Sunday, November 29, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
This morning, David Wheaton was on challenging people to call in and discuss OSAS, aka "Once Saved, Always Saved". He said that the most convincing argument in his mind for it comes in the tenth chapter of the gospel of John:
My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
Aside from the knee-jerk apologetic reaction, the "Yeah, but we can take ourselves out of his hand", I decided to think a little deeper.
The foundation of his argument hinged on the statement that he believes that "Those who have really been saved are saved", as in "those who have truly decided to follow Christ are saved". But that leaves the question, assuming his assertion is true - How do I know that I have truly decided to follow Christ?
I think most people who follow OSAS assume that they have, but I have met a couple of people who have fallen away for a time and have come back. That leads them to believe that they weren't really saved in the first place, and then they realize that they can never really know if they are currently saved, or are they one of those who will fall away again?
Let's look at the verse in John. The key to the argument is this: "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me." So if we are really his sheep, then we hear Jesus' voice. But how do we hear Jesus' voice?
After this the Lord appointed seventy[-two] others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
In this verse, Jesus demonstrates the Church. This group of people he has called and sent forth to proclaim the good news. Those who listen to them, listen to Christ. How do the sheep hear his voice? Through the Church!
But one may argue that the "Church" is nothing but the set of all believers in Christ, and in one sense it is, but that is not the Church that Christ established. He established a visible Church made up of true teachers, not an invisible Church made up of true believers (as many non-Catholics believe). How do we know this?
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
Jesus said "IT". The gates of hell will not prevail against "it". He didn't say "the gates of hell will not prevail against "them".
We sheep hear His voice, and the voice is His Church, the Catholic Church, founded upon Jesus and all of His teachings. And the teaching of the Catholic Church is that, unless we are predestined, that we are most certainly not "Once Saved, Always Saved."
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Do you celebrate Veteran's Day or Martinmas? I'd like to see us blend those traditions together. After all, St. Martin was a veteran, and a little more of a celebration is called for.
Speaking of Veteran's Day, Amy Proctor reports that President Obama still can't make up his mind about what to do in Afghanistan. His "thinking" this strategy over during the two bloodiest months of the war ought to remind voters that elections matter.
On the abortion front, Jeff Miller calls for the wall to come down between social justice and the pro-life effort. Amen. And Michelle Malkin points out the 14th victim of the Fort Hood shooting that the media will never count.
So, you may ask, why is Obama dithering while our military personnel die? Why is there a wall between social justice and the right to life? Why can't the media note the 14th victim? All such questions are answered by that very long post I wrote on the liberal dialectic. Please read it and never question these absurdities again.
UPDATE: Father V. does an excellent job of explaining the logic that favors abortion. Bravo! Along with finding the nearest common ground, true dialog on any important issue must start with defining the argument from the other side, with terms that both sides can agree on. Now, which pro-abortion blogger will step out an do the same from his side?
Can it be that we could exist as a country where one’s conscience can be the determining factor? The question becomes can a people live in unity where one sees a soul-less life to be treated as the “host” wills and the other who sees a person with legal and God given rights of peace, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
I don't expect to see much of a reaction from the other side to an honest debate. That's something that historically hasn't played itself out. Those who subscribe to the liberal dialectic believe that all is fair to champion the oppressed, lies included. The truth is something to be feared. To date, no one has yet explained the pro-choice position on the beginning of life and stuck around to defend their logic. It won't hold up. Unless, of course, someone is honest about it. Then it holds up logically, but opens a new can of worms that would unify the nation against the practice. That's why a close, honest examination of the issue is avoided. In the liberal mind, the end is what matters, and it will be achieved by any means deemed necessary.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Our family marks the liturgical calendar at our Grace Before Meals. Following the typical "Bless us, O Lord..." we add a little verse to remind us of the season or the liturgical day. We don't do that for every day, just for the Solemnities, Feasts, and special saints. The rest of the time, the verse is to remind us of the monthly devotion (e.g. the Holy Name in January) or the season (Advent, Easter, etc.)In the last year, I reformed the verses using the old Roman Missal (from the Introits, Graduals, Communios, Vespers, etc.). Even though we follow the new calendar, I just like the language and liturgical choices of the old Missal.
Just to give you a for example, here are some verses from Palm Sunday through Divine Mercy Sunday.
