Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guest Post - Fr. Glen Mullan on the Boston Bombings

[Fr. Mullan is a priest of the diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas.  This was his homily for the Fourth Sunday of Easter.  He has graciously allowed me to reprint it here in full.]

I have been following news reports regarding the two brothers who bombed innocent people in Boston.  They were Muslims whose Youtube accounts featured videos calling for the death of Americans, Jews, and Christians, and the establishment of worldwide Islam.  One of their innocent victims was an 8-year old boy, who had just made his first Holy Communion. 

          Our nation struggles to understand this violence and evil.  Each time there is a tragedy, the response is to tighten security, implement more screening, or create laws to outlaw guns.  Since “9-11” in particular, this has been a constant progression:  more laws, more limitations, more fear, greater costs.  Will it help?  How do you protect yourself when someone is motivated by irrational hate?

          People are lost today, clearly.  First of all, these terrorists, indoctrinated in Islam.  From early childhood Muslims are indoctrinated in the teachings of the Koran, which confuses violence with zeal, and confuses service of God with hatred for the unbeliever.  And while not every Muslim succumbs to this false doctrine, the warped worldview of the Koran certainly sets up an environment in which the irrational spirit of violence can and does flourish. 

          These young men, and so many others around the world, raised in the ways of Islam, were lost – unimaginably lost and confused and misled by a lifetime of indoctrination in teachings that do not lead to life, but only to death and destruction

          But it is not just these terrorists who are lost.  It is the secular American society as well, which cannot appreciate the root of the problem, because it cannot appreciate the religious and spiritual realities at hand.  Even when the root of the problem – the errors of Islam – stares us in the face, our society and media find it difficult or impossible to address or name the issue.  It’s not “politically correct.”  Our society can never get further than what is “politically correct.”  The fact is, Islam is not good for people; it is not good for children, it is not good for young men filled with zeal, it is not good for a society that seeks to live in peace. 

          The media will attack Christianity without any qualms, even trying to imply that the pro-life message of the Gospel fosters violence; or that the pro-marriage teaching of Jesus fosters hatred and intolerance.  All of which is false.  But little will be said with regard to the Islam underlying the terrorist’s motivation: a religion which, unlike Christianity, does indeed foster both violent hatred and intolerance. 

          Why the silence?  Why the inability?  Because secular society is also lost.  People raised in our culture without religion, or with an anti-Christian, anti-Catholic bias, have little spiritual foundation for confronting the very strong spiritual forces in a religion such as Islam.  At most, secular people have a vague kind of new age spirituality that focuses on being nice to others and protecting the environment, but has little sense of objective truth, eternal law, and ultimate judgment before God’s throne.  This is not enough to confront spiritual evil. 

          Secularism focuses only on improving one’s life in the world, it has no understanding of eternal destiny and eternal consequences.  Secularism lacks the heavenly vision of St. John in today’s second reading, from the book of Revelation: “I, John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.  They stood before the throne of God and the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hand.” 

          The 8-year old little boy who was killed by a bomb last week, had just celebrated the waving of palm branches during Holy Week, and put on his white garment for Holy Communion.  Now he joins that great crowd before God’s throne, taking his place as a martyr of the Lamb, since he grew up and lived – and died – as a victim of hatred for being what he was, a Christian. 

          So between Islam on the one hand, which is lost and misled by a doctrine that fosters violence; and secularism on the other hand, which is lost and misled by a doctrine that denies religion and the judgment-seat of God’s throne, you have Catholics.  Catholics are in the middle, caught between these two false roads, and very often Catholics themselves become confused and misled, either becoming attracted by the seeming zeal of fundamentalism; or being seduced by the false complacency of secularism. 

