and Yankees indeed!
As for the Confirmation hearings and multiple other items that I do follow but don’t comment on in the blog, I’m not sure but that some variation of the above reasons doesn’t apply. Besides the wealth (not to say surplus) of commentary on politics altogether on the internet, the relative ignorance that we operate in (“I only know what I read in the newspapers” Will Rogers--as rank a confession of indifferentism as one could hope for) should really intimidate we mere mortals from rushing to judgement. (Anyone care to diagram that sentence?)

And politics is the religion of our age. It’s getting to the point that we don’t talk politics unless we’re sure in advance that the people we’re talking to are going to agree with us. This can’t be good for democracy. Vigourous but courteous debate on the many issues of the day are essential to the continued well-being of democracy as a form of government. Since no one can be right all the time, we need each other to continue the search for truth and justice. Otherwise the loudest or cleverest simply take power and we no long govern ourselves.

Which really sounds like an argument to me in favour of talking politics on this blog. Well, I given myself something to think about.

On the minor housekeeping note, I’m now trying to post the blog entries off-line from my computer.

My Reading List

I’m currently still reading Oliver Twist. And next on my list is Ten Days to Destiny, the Battle for Crete 1941, by G.C. Kiriakopoulos. It’s a loaner from my nephew. I’m into history and World War II stories still fascinate me.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bible Reading #2

A follow-up on my previous meditation. This comes from Zenit:

ZENIT - The World Seen From Rome

Code: ZE05091608

Date: 2005-09-16

Benedict XVI Promotes Biblical Meditation

Ancient Practice Could Bring Renewal to Church

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 16, 2005 ( Benedict XVI believes that the recovery of the practice of "lectio divina," prayerful meditation of Scripture, will bring a "new spiritual springtime" for the Church.
See Zenit for the full story (I don't have a permalink or permission to re-publish their article.

Exercise for Saturday Morning

Follow this game to give the grey cells some work.


Father Dowd of Waiting in Joyful Hope has a good entry about coping with the illnesses and injuries of others (in the context of his hospital ministry). He argues that
the trick is to not live the emotions of the other person, so much as the Truth behind the emotions of the other person...all emotions either reveal or conceal some kind of empathetically, without losing yourself in the process, and perhaps even to help the person to themselves live the truth of their own situation.
Read the whole thing. It's very interesting.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Kidneys and Courage

My soon-to-be-former career is in dialysis. That's an excellent word describing treatment for kidney failure. Today I got a wrist band for the Kidney Foundations live2share campaign. (I don't know why the site is Albertan. Nothing shows on the BC site, but they are available here.) Given time and motivation, there might be a future blog entry on end-of-life and brain-death issues & ethics. But for now let's focus on the living.

The blogger at Such Small Hands is on Dialysis now. She gives you an insight into the world of kidney failure and dialysis from the patient's perspective from time to time. But her blogging is much wider than that.

The people I see almost every day are dealing with kidney failure, one way or another. I think the wrong approach is to feel sorry for people just because of the cruel blows that fate (if you want to describe God's mysterious providence that way) delivers to them. Giving them respect that encourages them to face life and its unfair challenges is what is called for. And doing that in the sure knowledge that you would probably do a lot worse in coping than they. Mind you, I find humour (note the consciously British spelling there, American cousins) the method of choice; not that it always works or is appropriate. But sometimes bringing a smile to someone's face is a very human thing to do.

So, if you're in Canada, think about buying a wristband. And, wherever you are, pray for the courage to face life's challenges, unfair or not.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Peculiar Catholic Practices

An example of which, from a non-Catholic perspective, might be tomorrow's feastday, Our Lady of Sorrows. Thanks to Heart, Mind & Strength for the reminder. An explanation from an old source can be found in the on-line Catholic Encyclopedia. A more recent explanation was given by Father Saunders in the Catholic Herald.

In line with the article theme, our home is now being visited by Our Lady of Fatima (well, a statue representing her). She will stay with us a week, during which we should be praying more intently in honour of her presence. We have a particular devotion to her, having been blessed in troubled times in the recent past. But that's another story.

Jehovah's Witnessses Taking the Fifth?

Saw this on Mere Comments: the JW's are taking a website to court to stop it publishing their own material. Apparently the theme of the website was on failed prophesies, doctrinal contradictions and silly medical advice.

I tried to engage a JW in an email debate a few years ago. Neither of us really scored a knockout blow. I was too busy trying to make my point rather than focus on his reasoning and evidence. The wife (without the head-dress) takes exception to talking to them at the door. I can't say that I blame her, but in my heart of hearts I'm an arguer and would love to invite them in for tea and Bible verses.

Mere Comments credits this story to Amy Welborn's Open Book.

Science and Religion Clash?

Mark Brumley has an interesting post over at Insight Scoop. This looks like more evidence of the short-sighted world-view of those who reject religion and cannot understand what believers (particularly Christians) actually believe and why. There are enough fringe characters to re-inforce their prejudices, but perhaps they can be enlightened by charity and dialogue:

"Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence" 1 Peter 3:15-16 (RSV)

And Here is the Star of Our Household...

wearing the latest fashion in headwear:

Do Catholics Read the Bible?

This is the subject of a Jimmy Akins post. It ends with an interesting idea that Catholics yet might be redeemed of their fault of not reading Scripture is they start listening more intently at Mass.

