RCIA 2

So last week I started my RCIA classes, having attended two so far. This is a quick, rough sketch of the experience so far. They are very small, last week was me and two other people, this week it climbed to me and three other people. There is supposed to be two other people who are going to miss a few weeks. So the class is a total of six people and the instructor.

I wish the class were larger just for atmosphere. But, considering that it is in the mountains in western North Carolina, six really isn’t that bad!

The teacher is, though rambling at times, quite informative. This is good as I have read quite intensely on the subject for several years now and a more popular, common approach would be hard to sit through.

You are given a block of the Catechism of the Catholic Church to read for the week (last week was a hundred pages!) and then the instructor gives an hour and half talk and about a half hour video. Frankly, I could do without the video. I am rather philosophically minded and am not moved by popular testimony. The presenter in the videos is googly-eyed and goofy so it gives a cultish feel to the presentation. Perhaps it is helpful to the others. Frankly I would prefer going more into hypostasis and other such topics.

I think the Catholicism series by Bishop Barron (and his Pivotal Players) would be better. However, I have seen them already so…

Don’t make it easy! Don’t dumb it down!

These are the resources for the course:

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Companion to the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Didache Bible (Midwest Theological Forum)

Daily Roman Missal (Midwest Theological Forum)

The Catechism of the Council of Trent

The Catholic Catechism: A Contemporary Catechism of the Teachings of the Catholic Church, by (the Venerable) Father John A. Hardon, SJ [highly recommended]

Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, by H. W. Crocker III [an excellent history]

Except for the Didache Bible I already own all of these resources. Although I have never cracked the Daily Roman Missal.

I use my Verbum program for the CCC reading because all the footnotes and annotations and abundant cross-references are a click or mouse hover away and eliminates the need of books two and three. It also means I don’t need a Bible sitting next to me as there is one in the window next to the window with the text of the CCC. Also available is the full context (the complete works actually) of any references to the Church Fathers.

This will be quite challenging in a few weeks as NaNo (Nation Novel Writing Month) is coming up. I missed last year on account of a busted back. This year I’m all in!

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I’m Back!

Hopefully for good this time. I’m on a four day a week, ten hour a day work schedule, so I should have time to do extracurricular activities like writing (I wish it weren’t a luxury but facts be facts, ma’am) and posting here. It won’t be a lot. Even today I didn’t get done with house stuff until about half an hour ago.

I even batted out a few chords the other day to the tune of AN ALTOGETHER UNSERIOUS BREAKFAST. Only a fragment and I keep those all in a giant mega-file like a guitarist would keep riffs. Keep rolling those fragments and things slowly come together after awhile. I would have wrote more of it at the time, but I was already three hours late for bed and I don’t have a slacker job. Here is the fragment (I have no fear this will be stolen!).

What a strange, strange world I live in. Not your world, no. Your world is as normal as normal gets. Which is to say it is completely Continue reading “I’m Back!”

Objectivism Revisited…Sort of…

Early Sunday morning wandering around on the internet waiting for the wife to wake up. I suddenly think to myself, “Hey, let’s go visit that Objectivist forum I used to post to years and years ago.”

So I did. There are still some of the same people there having the same discussions. That’s not surprising, nor does that in itself say anything. I still comment on Mr. Wright’s blog and have been for nine years.

I ran across a discussion topic Is It Proper to Address a Priest as “Father?”

Except for one, the responses are drivel. The question itself is drivel. Who cares about an address? I was always astounded at the questions Objectivists could ask. One question at a Peikoff lecture was, “is it ok to say good morning to a priest?” Another was: “Is being a mother anti-life?” This last the lecturer, Peikoff, had the good sense to respond that you could make a very good case for the opposite.

I had forgotten the ignorance, the haughty pride, and dupability of the Objectivist mind. That was my mind.

Here is some choice cuts from the discussion.

-I would feel that I was degrading myself by calling him “father.”

