Tuesday, 29 January 2013

B-minus for the Bishops, but bloody good effort!



It's not very often I praise our Conference of Bishops; but...

Well done!!!

About bleeding time!!!
...and thanks be to God that you've finally understood what this issue's about.

Of course there are some reservations in its construction and I'd have preferred more emphasis on the imperative issue that the differences between proposed legislation for heterosexual and same-sex marriage cannot last under future equality appeals [already there are husbands claiming discrimination over divorce claims on grounds of adultery for which same-sex partners will not be liable - and annulment on grounds of non-consummation for heterosexuals cannot endure as it is prejudicial]



The ultimate results will be marriage abolition and it will be replaced with an equivalent version of civil partnerships for heterosexuals - it will simply be named marriage.

Plus the letter has very relevant points which are merely present as conditionals and qualifications which are sometimes misplaced and not present where the argument demands them - but finally we have a document where upon close scrutiny - the message is being delivered!



It's a pity it isn't as clear as the situation desperately demands [so much can be missed on a peripheral browsing] but the opening paragrahs are excellent and finally it's possible that some waverers might just realise what we're actually arguing for once and we aren't the belligerent evil homophobes as represented in the media.



Nevertheless we still need to pray long and hard for a miracle - but at least now we recognise the dire consequences. [Previously there was so much bewailing and utilitarian appeals to society's benefits/detriments rather than addressing the crucial fundamental aspects of what's really happening - a rupture in the hermeneutic of Love and Life within a family]



Full text can be found at
http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2013/01/29/bishops-briefing-on-same-sex-marriage-bill-full-text/

Michael Voris: What Happened to the Church


Ladies & Gentlemen: Don't Think Backwards!!!



{ This is probably among my ten favourite essays of all time}
THE MAN WHO THINKS BACKWARDS

The man who thinks backwards is a very powerful person to-day: indeed,if he is not omnipotent, he is at least omnipresent.
It is he who writes nearly all the learned books and articles, especially of the scientific or skeptical sort; all the articles on Eugenics and Social Evolution and Prison Reform and the Higher Criticism and all the rest of it.
But especially it is this strange and tortuous being who does most of the writing about female emancipation and the reconsidering of marriage.
For the man who thinks backwards is very frequently a woman.




 Thinking backwards is not quite easy to define abstractedly;and, perhaps, the simplest method is to take some object, as plain as possible, and from it illustrate the two modes of thought:the right mode in which all real results have been rooted;the wrong mode, which is confusing all our current discussions,especially our discussions about the relations of the sexes.
Casting my eye round the room, I notice an object which is often mentioned in the higher and subtler of these debates about the sexes: I mean a poker.
I will take a poker and think about it;
first forwards and then backwards;
and so, perhaps, show what I mean.

The sage desiring to think well and wisely about a poker will begin somewhat as follows:

Among the live creatures that crawl about this star the queerest is the thing called Man.
This plucked and plumeless bird, comic and forlorn,is the butt of all the philosophies. He is the only naked animal;and this quality, once, it is said, his glory, is now his shame.He has to go outside himself for everything that he wants.He might almost be considered as an absent-minded person who had gone bathing and left his clothes everywhere, so that he has hung his hat upon the beaver and his coat upon the sheep.The rabbit has white warmth for a waistcoat, and the glow-worm has a lantern for a head. But man has no heat in his hide,and the light in his body is darkness; and he must look for light and warmth in the wild, cold universe in which he is cast.



This is equally true of his soul and of his body; he is the one creature that has lost his heart as much as he has lost his hide.In a spiritual sense he has taken leave of his senses;and even in a literal sense he has been unable to keep his hair on.
And just as this external need of his has lit in his dark brain the dreadful star called religion,so it has lit in his hand the only adequate symbol of it: I mean the red flower called Fire.



Fire, the most magicand startling of all material things, is a thing known only to man and the expression of his sublime externalism.It embodies all that is human in his hearths and all that isdivine on his altars. It is the most, human thing in the world;seen across wastes of marsh or medleys of forest, it is veritably the purple and golden flag of the sons of Eve. But there is about this generous and rejoicing thing an alien and awful quality:the quality of torture. Its presence is life; its touch is death.Therefore, it is always necessary to have an intermediary between ourselves and this dreadful deity; to have a priest to intercede for us with the god of life and death;to send an ambassador to the fire.



