Saturday, October 05, 2002

"Covenantal Salvation" Dept.
(Some Prologue Principles In Brief Part II)

Part I is viewable HERE. In this section more from the Instruction that is applicable to this situation would be the following parts:

The willingness to submit loyally to the teaching of the Magisterium on matters per se not irreformable must be the rule. It can happen, however, that a theologian may, according to the case, raise questions regarding the timeliness, the form, or even the contents of magisterial interventions. Here the theologian will need, first of all, to assess accurately the authoritativeness of the interventions which becomes clear from the nature of the documents, the insistence with which a teaching is repeated, and the very way in which it is expressed.(Lumen gentium §25)

When it comes to the question of interventions in the prudential order, it could happen that some Magisterial documents might not be free from all deficiencies. Bishops and their advisors have not always taken into immediate consideration every aspect or the entire complexity of a question. But it would be contrary to the truth, if, proceeding from some particular cases, one were to conclude that the Church's Magisterium can be habitually mistaken in its prudential judgments, or that it does not enjoy divine assistance in the integral exercise of its mission. In fact, the theologian, who cannot pursue his discipline well without a certain competence in history, is aware of the filtering which occurs with the passage of time. This is not to be understood in the sense of a relativization of the tenets of the faith. The theologian knows that some judgments of the Magisterium could be justified at the time in which they were made, because while the pronouncements contained true assertions and others which were not sure, both types were inextricably connected. Only time has permitted discernment and, after deeper study, the attainment of true doctrinal progress.

25. Even when collaboration takes place under the best conditions, the possibility cannot be excluded that tensions may arise between the theologian and the Magisterium. The meaning attributed to such tensions and the spirit with which they are faced are not matters of indifference. If tensions do not spring from hostile and contrary feelings, they can become a dynamic factor, a stimulus to both the Magisterium and theologians to fulfill their respective roles while practicing dialogue.

26. In the dialogue, a two-fold rule should prevail. When there is a question of the communion of faith, the principle of the "unity of truth" (unitas veritatis) applies. When it is a question of differences which do not jeopardize this communion, the "unity of charity" (unitas caritatis) should be safeguarded.

27. Even if the doctrine of the faith is not in question, the theologian will not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion (cf. Rom 14:1-15; 1 Cor 8; 10: 23-33 ) . For the same reasons, the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression to them.

There is unfortunately some "Catholic apologists" or groups which claim to be "dedicated to the teachings of Jesus Christ" and "faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church" who are in reality wolves in sheeps clothing. Unlike them, your humble servant follows the guidelines set down by the ecclesiastical hierarchy and does not transgress them. First and foremost is the defacto presumption that any teaching of the ordinary magisterium requires religious submission of mind and will (cf. Lumen gentium 25).

With that in mind, an examination of the subject of the covenants will take place and hopefully clear up some of the many confusions that have come to my attention in recent months. But as I noted to friends and associates, this series will be one done as I am in the mood to do it; hence days or even a week could go be at times between sections. But as I will link to each preceding section as I go, the threads can be followed in that fashion so fear not :)

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"Covenantal Salvation" Dept.
(Some Prologue Principles In Brief Part I)

As I am going to delve into an area where there is no small amount of confusion in the coming weeks, it would be of assistance to know from where I am coming from. First, it is important to separate me from those liars who pose as faithful Catholics (some hypothetical examples of which I will note at some point in the future). Unlike them I am an amateur theologian who is faithful to the Church. Click on the following link to read My Profession of Faith on this matter.

As for what principles I follow in my theological speculations, they are well summed up in the authoritative Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the authority of the Supreme Pontiff. A few of the points that are relevant will be covered here starting with a passage from the preface:

Theology has importance for the Church in every age so that it can respond to the plan of God "who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4). In times of great spiritual and cultural change, theology is all the more important. Yet it also is exposed to risks since it must strive to "abide" in the truth (cf. Jn 8:31), while at the same time taking into account the new problems which confront the human spirit. In our century, in particular, during the periods of preparation for and implementation of the Second Vatican Council, theology contributed much to a deeper "understanding of the realities and the words handed on". But it also experienced and continues to experience moments of crisis and tension.

The entire subject of the relationship of the covenants is one where there is some of this tension as noted above.

To be continued...

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Your humble servant is working out a few hypothetical examples of wolves in sheeps clothing. It should be available tomorrow if not in the coming week for reading (it still needs a bit of fine tuning if you will).

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Excerpts from Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman's Sermon "Faith and Private Judgment":

[F]aith is a state of mind, it is a particular mode of thinking and acting, which is exercised, always indeed towards God, but in very various ways...As a man might be without eyes or without hands, so [most] are without faith; it is a distinct want or fault in their soul; and what I say is, that since they have not this faculty of religious belief, no wonder they do not embrace that, which cannot really be embraced without it. They do not believe any teaching at all in any true sense; and therefore they do not believe the Church in particular.

Now, in the first place, what is faith? it is assenting to a doctrine as true, which we do not see, which we cannot prove, because God says it is true, who cannot lie. And further than this, since God says it is true, not with His own voice, but by the voice of His messengers, it is assenting to what man says, not simply viewed as a man, but to what he is commissioned to declare, as a messenger, prophet, or ambassador from God...

Now, in matter of fact, do not men in this day change about in their religious opinions without any limit? Is not this, then, a proof that they have not that faith which the Apostles demanded of their converts? If they had faith, they would not change. Once believe that God has spoken, and you are sure He cannot unsay what He has already said; He cannot deceive; He cannot change; you have received it once for all; you will believe it ever.

