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Friday 25 January 2013

Photos from the March for Life Part Two

A really cold day in Washington, D. C.

Father Gregory Pendergraf and Mary, thanks for the smiles across the miles.............and I was very edified to see so many young people under 30 and much younger there.

Photos from the March for Life Part One

Thanks to Therese

Father Pendergraf of the FSSPS

The Battle for Purity and Saintliness

On that hard word, concupiscence, a result of Original Sin, which all men and women have, the CCC states much. I am sure a review will help us all today.

You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's.299Every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.300
2514 St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life.301 In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another's goods.

2515 Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit."302 Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins.303

2516 Because man is a composite being, spirit and body, there already exists a certain tension in him; a certain struggle of tendencies between "spirit" and "flesh" develops. But in fact this struggle belongs to the heritage of sin. It is a consequence of sin and at the same time a confirmation of it. It is part of the daily experience of the spiritual battle:
For the Apostle it is not a matter of despising and condemning the body which with the spiritual soul constitutes man's nature and personal subjectivity. Rather, he is concerned with the morally good or badworks, or better, the permanent dispositions - virtues and vices - which are the fruit of submission (in the first case) or of resistance (in the second case) to the saving action of the Holy Spirit. For this reason the Apostle writes: "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."304

St. Mary Magdalen

The more we give in to sin in our lives, the more we make a habit of sin. Then, the Dear Lord must break those habits of sin, whether those of the body, or of  the spirit or of the will.

As one reader reminds us, purity of heart leads to heaven, a theme on this blog.

Here is the CCC again.

2517 The heart is the seat of moral personality: "Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication. . . . "305 The struggle against carnal covetousness entails purifying the heart and practicing temperance:

Remain simple and innocent, and you will be like little children who do not know the evil that destroys man's life.306
2518 The sixth beatitude proclaims, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."307 "Pure in heart" refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God's holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity;308 chastity or sexual rectitude;309 love of truth and orthodoxy of faith.310 There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith:

The faithful must believe the articles of the Creed "so that by believing they may obey God, by obeying may live well, by living well may purify their hearts, and with pure hearts may understand what they believe."311

This is a real battle, not a skirmish. Sometimes, it takes an entire lifetime to become pure in heart. Other people may be given such a grace of infused purity, never losing it from childhood, but for most of us, it is a struggle. The bold highlights are mine.

2519 The "pure in heart" are promised that they will see God face to face and be like him.312 Purity of heart is the precondition of the vision of God. Even now it enables us to see according to God, to accept others as "neighbors"; it lets us perceive the human body - ours and our neighbor's - as a temple of the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of divine beauty.

2520 Baptism confers on its recipient the grace of purification from all sins. But the baptized must continue to struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires. With God's grace he will prevail
- by the virtue and gift of chastity, for chastity lets us love with upright and undivided heart;
- by purity of intention which consists in seeking the true end of man: with simplicity of vision, the baptized person seeks to find and to fulfill God's will in everything;313
- by purity of vision, external and internal; by discipline of feelings and imagination; by refusing all complicity in impure thoughts that incline us to turn aside from the path of God's commandments: "Appearance arouses yearning in fools";314
- by prayer:

I thought that continence arose from one's own powers, which I did not recognize in myself. I was foolish enough not to know . . . that no one can be continent unless you grant it. For you would surely have granted it if my inner groaning had reached your ears and I with firm faith had cast my cares on you.315    
This last quotation is from St. Augustine.

St. Margaret of Cortona with illegitimate son and guardian angel.....

2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.

2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.

2523 There is a modesty of the feelings as well as of the body. It protests, for example, against the voyeuristic explorations of the human body in certain advertisements, or against the solicitations of certain media that go too far in the exhibition of intimate things. Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressures of prevailing ideologies.

2524 The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.
St. Claude de la Colombiere, who brought the Sacred Heart devotion to England
  2525 Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.

2526 So called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man.

2527 "The Good News of Christ continually renews the life and culture of fallen man; it combats and removes the error and evil which flow from the ever-present attraction of sin. It never ceases to purify and elevate the morality of peoples. It takes the spiritual qualities and endowments of every age and nation, and with supernatural riches it causes them to blossom, as it were, from within; it fortifies, completes, and restores them in Christ."316

I wrote about purity of intention way last year....follow the tag.