That priest is the poker.Made of a material more merciless and warlike than the otherinstruments of domesticity, hammered on the anvil and born itself in the flame, the poker is strong enough to enter the burning fiery furnace, and, like the holy children, not be consumed.In this heroic service it is often battered and twisted,but is the more honourable for it, like any other soldier who has been under fire.Now all this may sound very fanciful and mystical, but it isthe right view of pokers, and no one who takes it will ever go in for any wrong view of pokers, such as using them to beat one's wifeor torture one's children, or even (though that is more excusable)to make a policeman jump, as the clown does in the pantomime.



He who has thus gone back to the beginning, and seen everything as quaint and new, will always see things in their right order,the one depending on the other in degree of purpose and importance:the poker for the fire and the fire for the man and the man for the glory of God.

This is thinking forwards.

Now our modern discussions about everything, Imperialism, Socialism, or Votes for Women,are all entangled in an opposite train of thought, which runs as follows:-
A modern intellectual comes in and sees a poker.
He is a positivist; he will not begin with any dogmas aboutthe nature of man, or any day-dreams about the mystery of fire.



He will begin with what he can see, the poker; and the first thing he sees about the poker is that it is crooked.
He says, "Poor poker; it's crooked."
Then he asks how it cameto be crooked; and is told that there is a thing in the world(with which his temperament has hitherto left him unacquainted)--a thing called fire.
He points out, very kindly and clearly,how silly it is of people, if they want a straight poker, to put it into a chemical combustion which will very probably heat and warp it.

"Let us abolish fire," he says, "and then we shall have perfectly straight pokers.

Why should you want a fire at all?"

They explain to him that a creature called Man wants a fire,because he has no fur or feathers.

He gazes dreamily at the embers for a few seconds, and then shakes his head."I doubt if such an animal is worth preserving," he says."He must eventually go under in the cosmic struggle when pitted against well-armoured and warmly protected species, who have wingsand trunks and spires and scales and horns and shaggy hair....

...If Man cannot live without these luxuries, you had better abolish Man."

At this point, as a rule, the crowd is convinced;it heaves up all its clubs and axes, and abolishes him.
At least, one of him.



Before we begin discussing our various new plans for the people's welfare, let us make a kind of agreement that we will argue in a straightforward way, and not in a tail-foremost way.
The typical modern movements may be right; but let them be defended because they are right, not because they are typical modern movements.
Let us begin with the actual woman or man in the street,who is cold; like mankind before the finding of fire.
Do not let us begin with the end of the last red-hot discussion--like the end of a redhot poker.
Imperialism may be right. But if it is right, it is right because England has some divine authority like Israel, or some human authority like Rome;not because we have saddled ourselves with South Africa,and don't know how to get rid of it.



Socialism may be true. But if it is true, it is true because the tribe or the city can really declare all land to be common land, not because Harrod's Stores exist and the commonwealth must copy them.
Female suffrage may be just. But if it is just, it is just because women are women, not because women are sweated workers and whiteslaves and all sorts of things that they ought never to have been.
Let not the Imperialist accept a colony because it is there,
nor the Suffragist seize a vote because it is lying about,
nor the Socialist buy up an industry merely because it is for sale.
Let us ask ourselves first what we really do want,
not what recent legal decisions have told us to want,
or recent logical philosophies' proved that we must want,
or recent social prophecies predicted that we shall some day want.

If there must be a British Empire,let it be British, and not, in mere panic, American or Prussian.
If there ought to be female suffrage, let it be female, and not a mere imitation as coarse as the male blackguard or as dull as the male clerk.
If there is to be Socialism, let it be social; that is, as different as possible from all the big commercial departments of to-day.
The really good journeyman tailor does not cut his coat according to his cloth;he asks for more cloth.
The really practical statesman does not fit himself to existing conditions, he denounces the conditions as unfit.



History is like some deeply planted tree which, though gigantic in girth,tapers away at last into tiny twigs; and we are in the topmost branches.
Each of us is trying to bend the tree by a twig: to alter England through a distant colony, or to capture the State through a small State department, or to destroy all voting through a vote.
In all such bewilderment he is wise who resists this temptation of trivial triumph or surrender, and happy (in an echo of the Roman poet)who remembers the roots of things.

