Monday, July 06, 2015

The Faith and The Drink

By Michael P. Foley

A dozen years ago, Rev. Jim West published Drinking With Luther and Calvin to show how the Reformers’ view of alcohol was far different from what came to dominate in many American Protestant churches following the Temperance Movement. West’s book was a fitting sequel of sorts to Kenneth Gentry’s 2000 God Gave Wine: What the Bible Says About Alcohol, and it also set the stage for Brad Whittington’s 2013 What Would Jesus Drink?

No list of comparable publications exists within the Catholic world; apparently, there is little doubt about Catholicism’s attitude regarding the Drink. The Catechism of the Catholic Church does not condemn fermented or distilled beverages, only their abuse by way of excess (CCC 2290). Indeed, one of the Church’s seven sacraments necessitates alcohol. The Eucharist is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, but it must start out as bread and wine. 
But aside from this sacramental requirement and a few aging Irish stereotypes, is there really a strong link between Catholicism and alcohol, and if so, why? And what does that mean for us today? Such are the questions animating this essay. We begin with a survey of the historic impact that Catholicism has had on the production and development of alcohol.

A Wet History

Although the purpose of the Catholic Church is to bring souls to Heaven, she has also made life here on earth more pleasant in a number of ways. Consider the following:

Wine predates Christianity by centuries, but it was monks who largely preserved viniculture during the Middle Ages. Religious orders such as the Benedictines and (later) Jesuits became expert winemakers; many only quit because their lands in Europe were confiscated by the modern State in the name of secularization.

Pressed by the duty to celebrate the Eucharist, Catholic missionaries brought their knowledge of vine-growing with them to the New World. Wine grapes were first introduced to California by Blessed Junipero Serra and his Franciscan brethren, and the rebirth of the California wine industry after Prohibition was thanks in large part to a chemistry teacher and LaSalle Christian Brother named Brother Timothy. There are similar stories about the origins of vineyards in Argentina and Australia. The Jesuits, for instance, founded the oldest winery in South Australia’s Clare Valley when they purchased 100 acres of land in 1851 and planted a vineyard to make sacramental wine. Named Sevenhill Cellars after the seven hills of Rome, the operation is still supervised by a Jesuit with the title of Winemaker and produces “notably sturdy Cabernet Sauvignons of high colour, huge flavor and long life.”

Pious men not only preserved and promulgated oenology; they also advanced it. The méthode champenoise was invented by a Benedictine monk whose name now adorns one of the world’s finest champagnes: Dom Pérignon. According to the story, when he sampled his first batch, Perignon cried out to his fellow monks: “Brothers, come quickly. I am drinking stars!” Monks and priests even found new uses for the grape. The Jesuits, for instance, are credited with improving the process for making grappa in Italy and pisco in South America (both of which are grape brandies).

Similarly, although beer may have been invented by the ancient Egyptians, it was perfected by the medieval monasteries that gave us modern brewing as we know it: one saint (Arnold of Soissons) has even been credited with inventing the filtration process. To this day, the world’s finest beer is made within the cloister—specifically, within the cloister of a Trappist monastery. Other orders, such as Carmelites and the Paulaner monks, have contributed very fine beers as well.

Equally impressive is the Catholic contribution to distilled spirits. Whiskey was invented by Irish monks, who probably shared their knowledge with the Scots during their missions. Chartreuse, the world’s most magical liqueur, was perfected by Carthusian monks and is still made by them. Bénédictine D.O.M. was invented by Dom Bernardo Vincelli to “fortify and restore weary monks.” Frangelico, which today comes in a brown bottle shaped like a monk, was invented by a hermit of that name during his solitude by experimenting with various nuts, herbs and berries he had gathered. Rompope, a kind of Mexican eggnog, was invented by nuns in Mexico when it was still a Spanish colony. Maraska liqueur was invented by Dominican apothecaries in the early sixteenth century.

