Jul 052016
 

Deep Adventure

Listening to EWTN I have heard conversations with Bear Woznick a couple of times and found what he had to say interesting. At the time I knew nothing about him, but found that he is a two-time Masters World Champion Surfer. He mixes his experience in this and other sports with wisdom from the Greek philosophers and the treasury of the Church.

I found his new book Deep Adventure: The Way of Heroic Virtue to be fairly worthwhile and a good read. As you would expect there are a lot of sport metaphors in regard to living the spiritual life as a Catholic. St. Paul started this trend so this is something new. Sport metaphors work quite well when done right. I once remember a book that used Hockey to good ends in this regard.

Surfing is a sport I know next to nothing about, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying what he had to say. He takes you into this world in such a way that you can really see the attraction of it. He writes about his own spiritual struggles and coming to grips with truly living his faith in contrast to the lessons he learned from trying to master sports. This all works rather well and doesn’t feel contrived at all or attempting to illustrate to much out of his surfing examples.

In addition in between chapters is a story of a rescue he performed and this makes a nice narrative thread throughout. At times I was waiting between chapters to find out what happened next.

So if extended sports metaphors don’t put you off, this is some solid spiritual reading.

The Soul’s Upward Yearning

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. is such a geek and I mean this is the best way possible. He has currently finished the third book of a four book set. I previously reviewed the first book in the series Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence). This time I have gotten around to The Soul’s Upward Yearning: Clues to Our Transcendent Nature from Experience and Reason: 2 (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence).

It is just astounding the various areas he covers in this book. Various studies on the history of religion and what this can teach us regarding the numinous experience. Epistemology and what we can learn from how we learn and how this points to God. Our desire for truth and how we naturally expect that there are answers and that the world is intelligible. Proofs for the transphysical and a look at what is called the “hard problem of self-conciousness”. Along the way there is plenty of philosophy and physics. Some of this is summarized from his book New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Contemporary Physics and Philosophy.

This is not exactly light reading. Fr. Spitzer though is good at explaining his material and provides the right amount of repetitiveness to help you to remember and to grasp the content. Still you certainly have to put some effort into reading this book to get the most out of it. I was able to grasp most of it so that pretty much means most people will also be able to do so. This series of books is quite geeky and covers a large range of human knowledge. I just loved how this particular book swamps you with lots of things to consider regarding our transcendent nature.

Jun 292016
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 10 June 2016 to 29 June 2016.

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

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Please accompany me with your prayers during my apostolic journey to Armenia.” @Pontifex 23 June 2016
  • “The commitment to full unity and cooperation among all the Lord’s disciples is like a radiant light in a dark night. #PopeInArmenia” @Pontifex 24 June 2016
  • “The sufferings of the Armenians are our own, they are the sufferings of the members of Christ’s Mystical Body. #PopeInArmenia” @Pontifex 25 June 2016
  • “May the Armenian Church walk in peace and may the communion between us be complete. #PopeInArmenia” @Pontifex 26 June 2016
  • “I am happy to have visited Armenia, the first nation to accept Christianity as its religion, and I thank all for the welcome. #PopeInArmenia” @Pontifex 26 June 2016
  • “Jesus looks for us and invites us to make room in the inner reaches of our heart. Do we realize it?” @Pontifex 27 June 2016
  • “If God is present in our life, the joy of bringing the Gospel will be our strength and our happiness.” @Pontifex 28 June 2016
  • “Today the Lord repeats to all pastors: follow me despite the difficulties, follow me by proclaiming the Gospel to all.” @Pontifex 29 June 2016

Papal Instagram

Jun 272016
 

WASHINGTON—On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-3 ruling in the abortion facility medical standards case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, reacted to the loss.

“The Court has rejected a common-sense law protecting women from abortion facilities that put profits above patient safety,” McQuade said. “The law simply required abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers – standards like adequate staffing, soap dispensers, and basic sanitary conditions. It required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that hallways be wide enough to allow emergency personnel through with stretchers, should a life-threatening emergency arise.” USCCB

Because abortion must be protected at all costs, regardless of the cost to women. Because access to unsanitary, unsafe, clinics staffed by “doctors” with insufficient credentials is a “right” don’t-you-know.

Modern progressivism will regulate everything from toilets to lightbulbs and constantly demand more regulation. But in this case “Keep your hands off our dirty clinics!”.

If abortuaries have to shut down because they can’t keep the same standards of ambulatory surgical centers, the problem is not with the law. Remember when Democrats wanted abortion to be safe, legal, and rare? Well “legal, legal, and legal” is good enough.

The Washington Post weighs in with Supreme Court rules against Texas and for science in abortion case. Wow science!