2528 "Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Mt 5:28).
2529 The ninth commandment warns against lust or carnal concupiscence.
2530 The struggle against carnal lust involves purifying the heart and practicing temperance.
2531 Purity of heart will enable us to see God: it enables us even now to see things according to God.
2532 Purification of the heart demands prayer, the practice of chastity, purity of intention and of vision.
2533 Purity of heart requires the modesty which is patience, decency, and discretion. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person.

A Serious Subject and a Nod to Those Who Want More Lives of the Saints

Deus, qui universum mundum
beati Pauli Apostoli praedicatione docuisti:
da nobis, quaesumus;
ut, qui eius hodie Conversionem colimus,
per eius exempla gradiamur.

O God, who instructed the whole world
by the preaching of the Blessed Apostle Paul:
grant us, we beseech You,
that we, walking in life toward You according to the examples of him,
whose conversion we are celebrating today,
may be witnesses of Your truth in the world.

O God, who taught the whole world
through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul,
draw us, we pray, nearer to you
through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today,
and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world

Collects; second translation thanks to Fr. Z.

Happy Feast of St. Paul, and may he help us on our way to perfection in the Love of Christ.

And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away. Matthew 11:12 DR

In the past, some of my friends asked me why the Church only canonizes Catholics. Well, here are some reasons listed below.

The Catholic Encyclopedia is a good place to start, with an excellent article on canonization. I cannot recommend the CE on line or in book form without a warning that there are many articles infected by the modernist heresies, which crept into the original publication over a 100 years ago. However, when I refer or recommend an article, I have vetted these. Now, the process was changed under Blessed John Paul II, but this post in on the particular question of Protestants or non-Catholics being recognized as holy.

Here is a section: As was taught by St. Augustine (Quaest. in Heptateuch., lib. II, n. 94; Reply to Faustus XX.21),Catholics, while giving to God alone adoration strictly so-called, honour the saints because of the Divine supernatural gifts which have earned them eternal life, and through which they reign with God in the heavenly fatherland as His chosen friends and faithful servants. In other words, Catholics honour God in His saints as the loving distributor of supernatural gifts. The worship oflatria (latreia), or strict adoration, is given to God alone; the worship of dulia (douleia), or honour and humble reverence, is paid the saints; the worship of hyperdulia (hyperdouleia), a higher form of dulia, belongs, on account of her greater excellence, to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Church (AugustineReply to Faustus XX.21; cf. City of God XXII.10) erects her altars to God alone, though in honour and memory of the saints and martyrs. There is Scriptural warrant for such worship in the passages where we are bidden to venerate angels (Exodus 23:20 sqq.Joshua 5:13 sqq.Daniel 8:15 sqq.10:4 sqq.; Luke 2:9 sqq.Acts 12:7 sqq.Revelation 5:11 sqq.7:1 sqq.Matthew 18:10; etc.), whom holy men are not unlike, as sharers of the friendship of God. And if St. Paul beseeches the brethren (Romans 15:302 Corinthians 1:11Colossians 4:3Ephesians 6:18-19) to help him by their prayers for him to God, we must with even greater reason maintain that we can be helped by the prayers of the saints, and ask their intercession with humility. If we may beseech those who still live on earth, why not those who live in heaven?

and again, more clarity on the nature of canonization...

Canonization, therefore, creates a cultus which is universal and obligatory. But in imposing this obligation the pope may, and does, use one of two methods, each constituting a new species of canonization, i.e. formal canonization and equivalentcanonization. Formal canonization occurs when the cultus is prescribed as an explicit and definitive decision, after due judicial process and the ceremonies usual in such cases. Equivalent canonization occurs when the pope, omitting the judicial process and the ceremoniesorders some servant of God to be venerated in the Universal Church; this happens when such a saint has been from a remote period the object of veneration, when his heroic virtues (or martyrdom) and miracles are related by reliablehistorians, and the fame of his miraculous intercession is uninterrupted. Many examples of such canonization are to be found inBenedict XIV; e.g. Saints RomualdNorbertBrunoPeter NolascoRaymond NonnatusJohn of Matha, Felix of ValoisQueen Margaret of ScotlandKing Stephen of HungaryWenceslaus Duke of Bohemia, and Gregory VII. Such instances afford a goodproof of the caution with which the Roman Church proceeds in these equivalent canonizationsSt. Romuald was not canonized until 439 years after his death, and the honour came to him sooner than to any of the others mentioned. We may add that this equivalent canonization consists usually in the ordering of an Office and Mass by the pope in honour of the saint, and that mere enrollment in the Roman Martyrology does not by any means imply this honour (Benedict XIV, l, c., xliii, no 14).