Fr. Louis Bouyer, "The Catholic Church in Crisis" (1978)

Translated by John M. Pepino HERE (July 6, 2015).  Excerpts sent to me by Guy Noir with these words:
My old literary friend-in-faith Louis Bouyer...

Acquaintance of Tolkien, Ratzinger, and Ignatius Press's Fr. Fessio, among others, and (if I remember correctly) dissertation advisor to Hans Kung...

I have read several reports that he was a bit the incorrigible hothead, and may have made some enemies at a pace only a bit slower than he made friends. Or something like that. And I am often not sure how much of him I quite translate properly from his French mindset. 

But he seems to have been more conservative than not, and more concerned with preserving tradition and Scripture  than revising them.
I  hope his memoirs make it into an English translation at some point, as a counterpoint or stereophonic accompaniment to Yves Vinegar if nothing else.
In the meantime, this is striking, as much as I can make sense of without much knowledge of French Catholicism... The last lines remind me of an observation I think I read in TIME Magazine years ago, that as much as liberal theologians have disdained Evangelicals, they sort of have to admit that Evangelicals are among the few people actually worrying about thinking theologically. Ditto that for the SSPX in Catholicism...
Wherever one may be inclined to place Louis Bouyer on the theological-ecclesial spectrum, he was clearly an important thinker, as his books attest (not least his poorly-translated but excellent The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism).  Here are Noir's excerpts (his emphases) from Bouyer's long essay, "The Catholic Church in Crisis":
[...]"The Lefebvre affair” deserves a close investigation. At first glance, one may think that it reveals only the somewhat strange mentality, a ghetto mentality, of Catholics who are incapable of coming out of their isolation, of their life within a closed community in a safeguarded dream. In reality, once one examines it seriously, it reveals a deep malaise in French Catholicism and, therefore, in French society as a whole. And it would be a mistake to believe that this malaise is a recent one: it goes back a long way and its symptoms will never be healed so long as we refuse to go back to its sources...

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Tridentine Masses coming to metro Detroit and east Michigan this week

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Tridentine Community News - Bishop Hanchon to celebrate Juventútem TLM at St. Paul on the Lake, Fr. Kenneth Myers' podcasts, Flint TLM moves to Fr. Zach Mabee's parish (St. Matthew's), "IKEA churches," Mass schedules

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (July 5, 2015):
Juventútem Mass Update: Blessed Sacrament Cathedral and St. Paul on the Lake

Bishop Donald Hanchon had to change his plans to celebrate a Mass for Juventútem this summer. Originally His Excellency was scheduled to celebrate a Mass on Friday, July 31 at Detroit’s Blessed Sacrament Cathedral. Due to a scheduling conflict, Bishop Hanchon will now celebrate a Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Friday, August 28 at 7:00 PM at St. Paul on the Lake Parish in Grosse Pointe Farms [pictured]. St. Paul was the site of a funeral Mass in the Extraordinary Form a few years ago and is a beautiful and appropriate site for the Traditional Liturgy. The Mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral on Friday, July 31 at 7:00 PM will go on as scheduled, to be celebrated by another priest yet to be determined. Archbishop Vigneron still intends to be present and preach the homily.

Spiritual Direction Podcasts

One of North America’s most articulate advocates of the Traditional Latin Mass is Fr. Kenneth Myers, the retired longtime chaplain of St. John XXIII Parish in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Thanks in large part to Fr. Myers, the Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community has become the largest Extraordinary Form group in the world, with almost 1,000 people attending on Sundays.

Fr. Myers is also well-known as a speaker and spiritual director. He celebrated Vespers at St. Albertus Church and delivered a talk entitled “A New Look at the Old Mass” at the 2010 Latin Liturgy Association National Convention here in Detroit. That talk is now available on YouTube. Since 2013 Fr. Myers has been assembling a series of spiritual direction podcasts available on his web site, Thought-provoking and traditionally minded, they strike a solid balance between academic theology and practical application. Well worth a listen.