          But Catholics have to avoid both errors, and if we remain true to our faith, we will be a guide for both sides.  That little boy is a witness both to his terrorist murderers on the one hand, of the doctrine of Christ which teaches peace, and even love for one’s enemies; and to the society on the other which denied him the right to pray in school and accused him (and all Catholics) of being a bigot for being pro-life and pro-family. This young man was a shining light because he followed Christ, and Christ leads his flock on the correct and true path, the only path that leads to human fulfillment and eternal life. 

          “Jesus said: ‘my sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”  Jesus is the Good Shepherd, the one true Shepherd who is not a hired hand out for his own glory.  Jesus is the shepherd who lays down his life for his flock, instead of asking his flock to murder one another for him.  Jesus comes to protect and safeguard the good, precisely from the false teachings and distortions spread by the false prophets and false shepherds we see all around. 

          That little boy who died, is safe.  He lost his life in this world at a tragic young age, but he is safe for eternity.  He made his first confession, purifying his baptismal robe to its original glory; he made his first Holy Communion, being nourished on the Bread of Life which conquers death; and like his Lord he passed through a death of cruel violence.  But death is conquered already by his faith, which is the faith of the Church.  He was a member of Christ’s flock, and Jesus will lose nothing of what the Father has given him.  Christ will keep us safe. 

          How do Catholics respond to this tragedy?  Certainly we can examine whether laws and policies might make our communities safer, but that would only be the tip of the iceberg, and in fact does not really get to the root of the problem.  The true solution is found through the Gospel of the Good Shepherd.  Unless we hear his voice and follow him, and feed on the green pastures and restful waters to which he leads us, we will not conquer violence or death. 

          Our task is threefold: first, renewing our own faith in Christ.  Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me.”  Do we hear the voice of Christ and follow him?  Can we honestly say that Jesus knows us as a member of his flock?  In other words, is our Catholic faith ‘for real’?  That is the first task. 

          Secondly, we have to evangelize our secular culture.  Excluding religion from our society will not bring any good.  Only with a strong religious and moral foundation can society find the resolve to deal with such threats in ways that are just and righteous, and not simply react to them in fear.  We can’t continue to elect and empower secularist people to lead and guide us, who undermine religious liberty, marriage, and the family by implementing socialist and anti-life laws. 

          Third, we have to evangelize those who have strong religious faith, but whose beliefs are erroneous and distorted.  This we do by understanding our own faith well, and being able to articulate it in a coherent way, not just through good argument, but also through the concrete evidence of a good life.  Christianity is not just a ‘feel good’ religion, it is the serious truth about man, and the truth about God.  Without the knowledge of the Holy Trinity, we do not have full knowledge of man as a person.  Without knowledge of the Incarnation, we do not have full knowledge of sin’s consequences, and the gift of salvation.  If we love our neighbor, we have a duty to present the Truth, and call them to the Truth. 

          Christ alone is the Good Shepherd; the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Even at 8 year’s old, that little boy in Boston knew more than Islam could ever teach, and more than all the media and politicians will be able to figure out.  Jesus says, “I know him and he follows me.  And I give him eternal life.” 

Paradoxes of Faith

So The Poet gets on my nerves.  But he writes again ...

Faith is not a big thing.  It's a little, hidden thing that most of us are ashamed of.  
I am suspicious of those who parade their faith, who dress it up and put it on a float and ride it down Main Street with fanfare.  Faith is not that kind of thing.
Let's say your Lady had banished you - a misunderstanding: you were drunk, she was offended.  She had every right to expel you from her presence; you never deserved to be there in the first place.  
Let's say you hadn't seen her since the mountain top.  You were trudging through muck and mud and she was somewhere beyond your vision.  When the rain pelts you and the wind chills you and the hunger becomes unbearable; when the gin makes you cry instead of laugh, here's where you find that little imp called faith.
You know somehow she loves you, loves the song you sing; you know that the Playwright has placed her there, though even she, like the Haughty Princess, gets distracted by the wrong things (or annoyed at your presence) and looks away.  And even that turning aside, even the banishment, is a grace - for she knows you cannot yet stand in her presence and sing, not when the clefts and bars won't hold you, not when your music becomes a jumbled mess.
But everyone around you tells you she's not there.  She's a figure of speech, a poetic convention.  She's a fiction you've made up to suit your own stupid longing, a sop to soak up the loneliness of the empty hole.  
Faith is not so much handling snakes or preaching good sermons or showing off your stigmata.  
Faith is that little tiny hidden child that remembers, and knows that it has seen, knows that what it has seen is real - even when it can see no more. "We walk by faith and not by sight" for we have the "substance of things hoped for", we have "the evidence of things not seen"- thus even blind and stumbling, I press on, for to deny her is to deny existence itself.
That stubborn, little, loving hope - that's faith. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Time to Teach and a Time to Kick Then in their Teeth

