All tradition is a product of the 19th century

15 02 2019

I recently learned of the impending canonization of John Henry Cardinal Newman, and honestly it makes me more suspect that canonization process has just become a popularity contest. In an institution with one billion people in it, you are bound to find someone attributing a miracle to anything from a dead 19th century cardinal to the face of Jesus appearing in a piece of toast. I am not sure I will ever consider John Paul II or John XXIII to be saints. Maybe they can be removed from the calendar one day or demoted to mythology just like St. Christopher or St. Philomena. In the case of the latter recent “saint”, that would be poetic justice. Read the rest of this entry »

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Wandering Bishops

14 02 2019

The Chequer-board of Nights and Days

Rene Vilatte, wandering bishop par excellance

We discussed the validity and liceity of the Sacraments, particularly Holy Orders, last time, noting that a church may recognize lineages of Apostolic Succession of bishops as having valid Holy Orders despite that lineage being outside that particular church.  In short, the Church may recognize a man as a “real” bishop even if he was ordained irregularly.  One way this can occur is though schism, pure and simple.  That is, a bishop goes rogue and breaks away from the Church, then ordains as many men as he sees fit.  Since the bishop was validly ordained in the Church, these ordinations he performs, though illicit and carrying the penalty of automatic excommunication for both the bishop himself and those he ordains, are valid.  The men he ordains, in short, are real bishops, full stop.

We saw back here, though, that while some lineages indeed…

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If it’s not illegal, it shouldn’t be a sin

11 02 2019

This is my flippant “hot take” of the week. I’ve been thinking some about the “culture wars” since my post on Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option. For the longest time, I’ve thought it a rather problematic idea that once established religions supported by the state (such as Roman Catholicism) need to “go underground” once their beliefs and morality once backed by power suddenly become persecuted by the same power. Why not just go with the flow then? The Peace of Westphalia brought us the principle of “cuius regio, eius religio” (the religion of he who governs is the religion of the realm). Under that principle came an emphasis on all sorts of things that modern people find repugnant. Sin and legality aligned relatively well, at least on serious sins. Sure, there were always prostitutes who were tolerated, but their behaviors were regulated. People could lie and cheat, but it was still frowned upon as it is now. So is murder (of post-birth people at least) and theft. There was hypocrisy of course, that’s another given. Read the rest of this entry »





Why Thomas a Kempis isn’t saint

8 02 2019

An interesting read. I’ve always wondered about that.





Apostolic Succession

7 02 2019

The Chequer-board of Nights and Days

I shared my post about the Gospel of Thomas to a Facebook group, and one of the members suggested I do a post about Apostolic Succession.  I’d never thought to do that, frankly; but it does tie in with some of the things I’ve written about here.  Moreover, Apostolic Succession is something of which many non-Catholics and non-Orthodox may have never heard.  Even  many Catholics and Orthodox may have only fuzzy ideas of the concept, despite its extreme importance to their respective churches.  Thus, since it’s a legitimate topic, I think I will indeed discuss it here.

In any church or religious organization–or any organization at all, for that matter–two of the most fundamental questions are “Who’s in charge” and “Why are they in charge?”  No human organization can lack some type of leadership.  Even among hunter-gatherer tribes that have little structure, there will almost always be one or…

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The Benedict Option

6 02 2019

I have mulled over doing a review of this book that I recently read, and I am still not sure I can do it justice. The difficulty that I am finding is addressing the complexity and nuance of Dreher’s description of the problem of the contemporary conservative Christian malaise. The book draws inspiration from the last line of Catholic philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre’s book, After Virtue, wherein he contrasts the violent revolutionary Trotsky to the humble quiet movement of the monastic founder, St. Benedict. Dreher visits monastic communities as well as quasi-monastic lay communities that are trying to live a devout traditional life in the midst of the maelstrom of change that is 21st century society. Dreher, both in this book and on his widely-read blog, continues to document the perceived persecution of conservative Christians (Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox) who refuse to go along with the liberal sexual politics of the modern era, among other changes. Read the rest of this entry »





Deus deorum

5 02 2019

Another re-run

Reditus

Christ as the Fulfilment of Pagan Theology

In the past, I have criticized the “grand march of monotheism” view of history. In this view, people agonizingly climbed their way out of a mental cave that is haunted by spirits, ghosts, gods, and all of the other usual suspects in the polytheistic cosmos. Little by little, one small group of people, the Hebrews, grew out of this worldview to realize that their was only one God, and all of the other religions were either superstition or the manipulation of devils. Even from the founding of the Church, we are becoming more monothesitic, more Biblical, and more knowledgeable about the Christian religion as time passes. People feel, for example, that St. Anselm’s idea of the vicarious satisfaction of Christ on the Cross was a remnant of the pagan ethos: the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would never demand blood from…

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4 minute Mass

30 01 2019

Looking up things for the last post, I came upon this video of the complete Mass of the schismatic church of Palmar de Troya. As you can see, it’s four minutes long. Read the rest of this entry »





Malachi Martin

28 01 2019

I have been really enjoying listening to Dr. Taylor Marshall’s podcast and I highly recommend it. One of the latest on the deceased former Jesuit and novelist Malachi Martin in particular sent me down memory lane. Specifically, I’d like to jot down a few things about what it was like to be a Catholic traditionalist in the mid- to late 1990’s, during the time of “Internet 1.0”. I realize that having lived through those things as a young man colors my views of the Church in the current year, particularly when it comes to the current scandals. Read the rest of this entry »





The Tenderness of Vision

27 01 2019

Reditus

Hadot Reads Plotinus

[Plotinus] gently accepted the multiple levels of our being, and all he tried to do was reduce this multiplicity as much as possible, by turning his attention away from the “composite”. For him, it was necessary that mankind learn to tolerate itself.

-Pierre Hadot, Plotinus or the Simplicity of Vision

Plotinus is without a doubt the father of mysticism in the Western world. His language, elan, and depth have been imitated by countless Christian mystics, and his ideas of knowledge as turning within into oneself continues to influence all spiritual seekers from the cloistered Carmelite nun in traditional habit to the New Age ex-hippie in a yoga class.  Plotinus can be exceptionally beautiful to read, but his is often a hollow beauty, a beauty that is inaccessible, fleeting, and of little application to daily life. Pierre Hadot, in his book on Plotinus, seeks to plant the third century…

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