500th post and a studies update

The Angels and Their MissionPeace be to you! Hope you had a very merry Christmas! Advent, Christmas, New Year’s, all passed me by, and the Jubilee of Mercy began, and I watched it all fly past as if I were Douglas Adams watching deadlines go whoosh. I’ve put off writing this, my 500th post for Catholic Heart and Mind because I wanted to write something Big and Important, something Significant. I’ve also been struggling to get back to reading and writing about Laudato Si’, but, to be honest, I’m feeling some real resistance to it. I’ll get over it and get back to it, eventually, or force myself to do it, but I haven’t yet. (I’ve also been really low on energy. The sarcoidosis has taken a toll the last couple of years, and reading and listening and taking a few notes is about all I’ve been good for. My dogs are exceedingly frustrated with me, I’ve been such a bore.) The result is that, for the longest, I haven’t written anything. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Funny how that works. Tonight I decided to go ahead and write a post instead of The Post and get on with it.

Just in case you’ve been burning with curiosity about what I’ve been doing with all this time on my hands–since I certainly haven’t been blogging–I’ll tell you: I’ve been delving into my theology studies and it’s been fascinating and inspiring. Been listening to a college level course by Dr. Brant Pitre, The Apostle Paul: Unlocking the Mysteries of His Theology, on MP3. It’s available on CD, too, but I’m the impatient type so I usually download these things so I can start digging in right away. The course is seventeen sessions, each one runs about an hour or more. I’m only on session thirteen right now, but most of the previous talks I’ve listened to two or three times.

Apostle Paul: Unlocking the Mysteries of His TheologyIn addition to the MP3 course on the Apostle Paul: Unlocking the Mysteries of His Theology, by Dr. Brant Pitre, I managed to get hold of three books he recommended:

  • The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle, by Albert Schweitzer (used, paper),
  • The Theology of Saint Paul, 2 volumes, by Fernand Prat, S.J. (used, hardback), and
  • The Angels and Their Mission, by Jean Cardinal Daniélou, S.J. (digital, Google Play, only because the Kindle sample I downloaded wasn’t working, and I was too impatient to take the time to deal with it).

The Unseen RealmAnd after watching a couple of videos (more about that later) featuring Dr. Michael S. Heiser and his work, I’ve decided to also read two of his books (for now):

The more I study about the angels, the more fascinated I become. Heiser is writing from a non-Catholic point of view, and I don’t know yet whether or not he includes the Church Fathers in his sources, but I still find his work very interesting. Danielou’s book certainly covers the Fathers; I’m not sure what all Prat or Schweitzer cover, but I’m hoping that Prat gets into the Fathers, at least a little. I’ll share more as I learn more.

Well, that’s more than enough about what I’ve been doing. Thanks for reading. May God bless you and yours in this new year!

Posted in Angelology, Angels and Their Mission, Bible study, Books, Catholic Audio, Dr. Brant Pitre, Dr. Michael S. Heiser, Mysticism of Paul the Apostle, Saint Paul, Theology of Saint Paul | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Updates to the Church Fathers page in the Resource section

Early Church MosaicAfter someone asked me some questions on Twitter, I decided to finally update the Church Fathers page in the Resource section here at the site, which I should have done long ago. Then I could have said, Why, here you go, all conveniently listed for you. But I hadn’t updated the page in a couple of years so… It’s updated now and largely re-written. Still by no means an exhaustive list, but there are more titles now and a link or two also updated/edited. I also added some videos and some Logos/Verbum titles and collections to the list.

Still not exhaustive by any means, but should be useful and helpful to those starting out in the study of the Early Church and Church Fathers. Cheers! And peace be with you.

