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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Father Rutler: Truth Versus Spin

There was a time when debates consisted in measured arguments, logical in syntax and respectful of the opponent. One thinks of the earlier, elevated exchanges between G. K. Chesterton and George Bernard Shaw, whose differences of belief about almost everything—including the most important things: religion and politics—were imaged in Chesterton’s corpulence and Shaw’s emaciation. When Chesterton said that Shaw looked as if there had been a famine in the land, Shaw said that Chesterton looked like its cause. Then they dined with laughter, for they were bonded by the conviction that there are high ideals that are objective, even if they disagreed about what they were.
When prejudice and sentiment replace love of truth, discourse yields to shouting. Serious conversations have given way to “talking heads” shouting rehearsed slogans at each other, not letting facts stand in the way of opinion. This is why a prominent media figure recently lamented that “journalism is dead.”
The irony is that this degeneracy of discourse is in the name of free speech, when it actually disdains such freedom. The power of an argument exists only in the exercise of power itself: might makes right. “But wisdom is justified by her children” (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:35). Every tyrant tries to defeat truth with drums. It is the consequence of ideology usurping logic. The decay of logic began when men confused the two.
The triumph of the will over the intellect was a subtle attitude even among such sophisticated mediaeval theologians as William of Ockham and Duns Scotus. Of course its most violent and vulgar expression was in Islam, but it leaked into modern attitudes through cynical people like Nietzsche and Freud who did not think themselves religious at all. All that may seem obscure, but you meet it daily in the “spin doctors” of TV talk shows and newspapers.
Einstein said that National Socialism took over Germany by suborning the media, the universities, and the courts of law. That corruption has free play in our time, when you can tell what a television channel will report simply by which one it is, when college students burst into tears when a lecturer says something that contradicts their conceits, and when judges render decisions according to their political allegiance.
This mentality is “Voluntarism.” It is a corruption of voluntas, which means will or desire, just as racism is a corruption of race, and sexism is a corruption of sex, and militarism is a corruption of the military. Our Lady was the opposite of the voluntarist: “Let it be done to me according to thy word.” And her Son, conceived by that selfless surrender to truth, redeemed all creation with the inner dialogue of truth with truth: “Not my will but thine be done.” Jesus was not a talking head. We know all this because the Evangelists were not spin doctors. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pat Buchanan: Anti-Catholics & Elitist Bigots

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Will Hillary Clinton clean out the nest of anti-Catholic bigots in her inner circle? Or is anti-Catholicism acceptable in her crowd?

In a 2011 email on which Clinton campaign chief John Podesta was copied, John Halpin, a fellow at the Center for American Progress that Podesta founded, trashed Rupert Murdoch for raising his kids in a misogynist religion.

The most “powerful elements” in the conservative movement are Catholic, railed Halpin: “It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backward gender relations…”

Friday, October 7, 2016

The Power of the Holy Rosary

The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary was instituted to honor Mary for the Christian victory over the Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. Pope St. Pius V and all Christians had prayed the Rosary for victory. The Rosary, or the Psalter of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is one of the best prayers to Mary, the Mother of God.

Pope Benedict XVI invites all families to pray the Rosary for the intentions of the Pope, the mission of the Church and peace. "It is as if every year Our Lady invited us to rediscover the beauty of this prayer, so simple and profound." The Rosary, a "contemplative and Christocentric prayer, inseparable from the meditation of Sacred Scripture," is "the prayer of the Christian who advances in the pilgrimage of faith, in the following of Jesus, preceded by Mary," said the Pontiff.

Read more at Catholic Culture >>

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Father Rutler: Lepanto -The Crucial Battle

Our faith is based, not on abstract speculation, but on historical events. Christ does not hover around us as a philosophical idea, for he “was made flesh and dwelt among us.” The Church’s feasts are acts of thanksgiving for actions of God that have affected the course of human existence. On October 7, the Church celebrates the victory of Christian naval vessels over those of the Ottoman Muslims who outnumbered the Christians by more than two to one, and whose ships were manned by upwards of fifteen thousand Christian galley slaves.

The Battle of Lepanto in 1571 was the greatest naval engagement until the Battle of Jutland in World War I, but it is not commemorated just as a lesson in the art of maritime war. The core of the feast is that it saved Christian civilization. Compared to it, July 4 and Waterloo and Gettysburg and D-Day are ancillary struggles to preserve what would not exist at all, had it not been for 1571. Pope St. Pius V, by divine inspiration while praying the Rosary, announced in the Church of Santa Sabina that a triumph of the Cross had been won, at the very moment the battle was won in the Gulf of Patras in western Greece, though news of it would have taken many days to reach Rome by courier.

We revere the “Star Spangled Banner” whose broad stripes and bright stars gallantly streamed in 1814, but quite more remarkable was the banner held by Gianandrea Doria, great-nephew of the Admiral Andrea Doria, at Lepanto. It bore the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Lady had appeared in Mexico forty years earlier, but reproductions of the image had made it to old Europe, and King Philip of Spain had given one to the fleet. It has been preserved in the cathedral of Genoa. 

Had the battle ended differently, Sultan Selim could have fulfilled his vow to conquer Rome, turning the basilica of Saint Peter into a mosque, despoiling and upending its bells so that they might be filled with oil and burned in honor of Allah, as had been done in 997 at the tomb of Saint James in Compostela.

Is all this the dilettantish indulgence of the sort of people who watch the History Channel? We would not be here – nor would our holy religion, our universities, our science, our democracy, our enfranchised women, our justice, our social tolerance, and our entire moral fabric – were it not for Lepanto. The feast of its victory was instituted by Pope St. Pius V and, after the final defeat of the Ottomans in 1716 at TimiÈ™oara in present-day Romania, led by Prince Eugene of Savoy, Pope Clement XI made it a universal feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Given the terrors of our present times, it would be well to pray the Rosary on October 7.     

The Choir of New College, Oxford - "Ave Verum Corpus"