Category Archives: Quotables

Just what others have said. Just to keep you thinking.

I will go down with the ship

Fighting against this:

The pervasiveness of these attitudes in the university is so obvious one wonders why anybody bothers to deny it anymore. Not just in scholarly writing or the class syllabus, but in every document most universities generate, in every event they sponsor, in every program they tout and fund, the mantras of multiculturalism are chanted as talismanic charms to ward off accusations of Eurocentric elitism and hegemonic pretensions. What is lost in this eager adherence to a questionable ideology, of course, is the sense of the university’s mission to encourage “the free play of the mind on all subjects,” as Matthew Arnold put it, and to foster the “instinct prompting [the mind] to try to know the best that is known and thought in the world, irrespectively of practice, politics, and everything of the kind; and to value knowledge and thought as they approach this best, without the intrusion of any other considerations whatever.”[3] These days what is taught is driven instead by “identity politics”: that is, whatever gratifies the sensibilities, esteem, and prejudices of various state-certified victims and their self-selected tribunes, who profit in institutional power from their presumed representation of the “oppressed” and “exploited.”

(source: The Twilight of the Professors – The Imaginative Conservative)

Poetry hath comforts

For he does think, although I’m oft in doubt
If I can tell exactly what about.
Ah yes! his little foot and ancle trim,
’Tis there the seat of reason lies in him;
A wise philosopher would shake his head, ­
He then, of course, must shake his foot instead.
At me in vengeance shall that foot be shaken —
Another proof of thought, I’m not mistaken —
Because to his cat’s eyes I hold a glass
And let him see himself a proper ass?

(source: Edgar Allan Poe “Oh, Tempora! Oh, Mores!”)

Yes, who among us could not use a little dose of historical perspective, just now?

vita brevis

“Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not thy peace at my tears!

For I am thy passing guest,
a sojourner, like all my fathers.

Look away from me, that I may know gladness,
before I depart and be no more!”

(source: Psalm 39 RSVCE)

Here’s one I still like best in an older version, with a more craggy beauty:

Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.

O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.

(source: Psalm 39 KJV)

Put in pipe. Smoke.

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

(source: Matthew 24:45-51 RSVCE)

Pay Attention to the Structural Cases

It is really important that you keep track of the bits and pieces that are the groundwork of oppression, pieces often swept off to the side by mass-market democracy’s “issues” and the outrage-of-the-day disease that afflicts us:

But last July, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, upholding the law mandating pharmacists to dispense legal drugs and devices. The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case today allows the 9th Circuit’s ruling—and the law—to stand.

If a customer at Ralph’s Thriftway requests a drug such as Plan B, employees refer customers to other local pharmacies that do carry the drug. According to court documents, over 30 pharmacies and drug stores within five miles of Ralph’s carry Plan B, and none of Ralph’s customers has ever been denied timely access to Plan B or other emergency contraceptives.

Alito, in his dissent, suggested the 2007 law, which is unique to Washington state, was designed specifically to target Christian believers.

“There are strong reasons to doubt whether the regulations were adopted for—or that they actually serve—any legitimate purpose,” Alito wrote, adding:

And there is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State. Yet the 9th Circuit held that the regulations do not violate the First Amendment, and this court does not deem the case worthy of our time.

(source: Alito: Value Religious Freedom? You Should Be Worried)

Psalm of the Day

To you, Lord, I lift up my soul.
My God, I trust you, I shall not be ashamed.
Do not let my enemies triumph.
No-one who trusts you should lose by it.
Let the losers be the faithless traitors
who break their word pointlessly.

Lord, show me your ways
and teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
since you are the God of my salvation
and I hope in you all the day long.

(source: Universalis: Sext)

A Just Retort

I read this to my wife, and she said, with emphasis: “Yup.”

Because this pretty much sums up our experience. Those most dedicated to authentic pastoral care are also those most often slurred by those who want to be patted on the head for their goodness and eased in their consciences as they fit in with the world’s disregard for heaven, hell, and salvation.

But I cannot say fairer than this, so I won’t:

As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you.

You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men.

You gossip about us, ensuring that we are “put in our places” and “taught a thing or two” by your confreres.

You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.

But let’s be quite honest…you don’t really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast…but that’s about it.

Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital?

Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily?

Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner?

Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day?

Have you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry?

Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry?

Have you seen us muster a smile even when we’re exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we’re assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there’s another meeting to go to?

The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being “out of touch.” Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments.

As difficult as it is at times, I love being a priest with my whole heart. Not because it offers me an exalted status or any privileges, but because it offers me, and the people I serve, the means by which to attain salvation. I love the people I serve to death, and I would do anything within my means to help them. If you look at my cassock and presume otherwise, I can only feel sorry for you.

