Saturday, September 13, 2003

For an excellent article on the number of the elect by Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange OP, click HERE. As the subject of limbo comes up, I want to touch on it briefly as there are many erroneous presumptions about it.

It is claimed in some quarters that the Church at one time taught this as doctrine and now no longer does. This is erroneous on two fronts (i) the notion that limbo was ever taught as doctrine and (ii) the notion that something once taught as doctrine could be scrapped.

Those who find the notion of limbo to be strange should be reminded that it is an acceptable theological speculation. Hence, Catholics who in the guise of a pseudo "progressive" deride such a notion should be reminded of Pope Pius VI's condemnation of the Pistoia doctrine which condemned limbo as a "Pelagian fable" was proscribed as "false, rash, injurious to Catholic schools."

Such a theological condemnation means that the theory of limbo -though not a matter of doctrine- is nonetheless a viable theological speculation. (Though I am admittedly inclined against this theory myself.) And of course any extreme radtrads who would defend this position as a doctrine are likewise deserving of a stern rebuke.

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Feminists, Abortion and Sexuality in Britain - A Historical Perspective by Anne Farmer

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Matt Abbot has a good piece on the subject of prudence which can be read HERE. This is definitely worth reading - particularly to those who have a habit of taking a "ready, fire, aim" approach to their interactions with others.

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Johnny Cash (1932-2003)

Most people who follow the news are aware that "The Man in Black" Johnny Cash passed away today. He was the only person ever to have been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In the next week we will look at some of the songs he wrote as well as others which he sung. In the meantime we extend to his family our prayers and to the souls of Johnny Cash and his recently departed wife June Carter Cash, may they both rest in peace with the souls of the faithfully departed.

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Friday, September 12, 2003

While I would take issue with some of the content of the responses, I nonetheless cannot see how on the whole this interview with the SSPX's Fr. Aulagnier is not the most valuable contribution to a possible reconciliation from the SSPX's side in a long time. Rerum Novarum certainly prays that this will go a long way towards reunion of the SSPX with the Catholic Church.

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Thursday, September 11, 2003

John Pacheco's campaign site is now up. Please go here and do what you can to get the word out.

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This will be a very unfancy update post because in light of today and the anniversary of the Islamofascists attacking the nation of my birth. A lot was added here, some links were reclassified, some new categories were created, and I even amended my longstanding site disclaimer. This update thread will explain it all.

Because there is so much that parades around as enlightened discourse which is nothing but horseapples, I have supplemented the GK Chesterton quote that has long adorned this weblog with another quote from a man who was among those who grandfathered my intellectual development: Arthur Jones. With the archives I have added links all the way out to October 25th.

Under the subject heading My Writings and Reviews, I have added the piece Why We Are 'Traditionalists' Properly So-Called that I wrote with Pete for the December 6, 2001 edition of The Wanderer. (I recently retyped this piece from my copy of the periodical and made very minor adjustments to it.)

I also relocated to this section the piece Pete Vere and I did titled Yes Virginia, Fr. Nicholas is Suspended from the March 6, 2003 edition of The Wanderer.

Also added to this section is a recent essay titled Squelching Fr. Gruner's Squawking Squire - an essay I wrote in response to a certain seriously misinformed radtrad attorney who responded to the March essay Pete and I did. (The all-important but often overlooked element of spiritual maturity is dealt with in this essay.)

Under the heading of General Political/Social Subjects I have added two links - one titled On The Political Double Standard and another dealing with the canard of conservatives being "opposed to progress."

Under a new subject line titled Political Election Issues I have relocated my post-election analysis of trends from November 2002 and added my recent analysis of Hillary Clinton's Political Options For 2004 and Beyond.

Under the old heading titled On Church Authority I have relocated the thread titled SecretAgentMan vs. Rerum Novarum On Communion Posture and the Authority of Bishops (Parts I-V) and added the followup thread titled SecretAgentMan vs. Rerum Novarum on Communion Posture and the Authority of Bishops (Book II, Parts I-IV). Also added to this category is a recent brief musing on the Canon of Scripture.

