Saturday, April 17, 2004

"See how they waver in the trees, / how stray their spears, how knock their knees..." 

The battle seems to be heating up. We've all witnessed the sudden promotion in the last year of the Wonderful World of Homosexuality. What was still a fringe topic a year ago, accepted by the elite who prided themselves on their "tolerance," has now been embraced by the Supreme Court's ever widening "right to privacy," has become the Episcopalian Church's Way of the Future, and is now to replace the family in Massachusetts, by order of the Wise.

And that's just one aspect. But it seems that "where sin increases, grace abounds the more." More and more in the past year I hear of bishops speaking out against the Culture of Death, and even against the Culture of Stupidity, that surrounds us. And the elite don't know what to make of this. God was supposed to have died sometime in the nineteenth century. Religions were odd social phenomena among the little people, movements that would disappear with education and prosperity. The Catholic Church in particular was domesticated in the 1960's between JFK and the Spirit of Vatican II™, and should have presented no more trouble than any mainline Protestant denomination. And surely whatever authority it had left should have been taken away by the Scandals!

And yet the Thing is still alive. Mel Gibson dares to make a movie about Christ, forcing journalists and academics to search desperately for any charge to throw at it, from anti-Semitism to historical inaccuracy to being too Christian. Among the episcopacy, Archbishop O'Malley dares to speak against American culture, Archbishop Burke dares to show his teeth against pro-abortion Catholic politicians, and in my own diocese Bishop Morlino has surprised the newspapers with his clear and well-articulated teaching. And slowly the utopian Left is beginning to suspect that the aged beast may not be as dead as they once thought. One is reminded of Belloc's analysis of the growing voice of the Church in his own day and the nervousness induced in the anti-Catholic world:

A new antagonism to the new force of the Catholic Church shows itself in nations of Protestant culture by a certain note of exasperation which in the day of our fathers was unknown. There was plenty of active opposition and bludgeoning of the Church in mid-Victorian days; but it was a contemptuous and assured anger: that of to-day is panicky. In nations of the Catholic culture the ill-ease at Catholic advance shows itself in a sort of sullen muttering among our opponents; the complaint of an old cause which thinks its success a matter of right but no longer certain.

   --Hilaire Belloc, Survivals and New Arrivals, p. 281

In the late twentieth century, the Church once again "ha[d] to all appearance gone to the dogs"; yet there are signs that once again, it may well be the dogs who die (GKC, The Everlasting Man II.vi).

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Friday, April 16, 2004


Being finite still entails being, and I haven't shown much evidence of that recently. If this blog had any readers, the more charitable among them might assume that I'd taken off from blogging for Lent. In reality, life simply intervened, mostly in the form of topology and elliptic curves. As the semester limps to its weary end and I am freed to study at my own pace, I may well begin posting more often. I make no promises, of course, as this is a new enterprise for me. In the meantime, enjoy the last three days of the Octave!

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Easter (Hopkins) 

One of my favorite Easter poems:

Break the box and shed the nard;
Stop not now to count the cost;
Hither bring pearl, opal, sard;
Reck not what the poor have lost;
Upon Christ throw all away:
Know ye, this is Easter Day.

Build His church and deck His shrine,
Empty though it be on earth;
Ye have kept your choicest wine--
Let it flow for heavenly mirth;
Pluck the harp and breathe the horn:
Know ye not 'tis Easter morn?

Gather gladness from the skies;
Take a lesson from the ground;
Flowers do ope their heavenward eyes
And a Spring-time joy have found;
Earth throws Winter's robes away,
Decks herself for Easter Day.

Beauty now for ashes wear,
Perfumes for the garb of woe,
Chaplets for dishevelled hair,
Dances for sad footsteps slow;
Open wide your hearts that they
Let in joy this Easter Day.

Seek God's house in happy throng;
Crowded let His table be;
Mingle praises, prayer, and song,
Singing to the Trinity.
Henceforth let your souls alway
Make each morn an Easter Day.
    --Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

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Friday, April 09, 2004

Ex Officio Lectionis hodierno 

Ex antiqua Homilia in sancto et magno Sabbato

Quid istud rei est? Hodie silentium magnum in terra; silentium magnum, et solitudo deinceps; silentium magnum, quoniam Rex dormit; terra timuit et quievit, quoniam Deus in carne obdormivit, et a saeculo dormientes excitavit. Deus in carne mortuus est, et infernum concitavit.

Profecto primum parentem tamquam perditam ovem quaesitum vadit. Omnino in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedentes invisere vult; omnino captivum Adam, unaqua captivam Evam, ex doloribus solutum vadit Deus illiusque Filius.

Ingressus est Dominus ad eos, victricia arma crucis tenens. Quem ubi vidit Adam primus parens, prae stupore pectus verberans, exclamavit ad omnes, dixitque: "Dominus meus cum omnibus." Et respondens Christus dicit Adamo: "Et cum spiritu tuo." Et apprehensa manu excitat, decens: "Expergiscere, qui dormis, et surge a mortuis, et illucescet tibi Christus.

Ego Deus tuus, qui propter te factus sum filius tuus; qui propter te, et propter hos, qui a te oriundi sunt, nunc dico, et per potestatem impero iis qui in vinculis erant: Exite; et qui in tenebris: Illuminamini; et sopitis: Resurgite.

Tibi praecipio: Expergiscere, qui dormis: etenim non ideo te feci, ut in inferno contineare vinctus. Surge a mortuis; ego sum vita mortuorum. Surge, opus manuum mearum; surge, effigies mea, quae ad imaginem meam facta es. Surge, exeamus hinc; tu enim in me, et ego in te, una et indivisa sumus persona.

Propter te ego, Deus tuus, factus sum filius tuus; propter te, Dominus, servilem tuam speciem sumpsi; propter te, qui sum supra caelos, veni in terram, et subtus terram; propter te hominem factus sum tamquam homo sine adiutorio inter mortuos liber; propter te, qui ex horto egressus es, ex horto Iudaeis traditus, et in horto crucifixus sum.

Aspice faciei meae sputa, quae quidem propter te suscepi, ut te in pristinum illud spiraculum restituerem. Aspice mearum maxillarum alapas, quas sustinui, ut tuam corruptam speciem reformarem, ad imaginem meam.

Aspice mei tergi flagellationem, quam suscepi, ut dispergerem peccatorum tuorum onus, quod tergo tuo impositum est. Aspice clavis bene ad lignum affixas manus meas, propter te, qui manum tuam ad lignum male quondam extenderas.

Dormivi in cruce, et romphaea penetravit meum latus, propter te, qui in paradiso obdormisti, et Evam ex latere protulisti. Meum latus sanavit dolorem lateris. Meus somnus educet te ex inferni somno. Mea romphaea romphaeam coercuit, quae contra te vertebatur.

Surge, eamus hinc. Eduxit te hostis ex terra paradisi; ego vero te non amplius in paradiso, sed in caelesti throno colloco. Prohibuit te a ligno typico vitae; verum ecce ego, qui vita sum, tibi sum coniunctus. Constitui cherubim, qui famuli in morem custodirent te; facio ut cherubim pro eo ac Deum decet adorent te.

Cherubicus thronus apparatus est, geruli prompti et parati, thalamus constructus est, parati cibi, aeterna tabernacula et mansiones adornatae, thesauri bonorum aperti sunt, regnumque caelorum ante saecula paratum est."

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