Solidarity vs Negotiation & Compromise #2


THE WOLVES thus addressed the Sheepdogs: "Why should you, who are like us in so many things, not be entirely of one mind with us, and live with us as brothers should?


We differ from you in one point only.


We live in freedom, but you bow down to and slave for men, who in return for your services flog you with whips and put collars on your necks. They make you also guard their sheep, and while they eat the mutton throw only the bones to you.


If you will be persuaded by us, you will give us the sheep, and we will enjoy them in common, till we all are surfeited."


The Dogs listened favorably to these proposals, and, entering the den of the Wolves, the wolves sealed the entrance and circled the sheepdogs.


"Fools! If you were so willing to betray the human who has fed you, and the sheep you protect, what makes you think we could ever trust you ?
Because of your treachery we will eat the sheep,
we will eat the humans,
but first we will eat you !"


Too late to change their fate ; the sheepdogs were set upon and torn to pieces.

Solidarity vs Negotiation & Compromise #1



A man went into the wood and asked the trees for a piece of wood;

The trees had been congenial enough with humankind for thousands of years,

but recently ?

they had begun to fear them...


The trees held conference.

"If we do not give him what he wants ; he may come back and take more than he has asked for ! - we should do what he wants !"



"What shall we do then ?"

"Give him the youngest and weakest sapling ; the human will go away content ; and we shall be left in peace..."


So the trees moved apart, swaying their threatening branches aside and allowed the man to take the single sapling.


The man stripped the bark from the sapling, broke it to a manageable size and attached his axe head to the newly made handle....


Soon he would return to take all the trees....

Dedicated to Laurence England: The Quilt [author unknown]



THE QUILT


As I faced my Maker at the last judgment, I knelt before the Lord
along with all the other souls.

Before each of us laid our lives like the
squares of a quilt in many piles.

An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into
a tapestry that is our life.

But as my angel took each piece of cloth
offthe pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They
were filled with giant holes.

Each square was labeled with a part of my
life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was
faced with in everyday life.

I saw hardships that I endured, which were the largest holes of all.

I glanced around me.

Nobody else had such squares.

Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color
and the bright hues of worldly fortune.

I gazed upon my own life and was
disheartened.



My angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth
together, threadbare and empty, like binding air.

Finally the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to
the light, the scrutiny of truth.

The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries.

So filled their lives had been.

My angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise.

My gaze dropped to the ground in shame.

I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes.

I had love in my life, and laughter.

But there had also been trials of illness, and
death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it.

I had to start over many times.



I often struggled with the temptation to
quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again.
I spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance
in my life.

I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured
painfully, each time offering it up to the Father in hopes that I
would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who
unfairly judged me.

And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what
it was, and I had to accept it for what it was.



I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the
light.
An awe-filled gasp filled the air.

I gazed around at the others who stared at me with wide eyes.

Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes,
creating an image, the face of Christ.

Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes.



He said,

"Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My
hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when
you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of
Me than there was of you."


My prayer is that all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing
Christ
to shine through.

Accusations of being Utilitarian & Not Christian


Someone has just contacted me in exultant glee that they've discovered a massive flaw in my argumentation regarding marriage; and in almost paroxysms of ecstasy has cited another blogger who has accused those of holding my oft-cited position regarding the unitive and procreative aspects of marriage...

i.e. That the Purpose/Nature/Essence of Marriage is a Loving Union: The Aim/End/Telos is Procreation

...of being Utilitarian and Not-Christian!!!!


In denunciation of my position [and some belief that they've found the highest authority to disprove my case] they've decided to cite Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum on marriage where it says

In choosing a state of life, it is indisputable that all are at full liberty to follow the counsel of Jesus Christ as to observing virginity, or to bind themselves by the marriage tie. No human law can abolish the natural and original right of marriage, nor in any way limit the chief and principal purpose of marriage ordained by God’s authority from the beginning: “Increase and multiply.”(Genesis 1:28) Hence we have the family, the “society” of a man’s house – a society very small, one must admit, but none the less a true society, and one older than any State. Consequently, it has rights and duties peculiar to itself which are quite independent of the State.