(source: A Young Priest Sets the Record Straight for the Catholic Left)

Morning Prayer

Rescue us, God, our saviour,
and turn your anger away from us.
Do not be angry for ever
– or will you let your wrath last from one generation to the next?
Surely you will turn round and give us life
– so that your people can rejoice in you?
Show us, Lord, your kindness
and give us your salvation.

I will listen to whatever the Lord God tells me,
for he will speak peace to his people and his chosen ones,
and to those who repent in their hearts.
Truly his salvation is close to those who fear him,
so that glory may dwell in our land.
Kindness and faithfulness have met together,
justice and peace have kissed.
Faithfulness has sprung from the earth,
and justice has looked down from heaven.

(source: Universalis: Morning Prayer (Lauds))

Brilliantly spoken, and true

Modernity, as we have seen, can tolerate religion as long as it is safely sequestered in the privacy of one’s conscience or practiced behind closed doors. What challenges modernity is a religion that shows up. A secularized culture wants us to believe that processions and pilgrimages are somehow inappropriate, sectarian, trouble-making. I think we should make a little trouble….

[Pilgrimages] are embodied ways of centering our lives on Jesus Christ, all profoundly non-dualist means of walking the path of holiness.

(source: How to Center Yourself on Christ | Word On Fire)

Great Chesterton excerpt on the relationship of history to economics

The truth is that the mere economic motive would never have produced anything like what we call the history of men; even if it produced something like the history of mice. Even if we merely think that men have behaved too much like mice, we shall in fact find that some notion of moral order was behind their action; was behind even their inaction. We may think we can prove their inaction to be servile, to be superstitious; the one thing we cannot prove it to be is materialistic; or even economic.

(source: History Is Humanity)

Cultivate, cultivate, cultivate

Is it not true that what we call “nature” in a cosmic sense has its origin in “a plan of love and truth”? The world “is not the product of any necessity whatsoever, nor of blind fate or chance… The world proceeds from the free will of God; he wanted to make his creatures share in his being, in his intelligence, and in his goodness.”[ix] The Book of Genesis, in its very first pages, points to the wise design of the cosmos: it comes forth from God’s mind and finds its culmination in man and woman, made in the image and likeness of the Creator to “fill the earth” and to “have dominion over” it as “stewards” of God himself (cf. Gen 1:28). The harmony between the Creator, mankind and the created world, as described by Sacred Scripture, was disrupted by the sin of Adam and Eve, by man and woman, who wanted to take the place of God and refused to acknowledge that they were his creatures. As a result, the work of “exercising dominion” over the earth, “tilling it and keeping it,” was also disrupted, and conflict arose within and between mankind and the rest of creation (cf. Gen 3:17‒19). Human beings let themselves be mastered by selfishness; they misunderstood the meaning of God’s command and exploited creation out of a desire to exercise absolute domination over it. But the true meaning of God’s original command, as the Book of Genesis clearly shows, was not a simple conferral of authority, but rather a summons to responsibility. The wisdom of the ancients had recognized that nature is not at our disposal as “a heap of scattered refuse.”[x] Biblical Revelation made us see that nature is a gift of the Creator, who gave it an inbuilt order and enabled man to draw from it the principles needed to “till it and keep it” (cf. Gen. 2:15).[xi] Everything that exists belongs to God, who has entrusted it to man, albeit not for his arbitrary use. Once man, instead of acting as God’s co-worker, sets himself up in place of God, he ends up provoking a rebellion on the part of nature, “which is more tyrannized than governed by him.”[xii] Man thus has a duty to exercise responsible stewardship over creation, to care for it and to cultivate it.[xiii]

(source: If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation | Humanum Review)

Thoughtful and carefully written

This program includes formation of the whole human person. We cannot disaggregate our efforts or offer our formation a la carte, because: “In the Catholic school’s educational project, there is no separation between time for learning and time for formation, between acquiring notions and growing in wisdom,” according to the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education. The Congregation also emphasizes that everything in a Catholic school is Catholic, and the faith is everywhere:

What makes the Catholic school distinctive is its religious dimension, and that this is to be found in a) the educational climate, b) the personal development of each student, c) the relationship established between culture and the Gospel, d) the illumination of all knowledge with the light of faith.

