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Wednesday 26 June 2013

USCCB Response to today's SCOTUS decision:
Today is a tragic day for marriage and our nation. The Supreme Court has dealt a profound injustice to the American people by striking down in part the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The Court got it wrong. The federal government ought to respect the truth that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, even where states fail to do so. The preservation of liberty and justice requires that all laws, federal and state, respect the truth, including the truth about marriage. It is also unfortunate that the Court did not take the opportunity to uphold California’s Proposition 8 but instead decided not to rule on the matter. The common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. Now is the time to redouble our efforts in witness to this truth. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.
Marriage is the only institution that brings together a man and a woman for life, providing any child who comes from their union with the secure foundation of a mother and a father.
Our culture has taken for granted for far too long what human nature, experience, common sense, and God’s wise design all confirm: the difference between a man and a woman matters, and the difference between a mom and a dad matters. While the culture has failed in many ways to be marriage-strengthening, this is no reason to give up. Now is the time to strengthen marriage, not redefine it.
When Jesus taught about the meaning of marriage – the lifelong, exclusive union of husband and wife – he pointed back to “the beginning” of God’s creation of the human person as male and female (see Matthew 19). In the face of the customs and laws of his time, Jesus taught an unpopular truth that everyone could understand. The truth of marriage endures, and we will continue to boldly proclaim it with confidence and charity.
Now that the Supreme Court has issued its decisions, with renewed purpose we call upon all of our leaders and the people of this good nation to stand steadfastly together in promoting and defending the unique meaning of marriage: one man, one woman, for life. We also ask for prayers as the Court’s decisions are reviewed and their implications further clarified.

A re-post of one I did for another blog on June 6th, 2013.

In 1899, Pope Leo XIII, (who should be canonized), dedicated the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The wonderful nuns at Tyburn say this prayer daily at the end of Vespers. If you would like to join them, the prayer is below. The order drops the Islamic bit, but I share the original prayer of the Pope here as it is still published.  Many families in America, when I grew up, had the priest come to the house and enthrone the picture of the Sacred Heart with special prayers. I hope this is still done somewhere today.

Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Your altar. We are Yours, and Yours we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with You, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Your Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known You; many too, despising Your precepts, have rejected You. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Your Sacred Heart.

You are King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken You, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned You; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

You are King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof; call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

You are King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism; refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Your eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Your chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and Honor forever. Amen.

Out, Bizy, Bakson

Interesting on Wall Street

Watch this blogger case...

Rand Paul: Immigration Bill Gives Too Much Power to President

Real Love

I taught for years and was known as a tough teacher. However, students signed up for my classes as word got around that one actually learned something in these. and that the classes, though hard and demanding, were interesting.

Challenging students made them realize their own potential and raised their own expectations. If one expects a certain standard, one will get it.

Most teachers asked for five papers per semester. I asked a minimum of seven up to twelve, depending on the group.

Most teachers did not demand original source material. I did. And I taught students to discriminate between good and bad sources, honorable and dishonorable sources, realizable and unreliable sources, scholarly and popular sources, and so on.

No matter what subject I taught, be it Composition, Argumentation and Debate, Logic, Religion, Comparative Religions, Humanities, Philosophy and so on, I had one main goal besides teaching the subject-teaching my students how to think.

In all my classes, I taught critical thinking. I led students to learn how to discover Truth.

Those who just wanted an easy A for their transcripts did not stay in my class. Those who were interested and finally, enamored at learning to learn and learning to think, stayed in my classes.

Tough love is real love. If one cannot be honest, with one's self and others, the soul dies.

A few, very few, comments, which do not get published as they are not helpful, have attacked me for being critical of  priests. A few, very few, people do not understand that I love those very people I have criticized. And, have spoken to directly. Real love is Truth, not merely being nice. One can be respectful and be truthful, as my students had to learn in formal debate. No ad hominems, no ad populums, etc., but facts. The Church has everything one needs and most information is on line. There is no excuse for ignorance, either among the laity or in the clergy.

But, the relativist mind cannot abide Truth and does not want to explore Truth. The relativist is actually terrified that there may be an objective Truth.

There is, and He has a Name, the most holy of names. God is Truth.

If one is truly sincere about loving God and desiring His Love, one must be open to Truth.

One's particular judgement can start now. Live in Truth. The Church needs truthful, honest people. The Bride of Christ is not wooed or loved without truth.

Know thyself and know God.