Wow I wish I could be as pro-women as The Daily Show.

As Mary Eberstadt notes:

In the new dispensation, traditional restrictions and attitudes are viewed as judgmental, moralistic forms of socially sanctioned aggression, especially against women and sexual minorities. These victims of sexuality have become the new secular saints. Their virtue becomes their rejection and flouting of traditional sexual morality, and their acts are effectively transvalued as positive expressions of freedom.

The first commandment of this new secularist writ is that no sexual act between consenting adults is wrong. Two corollary imperatives are that whatever contributes to consenting sexual acts is an absolute good, and that anything interfering, or threatening to interfere, with consenting sexual acts is ipso facto wrong.

Note the absolutist character of these beliefs as they play out in practice. For example, it is precisely the sacrosanct, nonnegotiable status assigned to contraception and abortion that explains why — despite historical protestations of wanting abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare” — in practice, secularist progressivism defends each and every act of abortion tenaciously, each and every time.

On a side note, who is writing headlines for the USCCB “Bishops’ Pro-Life Spokeswoman Laments High Court Decision Rejecting Abortion Clinic Safety Law”.

Jun 222016
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 22 May 2016 to 22 June 2016.

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

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Motu Proprio

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “The tenderness of God is present in the lives of all those who attend the sick and understand their needs, with eyes full of love.” @Pontifex 10 June 2016
  • “Do not tire of asking in prayer for the Lord’s help especially in difficulty.” @Pontifex 11 June 2016
  • “Dear sick people, entrust yourselves to the Spirit who will not fail you with the consoling light of his presence.” @Pontifex 12 June 2016
  • “I invite all of the institutions of the world to give a voice to all of those who suffer silently from hunger. #ZeroHunger” @Pontifex 13 June 2016
  • “The future of society requires the fruitful encounter between young and old.” @Pontifex 14 June 2016
  • “Dear elderly friends, God does not abandon you; he is with you! With his help you are and you continue to be the memory for your people.” @Pontifex 15 June 2016
  • “Even in the worst situation of life, God waits for me, God wants to embrace me, God expects me.” @Pontifex 16 June 2016
  • “In prayer let us experience the compassion of God, full of merciful love.” @Pontifex 17 June 2016
  • “More than a scientific question, the universe is a joyful mystery that speaks of God’s boundless love for us.” @Pontifex 18 June 2016
  • “Let us join in prayer with our Orthodox brothers and sisters for the Holy and Great Council of the Orthodox Church opening today in Crete.” @Pontifex 19 June 2016
  • “We are all on a journey to the common house of heaven, where we will be able to admire with joyful wonder the mystery of the universe.” @Pontifex 20 June 2016
  • “People are the primary artisans of their own development, the first in charge!” @Pontifex 21 June 2016
  • “Being Christian involves joining one’s own life, in all its aspects, to the person of Jesus and, through Him, to the Father.” @Pontifex 22 June 2016

Papal Instagram

Jun 212016
 

I am pretty sure there is a canonical penalty attached to licking these “Lolipopes.”

Lolipope_Francis

Lolipope_benedict

Lolipope JP2

Credit to term “Lolipopes” to @RicahrdPicardo

Jun 142016
 

Pints with Aquinas – Matt Fradd

This podcast by Australian Catholic apologist and speaker Matt Fradd is informative and fun.

If you could sit down with St. Thomas Aquinas over a pint of beer and ask him any one question, what would it be? Every episode of Pints With Aquinas revolves around a question, a question that St. Thomas addresses in his most famous work, The Summa Theologica. So get your geek on, pull up a bar stool, and grab a cold one. Here we go!

This is a very professional sounding podcast and Matt Fradd’s enthusiasm for the faith in infectious. He does not shy away from hot or sensitive topics and sticks to what the Church teaches through the lens of the Angelic Doctor. When I recently became aware of this podcast I went back and listened to the archives. There are currently 12 shows roughly half an hour long.

Fides et Ratio – Fr. Chris Pietraszko

I was introduced to this podcast via Matt Fradd’s podcast. Fr. Chris Pietraszko is a newly ordained priest in the Diocese of London.

This podcast is a series of recorded lectures and homilies. So the audio quality is not the best, but the content is excellent. Very solid theologically and goes deep.

Called to Communion – Dr. David Anders

Dr. Anders use to hold the EWTN Open Line slot on Thursday and I grew to totally enjoy his show. He is a convert from Presbyterianism. I just love the way he articulates the faith and a joyful manner in which he does. I was delighted when they started to podcast his daily Monday – Friday show “Call to Communion”. While mostly this is a Protestant call in show, I still enjoy his insights and how he answers questions. I must admit to being envious of how he rapidly summarizes in a complete but concise way.