and the fact that it is infallible....
The Conversion of St. Paul

This general agreement of theologians as to papal infallibility in canonization must not be extended to beatification, not withstanding the contrary teaching of the canonical commentary known as "Glossa" [in cap. un. de reliquiis et venerat. SS. (III, 22) in 6; Innocent., Comm. in quinque Decretalium libros, tit. de reliquiis, etc., no 4; Ostiensis in eumd. tit. no 10; Felini, cap. lii, De testibus, etc., X (II, 20); Caietani, tract. De indulgentiis adversus Lutherum ad Julium Mediceum; Augustini de Ancona, seu Triumphi, De potestate eccl., Q. xiv, a. 4). Canonists and theologians generally deny the infallible character of decrees ofbeatification, whether formal or equivalent, since it is always a permission, not a command; while it leads to canonization, it is not the last step. Moreover, in most cases, the cultus permitted by beatification, is restricted to a determined province, city, orreligious body (Benedict XIV, op. cit., I, xlii). Some, however, have thought otherwise (Arriaga, Theol., V, disp. 7, p. 6; Amicus, Theol., IV, disp. 7, p. 4, no 98; Turrianus on II-II, V, disp. 17, no 6; Del Bene, De S. Inquisit. II, dub. 254).

Now for the real question:

The first rule of looking at the holiness and/or heroic virtue of a person is that they are actually orthodox with regard to the Teachings of the Catholic Church and that their lives have been a witness of the Church Militant.

For example, if a person was good and an excellent apologist, but never became a Catholic when he had the chance, one would wonder at the mind of that person with regard to the Mind of Christ. The only true teaching we have in this world is in the Teaching Magisterium of the Church and the Kingdom of God subsits in the Catholic Church and not outside it. The reality of having one foot in a Protestant denomination and the other in the Catholic Church shows that the person was not conformed totally to the witness of Faith needed for canonization.
The Visitation

There are many people in heaven who are not canonized. I have a sister who died at one, in grace, and without sin, being baptised  She is absolutely innocent and with God, but not canonized. Her life is not one to be examined and modelled by others, although she shares in the Beatific Vision. I hope she prays for her much less than perfect sister.

Her life was a hidden one of innocence and God called her to Him early. The saints are those to whom we look for guidance and as examples of holiness while still on earth. This is the key point. While millions of people have died in the Faith and either gone directly to heaven or have been purified in a purgatorial state, few have given us the witness of Faith, Hope and Charity needed to be declared saints.

Orthodoxy is the basis for this holiness. This is like staring on page one in the Algebra book and proceeding to Trig and Calculus, building on learned skills. One must start with having the Mind of Christ, who established His Church on earth, a visible institution headed by His Own Vicar, the Pope. Can one have the Mind of Christ outside the Church? Yes, but the question would be, why then did this person not convert and join the Church, the visible sign of unity and the Kingdom of God on earth?

Not becoming a Catholic when one is pursuing or being given the grace to enter into the life of perfection is a serious situation. It may indicate that a person is living in an irregular situation, such as C. S. Lewis marrying a divorced and not annulled woman, or having prejudices from his Northern Irish upbringing. We cannot see the soul, but outward actions reveal the limits or extensions of holiness.

Canonized people are held up by Holy Mother Church are our guides and models. The Church, after a longish process, declares that, with miracles, this person showed, while on earth, a level of conformity to the Mind of Christ, which led them through the stages of purification, illumination and unity at some level.

Martyrs of Korea
Miracles are merely signs of that conformity, that oneness with Christ and His Mystical Body, the Church.

