Jul 312014
 

There was part of the Gene Wolfe interview I wanted to break out into a separate post.

I know you thought Algis Budrys a tremendous writer.

A. J. was a friend. I admired _Who_ [1958] enormously. The plot of _Rogue Moon _[1960] is striking: Budrys tells us that if you destroyed a man here and reconstituted him somewhere else, you’re fooling yourself if you think that the reconstituted man is the same as the original man. The man who goes into the matter transmitter is going to go dark; he’s going to die. You can create a new man with the memories of the dead man; but that doesn’t mean that the dead man is still alive. The dead man is dead.

A copied man turns up in _The Fifth Head of Cerberus_: a robotic simulation of the narrator’s great-grandfather. Mr. Million says, helplessly: “He—I—am dead.”

This describes perfectly some thoughts I had after becoming Catholic and thinking about the Star Trek transporter. Sure they had many plots where something went wrong with the transporter, but really everytime it was used something went horribly wrong. Now I know the idea of the transporter came about in the show as a way to save money regarding expensive set and model building for landings.

The the materialist the idea of the transformer involving dematerialization and subsequent rematerialization makes sense. If we are just material beings than copying our bodies down to the cellular level, converting it to data, destroying the source, transmitting the data, and then making a new copy based on the data raises no hackles.

From the Catholic point of view (and tongue-in-cheek) the transporter is a device of horror. Not only did the red shirts often die, but the so did those wearing green, gold, and blue shirts! Really during the series Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and the rest of them are killed hundreds of times and their copies go on. And they thought the Bearded Spock universe was evil? Really viewing Star Trek this way is quite scary, “Oh no they killed them all again”.

As St. Thomas Aquinas and the Church would attest the soul is the form of the body. Something that can’t be encoded into data, transmitted, and reconstituted.

In literature we sometimes find plots involving teleportation from the magical to the SF story. Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Disintegration Machine is an early example, but more famously is the short story The Fly by George Langelaan. Still my favorite of the genre is Jumper by Steven Gould where teleportation was an innate ability (skip the horrible movie of the same name, but there the sameness ends).

You did hear from time to time the idea of dematerialization/rematerialization seriously bandied about where it is only a matter of time until such a process can happen. I would like to see a story involving such a endeavor where no matter the preciseness of the data copying the rematerialized subject is always dead whether it is vegetable, animal etc. See again St. Thomas Aquinas on the vegetable soul, the sensitive soul, and the rational soul. The plot would involve the struggles of the materialist scientists in coming to grip with the possibility there is a soul.

In the mean time I think I will watch an episode of Star Trek and scream every time the transporter is used.

Jul 312014
 

Here is an absolutely wonderful interview with SF great Gene Wolfe. Some interesting questions did get asked along with what you would expect.

Which writers have most influenced you?

It’s a difficult question. My first editor, Damon Knight, asked me the same thing when I was just starting out, and I told him my chief influences were G. K. Chesterton and Marks’ [Standard] Handbook for [Mechanical] Engineers. And that’s still about as good an answer as I can give. I’ve been impressed with a lot of people—with Kipling, for example; with Dickens—but I don’t think I’ve been greatly influenced by them.

What struck you about Chesterton?

His charm; his willingness to follow an argument wherever it led.

Most of the interview concentrates (as it should) on the themes in his various books. Along with some of the craftsmanship often found in his writings regarding the unreliable narrator.

I was happy to see in a interview for the MIT Technology Review (Wolfe was originally an engineer at Proctor & Gamble) that they did get around to the use of religion in his books and his being Catholic.

Were you born a Catholic, or was Rosemary?

No, I was a convert.

Like Chesterton.

It’s a bad thing in that born Catholics tend to look down on you. But being looked down upon has its advantages.

Like what?

You don’t put yourself forward as an expert. You understand other people who are in similar situations, and not only in religious matters. I once met Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who we’re trying to get made a saint now. He looked at you and you felt that he knew all about you, that he had taken your worth, both positive and negative, and had formed a correct opinion about you, and that was it.

Did Sheen feel saintly? He was canny by your account; he had an intelligent eye.

Sheen was a very intelligent man. He was smaller than I had expected. I suppose he was about five-five, five-six, or something like that.

John XXIII was a little man, too.

Well, size only counts with football players, really.

But did Sheen feel saintly? Did he have a quality of holiness?

