Saturday, February 27, 2010


The following is extracted from the first chapter of Fulton Sheen's "God and Lntelligence in Modern Philosophy" which is his first book, written in 1925.

The Problem

Modern philosophy has seen the birth of a new notion of God. There is nothing of greater importance, as there could be nothing more ultimate. Even the very attitude of one man to another or of one nation to another varies with the conception of God. The outlook on the world changes the moment the outlook on God changes. And if we had intellectual vigor enough to ascend from effects to causes, we would explain political, economical, and social phenomena less by credit sheets, balance of trade and reparations, than by our attitude towards God.

The new idea of God has not burst upon the world with the suddenness of a new star. It has had its antecedents dating back over half a century. New scientific notions, increased faith in the philosophy of progress, birth of new values and interpretations of life, love, of novelty, dissolution of dogmas – each has contributed its share to bringing it into being.

Now that it is born, it stands before the world, not so much as a modified notion, as a new creation. Though coming from the past, it differs from all that has appeared in the past. It is, as it were, one of the novelties of evolution; it differs from the old even more than Aphrodite differs from the sea from which she sprang. Its face is set in another direction. It brings man into greater prominence. It exalts him even to the extent of giving him a “vote in the cosmic councils of the world.” It is, in a word, the “transfer of the seat of authority from God to man.”

What us the new notion of God? “God is not; He becomes”

As man lost faith in the intelligence, they acquired faith in the God of becoming. The modern God was born on the day the “beast intellectualism” was killed. The day the intelligence is reborn, the modern God will die. They cannot exist together, for one is the annihilation of the other.

Intellectual restoration is the condition of economic and political restoration. Intellectual values are needed more than “cosmic imaginings,” and God is needed more than “a new idea of God.” If we look to the foundations, the superstructure will take care of itself. Thomistic Intellectualism is the remedy against anarchy of ideas, riot of philosophical systems and breakdown of spiritual forces. “The Intelligence is life and the greatest thing there is in life” (Contra Gentes, Lib. 4 c. 11). This Thomistic principle is at once an expression of the ideal of modern philosophy and the very preventative against its decay.

The first paragraph Fulton Sheen published, and the last paragraph I have copied here, validate what I have proposed; that the foundations are the target, not that rather awakward construction built upon sand.

The book I obtained is a paperback edition from 1958. It is obvious that it has never been read, never perhaps even opened; perhaps a sign that a generation that should have been securing foundations, drank from other than clear waters.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

God be with you!

The following is from "Religion Without God" by Fulton Sheen

Scripture reminds us that if we would not have softening of the heart we will sooner of later have softening of the brain.

Let us suppose for a moment that God did not exist, suppose He belonged, as atheists claim to the mere realm of fiction and fairy-tale. In that case what is the difference between Don Quixote battling a windmill which he mistook for an enemy, and an atheistical Don Quixote battling a God Whom he takes as a fancy? What is the difference between an insane man swinging his arm as wings, because he believes the pads in his cell are clouds, and an atheist swinging his arms in fury because God is only make-believe? There is no difference if there be no God for both are fighting a figment of the imagination and that is what makes a man insane; viz., the projection of a fancy.

There is one fact that must be forever kept in mind and to the eternal credit of the atheist. The atheist at his desk is not the same as the crazy man in his cell: society incarcerates one but not the other, locks up one and lets the other loose – and why? Because the object the atheist is fighting is real, and the object the insane man is fighting is not. In other words what saves the atheist from the stigma of insanity is the fact that God is real, not like a dream but like an enemy at his door. Foch was not insane when he took grey uniforms to be the uniforms of an enemy; Washington was not a crazy man when he took the red coats to be English soldiers. They were real – real like the thrust of a sword or an embrace; and simply because God is real, because the enemy is a real and not a fictitious one, atheists must never be classed as mad men. It is the reality and objectivity of their enemy which makes them sane and sound. That is why one may speak of the Theism of Atheism.