Under the heading titled On 'Traditionalism' (Falsely So-Called), the following two links were added:

The Problems of Self-Styled 'Traditionalism' Viz. Dogmatic Theology (Rerum Novarum Responds To Adam Kolasinski)

Rerum Novarum Unmasks Yet Another Pseudo-'Traditionalist'

Under the heading titled On 'Traditionalism' (Properly So-Called), the following four links were added:

Spiritual Maturity and How to Handle Theological Perplexities (Parts I-III)

A Response to Jeff Culbreath on the Rome/SSPX Situation

On True and False 'Traditionalism' With Kevin Tierney (Parts I-VII)

Musings on the Ordinary Magisterium

Under the heading titled On Controverted Subjects the following six links were added:

Musings on Atheistic Evolution

"The Kenotic Husband" and "Wifely Submission" Subjects (Rerum Novarum vs. El Camino Real)

My Involvement With the SSPX - Musings From August of 2002

Personality Profile of Rerum Novarum

Musings on Cigar Preferences

On "Catch and Release" Conservationism

For those who think the SSPX link should be listed under false "traditionalists", I chose for pastoral reasons not to do this. (Hopefully upon reading the link my reasons for this will be clear.) Those who are shills for SSPX should not interpret my placement of the link as in any way implying any ambiguity viz the objectively schismatic status of that organization.

In light of today and the war we are fighting, I have launched a new categorization that will allow me to potentially put a broader spectrum of sites on this weblog which are non-Catholic in composition. This new section is titled Ecumenical Jihad and to it I have reclassified Anne Wilson's BLOG and added the following two sites:

Rabbi Daniel Lapin's Toward Tradition

Tim Enloe's Societas Christiana BLOG

Rabbi Daniel Lapin is an Orthodox Jew and is also among my favourite talkshow hosts. (He is talkshow host Michael Medved's rabbi.) Tim Enloe is my favourite Reformed Protestant. Both have sites which are dedicated to restoring the Judeo-Christian foundation of civilization and this is a sentiment that I also personally share.

Under the heading Other Approved* Sites or Links of Interest the following links have been added:

Rerum Novarum Encyclical Letter on Capital and Labour (Pope Leo XIII)

Two Languages of Salvation - Cardinal Avery Dulles

Finally, because this new category (Ecumenical Jihad) is unlike others I have posted in the margin, an adjustment to the disclaimer was needed. Thus the disclaimer now reads as follows - with the new additions in purple font:

[:::....Any correspondence will be presumed eligible for blogging unless the sender otherwise specifies. This is referred to as the Welborn Protocol and is a policy that will be followed at Rerum Novarum. (Though name and email information will as a rule not be posted without explicit request to do so by the sender.)

Rerum Novarum is properly understood to be copyrighted in accordance with other writings of I. Shawn McElhinney except with regards to Guest Editorials to the extent necessary for the authors of said pieces to thereby retain all rights to their work thereof.

*My approval of a website, weblog, or essay is to be properly understood as approval of a macro nature and not necessarily a micro one. With those weblogs or websites under specialized headings (i.e. "Predominantly Political", "Ecumenical Jihad") the macro approval pertains to the general theme so categorized not necessarily to micro elements not pertaining to said theme thereof.

*Ecumenical Jihad listing is for weblogs or websites which are not Catholic but which nonetheless are either dedicated to or which to the webmaster (i) are worth reading and (ii) characterize in their general outlook the preservation of general Judeo-Christian morality and which are aimed at positively integrating these elements into society.

As society has grown more estranged from its founding principles, I wish to note sites which share the same sentiments for the restoration of society even if the means advocated in this endeavour differ. Rerum Novarum does not necessarily endorse particulars with sites under this heading. ....:::]

Nothing fancy today to end this update my friends, no solemn titles like "sovereign thane", no majestic "we's", no canonical rescripts, noting of the sort. In fact, after offering the intention that all the souls of those who died on September 11th may rest in peace - and that the scumbags who perpetrated this have the longest most painful purgatory possible - this post will end right now.

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Cardinal Dulles' article on "Two Languages of Justification" is worth a read.