He had a quality of something really quite extraordinary. I was at a party once for locally important politicians—a former governor of Illinois, for example. And Sheen came through as somebody who was actually on a higher level. A hundred years from now, he was the only one at the party who would still be important. The rest of us were lost. 

I really enjoyed his responses and the last answer he gave really made me laugh.

Jul 212014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 12 to 19 July 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Dear young people, do not be mediocre; the Christian life challenges us with great ideals.” @pontifex, 15 April 2014
  • “The Church, by her nature, is missionary. She exists so that every man and woman may encounter Jesus.” @pontifex, 17 April 2014
  • “The Lord loves a cheerful giver. May we learn to be generous in giving, free from the love of material possessions.” @pontifex, 19 April 2014
Jul 202014
 

(Vatican Radio) This year’s Carl Sagan Medal, presenter by the American Astronomical Society (AAS), has been awarded to Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, of the Vatican Observatory.

The Division for Planetary Sciences of the AAS, upon announcing the award, said Consolmagno “occupies a unique position within our profession as a credible spokesperson for scientific honesty within the context of religious belief.”

The AAS made a special note of his book “Turn Left at Orion,” which “has had an enormous impact on the amateur astronomy community, engendering public support for astronomy.”

“As a Jesuit Brother, Guy has become the voice of the juxtaposition of planetary science and astronomy with Christian belief, a rational spokesperson who can convey exceptionally well how religion and science can co-exist for believers,” the AAS wrote.

This award will be presented to Brother Consolmagno at the 46th annual meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences in Tucson, Arizona, in November. The Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, operated by the Vatican Observatory, is located nearby, in southeastern Arizona’s Pinaleno Mountains near Mount Graham.

(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Source

Jul 142014
 

Elizabeth Ficocelli is a talented writer and one of her recent books is no exception. Therese, Faustina and Bernadette: Three Saints Who Challenged My Faith, Gave Me Hope, and Taught Me How to Love

These are three saints I knew a good amount about and so biography-wise I did not expect to learn much from this book. If this was all this book was about then it would have just been an nice introduction to these three saints. Where this book shines is where the author describes how she has incorporated these saints in her daily life. She describes how these saints became important to her during various stages in life as both examples and intercessors.

The book starts off with Elizabeth Ficocelli telling a bit of her conversion story and her entry into the professional world with an advertising firm. The initial excitement and the difficulties and then the series of events leading her to a deeper conversion. Throughout the book the waypoints on the path to holiness is illustrated with the struggles and how specifically these three saints helped her out.

I found the book to be obviously aimed at the women’s market, yet I enjoyed it thoroughly. The examples she gives in the book are nothing abstract, but something we can all find in the struggles in our life regarding how to fully live the faith. Very worthwhile.

Jul 142014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 23 June to 12 July 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Homilies

Messages

Motu Proprio

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

  • “With God, nothing is lost; but without him, everything is lost.” @pontifex, 8 April 2014
  • “Do not be afraid to cast yourselves into the arms of God; whatever he asks of you, he will repay a hundredfold.” @pontifex, 10 April 2014
  • “The World Cup allowed people from different countries and religions to come together. May sport always promote the culture of encounter.” @pontifex, 12 April 2014
Jul 082014
 

This looks pretty cool.

The Ignatius Pew Missal is an annual subscription-based worship aid intended for Roman Catholic parishes. Available to pre-order now for a special introductory price of $3.50 when you order 50+ missals!

Its purpose is simple: to provide worshipers with a liturgical resource that is consistent with the directives of the Church and accessible to the average parishioner, especially in regards to music.

This is done in two ways: by using simple plainsong melodies for the Entrance and Communion antiphons, so that a cantor, choir, and even a congregation can easily sing them, and by selecting hymns and songs which, combined, provide a repertoire of sacred songs that is fitting for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, yet accessible for the average parish.

Visit www.PewMissal.com to see samples and learn more about the Ignatius Pew Missal.


Still there is something wrong with the cover art. Don’t they know that for parish missal’s that the cover art is suppose to be abstract and barely recognizable as representing religious themes. They really need to take the Draw Me! course.

Jul 082014
 

The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has issued a statement decrying a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court that could compel a local priest to testify in court about confessions he might have received. The alleged confessions, according to legal documents, were made to the priest by a minor girl regarding possible sexual abuse perpetrated by another church parishioner.