Flint Tridentine Mass Relocates to St. Matthew Church

Good things come to those who wait: This Sunday, July 5, the Flint Latin Mass Community takes up residence at its new home, St. Matthew Church in downtown Flint. St. Matthew is Flint’s most ornate historic church, preserved in immaculate condition. The adjacent photo by Juventútem Michigan is of a Tridentine Mass that was held there on September 21, 2012. The superior acoustics, grand scale, and classic architectural features of St. Matthew are sure to bode well for the future of Michigan’s first post-Vatican II Latin Mass community.

The new home comes with a bonus: Newly ordained priest Fr. Zach Mabee has been assigned there as Parochial Vicar. Fr. Mabee celebrated his first Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form on June 23 at St. Thomas the Apostle in Ann Arbor, just a few days after ordination. This will be the first time that the Flint community will have a priest residing in its host parish able to celebrate the Traditional Mass.

Masses will be held at St. Matthew on Sundays at 3:00 PM, one hour earlier than Mass had been held at their prior home of All Saints Church.

National Catholic Register on “IKEA Churches”

A thought-provoking column by film critic Steven Greydanus appeared on the National Catholic Register newspaper’s web site on June 8. Commenting on the visceral differences between bland, modern churches and ornate, historic churches, the writer opined: “It is no accident that artists raised in and shaped by historic Catholic tradition went on to make visually and imaginatively stunning movies like Vertigo and Rear Window... What about those raised in spartan IKEA-style churches, with blandly soothing music and genially anemic homilies? Will they produce artists inspired to create great art?

"More importantly, will their people be inspired to lead heroic, virtuous lives? And, if so, will it be because of those IKEA-style spartan spaces, or in spite of them?”

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 07/06 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Feria)
  • Tue. 07/07 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Ss. Cyril & Methodius, Bishops & Confessors)
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for July 5, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Fr. Perrone: this is no time for oblivion or indolence

Father Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" (Assumption Grotto News, June 28, 2015): 
I wonder how cognizant people are about the true state of things at this time. My guess is that they are not much aware, or at least not all that much troubled by them. I’ve avoided apocalyptic warnings to you for the good reason that they would be false. Only God knows for sure when the travail of the final days will be upon us. This does not mean, however, that there cannot be a time great turmoil in the world–a time of disturbances which afflict the entire societal body in the political, moral, and religious areas of life–which is to say, in every aspect. 

The near collapse of order in beneficent government, national and worldwide, in societal structures, in education, the military, in law and judiciary, in education and arts, in economy and–hard to admit it–even in the Church, does not seem overmuch to worry many people, because they’ve been lulled into reverie by an enveloping, all-pervading sensuality. The palliative effect of pleasures which distract our minds and cloud our judgment tends to make us oblivious to the disorder all around us: the effect being much like an anaesthetic on a body suffering some pathological condition. Pain is a warning that something’s amiss that needs remedying. Covering over problems with blithe distractions from sensual comforts allows decay unattended to advance, to worsen. 

Men’s ambition and pride lead to resentment of authority; their inclination towards evil, and especially towards sexual indulgence, leads them to want to give way to outpourings of their lawless passions (anger, lust and disregard for law and discipline); and these in turn make men turn away from God and prepare them to become practical atheists, which is to say, agnostics. It is only at this last phase that we begin to see clearly that there’s more than human ambition and weakness behind the ensuing general disorder–that it is demonically inspired. In any case, whether we are willing to believe in the Enemy’s hand in this or not, we are all feeling the effects of the advancing chaos in the disharmony in our marriages and families, in our ineffective educational attempts in our schools, in the squeeze that holds our money and property, in the ever-wider encroachment of big government over more and more aspects of our lives, in the disturbances and discomfort we are feeling by being in a Godless public, in the uncertainty and fears we experience as ominous, impending calamity, in the division in the Church, etc.

