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Saturday 24 August 2013

Dealing with Failed Civilizations

The call to new evangelization cannot be a static one. As Catholics, we have a duty to know our audience, our target groupings. And, I am convinced we are not addressing the youth of today in the mode which they need. We need to re-evaluate the new evangelization.

Too often, evangelization either is too banal, that is, watered down to the lowest common denominator; or it is an attempt to bring people out of serious sin by attacking the sins; or it is the speaking of Jesus as Saviour again outside of context of the larger perspective of what is means to be human and what it means to know a particular God.

I have been thinking about St. Augustine and his importance to our Catholic world today. He wrote in a similar time-the great destruction of a civilization which had endured for hundreds of years. He also bought a philosophical approach to all that chaos.

The Hebrews experienced much the same situation over and over and over. Either they were destroying old civilizations, or their own was being destroyed by whatever conqueror was the most powerful.

The reason for my ruminations is that we need, desperately, Catholic minds which can stop addressing the moral questions, stop addressing the ethical questions, and go back further to the basic questions of the existence of God and the nature of what it is to be human.

Now, obviously, we need the ethical discussion, so prominent among good Thomists, as Aquinas, like Aristotle, who dealt with vice, virtue, law and so on.

But, the world we are dealing with now is one of agnosticism and atheism. Those people deserve better discussions than what we have been able to give.

There are few great Catholic minds which can address the basic questions youth ask today.

Is there a God?

What would be the meaning of being human?

What is the relationship between men and God?

Why are we here?

Do you ever doubt?

Why do you want to be a Catholic?

Augustine wrote his City of God in direct response to pagans, agnostics, and even atheists who were blaming Catholics for the fall of Rome.

Hey, folks, this will happen again and I do not see the bright spark, a new Augustine, who can address the entire question of the nature of man, the City of God and the secular city in terms of basic principles.

Phenomenology is too personalistic for this discussion.

We need to revisit the Greeks, the Romans, all part of our heritage.

We need to go back to the basics, or we shall continue to lose yet another generation.

Apologetics has been so slanted towards ethics, towards morality, that it has set aside the first principles.

As humans and as Catholics, we must be able to discuss metaphysics at this level.

Aristotle, Aquinas, the neo-Thomists, even educators, such as Montessori, all of whom are part of my mindset, my history, used the scientific method of rational discourse.

This is no longer accepted by many, and we cannot meet physicists, politicians, academics of any kind with language they no longer accept.

We must go back further. And, I do not mean Duns Scotus, who was more popular than Aquinas for a very long time. Nominalism is limited as well.

We must go back and ask the basic questions of believing, of the supernatural, of God Himself.

We must evangelize at this level, and not merely the moral or ethical one.

Those Millennials who ask the basic questions have no framework for morality because they have no philosophical framework.

Benedict, the Pope Emeritus, was the man of the time reminding us that Augustine was not only a theologian, but a philosopher.

We need to look at him again in that light, and at those Doctors of the Church who helped the Church develop doctrine from the basic principles.

The reason we must think in different terms is that we are witnessing the chaos of the death of Western Civilization and to speak in any terms purely from moral or ethical viewpoints will not speak to the hearts of those completely at a loss, at sea in chaos.

That is what the Moslems do-speak only in ideological, so-called moral terms. This type of approach does not speak to the very essence of who a person is and who God is. Imposing law without the reasons for such begs the question of religion.

I read and hear too many high-ranking priests, bishops, theologians, especially moral theologians, who do not have the proper perspective of the problem of basic principles, because their own training was so limited. Try and find excellent philosophers in seminaries who are orthodox and can engage in this level of thinking.

When one answers the questions of who man is and Who God is, then the moral and ethical questions fall into place. 

I hope God raises up some great metaphysical minds in this era. I hope and pray that both clergy and laity can learn to evangelize from basic principles. 

It is possible the rebels used gas on their own people..

..which is what at least two of us thought on the first day.