The energy of atheists, their tireless propaganda, their spirited discourses, testify to a belief in God which puts to shame mere lip-worshippers. They are always thinking of God. Do men pour out such propaganda, flood the country with letters, the press with copy, and the air with speeches in protest against halitosis, fallen arches, the generalship of Napoleon, the meekness of Moses, the intelligence of the Piltdown man, the belief in ghosts, faith in centaurs? How account for the fact that a hatred of God excites men much more than a hatred of an enemy at our doors; how account for that fact that no man has ever dedicated himself to a negation, as such, except the negation of God? How account for such hatred merely on the grounds of negation? Does not a negative imply a positive? Would there be prohibition unless there was something to prohibit; would there be atheism if there was nothing to “atheate”? Men do not gather figs from thorns nor grapes from thistles, neither do they gather hate from a negation. Hate proves the reality of the object hated, and since God is the only Being Who is infinitely hated and infinitely loved, I must conclude not only that He is, but that He is infinite. And that always makes me feel doubly sorry for the atheist: he never can say Good-Bye (God be with you) to his friends.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Church is Always in Need of Renewal

Note: Renewal, not "reform"

The Church is Always in Need of Renewal

It is crucial that we all grasp that the hermeneutic or interpretation of discontinuity or rupture, which many think is the settled and even official position, is not the true meaning of the Council. This interpretation sees the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Church almost as two different churches. It sees the Second Vatican Council as a radical break with the past. There can be no split, however, between the Church and her faith before and after the Council. We must stop speaking of the “Pre-Vatican II” and “Post-Vatican II” Church, and stop seeing various characteristics of the Church as “pre” and “post” Vatican II. Instead, we must evaluate them according to their intrinsic value and pastoral effectiveness in this day and age.
[T]he Holy Father, going into greater detail [...] explains that the “spirit of Vatican II” must be found only in the letter of the documents themselves. The so-called “spirit” of the Council has no authoritative interpretation. It is a ghost or demon that must be exorcised if we are to proceed with the Lord’s work.
My brothers and sisters, let me say this clearly: The “hermeneutic of discontinuity” is a false interpretation and implementation of the Council and the Catholic Faith. It emphasizes the “engagement with the world” to the exclusion of the deposit of faith. This has wreaked havoc on the Church, systematically dismantling the Catholic Faith to please the world, watering down what is distinctively Catholic, and ironically becoming completely irrelevant and impotent for the mission of the Church in the world. The Church that seeks simply what works or is “useful” in the end becomes useless.

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda, Most Reverend R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City

I found this through the Dec 2009 issue of AD2000. check it out.

Fr. Erik Richtsteig at Orthometer had it right, "exorcizing the Spirit of Vatican II" was an excellent tag line!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What's in a promise?

From Americans United for Life:

Dear Friend,

Yesterday, President Obama released his health care proposal...with no mention of the Life issue. Remember, the President promised you that "no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place." In a meeting last fall, I told the White House very clearly that unless they include specific legislative language banning the use of federal funds for abortion, they will be establishing taxpayer funding for abortion. The President knows what he needs to do to keep his promise and has done just the opposite.

The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that the President and his staff have met at least four times with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, but that the President has not spoken to Congressman Bart Stupak sponsor of the Stupak Amendment that protected Life in the House of Representatives health care bill since September 18th, 2009. There is only one conclusion to be drawn; the Obama Administration has been working hand in hand with the pro-abortion lobby.

What You Can Do

We have learned that the President's proposal is very close to the pro-abortion health care bill passed by the Senate last December. AUL's legal team has prepared a detailed analysis that includes my original letter to the White House on this issue. KNOW THE FACTS, Click here for AUL's detailed analysis of the President's proposal.

This Thursday, February 25th, a select group of leaders from both parties are attending a White House health care summit. Our Washington staff is engaged in outreach to this select group. We've put together an action sheet with six specific questions to ask President Obama. URGE OUR LEADERS to ask President Obama these

Charmaine Yoest, Ph. D.
President & CEO

Monday, February 22, 2010

The more things change...

...the more they stay the same...