Much more needs to be said about these things that can’t be aired here. But my reasons for bringing them up are 1) to assure that all this is not right, is not normal, and is decidedly deadly for continuance in an ordered world; 2) to speculate about what the right response should be in the face of this distorted scene. Responses are basically of two kinds: a) offensive action which seeks to rectify the troubles by opposing the many seducing errors and the moral decay; b) prayer and sacrifice, both for restoration of order and for making reparation for damages already done. These two forms are often posed as being in tension with each other: the ‘direct confrontation approach’ or the more ‘indirect’ and (seemingly) ‘passive.’ In truth, I can’t say that there is an alternative: both are needed. We need front-line fighters and we need prayer-warriors (pardon that gooey expression). What we cannot do is to become idle and numb, indifferent and unconcerned, allowing evil to go unopposed, and thus to advance.

If I am undecided about which of these to recommend to you the more, I would, as your pastor, say at least this much with utter confidence: you must stop your own slinking into the myriad forms of evil that are rotting souls. You simply cannot give way to your passions–which are the internal originators of all the disorder and chaos in society and in the Church. You, in simple terms, have got to oppose the sinful inclinations that induce you to commit your sins. Never mind the terrible things other people are doing, how bad the world is getting, how dizzying the turmoil in the Church. Be saintly, and do not budge from the way of righteousness. Be tough on yourselves and be holy people. The reform of the world begins with you, in your own soul. Then, and only then, should you proceed with your plan of righting the wrongs of others. This program is a version of what our Lord Himself said: remove the plank in your own eye before removing the splinter in the eyes of others.

Don’t mistake my meaning. I am not suggesting that we should not oppose the tremendous evils that are upsetting the God-willed harmony and order of the world and the Church. We must oppose these. Nor am I saying that we should not be making the much-needed Eucharistic holy hours to appease divine justice and petition divine intervention. We, however, must not be hypocrites, outwardly valiant and righteous but inwardly unconverted. What is inexcusable is indolence and apathy and, of course, complicity in the great movement to overthrow the God-given order of truth, goodness, beauty, and holiness, a movement which is not fundamentally a thing but a destructive and malevolent person who rails against God and seeks to frustrate His plans for the salvation of the human race.

Fr. Perrone

P.S. This will be my last Descant for a while as I take my summertime lease for mental and physical refreshment. Fr. John, to whom I confidently entrust your pastoral care, will no doubt graciously supply in my absence.

Rasmussen: "Support Grows for States to Ignore Federal Courts"

Rasmussen Reports, "Support Grows for States to Ignore the Federal Courts" (July 3, 2015).

[Hat tip to D.M.]

Canonist Peters on the fatal flaw in Scalia's dissent

Edward Peters, "Antonin Scalia as the measure of how far we have to go" (In the Light of the Law, June 29, 2015):
But here’s the problem: Scalia’s dissenting opinion, while correctly arguing that Congress, and not the Courts, is the law-making branch of government in America, opens with this line: “The law can recognize as marriage whatever sexual attachments and living arrangements it wishes … It is not of special importance to me what the law says about marriage.”
While Scalia's dissent is brilliant in many ways, but while his personal sentiments are clearly Catholic, his legal reasoning displays the fatal flaw juridical positivism. What does this mean? In a nutshell, it means that law has no basis other than what is posited by human legislation. In other words, the basis of human law in natural law is no longer assumed.

Let me illustrate using an example from C.S. Lewis:
EVERY ONE HAS HEARD people quarreling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kinds of things they say. They say things like this: "How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?"--‘That’s my seat, I was there first"--"Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm"--"Why should you shove in first?"--"Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine"--"Come on, you promised." People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: "To hell with your standard." Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some special excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that some thing has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed. And they have. If they had not, they might, of course, fight like animals, but they could not quarrel in the human sense of the word. Quarreling means trying to show that the other man is in the wrong. And there would be no sense in trying to do that unless you and he had some sort of agreement as to what Right and Wrong are; just as there would be no sense in saying that a footballer had committed a foul unless there was some agreement about the rules of football.
This is about the most concise illustration and explanation of natural law I can think of. The only justice of the Supreme Court who still shows any evidence of adhering to natural law as a foundation for human law is Clarence Thomas. (Interestingly, Joe Biden opposed Robert Bork's nomination to the SCOTUS because he DIDN'T believe in natural law, then opposed Clarence Thomas' nomination because he DID believe in it, which tells us something about the character of Catholic politicians these days.)