We are talking about PERFECTION here. A non-Catholic can be a very moral person, having experiences of grace and even infused knowledge to a certain extent, because God is generous in His grace, but the question is, why is that person not joining the Church? What is the obstacle in their life which precludes outward unity and the fulfillment of God's Will for them, for it is God's Will that all be saved in and through the Church?

Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne 
There is an obstacle to complete union. I was an RCIA coordinator and director in the past, and I can assure you that only when the obstacles keeping people out of the Church were realized and faced did those good people see the beauty of the Church and God's plan for salvation in and through the Church.

Some of these obstacles were: not complete agreement on contraception or abortion; not complete agreement about marriage laws; not complete agreement about the nature of the Papacy and infallibility; misunderstandings about the nature of grace; misunderstandings about the nature of the priesthood; faulty Christology;  confusion as to the history and meaning of the Church; the nature of the Church herself was misunderstood;  non-compliance regarding IVF and sterilization; irregular marriages; just plain prejudice and so on....

Those who came into the Church under my care had no doubts as to the real teaching of Christ as preserved in His Church. If they could not come to understanding, they accepted the gift of faith in order to believe and then understand. So too, was the beginning of the lives of the saints.

Some Christians are living and believing like Catholics and only have one obstacle to overcome, such as the papacy, or the idea of the visible Church. God offers them grace and then, they convert. It is exciting to see.

The entire idea that the Kingdom of God subsits in the Catholic Church and no where else was the deciding factor for some who finally accepted the grace to join Rome and be part of the Mystical Body of Christ.

Holiness demands orthodoxy. If one is looking at the saints, one can see some imperfections of temperament or even a lack of intellectual prowess. But, the real deciding point for Holy Mother Church is did these good people join with Christ in all things while on earth, in their minds, souls, hearts, intellect, will? In addition, the Church asks for signs of a life of virtue to a high degree. One cannot be a martyr, by the way, without at least arriving at the beginning of the Illuminative State, as the process of martyrdom is purgation. This  is why so many of the martyrs were able to stand, for example, at Tyburn and forgive their enemies, as well as pray for the King and Queen. They had arrived at a great holiness in their lives of suffering and purgation to enter into the life of virtue and conformity to Christ in His Suffering, as sign of  the Illuminative State.

If the answer is yes to all the above, a person cause may go forward, as we say. The Church can state that the saint is a model:

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that we may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:26, DR

St,Herman of Alaska
BTW: there is a Roman Catholic Church agreement with the Orthodox to honour post-schism saints. I shall find this for you on line, somehow, as I saw it in print years ago in Canada at a Ukrainian study centre  It was written in the 1920s. We were already honouring pre-schism saints, such as SS. Olga, Vladimir the Great and many others..... 

In addition, there are several icon companies selling icons of some non-canonized Catholics, non-Catholics, even non-Christians and pagans, as if these people were saints. Do not bother--these are not "windows into heaven" if these depict such persons as Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Black Elk, Cesar Chavez,  C. S. Lewis, James Lloyd Breck. Cardinal Bernadine of Chicago, Thomas Merton (in a yoga pose), Martin Luther King, or homosexual "saints" such as Mychal Judge, Mark Bingham, Harvey Milk, or such people as Oscar Romero, John Donne, We-wha the Zuni shaman, and the worst one I have ever seen, Merlin of Britain , which was actually a soft-porn icon.

Why we need the Church.....and why we need the basis of orthodoxy.

I thought racism had to do with a race.........

I saw this earlier on Drudge. I would like the entire range of Star Wars Legos. People will probably be upset with TLOR sets as well.

Lego accused of racism with Star Wars set

Lego has been accused of racism by the Turkish community over a Star Wars model that supposedly resembles one of Istanbul’s most revered mosques. from The Telegraph 

Lego accused of racism with Star Wars set
The anger was provoked by "Jabba's Palace", a model from Lego's Star Wars product range based on the series of Star Wars films Photo: HANDOUT
Austria’s Turkish community said the model was based on Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul and that the accompanying figures depicted Asians and Orientals as people with “deceitful and criminal personalities.”
The Turkish Cultural Community of Austria released a statement calling for Lego to apologise for affronting religious and cultural feelings.
The anger was provoked by “Jabba’s Palace”, a model of the home of Jabba the Hutt from Lego’s Star Wars product range based on the blockbusting series of science fiction films.
Jabba is the large slug-like creature who holds Han Solo captive in the film Return of the Jedi, and his palace is the setting for several crucial scenes, including using Princess Leia as his slave.
Jabba’s domed home and accompanying watchtower bear, according to the statement, an unwanted resemblance to Istanbul’s great Hagia Sophia, and another mosque in Beirut.