Now I'm sorry to go all 'technical and get bogged down with theology and semantics but this is SO important and I'll explain why:

The problem is the English [mis]Translation of Rerum Novarum - which says 'principal purpose'
Therefore some readers will misinterpret this to mean 'the purpose of marriage' [i.e. what it is- what it does-what it can't be without]
Pope Leo XIII WAS NOT SAYING THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE WAS HAVING AND REARING CHILDREN

Principal Purpose refers not to the 1st Perfection of Marriage - Loving Unification ; but to the 2nd Perfection of Marriage - i.e. for that Love to Overflow and be open to God's Gift of Life in the bearing and raising of Children to form a single-nature family reflecting/emulating the Nature of Love in the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity.

Rather His Holiness was saying that's the AIM OF MARRIAGE.
To confirm this we need only appeal to other translations of Rerum Novarum



The Italian uses Scopo [Target/Aim],
French 'Fin principale' [End],
Portuguese 'Fim'[End],
Spanish 'Finalidad'[End]

In other words what 'Principal Purpose' is really referring to is the AIM - the intention towards the end - not purpose in its 'ratio esse' - in other words what it can't be without.
Aquinas explains the purpose as a 1st perfection in its form [i.e. a loving union] and the 2nd perfection in its operation towards its end [having and rearing children]



Because if we don't get purpose and aim in the right perspective and category we can inadvertently define Our Lady and St Joseph as not married - and proscribe the infertile/menopausal from ever marrying as they fail to meet the criteria of the purpose/nature/very meaning in its essence!!!

Let's refer to the Angelic Doctor:-

Summa Theologica III,29,2
I answer that, Marriage or wedlock is said to be true by reason of its attaining its perfection. 
Now perfection of anything is twofold; first, and second. 
The first perfection of a thing consists in its very form, from which it receives its species; 
while the second perfection of a thing consists in its operation, by which in some way a thing attains its end. 
Now the form of matrimony consists in a certain inseparable union of souls, by which husband and wife are pledged by a bond of mutual affection that cannot be sundered. 
And the end of matrimony is the begetting and upbringing of children: the first of which is attained by conjugal intercourse; the second by the other duties of husband and wife, by which they help one another in rearing their offspring.



Thus we may say, as to the first perfection, that the marriage of the Virgin Mother of God and Joseph was absolutely true: because both consented to the nuptial bond, but not expressly to the bond of the flesh, save on the condition that it was pleasing to God. 
For this reason the angel calls Mary the wife of Joseph, saying to him (Matthew 1:20): "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife": on which words Augustine says (De Nup. et Concup. i): "She is called his wife from the first promise of her espousals, whom he had not known nor ever was to know by carnal intercourse."
But as to the second perfection which is attained by the marriage act, if this be referred to carnal intercourse, by which children are begotten; thus this marriage was not consummated. 
Wherefore Ambrose says on Luke 1:26-27: "Be not surprised that Scripture calls Mary a wife. The fact of her marriage is declared, not to insinuate the loss of virginity, but to witness to the reality of the union." 
Nevertheless, this marriage had the second perfection, as to upbringing of the child. Thus Augustine says (De Nup. et Concup. i): "All the nuptial blessings are fulfilled in the marriage of Christ's parents, offspring, faith and sacrament. 
The offspring we know to have been the Lord Jesus; faith, for there was no adultery: sacrament, since there was no divorce. Carnal intercourse alone there was none." 

Therefore in response to the wild accusations thrown in my direction I have to reply that Leo XIII and the entire Magisterial Teaching is very clear regarding the essence/nature/purpose of marriage and its aim/telos/end. One need only refer to Humanae Vitae & Casti Connubii to confirm this...



If one mistakes or substitutes the second perfection for the first...

[and regrettably many Catholic commentators and media representatives have committed this error]

....one inadvertently becomes utilitarian and in the process declares Our Lady & St Joseph as unmarried and prohibits any infertile or menopausal couples from marrying....

...which is very far from Christian teaching.


So in response to the false indictments against myself and others I am very far from sorry that the accuser is very much mistaken - and would reply that they sincerely need to stop throwing wild accusations around about people not following, advocating or promoting Catholic teaching - or of being Utilitarian - when it sadly a fault of the accuser - NOT the accused.


Monday, 28 January 2013

A prayer of St. Thomas Aquinas, in hopes for the grace towards a Devout Life


Grant me, O merciful God,
to desire eagerly,
to investigate prudently,
to acknowledge sincerely,
and to fulfill perfectly
those things that are pleasing to You,
to the praise and glory of Your Holy Name.

