Friday, June 5, 2015

Great Year So Far For Green Monster

No; not this guy. From Patterico:

New York Times:

Americans are broadly concerned about inequality of wealth and income despite an economy that has improved by most measures, a sentiment that is already driving the 2016 presidential contest, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

The poll found that a strong majority say that wealth should be more evenly divided and that it is a problem that should be addressed urgently. Nearly six in 10 Americans said government should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, but they split sharply along partisan lines. Only one-third of Republicans supported a more active government role, versus eight in 10 of Democrats.

Polls and studies have also shown marked increases among Americans in wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, and gluttony.

Yup. But the greatest of these is envy. Because it works best to get Dems to the voting booth.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Start reading How Dante Can Save Your Life for free!

Google Play makes the first 45 pages of How Dante Can Save Your Life available for free. This is probably the only way I'll read any of it. Here's a teaser from page 27:

Suddenly Daddy and Ruthie were standing over me. “What’s wrong?” Daddy asked. “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine,” I said, looking up with a face swollen from crying. “I shot those baby squirrels. They were just babies.”

I looked up from the ground at my father and my sister. Ruthie burst into laughter. Daddy screwed his face up in disgust and growled, “You sissy .”

A thick iron gate slammed shut within me, and from behind it I regarded my father with cold contempt. He had struck me where he could do the most damage: my sense of manhood. I followed him and my sister out of the field, my face on fire, this time not with shame but with wrath. And from that moment on, I saw him not as my champion. I saw him as my adversary.

That's the funniest thing I've read today, including this hilarious review of Nocturna: Granddaughter of Dracula.

The tragic squirrel hunt story may have inspired this review.

Fun with the Benedict Option, Part 1

Whatever the Benedict Option ends up being we're going to have as much fun with it as we can. There are obviously some limits to this fun. Or there should be; I have always noticed the absence of wiener jokes in the fable of the Emporer's New Clothes.

But let's not waste time lamenting the limits! Instead, let us continue our exploration of the vast possibilities of what the Benedict Option might be by posing a mind-expanding list of ten questions. Then you may use the comments below to answer these questions or post your own questions.

Just remember that there are no wrong answers and no silly questions. And at the end you get a gold star! Unless you like silver better, of course. But more importantly, we will all have learned because we will have expaaaaaaanded out little mainstream conservative minds!

OK, here we go:

1. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, will I still be able to play My Singing Monsters?

2. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, will I need to stop shaving and grow a Christian beard?

3. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, will churches with modern architecture disintegrate, explode, implode or catch on fire?

4. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, will everyone get a personal, 15-minute Marian apparition?

5. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, will looking in bird's nests show us how many children God wants each of us to have?

6. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, will this blog be unmanned?

7. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, will people still steal sour cream creating obstacles to keeping it local? Will we be allowed to complain about it?

8. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

9. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, can we overstate and dramatize our part in world events to inflate our relevance?

10. When the Benedict Option comes in its glory, can I have your Pokemon Cards? how about your Legos?

Benedict Option: Secure your own oxygen mask first.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

No transsexual wants to be a grandma

Thanks are in order to the Young Fogey for a few link in his post today. Also I got a kick out of his remarks on this bit of tragicomedy.

If you're going to pretend to be a woman, why not pretend to be 25 while you're at it? (And I'll sue you for discrimination and emotional distress if you don't play along.) Or maybe it's a put-on: "his 'encore career' as a drag queen." The first Caitlin I'd heard of (never met one) was an actress, Caitlin O'Heaney, in the Raiders of the Lost Ark copycat TV show "Tales of the Gold Monkey" (pictured) about 32 years ago, so golden-era (born in the early '50s) American Caitlins were not unheard of. Still, circa 1950, Jenner's generation, almost the only girls given that kind of spelling lived in Ireland's gaeltacht.

The Young Fogey's blog is always worth a read; I enjoy it immensely and even though I sometimes disagree with his ideas on politics, I always find him challenging and thoughtful. If you haven't read his brief essay My Trip Through Orthodoxy yet, you should.

John Zmirak on the Benedict Option

I wanted to point this out earlier; it was written back on April 18, 2015 and reflects on the passing of Cardinal George. Zmirak praises the Cardinal's work and witness in the public square, and he acknowledges a temptation which arises in the face of the "prospect of real persecution" which Cardinal George famously predicted.

The prospect of real persecution contains within it a subtle, more sinuous snare for the Christian soul — the blissful escape of Gnosticism. That’s the comforting option of pretending that we few, we happy few, have been blessed with a higher vision that teaches us to disdain this earthly life, the needs of society and the claims of the common good.

All that we’re called to do is to decorate our own souls, and keep our children “clean” of the vast corruption that surrounds us. We are not obliged to fight in the squalid arena of politics, or to wade down into the “culture.” Instead, we can please Our Lord by fashioning tiny, private gardens, where reverent liturgies and wholesome lifestyles will somehow survive amidst the ruins. When the pagans around us finally collapse in their filth and futility, it’s to us (or to our sturdy, fearless great-grandchildren) that they will look, and our scions will rise from the rubble to build another Chartres from the broken pieces of abortion clinics and international airports.