Such is the only rational, consistent account of faith; but so far are [true unbelievers] from professing it, that they laugh at the very notion of it. They laugh at the notion itself of men pinning their faith (as they express themselves) upon Pope or Council; they think it simply superstitious and narrow-minded, to profess to believe just what the Church believes, and to assent to whatever she will say in time to come on matters of doctrine. That is, they laugh at the bare notion of doing what Christians undeniably did in the time of the Apostles. Observe, they do not merely ask whether the Catholic Church has a claim to teach, has authority, has the gifts;—this is a reasonable question;—no, they think that the very state of mind which such a claim involves in those who admit it, namely, the disposition to accept without reserve or question, that this is slavish. They call it priestcraft to insist on this surrender of the reason, and superstition to make it. That is, they quarrel with the very state of mind which all Christians had in the age of the Apostles; nor is there any doubt (who will deny it?) that those who thus boast of not being led blindfold, of judging for themselves, of believing just as much and just as little as they please, of hating dictation, and so forth, would have found it an extreme difficulty to hang on the lips of the Apostles, had they lived at their date, or rather would have simply resisted the sacrifice of their own liberty of thought, would have thought life eternal too dearly purchased at such a price, and would have died in their unbelief.

And they would have defended themselves on the plea that it was absurd and childish to ask them to believe without proof, to bid them give up their education, and their intelligence, and their science, and in spite of all those difficulties which reason and sense find in the Christian doctrine, in spite of its mysteriousness, its obscurity, its strangeness, its unacceptableness, its severity, to require them to surrender themselves to the teaching of a few unlettered Galilæans, or a learned indeed but fanatical Pharisee. This is what they would have said then; and if so, is it wonderful they do not become [or remain] Catholics now? The simple account of their remaining as they are, is, that they lack one thing,—they have not faith; it is a state of mind, it is a virtue, which they do not recognise to be praiseworthy, which they do not aim at possessing...

Has faith changed its meaning, or is it less necessary now? Is it not still what it was in the Apostles' day, the very characteristic of Christianity, the special instrument of renovation, the first disposition for justification, one out of the three theological virtues? God might have renewed us by other means, by sight, by reason, by love, but He has chosen to "purify our hearts by faith"; it has been His will to select an instrument which the world despises, but which is of immense power. He preferred it, in His infinite wisdom, to every other; and if men have it not, they have not the very element and rudiment, out of which are formed, on which are built, the Saints and Servants of God. And they have it not; they are living, they are dying, without the hopes, without the aids of the Gospel, because, in spite of so much that is good in them, in spite of their sense of duty, their tenderness of conscience on many points, their benevolence, their uprightness, their generosity, they are under the dominion (I must say it) of a proud fiend; they have this stout spirit within them, they determine to be their own masters in matters of thought, about which they know so little; they consider their own reason better than any one's else; they will not admit that any one comes from God who contradicts their own view of truth. What! is none their equal in wisdom anywhere? is there none other whose word is to be taken on religion? is there none to wrest from them their ultimate appeal to themselves? Have they in no possible way the occasion or opportunity of faith? Is it a virtue, which, in consequence of their transcendent sagacity, their prerogative of omniscience, they must give up hope of exercising? If the pretensions of the Catholic Church do not satisfy them, let them go somewhere else, if they can. If they are so fastidious that they cannot trust her as the oracle of God, let them find another more certainly from Him than the House of His own institution, which has ever been called by His name, has ever maintained the same claims, has ever taught one substance of doctrine, and has triumphed over those who preached any other. Since Apostolic faith was in the beginning reliance on man's word, as being God's word, since what faith was then such it is now, since faith is necessary for salvation, let them attempt to exercise it towards another, if they will not accept the Bride of the Lamb. Let them, if they can, put faith in some of those religions which have lasted a whole two or three centuries in a corner of the earth. Let them stake their eternal prospects on kings and nobles and parliaments and soldiery, let them take some mere fiction of the law, or abortion of the schools, or idol of a populace, or upstart of a crisis, or oracle of lecture-rooms, as the prophet of God. Alas! they are hardly bestead if they must possess a virtue, which they have no means of exercising,—if they must make an act of faith, they know not on whom, and know not why!...

You look up, and you see, as it were, a great mountain to be scaled; you say, "How can I possibly find a path over these giant obstacles, which I find in the way of my becoming Catholic? I do not comprehend this doctrine, and I am pained at that; a third seems impossible; I never can be familiar with one practice, I am afraid of another; it is one maze and discomfort to me, and I am led to sink down in despair." Say not so, my dear brethren, look up in hope, trust in Him who calls you forward. "Who art thou, O great mountain, before Zorobabel? but a plain." He will lead you forward step by step, as He has led forward many a one before you. He will make the crooked straight and the rough plain. He will turn the streams, and dry up the rivers, which lie in your path. "He shall strengthen your feet like harts' feet, and set you up on high places. He shall widen your steps under you, and your tread shall not be weakened." "There is no God like the God of the righteous; He that mounts the heaven is thy Helper; by His mighty working the clouds disperse. His dwelling is above, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He shall cast out the enemy from before thee, and shall say, Crumble away." "The young shall faint, and youths shall fall; but they that hope in the Lord shall be new-fledged in strength, they shall take feathers like eagles, they shall run and not labour, they shall walk and not faint." [Faith and Private Judgment excerpts (c. 1849)]


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Friday, October 04, 2002

Spiritual Instruction on Zeal (Part II):

This is a continuation and completion of a meditation on zeal. The first part can be read HERE and is recommended before proceeding to this part. Also recommended is waiting a day after reading part one before reading part two - or at least until tomorrow which is basically ten hours away if you are PST as those of us on the left coast are. Mull those reflections over carefully and do not wolf them down - lest their value be wasted.

9. "If your zeal is bitter", says St. James, "it is not wisdom descending from on high, but earthly, sensual, diabolical". (James III, 14-15.) These words of an Apostle should furnish matter of reflection for those persons who, whilst making profession of piety, are so prone to irritability, so harsh and rude in their manner and language, that they might be taken for angels in church and for demons elsewhere.

10. The value and utility of zeal are in proportion to its tolerance and amiability. True zeal is the offspring of charity; it should then, resemble its mother and show itself like to her in all things. "Charity", says St. Paul, "is patient, is kind, is not ambitious, and seeks not her own." (1 Cor. XIII, 4-5.)