Many of you are still mad at me that I make no quarter for Holocaust deniers, thinking that what these folks need is just good plain patience and reasoning, someone sitting down and holding their hands and explaining to them calmly and serenely that the Holocaust happened, and that it was not the fault of the Jews.

Maybe this will help explain my position.  It's from an email I sent to a Facebook friend.

There is at the root of antisemistism something that's not able to be educated, in my opinion. When a Facebook commenter says, "The Jews elected every president since WWII and the Jews assassinated JFK," there's nothing to say to "educate" that man except addressing the demon he's dancing with, "Get thee behind me, Satan." 
Take yesterday. I'm on the fence on gun control. But three anti-gun-control commenters said the following:
1. Gun control is a violation of the Tenth Commandment, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods."
2. The state has no authority to regulate arms because the state owns nukes.
3. "No pencil pusher is gonna tell me what my self-defense needs are."
Now at one point I was naive enough to think such clowns could be educated, that if we took the time we could show them the errors of their ways. But this is the internet and they are just idiots.
There is good faith and bad faith. When Paul says "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith", he is saying at least that without a good faith effort to approach an issue, no deeper faith can get in. 
This does not mean that people of good faith should not be educated. However, when it comes to the bigots who are willful bigots, well, if they resist education, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them and move on.

Could I be wrong about this?  Of course, but I've been on the internet enough now to spot red flags when I see them.

Take today on Facebook.  A friend is hailing the book Silence, which is about Catholics in Japan.  A commenter gets offended and says the book is horrible and anything but Catholic.  Intrigued, and having not read the book, I ask for reasons why the book is not Catholic in this commenter's opinion.  He says it's because the main character "apostasizes" (renounces the Faith).  "In what way does he apostasize?" I ask.

"He apostasizes apostasizes," he answers.  "I'm not going to discuss this with you further."

Well, after a few hours, other commenters noted that the main character is forced to apostosize under severe and unrelenting torture of himself and his friends.

So he hardly "apostasizes apostasizes" - in fact such a forced recantation might not be apostasy at all.

But I saw this guy waving the red flag, the red flag of "All depictions of sin are in themselves sinful!" and so I egged him on, and in his impatience and defensiveness he revealed that I was right.

At any rate, dear readers, I admit my response to some of these people and issues may strike you as judgmental and harsh, but only good faith should be met by good faith.

Bad faith should be met by moving on.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Getting Beat and Getting the Beatles

Many years ago, I was in Bardstown, Kentucky.  I was channel surfing on AM radio and I found a station playing "I am the Walrus" by the Beatles.  I stopped the car, got gas, bought some stuff in the store, and started the car again after ten minutes to hear the same station playing the same song - "I am the Walrus".

The station was playing that song on an endless loop - "I am the Walrus" all weekend long.


Yesterday, actress Maria Romine and I were driving back home from Fairhope, Alabama, and we got through about half of Mississippi listening to 780 AM playing all Beatles songs.  But playing only the left channel of each stereo number.  Thus a few of the songs had no vocals, and "Martha, my Dear" had no horns or bass, only piano, strings and vocal.  (The right channel of that song - a minimalist mix of vocals, bass, drums and horns - is much more interesting, as you can hear at YouTube).

