Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Distrahit animum librorum multitudo." --Seneca

"I had nearly five thousand volumes in my library at Rome; but after reading them over many times, I found out that with one hundred and fifty well-chosen books a man possesses, if not a complete summary of all human knowledge, at least all that a man need really know. I devoted three years of my life to reading and studying these one hundred and fifty volumes, till I knew them nearly by heart; so that since I have been in prison, a very slight effort of memory has enabled me to recall their contents as readily as though the pages were open before me. I could recite you the whole of Thucydides, Xenophon, Plutarch, Titus Livius, Tacitus, Strada, Jornandes, Dante, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Machiavelli, and Bossuet. I name only the most important."
The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas, père

Friday, November 19, 2010

Gilson: Latin Liturgy and Philosophical Education

From Etienne Gilson's The Philosopher and Theology, published 1962:
Latin is the language of the Church. The sorry degradation of the liturgical texts by their translation into a gradually deteriorating vernacular emphasizes the need for the preservation of a sacred language whose very immutability protects the liturgy against the decay of taste. As his education is thus proceeding in keeping with the spirit of his own tradition, the young Christian imperceptibly becomes familiar with a Latin philosophical terminology (almost entirely Greek in its origin) embedded in the formulas of Christian dogmas. Liturgy itself forces this terminology upon his attention and fixes it in his memory, since he not only hears this language but also speaks it and sings it. Liturgical music permeates the meaning of the words so thoroughly that, thirty-odd years later, he will only have to sing the Preface to himself in order to recall the words: Non in unius singularitate personae, sed in unius Trinitate subsstantiae . . . et in personis proprietas, et in essentia unitas. . . . No mind can ascribe a meaning to such formulas without assimilating something of the philosophical notions they convey. In the liturgy itself, such words as substance, essence, singularity, propriety, person, point out directly and primarily only the mysterious truths contained in Christian dogma. The sentences that these words constitute are not philosophical propositions. Still, even though they do not bind it to any particular philosophy, a mind that has become familiar with them early enough in life will never be able to accept a doctrine that would consider them meaningless. The Church invincibly opposes any philosophical change that would oblige her to modify the received formulation of dogma. And in this the Church is right, for any change in words would entail a change in meaning, and propositions that have for centuries stood the test of councils cannot be altered without religious truth itself being put in jeopardy.
     Thus, long before he begins studying philosophy proper, the Christian imbibes definite metaphysical notions.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Horseradish!

Headed to dinner at Wolfgang's Steakhouse.
"There is even a 'Wolfgang’s Steakhouse Old-Fashioned Sauce,' which is a near-exact facsimile of the famous Luger’s Steak Sauce, only it’s slightly sweeter, and contains a touch more horseradish." NY Magazine
Well that settles the question of whether I'll have steak. Remember the Great Horseradish Famine and eat it while you can!

Friday, November 12, 2010

40 years on...

Folks continue to promote the Bayside Apparitions, more than 40 years after the "seer", Veronica Lueken, claimed they began and 15 years after her death. Recently "Our Lady's revelation" that Teilhard de Chardin is in Hell has been trotted out on FaceBook. Let's listen again (via EWTN) to what the Bishop of Brooklyn declared about these apparitions in 1986.
I, the undersigned Diocesan Bishop of Brooklyn, in my role as the legitimate shepherd of this particular Church, wish to confirm the constant position of the Diocese of Brooklyn that a thorough investigation revealed that the alleged "visions of Bayside" completely lacked authenticity.

Moreover, in view of the confusion created by published reports of messages and other literature by this "Movement," I consider it my obligation to offer Christ's faithful pastoral guidance, lest their faith be endangered by "messages" and "teachings" relayed by "visionaries," which are contrary to the Faith of our Catholic Church.

Therefore, in consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I hereby declare that:

1. No credibility can be given to the so-called "apparitions" reported by Veronica Lueken and her followers.

2. The "messages" and other related propaganda contain statements which, among other things, are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, undermine the legitimate authority of bishops and councils and instill doubts in the minds of the faithful, for example, by claiming that, for years, an "imposter (sic) Pope" governed the Catholic Church in place of Paul VI.

3. Those who persistently maintain that "no ecclesiastical permission is required for the publication or dissemination" of information concerning "revelations, visions or miracles," are erroneously interpreting the directives of the Holy See when they attempt to justify the publication of the propaganda literature on the "Bayside Messages."

...those publishing or disseminating this propaganda literature are acting against the judgment of legitimate Church authority.

4. Because of my concern for their spiritual welfare, members of Christ's faithful are hereby directed to refrain from participating in the "vigils" and from disseminating any propaganda related to the "Bayside apparitions." They are also discouraged from reading any such literature.

5. Anyone promoting this devotion in any way, be it by participating in the "vigils," organizing pilgrimages, publishing or disseminating the literature related to it, is contributing to the confusion which is being created in the faith of God's people, as well as encouraging them to act against the determinations made by the legitimate pastor of this particular Church (c.212, para. 1).

It remains my constant hope that all the faithful spend their time and energies in promoting devotion to our Blessed Lady, in the many forms which have been approved by the Catholic Church.

+Bishop Francis Mugavero
Bishop of Brooklyn

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Right Honourable The Earl Russell, OM, FRS

a.k.a. Bertrand Russell, descendant of Thor.

Frank Swinnerton in The Georgian Scene:
Bertrand Russell belongs to one of the oldest aristocratic families in England, which I learn has been traced back as far as the God Thor. His grandfather, the first Earl Russell, was third son of the sixth Duke of Bedford, and Bertrand Russell himself, although it would be unbecoming in him, as a Communist, to use the title, is the third Earl.
Here's the general article on the Earls.  The image at left is of Mårten Eskil Winge's painting Thor's Battle Against the Ettins.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010