Bernard of Clairvuax, my favorite saint among the blessed, after Mary, Our Mother, writes a commentary on this passage from the Song of Songs, Chapter One. I cannot give the entire set of sermons on these pericopes, but can share that one of his points is that one must know one's self. The Bridegroom addresses the Bride on this point. She must leave him and follow the shepherds to find Truth before she is worthy to be the Bride. Such is one's duty and one's quest--one must be holy and one must pursue self-knowledge in order for the Bridegroom to come. One may have to go out into the desert to find Truth. This is called purification. God is Just and Love is connected to Justice as well as Mercy.

If thou know not thyself, O fairest among women, go forth, and follow after the steps of the flocks, and feed thy kids beside the tents of the shepherds.
To my company of horsemen, in Pharao's chariots, have I likened thee, O my love.

Concern over the emergency meeting

I am concerned over the Curial emergency meeting called last night. I am concerned that Cardinals had to leave the Sacra Liturgia Conference to go to this meeting.

Emergency meetings are rare. I sincerely hope this is not a question of schism. And, I sincerely hope the Conference was not "targeted" to be interrupted.

We are living in interesting times. Pay attention, pray, reflect, act.

And, to all young people, read and follow good news sources. Too many of you are disengaged in the world in an unhealthy manner.

If you are Catholic, and a lay person, you have responsibilities by your baptismal promises.

If you do not feel called or want to be in the world, consider the monastic life.

Just do not hide.


Puerilis institutio est mundi renovatio.

We have several "lost generations". I try to reach out to some of the members of those generations. I try to get some of those to examine their lives, as I do mine, daily. I have been given much to share, and without teaching the Truth, the world is not renewed. We can renew our own worlds.

Socrates examined life. He reflected according to his student, Plato. Catholics daily examine their lives, according, perhaps, to St. Ignatius Loyola. The Ratio Studiorum I have mentioned on my previous blog, which was much more into education, as I was still teaching. This Jesuit method goes well with the Socratic method. If you want to look at the Ratio, here it is. I suggest home schooling parents consider it.

Both methods stress thinking skills. Both explore. So does Montessori, my method of home schooling with the Socratic.

Blogging is an exercise in exploration.

I write with people in mind-some who ask me questions. I write to people, not to the air.

Do other bloggers do this?

My posts are mostly like answering questions in my Socratic classrooms I used to moderate.

Teaching is a two-way art-questions and answers. Illumination by asking exploring, through critical thinking, rational discourse.

You open the questions with me. You and I guide the questions. The questions end by you and I seeing the applications to our personal lives.

Neat. Like good Ignatian spirituality, learning, like holiness, is pragmatic as well as ethereal.

One gets involved objectively in the Truth. But, one cannot be a relativist and enter into the pursuit of Truth seriously. One must want objective Truth.

I am so glad I have the Catholic Church to help me discover the Truth, Who is a Person, daily in reflection, prayer, study.

More, More Aquinas on Temperance

I have another friend who is even more wealthy than the one mentioned in the previous post. But, this one is temperate  One would never know she is a multl-millionaire. She is not into status, or clothes, or jewelry, and her interior life is rich. 

Why the difference in the two women? Grace, the mystery of God's discernment; cooperation with grace; practice of simplifying one's life; not identifying with wealth; a sense of self which is not based on the material, but on the spiritual.

This woman has the virtue of temperance. The other was blind to this virtue. A mystery of grace...

As stated above (123, 11; 61, 3), a principal or cardinal virtue is so called because it has a foremost claim to praise on account of one of those things that are requisite for the notion of virtue in general. Now moderation, which is requisite in every virtue, deserves praise principally in pleasures of touch, with which temperance is concerned, both because these pleasures are most natural to us, so that it is more difficult to abstain from them, and to control the desire for them, and because their objects are more necessary to the present life, as stated above (Article 4). For this reason temperance is reckoned a principal or cardinal virtue.
Reply to Objection 1. The longer the range of its operation, the greater is the agent's power [virtus] shown to be: wherefore the very fact that the reason is able to moderate desires and pleasures that are furthest removed from it, proves the greatness of reason's power. This is how temperance comes to be a principal virtue.
Reply to Objection 2. The impetuousness of anger is caused by an accident, for instance, a painful hurt; wherefore it soon passes, although its impetus be great. On the other hand, the impetuousness of the desire for pleasures of touch proceeds from a natural cause, wherefore it is more lasting and more general, and consequently its control regards a more principal virtue.
Reply to Objection 3. The object of hope is higher than the object of desire, wherefore hope is accounted the principal passion in the irascible. But the objects of desires and pleasures of touch move the appetite with greater force, since they are more natural. Therefore temperance, which appoints the mean in such things, is a principal virtue.

