Some good quotations from, well…

…from a book that was published almost twenty years ago, which I bought about twelve years ago, finally began reading a week ago, nearly lost a few days ago, and ultimately shelved about twenty-four hours ago.

Joyce Little, The Church and the Culture War (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995)

Joyce Little - The Church and the Culture War

p .17 – citing Romano Guardini, The End of the Modern World (1956), p. 124: “As unbelievers deny Revelation more decisively, as they put their denial into more consistent practice, it will become the more evident what it really means to be a Christian. At the same time, the unbeliever will emerge from the fogs of secularism. He will cease to reap benefit from the values and forces developed by the very Revelation he denies. He must learn to exist honestly without Christ and without the God revealed through Him; he will have to learn to experience what this honestly means. Nietzsche had already warned us that the non-Christian of the modern world had no realization of what it truly meant to be without Christ. The last decades [this was written in the 1950's] have suggested what life without Christ really is. The last decades were only the beginning.”

p. 25 – citing Hannah Arendt, “What Was Authority?” (1958), p. 102: “As long as this [Roman] tradition was uninterrupted, authority was inviolate; and to act without authority and tradition, without accepted, time-honored standards and models, without the help of the wisdom of the founding fathers, was inconceivable.”

p. 32 – citing Hannah Arendt, “What Was Authority?” (1958), p. 105: “Since then [when the Catholic Church took over the triune amalgamation of Roman religion, tradition and authority] it has turned out … that wherever one of the elements of the Roman trinity religion or authority or tradition, was doubted or eliminated, the remaining two were no longer secure. Thud, it was Luther’s error to think that his challenge to the temporal authority of the Church and his appeal unguided individual judgment would leave tradition and religion intact. So it was the error of Hobbes and the political theorists of the seventeenth century to hope that authority and religion could be saved without tradition. So, too, was it finally the error of the humanists to think it would be possible to remain within an unbroken tradition of western civilization without religion and without authority.”

p. 38 – “When in 1968, Humanae Vitae produced such controversy the question was frequently raised as to whether we were facing a crisis of authority or a crisis of faith. Today it is obvious that it was and is both, and that both crises are rooted in a single cause–the dominance of power in the thinking of so many people today in both the Church and society. … [Critics of Humanae Vitae] could no longer recognize that those in authority , in the words of Ratzinger, ‘do not create anything but simply articulate what already exists in the Church of the Lord’ [Church, Ecumenism and Politics {New York: Crossroad, 1988}, p. 130].”

p. 42 – citing Jeremy Rifkin, Time Wars (New York: SImon & Schuster, A Touchstone Book, 1987), p. 185: “The devaluation of history is a prerequisite for the free exercise of pure power.”

p. 43 – citing Ratzinger, quoted in “A Man of Conscience” Inside the Vatican, zero issue (Spring 1993): “The true sense of the teaching authority of the Pope consts in his being the advocate of Christian memory. The Pope does not impose from without. Rather he elucidates Christian memory and defends it.”

p. 56 – “[The] modern detachment of man from his body is most apparent in the abstract language that today in matters of sex and death replaces the direct, concrete expressions of earlier ages. Lust is free love, adultery is open marriage, homosexuality is a lifestyle, masturbation is safe sex, pregannacy is disease, abortion is termination of that disesase, procreation is reproduction, birth prevention is birth control, natural mothers are surrogate mothers, unborn children are embryos, embryos are property, murder is mercy killing, mercy killing is assisted suicide and suicide is death with dignity.”

whammy champ kind (2)

p. 58 – “As Chesterton once observed: ‘The Church and the heresies always used to fight about words, because they are the only thing worth fighting about.” [The Bell and the Cross (New York: John Lane, 1910), p. 96] Battles about words are always battles about competing views of reality.”

p. 84 – citing George W. S. Trow, In the Context of No Context (Boston/Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1978, 1980, 1981), p. 5: “The work of television is to establish false contexts and to chronicle the unraveling of existing contexts;finally, to establish the context of no-context and to chronicle it.”

p. 102 – “[T]o reject hierarchy is not to reject inequality but to reject order. For the opposite of hierarchy is not equality, as so many people today seem to think. The opposite of hierarchy is anarchy, that is, no order at all. Anarchy is chaos, and if we doubt that this is what egalitarianism really leads to, all we need do is look at the violence in our streets, the disorder in our families, the lawlessness in our schools, the corruption in our politics, the immorality in our media and the dissent within our churches.”