The very best introduction to the contemporary crisis in jurisprudence is Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition,which ought to serve our times as the equivalent of William Blanckstone's Commentaries on the Law of England for his time.

Related: Ann Barnhardt, "On Scalia’s Dissent" (Judica me, June 26, 2015).

Defying Church, Fordham prof. 'marries' another man; administration supports

John Burger, "Fordham University Theology Department Chariman 'Marries' Another Man" (aleteia, July 4, 2014):
The New York Times, which up until a few years ago, declined running wedding announcements involving same-sex couples, reported that J. Patrick Hornbeck II “married” Patrick Anthony Bergquist Saturday at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan. The ceremony took place June 27, just a day after the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex “marriage” nationwide. That would not have been necessary legally, since New York State has allowed gay "marriage" since 2011. But the ceremony was conducted before the Episcopal Church in America voted this week to allow same-sex "marriage" rites in its churches.

When asked whether Fordham was concerned about having a professor of theology whose lifestyle choice is in opposition to the teaching of the Catholic Church about marriage, a spokesman for the university said Hornbeck has the right to get married.

“While Catholic teachings do not support same-sex marriage, we wish Professor Hornbeck and his spouse a rich life filled with many blessings on the occasion of their wedding in the Episcopal Church,” said Bob Howe, Fordham's senior director of communications. “Professor Hornbeck is a member of the Fordham community, and like all University employees, students and alumni, is entitled to human dignity without regard to race, creed, gender, and sexual orientation."
[Hat tip to M.G. and E.P.]

Friday, July 03, 2015

Catholics: What part of this is not true or right?

Michael Voris, "Excommunicate Them All!" (The Vortex, July 1, 2015). He's talking about people like Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Harsh? Maybe. Or perhaps you would prefer a rainbow-colored Care Bear to cuddle with on your way to your ISIS execution or the Last Judgment?

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Big Brother v. the people

"War is peace. Slavery is freedom. Ignorance is strength." Remember those words from George Orwell?

Big Brother has been doing his best to impose totalitarian mind-control on us through it's Ministry of Truth [TM] ("news media" in the popular imagination), which not only tells us what's going on but how to feel about it. The extension of that effort at control through social and entertainment media has been particularly effective via the not-so-subtle social pressures of "political correctness." The White Rainbow House has now apparently dropped every pretense of promoting national unity in its policies, positions, and posturings. It's now open season on the resistance, and the news networks are nothing less that its own tentacles for controlling public opinion.

Despite these efforts, about half the population remains unaccountably recalcitrant, refusing (so far) to bend to the will of Big Brother and his media elites. Rasmussen Reports' "Marriage Update" (June 25, 2015) states that 50% of Likely U.S. Voters still consider marriage a religious institution, in line with past sentiments. Of the 76% who are either now married or have been married, 55% consider marriage a religious institution, while 34% consider it a civil one.

In fact, the number of Likely U.S. Voters who consider marriage a religious institution rather than a civil one has unaccountably risen from 36% to 43% in most recent polling. "Support for gay marriage reached a high of 48% almost a year ago and again in December, but then fell to 42% in February, tying the all-time low first reached in late 2013."

The brainwashing will continue, no doubt about it. If you want your children and their friends to have a fighting chance at retaining freedom of thought, you may wish to promote and join The Society for the Defenestration of Television Sets, Computers, and Other Electronic Devices (TFTDOTSCAOED, for short). When kids on their first trips to libraries are asking librarians where the switch is to "turn on" their books, you know you've got a challenge on your hands.

