Monday, February 27, 2012

books, books, ...

The recent list of books I posted has to be followed by some quotes from my current read, which is Orestes A. Brownson's "The American Republic" - written in 1865. It's not hard to guess what he'd think of today's Obamacare. Or, for that matter, the course of the Federal government since his time. 

The United States Bank was manifestly unconstitutional, as probably are the present so-called national banks. The Unites States Bank was a private or particular corporation, and the present national banks are only corporations of the same sort, though organized under a general law. The pretence that they are established to supply a national currency does not save their constitutionality, for the convention has not given the [Federal] government the power nor imposed on it the duty of furnishing a national currency. To coin money, and regulate the value thereof, is something very different from authorizing private companies to issue bank notes, on the basis of the public stocks held as private property, or even on what is called a specie basis. To claim the power under the general welfare clause would be a simple mockery of good sense. It is no more for the general welfare than any other successful private business. The private welfare of each is, no doubt, for the welfare of all, but not therefore is it the “general welfare,” for what is private, particular in its nature, is not and cannot be general. To understand by general welfare that which is for the individual welfare of all or the greater number, would be to claim for the [Federal] government all the powers of government, and to deny that very division of powers which is the crowning merit of the American system.
The italics above are mine to underscore the point. When Brownson speaks of the division of powers, he does not mean that between the three branches of the Federal government; these are useless, he holds, as checks and balances. What he is speaking of is the division between the general and the particular, the Federal, and the State; each of which has its sphere of competency, both of which are needed to balance the needs of individual rights and the social rights.

Writing at the end of the Civil War, which saw the defeat of the imbalance tilting towards the individual, he warned of the opposite imbalance, towards the social, which he considered a graver evil; the despotism of the state at the cost of freedom.

So, we've brainwashed our generations to believe sexual license is"freedom" so they willingly embrace slavery. nice touch.

here's another interesting quote:

There is hardly a government now in the civilized world that can sustain itself for a moment without an armed force sufficient to overawe or crush the party, or parties in permanent conspiracy against it. This result is not what was aimed at or desired, but it is the logical or necessary result of the attempt to erect the state on atheistical principles. Unless founded on the divine sovereignty, authority can sustain itself only by force, for political atheism recognized no right but might. No doubt the politicians have sought an atheistical, or what is the same thing, a purely human, basis for government, in order to secure an open field for human freedom and activity, or individual or social progress. The end aimed at has been good, laudable even, but they forgot that freedom is possible only with authority that protects it against license as well as against despotism, and that there can be no progress where there is nothing that is not progressive. In civil society two things are necessary - stability and movement. The human is the element of movement, vor in it are possibilities that can only be successively actualized. But the element of stability can only be found in the divine, in God, in whom there is no unactialized possibility, who, therefore, is immovable, immutable, and eternal. 

Bear with me for one more jewel!

Error is never harmless, and only truth can give a solid foundation on which to build. Individualism and socialism are each opposed to the other, and each has only a partial truth. The state founded on either cannot stand, and society will only alternate between the two extremes. Today it is tornb by a revolution in favor of socialism; [remember, this is 1865!] tomorrow it will be torn by another [by "another" he refers to the Civil War as a revolution] in favor of individualism, and without effecting any real progress by either revolution. Real progress can be secured only by recognizing and building on the truth, not as it iexists in our opinions or in our theories, but as it exists in the world of reality, and independent of our opinions.

In the mail!

This weekend I was quite surprised to find in the mail a package in the mail from Br Corwin Low OP; it contained the following booklet:

The booklet, from 1956, is in splendid condition, and contains the "Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary" along with instructions for recitation in choir by Dominican Tertiaries.  Under the rule in force prior to Vatican II, the "Little Office" was required of Dominican Tertiaries; it has been supplanted by the revised Liturgy of the Hours. it appears that the "Little Office" as it is presented here is Sunday's Breviary (in English). Going through it once, it is clear that our prayer obligation today is actually far less effort than that which was previously required.

I scanned and refomatted the Litany to our Lady, which came after the Salve procession after Compline; it is quite lovely and still well worth recitation!

And the Inviolate is a cool prayer as well, so I included it...

