Crisis of the Church re-runs

29 12 2018

I am less than amused by the fake outrage that conservatives in the Catholic Church perform every time some prelate who should know better states what he really believes, this time about the Virgin Birth. These people have been Catholic for more than 24 hours, right? Real life doesn’t play out like the screen play of Memento, where the protagonist keeps forgetting what happened only a short time ago. So why are they surprised when someone high up in the Church doesn’t believe what the “latest and best” scholarship (which they were probably educated in in seminary) has refuted about Jesus Christ’s birth?

The frame of mind of the modern Catholic, from the most liberal to the conspiracy theory-driven Fatima apparition fanatic, is basically rationalist to the core anyway. Even when miracles are believed in, they are emphatically posited as exceptions. Belief in the supernatural is quite forced, and its benefits to society are emphasized as an incentive to swallow the bitter pill of the universe just not making sense sometimes. The Catholic Church long ago ceded the ground of explaining the universe to science, so when the Catholic Church mandates that we continue to believe this or that miracle (the Resurrection, Virgin Birth, etc.) it really is a leap into the absurd. So some people no longer make that leap. Why is anyone surprised?





This is not a liturgical post

28 12 2018

A slightly revised re-run.

Reditus

It is with some reluctance that I comment on Geoffrey Hull’s book, Banished Heart: Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church. I am not really interested in liturgy (as I have stated before), nor did I find the book all that compelling. Nevertheless, even my newly recovered philosophical orientation has not prevented me from pursuing a broad range of interests. A book that claims to analyze the degeneration of the religious ethos of the West can thus be of some interest to me.

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Notes on historic Neoplatonism

26 12 2018

Reditus

Just jotting some stuff down…

It seems to me that the birth of modern religiosity in the West was born out of two condemnations: one of Meister Eckhart’s mystical premises, and the other of Pico della Mirandola’s magical theses. In the former, we have various ideas that reflect the monistic mysticism of Plotinus, such as “one sees God with the same eye by which God sees him”, or something like that. In the condemnation of Pico della Mirandola, you have the condemnation of the last vestiges of theurgy in the West; the idea that supernatural intervention could penetrate the human reality outside of the direct supervision of the Church. This premise was particularly problematic for those pious ears:

There is no science that assures us more of the divinity of Christ than magic and Cabala.

Since then, we have had a particularly dualistic view of these phenomena. While it is…

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Real Christmas

25 12 2018

After so many years of chasing God through every sort of ceremony, book, liturgy, initiation, act of charity, etc. etc. I have come to realize that real devotion, the real manifestation of God was in my grandmother dressing up her four inch-long Christ Child in a new little suit and rocking him before putting him in his crib on Christmas Eve. I was and am an idiot for not seeing that sooner.

Merry Christmas.





Sex and the Latino family

22 12 2018

“What the Church asks now is that people do this themselves, or even cast their “sin” away but not the “sinner”. If anyone has succeeded in doing this without being a total bigot, they deserve to be canonized. So far, I haven’t really met anyone who has.”

Reditus

The catalyst for this post comes again from the Conservative Blog for Peace, and it is an interview done a couple of years ago with writer Richard Rodriguez. I quote the relevant passages:

Once my partner became part of my life, he became part of their life too. They didn’t want it said, they didn’t want it named or defined, but they assumed it and accepted it. At family events, when my partner wasn’t there, my mother would get on the phone and call him and insist he come over…

I have not been to a Mexican family without some suspicion of homosexuality in children or grandchildren. But people deal with it within the larger context of family. That’s why I suspect the revolution will come not from the male church but from how women treat their children, and whether or not women are willing to reject their children…

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Sor Juana otra vez

22 12 2018

Reditus

QUÉJASE DE LA SUERTE: INSINÚA SU AVERSIÓN A LOS VICIOS, Y JUSTIFICA SU DIVERTIMIENTO A LAS MUSAS

¿En perseguirme, mundo, qué interesas?
¿En qué te ofendo, cuando sólo intento
poner bellezas en mi entendimiento
y no mi entendimiento en las bellezas?

Yo no estimo tesoros ni riquezas,
y así, siempre me causa más contento
poner riquezas en mi entendimiento
que no mi entendimiento en las riquezas.

Y no estimo hermosura que vencida
es despojo civil de las edades
ni riqueza me agrada fementida,

teniendo por mejor en mis verdades
consumir vanidades de la vida
que consumir la vida en vanidades.

She complains of her fate: she insinuates her aversion to vices, and she justifies her play to the Muses

 

What interest is it to you, world, to pursue me?

How do I offend you, when all I do

Is put beauty in my mind

And not put my mind…

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On man and beast

21 12 2018

Reditus

Let me now bring this letter to an end, but may I first remind you of this one thing, which clearly we should bear in mind: if the wild beasts within us are many, it is not surprising that according to Plato souls are transmigrating from men to beasts. Certainly, we have within us, from the beginning, fuel for desire and something of an animal nature. When we have heedlessly nourished these for a long time, reason is either in some way lulled to sleep, or else it is awake under the cloak of passion and desire. Wherefore, under the human skin, the man himself seems to have been transformed into beasts. Hence Socrates says in Phaedrus, “Indeed I examine myself, Phaedrus. Am I a monster with more heads than Typhon, more full of fire and fury? Or am I a simpler and calmer being, sharing in some divine and…

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The Catholic exodus

20 12 2018

Rod Dreher linked to a story about why young people are leaving the Catholic Church, which had no surprises in it. A disproportionate number of respondents to a survey said they left due to the teachings about sexual ethics, again, no surprises there. I suppose it has been a question of my formation, but I have never understood why people today separate licentiousness in sexuality from permissiveness in other aspects of life. That is perhaps the wisdom of the great sages of yesteryear, who are now universally reviled for strictly forbidding genital-to-genital contact except in defined circumstances. Supposedly one can have intercourse with a man, woman, dog, table leg, imaginary cartoon character, etc. etc. and that will NOT be detrimental to any other aspect of life, be that the respect for other people’s property, their bodily person, etc. etc. As if one of the reasons people covet property or enact violence have nothing to do with sex… I am not saying that if people kept it in their pants, they would suddenly be saints in all other aspects of life. But why would people be saints in everything if only they were allowed to be licentious in affairs of the flesh? For me, it doesn’t follow. Read the rest of this entry »





The banality of genius

17 12 2018

I have been experiencing a recent renewed interest in chess. While this is not by any means a major concern of my life at the moment, I have read one book on the subject, namely, Bobby Fischer Goes to War. The book is an extensive treatment of the World Championship match between Fischer and Boris Spassky in the summer of 1972 in Iceland. Interest in the match led to a brief chess renaissance in the United States as well as cementing international fame for Fischer. Fischer would later go on to have an infamous decline resulting in his permanent exile from the United States and arguably a lapse into madness. Read the rest of this entry »





Cuca Roseta

14 12 2018

This woman’s voice is like butter.