Sunday, May 25, 2014

Being like Mary

While I am still allowed to do so, I'd like to draw your attention to a funny thing that happens at least twice in Our Lord's preaching travels: someone mentions His mother ("Your mother and other kin are here, looking for you", and "Blessed is she who bore you and nursed you etc.": ... go, thou, and find them!) and Our Lord seems to dismiss these references, but on both occasions with very similar words
My mother and my brethren are they who hear the word of God, and do it
Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it.
It must have been jarring to hear, because most of those who heard Him preach in His earthly voice probably hadn't studied Christian Hagiography.

Our Lady the Mother of God is of course nulli secunda one "who hears the word of God, and keeps it". Our Lord wasn't dismissing His mother by these Words, but rather pointing more properly to Her excellence.

Gratia Plena, ora pro nobis. Ss Anna et Ioachim, orate...


No, not the sort needed with Confusing Ecclesiastics and Heretifactious Vowed Religious, but ordinary layfolk like me...

I have undertaken, in an informal way, under the advice of two friends here, to avoid the internet during the Days of Work, which (if you drop by or look for me in comments) is why I've been quiet the last two weeks. The Idea is to undistractedly coccoon myself in my studies and produce something both Novel and Significant. Oh, it must also be True and Verifiable. And Original To Me. Oh dear, what a bunch of filters! The Miracle would be to accomplish such a thing in some sturdy form by mid-August. The ordinary way of things would be that I have to find myself other jobs (for which I've absolutely no training). Do feel free to pray for Miracles! I don't mind miracles at all! But prayer for enlightenment (or inspiration) on how to accomplish the ordinary way of things can do, I am sure, no harm.

I don't think I can get away from checking my e-mail with some regularity, so if you're one of those who inexplicably wants to correspond, send me e-mail! My /dev/null persona has a publicly-visible e-mail address on its profile.

God bless you all,
Bat the Mathy

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I didn't think Guillaume-Le-Conquerant even had gunpowder

Dear Internets,

So, (... don't ask me why; I'm not married and I'm in no position to attempt marriage anytime soon, and there isn't even anyone who seems to... anyways)

Yes, anyways, so: I was reading Ed Peters' post, "Does Canon 1066 Amount To A Coin-Toss", and a small thing about his writing there bugs me, as a mathematician. Now, while statistics is emphatically not my thing, and while Dr. Peters' canonical analysis is beyond my competency altogether, the particular "randomization" he suggests that Kasper the Friendly Kardinal (Papa, take his hat away! You can do that!) is insinuating goes on in Marriage today... let me quote Dr. Peters:
If, therefore, as Kasper claims, half of all marriages (or even half of all Catholic marriages) are null, then the pre-wedding inquiry conducted in accord with Canon 1066 is a statistically pointless exercise that could just as well be replaced with a pastor’s toss of the coin. “Heads I marry y’all, tails I don’t.”
Well, actually, no, Dr. Peters. This is confusing the decision to attempt marriage and the validity of an attempted marriage. A coin toss (a ballanced coin... Canadian "Twoonies" not applicable) would admit the attempt of half of would-have-been-successful marriages and reject half of them; and it would accept the attempt of half of impeded marriages and reject half of them. As far as which apparant marriages were valid, an independent coin toss would not affect the ratios at all. To estimate the correlation between fitness to marry and the officiant's decision, one would have to know something also about the distribution of fitness to marry and what fraction of couples asking to marry in the church are turned down.

What Kasper is suggesting is actually much much worse: it is roughly as if those (Catholics, anyway) attempting marriage themselves toss a coin at the wedding and roughly 3/10 of the time decide they aren't really going to mean what they're asked to say.

It might be possible as an adult catechumen (Heavens Forefend!) to mentally resist at the moment of baptism, but I don't think that happens too often. There's lots of noise around desecration of the Eucharistic Body of Our Lord, but that involves a validly confected sacrament. There's also lots of noise illustrating just how robust the formula for validly confecting the Eucharist actually is: the minimal formulas are remarkably short and simple, and it is far more common for abuses to be illicit but valid. Clearly it is possible to make a bad confession; it is almost certainly just as possible to make a bad attempted marriage, but in both cases it's hard for me to see how one could do so and not know it. I'm not about to guess what fraction of confessions are invalid. But at the least it should be harder to muck up a marriage than a confession, given that marriage is part of our created natures and confession isn't.

The Canonical Differentiator

Monday, May 5, 2014

Feast Day

Gratias Deo pro Pontifex suis Maximus et Confessor, Sanctus Pius Quintus.

Ad quem: Ora pro nobis