instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Spoiler alert

In some circles it's a commonplace to observe that "gay marriage" is not the goal, it 's just a stepping stone to the real goal: the complete destruction of marriage and/or the Church. That may well be true, for some activists.

Still, my impression is that the majority of folks who have been using the "#lovewins" tag over the last several days really do think love won, and that -- along with the immediate corollary that hate lost -- is pretty much the end of it. While that leaves them susceptible to further dubious arguments about what love winning is, it has some encouraging implications too.

For one thing, it means they're open to love winning. Not so much, I suppose, in an abstract sense. People pay a lot more attention to what they're shown of love than to what they're told of love. Each picture of a gay couple holding a marriage license on the steps of a courthouse was worth dozens of essays about natural law and the rights of children.

But that's okay. We can show them love too, right? The love of a husband for his wife and of a wife for her husband, natural loves that are supernaturally infused with Christ's love of perfect sacrifice for the beloved, a love that by its nature is fruitful and spreads to children, family, neighbors, and all those in need.

Love is the Christian's thing. We should be all over it.

Once we're less bashful about shining the light of our love on those around us, we'll just see where that takes us.

The even better news about all the people cheering "Love wins!" is that, in point of fact, Love has won. Love won on the cross at Calvary, the results were confirmed two mornings later, and Love is now taking a victory lap so people can cheer Love winning and win themselves.

Granted, rejoicing over "gay marriage" is not equivalent to salvific faith in Jesus Christ, but it does show a natural desire that, we know by faith, can only be fulfilled supernaturally in Jesus. "#lovewins" means they still want what we still have, which is the good news about Who they want whether they know it or not.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Re-Education President

The Examiner reports that, in his Obergefell v. Hodges speech, President Obama "said Americans need to change their religious views to be accepting of gay marriage."

I don't find any words of compulsion directed toward anyone's religious views in the speech. Obama is unreserved in his enthusiasm for the Supreme Court decision, and can't say enough good things about homosexuality, but here he's not as artless in his convictions as Hillary Clinton has been.

Obama does, though, offer this bit of troubling moralizing:
Shifts in hearts and minds is possible.  And those who have come so far on their journey to equality have a responsibility to reach back and help others join them.
Two words are particularly concerning: "responsibility" and "help."

How can we say we have good government if it doesn't help its citizens fulfill their civic responsibilities? In some cases -- say, in the case of a responsibility that the president just invented -- it may even need to empower us. A citizenry that meets its responsibilities is a good citizenry, and what decent, loving human being could oppose that?

Ordinarily, when a president speaks of American citizens helping each other, it's the sort of moral suasion and encouragement a president ought to offer. In this case, though, he wants American citizens to help other American citizens abandon reason, human tradition, and the word of God. That's not helping. At best, it bodes the sort of woman C.S. Lewis mentioned who "lives for others -- you can always tell the others by their hunted expression." At worst... well, how can we say we have good government if it doesn't help its citizens?

Nor is it comforting when you try to get inside the mindset of those who would cheer this speech, who think love won on Friday. From that perspective, we ignorant hateful bigots aren't just sitting at home thinking our ignorant hateful bigot thoughts, we are actively injuring decent and good people who just want to be who they are. Why wouldn't they work to stop us? Why wouldn't you work to stop a hunter from shooting through some bushes at a playground, whether or not he could see that those moving shapes are actually children?

The new evangelization proceeds apace.


President Barack Obama is a lying sack of dog shit

In his speech on the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, President Obama said:
We are a people who believe that every single child is entitled to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 
No, Mr. President. You don't believe that.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

I have l'esprit de l'escalier[1]...

... when everyone else is taking the elevator.

I came up with "Laudato Si', Magistra No" [2] to describe the attitude among politically conservative Catholics in the United States to reject -- often sight unseen -- Pope Francis's latest encyclical. Then I noticed Michael Sean Winters used it days earlier.

Then I came up with this to describe the attitude among ultramontantist Catholics who seem to think Pope Francis's latest encyclical makes global warming a matter of settled Catholic doctrine:
"I suppose it would be sort of warming spiritually, only we were too sinful to see it."
Oh well..