"I wonder why the folks who run this radio station can't tell that they're only broadcasting the left channel of each song," I said to Maria.  Then I realized.

It's AM radio.

And it's Mississippi.


Today I heard "We Can Work It Out", a song that has significance for me, and a song that served as a consolation, really an answer to a prayer.

And I thought of the Beatles and Getting Beat - rather, getting beaten - by life and by our sins and by the sins of others.

The trouble with the sort of fame the Beatles had, and with the sort of affluence many of us have, is really the camel through the eye of the needle trouble.  When you're "bigger than Jesus" as John Lennon observed the Beatles were at one point, you have no boundaries.

And without boundaries, we make a mess of things.


If I've learned anything from the past nine months, it's this: you can't be happy in this world even if you follow your heart's desire.  Even the path of love, the path of beauty, truth and goodness will make us miserable if we have "disordinate affections".  Indulgence makes us miserable, not happy and certainly not peaceful - for indulgence is another word for "disordinate affections".

But "disordinate affections" means simply "love without God's order", "love without the priorities or boundaries God has built into it".  It can mean having too little affection and burying your talent in the ground out of fear; or too much affection and being too interested in the financial sense, and by analogy in the psychological sense.  It can mean putting your ego so much on the line that worldly failure means shame, dishonor and hari-kari; or pulling your ego out entirely, taking no chances and settling for a safe part-time job at Taco Bell when God is calling you to be Commissioner of Baseball and save the sport.  (St. Peter on the day you die: "Well, we'd let you in heaven, but why were you working at Taco Bell when God made you to be Commissioner of Baseball and solve the steroid problem?")  It can mean sleeping around with anyone who moves, or never going on a date because you're afraid spinach will stick to your teeth at dinner and your boyfriend will think you're an idiot.  "Disordinate affections" means too much or too little libido / Eros / philia - it means love without its proper order. And it means heartache.

If you don't believe me, look at the world around you.  What has "following our bliss" meant, now that "free love" has been available to us since the Pill?  It has meant the death of the family, STDs, abortion, perversion and misery.  As Chesterton says, speaking of the pull to perversion the hedonists of old inevitably felt ...

"The wisest men in the world set out to be natural; and the most unnatural thing in the world was the very first thing they did. The immediate effect of saluting the sun and the sunny sanity of nature was a perversion spreading like a pestilence. ... When Man goes straight he goes crooked. When he follows his nose he manages somehow to put his nose out of joint, or even to cut off his nose to spite his face." 

And when he follows his heart, he finds heartache and he puts his whole self out of whack.

Unless he follows His heart - His Sacred Heart, the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

If "All You Need Is Love" and if that love is an unbridled love of the world - a love of disordiante affection - you'll end up like John Lennon and like most rock stars who are given the strange blessing of following their hearts' desires without limit - you'll end up a hateful unhappy heroin addict who sings about "peace, peace when there is no peace" - no peace at least in your own troubled soul.

Thus the importance of mortification, sufferings, penance - at the very least they force us to stop playing God, to humiliate ourselves, and to honor His boundaries.


So always keep in mind ...

We plant, another waters, and God gives the increase.  The increase is beyond us.  The increase may be "natural", but it is from beyond nature.  It is miraculous.  It is not of us; it is of God.  "We Can Work It Out", but only if we renounce ultimate control and lay it all on the altar of the Cross.

"We Can Work It Out" when we let Him work it out.

If we're bigger than Jesus, we won't be "too big to fail", we will have failed already.

What the Blasts Illuminated

NRO has several good articles on the Boston Bombings and our sometimes very strange reaction to them.