Passion Sunday Hosanna to the Son of David - Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord
Holy Week The zeal of Thy house hath consumed me - And the reproaches of them that reproach Thee, fell upon me
Holy Thursday A new commandment I give unto you - That you love one another as I have loved you
Good Friday It is consummated - And bowing His head, He gave up the ghost
Holy Saturday The Lord is my portion, said my soul - Therefore will I wait for him
Easter Sunday Christ our Pasch is sacrificed, Alleluia - Therefore let us feast, Alleluia
Easter Octave This is the day which the Lord hath made, Alleluia - Let us be glad and rejoice therein, Alleluia
DM Sunday After eight days, the doors being shut, Alleluia - Jesus stood in their midst and said: Peace be to you, Alleluia
And so it goes. No, we don't memorize them. We have our handy spreadsheets nearby to help. Eventually, the monthly or seasonally verse gets memorized, and we ignore the spreadsheet. That always leads to missing a day or two (sorry Simon and Jude!)
My favorite verse in the spreadsheet is the one for November 9th. This one goes, "How terrible is this place! - It is none other than the House of God". To be honest, the reason I like it is it makes me giggle. Yes, I find it funny because of the alternative, and more used, meaning of "terrible", and I can't help but glance at the messy kitchen from the meal just prepared.
The whole Introit goes as follows:
Terribilis est locus iste: hic domus Dei est, et porta caeli: et vocabitur aula Dei.Followed by the signature doxology, and repeat.
Ps. Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum! concupiscit, et deficit anima mea in atria Domini.
How terrible is this place? this is no other but the house of God, and the gate of heaven; and it shall be called the house of God. (Genesis 28:17,22)
How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord. (Ps. 83(84):2, 3)
It is interesting that, at least in the mass text (I haven't checked the Divine Office) that first part, the part that makes me giggle, is no longer a part of the liturgy. I have to say, that's sad. It's not sad that I don't get to giggle at mass. After all, the New American translation, I believe, is "Awesome" instead of "Terrible". But it is a verse that reminds us of where we stand in the church. Should we need a reminder? I'm sure Mary never needed one. But the fact is that I forget vastly more than I remember. When Israel uttered those words of Genesis, he trembled in fear. Even though we might not, it is important to remember that we should.
I think one of the most impressive fruits of Vatican II is the three-year cycle for the Missal. In pre-conciliar years, there was only a one-year cycle, and each mass had only one scripture reading before the Gospel (either a Lesson or Epistle). Today, we get much more of the Bible at mass, and it's truly a blessing. But unfortunately, something always falls out. The Mass of the Dedication of Saint John Lateran, much like other Masses of old, used to be named from the first words of the Introit. It is almost as if this Mass has lost its identity. And as one looks through the old Missal, it's easy to see a lot more. One can see why we used to be a much more militant "Church Militant".
I am grateful that we still have the old mass out there. As our Sacred Liturgy continues to evolve as the years go by, I do believe the current retention of the old form will act as a stabilizer for the new form as it undergoes future changes. I don't know for sure, but I think the bishops and the laity were so anxious to cut the old form loose that they had no idea what they were tossing aside. Thus, we've seen some pretty crazy things since then, most notably in the liturgy. In the old form, the rubrics seem to be universally respected. I sure wish the same could be said for the new form.
Our English-speaking bishops are really making strides in the right direction, returning language to the liturgy which will lend itself towards greater respect, maybe even a little trembling now and then. I pray for a successful transition, with full ascent from priests and laity. I hope that will lead to other changes. Like priests turning their back on the people, unafraid that they will turn back again and see the pews empty. Like a Latin Credo, chanted. Like a glorious organ reverberating during the recession. Beautiful altars! Pews that face the same direction! And sit lower than the sanctuary! Pianos and guitars shoved into the closet! Parishioners who say, "Yes, Father, I'm on it!" instead of "Why don't we try this..." Cats and dogs, living together!
My apologies. I got carried away again.
I'm sure there will be trouble. While we as a Church should proceed with caution and charity, like Jacob, we need to remember whom to fear.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Well, it is customery in my politically correct culture to make certain I stress that my uncompromizing hatred of Islamic terrorism is not transposed the followers of Mohammed. Faithful Muslims have my deepest respect. Please return often.
Of course, not all those in Punjab are Muslim. A modest Catholic presence resides there. Regardless of your faith, I welcome you and am honored with your visit.
For my Christian visiters, I offer this:
For any new Muslim friends that drop by, I offer this:
Ad Majorum Dei Glorium!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Then I remember the years leading up to 1989. The
people who brought that victory about were not defeatist or compliant.