Previous Recommendations

Jun 142016
 

An already tense relationship between the world’s two most powerful Argentines became more so recently when the pope rejected a sizable charitable donation to an organization he backs from Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri. The reason? In addition to possible concerns over the donation’s political overtones, a communication from the pope to the office of the nonprofit, according to the Vatican Insider, had a postscript: “I don’t like the 666.”

The proposed amount of the donation was 16,666,000 Argentine pesos, or about $1.2 million to Scholas Occurentes. The strange specificity of the sum, which contains the number many superstitiously believe can invoke the Antichrist, left some wondering whether the donation was really a troll of presidential proportions.

Macri and the pope, who used to be the archbishop of Buenos Aires, hold differing views on matters of policy, especially the austerity measures that center-right Macri has introduced to stave off critical levels of inflation. An article recounting Macri’s trip to the Vatican in February was headlined “Pope gives Macri a frosty 22 minutes.”

In the world of Vatican reporting you never quite know the truth. But this is what Vatican Insider at lastampa.it is reporting. It certainly seems it is possible that this is epic trolling by Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri.

Now since it is the Washington Post covering the story you can expect some ignorance.

The strange specificity of the sum, which contains the number many superstitiously believe can invoke the Antichrist,…

Yes most Christians believe saying the number might accidentally invoke the Antichrist, just like saying Bloody Mary three times in front of a mirror. Doh!

Pope rejects Argentine president’s donation of 16,666,000 pesos because of the ‘666’ part

Jun 142016
 

So I had noticed a social media acquaintance had published a book, and so bought it in the interest of friendship. When it comes to self-published books I have lost some of my prejudice towards them as I have found some exceptionally good ones.

Specifically I am speaking of Vikings at Dino’s: A Novel of Lunch and Mayhem by William Duquette who blogs over at Cry ‘Woof!’.

The initial premise is that when Michael Henderson goes to lunch a band of Vikings trash the place performing all kinds of mayhem, and this happens every time he goes out to lunch. He starts with a Douglas Adams quote which sets the tone. Now I do enjoy when a funny premise is taken advantage of and that is certainly done here. The comic tone of Michael as he deals with these unpleasant intrusions of murderous Vikings was pretty funny at times.

What I did not expect that the story would evolve to a extremely good Science Fiction story. He brought the premise out of the comic realm into believable situation. This was expertly done. Even better he took what might have had average time travel elements and did something new with them. Done in a way that time travel paradoxes had nothing to do with the story at all.

Being aware that William Duquette is both a lay Dominican and a programmer I was not surprised to find some elements of that in the story. So there is some philosophical treatment of understanding the mechanics of what makes this a SF story. The central protagonist also being a programmer provides a partial problem-solving worldview in dealing with this odd situation. This aspect is totally integrated into the story and make it a better story. As a programmer myself, it certainly made me smile at times.

This was just an excellent novel that fired on all cylinders. That took basic tropes and built upon them developed characters. There was much in this novel I did not expect, but nothing I did not immensely enjoy. I really really hope this novel develops into sequels since it is easily one of the best things I have read this year. So for selfish reasons I urge you to obtain this book, because I want more!

Jun 132016
 

If your city is being besieged by criminals and you need to protect your city the best way is with the Magnifcat.

This is kind of an antithesis of the story in the Old Testament of the fall of Jericho. For seven days they marched around the city, with seven priests at the head, and marched around the city seven times.

To protect your city you do something similar by saying the Magnifcat seven times.

My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her lowliness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.
He puts forth his arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy,
the mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever.

Because everybody knows to protect your city from outlaws you need the Magnifcat 7.

Jun 082016
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 9 May 2016 to 8 June 2016.

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

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Let us pray together for the Jubilee for Priests from 1-3 June. Visit http://www.im.va/content/gdm/en/live.html@Pontifex 2 June 2016
  • “Our priestly life is given over in service, in closeness to the People of God, with the joy of those who hear the Lord.” @Pontifex 3 June 2016
  • “Let us hear the cry of the victims and those suffering, no family without a home, no child without a childhood.” @Pontifex 4 June 2016
  • “The Saints are not supermen, nor were they born perfect. When they recognized God’s love, they followed it and served others.” @Pontifex 5 June 2016
  • “We need to discover the gifts of each person: may communities transmit their own values and be open to the experiences of others.” @Pontifex 6 June 2016
  • “In this age lacking in social friendship, our first task is that of building community.” @Pontifex 7 June 2016
  • “Let us protect the oceans, part of the “global commons”, vital for our water supply and the variety of living creatures!” @Pontifex 8 June 2016

Papal Instagram