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"One From the Vault" Dept.
(Musings on Common Problematical Catholic Approaches to the Ordinary Magisterium)

Though I posted some musings from an April 15, 2003 discussion list thread on the ordinary magisterium the other day, this one goes back even further (to October of 2002). The theme was the ordinary magisterium and what I saw (and still see) as the defective way in which this subject is handled by most Catholics who discuss these issues - even at times by seasoned apologists.

What you are about to read was circulated to a group of people who are actively involved in the Catholic evangelization community. (Or in brief, friends, fellow evangelists, and associates.) It was brought about because of an email from a friend in the group which brought up the subject of Vatican I and infallibility. I noted at the time that I may blog this substantially as written in my response; however for many reasons it was not feasible to do at that time. (Though I did allude to the thread below a bit in the blog entry posted HERE.)

Even in this posting, all names will be changed as this was an "in-house" note if you will. Of those who responded to it from the list of names, three were very favourable to it, three were substantially favourable with minor quibbles, and one basically told me in an indirect way to "get stuffed." (All the respondants were seasoned apologists but the dissenting view was from one who was among the "associates" if you will.) Oh well, you cannot please everyone so I have no illusions in that regard.

Without further ado, here is with few modifications to content the piece written and sent out about eleven months ago. My comments will be in purple font with any sources in darkblue font. The footnotes were originally part of the main text which I decided to excerpt out and append to the end of the thread to remove some of the clutter. The words of the person I was responding to will be in black font.

Hi AAAA:

I want to take the opportunity of your email to mention something I have thought about for a long time (a few years) and mentioned oftentimes to those who are desirous of becoming apologists for the faith. And as this list is one of seasoned apologists/evangelists, it seems good to mention this to those who have the greatest influence on the development of "the next generation of apologists" if you will. I also added a few names to the list who are also apologists not necessarily because what I say applies to them personally but because of their influence in web evangelization.

On Sat, 19 Oct 2002 23:33:36
AAAA XXXXXXXXXX wrote:


Gentlemen,

In the deliberations of Vatican I and the formulation of papal infallibility, there were supposedly brought forth 40 or so papal errors throughout history. Does anyone have this list or know where I might locate it?

I will see what I can find amongst my sources AAAA. (If I find anything I will send it to you.) In the meantime, I think you are well aware of what some of those "errors" were. Off the top of my head I can think of the following ones - most of which would certainly be on that list:

1) St. Peter at Antioch

2) Pope St. Victor I's reversal of his decision on the Easter controversy.

3) Pope St. Zephrynus' apparent aquiscence to Modalism.{1}

4) Pope St. Liberius condemning St. Athanasius under duress.

5) Pope Vigilius in publicly wavering over an issue of Christology.

6) Pope Honorius I's letter to Patriarch Sergius of Constantinople which triggered the Monothelitism heresy.

7) Pope Nicholas V's position on slavery.

8) Pope John VII giving what appears to be an acknowledgment of the Photinian synod which reversed all the judgments of Constantinople IV.

9) Pope Gregory VII's Dictates Papae and some of its explicit statements.

10) Pope Stephen VII's reversal of all of his predecessors decrees, coupled with exhuming the body, dressing it in pontifical robes, and holding a "trial" for the corpse whereupon he excommunicated his predecessor. Then Stephen's successor anulled all of Stephen's decrees and reinstated those of his predecessor.{2}

11) Pope Boniface VIII's Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctum as it has been commonly misinterpreted.

12) Pope John XXII's sermons on the just not seeing the Beatific Vision until the final resurrection.{3}

13) Pope Sixtus V's Apostolic Constitution promulgating a faulty Latin Vulgate "in perpetuity".

14) The Galileo incident.

15) The supposed "reversal" on usury by Benedict XIV.{4}

The following would also apply according to the criteria above:

Pope Pius IX's teaching on invincible ignorance as "contradicting Unam Sanctum and Cantante Domino of Florence."

