28 July, 2007

Links to the thought of the three B's

Today we feature links to thoughts of the three B's: Bede, Benedict, Brandon.

Bede finds Steven Pinker's questions not so blood-boiling as Pinker seems to think they would be. I confess myself perplexed that Pinker suggers from the delusion that we haven't been hearing these questions for years now, usually from inquisitive but ill-informed high school or university students. In some cases these questions date back decades or even centuries. For instance, I have seen 19th century textbooks questioning the historicity of the Bible.

Bede also touches briefly on Benedict's recent liberalization of the usage of the Missal of Pope Pius V. Everyone loves to refer to as "The Latin Mass", though the label is inaccurate, and many devotees of that Missal claim that they would be happier with it in English than with the current Missal in Latin. To this I would like to add, in my tiresome fashion, that

  • having attended two masses according to the Missal of Pope Pius V (discussed one here), my opinion is that the most beautiful, God-centered masses in which I have been privileged to participate occurred in monasteries that use the Missal of Pope Paul VI (for example, St. Michael's Abbey in Orange County, California and Bethlehem Monastery in Williamsburg, VA, discussed once here), and
  • the prayer for the conversion of the Jews is in the current liturgy as well. Pick up the Liturgy of the Hours sometime and read the intercessions at Evening Prayer of Tuesday in Week I, Monday in Week II, or of Holy Saturday, which in one way or another ask for the conversion of the world to Christ. If that isn't enough, the intercessions at Evening Prayer of Good Friday and Easter ask God to "lead the Jewish people to the fulness of redemption," or that "Israel" may recognize "her longed-for Messiah". Does the lack of the explicit word "conversion" make that much difference? I doubt it; unfamiliarity with the official prayer life of the Church—including a number of priests and bishops—strikes me as the more likely explanation.

Sandro Magister of www.chiesa reports on Pope Benedict's view of the chaos post-Vatican II. (English here.) Benedict compares that period to the chaos after the first council of Nicea. Unless I misread him, he summarizes two major problems:
  • a notion that the Council called for a break with traditional Christianity, which meant that people replaced the Gospel with Marxism, either explicitly or implicitly, and
  • once official Marxism collapsed in Europe, people gave up on any notion of truth or justice at all.
This second observation is supposed to explain why Westerner Europeans did not return in droves to the Church the way Eastern Europeans... well, sort of returned. I'm not sure I agree with the Pope's reasoning here, especially the way the Council was perceived in the English-speaking world, but I won't dare try to formulate an argument at the moment, seeing as how my brain is shot after I stayed up all night debugging a program related to my research. (A convenient excuse, eh?) On the other hand, I was delighted by the following point:
The Church grows with new realities full of vitality, realities not reflected in the statistics—and statistics is a vain hope; it is not our divinity—but these realities grow in souls and create the joy of faith, they create the presence of the Gospel, they create also a true development of society and of the world. Therefore it seems to me that we need to learn the great humility of the Crucified One, of a Church that is ever humble and ever opposed by the great economic powers, military powers, etc. ...[Christ] is wounded, but that is precisely how he renews the world and gives his breath that renews the Church even in spite of our poverty. In this... we can go forward joyfully and full of hope.
(Emphasis mine.)

Finally, Brandon imagines himself to be an emperor not just once, but twice! He also posted a lovely poem draft that I would like to recommend; check out the third one here. I don't usually recommend poems from weblogs, so this one has to be good, no?


Brandon said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I think the poem is a bit clumsy in parts; but that's about what can be expected for a draft, and I think "Waves" is certainly one of my more promising ones recently.

jack perry said...

Will you put it on the weblog if you finish it, or seek to publish it elsewhere?

Brandon said...

I don't know; I have difficulty finishing things like that, so we'll see if it ever gets finished. I do occasionally post re-drafts on the weblog, though.