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Here are some scenes from the last encampment:
“In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control,” the author wrote Wednesday on her Facebook page. “In the name of … Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen.”
Rice will not be taking up vampires again, but she said she is a big fan of the HBO series “True Blood,” enjoyed the first two “Twilight” movies (she has yet to read any of the Stephenie Meyer novels) and is interested in seeing her most famous character, the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt, return to the screen.
In spite of the above story’s emphasis on Rice’s non-return to vampire novels, Rice is, it seems, reverting to the back to the state of the undead. I have not read her novels, but apparently, her vampires are sometimes homosexual (Lestat de Lioncourt), they are feminist (The Queen of the Damned), and certainly they are wildly erotic. So when she says that she is leaving the Church because she refuses to stand against homosexuality, feminism and artificial birth control, she seems to be allaying herself once again with the world of vampirism. (Here is the Anchoress’ take on Rice’s muddling of what the Church stands for and against. The Church is not anti-anything. It certainly is not anti-gay persons or anti-woman or anti-sex.)
This is particularly significant for me as I research the topic of the occult and literature. The world of darkness is alive and well in the form of “new religious movements.” Many of them propose themselves to be compatible with Christianity. Rice goes on:
For those who care, and I understand if you don’t: Today I quit being a Christian. I’m out. I remain committed to Christ as always but not to being “Christian” or to being part of Christianity. It’s simply impossible for me to “belong” to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.
This is the real peril of literary and theatrical occultism: the promotion of esoteric, occultist, non-conformist Christianity. And that, my friends is blasphemous, sacrilegious and diabolical. Satan is pedaling cheap peace, and when we accept it on his terms, he will cut our hearts out.
Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand has just published a comparative study of her late husband and Christopher West. Here is a link to the essay and another one to a new interview with her. I had the privilege of collaborating with her, along with others, on this project and I am profoundly humbled that she has considered my own work on Christopher West worthy of admiration:
This article (for which mistakes, inaccuracies and imperfections I carry full responsibility for) is in fact a work of collaboration with several thinkers I admire and respect. Let me mention, among others, Father Brian Mullady, OP; Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger, F.I., Fr. Anthony Mastroeni and James Likoudis. They have read the manuscript. Their comments and criticisms have been highly appreciated and most helpful.
Dawn Eden also deserves notable mention: her in-depth knowledge of the work of Christopher West has been crucial to me. Through her scholarship, I made the acquaintance of several texts I had not read. I owe her a special thanks.
Last, but not least, this article was truly done in collaboration with my friend, William Doino. His knowledge of history , his intelligence, and endless patience with the changes I kept introducing, was of such value to me, that I do not hesitate to say that without him, this manuscript never would have been published. Thank you to all these dear friends. May it all be ad majorem Dei gloriam.
I have believed for some time that it is essential for Dr. Von Hildebrand to secure the legacy of her husband as clearly distinct from that of Christopher West, and I believe that she has done a masterful job at that task in this essay. May this work be an instrument of grace to communicate the Church’s true doctrine of chastity, modesty and the beauty of Christian marriage.
Yet I still saw a report the other day about a fan site where the members were just beginning to ask, “What’s with him?” Why is there this reluctance to call something by its right name? It’s not as if Gibson was issuing a cry for help. On the contrary, what he is issuing is the distilled violence, cruelty, and bigotry—and sexual hypocrisy—that stretches from the Crusades through the Inquisition to the “concordats” between the church and Hitler and Mussolini. Yet he’s still reporting for work. When will Hollywood, and the wider society, finally decide to shun and spurn him utterly, both for what he is and for what he represents?
It is nice to know that even when he is sick Hitchens can fight bigotry with more bigotry.