Papal approval of the cult of St. Philomena in the nineteenth century coupled with St. Pius X's apparent claim that the cult was not suppressible.{5}

Pope Pius XI on the holiness of marital intercourse in Casti Connubi.{6}

Pope Pius XII on birth spacing and family planning by rhythm method in an Allocution to Italian Midwives in October of 1951.{7}

Now I know how many on this list will seek to address these issues (and have) but I believe the garden variety "apologetics" approach - used by countless apologists including some on this list - are faulty and should be discarded on the scrap pile. Why??? Because it makes too many unnecessary concessions.

The first rule of successful warfare is to avoid any unnecessary concessions. And anyone who does not think what we are doing is a form of warfare - and treat it as such - has no business being in that field at all. It is almost as if Catholic apologists are so eager to play the "pope is not impeccable" card or the "it is not ex cathedra" card when in reality these cause as many problems as they solve. For the approach defacto makes infallibility the criterion of obedience and seriously sullies the integrity of the ordinary magisterium as a reliable norm for understanding the truth.

In light of today's faith crisis, the methods of the confessional polemic need to be killed and buried. People do not have the same degree of respect for authority today as was common even fifty odd years ago by not only Catholics but also by non-Catholics as well. Thus we need to use an approach that restores some degree of this respect or at least mitigates against the anxiety of accepting Church authority on faith or else we will be building arguments on potentially shiftable foundations and giving those who are less informed many unnecessary anxieties.

Before explaining my proposed alternative a few points need to be addressed. For one thing, most Catholics have absolutely no idea what they are talking about on the issue of church infallibility.{8} Infallibility is much more organic and much less legalistic than it is commonly thought to be. If one reads the commentaries of writers - even some who have an Imprimatur on their work - the standard approach is to make some kind of legal formula as a prerequisite. I have seen this almost every time I have read a source on this subject. This is despite the primary architect (and the relator) of the schema which was to become the fourth chapter of Pastor Aeternus specifically stating that there was no prescribed form for "instant ex cathedra" judgments.

The relator also stated to the voting Fathers that the word defines was not to be understood in a juridical sense and yet the apologists who continue to explain it in that manner to varying degrees are legion. To contradict the proper sense of a defined dogma is to go against a doctrine of Vatican I as set forth in Dei Filius which stated definitively that doctrines are to be understood in the sense they are defined in and no recourse to any other proposed interpretation is at any time acceptable.

Yet what do almost all people --including not a few apologists-- do??? Why they explain papal infallibility in a sense that was not only not voted on at Vatican I but which was directly repudiated by the relator in the sessions. In fact, they apparently do not realize that the decree actually was written as it was to mitigate against the misunderstanding that today is so wide-spread. That is one problem that needs to be addressed and dealt with properly. Please reflect upon it after reading this note.

Another problem is the issue of reading into statements words which are not only not there but which are not even inferred. Statements such as "the pope is only infallible when he speaks ex cathedra" come to mind here. This is patently false and Vatican I does not say or even allude to this.

Instead, what is said is that it is a matter of divine faith that when a pope speaks ex cathedra he is possessing of infallibility. That is not a limitation of scope to only matters which are strictly speaking de fide but instead is a clarification of theological qualification. To use theological terminology it is de fide that the pope is infallible when speaking ex cathedra while it is a matter of faith in the Church (fides ecclesiastica) that infallibility extends to a whole host of other areas required either directly or indirectly for the upholding of the faith.{9}

In short, there is more to infallibility than matters of divine faith, MUCH more actually. But secondary truths are so often overlooked in this equation and that is setting up a house sans a foundation by preparing the ground for the same kinds of errors that the Jansenists espoused.{10} But lest I digress I want to get to the gist of this point quickly by quoting Hans Kung.

I am sure people would wonder why Hans Kung can be of assistance on this subject. Well it is because on this point I believe Kung is right in part:

"For a long time, too, Catholic theologians in their works on apologetics . . . were able to successfully ward off any questioning of infallibility by the use of a basically simple recipe: either it was not an error or - when at last and finally an error could no longer be denied, reinterpreted, rendered innocuous or belittled - it was not an infallible decision".