You should not only be devout and love devotion, but you ought to make your piety useful, agreeable, and charming to everybody. The sick will like your spirituality if they are lovingly consoled by it; your family, if they find that it makes you more thoughtful of their welfare, gentler in everyday affairs, more amiable in reproving, and so on; your husband, if he sees that in proportion as your devotion increases you become more cordial and tender in your affection for him; your relations and your friends, if they find you more forebearing and ready to comply with their wishes, should these not be contrary to God's will. Briefly, you must try as far as possible to make your devotion attractive to others; that is true zeal". - St. Francis de Sales.

11. Never allow your zeal to make you overeager to correct others, says the same Saint; and when you do it remember that the most important thing to consider is the choice of the moment. A caution deferred can be given another time: one given inopportunely is not only fruitless, but moreover paralyzes beforehand all the good that might have have subsequently been done.

12. Be zealous therefore, ardently zealous for the salvation of your neighbour, and to further make use of whatever means God has placed in your power; but do not exceed these limits nor disquiet yourself about the good you are unable to do, for God can accomplish it through others. In conclusion, zeal according to the teaching of the Fathers of the Church, should always have truth for its foundation, indulgence for its companion, mildness for its guide, prudence for its counsellor and director.

"I must look upon whatever presents itself each day to be done, in order that Divine Providence, as the work God wishes me to do, and apply myself in a manner worthy of Him, that is, with exactness and tranquillity. I shall neglect nothing, be anxious about nothing; as it is dangerous to do God's work negligently or to appropriate it to one's self through self-love and false zeal. When our actions are prompted by our inclinations,we do them badly and are pretentious, restless, and anxious to succeed. The glory of God is the pretext that hides the illusion. Self-love disguised as zeal grieves and frets if it cannot succeed. Oh my God! give me the grace to be faithful in action, indifferent to success. My part is to will what Thou willest and to keep myself recollected in Thee amidst all my occupations: Thine is to give to my feeble efforts such fruit as shall please Thee - none if Thou so wishest." - Fenelon. [Fr. R. P. Quadrupini: excerpts from his spiritual instruction "Light and Peace - Instructions for Devout Souls" pgs. 158-161 (c. 1795)]

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Kevin Miller gives a very good summary of the Church's teaching HERE. I am in virtually complete agreement with his take on the subject except the following:

Thus the traditional teaching that capital punishment is not murder and can be acceptable has not been altered - although, it is doubtful that this traditional teaching has been infallibly taught, so it probably could be altered by a pope.

If capital punishment were murder then the Church in giving explicit and tacit approval over the centuries would have been endorsing murder. And it is difficult to see HaShem contradicting Himself at Sinai telling Moshe that one of the commandments was "thou shalt not kill" and then having numerous penalties in the Law which had a prescription for the perpetrator being killed for offending those prescriptions. One would almost have to go the route of the Reformed "suspension of the ethical", Marcion's "dimuirge" theology, or some other notion that is either heretical or blatantly contradictory to sustain this notion.

Murder is unlawful killing. There is also the element of Christian teaching that makes it unlawful for people to deliberately harm themselves. This is where the teaching of self-defense comes into play: the person is obligated to defend themselves even to the extent of taking the life of an aggressor against them. However, at the same time the latter is only morally permissible when it is unavoidable if you will. For example, if you and I were fighting and all that was needed to defend myself adequately was to knock you out or disable you by breaking a knee (or apply a crossface chickenwing sleeper to neutralize your attack), I would be out of line to go any further then that. The same principle applies with the death penalty.

I find it interesting that many of the same people who are opposed to the pope's current reflections on the matter do not seem opposed to the execution of public heretics or rebellious schismatics by the state. Why I ask them is spiritual murder acceptable whereas physical murder is not??? What is worse, the killing of the body or the killing of the soul???

The pope was basing his position within the context of a society that is shorn of its Christian principles. I have said it before and I say it again: the Church is in practically the same situation as she was pre-Constantine when Christians were viewed as traitors to the state. The sword today is wielded most times by governments who do not govern according to Christian principles. Do we want them deciding on a whim who is and is not a "danger to the state"??? What principles can we possibly use to argue our case in todays climate except the logical application of the principle of self-defense being the only morally permissible form of taking a life and extending it to the criminal justice system???

If we look at history we will see that the Church was not a supporter of the death penalty pre-Constantine. (Because to do so was to slit their own throats.) Prior to Our Lord's time the Sanhedrin were very hesitant to execute anyone and had numerous out clauses if you will. The Mishnah itself notes that "A Sanhedrin that carries out the death penalty once in seven years is a murderous tribunal. Rabbi Eliezar ben Azariah says: "Once in seventy years." Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva say: "Had we been members of the Sanhedrin, no one would ever have received the death penalty." Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel says: "They would indeed have multiplied those who shed blood in Israel."[Mishnah Makkot 1:10] More on this subject can be found HERE.

The Catechism of Trent speaks amonst the "lawful" exceptions to the principle rule Thou shalt not kill as the execution of criminals in the following words (key emphasis is mine): Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment– is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord. [Roman Catechism: Instruction on the Fifth Commandment]

So if the Church recognizes the licity of judicious use of the death penalty (which by its very implication means rare) and states that the end of this is preservation of life, then if the end can be achieved in other ways that do not involve the taking of life, that is the route we must tend to. In short, Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Evangelium vitae, points to the fact that we have many ways to protect society from offenders. Because of this, he states forcefully that the traditional Catholic principle that bloodless means whenever possible are to be utilized is to be retained. Whatever arguments we want to make about the application of this teaching, they must proceed from the principle of what is necessary to achieve the end that the death penalty historically has been used for: preservation of life.

"All things are lawful but not all things are expedient. All things are lawful, but not all things edify" sayeth the Apostle (i Cor. x,22-23). The same is the case with the death penalty in the vast majority of cases where it may apply from a theoretical standpoint. And while the pope has not set any strict schedule in stone on how this principle is to be carried out, there is a moral duty to inform oneself and to act accordingly. Kevin goes over this quite well in his link above, the part I addressed above being my only real objections to what he has said on the matter.