The kind of felicity the opponents of Christianity wish to enjoy,
and the morality by which they wish to live.

"But the worshippers and lovers of those gods, whom they delighted to imitate in their criminal wickedness, are unconcerned about the utter corruption of their country. 'So long as it lasts,' they say, 'so long as it enjoys material prosperity [...] or better, the security of peace, why should we worry? What concerns us is that we should get richer all the time, to have enough for extravagant spending every day, enough to keep our inferiors in their place. It is all right if the poor serve the rich, so as to get enough to eat and to enjoy a lazy life under their patronage; while the rich make use of the poor to ensure a crowd of hangers-on to minister to their pride; if the people applaud those who supply them with pleasures rather than those who offer salutary advice; if no one imposes disagreeable duties, or forbids perverted delights; if kings are interested not in the morality but the docility of their subjects; if provinces are under rulers who are regarded not as directors of conduct but as controllers of material things and providers of material satisfactions, and are treated with servile fear instead of sincere respect. The laws should punish offences against another's property, not offences against a man's own personal character. No one should be brought to trial except for an offence, or threat of offence, against another's property, house, or person; but anyone should be free to do as he likes about his own, or with his own, or with others, if they consent. There should be a plentiful supply of public prostitutes for the benefit of all those who prefer them, especially for those who cannot keep private mistresses. It is a good thing to have imposing houses luxuriously-furnished, where lavish banquets can be held, where people can, if they like, spend night and day in debauchery, and eat and drink until they are sick; to have the din of dancing everywhere, and theatres full of fevered shouts of degenerate pleasure and of every kind of cruel and degraded indulgence. Anyone who disapproves of this kind of happiness should rank as a public enemy: anyone who attempts to change it or get rid of it should be hustled out of hearing by the freedom-loving majority: he should be kicked out, and removed from the land of the living. We should reckon the true gods to be those who see that the people get this happiness and then preserve it for them. Then let them be worshipped as they wish, let them demand what shows they like, so that they can enjoy them with their devotees or, at least, receive them from their worshippers. All the gods have to do is ensure that there is no threat to this happiness from enemies, or plagues, or any other disasters.'"

From City of God, St. Augustine, book 2, ch 20

This is the forgotten handout for the chapter meeting. oops.

Friday, February 19, 2010

"I Thirst" (Jn 19:28)

An Age of Intellectual Confusion

We are living therefore in a period of true spiritual decadence, when, so to speak, all the columns of the temple of values (having been afflicted with vertigo) have collapsed. In other words, there has been an overthrow of the values on which every human life is built. The elimination of the divine has made us conscious of a radical crisis resulting from all our spiritual and moral values being literally emptied into the void. A kind of angst (dread anxiety) then seizes the individual for, just as a river can no longer flow if cut off from its source, or a lamp can no longer give light once separated from its conductor-wire, so man can not live without God, his origin and his end.

It is the ruin of the intellect which leads to the ruin of man and his destruction - after first leading him to despair. Such a fate is inevitable when, after the great Luciferian and Nietzschean cry of "God is Dead", we fail to hearken to all the signs given by that "God who will come again".

The First Vatican Council (1870) had already attempted to provide a remedy for the universal irrationality manifesting itself in the philosophical order, and had implored us to return to Saint Thomas. Our intellectual, moral and religious life is not a kaleidoscope to be constantly twirled about by esthetes afflicted by the itch of perpetual "research" and busily carrying out the destruction of the faith. The human soul is like a monument whose rock-foundations are indestructible. Think of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem which has survived fire and sword, invasions and sacrileges across the centuries. These Cyclopean foundations are always there; they are witnesses of the vitality of the chosen people. In like manner, the human soul and its harmonious development mock all social, political, or philosophic upheavals. The love of a mother for her son, the love of a husband for his wife, one's attachment to his native soil - all remain viable realities today in Communist China as they did with the primitive tribes of the Bronze Age or with 17th century Eskimos and Iroquois! Respect for one's given word is an imperative of the conscience for every person brought up with a sense of decency, and no theory - not even the edicts of Lenin - can smother this. The thirst of the Infinite, of the Absolute, in a word, of God, cuts through all aberrations.