A reminder on Apostolicae Curae

Readers, A Special Intention

Dear Readers,

A special intention has been brought to my attention. Please join me in prayer for this. It is extremely important, but private.

Thank you. A person's salvation and spiritual life may depend on our prayers.


Important in understanding the charismatics

Go to the talk on The True Pentecost. Pay the dollar.

Also, this talk is good on the Council.

In addition, here is a book by Father Ripperger recently reviewed on Rorate Caeli.

Would someone like to order it for me?

Excellent Book On Line

America Is Dead

Persecution Watch Again

More news on chemical attacks

and this as well-both sides? I would not be surprised.

Does Obama Want War with Russia?

Righteous Anger

A Country Girl in The City


I wrote on this before this summer, in fact a mere 19 days ago, which seems like an eternity as so many good things have happened.

I have tried to maintain my normal day-person schedule, but it will be impossible until I leave the city.

Everything gets loud about eleven at night and continues until four a.m.  Even a dance studio nearby has lessons which start at nine. Amazing. I must say that the Dubliners like parties.

Of course, Dubliners are no longer all Irish, and so the music is as varied as a pop radio station. And, a very loud party has just begun at 12:30 a.m.

Vermilion River Area

I am a country girl, although I love London, but London is made up of small villages, which still have their own feel and neighbourhoods, although that ancient configuratioin is disappearing quickly. I lived in many places in my life but have always preferred smallish country towns; Sherborne, Dorset; Petersfield, Hampshire; Walsingham, Norfolk; DeWitt, Iowa; Vermilion, Alberta; Maryville, Missouri. These are my favourite places from my past.


Everyone knows everyone else, but leaves one alone, at least in England, Iowa, and Missouri. One engages as much or as little as one desires.

Near Maryville
I miss the nestled independence of the small town. I do not care if there is not much to do. I have done most things and only need a simple life. So, little places appeal to me.

A garden, a store, maybe a stationer's shop, a Catholic Church, places to walk, a post office...

Small is beautiful. But, later on today, I shall write about some amazing places in Dublin.

August Thoughts

It is hard to believe that August is almost at an end. If I were in the States, colleges and universities would be getting ready for the opening of the new academic year. If I were teaching again, I would be sitting in workshops discussing copyright laws, at-risk-student behaviour and how to deal with it, meeting old and new faculty members, and working on my syllabi.

I lived and worked in academia for so long, that the academic year is my year. When I home schooled, we kept to the academic year scheduling as well, for discipline and balance.

In Europe, of course, as many of you know, the academic year begins much later, much. Bristol did not and does not start until the last week of September.

Cambridge Michaelmas Term begins on October 8th and Oxford's on October 7th or so.

So, for me, this is an ending of summer time and a beginning. or least, the looking forward to the beginning of a new year. The odd combination of endings and beginnings makes one thoughtful, like T. S. Eliot, or Dante, looking at one's life, progress, plans.

But, being in the Dark Night changes all of this. Time becomes a shadow of what it use to be, as time had to be a brilliant, harsh light bending one to timetables and schedules, meetings, and long hours of work.

In the Dark Night, time becomes more fluid and less rigid, as one is living a double life. The interior life becomes so much more important that one is hardly conscious of days, weeks, time...

But, God works in the fluidity, shaping one into something new. The obscurity of the spiritual life works hand-in-hand with daily chores. So I do washing, cleaning, ironing, shopping, talking to strangers who are lonely, praying, writing, reading, doing research, corresponding with many people, and now and then, talking on the phone, but rarely. My days are mostly spent in silence.

In the Dark Night, things happen automatically, as in habitual chores. Such was the case in Tyburn, when I could leave the chapel after Adoration and clean the stairs, hallways, get the rooms ready for guests, and so on, while remaining in silence. Or work in the kitchen, cleaning, setting tables, taking tables down, setting out food, and so on, responding to bells, surrounded in complete silence in order to stay in the interior life, while doing the best job I could do at the same time.