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Thursday, October 03, 2002

Some stuff I posted earlier today at the Catholic Converts Board on the Councils of Basle (in case you are interested):

Part I

Part II

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"I have to say, the New Jersey Senate situation is enough to make a drunken cynic out of the likes of Mother Teresa".

So says Bryan Preston of The JunkYard Blog. Hard to argue with that assessment my friends, in the words of James Hetfield "sad but true".

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"Bastiat's Corner" Dept.

You can follow this series and read the introductory comments by your humble host and Walt Williams through this link. (Highly recommended for proper understanding of what we are seeking to do here at Rerum Novarum.) I have no idea how many sections of this I may run. Nonetheless here is the inaugural installment of the series. (This work was first published back in 1850 btw.)

The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!

If this is true, it is a serious fact, and moral duty requires me to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to it.

Life Is a Gift from God

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life -- physical, intellectual, and moral life.

But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.

Life, faculties, production--in other words, individuality, liberty, property -- this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.

Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

What Is Law?

What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

Each of us has a natural right--from God--to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?

If every person has the right to defend -- even by force -- his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right -- its reason for existing, its lawfulness -- is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force -- for the same reason -- cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.

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"NostraShawnus" Dept.

Though they have not archived it yet, when they do you will see that journalist/diva Michelle Malkin's latest column will be located HERE. Check back in a day or so and see if I am not correct.

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Before I get onto blogging today's stuff, the following is a link to some more about Bipolar Disorder courtesy of Lisa Graas:

Miswired Minds

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Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Bipolar Disorder is No Laughing Matter:
(Guest Editorial by Lisa Graas)

Before running the editorial I will simply note here that completion of the zeal meditation series will be delayed until tomorrow. As for Bastiat's corner, I may run a section today but if not I will give a double dosage tomorrow. Right now I am strongly inclined to let this entry finish off Rerum Novarum's entries for the night. Once you read it you will see why I say this.

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It would seem that a lot of people became rather upset by the comments I made on my blog about "Catholic Bipolar Disorder" as diagnosed by Dr. Greg Popcak. Even my closest friend (a Popcak fan) didn't "get it" when I became upset about it. I am confident that everyone who is open-minded, somewhat intelligent and compassionate may be able to see if they will only hear me out.

There are some key components to the problem which, if ANY ONE of them had not been present, I would NEVER have gotten so upset. (1) Dr. Popcak is a professional in the field of psychology; (2) Dr. Popcak is widely read; (3) the term "bipolar disorder" was used rather than a general reference using the word "bipolar" which is a word that can apply to many things; (4) Bipolar disorder is widely misunderstood (and I do not know of any work that Popcak has done to dispel the myths about bipolar disorder); and finally (5) twenty percent of bipolars commit suicide and this is largely due to the combination of the illness itself and the lack of support (misunderstanding) we receive from family, friends, the culture and the medical community. My doctor is wonderful. Many are not. Please note that before this happened, I had never read anything by Popcak but I respected him because of things I have heard about him from other Catholics.

Bipolar Disorder used to be termed "manic-depression". Due to the fact that the vast majority of people misunderstand the illness, a stigma became attached to it. Therefore, the name was changed to "bipolar disorder". Well, guess what. It is still misunderstood and there is now a stigma attached to it, and so now they are thinking of changing the name to "Van Gogh's disease" since the painter Vincent Van Gogh suffered from it. (If you'll remember from the old Don McLean song, he committed suicide. "Starry starry night..." and all that.) Since I mentioned Van Gogh, I can mention the GOOD PART about having bipolar disorder. Bipolars are generally (not always, but generally) more intelligent and more creative than the average person. I have consistently scored very high on I.Q. tests since I was a child and that does not go away when I take medication to deal with the bad stuff, thanks be to God. While only 1% of the population is bipolar, the percentage of bipolars in the community of famous creative and inventive people is much much higher. Bipolars have contributed much to the world. Even so, the name keeps changing because no one cares enough about people with this disorder to take the time to learn about it. Misunderstanding leads to abuse and rejection from the people you love which, in turn, leads to suicide.

Misunderstanding is a very important topic when it comes to discussing this disorder, because it is the worst part of having the disorder. When you have an illness that makes you think you are not loved, it doesn't help to have people abuse you by saying you are not really sick and should "lighten up" or "get off your butt".

Bipolar disorder is genetically inherited. There are at least four people in my extended family who have this and none of them are people I was exposed to when I was growing up. I was not "influenced" by family members who have it. They have the gene and I have the gene. It's as simple as that. It is caused by an inability of the brain to "uptake/re-uptake" certain chemicals in the brain that affect mood and other things in the body.

I do not care to go into all the symptoms of bipolar disorder when this is so easily found out in many places on the internet. If you would like an explanation of bipolar disorder that is interesting, informative and written in laymen's terms, please see The Mercurial Mind, a website that is noted as one of the best sites for educating the average person about this illness. My symptoms are somewhat like what you will find on The Mercurial Mind site, however some of my symptoms are different and more severe. I believe the woman who testifies on the site has been diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder which is a milder form of the illness. My diagnosis is Severe Mixed Episode Bipolar I Disorder with Mood-Congruent Psychosis. That is not just something I got out of a textbook. It is what I live on a daily basis. It is the name that the medical community has given to the hell that I have lived for much of life.

Thankfully, I have mood-congruent psychosis rather than mood-incongruent psychosis. With the latter, you begin to think that the federal government is sending helicopters to your house to take you away and things like that. When people who have this illness, and certain other chemical problems in the brain, believe such things, it is not their fault. You wouldn't blame someone dying of cancer who hallucinates, and yet you (some of you) will say that bipolars "just want attention". It is the disorder that is to blame and not the person. Unfortunately, the person does get blamed most of the time. As my husband has told me, "If you had a broken arm or something it would be different because I can see that. I can't see this because it's in your head." It is also difficult for people to understand how it is that you cannot control your behavior when it is "in your head". Psychosis means that you lose touch with reality and believe things that are not so. It has nothing to do with willpower. Some bipolars have described it this way, and I would agree. "It is as though you are sitting back and watching yourself do things that you don't want to do, but you have no control over it." Sometimes I do things and then, two days later, I look back on it and realize that I was not in my right mind. Then I have to go back and repair the damage that I did even though I was completely insane when I did it.