Mel Gibson is an idiot whose mind has been polluted–not with the Catholic faith, but with the Rad Trad extremism coupled with Hollywood narcissism. I have to come clean because I did more than defend his movie in print. I did so because it did not seem to me that there was anything in the movie that is not in the gospels or in the Stations of the Cross. I see no reason to change that assessment, but Gibson sure does spoil the whole experience. . . it least he does for me. Unfortunately, antisemitism is the soft, white underbelly of the Rad Trad movement.
The ironic thing is that the only one who is likely to salvage his sorry carcass is his Protestant wife, Robyn, whom he dumped for a chick half his age because he did not have a “spiritual connection” with his wife of nearly 30 years (according to him on one of the tapes), and whom he thinks is going to hell, because she is not a Catholic, like him.
Hitchens is an opportunist, even when he is on death’s doorstep. Gibson throws him a banana peel and he feels obliged to put his foot on it.
Pray for both of these knuckleheads.
Click here or on the Encampment thumbnail in the side bar to see the updated pages for the Summer Encampment (July 28-August 1).
Included there on the registration page are the registration and release form, schedule, advertising flyer, knights psalter and the magnificent seven.
Hope to see you for the weekend at the end of July.
Sorry, that’s just not working for me.
Historians claim to have found King Arthur’s Round table, and guess what? The Round Table wasn’t really a table at all but an amphitheater. Here is part of the claim:
Camelot historian Chris Gidlow said: “The first accounts of the Round Table show that it was nothing like a dining table but was a venue for upwards of 1,000 people at a time.
As far as I can tell the earliest account of the Round Table is from Wace’s Roman de Brut a translation of which I have in Arthur King of Britain (ed. by Rechard L Brengle). This is what Wace says:
Arthur never heard speak of a knight in praise, but he caused him to be numbered of his household. So that he might he took him to himself, for help in time of need. Because of these noble lords about his hall, of whom each knight pained himself to be the hardiest champion, and none would count him the least praiseworthy, Arthur made the Round Table, so reputed of the Britons. This Round Table was ordained of Arthur that when his fair fellowship sat to meat their chairs should be high alike, their service equal, and none before or after his comrade. Thus no man could boast that he was exalted above his fellow, for all alike were gathered around the board, and none was alien at the breaking of Arthur’s bread.
Apparently, there are earlier accounts that point the ethos of the Round Table, that is, the code of Chivalry, and there are other pieces of furniture and landmarks associated with Arthur in the earlier accounts. Perhaps someone more expert than I on these matters can tell us what Chris Gidlow means when he says that “the first accounts of the Round table” indicate that it was a “venue for upwards of 1,000 people at a time.”
In any case, it is virtually impossible to image how Wace’s account could be referring to an amphitheater.
Gidlow, it seems, may be referring to the earliest account of Arthur given to us by Gildas (c. 540):
Mr Gidlow said: “In the 6th Century, a monk named Gildas, who wrote the earliest account of Arthur’s life, referred to both the City of Legions and to a martyr’s shrine within it. That is the clincher. The discovery of the shrine within the amphitheatre means that Chester was the site of Arthur’s court and his legendary Round Table.”
My anthology only has excerpts of chapters 25 and 26 of Gildas’ De Excido et Conquestu Britanniae, where Ambrosius Aurelianus is explicitly mentioned. I find nothing there about “the City of Legions” or “a martyr’s shrine.” Sounds to me like this is speculation extrapolated from speculation.
A little overconfidence goes a long way.
It is my thesis that the devil’s spiritual warfare on our flocks will intensify as the years proceed and that all Christians, but especially priests, will have not choice but to engage more deeply in the spiritual battle for souls. There is no time like the present to begin the training.
This was written by Father Thomas Euteneuer in the introduction of his new book, Exorcism and the Church Militant (xxxiii-xxxiv). I am reading it now. One does not need to be an exorcist to know he is completely on the mark.
I have mentioned before that Catholic militancy is in the first place about the interior life and that our real adversaries are not men who are “enemies of the Church,” but principalities and powers. This can also be taken a step further. Even in the external order where Catholic Action comes into play, the greatest opposition will come from the dark powers, whether through temptation or something more extraordinary like oppression and obsession.
