31 January 2010

Daily Quotation

It is, moreover, Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another.  They are to be avoided not only as "profane novelties of words," out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics.  Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected:  "This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved" (Athanasian Creed).  There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism:  it is quite enough for each one to proclaim "Christian is my name and Catholic my surname," only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.
~ Pope Benedict XV - Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum ~

30 January 2010

Daily Quotation

Since you've been dating Beth, you're a tool. And not even one of those useful ones.  You're like a hammer.  A hammer without the hammery part.  You're a stick.
~ Rayne Summers, - Least I Could Do ~

29 January 2010

Daily Quotation

On a Puritan

He served his God so faithfully and well
That now he sees him face to face, in Hell.

~ Hilaire Belloc - The Complete Verse of Hilaire Belloc ~

28 January 2010

Daily Quotation

Warfare is the greatest affair of state, basis of life and death, the Tao (Dao) for survival and extinction.  It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed.  Therefore, structure it according to the following five factors, comparatively evaluate it through estimation, and seek out its true nature.  The first is termed the Tao, the second Heaven, the third Earth, the fourth generals, and the fifth the laws for military organization and discipline.

The Tao causes the people to be fully in accord with the ruler.  Thus they will die with him, they will live with him and not fear danger.

Heaven encompasses yin and yang, cold and heat, the constraints of the seasons, according with and going contrary to, the basis of victory in warfare.

Earth encompasses high or low, far or near, difficult or easy, expansive or confined ground, fatal or tenable terrain.

The general encompasses wisdom, credibility, benevolence, courage, and strictness.

The laws for military organization and discipline encompass organization and regulations, the Tao of command, and the management of logistics.

There are no generals who have not heard of these five.  Those who understand them will be victorious, those who do not understand them will not be victorious.
~ Sun-tzu - The Art of War ~

27 January 2010

Daily Quotation

The fact is that the world is divided between users of the Macintosh computer and users of MS-DOS compatible computers.  I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant.  Indeed, the Macintosh is counter-reformist and has been influenced by the ratio studiorum of the Jesuits.  It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory; it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach--if not the kingdom of Heaven--the moment in which their document is printed.  It is catechistic:  The essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons.  Everyone has a right to salvation.

DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic.  It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that not all can achieve salvation.  To make the system work you need to interpret the program yourself:  Far away from the baroque community of revelers, the user is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.

You may object that, with the passage to Windows, the DOS universe has come to resemble more closely the counter-reformist tolerance of the Macintosh.  It's true:  Windows represents an Anglican-style schism, big ceremonies in the cathedral, but there is always the possibility of a return to DOS to change things in accordance with bizarre decisions:  When it comes down to it, you can decide to ordain women and gays if you want to.
~ Umberto Eco - The Holy War:  Mac vs DOS ~

26 January 2010

Daily Quotation

When I became Catholic, I did so knowing that I came from a world that was radically impoverished liturgically, and so I did not take it upon myself to waltz into the Church and start holding forth on How She Could Improve the Mass to Suit Me.  What did I know?  Some wet-behind-the-ears convert from a non-denominational storefront church presuming to hold forth on the Divine Mysteries?  Who needs it?  Best for me to keep my trap shut and say "thanks" for the Awesome Gift.  I've held to that policy ever since.  I don't know from nothing about the fine details of liturgy, but I do know it's my business to be grateful for the Mass, not bitter and hyper-critical about it.  I have this weird notion that "Eucharist" means I should be thankful.  And this policy was only reinforced by the spectacle of watching not a few converts of the Matatics variety sashay into the Church, look around, find that it's not perfect enough for them, and proceed to walk out the opposite door because She doesn't suit their discriminating tastes or theological theories.


