Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Listening to .... Michael Strogoff

by Jules Verne.


I had never heard of it, but have enjoyed a few of Verne's books (most notably The Mysterious Island recommended by son Matthew) so I randomly picked this one from LibriVox.

Turns out, according to Wikipedia, "Critics consider it one of Verne's best books."

The full title is Michael Strogoff, The Courier of the Czar.

I am almost 1/2 way through, and it is very good so far.

Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Got the latest issue of Grit Magazine in the mail this weekend. I don't subscribe, but a received a complimentary copy because an article of mine was included in the magazine. It is not available online, but if you look at the table of contents in the link, it is the one about pigs - who'd have guessed?
 
I wish I had the time to write and publish more. I used to write articles (and get them published) pretty regularly, but mostly in Catholic online magazines - and those don't pay anything! These days I really can't afford to work for free even if I had the time.
 
I have continued in my journey through The Closing of the American Mind. The chapter on music has a devastating indictment of rock and roll. I don't have the text available to me as I write today, but if I can come up with a representative quote later, I may update this post.
 
Energy and hope still linger from my visit to Aquinas College in Nashville this past weekend.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Aquinas College, Nashville, TN

My daughter was scheduled to attend scholarship day at Aquinas College in Nashville, TN this weekend. Mrs. Curley was going to take her, leaving the homestead early Friday morning.

Somehow at 6:00 AM on Friday morning, the responsibility changed, and I was taking her. I am glad I did.
 
I have visited Northeast Catholic, Wyoming Catholic, Christendom College, and University of Dallas (or more accurately Holy Trinity Seminary at UD). I have come away from each re-energized in my Faith and renewed in hope for the coming generation.
 
For some reason, even though Aquinas is a Newman Guide school, I didn't expect the same, but I got the same renewal none-the-less.
 
From the president of Aquinas, Sister Mary Sarah, O.P., to the professors, to the students, I found a college that knows what(who) it is, and what its purpose is.
 
I spent 15-20 minutes speaking with Sister Mary Sarah, O.P. and didn't know until later who she was. These Dominicans know what they are doing - they want to bring people to Christ.
 
The scholarship candidates and their parents split into groups based on their intended majors and met with the dean of that college. We met with Dr. Aaron Urbanczyk, dean of the college of arts and sciences. I loved his presentation on the purpose of education and of the value of the liberal arts. (My daughter says, "Of course you did. He says the same things you say!")
 
As to Nashville .... bigger than I thought. We stayed in a cabin at a KOA. We ate well, but fairly inexpensively. Live bluegrass music while eating a $12 supper - not bad at all! The Cathedral was beautiful, but not breathtaking. They had confession, which we took advantage of. We assisted at Mass at St. Edward Sunday morning. Great homily from the pastor.
 
Glad to be home, but glad I went.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Monday, February 06, 2017

the family

Written in 1986, from the Closing of the American Mind:

The dreariness of the family's spiritual landscape passes belief. .....People sup together, play together, travel together, but they do not think together. Hardly any homes have any intellectual life whatsoever, let alone one that informs the vital interests of life. Educational TV marks the high tide for family intellectual life. ...fathers and mothers have lost the idea that the highest aspiration they might have for their children is for them to be wise - as priests, prophets, or philosophers are wise. Specialized competence and success are all they can imagine.

I think this is an inevitable consequence of the breaking apart of the family (everyone leaves everyday.) Our real lives are at work and school, not at home. Home is just the hotel and periodically the vacation. Some of what he says is not even true now - families don't sup together and play together on a regular basis.
 
********************
 
In my previous posts I asked questions about the long-term viability of a democratic republic. I am not a monarchist (never thought much about it either way.) Just asking questions.
 
Charlie makes the comment: The problem we have today is not a problem of government but a problem of morality. There can be no liberty among the immoral.
 
The founding fathers believed that Constitution would only work for a moral people.
 
Regarding the best government, a truly moral and benevolent monarch with good judgment, would perhaps be the best form of government, but who is to vouch for his successors? I guess that any government made up of moral people with good judgment would be the "best" government.
 
Many make the case that since this is unlikely to happen, the democratic republic is the best compromise ....
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Can a democratic republic work?