I have pressured speech. When I am doing the laundry, I might shout out, "Damn you, Lisa!!!" Usually, that's what I say. "Damn you, Lisa!!" It comes out of nowhere. I have NO control over it. Lots of people blurt out things they don't mean to say. This is not like that. I have even thought at one point that I might be possessed by a demon. It is like another entity has taken over my body and speaks "Damn you, Lisa!!!" It is frightening. Very frightening. I never knew with certainty what it was until I learned about bipolar disorder.

I have violent jerking of the body -- sometimes my arm, sometimes my leg, sometimes my whole body at once. This is another thing that made me wonder if I might be possessed. Now that I am on Lithium, my body no longer jerks but I have tremors that are sometimes so widespread in my body that my body actually vibrates. I feel like a LazyBoy recliner, especially when my toddler sits on my lap. She likes the fact that mommy vibrates. I do not.

Most people who are bipolar swing between mania and depression. Some cycle rapidly (swinging from month to month). Some are ultra rapid cyclers, swinging from week to week. Some are "ultra ultra" rapid cyclers, swinging day to day. I am "mixed episode". I have symptoms of mania and depression simultaneously throughout the day, every day, without a vacation ever. I have extreme fatigue ( a symptom of depression ) but also body jerking ( a symptom of mania ). I have an inability to concentrate (depression) but floods of ideas (mania). I am sometimes irritable and can be downright demonic at times. It's not my fault. When I say it's not my fault, people grumble. They think I'm lying. They think it's a cop-out, as if I actually ENJOY living in this hell. I will never understand it as long as I live, but I trust that it is for a reason that I have this, so that God may be glorified in some way, and for that, I am grateful that I have it.

Speaking only for myself, I am happy to be misunderstood. I am grateful for the opportunity to suffer in the abyss of loneliness which comes with depression and then to have others pile more pain of loneliness onto it as they reject me. Mother Teresa said that there is no greater pain than the pain of loneliness, but you see, it is in suffering that we are brought closer to God, and since my pain is often that of loneliness, I can rest in His closeness to me because He gives back to me much more than I have ever lost, and I know more bliss than any of those who may persecute me, so I truly feel sorry for the ones who misunderstand and persecute. I do. It is a great source of sadness to me to see people persecuting others, however, because I know they (the persecutors) are missing out on this gladness that I have found in the arms of God and they are also piling pressure to commit suicide upon those who know neither understanding nor God, hence more suicide. They don't commit suicide because they don't want to live. They want to live. They commit suicide to end the pain.

It is not my pain that I cry out for. It is the pain of those VERY VERY MANY bipolars who do not have God in their lives. Many don't even come close to knowing the Catholic faith and the hope that we have in our suffering, and even if they did have their Catholic faith, it is very difficult to progress on the path of holiness when your willpower is so damaged by disease, you know? It is for those that I cry out. Misunderstanding does not hurt me personally because I know that it brings me closer to my Lord, but when you pile misunderstanding onto those suffering souls who know not God, you are adding to that pile of bodies -- that 20% of people with bipolar disorder who commit suicide. I do not go to bipolar discussion forums because when 20% of your friends kill themselves it gets rather old, especially since you know that many of them would never have done it if only people had loved them enough to understand the illness and to make sure that others understand it, as well.

Thanks for hearing me out.

In the Love of Christ,
Lisa

#######

Lisa can be emailed at the following addresses:

thelighthousecatholic@yahoo.com

graas6@netscape.net

administrator@grantuspeace.com

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"Ground Control to Major Graas" Dept.

We here at Wonderfullll Winoooo...er...um I mean Rerum Novarum have good news to report at this hour. Your humble servant *has* made contact with Lisa Graas of Lisa's Lighthouse and she has expressed interest in doing the requested guest editorial on Bipolar Disorder. So you have that to look forward to dear readers. I may even throw in an edition of Bastiat's Corner and finish the zeal meditation tonight to really round things off nicely. But you will not know without tuning in now will you??? ;-)

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While checking in with Bryan Preston and the JunkYard Blog yesterday evening before bedtime, the usual plethora of good subjects was there. Here are three good pieces on a variety of topics:

The Monarchist Democrats

Do Some Democrats Want Nuclear War?

Civil War Commentary

Being a history buff, I particularly like the Civil War piece and Mr. Preston's commentary is spot-on as usual.

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"Wheel of Fish" Dept. (Take II)

[Update: As I am currently undergoing bit by bit (as time allows for it) the formatting of the lions share of the blogs on this weblog with labels for easier categorization, I remembered that this one was a duplicate posting due to the picture which was broken in the first posting. As that link was fixed with a new one showing a variation of the original picture, this duplicate posting will be left in the archives for preserving history as it happened but not tagged with anything. -ISM]

{Ed. Note: Adding the picture was a bad idea not only because the icon is broken but it makes editing the post impossible. So let us try this again...everyone quiet on the set please...5...4...3...2...1...action!!!...}

Courtesy of John Betts I came across a Philosophy Test. The results can be added to other tests I have taken which are available HERE and HERE.

It is called the "Ethical Philosophical Selector". According to the test after it is taken a list will be generated and "the list orders the philosophers/philosophies according to their compatibility with your expressed opinions on ethics". Here are my results prefaced by the explanation:

The list below is modified by your input. The results are scored on a curve. The highest score,100, represents the closest philosophical match to your reponses. This is not to say that you and the philosopher are in total agreement. However this is a philosophy that you may want to study further.

