Hear Ye, And Be Converted!

Monday, September 20, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

To follow up my last posting of Baroque music, I thought I would share some religious pieces that have had a spiritual impact on me.

1. Claudio Monteverdi – Vespers of 1610 – Duo Seraphim. Not technically Baroque, but close enough.

2. J.S. Bach – Magnificat – Suscepit Israel.

3. Antonio Vivaldi – Gloria – Et In Terra Pax (And Peace on Earth)

O’Donnell Raises Two Million Dollars Online Since Primary Win

Monday, September 20, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Fundraising has exploded for Christine O’Donnell online since her primary win, according to Shane D’Aprile at The Hill’s campaign blog, The Ballot Box:

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Monday, September 20, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

I am very grateful to the blogging coalition that is The American Catholic for allowing me to come aboard. Before I begin contributing to the blog, I thought I would write a few words to introduce myself.

I am not new to Catholic blogging, but I have been away from it for well over a year now. I started blogging back in 2005 with my then girlfriend, now wife, Katerina, at Evangelical Catholicism. Kat and I later teamed up with a number of other Catholic bloggers to launch Vox Nova, where I stayed until 2009. It appears I am the third Vox Nova alumnus to join TAC, and it’s nice to be in good company.

I am a thirty-something married Catholic with my first child on the way. I have a few degrees in theology and philosophy. I used to teach Latin and religion at a small Catholic school and have since returned to graduate study. I perceive a strong call to the diaconate, though this is something I am still working out with the Lord. I am not one who puts much stock in terms like “traditional” or “modern” or “progressive” when it comes to talking about Catholicism. I think St. Josemaría Escrivá and Ven. Dorothy Day exemplify what it means to be a Catholic in our present day and their writings are a constant source of spiritual insight and conviction.

Politically, I suppose I am centrist with a slight lean towards the left. I am pretty sure I can still be pushed the other direction. Catholic doctrine is the foundation of my political thinking, and I believe that there can be and ought to be much more agreement among Catholics on both general moral/social principles and actual policy making when the Church’s teaching remains central.

Thanks to the TAC bloggers and to the TAC readers for having me!

In Britain, the Triumph of Pope Benedict XVI And the English Martyrs and the Tragedy of Those Who Would Not Listen To Them

Monday, September 20, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

It seemed unfathomable, even a few short years ago; an aging German pope arriving in Britain to the cheers and rapt attention of many, all this while his detractors were dismissed as everything that is wrong with Britain and the modern world. Saint Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and the rest of the English martyrs must be smiling in heaven. The English martyrs, like the well known (like Sir Thomas) and the unsung Saint Margaret Clitherow found their views more often than not supported by the rank and file. However, the same rank and file didn’t have the courage to make the stand as did these courageous men and women who were martyred. Though Catholicism was widely practiced, the fear of blood thirsty king, left many too weak to fight the good fight. (If you don’t believe this, read Eamon Duffy’s The Stripping of the Altars.)

Yet, the truth will either set you free or convict you of false witness. It was the brutal King Henry VIII, who left Catholicism because Pope Innocent III wouldn’t give him a divorce. The king later had two of his wives beheaded, a rather odd sort of person to start a church, but start a church he did. Starting in 1534 Catholics would be killed and a legal Catholic Mass wasn’t allowed to be celebrated in Britain, or conquered Ireland, for nearly 300 years. The creation of King Henry the Anglican Church would reach the far flung corners of the mighty British Empire. As recent as fifty years ago, the Anglican Church in Britain had one of the highest rates of church attendance in the western world. Her teachings were mirrored by the life of those CS Lewis. Fifty years later, her teachings are mirrored by the likes of Elton John. However, to be fair to Sir Elton, even he is to the right of the Anglican Church on matters like welcoming Islamic Sharia Law to Britain as the spiritual leader of the Anglicans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams recently did.

The Catholic Church has been derided and mocked by the mainstream media for some time. One might think that with all of this and the horrible Abuse Scandal within the Church; it would be the Catholic Church that would be withering and not the liberal Anglican Church, who is modeling the whims of the modern world. Yet, the Catholic Church continues to grow and even rapidly so in Africa and Asia (Christ told us this would be so Matthew 16:15-20.)  The faithful aren’t as ignorant as the militant secularists would like to believe. The religious faithful of all stripes are beginning to clearly understand what Pope Benedict XVI is saying about the dangers of the Dictatorship of Relativism. It cannot work, as Jesus reminded us; we cannot serve two masters. Sadly that is what modern Anglicanism and liberal Christianity has tried to do. The results have been disastrous.

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Of Black Magic and Bearded Marxists

Monday, September 20, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

I assume that only deaf and blind individuals in this country are unaware that GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell said on the execrable Bill Maher’s show Politically Incorrect in 1999 that as a young woman she dabbled in witchcraft.  What brought this up is that O’Donnell on the show was criticizing self-proclaimed witches and made this comment to demonstrate that she had personal experience of what she was attacking.  Her appearances on Maher’ s show were to serve as the token Christian conservative who Maher could attack.   As this essay on chastity which she wrote in 1998 indicates, O’Donnell was doing far more than making guest appearances at this time on Maher’s show, and I interpret her agreement to be on Maher’s show as an attempt to get her message across in an unfriendly venue.  She is making light of the whole stupid issue which I think is the right tack to take.

Less well known is that her opponent Chris Coons wrote an article when he was 21 for the Amherst student newspaper entitled The Making of a Bearded Marxist in which he described how his college experiences transformed him from a conservative into a leftist.  (Son of a gun, I guess there are people foolish enough to fall for the low level political indoctrination that many campuses engage in in lieu of an education.)  What do I make of this statement of Coons?  Other than that 21 year olds are apt to make fairly foolish statements, certainly I did, nothing. Read the rest of this entry »