As noted in my last post, it was proposed (from the Introduction to The Closing of the American Mind) that the Founding Fathers believed:

From the earliest beginnings of liberal thought there was a tendency in the direction of indiscriminate freedom. Hobbes and Locke, and the American founders following them, intended to palliate extreme beliefs, particularly religious beliefs, which lead to civil strife. The members of sects had to obey the laws and be loyal to the Constitution; if they did so, others had to leave them alone, however distasteful their beliefs might be. In order to make this arrangement work, there was a conscious, if covert, effort to weaken religious beliefs, partly by assigning ... religion to the realm of opinion as opposed to knowledge.

Going forward, it seems that Mr. Bloom is proposing (at least in the introduction) that the current problem of relativism can be traced to minority groups wanting to remain distinguishable from a conforming mass of people under the Constitution as designed in the quote above.

Granted, I haven’t finished the book (or even the introduction), but there seems to be an inherent problem here. It is turned on its head. Relativism would be the result of “assigning ... religion to the realm of opinion as opposed to knowledge”, not the other way around.

The result of core sets of beliefs being converted into simple opinions of equal value would then give rise to every minority group (defining minority not by race, but by any belief whim) wanting their agendas to be given equal value.

Because there may be real resistance, eventually, this want becomes a demand, causing chaos - such as we are witnessing today – to the extent of again turning things on their heads: unorthodox beliefs being demanding acceptance as knowledge/fact, and traditional beliefs being regulated to the dustbin at best and outlawed at worst. (It is clear that in the current climate the simple acceptance of a coexistence of the homosexual/transgender/etc. agenda is not enough. Beliefs opposed to these agendas, even if held privately or by a church, will not be tolerated in any form.)

Is the constitutional republic as we know it inherently unworkable in the long term, or is it a function of other influences at this particular time in history? Would returning things to a previous order of beliefs under the same constitutional system simply repeat the process?
More on this later, including possibly some thoughts (by Russell Shaw) peculiar to Catholicism in American from the book American Church.
Oremus pro invicem!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Years ago I bought an "important" conservative book, but apparently never read much of it, as only the 3rd page had a dog ear.

Started it again, and came across this in the first few pages:


From the earliest beginnings of liberal thought there was a tendency in the direction of indiscriminate freedom. Hobbes and Locke, and the American founders following them, intended to palliate extreme beliefs, particularly religious beliefs, which lead to civil strife. The members of sects had to obey the laws and be loyal to the Constitution; if they did so, others had to leave them alone, however distasteful their beliefs might be. In order to make this arrangement work, there was a conscious, if covert, effort to weaken religious beliefs, partly by assigning ... religion to the realm of opinion as opposed to knowledge. (my emphasis.)


Having just finished Russell Shaw's American Church, this quote, seems relevant. Many American Catholics become good "Americans" whose religious beliefs are just opinions, as good as everyone else's? This explains dissent, cafeteria Catholicism, etc.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Reading now ....

“Reading” audio version of Crime and Punishment. It has been years since I first read it, but C&P retains its relevance.
Almost finished a first time read of The Three Musketeers. I can see its attraction (swashbuckling adventure) for a younger reader, but the proliferation and acceptance of mistresses by the protagonist(s) is a turn off for me. One redeeming feature of this tale is the chapter entitled "Bethune". Just the title, not the content.
Am also reading American Church (or the Cardinal Gibbons Legacy?) by Russell Shaw. Shaw always is very readable. (Am I biased because he was a Requiem Press author?)
I am not very far into it, but can tell it will bring insight into how the Catholic Church in America got to its present state with relation to American society and culture. (In some respects, the Requiem Press title by John Meehan The Two Towers gives some insight into this also.) The telling point will be the predication or suggestions for the future which come at the end. I think it may be very timely especially if you throw in the traditional vs. modernistic (and suddenly American) view of marriage (see news on the variance between the San Diego and Philadelphia dioceses’ interpretation of Amoris Laetitia.)

Oremus pro invicem!

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Snow

This week there are many trips to the airport as sons and their (at least one) fiancée leave to go back to where they came from.
 
Now it is getting hazardous as we have a winter storm.
 
May all travelers be safe.
 
Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Dinner?

Two sons went squirrel hunting the other afternoon. We also processed a hog earlier in the day. Here is their cooking solution: squirrel wrapped in fat back (this is before cooking!). I am told it was delicious!



Oremus pro invicem!