Now I believe Kung is as guilty of overreach on this subject in toto as any "trad" is of post VC II magisterial statements. But the statement itself - its sarcasm and unwarranted assumptions viz "errors" aside for a moment - is substantially true. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have seen an apologist pull the "it is not an error" and then (if they cannot answer the argument or even if they concede an error - whether one is real or not) they say "well it does not fulfill ex cathedra conditions". There is a reason anti-Catholics accuse us of trying to "out-Jesuit" them and it is because of this kind of apparent shiftiness.

I realize we are seeking to defend the indefectibility of the Church but there is no need to appear as doing an apologetical version of the "snake oil salesman". Again I am not naming names but probably everyone on this list - myself included - has done this at one time or another possibly out of old habit or momentary laziness if you will.

I expect these kinds of arguments from beginners - not that I like such arguments but beginners have to start somewhere. But when I see seasoned apologists use them, it tends to grate on me because they should know better. I realize apologetics is supposed to be "faith 101" stuff but if the experts are erring or recommending faulty approaches then we cannot expect those who learn from them to get it right now can we??? So I want to start with ex cathedra and make a statement that is incontrovertable by anyone who properly knows their dogmatic theology. And that statement is this:

"There are NO required "conditions" for ex cathedra teaching except the pope intending to bind a teaching on the church universal and expressing this intention - either in an expressed or tacit manner."

That is correct, no conditions. I see people doing this three or four step process as if it is a checklist when that misses the entire substance of the teaching. (And has led to some egregious errors in print over the past hundred odd years on this subject.) With regards to what the pope does not need to do to speak infallibly includes the following:

1) He does not have to use magic words like "infallible" or "defines".

2) He does not have to verbally specify the teaching to be held definitively.

3) He does not have to expressely say anything of the sort since a tacit acknowledgment is adequate to qualify depending on the circumstances which occasion the utterance.

4) There is the often overlooked element of repetition of a teaching which also plays into the equation. And by repetition a teaching can be handed on infallibly through reiteration of the same teaching in statements none of which in themselves are necessarily infallible.

Because this subject is so easily misunderstood and because it is so complex, this is why religious submission to all papal magisterial teaching is required as per Lumen Gentium §25. And in that light I want to be directly critical of the approach taken by many apologists in how they deal with "errors" either real or preceived.

For as religious submission is required regardless, it is important to start any defense with a defense of the ordinary magisterium either expressely or tactly. Rather than taking the "Johnny Cocherine" approach to the subject that many apologists take (and to an outsider that is how it appears, let us be honest now) one should start by not being so quick to concede error in the ordinary magisterium. Does this mean that a bit of work may be needed??? Of course but it only serves to make the case stronger.

The basic divisions to be used in this approach are "magisterial doctrine" and "magisterial discipline". This is not a difficult distinction to make and if you were to go over the above list or the forty from Vatican I that AAAA mentioned, I am virtually certain you would find that not a single one of them would qualify as magisterial.{11} So in short, ignore infallibility completely and focus on whether or not something is magisterial. Because if it cannot even meet that criteria, there is no point in discussing infallibility at all.{12}

To use a poker metaphor, if you can win a hand by exposing only two aces, why show them the rest of the hand??? If you are holding a full house and all that is needed to win is a pair of aces, show only the aces and make them pay to see the rest. In the case of critics they can "pay" by doing the footwork themselves to prove a teaching is magisterial: a battle with odds that heavily favours a seasoned apologist and gives better than even odds to an amateur or beginner just getting their feet wet.

Considering that religious submission to all non-definitive teaching of the ordinary magisterium is required under the new Profession of Faith,{13} it is high time that Catholic apologists rethink how they approach the subject of potential "errors" in the magisterium at any level. The old garden variety approaches were effective but flawed for the reasons I noted above. And what I am proposing is a means that is both effective and it keeps the apologist from falling into canned responses - the surest way to shut off the thinking mechanism that I can think of on the issue of theology and explanation/defense of the faith.

Oh, and perhaps it would help to note that I have yet in years of explicitly using this approach to find a single incontrovertable error in the ordinary magisterium.{14} That does not mean there are none - only that if there are they are so remote as to not be a stumbling block to those whom we instruct to obey the ordinary magisterium in all of her decisions.