Andrew C. McCarthy writes ...
We are in a war driven by ideology. “Violent extremism,” which is the label the government and the commentariat prefer to put on our enemies, is not an ideology — it is the brutality that radical ideologies yield. Our enemies’ ideology is Islamic supremacism. To challenge and defeat an ideological movement, you have to understand and confront their vision of the world. Imposing your own assumptions and biases will not do. Islamic supremacists do not see a world of Westphalian nation-states. They do not distinguish between Russia and America the way they distinguish between Muslims and non-Muslims. Their ideology frames matters as Dar al-Islam versus Dar al-Harb: the realm of Islam in a fight to the death against the realm of war — which is everyone and everyplace else.

The fact that you think this is nuts, or that I’m nuts for saying it out loud, has nothing to do with whether they believe it. They do — and they don’t care, even a little, what you think.

You do not defeat an ideology by hoping it will change or disappear. You have to challenge it, to make it defend its baleful tenets in the light of day.
and ...

So the most likely scenario — namely, that jihadists who have been at war with us for two decades had, yet again, attacked innocent civilians — became the least likely scenario in the minds of media pundits. Instead, they brazenly prayed (to Gaia, I’m sure) for white conservative culprits with Tea Party hats and Rush 24/7 subscriptions. As our Kevin D. Williamson quipped, the “literal Caucasians” they got were not quite what they had in mind.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Devil Makes Us Do It

The Pope, it seems, is spying on me.

I'm not paranoid or anything, but he's spying on me.  So is St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Rome has sent some albino monks from Opus Dei to watch me throughout the day.  I think they're secretly turning my webcam on and watching me via Skype at the Vatican as I sit in my underwear and type this.

How do I know?  Well, listen to these quotes from a recent CNS article on Pope Francis.
In almost all his homilies, the Jesuit said, Pope Francis talks about "the battle" people face between following the crucified and risen Christ and "falling prey to negativity, cynicism, disappointment, sadness, lethargy" -- and the temptation of the "dark joy" of gossiping or complaining about others.
Ha!  Clearly he knows my heart.  Well, leave my dark joys alone, Pope Francis!   If I want to become holy, I'll let you know.  And how about this ...
Father Blaszczak [secretary for the service of faith at the Society of Jesus' headquarters in Rome] said the idea that the devil might disguise himself as an angel also fits with the teaching of St. Ignatius, who said "the enemy" often tries to corrupt generally positive inclinations and attractions -- including the desires for love or accomplishment and an attraction to beauty -- to create despair or "disordinate attachments" that destroy interior peace end up moving a person's focus away from loving and serving God alone.
 OK, seriously.  They've been watching me - spying on my heart, at any rate.
The founder of the Jesuits was convinced, [Blaszczak] said, that "it would be the evil one who would try to dissuade us, who would say: 'That's silly. That can't be done. You're not good enough. You couldn't be called to that. You don't have what it takes. You don't have the goods to make a difference in building the kingdom.'"
And on this, the 90th birthday of Mother Angelica, these words ring especially true.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hobbits and More

Chuck Chalberg as G. K. Chesterton at Pauline Books and Media in St. Louis

Stained glass window of Christ in blue jeans - the modern everyman-as-Christ - in the chapel at St. Ambrose  College, Davenport, IA

The stations at St. Ambrose all feature the blue jean Jesus - the  modern everyman as Christ.

Jesus addresses the Wailing Women - whose children are playing cowboys & Indians.

With Joseph Pearce on the "Hobbit Hole" set of the upcoming EWTN special based on Joseph's book Bilbo's Journey.

 I have a story to go with the above photo.  This is Tolkien's office set at EWTN.  In one scene, I am Tolkien, reading from The Lord of the Rings.  I put the book down and get lost in the story.  I walk off the set onto the green screen, which, in post-production, will be transformed into a forest setting in Middle Earth.  I sit upon the green box (left) and address an imaginary figure - what will later become Frodo.

Where we were forced to stay for our performance in Fairhope, Alabama.  I guess the Super 8 was full.

No Life without Father

Colin O'Brien (right) at age 21.

As a father, I never thought I was doing anything special.