Power to the people! Protect your mind! Rage against the machine! Resist Leviathan! Resist Newspeak! Farenheit 451! ETWAGIHE!

The imperial judiciary

John Hayward, "The King v. Burwell aftermath" (Breitbart, June 25, 2015):
One of the core problems with a decision like the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell ruling is that it does the opposite of what a Supreme Court presided over by justices-for-life is supposed to do.

As Chief Justice Roberts makes abundantly clear in his ruling, he looked at politics, not the law, concluding that upholding the clear text of the Affordable Care Act would have killed it, and inflicted chaos on a health insurance system already driven mad by ObamaCare.

He made a political judgment – with copious pressure from President Obama and his followers, and the weight of his own previous decision to put politics above the law to preserve the individual mandate – that the Affordable Care Act was a writ of nearly-unlimited power to do what its framers say they want to accomplish today, not a law with a balance of both power and responsibility based on what it said at the moment it was signed.

This is a very bad precedent to set, especially if Roberts’ reasoning is followed to the conclusion that the bigger and more ambiguously-written a law is, the more untrammeled executive power it grants. No matter what ultimately becomes of ObamaCare, that will come back to haunt us in many other contexts in the future.

... I am of the opinion that tough political outcomes are a burden worth bearing to preserve the rule of law, but here we are instead: Democrats doing a creepy “ALL DEBATE IS NOW OVER!” victory dance to celebrate the Constitution-smashing preservation of a law the American people don’t like, whose passage has already blown them into a congressional minority, and which they own 100 percent. It would be easier to maintain optimism about Republicans fighting on such favorable political terrain if they had demonstrated an institutional talent for fighting winning battles on solid ground, and doing important things with the power thus obtained.

The American people are getting a raw deal out of ObamaCare, but the President was not wrong when he crowed today that the law is working the way he wanted it to. The American system has been bent and twisted beyond recognition by the agonizing pain of digesting a law that conflicts with such basic values as the freedom of religion, and even the freedom to decline engaging in commerce. The “consent of the governed” matters less than ever. The amount of money sucked down by ObamaCare and distributed to the government’s Little Partners in the insurance industry is staggering. A huge swath of the formerly independent middle class is now helplessly dependent on subsidy payments, whose termination can be threatened if they get any funny ideas about putting the Leviathan State on a diet.

... The Left will redouble its efforts to silence and marginalize Americans who are suffering under ObamaCare..... Most people get a queasy feeling when they hear the phrase “the ends justify the means.” They know that’s wrong, and they know those words have been cited to justify tyranny and evil. The Roberts decision is wholly based on that idea. The American system was founded on the opposite ideal: that the ends do not justify the means, the system should not be shredded to impose a “good idea” with haste, the rule of law is more important than any goal that could be achieved by discarding it.

... A “law” that imposes no restraint or obligation on the government, not even the need to respect the plain text of the law itself, contains a payload of power that should be unacceptable to every patriotic American. Sometimes Republicans talk about the Constitution as an object of worship, an abstract idea they hold in reverence, without discussing its practical effect upon the real world. Well, Chief Justice Roberts just gave us a very powerful example of how the abandonment of Constitutional principle disrupts the everyday lives of ordinary people. Use it.
[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

White Rainbow House: Calling evil good

The underground correspondent we keep on retainer in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, was clearly troubled about something, but kept a cool head. He wrote:
I keep stewing over the Supreme Court decision, primarily because I read no commentary anywhere that quite touches on my gut reaction.

Marriage is about children, gender matters, court over-reach, impending persecution... blah blah blah.

What I wonder is this:

How can any Catholic leader not connect the dots this way...
Homosexual sex is bad (last I checked, we can call things that are sinful 'bad')......

Even dignified people can besmirch their dignity.....

It's close to impossible to read Romans 1 or the documents of the CDF and not get the idea that homosexuals who are sexually active besmirch their dignity.....