For when we have the ordinary magisterium so tightly shored up as I suggest above, it becomes apparent that recourses to arguments about certain teachings being "infallible" or not are seldom necessary except as an add-on or corollary if you will. And that IMHO is how it should be to avoid any possibility of infinite regress.

Notes:

{1} Basically he was negligent.

{2} And we thought the OJ case was bizarre.

{3} Might sound minor but repetition by the pope is not a minor bagatelle viz. determining the importance he attached to a particular teaching.

{4} Or his successors depending on whether you think Benedict sought to "pull a Jesuit" on the subject in Vix pervenit as some - even Catholics I have spoken with - have claimed.

{5} In 1961 it was suppressed.

{6} No pope had *ever* taught this in his magisterium and in fact several had made at least implicit assertions to the contrary though not as far as I can tell in any magisterial enunciations.

{7} The genesis of what has become several magisterial nods to what is has developed into NFP.

{8} Nor do most apologists sad to say - whether they are professionally trained or not.

{9} A position taught by Vatican II officially in a Dogmatic Constitution and thus this is a theological issue that is no longer debatable amongst theologians.

{10} Which as I noted in my treatise are in many ways identical to the errors espoused by the "traditionalists."

{11} They would fall under areas of unpromulgated doctrine or magisterial discipline at best. I know the ones I listed above do not qualify as controversions of magisterial teaching or even - in most cases - as magisterial teaching at all. Those that do when looked at from a standpoint of comparing apples with apples are not as problematical as they first appear.

{12} In short, focus on authority instead of infallibility as the latter is only an ancillary of the former and not the criterion for either (i) the irreformability of a particular teaching (ii) the truth of a particular teaching, or (iii) whether or not a particular teaching requires obedience.

{13} For professions of faith put forward either by the pope or an ecumenical council are exercises of the solemn magisterium akin to any dogmatic definition.

{14} Or potentially any error period when all factors are considered.

{The above post was written on October 20, 2002 and is posted here with only the most minor of modifications - ISM}

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Points to Ponder:

Since the objective truth of faith is universal and the true subject of faith must be conformed to its object, it follows that the subject of true religion is necessarily universal. Real faith cannot belong to man as an isolated individual but only to mankind as a complete unity; and the individual can only share in it as a living member of the universal body.

But since no real and living unity has been bestowed on the human race in the physical order, it must be created in the moral order. The limits of natural egoism, of finite individuality with its exclusive self-assertion, must be burst by love which renders man conformable to God Who is Love. But this love which is to transform the discordant fragments of the human race into a real and living unity, the Universal Church, cannot be a mere vague, subjective and ineffectual sentiment; it must be translated into a consistent and definite activity which shall give the inner sentiment its objective reality. [Vladimir Soloviev Russia and the Universal Church (c. 1889)]

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On Racism and Arnold Schwartzenegger:
(Aka "We Could Have Scooped Everyone But Chose Not To" Dept.)

Those reading Drudge's site are now aware that Robby Robinson has substantiated Rick Wayne's assertions of racism by Arnold Schwartzenegger. I was interested in seeing that Drudge quoted verbatim from a response Robby gave to your humble servant who contemplated posting this after Arnold appeared on O'Reilly yesterday. Only this morning having seen it on Drudge did I decide to post this information. Apparently Drudge got permission to use pictures because Robby does not want unauthorized usage of his pictures. (So at least I hope Matt is respecting The Black Prince's wishes on the matter.)

Here is the text that I originally wrote on September 1st and then amended a bit after receiving the response from Robby on September 3rd. If anyone needed proof that Rerum Novarum is not out to be ahead of the curve, here it is folks as I sat on the entry you are about to read for nine days. Anyway, without further ado, here it is...

Apparently Rick Wayne has some interesting information on Arnold Schwartzeneggar's view of blacks from his bodybuilding days. (See this link.) This writer contacted another Mr. Universe Robby Robinson to see what The Black Prince thought about this accusation. I guarantee that no other weblog will give you this information my friends so briefly allow me to sketch out the sequence.