- Saint Thomas Aquinas, Orthodoxy, and Neo-Modernism in the Church, Renée Casin, Tr. James Likoudis, CUF, 1977, p8

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hospital decided it could not meet the Catholic standard -Bp. R.F. Vasa

Here's an interesting response to CINO institutions. Notable in that there is a response.

Hospital decided it could not meet the Catholic standard
By Bishop Robert Vasa

BEND — In the course of the past several weeks I have focused on what it means for individuals and institutions to be Catholic. I have done this, in part, because of a concern about Catholic colleges and hospitals in general but also, in part, because of very specific discussions I have been having with the administration of St. Charles Medical Center, a Catholic health care institution, in Bend. Over the course of the past several years I have struggled with the difficulty of trying to reconcile some practices ongoing at the medical center with clear Church teaching. In January I wrote: “It is not uncommon for faithful Catholics to question the Catholicity of these public institutions especially when they seem to be expressing and holding public views which are, or strongly appear to be, contrary to the clear teachings of the Church. At what point are these institutions no longer ‘in the communion of the Catholic Church on this earth?’” I have come to the very difficult conclusion, after much discussion and discernment, that it is time to acknowledge that which has become very clear to me, namely, that St. Charles is a community hospital and should no longer be identified as a Catholic institution.

A little history: In the 1970s St. Charles became a community nonprofit organization with the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Tipton, Indiana as the Catholic Sponsors. In 1992 an Association of the Christian Faithful was established with the specific goal of “preserving the unique Catholic character of St. Charles.” This was done because the Sisters determined that they could no longer provide Catholic Sponsorship. Most notable among the Sisters was Sister Kathryn Hellmann, who personally oversaw the progress of St. Charles for many years. In 1992, the Sisters transferred control of the hospital to the board of directors and the Sisters were instrumental in helping establish the Association of the Christian Faithful as the vehicle by which the hospital’s Catholic sponsorship could be maintained.

A specific part of the role of the Association of the Christian Faithful was to assure that there was a clear adherence to both Catholic principles and approved Catholic practices at St. Charles. These specific practices, as well as a summary of the principles, are contained in a document published by the Catholic Bishops of the United Sates titled: “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services” (ERDs). The adopted statutes of the Association of the Christian Faithful, however, did not allow sufficient control over the implementation of the directives at St. Charles and thus the association had no real means of insisting upon adherence to the ERDs. Consequently, the ERDs were viewed as “guidelines” or “suggestions” and compliance with them was understood by the board as both voluntary and optional.

In 2007 the diocese was presented with a report on the level of compliance with the ERDs and that report indicated that there were a couple of areas of grave concern. While the commitment to adhering to Catholic principles was clearly present the same could not be said about adherence to or avoidance of certain immoral medical practices.

I have noted elsewhere that while adherence to the principles in a general way is commendable, that alone does not identify an Institution as Catholic. There must also be an adherence to those practices which are also a part of what it means to be a Catholic institution. Sadly, after having functioned in a particular way for a large number of years the board did not see how it could now align the medical practices of the hospital with the ERDs to a degree that would justify an ongoing sponsorship relationship between the Diocese of Baker and St. Charles.

As bishop, I am responsible for attesting to the full Catholicity of the hospitals in my diocese, a responsibility I take very seriously, and I have reached the conclusion that I can no longer attest to the Catholicity of St. Charles. The board is responsible for the operation of the medical center and for its compliance with the ethical guidelines it deems suitable for St. Charles. The question the board faced was whether it could alter its present practices to the degree required for continued identification as “Catholic.” It was the board’s determination that it could not meet that standard.

I see before me two distressing options. I must either condone all that is being done at St. Charles and its affiliates by continuing a sponsorship relationship or I must recognize that those practices are absolutely contrary to the ERDs and distance myself from them. It would be misleading to the faithful for me to allow St. Charles to be acknowledged as Catholic in name while, at the same time, being morally certain that some significant tenets of the ERDs are no longer being observed there.