1. Augustine (100%)
2. Aquinas (95%)
3. Kant (82%)
4. Ockham (80%)
5. Bentham (73%)
6. Spinoza (69%)
7. Mill (58%)
8. Noddings (58%)
9. Prescriptivism (57%)
10. Aristotle (56%)
11. Sartre (55%)
12. Plato (48%)
13. Hume (40%)
14. Stoics (40%)
15. Rand (38%)
16. Nietzsche (35%)
17. Cynics (32%)
18. Epicureans (32%)
19. Hobbes (0%)


My scores were in some ways predicable to me viz the philosophers who had the highest matches but there were some surprises too. I have no idea how Noddings made my top ten - I hope that is not indicative of an underlying Alan Alda element. As for the rest it is a mixed bag but two notes on the matter in brief:

1) I am happy that Hobbes, the Epicureans, the Cynics, Neitzsche, Rand, and the Stoics scored near the bottom.

2) I am just as happy that Aquinas, Augustine, and Kant scored at the top.

Hopefully these results mean that for the most part I am doing something right.

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"Wheel of Fish" Dept.

The list below is modified by your input. The results are scored on a curve. The highest score,100, represents the closest philosophical match to your reponses. This is not to say that you and the philosopher are in total agreement. However this is a philosophy that you may want to study further.

1. Augustine (100%)
2. Aquinas (95%)
3. Kant (82%)
4. Ockham (80%)
5. Bentham (73%)
6. Spinoza (69%)
7. Mill (58%)
8. Noddings (58%)
9. Prescriptivism (57%)
10. Aristotle (56%)
11. Sartre (55%)
12. Plato (48%)
13. Hume (40%)
14. Stoics (40%)
15. Rand (38%)
16. Nietzsche (35%)
17. Cynics (32%)
18. Epicureans (32%)
19. Hobbes (0%)


My scores were in some ways predicable to me viz the philosophers who had the highest matches but there were some surprises too. I have no idea how Noddings made my top ten - I hope that is not indicative of an underlying Alan Alda element. As for the rest it is a mixed bag but two notes on the matter in brief:

1) I am happy that Hobbes, the Epicureans, the Cynics, Neitzsche, Rand, and the Stoics scored near the bottom.

2) I am just as happy that Aquinas, Augustine, and Kant scored at the top.

Hopefully these results mean that for the most part I am doing something right.

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Tuesday, October 01, 2002

"Bastiat's Corner" Dept.

A Prologue of sorts to this series can be read HERE.

Before I start the series I want to put forward parts of the Introduction to my printed work. It was written by Walter E. Williams - a commentator whom I have respected for a good many years. Like me he saw - and sees - perennial value in this work and in that light some of his comments are as follows:

I must have been forty years old before reading Frederic Bastiat's classic The Law. ... After reading the book I was convinced that a liberal-arts education without Bastiat is incomplete. Reading Bastiat made me keenly aware of all the time wasted, along with the frustrations of going down one blind alley after another, organizing my philosophy of life. The Law did not produce a philosophical conversion for me as much as it created order in my thinking about liberty and just human conduct...

This series will be added to from time to time as I see fit to do it. With elections coming up, I think the time to influence some voters is in order. (In light of the 2000 Presidents contest, every mind properly formed may be vital in 2002.) Your humble blog host intends to do his part, however small, to do just that.

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"You Don't Know How It Feels ... To Be Me" Dept.

I noticed that Lisa Graas now has a weblog. (Courtesy of Kevin Miller's "De Virutibus" BLOG.) As she mentions being a Tom Petty fan I have chosen a lyric from Tom that seems pretty fitting for this circumstance. For you see, Lisa seems rather annoyed at Greg Popcak, the very Greg Popcak whom I stated late last night that I was going to quote on this humble blog today. (Though not on the subject that she talks about.)

Now I have to confess that I do not know very much about Lisa's predicament (Bipolar Disorder) but I am open to being further educated on the matter if she is so willing to enlighten your humble servant and his readers about this. Lisa, I give you a formal invitation to write an editorial for Rerum Novarum on this based both on what you have been told by doctors as well as what you personally have experienced with it. If you feel the need to go overlong in the piece I will run it as a two part series if need be.

Please consider this both a public service of sorts and also the opportunity to explain this situation apart from the Popcak incident and thus without the need to feel defensive. Education is often the cure for ignorance after all.

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Bastiat's Corner - A Prologue:

[With elections coming up I thought it was fitting to make this series more prominent at Rerum Novarum both for the sake of its timeless content as well as to highlight in spades what is wrong with the American political landscape where politicians of all sides to some extent pervert the law. Please read this series carefully, reflect upon its content, and make your voices heard at the ballot box while there is still a ballot box from which you can make yourself heard. (The series can be followed through Rerum Novarum's archives by clicking on the last line of this entry below and the last line of all entries in this series.) - I. Shawn McElhinney 10/24/02]

[Update: This is to check and see if Blogger will allow me to update text as links are for some reason not currently able to be fixed. If this works, I will post in the relevant archive sections where the links are bad as well as where to go to correct the problem. - ISM 3/03/03]

A feature I intend to inaugurate tomorrow is one titled "Bastiat's Corner". Frederic Bastiat was a French economist, statesman, and author. In his position as a Deputy to the Legislative Assembly he was there at the governing level when France went the way of socialism in the 1840's. He was also there "in the trenches" if you will explaining the fallacies of this noxious philosophy as they presented themselves one by one. No one cared to listen then, maybe if we reiterate those lessons now people would be more predisposed to listen.

We often hear today that "Communism is dead" and yet we see increasing socialism and have for a long time. In this light, the thesis of Mr. Bastiat (in essence that socialism must inevitably degenerate into a form of communism) becomes one which we should take seriously. I hope to put excerpts from his magnum opus "The Law" up from time to time at Rerum Novarum.

The first installment will go up tomorrow or so. I found in Bastiat a synthesis of my own views which makes this source appealing to me. (But then my political mentors Goldwater and Reagan were almost certainly not unaware of him.) Anyway, that is for tomorrow night and I will forgo the second part on zeal until then too. (As I am too tired to hand type it out at this time.) Tomorrow we will have Bastiat, Popcak, and the results of another test your humble blog host took earlier today. See you tomorrow ... same Bat time ... same Bat blog ...