Previously Br Corwin had sent me this delightful little book from 1952. Both books were published by "The Rosary Press."

Many thank to Br Corwin Low OP, and my request is that you add your prayers to mine for both he and Br Peter Hanah OP, both of whom will make there solemn vows on April 28 of this year.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Back from travels

I've returned from almost a week in Albuquerque New Mexico(*); I went to spend the first anniversary of my dad's passing (Feb 20) with my step mother, Sherry. We did many of the things that we have all done together before as a way to celebrate dad's life. A visit to the Albuquerque bio-park was delightful.

Given that Sherry is a retired attorney, it was hard to resist the urge to make lawyer jokes when I found this fellow...

I managed without falling four flight segments, visiting the biopark, a bird refuge (thousands of sandhill cranes and snow geese), two potlucks, two excellent dinners out (Indian and Italian), and mass at the Dominican Newman Center (only three blocks from folk's home, and I'd never been to mass there). All that, no falls, so what do I do? fall in my own bedroom the day I get home! sheesh... at least, nothing injured other than pride!

Anyway, I just thought those of you who have met Sherry would appreciate that she is doing well, and sends warmest greetings to all the Idaho Dominicans.

(*) "Wait, there's a New Mexico?" - Mr Burns on the Simpsons

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The "28 States" argument

Last night I heard a Catholic Answers program caller, Gene Fadness of Boise, ask regarding the HHS mandate controversy, about the claim from the opposition that "28 states already require comparable coverage" - implying, without saying, that thereby the Bishop's opposition is not reasonable because they have already folded in a significant number of states.

The Bishops have refuted this and other claims. From the Turtle Bay and Beyond blog, comes this synopsis of just this one argument:

Claim: “Over half of Americans already live in the 28 States that require insurance companies cover contraception: Several of these States like North Carolina, New York, and California have identical religious employer exemptions. Some States like Colorado, Georgia and Wisconsin have no exemption at all.”

Response: This misleads by ignoring important facts, and some of it is simply false. All the state mandates, even those without religious exemptions, may be avoided by self-insuring prescription drug coverage, by dropping that particular coverage altogether, or by taking refuge in a federal law that pre-empts any state mandates (ERISA).None of these havens is available under the federal mandate.It is also false to claim that North Carolina has an identical exemption.It is broader:It does not require a religious organization to serve primarily people of its own faith, or to fulfill the federal rule’s narrow tax code criterion.Moreover, the North Carolina law, unlike the federal mandate, completely excludes abortifacient drugs like Ella and RU-486 as well as “emergency contraceptives” like Preven.
Read the USCCB article to get a blow by blow refutation of the half-truths put forth by the Administration.
White House Misrepresents Its Own Contraceptive Mandate

The Administration, in keeping with a long Federal tradition, has a deeply flawed vision of humanity...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Books, books, books, oh my...

It's with some regret that I'll admit I haven't been posting much on this blog of late, but I'm not turning that into a lead in for abandoning the project; on the contrary, I continue to maintain the hope (or illusion) that time and an inquiring mind will collide and something of more value than mere bits and bytes will spill on this electronic canvas! And it is not that I have been inactive, and the stack of books needing to be put away, and the remarkable books about to be embarked upon, gave me an idea for a blog entry! Yes, I have been reading, so here's a recent reading roundup...

It started with a desire to try, once again, to take on St Thomas (I may have written before on this). I had some time ago purchased Edward Feser's "Aquinas" which is in the "Beginners Guides" series; as a beginner it seemed apropos. Highly recommend it. I followed that with "Aquinas for the Perplexed" by Peter Eardley and Carl Still, which Fesse's book had relieved some of my perplexity. these were followed by "The Last Superstition, A Refutation of the New Atheism" by Feser. Feser is so readable, that I had to add to this his "Philosophy of Mind" thank you very much. First philosophy blog I've ever read regularly, Professor Feser brings it home at his blog.