A former Hollywood actor, undaunted by ridicule and
the compromising lethargy of his own party; a Soviet prisoner, Alexander
Solzhenitsyn, reaching from the frozen tundra of the Gulags of the Soviet Empire
and wounding the omnivorous bear with a simple pen; an iron lady in England,
Margaret Thatcher, who didn’t get the memo about the demise of capitalism and
the rise of the Marxist dialectic; a rough and crude Polish shipyard worker,
Lech Walesa, who led a workers’ revolt against the Worker’s Paradise, encouraged
by another Pole, John Paul II, who on his appearance on the world stage bade the
world to throw open the doors to Christ and who, without tanks or military
resources, stood face to face with Soviet puppets who literally trembled at his
calm articulation of the Truth.
It is a remarkable testament to the human thirst
for freedom under such hardship and against such odds—in the midst of
deprivation and with guns pointed at them—all they were able to achieve, these
mothers and fathers of freedom. Their example calls us not to acquiesce to the
softer, more insidious and seductive tyranny of our own time, but to redouble
Their example also calls us to remember what too
many of us today have forgotten: We are beings with a destiny both in and beyond
this world—a destiny which can only be worked out in human freedom.
Then citizen uprisings began that year. It wasn’t just Berlin. Before the wall fell, also in 1989, citizen movements in Hungary and Poland managed to force multiparty elections, and lo and behold, the communists lost. Soon after November 9th of that year the Velvet revolution toppled the communist government of Czechoslovakia and citizens gained control of the military forces in Romania, closing out 1989 with the hasty executions of Nicolae Ceausescu on Christmas day.
The news was fast and furious and there was giddy hope for the future. Of course, not all was well, as Yugoslavia and China did not adjust well to this new paradigm. Nevertheless, such a stirring victory for human freedom was deemed a fantasy. Looking back, was it not for the courage of men and women who believed in God and our inheritance of Western Civilization, such a glorious day as the fall of the Berlin Wall. The multitude of heros will never be counted in this life, but three names resound today; Reagan, Thatcher, and John Paul the II.
Looking at Reagan in particular, I can only state what I remember from my high school and early college years. It seemed as if he was on an island of his own. When he made his famous speech at the Brandenburg Gates in 1987, many people unduly influenced by the media shrieked with embarrassment that we had such a fool as our leader. I was one such person. His foreign policy was reckless, so we said. And his senile mouth was even more dangerous. We couldn’t wait to rid our nation of this dolt.
Ronald Reagan, to his credit, subscribed to a traditional American school of thought which recognizes the dignity of the human person. His critics, for the most part, do not. They would never admit to that, but the liberal dialectic reduces the person to a set of traits based on accidents of birth or inclinations. And it has so pervaded American thought that I don’t think, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, that we could in our age so valiantly participate in such a noble endeavor.
Recent news mocks this momentous anniversary. I could apply this to the current debate over healthcare, but instead, since other bloggers have written well on the Fort Hood massacre, I will piggy-back on that and look to contrast the weakness of our current times with the strength of the previous generation of leadership.
Former Education Secretary and Drug Czar Bill Bennett zeroed in on this earlier today.
I give you the words of two German Chancellors: Helmut Kohl and Angela Merkel.
When the wall came down, Helmut Kohl told President George H. W. Bush: “Without
the U.S., this day would not have been possible. Tell your people that.” And
last week, Angela Merkel said this:
I think of John F.
Kennedy, who won the hearts of the Berliners, when, during his visit in 1961,
after the wall had been built, he reached out to the desperate citizens of
Berlin by saying, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” I think of Ronald Reagan, who, far
earlier than most, clearly saw the sign of the times and, standing in front of
the Brandenburg Gate, already in 1987, called out, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this
gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” This appeal shall remain forever in
I thank George Herbert Walker Bush for the trust he
placed in Germany and then-Chancellor Helmut Kohl, offering something of
immeasurable value to us Germans already in May 1989: partnership in
leadership. What a generous offer 40 years after the end of the Second World
“Forever in her heart,” “partnership.” “leadership.”
“Immeasurable value.” “Generosity.” That is what the United States of America
stands for, that is what this country dedicated to a proposition stands for.
That is what our men and women in uniform fight for.
