instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Saturday, January 07, 2017

A word or two, if I may

One of the nice things about having a blog you never update that no one reads is you can post whatever you like. I like words, and I came across two in the last few months I'd like to remember.

Nondenotative means "not denotative." I'll go ahead and use it to mean "of or relating to words that do not denote anything," then distinguish different kinds of nondenotative speech:
  • gibberish (word-like sounds)
  • double-talk (speech that sounds like it denotes some meaning, but on reflection or review doesn't)
  • speech that objectively denotes some meaning but that is spoken in a particular instance without a subjective intent to denote anything...
    • ...and without a subjective intent to connote something
    • ...but with a subjective intent to connote something
There may be some cases in which you'd want to take that last kind of nondenotative speech seriously but not literally.
Obnubilate means "becloud, obscure." Clouds can obnubilate the sun, polite words can obnubilate true intent, awkward mannerisms can obnubilate intelligence. If William Strunk's dictum, "Omit needless words," were universally adopted, "obnubilate" would be omitted from the dictionary.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hello I must be going

Dusts off Blogger password. Checks out the news in the Catholic blogosphere.


Saturday, October 08, 2016

Leaders of strong character

" women, we are disgusted by Mr. Trump's treatment of individuals, women, in particular... America will only be a great nation when we have leaders of strong character who will defend both unborn children and the dignity of women." - Marjorie Dannenfelser, President, Susan B. Anthony List, January 2016

"" - Marjorie Dannenfelser, Chairwoman, Trump Pro-Life Coalition, October 2016


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sign of the times


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

They is us

"Us vs. Them" thinkersing in the Church tears at that unity for which Jesus prayed.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Zen Diagram


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Corrigere delinquentem magis ad severitatem

Today was the last RCIA session of the year, and I finally achieved my goal of not saying anything. (Or at least nothing that anyone could think was intended to be instructive. After the presenter joked about not being sure whether a turn of phrase she used came from our pastor or the Pope, I said, "The Pope is less busy. He'll return your email." And when the RCIA director asked if I had any parting comments, I said, "See you next week." (You know, Mass.) Other than that, silence.) The closest I came to having an audible thought was while looking at the list of the spiritual works of mercy:
  • To instruct the ignorant 
  • To counsel the doubtful 
  • To admonish sinners 
  • To patiently bear with those who annoy us 
  • To forgive offenses willingly 
  • To comfort the afflicted 
  • To pray for the living and the dead
This middle one is more often expressed as, "To bear wrongs patiently."  The presenter went with this version as being more concrete -- and besides, St. Thomas renders it "to bear with those who trouble and annoy us" (portare onerosos et graves).

Another catechist offered a variation on the old joke that admonishing sinners seems to come naturally to people, and I imagined an amended list:
  • To admonish the ignorant 
  • To admonish the doubtful 
  • To admonish sinners 
  • To admonish those who annoy us
  • To admonish prior to forgiving offenses
  • To admonish the afflicted 
  • To admonish the living and the dead
In an uncharacteristic moment of prudence, I kept this to myself. This particular crew of baby Catholics doesn't strike me as likely to weaponize the catechism. But let me try this here:

One item on the second list is merciful. At first glance, though, it looks like the other six items, none of which is merciful. It may similarly be difficult to be altogether sure whether a particular instance of admonishment is merciful.