This is not a condemnation of St. Charles. It is a sadly acknowledged reality.

I believe the board has acted in good faith over the years because of its understanding that the ERDs were voluntary. The diocese has always presumed full compliance with a proper interpretation of the ERDs until the revelations of the 2007 report.

St. Charles has gradually moved away from adherence to the requirements of the Church without recognizing a major possible consequence of doing so. That consequence is a loss of Catholic sponsorship. Since I see no possibility of St. Charles returning to full compliance with the ERDs and since such full compliance with the ERDs is essential to “Catholic Status,” St. Charles will now be considered solely as a community nonprofit organization, not a Catholic one.

In practical terms there should be very little change in how St. Charles presently functions. One major shift will be the absence of the Blessed Sacrament at the hospital. The chapel will no longer be a Catholic chapel and Mass will no longer be celebrated there. In our secular culture most do not recognize the extreme grace of our Lord’s Real Presence but I suspect his absence from the chapel will be deeply felt.

© 2010, Catholic Sentinel

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

May your Lent be an occasion for growing closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus! Lord, you give us so much that is good, teach us how our little renunciations may be for a greater good, union with You.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If a tree falls in the forest...

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, did it make a noise? goes the saying. The parody has If a man speaks in the forest, and no woman hears, is he still wrong?

so if the founder of Life Teen is excommunicated and laicized...?

Is there nothing to hear here?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Faithful Cross (Krzyżu święty nade wszystko)

For Lent, a little Polish to English, with help of Maria and Mike Turner OPL...
click image for printable sheet music.

Friday, February 12, 2010

St. Dominic, the Order, and today

Here's a long read that is well worth it, posted at the Friar's Blog, Province of St. Joseph:

"Master Dominic and the Grace of Preaching"
Fr. Joseph Ellul O.P, L'Osservatore Romano

[...]Dominic also had the courage to present university professors and their students with the greatest challenge of their lives, that of transforming their ambition to make a career for themselves into an ambition to save their own souls and those of others.
Today's society has every right to pose uncomfortable questions to the Church. It is an essential element of that healthy tension that should exist between them. But it is no less true that this same society should be ready to hear some uncomfortable answers. The Church's mission is that of proclaiming the Gospel, and the content of the latter is not necessarily what one would wish to hear nor is it always music to our ears. Neither is it up to society to dictate what issues the Church should speak about and those about which it should keep its mouth shut. [...]

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Lumen Ecclesiae - Movie trailer (teaser)

A movie documentary on St. Dominic?
Watch this!

Hat tip to Anita at V-for Victory

The original video is no longer available, but can be seen here:

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

In the news

There are a couple items which caught my attention. The first is the case of a bogus science "scare claim" which, unfortunately, was unfounded and perhaps has hurt many people, but has now been exposed as a fraud. Unfortunately, people will continue to subscribe to this, because they "just know" it must be true. Reminds me a lot of anthropogenetic global warming.

Doc Who Tied Vaccine to Autism Ruled Unethical

the second is an article in the New York Times:

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. — The new movie “Extraordinary Measures” is based on the true story of a father who starts a company to develop a treatment for the rare genetic disease threatening to kill two of his children before they turn 10.

Now, a Silicon Valley start-up is making the bold claim that it can help eradicate that disease and more than 100 others by alerting parents-to-be who have the carrier genes.

I saw the movie "Extraordinary Measures" because I read about the wonderful true story behind the movie in "Quest," the magazine of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The story is even more dramatic than the movie (Heroes, Hope, & Hollywood). The NYT article strikes me as criminaly cynical, in that instead of the love and heroism depicted in the film, the solution is put forth to simply kill all the children with diseases before birth, or create designer testtube babies instead, notwithstanding the fact that recent evidence has shown the In Vitro conceived children are, well, not healthy. As Larry, his brother Daryl, and his other brother Daryl used to say on the Bob Newhart Show: "anything for a buck."