I am getting married this Saturday!
I am very blessed and privileged to be marrying a virtuous and beautiful woman.
Pray for us.
Ralph McInery reflects on evil:
Moral theologians concentrate on the evil we bring about, on ourselves and others, and which thus has a remedy in moral conversion. But it is misfortune that takes center stage when people complain that God is not doing his job properly.(my emphasis)
Misfortune may be an unintended consequence of what we do, but it is not unintended by God. Like physical pain, it can be essential to the good. No bleeding, no bandage, no healing. Stepping for the elevator and getting the shaft, as it were, does not cease to be a rough experience when we ask why God permitted it. What is he trying to tell us through the misfortunes that befall us?
He’s got the whole world in his hand. Every little movement has a meaning all its own. Discovering what it is, approximating that discovery, and profiting from it, could be a description of the spiritual life. Not that anyone can have theoretical certainty that he has grasped God’s reason. The point of the inquiry is doing, not knowing.
Posted by Zach at 7:40 PM
Those of us foolish enough to call ourselves “conservative” are forced to admit that culturally and politically at least we live amidst less and less worth conserving.- Katherine Dalton
Although, I suppose I'd prefer the "traditionalist" appellation, if I must choose one.
Posted by Zach at 10:34 PM
In Salt of the Earth, Joseph Ratzinger remarked: “Christianity, in fact, does not have such a notion that history necessarily always progresses, that, in other words, things are always getting better for mankind.” The reason for this caution is that “history” is not independent of the choices of actual human persons who must decide whether or not to live a Christian life.
Posted by Zach at 6:58 AM
Here he is on the Obama speech in Cairo:
Just imagine: After a thousand years during which Islam and Western civilization have trod opposite paths in philosophy, science, and the most basic attitudes toward relations between the sexes and the role of work in life — and after a half-century during which Muslims have murdered Western ambassadors and Olympians, to the cheers of millions of their own — suddenly a young American seems to believe he can conjure up a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world.” How could anyone imagine he possesses such a “reset button”? The answer only starts with Yuppie hubris.
It is all too clear that Obama and his followers share one of the postmodern world’s most dangerous intellectual habits, indeed a habit that mainstream Islamic civilization adopted circa 1000 AD and that has so lowered its quality of life, namely disregard for the relationship between ends and means, cause and effect. Hence Obama told the Muslim world, “This cycle of suspicion and discord must end.” Must? Who will make it stop? How? He went on to say, “So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace,” True enough. But at the same time he preached those differences, especially regarding women. In his piece de resistence he urged his audience to “abandon violence,” because “resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed.” But his audience knew perfectly well that the U.S. government had given billions of dollars to to the Muslim world precisely because so many Muslims had succeeded in killing so many Americans. Of course they had succeeded.
Americans have only begun to suffer for having empowered a leadership class so intellectually crippled.
Posted by Zach at 10:08 PM
"Someone who finds no fascination in watching games is probably much farther away from what is highest in our human experience than someone who does, because games, like ourselves, exist for their own sakes." - James Schall
Posted by Zach at 9:58 PM
A smart analysis of marriage at an excellent new website called Front Porch Republic:
This last observation points to a basic feature of marriage that has largely been left out of contemporary debates over marriage (whether gay marriage or heterosexual marriage). Marriage is but one part of a larger set of cultural conditions. Marriage is a condition in which individuality is subsumed to the larger considerations, demands, and obligations of culture and commonweal. At the most basic level, we sacrifice our autonomy on behalf of the good of a “unit” now defined as a couple, not two individuals. At a basic level, that unit is the source of future generations - the very source and conduit for the conveyance of human life and particular cultures. But the unit is itself an expression of, and draws from, the community as a whole. Thus (as I’ve written elsewhere), marriage is entered into through the blessing of and in the presence of community, not (as Las Vegas versions would suggest) as a contract of individuals. Marriages derive from, exist for, and are legitimized by the community and culture from which they derive. Thus, in their earliest instantiation marriages had nothing to do with the wishes of the individuals who composed them. They were the arrangements by families who looked to the continuity of a way of life (and, yes, family status) rather than the individual wishes of the partners.Kinda dark, but true. Check out the rest of the article if you have time.
Even when the consent of the individuals became a central feature of marriage - an innovation of Christianity, as Remi Brague reminds us (see the last paragraph of the interview that Mark Shiffman kindly linked for us) - it was still understood by all parties that marriage was most fully a union by and for the greater community. Blessings of parents and the publication of “the banns” was a necessary precondition for a wedding. This was especially because the married couple - by committing to marriage - was not merely joining to each other in an official capacity, but was in fact becoming a constitutive unit of the community and the conduit for the continuation of culture. Marriage was thus essential to the life and future of culture, and could not be permitted to take place between two individuals who happened to love each other but who were culturally unrelated. Rather, and necessarily, marriage was the union not simply between individuals, but between two people who would convey the lived traditions of a culture - most obviously (for instance), a man and woman of the same religious faith (this is one of the main points of Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye can brook the choices of his two older daughters - even marriage to a communist - because they are both Jews. It is only when his youngest daughter proposes to marry a Christian that he withholds consent). Marriage was most essentially a commitment to a community, not the sum of personal choices of individuals.
What can it possibly mean to defend marriage when one cannot also defend or even conceive of a culture in which individualism is not the reigning basis for self-understanding? Our “debate over marriage” is emaciated and unsatisfying precisely because the contending parties - Left and Right alike - are not even capable of discerning the more fundamental issues at play, and are content to play out the drama in the most deracinated and culture-less venue imaginable - the legal brief. At the distant end of a broken connection, we debate over an institution - marriage - that carries ancient connotations but for which the cultural preconditions have ceased to exist. We debate over a dried and dead husk.
Posted by Zach at 9:40 PM