After reading the Drudge report, I started scanning the web to see what others were saying about the accusations of Rick Wayne. I found myself thinking "I wonder what Robby Robinson would say about this" - the latter having been one of my earliest influences on training and the various components that surround that activity.

Inquiries as to the veracity of Rick Wayne's comments along with the fact that I am starting to get a bit of an itch for training after seven and a half years away from the activity{1} combined to put me in touch with one of my earliest training influences. (Actually the third most influential on my very short list of influences in that area.{2})

Anyway, I submitted this question to Robby recently on the subject. His response to this can be read HERE. Disturbing is but a mild word to describe what I was thinking when I read Robby's response.


Notes:

{1} It has been seven and a half years since I trained with weights in any significant capacity. However there was the occasional ten minute high intensity weight training session twice a week for about four months of a weight loss regimen back in late 1998. I did this to merely preserve muscle but actually gained muscle while continuing to rapidly lose weight - which occurred in the months of July-October 1998. Other than that - and what was done there was not of the same intensity of my earlier training - it has been seven and a half years.

I have currently as of a week ago taken up once again the same program for weight loss that I formulated almost five years ago when I lost ninety pounds in seven months. (Basically, I want to drop thirty pounds to prepare for resuming my old training protocol sometime this fall.)

Now it is true that anyone can lose a lot of weight with proper discipline; however I did this without the sag that generally accompanies such large losses in short time periods. (Indeed no one who did not know I lost the weight would have guessed I did so.) The only exercise done in this period was the occasional short session as noted above and a walk once or twice a week of a couple of miles - which was done in the first three months of the weight loss. I could have lost the weight without it but wanted to make sure that what was lost was fat and not muscle; hence my very minor overtures to exercise in that period.

{2} The most significant influence in this area was an individual who also influenced my intellectual formation. (And apparently he was Robby's favourite competitor and close friend as well.) I already utilize the principles of training in my approach to apologetics that I learned from this and other influences and have also long mused about writing on the convergence in my mind of the physical and the ecclesiological realms.

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Monday, September 08, 2003

Points to Ponder:

Ninety-five percent of what is published on all subjects is hogwash. [Arthur Jones]

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Though I have some stuff in mind for blogging either tomorrow or the next day, it seems appropriate to end the night with a poem. So I have selected one from John McCrae which I find particularly moving. But for the best effect, a little set-up is needed so I will do so here.

During WWI, the fields of Flanders were dug over by among other things the digging of trenches along with shell and mortar fire. There is something in the poppy that is a lot like Christianity in general including (i) how they contribute to the lessening of pain (ii) how the seeds of the red poppies found in Europe can lay in the ground for years without germinating, and then grow after the ground has been disturbed. I see a parallel to Christianity in general - and Catholicism in particular - in these points.

For the faith properly understood can contribute to a lessening of pain in one's life by providing a rational foundation for its existence as well as outlining the value that can be had in suffering. (Concepts such as the communion of saints and the purgative principles of the Dark Night come to mind here.) Secondly, a faith planted can often remain latent in a person for years but then become active as a result of crisis situations. Hence, like the battles in WWI where the poppy fields were plowed under, there were times where a period after the battles the fields of devastation were covered over in a beautiful mosaic of colour from seeds that were dormant for some time.

I see in this a metaphor for life coming forth from death - a principle central to the Christian profession. Anyway, hopefully this prologue will put the poem I am about to post into proper context and as a result you enjoy it more. Think of John Pacheco's crusade and its testament to both the past as well as posterity when you read it if you will.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


With God's will and your readership, I shall blog again another night. Until then, adieu.

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Medieval Faire Musings:

I was going to blog the earlier entry previously mentioned but decided to shelve it until possibly on Monday or Tuesday. There is no rush to get to it after all and other stuff can be dealt with - such as the Greenspire Medieval Faire. Like His Sheaness, your humble servant worked the fair for a few hours cooking and serving food. (Mostly taking orders and serving it but I did do some prep work and cooking as well.) They had archery contests, puppet shows for the kids, booths for people to examine and acquire different materials - some of a medieval nature and others of an apologetical nature.{1}

As far as St. Blog's goes, I ran into several blogosphere comrades at the Faire including Mark who was dressed along with his kids in medieval costume. Mark is as enjoyable to talk to as he is to read lest anyone wonder. He introduced me to a friend named Dan who is webmaster for one of the major Catholic Singles websites which I found rather ironic in light of how I spent Saturday with family I have not seen for at least fourteen years.{2} But back to the subject of the Faire.