p. 133 – “[The Blessed Virgin Mary] is the one human being in all of history who embodies both in her nature and in her personhood the concrete realization of a sinless human existence. If we ask what goodness, what value, it is that Christ sees when he looks at us, the answer surely must be the goodness, the value he sees when he looks at his own mother. As the first recipient of the full fruits of Christ’s redemptive grace, she realizes within her own life the good creation which God intended from the beginning and which can be found to one degree or another in every one of us. When we see Mary as Christ sees her, then we begin to see ourselves as Christ sees us. And when we begin to see ourselves that way, we begin to see why it is that God not only arranged for our redemption but came to attend to it in person. Contrary to what many theolgocains have suggested, Mary is not the expcetion to the rule; she is the first realizstion of the rule of God within the good creation. … She is model for all disciples, male and female alike.”

p. 135 – “The female side of creation reaches its highest expression in Mary not as the purely passive recipient of redemption but as the one who complements and completes the activity of Christ.”

p. 136 – citing Gertrude von le Fort, The Eternal Woman (Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co., 1954), p. 14: “Surrender to God is the only absolute power that the creature possess.”

p. 140 – “Mary is most prominent in the Gospels at two points in the life of Christ: first, at his conception and birth where she assumes the responsibility of bearing a man into the world, and, second, at the inauguration [Cana] and culmination [Calvary] of Christ’s hour where she assumes the responsibility of bearing other men and women to Christ.”

p. 142 – citing Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude (Notre Dame, Ind.: Ave Maria, 1974), p. 56: “‘I have always been complaining that my work was constantly interrupted, until I slowly discovered that my interruptions were my work.’ … [Little, p. 143:] “When so much of [Christ's] work consisted of attending to those who interrupted him, why should we suppose our own lives to be any different?”

p. 154 – “If Christ is the truth, Mary is the trust. And the truth, because personal and material, cannot be efficacious in our world unless we entrust ourselves to him. … We live in a world situated between the suspicion of Eve and the trust of Mary.”

p. 165 – “The watershed issue for Catholics is not abortion but contraception. For contraception places before us the central issue of our age–who has dominion over man? Man himself or God? … To divorce sex from procreation is to divorce man from his role as co-creator with God in order to set man up as the sole lord of even his own existence.”

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Name! That! Author! (#noGoogling)

“The [upcoming Second Vatican] council should trace the line of Christian relativism, laying down how far the Catholic religion must act as the iron guardian of absolute values, and how far it can and *must* bend in its approach, in its *connaturality* with human life as it exists in time.”

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Not so queer, after all…

Homosexuality is, by definition, love of one’s sameness-in-sex. It is, in other words, love of one’s self-in-sex. Homosexuality is, therefore, onanism by a longer name. It is the quintessence of the contraceptive (i.e. sterile) mentality. As such, it is not simply immoral; it is an aesthetic outrage, and therefore it is the pageant of our grotesque age.

Heterosexual pairs may naturally conform to each other over time, but the “love of same” inherent in homosexuality tries to vault that entire process and go for the gratification of inherently sterile love. Trapped in a phenomenological echo chamber. The “stereoscopic” effect of homosexuality is yet another sign of its artificiality (i.e. contra-naturality).

With credit, I owe the seed of these ideas to Douglas Wilson, that stalwart Midwestern Calvinist. A key point in his essay is that “gay love” is the least queer thing there is. What’s really queer (odd) is two individuals crossing the sexual divide to love each other and raise children.

“At its root, homosexuality is a love of sameness rather than difference. Jehovah teaches us to love difference, and in this fallen world obsessed with finding ways to deface God, homosexuality rejects difference in order to spite God. … Homosexuals say they are “queer” as a point of pride, while outsiders use it as a taunt or insult. But they both agree that homosexuality is in fact queer. But our charge against those who promote this sin is that they promote a dull and monotonous love of sameness, and the last thing we may call this is queer.… A resentment of true difference and dogmatic insistence upon sameness is the sine qua non of homosexuality. However desperate the attempts, this tenacious loyalty to sameness cannot be obscured or hidden by odd mannerisms, paper hats, grease paint, outlandish outfits, and Mardi Gras style parties. Under all the odd and outlandish clothing, when the couple have disrobed, everything is the same and not queer at all. What God did at the beginning is truly queer—male and female created He them. So just as we avoid calling them gay when they are miserable, so we avoid calling them queer when queer is precisely what they are refusing to be. 