-I’m 15 so I’d run as fast as I can from them. (IT is witty though.)

-Expecting me to call someone I don’t care for Father (and agreeing to be called “son”, back) is a bit more than expecting me to be polite.

-The term Father is intended to be more than titular. It is intended to capitalize on the respect most people hold for their own fathers. In my opinion that is nothing more than a dirty trick.

-Maybe you should change the question to: “Is it proper to address a catholic priest?” :dough:

-Seriously though, I personally would eat shit before willingly calling a priest “father”. I find the term insulting TO ME.

Note most of these people likely have no idea what a priest does, their education, their duties. No idea of Church history except for common misconceptions and half truths.

The third comment is telling. “Someone I don’t care for…” You don’t care for someone based on what they do? I get if they are a hitman or something, a no good bum. But you do not care for a person because they are a Catholic priest? I submit I never had this allergic aversion when I was an atheist and I was as ignorant as these poor folks. After listening the likes of Fr. Pachwa, Bishop Barron and others, I have nothing but respect for them. Consider also one of the great philosophers, Aquinas was a priest. Consider the foundations of modern science were all made by men of the cloth, genetics, the big band, etc, etc.

Anyway. Going back and looking, I do not even recognize myself among them. Their words and thoughts are foreign and illogical to me. I know at one time they were not.

The Great Adventure Catholic Bible

A new acquisition on the way this week. It is a Bible that is organized (thought the books and all text are in same order) in a way that is to be more easily grasped in its broad outline.

I note it says it has an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat through the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis. This means absolutely nothing nowadays (not saying anything about Saint Paul and Minneapolis Archdiocese specifically but about the value of the Imprimatur and the Nihil Obstat). I learned this from the first Catholic study Bible I owned which, though stamped with those credentials, should have been declared anathema so demythologized, secularized and simply wrong it was. So much so that I, having little knowledge of the Bible, Christianity, or, even, Catholicism, at the time, knew it to be in error. But this isn’t specifically a study Bible as the link shows.

I liked the idea of collecting within the overall book itself. I think, following Bishop Barron, of the Bible as a library with books than simply a book itself as if it is just another book like Grapes of Wrath – a library of many genres. And, just like a library, this one seeks to have some system of classification that is part of the make-up of itself. A lot of times, if it is not simply a straight forward Bible, these points are only buried in addendum articles at the end of the Bible or at the beginning of each book within it.

It can be quite difficult to never be in the same book that you are studying.

It seems (and this is why I am taking a chance on it) like it follows a modern textbook approach to organization (when I say modern, that is probably 20 years ago or more) with a lot of shout outs and visual cues.

I’m going outside my usual translation confines here. I usually stick with Douay-Rheims or KJV (original not any new fangled). This one is Revised Standard Version – Second Catholic Edition. I tried some RSV-SCE at BibleGateway.com and it seems to read alright. I miss a little of the Shakespearean art but it at least it is not some gender-nuetral abomination! Sad thing is (outside of the abominations, that is) is most of us are ill equipped to really tell the advantage of one translation over the other on a verse by verse basis. I can judge that “the quick and the dead” is more lyrical than “the living and the dead” but I do not know Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, nor Latin (ok, a tad Latin, but nothing functional). I generally follow a form of the coherence theory of truth when judging texts. Does this mesh with what I know? Does it fit?

The BibleGateway, btw, rocks. Input a chapter and verse (or an entire chapter) and you can get it in any number of different languages and English translations – over a hundred it looks like at a glance.

Another reason I got this is I needed a functional everyday Bible.  I have my Biblica Sacra which is the the Clementine Vulgate Latin of Jerome in one column with the Douay-Rheims version in the other column, but that is a cumbersome hardback and I use it for the Latin. Then I have a pocket sized Douay Rheims leather edition, but my eyes are so bad I can’t see the print without an effort.

To digress, I do have several other Bibles, but they are mainly collectables (also several digital copies). I was in the need of a good, functional Bible. Hopefully, I have found it.