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Monday, September 30, 2002

My friend Stephen Hand of TCR recently reminded me of an ancient practice that may be a possible compromise on the issue of women in the sanctuary as that has become more and more prevalent in the past thirty years:

Deaconesses

In essence what we have here is a clerical position for women within the Church akin to that of a subdeacon. In this light the issue of a female lector or cantor at mass takes on a new meaning in a sense. And perhaps when the magisterium rules definitively against the ordination of women to the diaconite, they can revive this ancient tradition within certain tightly circumscribed protocols. (For example, no sermons, no handling of incense during divine worship, no administration of the sacraments except on non Anointing of the Sick sick calls, etc.) Just an idea folks so kick it around and let me know what you think.

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Updates to Rerum Novarum and Public Notice of Guest Editorial Feature:

Many additions were made to Rerum Novarum this morning - most of which have been planned for about three weeks but kept getting delayed for various and sundry reasons. Unlike major media outlets the contents of this blog are not a result of intense focus group testing nor Zogby-like polling data mind you; Rerum Novarum does not function that way. (So those who wrote about adding comments boxes, nada as I do not have the time to police them and besides: most of those who inquired about the comments boxes are not the sorts I would long tolerate posting in comments boxes at my blog.) The reason I have the occasional "guest editorial" policy is to bridge the gap if you will in that regard.

With regards to the "Guest Editorial" feature at Rerum Novarum, those interested in doing a guest editorial can email me HERE about it with their ideas and we shall see. I need not agree with the position taken on an issue to run the editorial. But I do reserve the right to edit any offerings for space and other considerations though of course I would run it by the person before it is posted to Rerum Novarum. The reason is because their name will be posted with it and thus they need to give concurrence that it reasonably represents their view on an issue.

All of this is to anticipate in advance the kind of litigation crap that results from people who would claim to be "misrepresented". Remember, it does not get posted in whatever form it is posted without their approval. Also, I *do* save those confirmation of content emails just in case.

The Guest Editorial Feature is an infrequent one - averaging thus far about one every 10 days or so. I derive this calculation from the fact that I have only put up three of them thus far. (Math wizards who want to email me with precise ratios will have their emails put in the Virtual Shredder.) The three posted thus far were by (and about):

1) An editorial by Dr. Art Sippo on the USCCB document.

2) An editoral by Bill Bannon on September 11th in retrospect (from the eyes of a New Yorker).

3) An editorial by Stephen Hand of TCR on extending the Ecclesia Dei Indult.

Initially the feature was derived from certain friends who had written on a subject which interested me (as in Art and Stephen's case: Stephen's was initially going to be the second editorial used). But when I put out a motu proprio on September 11th to some friends who live in New York area - asking if any of them wanted to write an editorial on the subject - one of them responded with a piece on the issue which received my magisterial approval and was immediately posted.

So while there is little precedent to go from thus far, it is safe to say that I usually want these editorials to be driven by events either secular or religious as they happen. (Not that it *has* to be but I want it to generally apply in that way though of course extraordinary situations will be considered.) So if one keeps that in mind it is helpful as I am making the issue of Guest Editorials a "public" one now whereas previously it was a private one. If in doubt about a topic or fittingness of a piece written for this feature, ask me about it. I am reasonably amenable on these matters and if there is a good idea out there, let us hear it here at Rerum Novarum. Who knows, you may have the "makings of a star" :-)

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"Am I Losin'" Dept.

I hope I am wrong about my intuition here but in light of developments in the new year that long went unaddressed, I am not so sure anymore.

I addressed most of these fundamental elements at the following link.

An Open Letter to My Friend Albert

I recall when I used to come home never had a dime
But Lord I always had a good time
And I recall drinkin' wine with one of my friends
Lord, I can't go back again


In light of the recent falling out between Dr. Art Sippo and Robert Sungenis, this may be seen as a "me too" approach by certain elements in that camp. To remind readers of this blog who are on Albert's mailing list (not to mention people on discussion lists which I am on) the following was sent to Albert and others back on August 26, 2002 by yours truly:

Albert my brother, know that you are always in my prayers and that I value our friendship which has grown stronger through the adversities that our lives apart from the web have gone through the past two and a half years. But I have to accuse you now or else I would be violating my conscience. This note is a *monitum* if you will of the upcoming accusation you will receive by email. (So you may be warned about what is coming and prepare spiritually for it.)

Written primarily when I was in a more "Inquisitional" mood, this note will: ...

At this point I laid out the agenda of what would be covered. Many of the substantial elements of the open letter go back to about March-April of this year - and were initially targeted for this kind of project in June of this year. (In all except the "open letter" aspect which was of recent vintage.) My email to Albert and the list was sent after the letter had been substantially shaped into a systematic mould if you will.

The project was put on hold through the first half of September for many reasons but it was resumed on Monday of last week and brought to its present form over the span of about six days - an hour or so a day as needed to complete it.

I'm not the one that's here to blame
Its you my friend that's really changed
Its a shame, such a shame
Am I losin' once again?


I decided to handle this issue more delicately than I initially intended because it came to me when writing additional sections that residual rage from my "trad" days was driving the tone of the piece; a reaction if you will to some of my former self and weltanschauung in light of positions Albert adheres to. Because of that I took additional time to try to expunge that element from the letter. Nonetheless, I hope the tone is both charitable as well as firm. My original idea of making the response private - one which I was very stern by email about - is one that I obviously do not plan to adhere to. This is the extent of my public utterances on the matter as I did not want to have to take it this far. But one must have a clean conscience and on this matter mine has not been clean for a while.

Making this public in light of the many public discussions Albert and I have had along with email theology/philosophy list discussions the past two plus years serves to do just that. I hope and pray that my friend reads this and reflects upon the content. I also hope that this does not result in our friendship being sullied.

Why these things happen, Lord I don't understand
But Lord it can sure hurt a man...


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Spiritual Instruction on Zeal (Part I)

But if you have bitter zeal and there be contentions in your heart, glory not and be not liars against the truth: for this is not wisdom descending from above, but earthly, sensual, diabolical. (St. James, Cath. Ep., c. iii vv.14 and 15.)