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Warnings that fell mostly on deaf ears

Got two more books in the mail: “The Legacy of Malthus: The Social Costs of the New Scientific Racism” by Allan Chase, and “The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public Policy” by Enrique T. Rueda. My reading list keeps growing and growing.

legacyofmalthus_allanchase hnetwork_rueda

The Legacy of Malthus: The Social Costs of the New Scientific Racism

review of The Legacy of Malthus on Kirkus Reviews, verbatim in the one long paragraph as it appears online:

“It is Allan Chase’s thesis that the legacy of the Industrial Revolution has been to elevate old-fashioned “”gut racism”” into the pseudoscience of eugenics. From Spencer and Malthus and Galton through Shockley, Jensen, and Herrnstein, an elite of demented aristocrats, benighted liberals, and pompous academicians has perpetuated the belief that bad genes cause pauperism, poor brains, pellagra, or prostitution. The remedy: sterilize the unfit and render not one cent to charity. Chase’s monumental demolition project takes the villains in turn, quotes them at length, and then assails them with facts as they were known then or appear now. The result is a huge tome, essentially successful, but burdened with excessive repetition and the kind of righteous prose Chase so often demonstrates in The Enemy. (Chief culprits are often referred to by their full Christian names, accompanied by a rich epithet; if a villain is related by blood, marriage, or friendship to some other celebrity, this too is mentioned, leaving the reader to wonder whether he means guilt by association or a refutation of genetic linkage!) But the tide of information and sanity is clearly on Chase’s side. His excellent presentation of the counterarguments and population studies that give the lie to the Jensenites in the IQ controversy as well as his final chapters on recent studies of genetic/environmental interaction at the cellular level win the day. His “”modest proposal”” that the state of Mississippi be chosen for all-out social and public health programs to see what several generations of good nutrition, preventive health measures, enrichment programs, and environmental health reduction would do to medical and psychological measurements is challenging. He is also to be congratulated for naming names–like Margaret Sanger, William McDougall, and other distinguished figures who paid homage to the eugenics cant and encouraged, directly or indirectly, Immigration Restriction Laws, anti-Semitism, and the Holocaust. With some cutting and much less sermonizing, this very fine and useful book would have been a gem.” (Used with permission from Kirkus Reviews Online.)

The Homosexual Network: Private Lives and Public Policy

Here’s an article by Connie Marshner, the wife of Dr. William Marshner, one of the founders of Christendom College: We Told You So — The Catholic Homosexual Network 20 Years Later. This same article appears in the Question and Answer section on EWTN. Below are a few paragraphs quoted. In light of recent events it seems worth re-reading, or, as in my case, reading for the first time. There is so much I didn’t know. Better late than never, I guess.


In the book, Fr. Rueda detailed — with meticulous footnotes — what, already then, was the growing network of “support groups,” counseling referrals, newsletters, and organizations of homosexuals and pro-homosexuals in the churches of the United States, including the Catholic Church. The network was particularly effective within the Catholic Church: at one point in the late ’70s, a key staffer at the Office of Public Affairs and Information of the U. S. Catholic Conference/National Conference of Catholic Bishops was a leader of the Washington, D.C., homosexual movement as well as president of Dignity, the pressure group which seeks to force the Catholic Church to relate to homosexuals according to the tenets of the homosexual ideology.

The name of the fair city of Boston appears frequently in Fr. Rueda’s pages, giving it the dubious distinction of being the birthplace of NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association (an interesting coincidence in light of subsequent developments). Also interesting to note is that one Fr. Paul Shanley attended the NAMBLA convention in Boston, supposedly on behalf of the then-Cardinal Archbishop, Medeiros.

In the early days of “gay liberation,” 1972, a National Coalition of Gay Organizations adopted a “Gay Rights Platform.” This list of demands included one to repeal all laws governing the age of sexual consent — a matter of some obvious concern to pederasts.

“Homosexuality is no sicker than heterosexuality,” proclaimed the Third Number of the NAMBLA Journal. “What is sick is society’s efforts to supress [sic] and persecute it.”

In those days, every type of sexual activity was considered equally deserving of “liberation.” As pederast theoretician David Thorstad proclaimed it in the pages of Boston’s Gay Community News in January, 1979: “We should present ourselves not merely as defenders of our own personal rights to privacy and sexual expression, but as the champions of the right of all persons — regardless of age — to engage in the sexuality of their choice. We must recognize homosexual behavior for what it is — a natural potential of the human animal.”

By 1998, Thorstad was blasting the gay movement because it had “retreated from its vision of sexual liberation, in favor of integration and assimilation into existing social and political structures … increasingly sought to marginalize even demonize cross-generational love.”

Translation: The tacticians who won the internal battles, and therefore prevailed, realized that “We are everywhere” was a slogan that could sell. “Man/boy love” wouldn’t sell. Call it an “incremental” strategy, if you will.