Ok, I hadn't expected to be on the tail end of metaphysical schooling, but I did read Mortimer Adler's "Aristotle for Everybody, Difficult Thought Made Easy." I could get the hang of this, but I got side tracked by some light reading: Michael Coren's "Why Catholics are Right" (I used to regularly read Michael's column in the Toronto Sun), and Paul Murray OP's book on Teresa of Calcutta, "I Loved Jesus in the Night." Oh yes, also Jacob Neusner's "A Rabbi Talks to Jesus."  This book is quoted by Benedict XVI in his first volumn, Jesus of Nazareth. Its a book I'd recommend highly, read it twice, and will read it again.

But as we are entering the political fray, and so much is bandied about with regard to economics, by people that one suspects know little more about economics than how to spell it (or spend), I started low; "Economics for Dummies" by Sean Flynn. Yes, I had no idea! I followed that with "Basic Economics" by Thomas Sowell, a book which made me an instant fan of this deep thinker. These two books were to provide balance to reading I have done on the internet on alternate economic theories, such as Major Douglas' Social Credit, which still has some adherants, Modern Monetary Theory (Print and spend!), and the Binary Economics of the Just Third Way, an updated version of Distributionism. To cap this, I have recently finished "Economics as if God Matters" by Rupert Ederer. This book is a survey of the 100 years of Catholic Social Magisterium from Leo XVIII's Rerum Novarum to JPII's Centesimus Annus. There is much in this book to call up short ALL the main economic orthodoxies. Ederer makes the comment, almost in passing, that the failure of the materialist attempt to study economics as a mathematical science, is that it is a social science. Duh, when you think of it.

I followed philosophy and economics with a bit of history, history of what happens when philosophy and economics get taken over by materialism and vice; The Pink Swastika by Scott Levely and Kevin Abrams is an investigation and refutation of revisionist history which attempts to paint gays as a target of Nazi persecution and extermination, rather than as linked intimately with the Nazi movement and the extermination of the "people of God" whose very existance is a judgment on the consciences of those who practice unnatural vice. It's a chilling book.

But my next book, just started is a true gem; "The American Republic" by Orestes Brownsen. Our founders may have got a few things wrong, but they got more right. The book's introduction is over a hundred pages, and it is brilliant (this is the ISI edition, introduction by Peter Augustine Lawler). I also have coming in the mail a book by Robert Royal and George Weigel on the 100 year papal magisterium on social justice; that may well provide a different perspective than Ederer's book. And for Lent, I also have Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth vol II, which I hear is also excellent.

And it's not like I haven't done any fluff reading; I read the entire "Gunslinger" series by Stephen King over the Christmas season; my son induced me to try that crack and I was hooked. I also read CS Lewis' "Out of the Silent Planet," which I really enjoyed. Somewhere I have the next two volumes, I'll read them when I find them. Oh, and somewhere in all the above, I also read "The Human Soul" by Abbot Vonier and "St Albert the Great" by Kevin Vost. Oh, and I also ordered Teddy Roesevelt's "Social Justice and Popular Rule" but discovered it is volumn 19 of a limited edition of his collected works; unfortunately, the publisher did not cut the pages properly and it can't even be read with out some serious knife-work!

There are probably some others I've forgotten because I've already re-shelved them, but this is what I've swept of the table beside my chair this evening. Hopefully, run through the mental digester and cross-coorelated it will resurface in an intellegent manner. Then again... ;)

Good night and God bless

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Anniversary of deceased fathers and mothers of Dominicans

The following is from Br Innocent Smith OP, posted at Dominicana

Each year on February 7, Dominican friars throughout the world pray in a special way for the deceased fathers and mothers of Dominicans. Today’s Gospel reading, for Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time, is apposite for the occasion, recalling the precept “Honor your father and your mother.” The collect assigned in the Dominican Proprium for the Mass takes up this theme: “Deus, qui nos patrem et matrem honoráre præcepísti, miserére cleménter paréntibus nostris eorúmque peccáta dimítte, nosque eos in ætérnæ claritátis gáudio fac vidére.” (God, who commanded us to honor our father and mother, clemently have mercy on our parents, forgive their sins, and let us see them in the joy of eternal light.) Please join us in praying for our deceased mothers and fathers, particularly those who have died in the past year.

Image: Bl. Jane of Aza, mother of St. Dominic and Bl. Mames; St. Dominic’s Priory Church, Newcastle, England (photograph: Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P.)