Thus when the White House looks like this, it is calling evil good and fundamentally besmirching humanity's dignity. It's the President graphically supporting ant-Catholic, anti-Christian, and ungodly living.
Not to mention wasting a lot of taxpayers' monies on schmoozing a constituency base. At First Things a guy from Focus on the Family goes on and one about how 'inappropriate' it is to hijack the White House for any cause. I couldn't stand it. That's not what's appalling. It's that the White House is being hijacked for what clear-thinking Christians know is a fundamentally bad and -- yes -- evil cause. Enabling sin in such a rhetorical manner... and the effect this will likely have in swaying the black church to boot ... Depressing and almost unforgivable in my book. [Emphasis added]

Melinda Gates: 'I'm Living Out My Faith in Action'

Interview by Timothy C. Morgan, "Melinda Gates: ‘I’m Living Out My Faith in Action’" (Christianity Today, June 29, 2015): "One of the wealthiest and most controversial women in the world believes that all lives have equal value. She’s willing to spend $3.6 billion a year to prove her point." Anti-abortion, but pro-contraception ... and interesting.

Guy Noir, our underground correspondent, wrote about this quite interesting interview:
At the end she mentions an extremely popular devotional book penned I think by an ex-L'Abri'er or an author with some claimed influence from there.

But also notice the CT interviewer refuses to actually engage her at all on what her faith means in terms of concepts. Equality of all and good works and a shout out to Pope Francis.

Strange times.

Cornelio Fabro (1911 – 1995)

Cornelio Fabro: Philosopher of Esse and of Freedom

Cornelio Fabro (1911 – 1995) is among the most important philosophers of the 20th century because of his studies of the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas and for his vast knowledge of modern philosophy and classical Christian realism from the perspective of Kierkegaard's metaphysical existentialism.

The goal of the Cornelio Fabro Cultural Project is to place the entire intellectual production of this Italian philosopher at the disposition of all, in both printed and digital form, including audio, video, and texts. The Complete Works will be translated into English and Spanish, and the most important volumes into other languages as well.

"The birth of freedom has been the only and essential task, the intensive point of my
journey which is still in motion, because the life of the spirit does not allow breaks... Truth,
therefore, in freedom, and freedom for the truth." C.F.
[Hat tip to Prof. Mark Latkovic]

Signs of the times: Eulogy for Catalonia

"Eulogy for Catalonia" (That the bones you have crushed may thrill, June 22, 2015):
I have noticed one or two things about Catholic Spain which are more than worrying.

Firstly, on Sunday I went to Mass in a Church in Begur, lovely Church it was too. However, I was quite shocked by the almost total absence of any kneeling during the Mass. And I mean none. The priest did not seem to mind, but I assume that not that long ago, every lay person would be down on the knees at the sound of the bell. I have been to liberal parishes in England and seen nothing like it. The vast majority of the congregation did not kneel at any point. At the Eucharistic prayer, through the consecration and beyond the Agnus Dei. I have no idea what the priest preached other than the fact that he informed his flock that there would no longer be a midday Mass on Sundays, only one on Saturday night, because he serves too many churches in the region, so it has been moved to 9pm. No vocations you see. There are no weekday Masses at that Church.

This was related to me by an English speaking lay person after Mass. I could tell the news was bad because the sound of chatter after the priest said it was even louder than the sound of chatter 3 seconds before the Mass started. There were about two young people at the Mass, there were mostly old women and a handful of elderly gents. Organ music played O Come all Ye Faithful and other hymns on a CD player that began before Mass continued throughout the Mass on a lower setting. Please recall that this is a 'Catholic' country. It was as if some devil had decided that in this church there would be times of silence whatsoever.

The one young man present was a reader. He looked like he was visiting a retirement home in his pink shorts, or going to the beach. For the homily the priest sat enthroned in the centre of the Sanctuary where once the Blessed Sacrament had been. There were no altar servers and therefore nobody to hold a Communion plate. The person who could have done that was an EMHC who stood by the priest giving out the Lord.