Yeah, that sounds great to me. We’ll get our payback then, and we’ll sing Easter hymns on our enemies’ unmarked graves.

It would be possible to take such Gnostic comfort by willfully misreading Cardinal George’s final prophecy, that the heir of the martyred bishop “will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” But Cardinal George was not such a cruel or callous man as to wish that future on us, or see it as something hopeful, a promise of vengeful glory after a temporary setback.

Zmirak compares the so-called Benedict Option not to the heroes in Lord of the Rings, but to the mad king, Denethor, who famously gave in to pride and despair, planning a murder/suicide with his son by burning and crying "The West has failed!"

We face a profound obligation today to fight the Culture of Death with all the tenacity that God gives us. We must indeed fight as Churchill promised “on the seas and oceans, on the beaches … on the landing grounds … in the fields and in the streets.” We cannot take comfort in the prospect of escape, of a “Benedict option” whereby we will hide from evil in tiny enclaves of fellow believers. Because evil will find us there, as wolves can sniff out lambs. In a closed, self-protective environment, evil is all too likely to take over, among folk whose guard is down.

No subculture is safe. Indeed, the bleak facts of the sex abuse crisis should teach us that preachers are not immune. So should stories like those of the Legionaries of Christ, and the Society of St. John, each of which set itself up as a militant, separatist alternative to the culture — and proved to be the vehicle for some to prey upon the unwary. The further we retreat from the cold, clear light of day, the more vigilant we must be about our motives and our leaders. In fact, I think that a better name for the separatist imperative is not the “Benedict” but the “Denethor Option.”

I think that "misreading Cardinal George’s final prophecy" is exactly what Father Longenecker does in his acceptance of the Denethor Option, although it is perhaps not a willful misreading.

And, learning from experience, it really does seem like creating subcultures increases the chance of child sexual abuse. Here's another example from the Amish which, from what I've heard, is not an outlier in that "gated community". It strikes me as a bit ironic that people who obsess the most about the chances of their kids getting abused would start talking about "options" which would create communities with less accountability instead of more. Of course you are never going to see a SNAP created to go after the Amish because the Amish don't have deep pockets.

Big kudos to Zmirak for writing this. Normal serious Catholics still aren't buying the so-called "Benedict Option". It's not Benedictine and it's not an option.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Space Buns?

Always wondered what the proper name of that hairstyle was.

This will really make you think of what it's like to be a space princess in Manhattan. A female space princess, I mean.

I hope this makes male persons of color and non-color reconsider their horrible treatment of space females. I know Lando is a person of color, but so is Yoda. Darth Vader is not a person of color, but he is black and is... challenged. I think.

Commenter Kate on the Benedict Option

Here's what a commenter named Kate has to say on Father Longenecker's NCR piece on the Benedict Option.

Posted by Kate on Friday, May 29, 2015 3:33 PM (EDT):

Instead of Catholics frantically planning moves to rumored Benedict-type communities, I would suggest doing what you can where you are first. Ironically for this discussion, one of the principles of Benedictine life is “stability” - in addition to the standard three religious vows, Benedictines take a fourth vow to basically commit themselves to a physical place for life (for better or worse), a very foreign and counterculture concept in our modern age. I think Catholics should stay where they are unless God makes it obviously clear (such as a job loss and necessary relocation) that He wants one to move and become part of another community. My family was considering moving to a better parish and community and praying that God would show us where to go. You know what He did? Instead of sending us a neat, easy message with a map and real estate listings, He made it clear that He wanted us to stay where we were and do the work of creating a richer Catholic life! Dang! Didn’t He hear me?! He opened up a surprising opportunity at our parish, sent a pastor we could work with, and removed a lot of obstacles. It’s required a lot of time and energy; it’s been much harder than packing our bags and moving to a ready made ideal, community. However, I do at least know (as inconvenient as it is) we’re following God’s will and not my own easy way. Reminds me of what St. Teresa of Avila said about the way God treats his friends....

There are a lot of good comments to the article. It's sort of weird — you have to go to the page then click on the View Comments link.

Anyway this is the way I've seen it for years. It's amazing to me that someone can spend the time necessary to convert to the Catholic faith and then be shocked to find (often gross) imperfections. At least this is how I feel when I consider my own conversion experience which took place over several years time. During this time, I was present at a Mass in which, not only did the liberal priest make up his own Eucharistic prayer, he failed to include the words of consecration. (Later I found that he had tried to chat up my friend's wife. Then I also found out he was removed from the ministry; meanwhile he had been scandalizing and ill-forming the faithful for years....)

I was also present at many daily masses celebrated by a holocaust survivor. It was like witnessing the Mass celebrated by Christ Himself in Eternity ("...He descended into hell...He ascended into Heaven...") And, of course, I was present at many Masses celebrated by men between these two extremes in character.

The Catholic Church consists of the best and the worst. "Here comes everybody." But it continues to produce sanctity. And saints.