But I believe there is also a middle between the two. As regular readers of this blog will know, I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories. One reason for this is because I have found that in order for something that appears to be the result of a “grand scheme” to occur it is not necessary for the rich and influential to secretly meet in the middle of the night in a hidden black-curtained dungeon, or, for that matter, in a corporate board room. It is sufficient that men open themselves up to the powers of the netherworld by playing fast and loose with their spiritual life. My own experience tells me that men can effectively collaborate in nefarious schemes without even knowing that they are doing it.
I never understood why Fr. Hardon was so adamant about those living in mortal sin being instruments of the devil. I would still qualify this sentence by emphasizing that this most often happens without the sinners knowledge, because most people sin through weakness and not malice, but I think I understand what he meant.
For many this will just be seen as dishonest scaremongering. [I am correcting this post so as to indicate by the following link a specific comment to a post on another blog (June 21, 2010, 4:14:16 PM EDT). Sean P. Dailey is the author of the comment in question, not Mark Shea. Please see this comment, below.] But sometimes we are given prophetic graces. In an age when so few priests, and more importantly bishops, are willing to be exorcists, the few who are find themselves crying in the wilderness when they speak to men about the dangers to which our age exposes itself.
Over the last week or so my attention has been drawn to two articles that touch upon the subject of the “feminine genius.” Both of them tend to underscore, in different ways, the problem I mentioned in my recent post, “War in Paradise.” To reiterate what I wrote there: The feminist narrative has dictated our presentation of sex relations in such a way that fatherhood has been left to hang out to dry.
The Thinking Housewife has rejected John Paul II’s use of the feminine narrative outright, in particular, where he seems to overcompensate for historical discrimination against women by asserting that every woman, by the “simple fact of being a woman,” makes the world a better place.
The Thinking Housewife responds.
This is not true. Every women [sic] is not good, nor is any woman entirely good. All women do not enrich the world’s understanding by their sheer existence. John Paul II was a holy man fulfilling a complex role. These words are grave missteps on his political journey. It is no exaggeration to say that these particular words are anti-Christian. No human being is to be exalted for the sheer fact of being human. We are born in sin and error.
On the other hand, Bill Donaghy from the Theology of the Body Institute, sets up a hypothetical dichotomy between the Petrine and Marian principles of the Church, which he never entirely resolves. Mr. Donaghy uses the familiar caricature of St. Peter as the archetype of the masculine side of Catholic spirituality: plodding “impetuous, lovable, ‘open mouth, insert foot.’” And on the feminine side the spectrum he posits Our Lady as the “the primordial way, the first way, the fundamental posture for those who thirst for the Holy Spirit.”
I believe these two very different perspectives highlight the extent which gender confusion has made a mess of sex relations.
In fact John Paul II did ascribe a certain primacy to the Marian principle over the Petrine:
This Marian profile is also—even perhaps more so— fundamental and characteristic for the Church as is the apostolic and Petrine profile to which it is profoundly united. In this vision of the Church Mary precedes the People of God who are still pilgrims. . . .
Mr. Donaghy rightly points out that
The Marian Way is receptive, it waits, receives and is still. It listens to words and contemplates the Word. By no means, incidentally, is it to be confused with passivity.
Unfortunately, he goes no further with his rejection of passivity as to affirm “active listening and eager expectation.” From here he proceeds to the familiar “impregnation” analogy typical of the school of Christopher West. There is more to active receptivity than listening and expectation and it has nothing to do with being “impregnated.”
Without question, the Marian principle enjoys a certain priority over the Petrine on the basis on the consent of Our Lady upon which our salvation was conditioned. However, it is necessary that this be stated precisely.
First off, John Paul II states that Mary is the “archetype of the Church” on the basis of the “divine maternity,” because the Church is called to be both “mother and virgin.”
