On Catholic punditry

21 01 2009


Another good one from Lee Hamilton :

The Catholic critique in the modern world is the most meaningful, sincere and honest beacon of unadultered truth you will find in what is otherwise a mesmerizing and seductive cavern of lies, illusions and dead ends. This is why it’s not hard to spot when it’s being appropriated and corrupted for lesser purposes. When it’s used in this way, the real motivations become plain to the discerning eye: a visceral and unreasonable – nay, hysterical – loathing of people unlike themselves, and an incredibly entitled sense of affront at the simple everyday reality of being obliged to share public space and political discourse with those people. That’s why this particular segment often elects to disengage and spit acid from a distance. One can expect that this nascent backlash will become increasingly venomous with time, under the guise of bearing witness to the Faith, irrespective of how the new Administration seeks to temper its policies in order to forge a new middle ground, a new public commons where people of good will and transparent intentions can engage with each other.

As I have said, somewhat less eloquently, some people regard their religion as an instrument of their political ideology, and not the other way around. It becomes quite clear after a while when this is the case. When I lived in Latin America, I often felt that many of the Lefebvrist faithful down there used their adherence to Catholic traditionalism as a badge of honor expressing that they weren’t associated with the “Masonic Mass of the Communist hierarchy”. I often wondered if religion was really the issue at all. Not that I think it is as extreme here, but it looks like it’s getting there.

Rejoice in the present

21 01 2009


You asked me yesterday to transcribe for you that maxim of mine that is inscribed around the walls of the Academy. Receive it: “All things are directed from goodness to goodness. Rejoice in the present; set no value on property, seek no honors. Avoid excess; avoid activity. Rejoice in the present.”

-Marsilio Ficino, found in Meditations on the Soul