The Cooking Gene

27 02 2019

I read this book recently, so I will just jot down some thoughts here. In general, reading books like this remind me of how shallow my roots are in this country. Mexican cuisine tends to be celebrated (even if in a bastardized form), while “soul food” such as collard greens and corn grits are little appreciated outside of the South and historically black communities. Personally, I like Southern food, and I think it just as nuanced and cultured as any other cuisine. Good gumbo or fried chicken is an art. At the same time, there is a sort of gentrification of these rural “uncultured” foods that I can also recognize as a concern. The throwaway foods of yesterday become the delicacies of today, and that can be very problematic. Read the rest of this entry »

Catholicism is just Palo Mayombe with better aesthetics

25 02 2019

Another manifestation of Cuthbert’s power that also can be dated to the 1160s concerns a stag that a knight named Robert in the Scottish province of Lothian tried to capture. It sought refuge in the cemetery of a church dedicated to St. Cuthbert. The dogs chasing the animal were not able to get inside the graveyard, and the stag remained there in the sanctuary. A young man defied the power of Cuthbert and got into the precinct to attack the animal. The stag turned around and charged at a group of people watching. With its antlers it gored the evil man’s baby son, who subsequently died. ” Thus St. Cuthbert deservedly ordered that death be inflicted on the son of the man who chose to cheat his guest of his tranquility.”

The dogs then killed the stag, but no one dared to touch its carcass or eat of its flesh, which was left there to rot. Six months later, a craftsman defied the spot by trying to cut up the carcass. Even though it seemed to be dried out by then, blood shot forth and struck him in the forehead. Still, he dragged the animal to his home but was punished when blood began to ooze from the animal and fill the house, to such an extent that neighbors could see a river of red emerging from the building. “What should he do, where should he go, he was at a loss, for everywhere he sensed the danger of evil hanging over him?”

–from Brian Patrick McGuire’s Brother and Lover: Aelred of Rievaulx


22 02 2019

He says, “That I have great sorrow and unceasing pain in my heart.” Go ahead, have sorrow; go ahead, feel pain because of the lostness of your brothers, “who are kinsmen according to the flesh.” But does it really extend so far that you should wish to become accursed from Christ? And why would their salvation benefit you if you should be cut off from salvation? And what benefit is it to save others if you yourself perish? He says, It is not so, but I have learned from my teacher and Lord that “whoever wants to save his soul shall lose it, and whoever loses it will find it.” What is so astonishing, then, if the Apostle should desire to become accursed for the sake of his brothers? He knows that the one who was in the form of God emptied himself from that form and took on the form of a slave and became a curse for us. What is astonishing then if, since the Lord became a curse for the sake of slaves, a slave should become accursed for the sake of brothers? Yet I believe that this is also what Moses was saying to the Lord when the people sinned, “And now, if indeed you will forgive their sin, forgive it; but if not, blot me out of the book of life that you have written.”…

“Origen had a motto that he taught to his students as the guide to their whole intellectual (and psychic) lives: Hopou Logos agei, which translates as “Go wherever the Divine Wisdom leads you.” Studying Origen, and being led more and more deeply into his speculations on God and the cosmos, is a highly infectious thing.”

The rest here

The Platonic Sea: Marsilio Ficino and Mediterranean Philosophy — Mediterraneanisms

21 02 2019

I was recently asked to review Denis J.-J. Robichaud’s recent book, Plato’s Persona: Marsilio Ficino, Renaissance Humanism, and Platonic Traditions, which was published last year by Pennsylvania University Press. The review will appear in The Sixteenth Century Journal, a periodical aimed at an academic audience that specializes in the early modern period. While that review is geared toward scholars, I thought […]

via The Platonic Sea: Marsilio Ficino and Mediterranean Philosophy — Mediterraneanisms

Reginald Foster

20 02 2019

I stumbled across the above video from last year which reminded me of my own indirect tie to Fr. Foster. I took a course with an instructor who had studied under him in Rome who also encouraged me to do the same. I politely refused because by that point I no longer felt like chasing butterflies. The instructor sadly passed away at a very young age, so I remember that as one of our only one-on-one interactions. Of interest to me is how much of a “progressive” Fr. Foster comes across here. I have written the same of disgraced Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who was a great medieval musicologist who came to dislike the musical patrimony of the Church. While there were many smart and capable scholars who let go of tradition with a heavy heart, many more threw it away with relish. Read the rest of this entry »

A generation’s self-canonization

18 02 2019

A post on Twitter from last year was brought to my attention that shows a stained glass window with now defrocked Theodore McCarrick celebrating Mass with now St. John Paul II. I think this makes my point about last week’s post about speedy canonizations in general. Unless someone is St. Francis of Assisi there is no harm in waiting until everyone who knew the person is dead before even thinking of elevating the person to the altars. If the cultus is lasting it will outlast the one or two generations after the person’s demise. If not, it was just a flash in the pan.

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 »

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.