I worked as a team member on the RCIA for a few years. One of my goals was to encourage the participants to engage Scripture; to read it as if it was written specifically for them. There was a reluctance to engage Scripture amongst many prospective Catholics in RCIA. It seemed as if there was either an excessive humility: "how can I interpret the holy books?"; or a deracinating (oh how long have I waited to use that word) rationality:"isn't anything you or I say about this particular passage simply our own subjective opinions?" Attitudes like this lead one to either read Commentaries ("they're experts, they must know what they're talking about") or to, more commonly amongst Catholics anyway, simply not reading Scripture at all.

By engage I mean being open to receiving something new from a passage of Scripture, even if it has been heard (or read) many times before. It takes, istm, an openness to the action of God inside of us, thus overcoming the rationalism that makes us reluctant to read (or hear) the Bible personally. But humility is absolutely necessary. Thus the Community that gave us the Bible (and, in an ecumenical mood, I mean the Christian Community of the First to Fifth Centuries that sometimes called itself Catholic) must be our guide to what acceptable range of meanings these passages might have.

So we Catholics need to sit up and listen closely and actively when the three Readings are done at Sunday Mass. There are messages in there for us, waiting for us to hear them. And reading privately at home wouldn't come amiss either.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Asking Questions

is the title of Mark Shea's essay at Catholic Exchange. The idea that believers are afraid of and avoid asking hard questions is another modernist myth. Mark does a nice job of deflating that balloon. It's worth a read.

It's Time to Leave the Computer, I'm Starting to Salivate...

over The Perfect BLT. Erik is such a gastronome (whatever that is). I just slap whatever Momma put in the fridge into the sandwich. I mustn't think about food this late at night. Memo to self: don't read Erik's blog after dinner.

And We make Better Lovers Too..

An Atheist admits in the Guardian paper in Britain, that yes religious believers are better human beings. The whole mythology about repressed, angry bigots is so ingrained into the liberal intelligentsia's worldview that it's a wonder that even got published. The author is still aware of his intellectual superiority to believers, but wants their active compassion. When will he see that their "imaginary God" is the source of that drive and inseparable from it?

Thanks to Catholic Analysis for the link.

Girls Gone Wild and other podcasts

Inappropriately aggresive behaviour by young women is the subject of the radio podcast of Dr. Gregory and Lisa Popcak. It is really interesting. Particularly the human need to be touched being the underlying issue with some misbehaviour by children today. Other calls they take are also interesting. A summary can be found here.

Today's Vatican podcast (Vatican Radio One-O-Five Live) is also quite good. Check their webpage out for more info.

I've been listening to enough podcasts now that I'm even considering getting an mp3 player so I can listen to them away from the computer.

The Cross

This is the eve of the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. Touchstone Magazine's Mere Comments Blog has a nice essay on the significance of the Cross today. Very touching.

Heart, Mind & Strength also has a nice essay by Kevin Miller anticipating the feastday. He takes tomorrow's Readings from the Mass as his starting point. A worthwhile read.

Ok, just one more...

Apparently the Superdome in New Orleans is cursed. But that's kind of suits the Deep South taste for Gothic doesn't it? Link courtesy of The Evil Traditionalist (formerly known as e-skojec).

Family: it could save your life

Get Religion explores the role of family life or lack of it in the evacuation of New Orleans. Do we take the family for granted sometimes? In the meantime, I'd better head off for work so my family can eat. See you later.

Is this Carma?

See for yourself. Courtesy of Mark Shea.

John Paul the Great

Catholic Analysis (aka Oswald Sobrino) has a nice summary of JP's four major encyclicals (as judged by George Weigel) and what they mean for the world today. What's interesting is the identifying of three major forces with traction:

"1.) Pragmatic Materialism and Utilitarianism (what reigns supreme today in American culture); 2.) Radical Islam (proposing coercion as an instrument of religious expansionism); and 3.) the Catholic Proposal, which views freedom as the freedom to choose what is true and good and which rejects coercion as a social instrument. The civilized proposal is the Catholic Proposal. It is also the proposal that will lead to human flourishing."

Monday, September 12, 2005

And now for something completely different...

Here's a lovely game from the Dutch Chess Championship underway now. It's tactics that continue to challenge me. I see that in some of my FICS (Free Internet Chess Server) games. I'm dagtwo there if you happen to visit.
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

This is me...

last Spring in Firenza (Florence for the linguistically challenged). So why do I have my back to one of the world's most beautiful cities?

Michelangelo's David, the Duomo (in the background), the Ufizzi Art Gallery (which we missed), the church of Santa Croce: and what do I think about when I see that picture? "There's a great Gelati place just behind my left shoulder there somewhere."

I got no culture, ma.
I'm reminded by Heart Mind and Strength that today is the feast of the Name of Mary. It's an old feast and doesn't show up on my religious art calender.

By the way Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

What's it all about?

So what I'm up to, other than trying to figure out how to get a picture of myself on the net, is practicing writing using this blog. My immediate idea is to share some of the interesting sites that come up while I'm surfing weblogs. The question is, how do I do this in an efficient and attractive manner?

For example, Hurricane Katerina has been all the talk lately. Oswald Sobrino's latest is interesting. What happened

First Post

This is just to see what it looks like when it's published.