Thursday, January 12, 2006

Here and There . . .

An irregular roundup of blogs, articles and commentary.

  • Unveiling Opus Dei: An Interview with John L. Allen Godspy's John Romanowsky interviews John Allen Jr., on his new book Opus Dei : An Objective Look Behind the Myths and Reality of the Most Controversial Force in the Catholic Church (Doubleday, Nov. 2005 -- read an excerpt here: "In many ways, the myth of Opus Dei is much more revealing about where things stand in contemporary Catholicism than the reality of Opus Dei." Yeah, tell that to the Murderous Opus Dei Albino Monk. But seriously, says John:
    The "talk" of Opus Dei is the sanctification of work, the rendering holy of the ordinary circumstances of everyday life, no matter what occupation you're in. It's not merely to try to perform at the highest levels of secular excellence. And it's not just for your own personal holiness. It's the idea of rendering holy the broader world, transforming secular reality from within. For the most part, I found them very conscious of trying to do just that."
    During the course of the interview, John Allen directs his attention to other issues -- his "journalistic objectivity" in the midst of Catholic debates ("The truth is that the closer I get to a subject, the more difficult for me to draw definitive conclusions about it"); his changing perception of Cardinal Ratzinger ("In person, he's infinitely gracious, kind, surprisingly open and collegiate and very humble. We've seen this in how he's conducted himself as pope. He's engaged in this almost systematic deconstruction of the cult of personality around the papacy"), and the state of the Catholic Church today:
    . . . I think we're still far too divided. Perhaps the more sociologically accurate thing to say is that we've got multiple, co-existing "catholicisms". When you look around at the Catholic scene, you see that you've got your traditionalist-liturgical Catholics, your social justice Catholics, your charismatic Catholics, your neo-conservative, intellectual Catholics, your Church reform Catholics, and others. They all speak their own language, go to their own meetings, read their own publications, think their own thoughts. If they ever pop their head up above the walls to look at somebody in another circle, it's often not with a genuine interest in the thought of the other. It's with what you might call a "hermeneutic of suspicion". "I'm not really sure where this person is coming from and I'm not really sure if we're on the same team."

    It's tragic that American Catholics spent the first part of the 20th century crawling out of the ghetto imposed on us by a hostile Protestant majority, but that now we've constructed our own ghettos. They're defined not by denominational boundaries, but by ideological ones. This isn't just distasteful on an aesthetic level, but ecclesiologically it's deeply unsatisfactory. We're supposed to be a community of communities — that's what communio ecclesiology is, to which John Paul II and Benedict XVI have been so valiantly trying to call us.

    Further responses from Amy Welborn and company -- and, in a suprising move -- a follow-up letter from John Allen Jr. to Welborn's readers.

  • Rocco Palmo (Whispers In The Loggia) nominates as 2005 [International] Churchman of the Year Monsignor Luigi Giussani, Founder, Communione e Liberazione.

  • Ignatius Insight asks IP authors & editors Dale Ahlquist, Mark Brumley, Fr. Joseph Fessio, Thomas Howard, Peter Kreeft, Sandra Miesel, Michael O’Brien, Carl Olson, and Joseph Pearce what were best books they read in 2005. Some of the titles are on my reading list for 2006: The Cube & The Cathedral by George Weigel (Brumley: "Weigel 'nails it'. Europe's problem and the solution to it are there"); Literary Giants, Literary Catholics by Joseph Pearce -- I browsed through this at my dad's house over Christmas break and added it to my wish-list. Of course, not one but two of those surveyed recommended Chesterton's Orthodoxy, about which Brumley says: "If you don’t read Orthodoxy once a year it is like denying yourself food and drink."

  • Speaking of reading lists, MamaT at Summamamas reads a lot. =) See her 'book roundup for 2005.'

  • "Love Decides Everything" - Stephen Bogner (Catholicism, Holiness & Spirituality) shares a quote and a spiritual reflection by Pedro Arrupe, SJ.

  • "Great Moments in Liberal Tolerance", by Peter Sean Bradley (Lex Communis). Commenting on a recent outburst of insanity from The Huffington Post, "in which "runs an out of context quote from Pope's Christmas message and the leftist brownshirt goonsquad, 'Tolerance and Diversity Division', jumps in with both feet, wildly swinging their truncheons."

  • Heresy 101 - "I got thinking about christological heresies and came across an apologetics web page that has a summary of the principal heresies that have afflicted the Church," says Mark Gordon (Suicide of the West). "Heresy is the corruption of dogma. It retains elements of truth that are twisted, often in good faith, to fit a certain intellectual framework. Apostacy, by contrast, is the outright rejection of dogmatic truth. Review these heresies and see if you have fallen into any of them in a practical, everyday sort of manner. I know I have."

  • Dale Alqhuist of the American Chesterton Society instructs Fr. Neuhaus on the origins of the famous Chesterton (non)quote: "When a Man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes anything."

  • Dei Genetrix - Fred K. at Cahiers Peguy has some reflections on the "Dei Genetrix," an image of Virgin & Child Alfredo Bikondoa, which appears on the Vatican 2005 Christmas Card.

  • The Consolation of Philosophy?, by Scott Carson (An Examined Life), responding to an interview with the literary critic Harold Bloom and his latest book, Jesus & Yahweh.

  • Treasures from the Secret Archives of the Vatican, including Leo X's excommunication of Martin Luther, Henry VIII's appeal for annulment and Honorius III's approval of the Franciscan rule. (Thanks to the Shrine of the Holy Whapping).

  • John Heard (aka. Dreadnought) debates Fr. Bob on SSA Catholics.

  • The Pertinacious Papist on The virtue of Waugh's "snobbery" - an introduction to the author of Brideshead Revisited, about whom I know very little but hope to acquaint myself.

  • Fr. Bryce Sibley is PODCASTING - "Reflections on Christianity and Culture" from the former blogger A Saintly Salmagundi. Yay! (Thanks to Threshing Grain for the tip).

  • When Children are Not Welcome in the Church, by Fr. Jape. (The Japery / The New Pantagruel) - "I doubt Jerry Falwell and James Dobson will notice this, but the most insidious and depressing secularization of Christmas and Christmas music has nothing to do with the censorship of explicitly Christian symbols and songs . . ."

  • "Christ Loves His Mother", a reflection from Teófilo (Vivificat) on a scene from Passion of the Christ.

  • The Nightmare World of Jack T. Chick, a special report from Catholic Answers on the background of the author of such well-known anti-Catholic fundamentalist tracts as Are Roman Catholics Christian?, The Death Cookie, and Why Is Mary Crying?.

  • Mark Steyn's Greatest Hits: (January-June 2005) | July - December 2005. Selected quotations by columnist Mark Steyn, courtesy of Marc Schulman at American Future.

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