Today, the Church lifts her eyes to a radiant sight: the Jerusalem that shines at the end of her paschal journey. The liturgical colour today is rose like the dayspring’s first light. At Pascha the sun will rise over us in all its dazzling brightness, but for the moment, we are content to rejoice in the rosy radiance of the dawn. (Vultus Christi)
Over at the bloggingheads spinoff meaningoflife.tv I have a conversation with Aryeh Cohen-Wade, in which we discuss the Mortara case, debates about liberalism and integralism among Catholics, and finally the monastic life. The conversation was enjoyable, though I was a bit groggy from flu and flu medications.
We discussed an interesting essay by Nathan Shields at the Jewish magazine Mosaic, liberal propaganda about the wars of religion, and Gelasian Dyarchy (I’m afraid I forgot to mention The Josias, the integralist website for which I have written a number of pieces), and then a little about the monastic life and the practice of lectio divina.
Fr. Sylvester Tan, S.J.’s brilliant paper on unconscious sin in Chrétien’s Li Contes del Graal makes the following point about how St. Bernard understood the role of ignorance in his theology of sin:
Unlike some of the scholastic theologians of his day, Bernard is not interested in using ignorance to justify the failings of those who do not know God. Rather, out of a genuine concern for the well-being of those sinners, Bernard sees ignorance as an impediment to salvation that must be removed before any person is to attain true life, whether in this life or the next. Bernard takes to heart the words ‘be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Mt 5:48) and exhorts all his listeners to rid themselves of all that would keep them from loving God, regardless of whether they can find an excuse whereby they ought not to be held accountable for indulging, or having indulged, in this or that vice.
There are some remarkable parallels between the controversy between St. Bernard and Abelard on this point, the controversy between Jansenists and Jesuits recounted in Pascal’s Provincial Letters, and current debates on Amoris Laetitia. One of these days I hope to write at length about them.
The Empire thus fostered a deep-rooted, conservative ideal of freedom as local and particular, shared by members of corporate groups and incorporated communities. These were local and particular liberties, not abstract Liberty shared equally by all inhabitants… This [explains] why central Europeans remained so unreceptive to nineteenth-century liberalism… liberals discovered that ordinary people often did not want their version of liberty, because uniform equality conflicted with treasured corporate rights which appeared to offer superior safeguards against capitalist market exploitation. (Peter H. Wilson, Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire)
This made me laugh out loud:
… just focus on one figure: the Palaeolithic income of $1.10 a day. Where exactly does it come from? Presumably the calculations have something to do with the calorific value of daily food intake. But if we’re comparing this to daily incomes today, wouldn’t we also have to factor in all the other things Palaeolithic foragers got for free, but which we ourselves would expect to pay for: free security, free dispute resolution, free primary education, free care of the elderly, free medicine, not to mention entertainment costs, music, storytelling, and religious services? Even when it comes to food, we must consider quality: after all, we’re talking about 100% organic free-range produce here, washed down with purest natural spring water. (David Graeber and David Wengrow)
Over at The Josias I attempt a response to Hans Urs von Balthasar’s critique of integralism.
Our brother, Paul Miki, saw himself standing now in the noblest pulpit he had ever filled. To his “congregation” he began by proclaiming himself a Japanese and a Jesuit. He was dying for the Gospel he preached. He gave thanks to God for this wonderful blessing and he ended his “sermon” with these words: “As I come to this supreme moment of my life, I am sure none of you would suppose I want to deceive you. And so I tell you plainly: there is no way to be saved except the Christian way. My religion teaches me to pardon my enemies and all who have offended me. I do gladly pardon the Emperor and all who have sought my death. I beg them to seek baptism and be Christians themselves.” (From the Acta Sanctorum; translation)
The eccentric French footballer Nicolas Anelka— once of Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea etc., now of West West Bromwich Albion– celebrated one of his goals against West Ham the other day by performing la quenelle, a quasi-nazi salute invented by French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala. Politically correct journalists are now suggesting that he should be hounded out of the game for this. Now, in this case the PC establishment has a point; anti-semitism is obviously evil, and making fun of the unspeakable evil of the שואה is horrible. But why is it that even when the PC machine is in the right there is something distasteful about the way it exercises its power? Anelka has claimed that la quenelle is not anti-semitic, but only “anti-système,” against the establishment and its manipulative and hypocritical system of power.
Anelka is presumably wrong about the original meaning of la quenelle, but…
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There is a quotation from an interview with David Foster Wallace reproduced on hundreds of webpages across the internet. There are several variants of the quotation, but it runs something like this:
…fiction’s one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties—all these chase loneliness away by making me forget my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion—these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.
None of the webpages that reproduce it, however, give a reference to the original. Searching the right phrases in Google Books turns up a snippet, which Google says is from p. 58 of Elle, Volume 11 (1996), Issues 5-8. It was surprisingly difficult to track down the correct issue. Academic libraries in Europe do not have the American editions of style magazines. The New York Public Library remote-scanning team (helpfully contacted for me by Incudi Reddere) responded that the material requested was not found in the Elle volumes specified. Even the usually omniscient Wallace-l e-mail list came up blank on this one. As did DFW Twitter. At long length though, an ebay seller named luckybuckeye_collectibles was able to track down the correct issue. It was in issue 6 of the volume cited by Google.