I’ll unpack it when it arrives and give a review!

Scattered Life

I have a particular problem that is getting worse and worse as I get older. I am one of those people (and I am sure everyone knows one) that starts many, many things – and finishes close to none of them. This problem is getting so bad for me that I have some six books that I am simultaneously reading and getting nowhere with. I have stories that are sitting around with anywhere from six sentences to sixty pages – all of them sitting around (with very few exceptions) in first draft form.

I just went on my Catechism Class.com site and see that the last quiz I took (for Institution of the Holy Eucharist) was from April of 2017, and I started the course in 2013!!!

My reading of the Bible will take probably until the year 2099.

I have no problem getting the daily stuff done, the chores. I never miss vacuuming, balancing the checkbook, etc, etc. But then – what happens? Now, even blog posts are something I can’t seem to get to.

And now my complete lack of discipline and time management has to compete with a 40 hour work week. Gone, oh gone, are the 23 or 25 hour work weeks (including the 16 hour work weeks, I will miss those most of all).

I can barely seem to muster up the discipline to write to my sponsored child!

I think what I will do is I will complete each and every one of these objectives. And perhaps I should write a to-do list everyday. I have had a free schedule today, for instance since 12 pm, it is now 3:30pm. I’ve been on the old internet.

I think I will make a goal first and foremost, since it seems to be the most delayed, to finish the catechism classes. Funny, I think there is a little procrastination in this. The classes are heavy in reading Aquinas’ arguments, and they can be quite tedious. I am pretty sure I have done enough outside reading in those five years since I started the course that I could just blaze through all the quizzes now.

CATHOLICISM by Bishop Barron

Today starts the free viewing of Bishop Barron’s CATHOLICISM series. One episode a day for the next ten days for free. I have seen clips and he takes you around the world showing various aspects of the Catholic faith in action, in building, in beauty – and maybe other things, but I’ve only seen clips.

The only other thing I know about it is it pissed a lot of PBS viewers off when some episodes showed several years ago. It would be like Darth Vader showing a documentary series on the life of Emperor Palpatine!

Anyway, I will be enjoying it!

Absence

I’ve been spotty on posting this first month of 2018. I would say I am still reeling from the butt splatter that was Star Wars: The Last Yedi, but I buried that carcass in the backyard and moved on.

This generation cannot write and does not know what a story is. I leave them to their message fiction.

I’ve got several projects in the works  (one really important one) and I am in a reading frenzy at the moment.

I am finishing up Will Durant’s CAESAR AND CHRIST

And Thomas E. Woods HOW THE CATHOLIC CHURCH BUILT WESTERN CIVILIZATION

I am also doing a reading a St. Luke’s gospel with four different commentary books. That’s about a verse a week.

Also following Jhn C. Wright’s LOST ON THE LAST CONTINENT serial from his website.

In the bullpen I have Stanley Jaki’s SCIENCE AND CREATION whose work follows some early 20th century French historian’s work – his name escapes me at the moment.

And followed by A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH TO THE EVE OF THE REFORMATION Volumes 1 – 3 by Philip Hughes (he died before he could go any further – but hey, the reformation, what a cliffhanger!)

And of course when I finish Durant’s Caesar and Christ it is onto his AGE OF FAITH

And through all of that – writing.

And love the dog.

I could comment on current events but… Why?

He Said What?

I was rereading one of the articles I posted about in the prior post, the one entitled The Ten Commandments Rationally Considered (it was renamed to The Ten Commandments: Not Freedom Friendly).

It would take me days and days to get through all the double-think and make-believe the author goes through to squeeze in his Objectivist narrative of history. But one thing stood out.

Near the end of the article, Cline is quoting Rand (who else doth quote?) and her religion as primitive form of philosophy jig. [Note: this is a core historical assumption of the Objectivist. I merely pass over it, it is a category error – charitably. I don’t think Rand was that obtuse. The two can, obviously, overlap, but they are not the same thing.]