Yeah, a real cleric from the comments on the letter below

Deacon Roger
16 January 2013 15:46 (5 of 15) The Tablet Blog

The issue is not the rights of those who may be homosexual but our understanding of the nature of marriage. We are all created in the image and likeness of God. I therefore prefer to see the individual not the label as these are limiting and unhelpful concepts. However, I cannot simply sit on the fence of life. Through the gift of ordination I am asked to uphold the teachings of the Church and you can't achieve this by staying silent. Whilst I prefer to be popular and liked this is not an issue to be avoided. However, I have not seen anyone using strident or hurtful words, but simply stating the Church's understanding of marriage. I have preached twice on the subject and these are the only occasions where I have received immediate responses after Mass. In particular general appreciation that I have spoken about the issue and confronted the underlying confused ideas of our political masters. As a permanent deacon I can't recall anyone asking me to sign this letter, but I would be happy to do so. In my view there has been limited direction from the hierarchy, which might explain why many clergy felt compelled to sign this letter.
Good comment, and let me see if they publish my comments.

In The Tablet, and read the comments from those who call themselves Catholic

I do not understand this type of fudging on clear and pastorally sensitive Church teaching.

Methinks he doth protest too much.....and, when the super-sensitivity about the courageous priests who signed the Telegraph letter? vs.

In addition, his underlining philosophy regarding society's role in all of this smacks of socialism and not Catholicism. 


Gay marriage debate: aggressive posturing by Church serves no one
Fr Martin Boland, Dean of Brentwood Cathedral18 January 2013, 9:00
Although I am opposed to the coalition Government's plan to recognise same-sex marriage in law, I have, nevertheless, been left feeling uneasy about some aspects of the debate surrounding this subject, and in particular by the manner and terms in which the problem has been discussed.
It is true that respectful and thoughtful debate has taken place. I am grateful to those teachers in the Church who have tried 'to speak the truth in love'. They have sought to present the Catholic position in a way that is reasonable and theologically compassionate while recognising the lived experience of those involved. On the Feast of the Holy Family, I read Archbishop Vincent Nichols' pastoral letter on this subject to the people of my parish. It was a model of moderation, pastoral sensitivity and clear reasoning.
However, there have been those within the Church who have chosen to employ intellectually blunt and confrontational arguments when discussing this matter. As the temperature of the debate rises, so there is a danger that their voices will become more strident. I wonder how helpful this is?
Although the polemical sound bite may capture the attention of the media, I wonder if it helps us address the complexity of the issues raised in a mature and informed way? Is an adversarial approach to those who disagree with us, the correct way to appeal to the reason and consciences of men and women? Whether this Government finally succeeds in introducing this legislation, what many people both within and outside the Church will remember is the language and demeanour which was used to present our arguments.
These questions are also of more general concern and are particularly pertinent to those who hold any teaching position or claim any theological competence within the Church. Responding to the issues of our age with a militant defensiveness, or a prescriptiveness that oversimplifies issues will not serve us well. The frustration the Church might feel in the face of liberal modernity should not be used as an excuse for a kind of latent ecclesiastical aggression. Sabre-rattling may make us feel manly, but it also deafens us both to the truth of people's lives and God's will for us. If those who teach in the Church choose to communicate in an idiom which alienates significant numbers of people then the liberating message of Christ risks being either treated with suspicion, received selectively or completely rejected. Seeking to patronise or infantilise the laity in this area can only serve to weaken the teaching authority of the Church.
Good teaching depends on a profound humility. None of us possesses a complete, final knowledge of all things. For example, our understanding, as many commentators have made clear, of the nature and meaning of the homosexual orientation is, at this point in time, incomplete. We may have a greater understanding of this sexual orientation than a century ago, but there is still more for us to know, to question and to understand. We should therefore hesitate to offer lapidary judgements about those who possess this orientation and humbly recognise that simplistic readings of natural law in this regard may not be entirely helpful.
People may have a very clear idea of what the Church's teachers do not find acceptable. But can those same teachers articulate any viable and life-giving ways by which people might live? For example, what, if any, social, legal or moral respect should those with a homosexual orientation be afforded?
On Saturday a letter was published in The Telegraph. It was signed by over 1,000 priests. I was not one of those because I knew nothing about this letter. Our ecclesial unity and sacerdotal identity are jeopardised if responses to important issues are managed in such a way that they do not involve the whole presbyterate. We should resist the creation of a two-tier presbyterate - those with a voice, who appear to have influence and those who feel they have neither voice nor influence. Priests need to be sure that well-meaning groups who feel strongly about certain issues have the considered approval of our bishops. In all our arguments and campaigns, preserving our unity in faith must take priority. If that does not happen, then it may be that we do not only lose the argument of the day but we lose our very reason for being.
Fr Martin Boland is Dean of Brentwood Cathedral and parish priest of Holy Cross and All Saints', Warley