Do You, my God, order my life;
and grant that I may know what you would have me do;
and give me to fulfill it as is fitting and profitable to my soul.

Grant me, O Lord my God,
the grace not to fall either in prosperity or adversity,
that I be not unduly lifted up by the one,
nor unduly cast down by the other.

Let me neither rejoice nor grieve at anytime,
save in what leads to You
or leads away from You.
Let me not desire to please anyone,
nor fear to displease anyone
except You.

Let all things that pass away seem vile in my eyes,
and let all things that are eternal be dear to me.
Let me tire of that joy which is without You,
neither permit me to desire anything that is outside You.
Let me find joy in the labour that is for You;
and let all repose that is without You be tiresome to me.


Give me, my God, the grace to direct my heart towards You,
and to grieve continuously at my failures,
together with a firm purpose of amendment.

O Lord my God,
make me obedient without dispute,
poor without despondency,
chaste without stain,
patient without complaint,
humble without pretence,
cheerful without indulging the senses,
serious without being morose,
active without recklessness,
fearful of You without despair,
truthful without double-dealing,
devoted to good works without presumption,
ready to correct my neighbour without arrogance,
and to edify him by word and example, without hypocrisy.

Give me, Lord God,
a watchful heart which shall not be distracted from You by
vain thoughts;
give me a generous heart which shall not be drawn downward by any
unworthy affection;
give me an upright heart which shall not be led astray by any
perverse intention;
give me a stout heart which shall not be crushed by any adversity;
give me a free heart which shall not be claimed as its own by any
unregulated affection.

Bestow upon me, O Lord my God,
an understanding that knows You,
diligence in seeking You,
wisdom in finding You,
a way of life that is pleasing to You,
perseverance that faithfully waits for You,
and confidence that I shall embrace You at the last.

Grant that I may be chastised here by penance,
that I may make good use of Your gifts in this life by Your grace,
and that I may partake of Your joys in the glory of heaven:
Who lives and reigns;
world without end.
Amen.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Can Catholics legally marry? Unforeseen Consequences of 'Equal Marriage' ?


[r/p after ;ast night's debacle]

As the new 'civil marriage' will be a universalised civil partnership which will no longer acknowledge any mandatory unifying aspect or consummation [or even fidelity or the possibility of adultery- let alone cohabitation and child-rearing]]
This means that the Church is now irreconcilably alienated from the civil marriage phenomenon and will have little choice other than to remove itself from the process:



The Sacramental Nuptial mass will have to singly retain the promises and obligations of marriage that the civil marriage has now lost...
Now this implies that we follow the two separate ceremony process that occurs in other countries [France, Canada , India etc]



BUT!!
Our new civil marriage is nothing remotely akin to any other country's civil marriage process - which retains unifying and consummation obligations...
So now we have the problem:
This 'new civil marriage" will invalidate all marriages between baptised non-Catholics [previously they were canonically valid as they made unifying promises and had consummation [i.e. they did as the Church does]]



...and will universally promote the 'living in sin' of all who participate within it - as well as giving equanimity to same-sex couples...
...these are enough grounds to consider this 'new civil marriage' an intrinsically unjust law...

...but Evangelium Vitae 73.2
 In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it".

& the Considerations

 When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth. If it is not possible to repeal such a law completely, the Catholic politician, recalling the indications contained in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, “could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality”, on condition that his “absolute personal opposition” to such laws was clear and well known and that the danger of scandal was avoided.(18) This does not mean that a more restrictive law in this area could be considered just or even acceptable; rather, it is a question of the legitimate and dutiful attempt to obtain at least the partial repeal of an unjust law when its total abrogation is not possible at the mom



Tell us that it is forbidden to perform formal or proximate material co-operation with an intrinsically unjust law

So here's the $64,000 question:

Will Catholics be forbidden from going through a 'new civil marriage' ceremony?
And thus have no legal recognition of being married?
And have none of its protection and provisions?
Will Catholics solely be allowed to marry in Church and be forbidden from being legally recognised as legally married by the State because they cannot sign a 'new civil marriage' contract?

Because it would be co-operation with an intrinsically unjust law?
So far I haven't received any reassuring response that this isn't the case...