Along similar lines, here is what Germain Grisez has to say on the subject:

“[A]lthough it is true that partners in sodomy also could conceivably share in a committed relationship with sincere mutual affection and express their feelings in ways that would be appropriate in any friendship, the coupling of two bodies of the same sex cannot form one complete organism and so cannot contribute to a bodily communion of persons. Hence, the experience of intimacy of the partners in sodomy cannot be the experience of any real unity between them. Rather, each one’s experience of intimacy is private and incommunicable, and is no more a common good than is the mere experience of sexual arousal and orgasm. Therefore, the choice to engage in sodomy for the sake of that experience of intimacy in no way contributes to the partners’ real common good as committed friends.

Someone who admits that sodomy necessarily lacks the unitive significance of heterosexual intercourse which makes a couple a single reproductive principle might nevertheless suggest that a couple can choose such sodomitic intercourse as a way of communicating good will and affection. However, just as with fornicators, sexual intercourse is not chosen by sodomites in preference to conversation and mutually beneficial acts because it is the more expressive means of communicating good will and affection. Rather, it is chosen because it provides subjective satisfactions otherwise unavailable. Consequently, while sodomites may not choose, as fornicators do, an illusory good instead of a real one, they do choose to use their own and each other’s bodies to provide subjective satisfactions, and thus they choose self-disintegrity as masturbators do. Of course, while masturbators can be interested exclusively in the experience of sexual arousal and orgasm, sodomites also are interested in the illusion of intimacy.” (From The Way of the Lord Jesus, vol. 2)

“thus they choose self-disintegrity as masturbators do” + “the illusion of intimacy”

As messed up as the film Brokeback Mountain was, one thing it got totally right is the destructive blindness of gay-ety. That scene where the one guy turns his wife around to take her from behind, and eo ipso not have to FACE her (face), really captured it all, even if unwillingly. The sodomitic posture is literally one in which one’s OWN body-self is projected one plane forward, faceless and a sheer sensual device.

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Things that make you go “Hmmmm…”

“‘There is no doubt that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council vary a great deal in terms of how authoritative and binding they are depending on the text. So, for example, the Lumen Gentium Constitution on the Church and the Dei Verbum on the Divine Revelation are doctrinal declarations even though no dogmatic definition was given to them’, whereas the declarations on religious freedom, non-Christian religions and the decree on ecumenism ‘are authoritative and binding to a different and lesser degree.'”

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Stop me if you’ve heard it before…

We all sense that our own lives are a joke of some kind. Our destiny is one of the following two: Heaven is the eternal experience of saying, “Oh, I get it now!” while Hell is the endless experience of saying, “I just don’t get it!”

The only choice, then, is to embrace the absurd wisdom of the Cross in this life–God crucified to save His own crucifiers!–or to endure unwisdom of having only ourselves to embrace forever.

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Name! That! Author! (#noGoogling)

“I am reluctant to say anything that runs against [holy Scripture and Catholic tradition] on the pretext that we have superior insight today. Respect for the deposit of faith should not be called conservatism in the pejorative sense but a simple loyalty to the word of God. … I do not particularly strive for originality. Very few new ideas, I suspect, are true. … Far more valuable would it be to insert oneself in the great tradition of the fathers and doctors of the Church. I myself try to think and speak within that tradition, while taking due notice of new and deviant opinions. … [T]he present climate of opinion does not favor tradition and orthodoxy, two terms that have negative connotations for many hearers.”

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It’s the culture of death, stupid!

“[T]he strategy of voting for Republicans in the hope that conservative Supreme Court justices will overturn Roe v. Wade is deeply flawed. Republicans nominated most of the justices who voted in favor of Roe v. Wade. … If the prolife movement is to make any strides, it must bring in a more diverse group of people. Abortion needs to be framed as a human-rights issue…. Like the Irish monks of the Dark Ages, Catholics should work to improve the educational, cultural, and moral environment of places where crisis pregnancies and abortions most likely occur.”

– Leah Mickens, letter to the editor, New Oxford Review (March 2009), p. 11.

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