Our son Colin was born 21 years ago - April 20, 1992.  It was a day that changed my life entirely for the better.  I never thought I could love another human being the way I loved him - from the very moment he appeared.

Colin O'Brien at something less than 21.
But, dads, we all know that there's not a lot we can do - especially in those first few months.  The mother is so much The Mother that we all, I suspect, have a sense of our inadequacy.  We just kind of stand around and scratch ourselves, and change a diaper or two, clumsily at first.  It seemed to me as if my contribution to fatherhood passed in a fleeting moment of abandon nine months prior, and that there was really nothing left for me to do from that point forward.

Of course, later in life, fathers become very important - but I don't think we dads ever quite realize how.


Last Sunday, the great Anthony Esolen spoke at the Credo Dinner in St. Louis.  His theme was fatherhood as indispensable to culture and civilization.  He mentioned Hofni and Phineas, Eli's sons, priests in the temple (see 1 Samuel), who "know not the LORD", but instead are "sons of Belial" - which is to say, sons of no-father.  The lack of the presence of the father in their family (Eli is their biological father, but he is ineffectual as a father figure) as well as in their cosmology (they are, practically speaking, rank atheists) turns them into nihilistic materialists - into brutes.  And when even priests abandon the Father and His Faith, disaster results.  Their infidelity results in the loss of the very presence of God the Father among the Israelites - the Arc of God is captured during their priestly reign.

Anthony Esolen at something more than 21.
Esolen drew comparisons with literature (Telemachus' fatherless plight in The Odyssey) as well as in current events (our entire culture - see Detroit).  And of course when fatherless anarchy spawns "sons of Belial" who threaten our very existence, the State steps in, becoming the totalitarian father, controlling us and enslaving us more and more to "protect" us from the nihilism that a culture without fathers produces.


Another father - Father Mitch Pacwa - spoke to me about this very theme at EWTN this week, where I spent several days filming two specials hosted by Joseph Pearce, in which I portray J. R. R. Tolkien, the first of which is scheduled to air this December.  Fr. Mitch quoted some appalling statistics on the effects of a civilization without fathers - which is ultimately no civilization at all.  He managed to make me quite convinced that the Dark Ages are in fact upon us and that the Church has more of a challenge than even we pessimists realize.

In other words, before long the whole world will be Detroit.

Fr. Mitch, whose cowboy hat is older than Colin.

But forget Detroit.

Civilization is alive and well in Trussville, Alabama.  Of all places!  We Yankees find that hard to believe, but I experienced it first hand, as, on Wednesday night, Joseph Pearce and I attended the ACTA Community Theater production of - get this - Life with Father.

Life with Father is a delightful comedy, based on the book by Clarence Day.  It holds the record as the longest running non-musical in Broadway history.

Poster from the movie starring William Powell.  The play is even older than I am.
The play tells the true story of the Day family, living in New York in 1893.  And while it's a light comedy, it deals with two very important themes - how does a son find his independence, particularly from a father who is a bit overbearing; and how does the self-made man get saved?

The first question is dealt with very cleverly in the script, as the young Clarence struggles to earn $15 to buy himself a suit, for in wearing his father's hand-me-downs, he finds himself unable to do anything his father wouldn't do.  This marvelous and simple symbolism of clothing as identity finds its fulfillment in the final moment of the play, when Clarence, finally in his own outfit, self-bought and self-paid-for, becomes his own person.

But actually the suit is not bought and paid for by Clarence.  In a bit of funny numbers-juggling, the resources for Clarence's independence - the money for the new clothes - in a round-about way comes from his father.

This is simply a way of showing how we are all dependent on grace.  We can never earn our own salvation, or work our way up to our own identity.  We cooperate with the gift, but the gift is always, ultimately, from the Father.

And thus the second major theme of the play - can Father, the self-made man, the typical American, the pragmatist - can Father be saved?  He seems certain of it, but his certainty is based upon his self-confidence; heaven will not be denied him, for he has earned his way in, and if he hasn't, he certainly has enough pull to work the system and land his rightful place.