In fact, I think one reason some people find monastic life difficult is that it is the same everyday, all day. Now and then, a special feast or a rare special guest, like an abbot, may change the daily schedule, but all days are the same. And, all years are the same.

My old life of academia-time suits me, as I can anticipate the ebb and flow of working within a larger framework, but I most likely would have adjusted to another time, as I am flexible.

Living on two, or if I count Malta, three islands in this time period, also creates in one, a different sense of time, as well as place.

Ireland has been unusually sunny this summer and very warm, but the normal rain and cold are settling in for the long wet, grey months. The same is true in England, where the autumns merely flow into the winters, although there has been more snow of late.

Island time creates a different rhythm of its own, as one of the characteristics of island people is that they do not stay on the islands all year. I have not talked with one Irish person of any age, English person, or Maltese person. who stay on their isles for twelve months solid.

The pattern of their lives is coming and going out, going and coming back.

Island people understand me and my pilgrim way of life, as they have grown accustomed to this mobile state. But, at heart, I am a continental person, my formation of bones and flesh respond to the beauty of the changing of the four seasons, and the extremes of climate, the changeability of weather. Continentals have a relationship with the land, a sturdiness, a heart connected to the earth. And, I must miss all that....

Interesting, the patch-word quilt of time and place in our I muse in late August.

A comment I put on another blog--for posterity

I have spoken with several priests, now in their very old age, who said that they entered the seminaries in the 1950s, well before Vatican II, in order to make the Church more Protestant. Vatican II is a result of earlier changes in thinking, not the start of liturgical changes, and one only has to look at the type of theology taught even between the wars for clarity. Theology was geared already in the 1950s towards ecumenism, the only ideal which many priests and bishops thought would keep Christianity safe from communism and socialism.

I have often told the history of the twelve experimental dioceses in America on liturgical reform, as I grew up in one. I have only met two priests in my life willing to discuss this real concerted effort to change the Vatican's ideas on liturgy by manipulating successful scenarios with course and incremental changes.

My parents, starting before, I repeat, before, and during Vatican II, were part of a diocesan training for the laity. Lay people were divided up into home courses on the history of the liturgy, with built in explanations which would explain changes. Now, I was too young, but babysat my brothers while my parents were part of  these classes in peoples 'homes. The parish priest would go to these meetings. Then, the liturgy was changed in light of this build up and feedback was gathered from the laity. All of it would have been positive, as the people were primed for the changes, which were introduced incrementally.

The results of these twelve dioceses were sent back to Rome, which then promulgated the changes. I did not realize until fourteen years later, when I moved to Minneapolis as a young adult, and talked to people there, how unusual my parent's and their fellow diocesan adults' experience were. I began to piece together this occurrence, but it was not until, forty or so years later, I kid you not, that two priests from widely separated dioceses, were willing to spill the beans on this event-the experimental, incremental changes in the liturgy coupled with courses, which created highly successful feedback for Rome.

So, the breakdown of hierarchy started in seminary training before Vatican II and the liturgical changes were likewise planned. Vatican II is a result, not the beginning of the undermining of both hierarchy and liturgy.

When one cannot afford meat.....

...on toast and in hot water like soup...better with eggs. Just an idea to share from my table to yours.

This is scary

For New Readers-some of the Gramsci Posts

05 Jun 2013
THE ANSWER TO GRAMSCI-The Cult of Social Justice and the Idolatry in SSM: the one thing necessary: 2. Posted by Supertradmum. Garrigou-Lagrange was ahead in his prophetic teachings. Remember his dates, 1877-64.
12 Jan 2013
2) The Church is still the great influence in Italian society, albeit, by 2013, not as much as in Gramsci's day. This influence, according to Gramsci, keeps the poor under the thumb of tyrannical priests. He somehow forgets that ...
04 Jan 2013
Three things which Gramsci desired have occurred. One, the slow war of undermining Catholic, Christian culture has occurred. This was not accomplished by war, but by the taking over of key elements of society, which I have ...
05 Sep 2012
Here are some points from Gramsci on how to teach the proletariat to change so that the old ways of religion and culture, including natural law, as thrown out. My comments are in bold, large, not italic. Listen to what is being ...