After quoting her view he goes on to make the following incredible assertion:

By way of illustration, religion can be compared with the stick men children first learn to draw; a fully rational philosophy, absent any form of mysticism and reliance on unsupportable assertions, should then lead them to create the likes of Michelangelo’s “David.”

The context is the failure of modern philosophy to provide a rational basis for the proper representation of man (and of this part I still agree with Rand, modern philosophy is a titanic failure in that regard and most else).

If one knows anything about Michelangelo (he was a devout Catholic, even more so as he grew into old age) and about his work in general, one wonders if he is saying Catholicism is a fully rational philosophy? What is he trying to get across here? Who is this David? It is David of the Bible. But it wasn’t a “fully rational philosophy” (not by Objectivism’s definitions) that produced David, neither in subject nor in its creator. No. What produced David is the wooly mysticism and irrationality of the Church to describe it in Objectivist terms.

If you were to ask Mr. Cline to explain how the opposite of rationality, i.e., faith produced the zenith of art, and subsequent, secular philosophy did not, he would have an answer. And it would involve a story about St. Thomas Aquinas reintroducing Aristotle into medieval culture and the subsequent triumph of reason over faith and that the depiction of David in sculpture is the force of reason acting upon subjects of mysticism.

To understand that, one would have to go into the tale of history as told by Rand and most other secularists. It is a false story of course. And it leads men like Mr. Cline to say the absurd as the quote above illustrates.

New Acquisitions

Someone please stop me!!

First pick-up was:

I love C.S. Lewis’s work in general and his theological work in particular (although do I prefer Chesterton over Lewis? hmmm). And how can I pass up a book that contains an essay titled “Fern Seeds and Elephants.”

Second Pic was:

This is from 1954 and is pre-Vatican Two. It has some lovely (and some rather homely) art in it and a wealth of information on many things Catholic: stations of the cross, extreme unction, baptism, the thingamabobs that make up a priests “uniform”, etc, etc.

In the Missal (a thing I still find hard to penetrate conceptually) they give you the years 1954 thru 1972 instead of using a generic system by which you identity which of the possible fourteen calendars you are in for any possible year, say 2017? Can you imagine someone throwing this set out and getting a new one in 1973 because they ran out of years?

Ah, and the smell of the set. That old book smell. I don’t know what it is. Do books that come out now end up with that smell? Is it the ink? This is a closed box set so the aging of the pages and ink and binding is somewhat preserved in a hermetical atmosphere and the tones are that much more sweet. You can’t get that out of a digital book. And they will always be at a loss for it.

But it proves a nice thing to begin the day looking them over.

But as it is I am four weeks into N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God and I am only on page 67. My reading slows to an absolute crawl during allergy season and my waking hours are usually less than sleeping hours.

Of course a crawl is about 200 pages a week, but it has been all fiction as I can’t attain the level of focus required for Wright’s subject at this time. I hope the Cottonwood clears up by next week.

Interestingly, my wife has just recently started to suffer from seasonal allergies and she is hating it. “This is what you have been living under all these years?! I feel as if I’m having a stroke!”

Yeah, love, it sucks big time.

This Catechism is Tough!

A few months ago I restarted my online catechism class after a two year break for school.

These Catholics are real ballbusters! One subject, out of seventy-nine subjects (I think it was the Transfiguration lesson) had seventy-four pages of online reading material. This consisted of sermons from Church fathers such as St. Augustine, sometimes a modern homily around the subject, biblical passages, material from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, The Baltimore Catechism (which I think had to have been for children). And then, usually to top it off, questions from Aquinas’ Summa. And that last ain’t easy reading. And then, for at least the Gospels and Life of Christ module, two chapter’s from Bishop Fulton Sheen’s The Life of Christ.

This last is usually a pleasure for the man wrote as he spoke, which is to say, superbly.

But, moly, you’d be almost an expert after all of this, no? How is any Catholic ignorant after going through all of this?