It is going to be a long, long struggle to re-establish in mainstream Catholic culture an understanding and acceptance of what the Catechism teaches on homosexual acts — namely, that they are intrinsically disordered, and under no circumstances can be approved, while at the same time men and women who have homosexual tendencies must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.

From Connie Marshner’s article which is a good read in its entirety. Link to the PDF.


Will be returning to reading Laudato Si soon. Have been spending a lot of time on Twitter instead of blogging or reading, ever since the Planned Parenthood “Human Capital” videos were posted. If you haven’t seen them yet, I highly recommend that you do, but not right before you sit down to dinner or right after you eat. Not unless you have a really strong stomach or as cold and callous as the PP employees munching away while talking about–no, I’ll just let you see it for yourself.

Notes

*Permission to quote the Kirkus review: “However, you may occasionally distribute a copy or a portion of a review from the Website in electronic or non-electronic form, including, without limitation, on weblogs, newsgroups, Twitter or other social media, without charge, if you include all copyright and other proprietary rights notices in the same form in which the notices appear in the Service and the phrase ‘Used with permission from Kirkus Reviews Online.'”

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Those videos are hard to watch

Mother of the Light of the world, pray for us.

Mother of the Light of the world, pray for us.

I have not watched the videos all the way through. You know the videos I’m talking about. Those videos. I have not watched them all the way through because they make me ill. They make me want to throw up and the images haunt me. I go to sleep and I wake up in a cold sweat, still seeing them before my eyes.

Bad enough that I have been researching for the last couple of years the Holocaust and the World Wars. Bad enough that I have been watching the last couple of weeks many documentaries about these subjects and have seen things I wish I had never seen, things I wish had never happened. Bad enough I have been reading about eugenics and “scientific racism” and the incredible and preposterous cruel things man can do to his fellow man in the name of the “greater good” or “science”. Bad enough, all of that.

But something very like the Holocaust is happening now, and has been happening right under our noses since 1973 when we had the audacity to make legal to do to humans what we consider monstrously inhumane to do to wild animals. And do not misunderstand me: I care about wild animals and would not think of trying to harm one unless I had to protect myself or someone else. But I love my fellow man even more and certainly do not want to cause any harm to any man, woman, or child, unless, likewise, in defense of myself or someone else.

I find the chopping up of tiny babies to be sickening, but not less sickening than killing them in the first place. ALL of it must stop. There is no reason to take an innocent human life, ever. To directly and deliberately take an innocent human life is always and everywhere evil. There is no way around it. There is no name you can give it to justify it. There is no way to cover it with ridiculous words and excuses, no way to hide from the truth of what it really is.

There is no way we can pretend that we do not know what we are doing, what we are permitting, what we are approving and condoning, what we are selling, what we are making legal and profitable.

In the end, what does it profit you if you make all the money in the world and drive the fanciest car you can buy and wear the best clothes and drink the best wine, when you have to hack tiny human babies to pieces to do it? How much money do you make for each of the lives you take, to make it worth it to you to take them? How many pieces of silver do you get for selling your own soul?


More:

The Gospel of Life by Pope Saint John Paul II. Here he quotes Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes (easier to read at EWTN), 27:

“The Second Vatican Council, in a passage which retains all its relevance today, forcefully condemned a number of crimes and attacks against human life. Thirty years later, taking up the words of the Council and with the same forcefulness I repeat that condemnation in the name of the whole Church, certain that I am interpreting the genuine sentiment of every upright conscience: ‘Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator’.”


From the Gospel of Life, 40 and 41:

  1. The sacredness of life gives rise to its inviolability, written from the beginning in man’s heart, in his conscience. The question: “What have you done?” (Gen 4:10), which God addresses to Cain after he has killed his brother Abel, interprets the experience of every person: in the depths of his conscience, man is always reminded of the inviolability of life-his own life and that of others-as something which does not belong to him, because it is the property and gift of God the Creator and Father.

