Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vere surrexit!

Re. Daffodils

Dear Folk,

Paul has been a gentleman, and on Vigil Day posted some stuff like this:

Of course, it's just right for Easter Season, so with that, Happy Easter to you all!

God Bless,

another one practising for sainthood

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Sci-Fi Coolness Test

Dear Gene,

Don't correct me if I'm wrong, because you know I'm not... Does anyone --- can anyone possibly --- believe that, in a Star Trek future, anyone in The Federation would practise/use abortion?

I can hear McCoy --- or Dr. Hologram --- objecting "I'm a doctor, not a butcher."

Of course they wouldn't. There isn't an economy anymore (OK, there's a black market that hangs out at Quark's on DS9...) because it isn't necessary for universal prosperity; so there's no poverty, either. There's a marvelous array of non-addictive drugs that dull pain but won't interfere with motor-control or kinesthetic sense, so no-one's afraid of delivery. And the same super-fancified medical care available also means no-one worries about whether their kid is born missing an arm, or with trisomy-21, or... because they'll have what they need to care for and mittigate those difficulties. And let's not forget that babies are cool!. Not least cool are those klingon-romulan-human-bajoran-descended babies who give clear witness to the oft-ignored fact that all sapient life is made in the image and likeness of God, and that the salvation of all of them was purchased by God-made-flesh one Friday Afternoon some two thousand orbits since on a molten-rocky planet about a main-sequence star of 1/20 the mass of those stars bound for black-hole status.

OK, so perhaps ST hasn't always imagined a perfect universe of perfect people. That's OK, because people aren't perfect: they are fallen. Thoroughly Utopian visions are not science fiction, but userpers of Heaven. And, for sure, we don't see nearly enough of Riker's ill-gotten brood anywhere --- but, again, think of all the young'uns we do see!

You just know it's true.

With fond memories

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On Man's First Office

Dear Auntie's readers and nephews and nieces,

I am a Christian --- in fact, I hold to the universal and apostolic faith of the first Christians, which is to say I am a Catholic (from the Greek, in latin letters "kata-" and "holos"; think of "catastrophe"--- all tumbled about --- and "holographic" --- the whole picture); this has probably been made obvious before, but it bears mentioning.

For the record, I don't at all mind being (called) a Latin Rite Catholic, because I am. I'm also trying to shore-up my scant Latin.

My objection to the conjunction "Conservative Catholic" (or "Liberal Catholic") is that they start as lies. "Liberal", in the mouth of a "Coservative" is meant to be an insult synonymous with "libertine", and second cousin to "libertarian". "Conserative", spoken by a "Liberal" means "much-too-conservative" --- unimaginative and unforgiving. Making them names for mutually-opposed groups of people disguises the fact that the Church teaches all Catholics to conserve the sacred traditions handed on to us from our ancestors in the faith, and also to liberally share with our neighbors in need that wherewith God has blessed us in plenty --- e.g. in spiritual and coroporal works of mercy.

Understandably, it's helpful --- as Ms. White emphasizes --- to distinguish between the distinct; on the other hand, it is creatures that most need names, not delusions1. And this is why, in the documents of the various Church councils up to Concilium Vaticanii I you will find

Any who teaches that the Holy Trinity is made of chocolate LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.

Any who teaches that even moderate enjoyment of chocolate is inherently inimical to salvation LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.

That is, particular errors are first defined (described plainly) and then condemned.
The councils and creeds and canons and anathemas have a technical language, but it doesn't become a jargon --- the words are used to be precise, not to be obscure or lazy; and so we don't find anything like

Pelagians are wrong.


Anyone who agrees with Pelagius is wrong.
Instead, we would read of anyone who might teach that "men are saved and justified solely through their own personal good works or by the own merit", that such folk are teaching error, they are a scandal to the faithful, and for the good of their faith all faithful must have no dealings with such folk until they recant and correct their teaching.

Some years ago, a friend I haven't seen in a long time argued that the now-disused so-called Anti-Modernist Oath had been a mistake in the first place because it condemned a collection of errors that no person had ever held altogether --- that is, he saw it as defining a creed which as an assemblage was to be condemned --- and which had never had any adherents. This struck me as odd then, and now I can hypothesize that he was distracted by the parenthetical "modernist" label, and answer that modernism as a movement may never have existed in the form of adhering to all of such-and-such errors, but such and such errors had severally become fashionable, and in all cases motivated by a desire for modernitas, of wrongly wanting to update something that was inherently eternal. Because there had been found several ways for modernizing desires to fall into error, it was convenient in the Scholastic sense to condemn the several sorts of error. To say that the oath was to reject a belief called modernism is as much to mistake the Councils of Nicaea I and Constantinople I as rejecting Arianism as the errors of Arius. rather than as errors. Instead, the canonical form might have allowed Arius to repent and recant, had he accepted such grace.

That's all I have right now.

a taxonomist of errors

1: not being psychiatrists, we are not making a study of delusions; we are distinguishing them from creatures.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Interesting to note

Dear Christian,

Fr. Homilist today remarked on Our Lord's revelation and veiling today --- acts of the Divine Goodness, appearing contrary, but each suited to our needs.

I think it's a nifty observation that in today's Gospel (EF calendar) in fact we see the fulfilment of two petitions from Our Lord's Prayer: give us this day our daily bread --- the feeding of the multitudes --- and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil --- seeing they are in danger of a great sacrilege, He removes the immediate temptation of His presence.

Let us never give up hope that God fulfils His promises to us!

Your brother in Christ