RE: Holy See Denounces Misuse of Protection Principle
Thank you for posting this important message: that war is a failure of humanity. The end never justifies the means. We must always do all we can to protect Christ, who comes to us in the human person, irrespective of country or creed. May God bless you for standing in the truth.
RE: Adam and Eve make a stand in California
Angelo, while I generally agree with your post, one of your statements seems to contradict the earlier part of your message: "However, I don’t doubt that on a subjective level homosexual acts are able to express feelings of real love. I have friends who are gay, and as far as I’m concerned, a gay person can be a saint (small “s")." If we accept the Church's teaching that homosexual acts are objectively disordered, then they are not able to express real feelings of real love. So what do they express, then? Can their expression, at a subjective level be properly termed "love?" If a scientific survey of cultural narratives overwhelmingly finds heterosexual romance as the human norm, then perhaps we need to take a step back and look at our times within the larger perspective of history. 100, 200 or even 500 years later, our era will be just another "period" with its own errors and advances. Secondly, your statement "As far as I'm concerned, a gay person can be a saint" follows from your remarks about your belief that homosexual acts can express real feelings of love. Are you saying that a person engaging in homosexual acts can be a saint? Or are you saying that a person with a homosexual orientation can be a saint? While holiness belongs to Christ, and it is his to bestow, are not genital expressions of sexuality outside of marriage a kind of refusal to participate in Christ's holiness?
RE: On The Road Through Nothingness
Much has been written about how monasticism preserved academic knowledge and the integrity of Western culture through the Middle Ages. I have been feeling for some time that we are seeing the twilight of a Western culture. The present time is often referred to as the post-Christian era. Christian faith is no longer animating culture on a widespread level. And yet, communities like these are growing. The Holy Spirit is raising them up to radiate what it means to be Christian to a spiritually starved secularized culture. If we emerge renewed from this dark age, it may be through the influence of small Christian communities and their witness of a simple Christian life. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more, for the light has shone in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
RE: They’ll Believe in Anything: Study says atheists are more irrational
This affirms the incarnation - that Truth took flesh and dwelt among us and spoke to us in our language to reveal the deepest mysteries of God and the universe to humankind. The Gospel is deceptively simple, and real truth tends always to the greatest simplicity. This is why most Christians aren't looking to superstition for answers to life's questions. We've had all these answers in Christ for 2000 years. No faith = no unifying thread in life, no meaning, no moral compass to keep us pointed straight and true, and prevent us from falling prey to whimsical philosophies and superstitions.
RE: The Ugly Truth
Interesting parallel here with the dark night of the soul. Might this play embody the angst of post-Christian Western culture, whose rootedness in God is now obfuscated by obsession with the empty promises of materialism? Without the light and i-Thou relationship of faith, artistic musing on life all too easily becomes a nihilistic lament, much like that of Qoheleth, the Philosopher of Ecclesiastes: "Vanity, vanity; all is vanity..." The author insightfully notes: "Contemporary art, like Cotard’s decades-long project, is obsessively self-referential, continually asking, “who am I”? The answer to that question, without reference to Goodness or Beauty, is indeed an ugly Truth." Perhaps like Mother Teresa in the depths of her own dark night, we need to collectively taste the bitter finite emptiness of our obsessive self-reference, in order that we might once again open ourselves to Truth whose beauty can provide us with a reference point outside, yet deep within our being - that we are unconditionally loved by Love.
RE: The Global Crisis: Lessons from the Middle Ages
I've enjoyed the article with ensuing meaty debate, and would like to offer a perspective that perhaps will further the conversation. It strikes me that the disintegration of family, commonplace usury and excessive consumption are the effects of secularism. Each seems to me the logical consequence of a culture that is no longer animated by faith in a transcendent God and objective moral order. Romano Guardini and Thomas Merton saw this coming, and warned Europe and America these would be the consequences of unbridled materialism. Having abandoned their faith roots, Western and globalized secular culture (in my view) will continue to self-destruct. Like houses built on sand, our spiritually-gutted cultural frameworks are crumbling before our eyes. This may be necessary. It is just hard to watch, especially when I see my children struggling as young adults in this milieu. I too believe that family, just use of money and stewardship (i.e., as in oeconomia) will need to be retrieved and safeguarded as we rebuild. But first, we will have to rediscover the role of faith in our lives as individuals, communities, societies, ethnicities, nations and even as a human family. My own feeling is that successful re-integration of the best in ages past we will require embracing the post-Pentecost Eucharistic community's vision of dynamic membership in a living body of believers. Here, all are gifted and called to serve; all have a place - even the sick, whose gift is to call forth our living witness of the Gospel. A pessimist might say, "The party's over. Last one to leave turns out the lights." But hope is part of who we are as Christians. Like Nehemiah, we will have the chance to rebuild, taking what is best in our past, anchoring ourselves in faith, moving forward together as a living body into the future.
RE: Anglican bishops decry the 'new creed' of extreme capitalism
Pope John Paul II made it clear in his 1983 encyclical, On Concern for the Social Order (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis) that aggressive captialism and communism are evil. I think both systems have run their course, and have proven their inability to serve the common good, especially where it counts most - with the poorest and suffering among us. The Eucharistic community of the Acts of the Apostles, Chapters 2-6 clearly places this latter group (poor, widows, orphans) and their needs at the heart of its mission. Both capitalism and communism move toward monopoly and exclusion. We must find a new way of being community that makes the least among us our first priority. In them we encounter what JPII called a "special presence of Christ." (Novo Millennio Ineunte)