The commandment regarding the inviolability of human life reverberates at the heart of the “ten words” in the covenant of Sinai (cf. Ex 34:28). In the first place that commandment prohibits murder: “You shall not kill” (Ex 20:13); “do not slay the innocent and righteous” (Ex 23:7). But, as is brought out in Israel’s later legislation, it also prohibits all personal injury inflicted on another (cf. Ex 21:12-27). Of course we must recognize that in the Old Testament this sense of the value of life, though already quite marked, does not yet reach the refinement found in the Sermon on the Mount. This is apparent in some aspects of the current penal legislation, which provided for severe forms of corporal punishment and even the death penalty. But the overall message, which the New Testament will bring to perfection, is a forceful appeal for respect for the inviolability of physical life and the integrity of the person. It culminates in the positive commandment which obliges us to be responsible for our neighbour as for ourselves: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Lev 19:18).

  1. The commandment “You shall not kill”, included and more fully expressed in the positive command of love for one’s neighbour, is reaffirmed in all its force by the Lord Jesus. To the rich young man who asks him: “Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?”, Jesus replies: “If you would enter life, keep the commandments” (Mt 19:16,17). And he quotes, as the first of these: “You shall not kill” (Mt 19:18). In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus demands from his disciples a righteousness which surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees, also with regard to respect for life: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, “You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment’. But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment” (Mt 5:21-22).

By his words and actions Jesus further unveils the positive requirements of the commandment regarding the inviolability of life. These requirements were already present in the Old Testament, where legislation dealt with protecting and defending life when it was weak and threatened: in the case of foreigners, widows, orphans, the sick and the poor in general, including children in the womb (cf. Ex 21:22; 22:20-26). With Jesus these positive requirements assume new force and urgency, and are revealed in all their breadth and depth: they range from caring for the life of one’s brother (whether a blood brother, someone belonging to the same people, or a foreigner living in the land of Israel) to showing concern for the stranger, even to the point of loving one’s enemy.

A stranger is no longer a stranger for the person who mustbecome a neighbour to someone in need, to the point of accepting responsibility for his life, as the parable of the Good Samaritan shows so clearly (cf. Lk 10:25-37). Even an enemy ceases to be an enemy for the person who is obliged to love him (cf. Mt 5:38-48; Lk 6:27-35), to “do good” to him (cf. Lk 6:27, 33, 35) and to respond to his immediate needs promptly and with no expectation of repayment (cf. Lk 6:34-35). The height of this love is to pray for one’s enemy. By so doing we achieve harmony with the providential love of God: “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:44-45; cf. Lk 6:28, 35).

Thus the deepest element of God’s commandment to protect human life is the requirement to show reverence and love for every person and the life of every person. This is the teaching which the Apostle Paul, echoing the words of Jesus, address- es to the Christians in Rome: “The commandments, ?You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet’, and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, ?You shall love your neighbour as yourself’. Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom 13:9-10).


When I ran a search in the Gospel of Life for the word “murder”, I got 29 hits. I highly recommend reading it in full. I’ve read it many times, usually once a year or every two years, along with the Splendor of Truth. More than anything else I have ever read, outside of Scripture, these two encyclicals changed my life (and just so you know, John Paul II’s encyclicals are filled with Scripture references). They woke me up. I went from being someone who was nominally pro-life to someone who was pro-life actively, outspokenly, finding out more, sharing what I had found, voting for pro-life laws, supporting pro-life candidates, no longer supporting candidates who are not pro-life. Really, if you do not stand for life, then what in God’s name do you stand for?

Posted in Bioethics, Evangelium Vitae, Papal Encyclicals, Pro-life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Posts will resume after a brief interlude

I’ll get back to reading and posting about Laudato Si soon, but I’m taking a brief break while I work on a novel for Camp NaNoWriMo. Right now I’m over 17,000 words in and am finding it difficult to think of anything else. But soon I will resume reading the encyclical and putting down some more thoughts about it. Plenty of other people have said plenty about it, as I am sure you are aware. Some of them even have something worthwhile to say. While I’m away, working on the novel, I leave you with this worthwhile and short video commentary and summary by Al Kresta. (If you haven’t ever caught his show on Catholic radio, I highly recommend that you check it out.)

Published on Jul 9, 2015: While specific scientific and economic points can be debated, since they are prudential judgements of the pope, the doctrine surrounding them are truths of faith and are binding on the consciences of believers. So why don’t we focus on those aspect of the encyclical, since they really aren’t controversial at all?”

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