This becomes the main element of the plot, as the family discovers that Father - whose parents were 19th Century "free thinkers" - was never baptized.  Of course the play remains a light comedy and does not deal with theology in a heavy handed way, but the themes remain, and even the question, "Can baptism be effective without repentance?" is dealt with very subtlely and effectively.  For although Father never literally kneels (not even at church), he does so figuratively more than once during the course of the action.

The play was directed by Theater of the Word actress Emily Lunsford (who is profiled here), and was very well staged.  Perfectly cast, the performances of Howard Green as Father, and David Gregson as the Anglican priest were especially noteworthy.  Matt Mitchell as Clarence is also quite charming.

Emily's entire family is in show business - at least at the Community Theater level.  Her little brother Joseph and her little sister Lucy are stand outs in Life with Father - Lucy in particular steals the opening scene as the much maligned maid.

And it is always a joy for me to go to Alabama and to see two wonderful families - the family of workers-in-the-vineyard at EWTN, and the Amazing Performing Lunsfords.


And so, today, as I ponder my 21-years of fatherhood, I realize more than ever that without the family there is no civilization, and without the father, there is no family.

So look up, fellow fathers.  We dads are more important than we suspect.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Love and Fear

When we become motivated by fear, we cannot love.  But perfect love casts out fear.

I say that to those of you with ears who can hear.  Perfect love casts out fear.

It seems I had a prelude to what would later become a Dark Night of the Soul for me last April, beginning with Divine Mercy Sunday and lasting about a week.  From my journal, last April ...

Yesterday at Mass at the Cathedral, I saw the two branches - one is the Old Adam, who selfishly and stubbornly clings to dominion in a world of his own making, king of his house of cards, with the King of Kings crucified and absent ("Let us kill him and seize on his inheritance"); the other is the New Adam, the new creation (Jesus breathes on His apostles as the Father breathed into the first man), born to inherit by adoption the nature of God, the new nature of Perfect Love.

And today I add ...

  • Irrational hatred, like that of antisemitism, is borne of fear.
  • Not taking risks when preaching the gospel, even if you have an apostolate that spends, say, $48 million a year to do so, is borne of fear.
  • Slavery to sin is borne of fear.

Is fear keeping you from reaching out, from taking risks, from loving with all your being, from reconciling with a friend, from saying you're sorry and proving it?  Let go of the fear.

Is fear keeping you from doing serious penance - even penance that might last a full year - and from seriously turning from the sin that gave birth to your penance?  Let go of the fear. 

Is fear keeping you on a hamster wheel of control and busy-ness?  Let go of the fear.

But you can chase it out only with something to replace it.  Cast out fear.  Love.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Eponymous Enabler

From my combox here, in the midst of comments on "Jew haters" ...

Tancred said...
I'm more worried about Catholic haters like the moral dwarves who populate this blog.
April 12, 2013 at 5:34 PM
Blogger Kevin O'Brien said...
Tancred, above, who refers to me and my readers as "moral dwarves" is the author of The Eponymous Flower blog, and is furious with Dawn Eden for being a Jewish convert to the Faith who points out that one should not take reports by Holocaust Deniers without extreme skepticism, if at all. He also characterizes Simcha Fischer as "hysterical", when she condemns antisemitism with a firm and unwavering voice.

Here's how Tancred argues (bear with me; my comments in red) ...

"Furthermore, a hysterical Simcha Fisher utters a demand that there ought to be some kind of public outcry against the evils of anti-Semitism. We’ve noted in the past here on this blog that it’s difficult, if impossible, in great part because official mouthpieces don’t help much, that violations of Catholic doctrine, liturgical rubrics, veritable insults against Christ Himself, go unpunished and unanswered by those in positions of authority time and time again, while faithful priests are punished in turn, sometimes at the urging of people like NCR and Patheos bloggers. ..." 