The Potato Mind vs. the Mind of Christ

I do not mind liberals having good arguments but if they refuse to read or study, I have no time for such laziness of mind. The sin of sloth is a deadly sin.  We forget that this sin applies to the mind as well as the body.

Slothfulness is not merely being a couch potato, but having a potato mind...........stuffed with starch and mush.

Number one rule in apologetics, is that those in conversation with you must be open to reading the REAL teaching of the Catholic Church and not what someone may think is Catholic. Bearing in mind that the majority of Catholic adults are lazy and would rather watch television than read the Bible daily or read what comes from this and the previous Popes, I can hardly start a conversation with GenX.

The Millennials read. Yes, they do. They may be getting all their information on line, but they read.

I have been, as my Protestant brothers and sisters say, edified by the number of Millennials who are trying to find out what the Church REALLY states on many subjects, rather than what the lame secular or even so-called Catholic media states.

Not all newspapers and periodicals deserve our attention.

I shall know when there is a revival of the Faith in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland when I no longer see The Tablet sold in the back of churches.

That day cannot happen too soon.

When I taught Argumentation and Logic, my first rule of thumb for the courses was to teach the students to find reliable sources of information.

Go to the Vatican website, EWTN, and the many blogs on the side of this one. Go to the original sources. Learn which are the reliable commentators

Truth must be sought with a mind open to putting on the mind of Christ.

Poll Results

The results of the poll have been so remarkably consistent that I am declaring it ended, and here give the results for topics.

At the top and by far the winner is the category for Saints and Martyrs. I must admit I was surprised by this, as their are many sites on saints. But, I shall do more posts on these subjects as you all want to read hagiography, which is a good thing.

Second, and I was not surprised by this is the Perfection Series. This will continue and be more frequent for several reasons which I shall explain later.

Third, the category of Singles and Vocations held a strong position. Again, I was surprised, as I did not think so many singles read the blog as to merit this number. But, there it is and I shall write more on those two worthy topics.

Fourth, the topic of Education surprised me and I can write much more on that, now that I know it is fourth on your list of important. This is my easiest topic on which to write, as I worked as a curriculum advisor for years and help set up some private schools including one college.

Fifth, two topics tied and are related: Socialism and Post-Post Modernism, both of which are great interests of mine in helping people understand the importance of these movements. Again, these choices represent the interest of the youngest readers among us. Gramsci did not come in the top five, but as he is connected to these movements, I shall not ignore his letters at all. If I count Gramsci alone, he came in at Seventh Place and the following would be one more down on the list; Other and English and French Politics beneath him.

Sixth, Art, Poetry, Aesthetics and American Politics tied for this place. Hmmm, interesting and of course I shall continue to write on these, but perhaps less on the American Politics side.

Seventh, is the odd category of Other. You all can make suggestions. Maybe you like memory lane, fashion or the cartoons or memes?

Eighth place is held by French and English Politics and I have to admit I was surprised as many commentators add to the interest of these topics. However, there may be a difference between the poll takers and the commentators (?).