…Last week the
battlefield showed itself in one of the most unimaginable places: Ft. Hood,
Texas. We don’t need to wring our hands and our brains to try and figure out the
motive of the terrorist, when someone fires on Americans, killing as many as he
possibly can, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” that is all I need to know. The
question of motive need not be asked, especially not when you have further
evidence of devout religiosity, and vocal criticism of our military missions in
our other battlefields, like Iraq and Afghanistan: all of which was true of
But there are questions to be asked and I suspect many
of the answers will be unsatisfying — I also suspect we will see memos or some
kind of paperwork on Nidal Hasan that will prove embarrassing to officials in
the FBI, our intelligence services, or the military. There are many stories to
relay relating to Hasan — here’s just one, reported
by the AP: “Fellow students of Hasan in a military training course
complained to the faculty about Hasan’s ‘anti-American propaganda,’ but said a
fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from
filing a formal written complaint.”
This last part is one isolated example that showed Maj Hasan had no business on duty. Had this man been a non-Muslim and spouted right-wing hatred in this manner, there is no doubt he would have been stripped of his commission and been closely watched by the FBI, if not incarcerated. As ironic as it sounds, this man could not be treated as if he were a potential Islamic terrorist because he was a Muslim. It sounds silly, but you know that it is true.
This insane political correctness has continued in Orwellian fashion in the aftermath. From President Obama to the talking heads on most of the cable shows, the association of the man’s professed religion and his actions, though obvious to all, has been ignored.
We were instructed twice by the president not to “jump to conclusions”. Of course, that means we aren’t supposed to jump to the obvious conclusion. But, not much more than an hour after the first rounds were discharged into our innocent service men and women, the FBI had no trouble declaring that terrorism wasn’t involved. The media then “jumped” into full gear “conclusion” mode, speculating that gunman was a victim of discrimination and post traumatic stress syndrome (despite his lack of deployment to a combat theater). This is a good roundup of the media “jumping to conclusions”, other than the obvious. The obvious, that this man is a traitor and an Islamic terrorist, is avoided. Days later, it’s still avoided.
The same flawed thinking that fought President Reagan every step of the way has had 20 more years to metastasize and pervade more and more of our institutions; media, education, government, the Church, and even the brave world of our military. So what is going on here? Why is this insanity taking over?
Let it be said that liberals are principled. They just don’t adhere to universal principles in certain, and very important, matters of right and wrong. Dr. Jose Yulo wrote a very short and profound post, the key to unlocking the mind of the liberal, and all of us who are susceptible to it.
The motivation behind the massacre still remains mysterious. What is
intriguing, however, was the quickness with which some news organizations began
the narrative of a soldier ridiculed because of his ethnicity, ultimately
cracking and lashing out in a rage against his perceived persecution. Making
matters more interesting was the possibility of the murders carried out because
of post-traumatic stress, an unusual possibility to say the least since, by
latest account, the attacker had not yet been deployed overseas and therefore
had yet to experience the fire of combat.
Perhaps unknown to its various authors, the roots of this narrative run
deep and parallel to the precedents set forth by certain philosophical schools
in the last century. Paramount here is the dichotomous worldview ham-fistedly
established by Marx and perennially finding converts among cultural elites. The
dialectical clash between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is often
chameleon-like, assuming the suitable color and hue to fit the assigned
In the liberation theology of Paulo Freire, the
paradigm of the oppressor and the oppressed takes form as the basis for the
Brazilian's distillation of Socratic dialogue into "conscientization." In this
third world setting, members of the latter class are made aware of their
assigned status and encouraged to rebel, sometimes violently, against the former
since, as Freire claims, rebellion is an "act of love."
Integral in this school of thought is the belief that group membership
in the oppressed class, even removed by both time and current economic
conditions, permits for a looser interpretation of moral norms, enabling a
historically underprivileged group the license to "correct" their plights by
means restricted only by their creativity.
Read the whole article. It’s very important, especially if you’ve ever found yourself questioning the liberal devotions to abortion, reverse-racism, the labor movement, environmentalism, anti-capitalism, sympathy for foreign and domestic communists and terrorists, the peace movement, and a paranoid fear of an imperial United States. In every case, you can cast a group in the role of the bourgeoisie and the opposing group in the role of the proletariat. It’s pretty simple, then, to understand the thinking.
For example, let’s take abortion. In this case. men (that is All Men) are the oppressor group and women are the oppressed. It is clear that there has been a history of male oppression over the physically weaker sex. That is universally understood. So now, with that history, women can be defined as an oppressed group, even if much of that oppression has long past. As an oppressed group, they bear no responsibility for anything they do as a member of that oppressed group. It’s simply a reaction to being a victim. Children, in fact, limit the potential of women to combat this inequality with men, an inequality which renders them victims. They are forced to live pregnant for nine months (something not inhibiting men), nurse (again, something men could not do, even if they wanted to), and nurture the children through their young youth. This limits the potential of a woman who desired to pursue her own career, compete in a male world, and reach what they consider a place of respect. Therefore, abortion is a required option. A) It’s perfectly moral to rectify inequalities and B) even if it were not moral, a woman is a victim and cannot be held responsible for her actions.