The statement, published Monday (July 7) on the diocese’s website, said forcing such testimony “attacks the seal of confession,” a sacrament that “cuts to the core of the Catholic faith.”

The statement refers to a lawsuit naming the Rev. Jeff Bayhi and the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge as defendants and compels Bayhi to testify whether or not there were confessions “and, if so, what the contents of any such confessions were.”

“A foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for thousands of years mandates that the seal of confession is absolute and inviolable,” the statement says. ”The position of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Fr. Bayhi is that the Supreme Court of Louisiana has run afoul of the constitutional rights of both the Church and the priest, more particularly, has violated the Establishment Clause and the separation of Church and State under the first amendment.”

The state high court’s decision, rendered in May of this year, demands that a hearing be held in 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, where the suit originated, to determine whether or not a confession was made. It reverses an earlier decision by the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeals dismissing the original lawsuit filed against Bayhi and the diocese.

The case stems from a claim by parents of a minor that their daughter confessed to Bayhi during the sacrament of reconciliation that she engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with grown man who also attended their church. Court documents indicate the child was 12 years old at the time of the alleged sexual abuse.

A criminal investigation by East Feliciana Sheriff’s Office into the alleged sexual abuse was ongoing when the accused church member died suddenly in February 2009 of a heart attack.

The civil lawsuit in question, filed five months later in July 2009, names the late sexual abuse suspect, as well as Bayhi and the Baton Rouge diocese, as defendants. The suit seeks damages suffered as a result of the sexual abuse, noting that abuse continued following the alleged confessions.

Source: NOLA.com: 

Maybe the Louisiana Supreme Court thought the case involved Anglicans and not Catholics. From a story a week ago.

ANGLICAN ministers told during confession about serious crimes such as child sexual abuse shouldn’t be obliged to keep them secret, the church has declared.

THE ruling means ministers are only obliged to keep serious offences secret if “reasonably satisfied” they have already been reported to police.

Representatives of the Anglican Church of Australia approved the amendment on Wednesday at the church’s national parliament in Adelaide.

The legislation also covers other serious offences, including domestic violence.

Sydney barrister Garth Blake, who proposed the amendment, said it would ensure the church did not “act as a cloak” for offenders.

However, the legislation will only become active once adopted by individual dioceses.

Originally published as Confession not all confidential: Anglicans

Really we need to send copies of I Confess to members of their court.

Oh and yes I linked to this story primarly as an excuse to create the above graphic.

Jul 072014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 19 June to 3 July 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

+ 17 June 2014 – To members of the “Consiglio Superiore della Magistratura”

+ 20 June 2014 – To participants in the Conference on International Religious Freedom and the Global Clash of Values

+ 21 June 2014 – Visit to the Penitentiary of Castrovillari (Cosenza)

+ 21 June 2014 – Meeting with diocesan priests in the Cathedral (Cassano all’Jonio)

+ 28 June 2014 – Greeting to a group of young people from the Diocese of Rome who are involved in vocational discernment

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

  • “Jesus, help us to love God as Father and our neighbour as ourselve” @pontifex, 30 June 2014
  • “To live as true children of God means to love our neighbour and to be close to those who are lonely and in difficulty.” @pontifex, 1 July 2014
  • “Dear young people, do not give up your dreams of a more just world!” @pontifex, 3 July 2014

Other

Jun 292014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 7 to 29 June 2014.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

  • “Let us pray for the Christian communities in the Middle East, that they may continue to live in the land where Christianity was born.” @pontifex, 23 June 2014
  • “How I wish everyone had decent work! It is essential for human dignity.” @pontifex, 24 June 2014
  • “The family is essential to sustaining human and social development.” @pontifex, 26 June 2014
  • “In the face of life’s difficulties, let us ask the Lord for the strength to remain joyful witnesses to our faith.”@pontifex, 27 June 2014
  • “To be friends with God means to pray with simplicity, like children talking to their parents.” @pontifex, 28 June 2014
  • “May Saints Peter and Paul bless the city of Rome and the entire pilgrim Church throughout the world.” @pontifex, 29 June 2014

Roman Curia

This document is also available in multiple e-book formats for Kindle, Nook, iOS, along with PDF. Download via Brandon Vogt’s site. The Vatican has given permission to Bishop’s conferences to make this available with permission and specifically the U.S.C.C.B. has given permission to Brandon Vogt in this case.