For this reason, I believe the hyper-eroticism of the school of Christopher West is fundamentally misguided. God did not impregnate Mary. She conceived virginally by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The analogy to be used is not sexual reproduction. Mr. Donaghy says to men that the Marian dimension is “NOT an affront to our manhood,” but then goes on to suggest that in the spiritual life we are all impregnated by God. Personally, I am not particularly interested in being impregnated, and I am quite convinced that the vast majority of men feel the same way—for good reason.
Incidentally, Dawn Eden has shown in her thesis that the phallic interpretation of the Easter Candle is completely misguided, confirming much of what I have written on the subject. She has shown by means of more extensive research that is certainly no patristic basis for asserting any phallic interpretation, and that, on the contrary, it is of modern origin and connected to pagan interpretations of the liturgy. Furthermore, Dawn has shown that when the Easter liturgy was revised as mandated by Vatican II, those responsible deliberately undertook the work so that the triple immersion of the candle would not be construed to be symbolizing the sexual act.
The insistence on using the sexual analogy to represent the bridal aspect of spirituality has the curious effect of exalting male eroticism on the one hand and of making female submissiveness the definitive archetype of spirituality on the other. This promotes the worst kind of chivalry. One extreme of historical chivalry idealizes sex by way of the worship of the goddess. Another—not entirely unrelated to the first—reduces the noble behavior of men to purpose of serving women.
But if all this is problematic, in what sense dose the Marian principle hold primacy over the Petrine? Or in what way do we begin our journey in receptivity without being purely passive?
I believe that the answer lies in understanding that adult faith is expressed in a particular way by that virtue and—more importantly—gift of the Holy Spirit known as fortitude. Confirmation is the Sacrament that strengthens us to become soldiers for Christ, and this is principally a matter of fortitude. In the first place, it is constituted by a kind of receptivity, which is endurance in the face of fear. Hence, fortitude helps us to overcome fear of death on the battlefield and even to count it as our greatest honor, as in the case of the martyrs. However, fortitude also concerns, secondarily, a moderate assertion of daring in order to overcome the aggressor. Spiritually, the aggressor is Satan, but in the social order, there are temporal evils that must be opposed.
Hence, “receptive but not passive,” means that grace is always primary and is first of all a matter of resisting a spiritual enemy through endurance. But it also means that we will have to actively oppose what is dishonorable and contrary to the common good.
This is true for both men and women, but, in a particular way, fathers will be called upon—not to be impregnated, but to fight the good fight. It is, therefore, telling that Mr. Donaghy uses the caricature of St. Peter to represent the masculine and never once mentions fatherhood in connection with the Petrine principle.
It is also understandable, then, that The Thinking Housewife has had enough of the feminist narrative and has tired of the “feminine genius” being construed as the supreme archetype. On the other hand, all women do represent something by means of their femininity, even if they do not realize it in their persons.
Bob Hope was right in what he used to say to the fighting men when he visited them on his USO tours. He would bring a starlet out on stage and say: “I just wanted to remind you what you are fighting for.” While there is much to criticize about this, there is also a grain of truth to it. Sorting it all out is never easy.
The most fundamental archetypes of the Christian life are not Peter and Mary, but Jesus and Mary. Our Lord was a fighting man and ultimately answered only to His Father. But He also condescended to become the Child of Mary and asks us to have the humility to do the same. By reflecting on this, we may learn to redeem the relationship between man and woman, but it is unlikely that we will ever redeem feminism. Or as Dawn Eden has written:
The Word who saves us was, like the woman who brought Him forth, immaculately conceived. Not so with the word feminism — which is why it cannot save, and should not be saved.
The real mysticism of the Church is not eroticism or worship of the goddess, but the heroism that unites authority and power with the willingness to die in battle for those one loves. Instead of advocating a new feminism and asking men to imagine themselves as being spiritually impregnated we need to examine more closely what I have called Marian Chivalry.