Who is he talking about here? Our criticism of Fr. Corapi? What "faithful priests" are we bringing down? 

"... We expect that even if there is an official concern about unfounded charges of anti-Semitism by Neoconservative journalists ..."

What the ??? If the bloggers he's referring to are anything, it ain't Neoconservative. And "unfounded" charges of antisemitism? Mr. Tancred, read my posts on this, read what my rad trad friends are saying about the Jews on Facebook, read your own stuff and tell me this is "unfounded".

" ... we’re not sure how they would enforce a principle which isn’t part of the deposit of faith or if a canonical proceeding could handle such a thing."

I may be a "moral dwarf", but I'm taller than this guy.  Tancred is actually saying NOTHING IN CATHOLIC DOCTRINE PREVENTS JEW HATERS FROM HATING JEWS (when in fact everything in Catholic doctrine does) AND EVEN IF IT DID THERE'S NOTHING IN CANON LAW ABOUT IT!  Unbelievable.

"In any event, many real violations of doctrine take place virtually every day and go unpunished, so we can’t imagine how this charge of anti-semitism could be enforced even if it were the problem the often emotive Simcha Fisher insists it is."

Tancred, I don't give a fig if a bishop condemns people like you and other antisemitics and apologists for Jew Haters. This is not a question for the Church hierarchy. It's a question for the normal and sane laity. It's time we got off our asses and showed you and your ilk the door. Bishops and priests? No, moms and dads and neighbors. Those are the people who should condemn you and those like you who are making room for and excusing this vile poison.

In other words the gist of Tancred's argument is as follows - "It is wrong to get emotional about Jew haters when there are so many liturgical abuses going on and anyway Holocaust Denial is not a position contrary to Catholic dogma so why bring it up?"

Tancred then goes on in boldface to encourage his readers ("moral giants", I presume, as opposed to my readers) to complain to EWTN for publishing the National Catholic Register. 

So, remember, friends, the problem is not antisemites in Traditionalism. The problem is the bloggers who point it out.

ADDENDUM - April 20, 2013 - This will make more sense after you read the comments below.  Mr. Koob is hereby publicly invited to correct any misrepresentations of his views that I have presented.  I will allow him to post anything in this combox, without any editing or censorship from me.  In addition, as I point out below, he has his own blog, which gives him plenty of space to make his views clear.  The Eponymous Flower ... http://eponymousflower.blogspot.com/ .

The following appeared on Facebook within the last half hour.

  • Cyril W. Koob I’ve attempted to contact you privately. I think you should respect my wishes and stop attempting to publish my name or misrepresent my views. Thanks.

  • Kevin O'Brien Cyril W. Koob, I am not touching the blog post that you commented on, nor am I deleting your comments or Mark Shea's. Your views are not misrepresented. If you think I am slandering you, have your lawyer contact me and "attach my assets" as you've threatened to do to Mark Shea. Since all of my assets are liabilities, you'll actually improve my current financial situation, if you attach them. 

    You have the combox of that blog post to make your points clear, if I've misrepresented them. Have at it. So far you've simply engaged in petulant name calling. Oh, and by the way, if "effeminate brood parasite" is not slanderous, then neither is "apologist for Holocaust deniers". I give you free rein in that combox on that post. Oh, and you've got your own blog, so have at it.

    Meanwhile, if you contact me again on Facebook, I will be blocking you. And stop emailing me.
  • Cyril W. Koob I think you need to respect my wishes, sir. I’ve been more cordial than you deserve. Have a nice day.
  • Kevin O'Brien You are blocked.
  • Cyril W. Koob I have no wish to be associated with your blog, or to be addressed by your falsfiable claimes.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I'm Not DENYING the Irish Potato Famine ...

Kevin O'Brien · 17 followers
6 hours ago · 
  • I'm not DENYING the Irish potato famine. I'm just saying it wasn't all THAT BAD.