12 Feb 2012
Time for a Gramsci post. That Obama is the heir to Gramsci I have been trying to point out since 2007. However, few have listened, and the younger generation, I am told, simply do not care about Gramsci (see post below, ...
05 Sep 2012
Gramsci noted how to bury religious and spiritual views of history and culture. He noted that language was key in the revolution. The more I read him, the more cynical he seems to me. He claims to have hope, but his hope is ...
31 Dec 2012
Gramsci was clear that the Church was the only institution to understand what he and other revolutionaries wanted in the culture wars and the destruction of Western civilization, itself created largely by Christendom.
05 Sep 2012
Read Gramsci here and look at the boldface parts. That the mechanicist conception has been a religion of the subaltern is shown by an analysis of the development of the Christian religion. Over a certain period of history in ...
25 Jul 2012
Well, I haven't written about Gramsci for a long time, and as I only have 16 articles in which I mention him by name, I thought it was about time I brought him out of the closet again. Why? Because Catholics do not think like ...
17 Jun 2012
I wonder if it is a lack of perfection to write about Gramsci on a Sunday post? Well, I have not mentioned him for awhile and unless I lose my Post-Post-Modernists, I thought I should reveal some more of his copious notebooks.
23 Jul 2013
Some of you have wondered when I was going to write my anti-Gramsci articles here. Well, here is the first of many. I wrote on this before many years ago and now it is time to dig in and get dirty on this blog. Here is where ...
14 Apr 2012
In Notebook 2 from 1929-1933, Gramsci, using R. Michels and Max Weber, writes a long entry on the fact that bourgeois, socialist and Marxist parties have been formed around a charismatic leader. Gramsci also refers to Yves ...

11 Dec 2012
found within his writings on school and education in a traditional sense, but rather on the assumption that the core of Gramsci's message and even the purpose of his writings is profoundly and largely 'educational' As far as ...
13 Feb 2012
Gramsci noted in his prison notebooks, a new edition which came out last year, and in other earlier editions, that the ruling class will create the norms which society itself creates subjectively and in various groupings, after the ...
16 Apr 2012
The very first entry in the three volume set of Gramsci's Notebooks is a reference by him to the social encyclicals regarding socialism and Modernism. Obviously, Gramsci had read these, including The Syllabus of Errors, ...
07 Sep 2012
Alinsky and his groups were, in the early days in Chicago, anti-religious, as like Gramsci, they could see that the ONLY organized grass roots power was the Catholic Church and others, like the Evangelicals. Like Gramsci ...

12 Apr 2012
Catholics no longer think like Catholics and Gramsci can claim that the Church has lost Her ability to create Europe and even the States into a spiritual realm, wherein God is King. Now, the fact that Cardinals respond to ...
13 Apr 2012
It is interesting when reading Marx, Gramsci and other communists, that the Church is referred to as the greatest conservative force in the world for values which form the social structures. How did the Church in the West move ...
26 Jan 2013
Connected to this idea, in the book, is the rather simple idea, which I see in Gramsci, who is never mentioned in the book, but responsible for many of the ideas seen in Lenin and Stalin or Lukacs (who I studied in college), and ...
25 Jan 2013
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; ...

19 Mar 2012
In good Gramsci fashion and I feel another Gramsci blog approaching here this week, the symbols used are those of the Republic. Same thing is happening in Ireland, where the Republican movement has been undermined ...
05 Feb 2013
Passive Revolution and the "ordinovisti" in Washington. Posted by Supertradmum. I am wondering how long it will take to destroy a republic? Here is Gramsci from The Modern Prince: ...“man can affect his own development ...