1.L'esprit de l'escalier: See, because I'm slower than others with the witticisms.
2. A reference to the infamous "Mater si, Magistra no" response among politically conservative Catholics in the United States to Mater et Magistra


Vector Check


Thursday, June 25, 2015

An Open Letter to Pope Francis

June 25, 2015
Thursday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Your Holiness,

In light of the Holy Year of Mercy that you have decreed to begin this coming December, please show mercy to the poor sinner who writes to you, and hire an English translator who knows the difference between "which" and "that."


Tom Kreitzberg


Monday, June 22, 2015

Do you not yet have faith?

Did I really never notice this message embedded in Sunday's Gospel reading until the homilist suggested it:
Q: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

A: “Quiet! Be still!”
Not so much a command as an instruction for storm-tossed disciples.


Sunday, June 14, 2015

The liturgy is the action of Christ

In an article in L’Osservatore Romano, Robert Cardinal Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, put it clearly:
"The liturgy is essentially the action of Christ."
In this statement, "essentially" doesn't mean "sort of" or "in a manner or speaking." It means "in its essence" or "in its very nature."

Now, I'm not a consultant for the Congregation for Divine Worship, and I don't play one on the Internet. "Give me my blocking and my lines" about sums up my concern for what goes into liturgical books. I prefer it when people say the black and do the red -- Fr. Zuhlsdorf's formula for speaking the words to be spoken (printed in black) and performing the actions to be performed (printed in red) -- but I'm not a liturgy police at my parish, or a liturgy secret police on my blog.

Nevertheless, I want toe echo Cardinal Sarah when he goes on to say:
"If this vital principle is not received in faith, it is likely to make the liturgy a human work, a self-celebration of the community."
There is middle ground between liturgy as "the action of Christ" and as "a self-celebration of the community." The community might, for example, celebrate Christ.There's nothing wrong with a communal celebration of Christ, but that isn't what the Mass is. A communal celebration of Christ is what happens in Protestant churches -- and in Catholic churches, too, sometimes, when the liturgy isn't being offered.

If you want to say that's what happens in Catholic churches while the liturgy is being offered -- that the Mass is both the action of Christ (in a primary and essential manner) and the community's celebration of Christ's action (in a secondary manner) -- I won't object. But I'm concerned that people might react against Cardinal Sarah's second point ("Oy! We aren't celebrating ourselves!") without quite getting the first point ("Yeah, whatever, that 'action of Christ' business is theology-speak mumbo jumbo for cardinals. We'll keep doing what we're doing.")

In the same article, Cardinal Sarah gives us another vital principle, which shows us the degree to which a liturgical celebration is being celebrated as an action of Christ:

"The participatio actuosa [active participation as called for in Sacrosanctum concilium] should not therefore be understood as the need to do something.... It is instead to let Christ take us and associate us with his sacrifice."
More Latin, ad orientem, introits instead of hymns of gathering? Sure, fine, whatever the Church says. But please please please preach and teach the need for us  to be associated with Christ's sacrifice.


Sunday, June 07, 2015

Thought for the day

Let me see if I can get this right:

The Blessed Sacrament is the Eternal Son.

The Blessed Sacrament is God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God. The Blessed Sacrament is begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father.

Everything that is substantially true of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity is substantially true of the Blessed Sacrament. Everything that is substantially true of the Blessed Sacrament is substantially true of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

The Blessed Sacrament is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity as He is when He enters into sacramental being, a use of language to approach a mystery in much the same way we might say that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity as He is when He enters into incarnate being. In each case, it's the same Person, and all of the same Person. As the Eternal Son entered into incarnate being in order to save us, so He enters into sacramental being in order to divinize us, to perfect our union with Him as children and co-heirs of the Eternal Father.

Jesus is not slumming in the tabernacle, any more than He was slumming in Nazareth. He did not, and He does not, take a break from receiving the whole of the Father and returning the whole of Himself in the spiration of the Holy Spirit. That one perfect, eternal act is what He did in Nazareth, and on Golgotha, and this morning on the altar in your parish church.

You and I, thanks be to God, are part of the exchange between Father and Son.

I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.
We aren't saved by any act other than the Son's eternal act. The act that saves us is the act that creates us (can I say that?), and the act that we are to join in for eternity. It only gets confusing when it gets expressed in the grammar available in this cramped little cosmos, and perceived by our adorably tiny brains.