You might be tempted to wonder why unborn children are not considered an oppressed class. That’s a good question that needs to be explored, and once answered, could be used to convert more liberals to the pro-life cause. But as my wife, a sociology graduate student, remarked, there have to be hierarchies of the oppressed to order the thinking of elites, and currently woman occupy a high tier than the unborn. My guess would be that woman are outside of the womb, and therefore can complain about their oppression, whereby the unborn cannot. It could be as simple as that.
Please understand, I was once a liberal myself. Having converted through the course of the 90’s, I have to say that I cannot understand my own thinking. But this is how I think it starts. My family was in most ways very traditional. My mother stayed at home and my father worked at the factory. We were a union family. We cared about many issues, but clearly when it came to politics, the issue that trumped all others were labor concerns. Thus, we belonged to our own oppressed class.
Thus, in 1987, I’m a huge Ronald Reagan detractor. But still, despite that, we were still pro-life, and we never subscribed to the grievances of the environmentalists, the gay community, the peace movement, or any of the other liberal groups. They were crazy. Yet, we still loyally voted for candidates who were supported by all those other groups.
I theorize that the rank and file oppressed only subscribe to their own grievance. They generally don’t subscribe to all the other grievances out there that the liberals all embrace. Take the black community as an example. They vote liberal in lock-step since they see themselves as an oppressed group, and their grievances will be addressed by they liberals. But all the studies I’ve seen show that they line up against other liberal causes; gay marriage, abortion, environmentalism, etc. Yet, much like my family, their own grievance trumps all, and that’s the way they vote.
After high school, I went on to college, and moved from being an oppressed to being an elite. Sympathy for one oppressed class can lead to the universal sympathy of liberalism. An elite sees the big picture, recognizes all these oppressed groups, and understands the need for political cooperation in order to accomplish justice for any of them. An elite does not necessarily have to belong to an oppressed class. They only have to be a champion for them. That gives their life meaning. We all want to champion the oppressed, don’t we? In return, the oppressed adopted us. We can, thus, be a member of the oppressed without ever suffering oppression. Pretty good deal, eh?
And what happens when an oppressed member decides to fight for the oppressors? The highest scorn of the oppressed and their elite champions is reserved for the traitor, people like Clarence Thomas and Sarah Palin. Feel free to earn money, social status, and fame, but never turn your back on the people you left behind.
It is a conservative reflex to blame liberals for relativism. That is unfair. As I’ve shown, the liberal dialectic is very defined. But their reactions seem relativistic, since they can see evil and fail to condemn it, as is the case with this Fort Hood shooting. That is, evil from the conservative’s perspective, one that expects people to take responsibility for their own actions and holds them accountable.
When George W. Bush declared what is now known as the Bush Doctrine (any nation that assists the terrorists will be considered as guilty as the terrorists), he was criticized as being simplistic and seeing the world through rigid, black-and-white lenses. How could something so logical be so offensive? This criticism seems kind of relativistic, doesn’t it? Well, when viewed through the liberal dialectic, we, the United States, through our military and economic strength, are the oppressors of the world. Through our support of Israel, we’ve marginalized even further the plight of the Muslim world. So the help that terrorists, who were justified in their outrage against the US, receive from terrorist-sponsoring nations should not be acknowledged, since they obviously need the help to combat the US juggernaut. That isn’t relativistic from their standpoint.
Let me be careful at this point. This doesn’t mean that liberals overtly or covertly support terrorists. However, there is a level of sympathy that prevents them from interiorly condemning them and exteriorly acting on the condemnation. That’s why the president and the media are afraid to admit the obvious, for it might lead to a condemnation of someone who wasn’t responsible for his actions.
So here we are, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and we in the United States seem to be rapidly adopting the thinking that would have prevented that wall’s momentous fall. Maybe someday I will write on the errors of the conservative dialectic, but I will have to recognize that error first. I have no doubt that errors are there (especially when I continue to hear prominent conservatives insist that healthcare is not a right), but I don’t think in this era that they are important. Right now, the call to intellectual arms needs to favor an end to this group dialectic which is destroying our ability to see and respond to the truth.
By the way, this, again, is why we homeschool.