Universalis, About this blog

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mind and Heart

Had a good conversation with a friend of mine who invites me to turn to atheism as a progressive step. His view is that religion was useful once but holds us back now (and by some 600 years or so) from true progress. He's got a lot of truth-seeking energy and I think he could become an evangelical Catholic given the chance. One of his recommendations is to look at Sam Harris and his study of the emotional experiences that he thinks are what keep Christians devoted. He probably hasn't been exposed to Catholics for whom emotional aspects, while important, are not the one thing that matters. This bit from this article on Thomism and the new evangelization hits the mark for me:

How does the intellect provide for our deepest happiness? By giving us ultimate perspective. If you know where your true good lies, you can love that good, and in loving that good, you can remain at peace, even in the midst of the storms of life.

Amen.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Supply and Demand in this Woolworths branch

So there's this branch of Woolworths in Dortmund, Germany, where shoppers were told that Christmas merchandise will no longer be sold there (at least this year), and the story goes viral because a staff member said,

"We are a Muslim business, we don’t want to sell Christmas articles”.

But that's not the problem. It's a business, so it has to move with the demand, and there was apparently little demand for Christmas merchandise. And why is that?

That's the story, I think.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Inevitable clash

Professor Anthony Esolen saw it coming and it did not disappoint. The clash is inevitable because the conflict in principles is that of fundamentals. Christianity, specifically, stands in the way, incompatible with what really looks like an odd mix of Marxist and self-indulgent ideologies.

Really reminds me of the Old World empire that flooded the whole world in Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth novels. Only those committed to fight against it made its defeat possible. Today it's not evident that Christians are committed to fight against the growing hostility against Christianity and its heritage.

Many of us in the Catholic Church have a tendency to be too passive. Where is that nonviolent but unyielding power with which Jesus of Nazareth overcame the world, holding to the truth to the end about who he was and what was wrong with the world? We sort of expect our bishops, especially our Pope, to be bold in proclaiming the truth in season or out. I think Professor Esolen is doing a fine job of it.

What about me?

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Faith and works

Explained very well.

Be deaf therefore when anyone preaches to you without mentioning Jesus Christ

St Ignatius of Antioch's letter to the Trallians;

  Be deaf therefore when anyone preaches to you without mentioning Jesus Christ, who was of the family of David, who was truly born of Mary, who truly ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth; who was also truly raised from the dead, when his Father raised him up — just as his Father will raise us up, believers in Christ Jesus without whom we have no true life.

  Flee from these preachers, these wicked offshoots that bear deadly fruit, one taste of which is fatal. These have not been planted by the Father; if they had been, they would grow as branches of the Cross and their fruit would be incorruptible. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The amazing story of Claude Newman

A truly remarkable story, one of those mysteries of the human heart that won't be explained without recourse to one's own. Why would I think that? Because in the so-called human heart, which escapes explanation as one particular human organ, one is confronted with the possibility of something greater than the human body. I do not suggest swallowing any proposition without question. On the contrary, it must raise questions, which in themselves bear an admission of not having all the answers.

That explains a lot...

the diviners have lying visions and publish empty dreams and voice misleading nonsense, naturally the people stray like sheep; they wander because they have no shepherd (Zechariah 9:1-10:2)

But I would be truly dishonest if I did not note how difficult it can be - has been - for anyone in a position to teach or explain, even the simplest of truths sometimes. As a father, it is always a challenge to square what I teach my children as true and how I live that truth, or not, in my actions and decisions. To a lesser degree, the same dilemma can come up in the classroom as well.

Such a challenge is also a blessing, of course, because it forces me to consider things very carefully, particularly when it involves my children. It takes a remarkable leap to tell children one thing and then act or decide contrary to that, particularly, one's own. I used to think that hypocrisy was an easy concept to explain, until my kids started getting older. :-)

So, there are no simplistic judgements on specific persons who may, at one time or another, be guilty of false teaching or leadership. The temptation can be incredible, but so are the consequences, which are inescapable. Sadly, the consequences include collateral damage. Thankfully, God's grace is always sufficient, and his mercy is ever available to the sincere, should they come around and are willing, as with post-operative patients, to get down to the hard but necessary work of recovery.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Stopping the flow of discontented Catholics heading out the door

Sherry Wedell tells of a friend who knew a handful of people ' — all unrelated to one another — who came to her one at a time in a single month to say, “I’m thinking about leaving the parish for the mega church down the road because I have these questions, and there isn’t anyone in the parish that I can talk to about this.”'

A close friend way back went and did leave for what we call Born-Again Christianity, and I asked him if he bothered to talk to a priest, and no he didn't, and he didn't ask me either, about his questions.

Our parish priest used to run a program where he is available for hot seat questions, but he is pretty busy these days. An Evangelical Catholic would put his hand up and say "I'm game! Where's the seat?"

I'm game! Where's the seat? :-)

But it's still but a shadow of being really militant in preaching the gospel: why do we not instead do as I see Mormon missionaries do, standing at street corners to propose the gospel to passers by? Is it now considered ill-mannered? Doesn't stop some people from selling me a new energy retailer at my door, or, as once actually happened, campaigning for the election just passed.