So. the overall interests are spiritual rather than political. This has helped me, as I want to meet the needs of those who read the blog, and respond to what is important. However, I shall do this poll again in six months or so to see if there is a change.

I find it interesting that the comments made in number do not necessarily correspond to the popularity of the topics.

Very interesting.......but do not hold me to the order of this list at all times, as the Spirit moves where He Wills.....and I try to respond. However, I take this order seriously.

Predestination, again

Gregory Johnson wrote this here:

Though the fact may surprise some who frame the debate in terms of divine sovereignty, it must be stated that Augustine is not an enemy of the free will.  In fact, Augustine is vehement in his defense of free will on occasion.  In one of his earliest writings, On Free Will, Augustine argues for human free will over against the Manichees among whom he had once been numbered.  And as his debates with the Pelagians over election flared up later in life, Augustine was equally forceful in asserting both the freedom of the will and the resulting human responsibility.  It was for this reason that Augustine wrote On Grace and Free Will only one year before his primary work on election, On the Predestination of the Saints.  Every man has the ability to choose that which he desires; every man has free will.
            Augustine was accused by some of changing his position on free will from his earlier work, but Augustine claimed that no change in his thinking took place.  Pelagius himself at times quoted from Augustine's On Free Will as an authority to defend his views.  By proof-texting Augustine's affirmation of the free will in this earlier writing, the Pelagians argued that Augustine had originally held to a doctrine of the will's moral ability to believe apart from grace, as did they themselves.  Augustine rejects this argument.  In his Retractiones, Augustine insists that his earlier work On Free Will was simply not concerned with predestination, but with anthropology over against the Manichees.[3]  For Augustine, the two debates can be distinct, for, unlike Pelagius, Augustine does not see election as a debate about God's sovereignty or man's natural freedom to choose.  The will is not the center of the debate as Augustine frames it; the necessity of God's grace within the individual's experience is central.
I am convinced that heretics like Calvin had great graces but became stuck on the point of predestination, which is easy to do. When one looks at goodness and evil, one must always come back to the Teachings of the Church in humility and frankness. Doctrine trumps experience if there is a problem of understanding. We can come to understanding through experience, but conforming our minds to Christ through the Church opens the door to that understanding. Again, we go to Augustine and one of my favourite theologians, St. Anselm.
Here is Augustine: crede, ut intelligas, "believe so that you may understand"; Tract. Ev. Jo., 29.6. I wish I had one huge library of all Augustine's works and those of Aquinas. Sigh, would be a large library room for sure.............
We need to come to understanding, as much as possible, in order to make our Faith that of an adult and not merely an obedient, albeit, good, child.
Here is Anselm: 
I do not endeavor, Lord, to penetrate Thy heights, for in no wise do I compare my understanding with Thine; but I long to understand in some degree Thy truth which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand in order that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe-that unless I believe I shall not understand. Prosologion
("faith seeking understanding" or " fides quaerens intellectum")
The mystery of will and grace, understanding and belief  forms much of the thought of Augustine and Anselm. But, we also have Thomas on Augustine here from Garrigou-Lagrange:

This principle of predilection presupposes, according to St. Thomas, a decree of the divine will rendering our salutary acts intrinsically efficacious (Ia, q. 19, a. 8). For, if they were efficacious on account of our foreseen consent, of two men equally loved and helped by God, one would be better in some respect. He would be better of himself alone and not on account of divine predilection. But this principle must be reconciled with another which ought to be maintained with equal firmness: “God does not command the impossible, but He teaches thee by commanding to do what thou canst and to ask what thou canst not, and He helps thee that thou mayest be able” (St. Augustine, De natura et gratia, chap. 43, no. 50, and the Council of Trent, Denz., no. 804). Herein lies a great mystery of reconciliation between infinite mercy, infinite justice, and supreme liberty. They are indeed reconciled in the intimate life of the Deity, but of Deity as such we have no positive or proper conception: “Deity is above being, above unity, which are contained in it formally and eminently.” (Cf. Revue thomiste, May-June, 1937, the author’s article, “Le fondement suprême de la distinction des deux grâces suffisante et efficace.”)1 These conclusions from the treatise on God are, then, presupposed in the present discussion.