More Aquinas on Temperance; The Entitlement Culture Does Not Get This...

I have written here on the Cardinal Virtues before, but I want to highlight Aquinas. We need to be absolutely clear as to the importance of these virtues, given in baptism, but needing the cooperation of our will and the grace of the sacraments. 2:2;141 is the reference for the next two postings.

Temperance is connected to humility and reason. We remember our end, which is eternal life with God. All things on earth need to be seen in the light of our end.

As stated above (1; 109, 2; 123, 12), the good of moral virtue consists chiefly in the order of reason: because "man's good is to be in accord with reason," as Dionysius asserts (Div. Nom. iv). Now the principal order of reason is that by which it directs certain things towards their end, and the good of reason consists chiefly in this order; since good has the aspect of end, and the end is the rule of whatever is directed to the end. Now all the pleasurable objects that are at man's disposal, are directed to some necessity of this life as to their end. Wherefore temperance takes the need of this life, as the rule of the pleasurable objects of which it makes use, and uses them only for as much as the need of this life requires.

What do we really need? Why do we think we have so many needs? Entertainment is a need which is over-blown in our society. If we are following the road to perfection, we embrace suffering and do not run away from it into attitudes of entitlement.

Reply to Objection 1. As stated above, the need of this life is regarded as a rule in so far as it is an end. Now it must be observed that sometimes the end of the worker differs from the end of the work, thus it is clear that the end of building is a house, whereas sometimes the end of the builder is profit. Accordingly the end and rule of temperance itself is happiness; while the end and rule of the thing it makes use of is the need of human life, to which whatever is useful for life is subordinate.

Beauty is a need, but not in excess, as in the pursuit of pleasure. We have been conditioned in the past fifty years to think that we need things we do not need.

Rest is a need, but not in excess. I note that the Tyburn nuns have 45 minutes or so of recreation a day. And, no vacations. Why is their need so different from most of the world's needs?

They exhibit temperance and balance. They live moderately, or even less than moderately. In this order, there is a happiness, a contentment which flows out of self-denial.

Reply to Objection 2. The need of human life may be taken in two ways. First, it may be taken in the sense in which we apply the term "necessary" to that without which a thing cannot be at all; thus food is necessary to an animal. Secondly, it may be taken for something without which a thing cannot be becomingly. Now temperance regards not only the former of these needs, but also the latter. Wherefore the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 11) that "the temperate man desires pleasant things for the sake of health, or for the sake of a sound condition of body." Other things that are not necessary for this purpose may be divided into two classes. For some are a hindrance to health and a sound condition of body; and these temperance makes not use of whatever, for this would be a sin against temperance. But others are not a hindrance to those things, and these temperance uses moderately, according to the demands of place and time, and in keeping with those among whom one dwells. Hence the Philosopher (Ethic. iii, 11) says that the "temperate man also desires other pleasant things," those namely that are not necessary for health or a sound condition of body, "so long as they are not prejudicial to these things."

One time, long ago, a rich woman said to me that she needed more holidays than the poor because being rich was so stressful! She felt she had duties to the common good, which she did, but could not see the irony that her activities caused her a stress she did not need to endure. She could not see that she was denying a spiritual reality to sink into her life by so much doing.

She was caught up in DOING rather than being. She was a heiress of a large fortune and her doing things was her way of sharing. Some of this was good, but mostly, she could not see that she was causing her own stress and that her spiritual life was atrophying. She had many talents and gifts. Sometimes, those so gifted need to simplify the use of their gifts and let God take control.

Simplicity of life was something she simply could not understand.

Reply to Objection 3. As stated (ad 2), temperance regards need according to the requirements of life, and this depends not only on the requirements of the body, but also on the requirements of external things, such as riches and station, and more still on the requirements of good conduct. Hence the Philosopher adds (Ethic. iii, 11) that "the temperate man makes use of pleasant things provided that not only they be not prejudicial to health and a sound bodily condition, but also that they be not inconsistent with good," i.e. good conduct, nor "beyond his substance," i.e. his means. And Augustine says (De Morib. Eccl. xxi) that the "temperate man considers the need" not only "of this life" but also "of his station."

We have too many living in the West like they are rich when they are not. This is the cult of status. The new rich lack culture and manners in the pursuit of doing things the rich do without any concept of noblese oblige. Thomas understood this all very well, coming from a powerful and noble family. He gave it all up. Thank God for his personal sacrifice-for his temperance.

To be continued..