For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God. (St. James, Cath. Ep., c. i., v. 20.)

1. Zeal for the salvation of souls is a sublime virtue, and yet how many errors and sins are committed daily in its name! Evil is never done more effectually and with greater security, says St. Francis de Sales, than when one does it believing he is working for the glory of God.

2. The saints themselves can be mistaken in this delicate matter. We see a proof of this in the incident related to the Apostles Saint James and Saint John; for Our Lord reprimanded them for asking Him to cause fire from heaven to fall upon the Samaritans. (Luke, IX., 54.)

3. Acts of zeal are like coins the stamp upon which is necessary to examine attentively, as there are more counterfeits than good ones. Zeal to be pure should be accompanied by great humility, for it is of all virtues the one which self-love most easily glides. When it does so, zeal is apt to become imprudent, presumptuous, unjust, bitter. Let us consider these characteristics in detail, viewing them, for the sake of greater clearness, in their practical bearings.

4. In every home there grows some thorn, something, in other words, that needs correction; for the best soil is seldom without its noxious weed. Imprudent zeal, by seeking awkwardly to pluck out the thorn, often succeeds only in plunging it farther in, thus rendering the wound deeper and more painful. In such a case it is essential to act with reflection and great prudence. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent, says the Holy Spirit. (Ecclesiastes III., 7.) Prudent zeal is silent when it realizes that to be so is less hurtful than to speak.

5. Some persons are even presumptuous enough in their mistaken zeal to meddle in the domestic affairs of strange families, blaming, counselling, attempting to reform without measure and discretion, thus causing an evil much greater than the one they wish to correct. Let us employ the activity of our zeal in our own reformation, says Saint Bernard, and pray humbly for that of others. It is great presumption on our part thus to assume the role of apostles when we are not as yet faithful disciples. Not that you should be be by any means indifferent to the salvation to souls: on the contrary you must wish it most ardently, but do not undertake to effect it except with great prudence, humility, and diffidence in self.

6. Again there are pious persons whose zeal consists in wishing to make everyone adopt their particular practices of devotion. Such a one, if she have a special attraction for meditating on the Passion of our divine Lord or for visiting the Blessed Sacrament, would like to oblige every one, under pain of reprobation, to pass long hours prostrate before the crucifix or the tabernacle. Another who is especially devoted to visiting the poor and the sick and to the other works of corporeal mercy, acknowledges no piety apart from these excellent practices. Now, this is not an enlightened zeal. Martha and Mary were sisters, says Saint Augustine, but they have not a like office: one acts the other contemplates. If both had passed the day in contemplation, no one would have prepared a repast for their divine Master; if both had been employed in this material work, there would have been no one to listen to His words and garner up His divine lessons. The same may be said of other good works. In choosing among them each person should follow the inspirations of God's grace, and these are very varied. The eye that sees but hears not, must neither envy nor blame the ear that hears but sees not. Omnis spiritus laudet Dominum: let every spirit praise the Lord, says the royal prophet. (Ps. CL, 5.)

7. Bear well in mind that the zeal which would lead you to undertake works not in conformity with your position, however good and useful they may be in themselves, is always a false one. This is especially true if such cause us interior trouble or annoyance; for the holiest things are infallibly displeasing to God when they do not accord with the duties of our state in life.

8. Saint Paul condemned in strong terms those Christians who showed a too exclusive preference for their spiritual masters; some admitting as truth only what came from the mouth of Peter, others acknowledging none save Paul, and others again none but Apollo. What! said he to them, is not Jesus Christ the same for all of you! Is it then Paul who was crucified for you? Is it in his name that you were baptized? (St. Paul, i Cor. i., 13.) This culpable weakness is often reproduced in our day. Persons otherwise pious carry to excess the esteem and affection they have for their spiritual directors, exalt without measure their wisdom and holiness, and do not scruple to deprecate all others. God alone knows the true value of each human being, and we have not the scales of the sanctuary to weigh and compare the respective wisdom and sanctity of this or that person. If you have a good confessor, thank God and try to render his wisdom useful to you by your docility in allowing yourself to be guided; but do not assume that nobody else has as good a one. To deprecate the merits of some in order to exalt those of others at their expense is a sort of slander, that ought to be all the more feared because it is generally so little recognized. [Fr. R.P. Quadrupani: Light and Peace - Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears pgs. 153-158 (c. 1795)]

The previous installment of this series was on internal peace and can be found here:
Interior Peace

One who only recently tuned into this series can follow it through the above link all the way back to the beginning. The second part of the series on zeal will run either tomorrow or the night after or so.

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Sunday, September 29, 2002

"Change In The Weather" Dept.

This John Fogerty song came to mind when I had perhaps the worst day I have had in about four months yesterday. From my Buddy Guy "Feels Like Rain" album:

"Yeah, ah, huh, you better duck and run
Get under cover 'cause a change is come
Storm warnings and it looks like rain
Be nothin' left after the hurricane
There is a jungle it ain't no lie
Look at the people
They got terror in their eyes
Bad wind is comin' it can't be denied
They're runnin' with the dogs
And afraid to die..."


It did not help that it served almost as a prelude to the coming week. I also got fed up with blogger's archive problems last night after three hours of trying to fix the archives according to their troubleshooting guide. The end result: I decided to set up my own archives by linking to the format directly rather than through the blog format that comes with these templates. (For those who have similar problems you can use blogger code or regular HTML and I used the latter on the archives.) I will try to remember every Sunday to add another week to it every week. Anyway, that problem is fixed. Others though of a more serious nature can be sensed on the horizon as they have been brewing for some time. I only hope my initial presuppositions about them are exaggerated. But admittedly I am not optimistic...

"High noon I can't believe my eyes
Wind is ragin' there's a fire in the sky
Ground shakin' everything comin' loose
Run like a coward but it ain't no use
Edge of the river just an ugly scene
People getting pushed, and people gettin' mean
A change is comin; and it's getting' kind of late
There ain't no survivin', there ain't no escape..."

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