A student or family may not like every part of the complete educational project, but they should be expected to participate in the complete mission, to the fullest extent possible for their state of life, and never do anything that works against the mission, or protests it. Surely those whose religious practices and beliefs run counter to Church teaching might experience conflicts as the school maintains mission integrity. Sincere questioning of the practices and traditions of the Catholic faith, in order to more deeply understand them, ought to be welcome, but openly hostile and public defiance of Catholic truths or morality are signs that a student may not be a good fit for a Catholic school’s primary evangelical mission and, therefore, may be denied admission.

(source: Serving LGBT Students in Catholic Schools)

Another from GKC on our Thomas

For on one preliminary point, this position must not be misunderstood. When we praise the practical value of the Aristotelian Revolution, and the originality of Aquinas in leading it, we do not mean that the Scholastic philosophers before him had not been philosophers, or had not been highly philosophical, or had not been in touch with ancient philosophy. In so far as there was ever a bad break in philosophical history, it was not before St. Thomas, or at the beginning of medieval history; it was after St. Thomas and at the beginning of modern history. The great intellectual tradition that comes down to us from Pythagoras and Plato was never interrupted or lost through such trifles as the sack of Rome, the triumph of Attila or all the barbarian invasions of the Dark Ages. It was only lost after the introduction of printing, the discovery of America, the founding of the Royal Society and all the enlightenment of the Renaissance and the modern world. It was there, if anywhere, that there was lost or impatiently snapped the long thin delicate thread that had descended from distant antiquity; the thread of that unusual human hobby; the habit of thinking. This is proved by the fact that the printed books of this later period largely had to wait for the eighteenth century, or the end of the seventeenth century, to find even the names of the new philosophers; who were at the best a new kind of philosophers. But the decline of the Empire, the Dark Ages and the early Middle Ages, though too much tempted to neglect what was opposed to Platonic philosophy, had never neglected philosophy. In that sense St. Thomas, like most other very original men, has a long and clear pedigree. He himself is constantly referring back to the authorities from St. Augustine to St. Anselm, and from St. Anselm to St. Albert, and even when he differs, he also defers.


Do not miss the point

In short, most people, Christian or heathen, would now agree that the Franciscan sentiment was primarily a Christian sentiment, unfolded from within, out of an innocent (or, if you will, ignorant) faith in the Christian religion itself. Nobody, as I have said, says that St. Francis drew his primary inspiration from Ovid. It would be every bit as false to say that Aquinas drew his primary inspiration from Aristotle. The whole lesson of his life, especially of his early life, the whole story of his childhood and choice of a career, shows that he was supremely and directly devotional; and that he passionately loved the Catholic worship long before he found he had to fight for it. But there is also a special and clinching instance of this which once more connects St. Thomas with St. Francis. It seems to be strangely forgotten that both these saints were in actual fact imitating a Master, who was not Aristotle let alone Ovid, when they sanctified the senses or the simple things of nature; when St. Francis walked humbly among the beasts or St. Thomas debated courteously among the Gentiles.

Those who miss this, miss the point of the religion, even if it be a superstition; nay, they miss the very point they would call most superstitious. I mean the whole staggering story of the God-Man in the Gospels. A few even miss it touching St. Francis and his unmixed and unlearned appeal to the Gospels. They will talk of the readiness of St. Francis to learn from the flowers or the birds as something that can only point onward to the Pagan Renaissance. Whereas the fact stares them in the face; first, that it points backwards to the New Testament, and second that it points forward, if it points to anything, to the Aristotelian realism of the Summa of St. Thomas Aquinas. They vaguely imagine that anybody who is humanising divinity must be paganising divinity without seeing that the humanising of divinity is actually the strongest and starkest and most incredible dogma in the Creed. St. Francis was becoming more like Christ, and not merely more like Buddha, when he considered the lilies of the field or the fowls of the air; and St. Thomas was becoming more of a Christian, and not merely more of an Aristotelian, when he insisted that God and the image of God had come in contact through matter with a material world. These saints were, in the most exact sense of the term, Humanists; because they were insisting on the immense importance of the human being in the theological scheme of things. But they were not Humanists marching along a path of progress that leads to Modernism and general scepticism; for in their very Humanism they were affirming a dogma now often regarded as the most superstitious Superhumanism. They were strengthening that staggering doctrine of Incarnation, which the sceptics find it hardest to believe. There cannot be a stiffer piece of Christian divinity than the divinity of Christ.

This is a point that is here very much to the point; that these men became more orthodox, when they became more rational or natural. Only by being thus orthodox could they be thus rational and natural. In other words, what may really be called a liberal theology was unfolded from within, from out of the original mysteries of Catholicism. But that liberality had nothing to do with liberalism; in fact it cannot even now coexist with liberalism

(source: Chesterton)