Among the discussions had with various people in an informal manner were on liturgical language (when cooking and serving food), Scripture study (with Dan), various issues pertaining to weblog stuff and the church in general (with Mark) and several others. I even had my picture taken with a falcon where I was holding the bird on my hand with a leather glove on. Many other things could be mentioned but in the interest of brevity I will keep the entry reasonably brief.

In short, the Faire was quite good and I believe a nice dent was made in our renovation bill. I invite any readers who are interested in contributing to the restoration of our beautiful church to click HERE and give what they can. And again, those who bemoan the many wreckovations this is an opportunity to contribute to a renovation and thereby make a tangible contribution to combatting modern Iconoclasm.

Notes:

{1} My anonymity in that sphere at my church really comes in handy oftentimes.

{2} This was also a good time to be had including introducing some of them to a game I co-invented about fifteen years ago called "advanced horse." Lots of pictures to pour over as well as pina coladas and the subject of "when will your mother be having grandkids?" coming up about a half-dozen times.

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Sunday, September 07, 2003

A Rerum Novarum Official Endorsement:

I have heard through the grapevine that John Pacheco, webmaster of The Catholic Legate and one of the finest amongst Canada's defenders of the faith has decided to run for public office. Apparently he is running in Ottawa South for the seat currently held by someone named Dalton McGuinty, Jr. The latter is the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party and according to Pete Vere "the closest thing Canada has to a Kennedy Catholic." So please keep John in your prayers and get the word out. For as this humble weblog noted earlier:

When they came for the Jews, as I was not a Jew, I did not speak up. When they came for the Muslims, as I was not a Muslim, I did not speak up. When they came for the Catholics, as I was not a Catholic, I did not speak up. When they came for the Protestants, as I was not a Protestant, I did not speak up. When they came for the religious polytheists, as I was not a religious polytheist, I did not speak up. Now they are coming for me and there is no one left to speak up for me.

This principle applies as well to nations as it does to religions. And it is not out of line to say that "they are coming for the Canadians." And thus all of us who value the stance he is taking here need to come together on this. In short, on this issue there needs to be solidarity by all of good will.

John Pacheco is working in a campaign website which is scheduled for launch on September 10th. We will revisit this subject at that time. Please contact him HERE and support this cause with your prayers and with whatever time, talent, and treasure you can spare. If I can spare a moment of your time to reflect a little, perhaps it will help put this into some degree of perspective.

For your humble servant has thought about running for office before - and indeed many have inquired as to this for many years now or made the recommendation. But one of the main reasons I have decided against it is the kind of character assassination that accompanies such endeavours. It is one thing to deal with the kind of stuff that crops up in apologetics disputes when one encounters the occasional mountebank. But with running for office those who are incapable of winning on the strength of their ideas are capable of assaulting those who can on a much wider span.

For this will transcend the semi-public status that John now has and he will become a bonafide public figure. So he will have this in his future and therefore he will need all the support he can get. There are many good reasons why a lot of good people do not run for office - but that subject is beyond the scope of this entry to cover adequately. But there are also those who run on one or two galvanizing issues out of principle. John has chosen perhaps the quintessential galvanizing issue of our time as the anchor of his platform. And I do not exaggerate when I say that it is the final dam which holds back a hell of a lot of depravity being the next step in the decay of our suicidal society. (And the final decapitation of the essential building block of humanity: the institution of marriage.)

In closing, there are very few people who run for office whom I can honestly say I would endorse without hesitation but John is one of them. Please do what you can to help out. They have come for the Canadians and...hopefully I need not say more to convince you of the importance of this undertaking.

PS The Vatican recently reaffirmed the Catholic position which can be read HERE. Anyone who knows of recent declarations of a similar sort from other faith professions, please let me know and I will post them to other blog entries.

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