Like many other Catholics, I have this funny notion that when the Church teaches something in council, my task as a Catholic is to listen and obey, not repeat it in the same tone of voice as I would use when saying, "You left your soiled underwear on my coffee table."  I dislike Reactionary Dissent as much as Progressive Dissent, not least because despite the contempt for the Decree on Ecumenism with which the Reactionary Dissent crowd is redolent, the fact remains that Vatican II's demand that Catholics engage, rather than avoid and heap contempt upon, Protestants is in no small part one of the reasons I could eventually become Catholic.  The post-Vatican II Church's attempt to live out ecumenism, despite some of its loonier excesses, also produced a crop of Catholics who took the time to actually explain the Faith to Protestants like me in terms we could understand.  I'm oddly grateful about having a crack at eternal life and the fullness of the Faith, so I'm grateful to the Church's teaching on Ecumenism at the Council.
~ Mark Shea - The Paradox of the Neo-Catholic Traditionalist ~

25 January 2010

Daily Quotation

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftan o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner ,
Looks down wi' sneering scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!

~ Rabbie Burns ~

24 January 2010

Daily Quotation

In order to avoid the domination of one sex or the other, their differences tend to be denied, viewed as mere effects of historical and cultural conditioning.  In this perspective, physical difference, termed sex, is minimized, while the purely cultural element, termed gender, is emphasized to the maximum and held to be primary.  The obscuring of the difference or duality of the sexes has enormous consequences on a variety of levels.  This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism, has in reality inspired ideologies which, for example, call into question the family, in its natural two-parent structure of mother and father, and make homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent, in a new model of polymorphous sexuality.
~ Pope Benedict XVI - Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World ~

Does this mean that encyclicals will now be limited to 140 characters?

While I don't personally use Twitter, I do think it's pretty badass that the Vatican now has a Twitter feed.  When one considers that I hate Twitter, I think this has more to do with the fact that I think the Vatican in general is just pretty badass.  Yes I did just say that.  Suck it, Arius (and check out the main Vatican Twitter feed and the Vatican Twitter feed in English).  If you do happen to be one of those people that actually uses Twitter and might actually follow these feeds, then check out these tips for following the Vatican on Twitter.

23 January 2010

Daily Quotation

But I guess when one is young, it seems very easy to distinguish between right and wrong.  But as one gets older, it becomes more difficult.  The villains and the heroes get all mixed up.
~ Giancarlo Giannini as RenĂ© Mathis - Quantum of Solace ~

22 January 2010

Daily Quotation

The trouble with poets is they talk too much.
They tell us it hurts them a little more.
We cannot tell if they make this up,
We've never stood in their shoes, in their skins, in their heads, on their shores.

The trouble with you is you drive me nuts!
I cannot tell what's behind your smile.
What can we find just to lift us up,
Just for tonight, for a time, for the sake of us all, for a while?

The trouble with shoes is they come untied
And you might take a fall down the stairs.
And a poet might come along and say, 'That's just like life.'
I think the trouble with poets is they'll see poetry everywhere.
~ Peter Mulvey - The Trouble With Poets ~

21 January 2010

Daily Quotation

I missed not having a Bible at hand.  Oh, no doubt there were Catholic Bibles at the basilica three blocks away... in Latin or in Spanish.  I wanted the King James version.  Again no doubt there were copies of it somewhere in this city--but I did not know where.  For the first time in my life I envied the perfect memory of Preachin' Paul (Rev Paul Balonius) who tramped up and down the central states the middle of last century, preaching the Word without carrying the Book with him.  Brother Paul was reputed to be able to quote from memory any verse cited by book, chapter, and number of verse, or, conversely, correctly place by book, chapter, and number any verse read to him.

I was born too late to meet Preachin' Paul, so I never saw him do this--but perfect memory is a special gift God bestows not too infrequently; I have no reason to doubt Brother Paul had it.  Paul died suddenly, somewhat mysteriously, and possibly sinfully--in the words of my mission studies professor, one should exercise great prudence in praying alone with a married woman.
~ Robert A. Heinlein - Job:  A Comedy of Justice ~

20 January 2010

Daily Quotation

He who defends everything defends nothing.
~ Frederick the Great ~

19 January 2010

Daily Quotation

God made man in his own image.  Ever since we seem intent on returning the favor.
~ Anonymous, as quoted by Monsignor Charles Pope - The Problem of a Designer God ~