Friday, February 16, 2007

Voting for Best Blogs

It's award season for the blogs and your very own Parousian Post has been nominated in two categories: Smartest blog and best blog by a group. We're quite aware that we are deservedly longshots to win but nevertheless we'd like you to vote for us. Also be sure to vote for Paul Cat's Alive and Young blog whenever possible. The link to the voting can be found here. It does require you to make an account, but they only need an email address so it's not too much trouble. Voting ends tomorrow at noon, so please hurry!

Vote for the Parousian Post!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How to Pass Your College English Class

Paul Cat in this humorous piece gives us helpful advice on how to pass our English classes. I'm sure Emily and Ryan, our two English scholars, would agree. I would only add that his analysis applies not just to English classes but pretty much every class.

Paul Cat on Passing English Courses

Archbishop Charles Chaput: "We Need to End the Death Penalty Now"

From Archbishop Chaput's column: "The death penalty is a bad idea because it diminishes the society that employs it. It doesn’t deter capital crime. It doesn’t bring back the dead. It doesn’t give anyone “peace.” It sometimes kills the innocent. It coarsens our own humanity and sense of justice. And while both Scripture and long Catholic tradition do support the legitimacy of capital punishment in extraordinary cases, the conditions that would justify its use in developed countries like the United States almost never exist."

Ressourcement Resources

The other night I stumbled across the blog la nouvelle théologie. It is an incredible portal to all kinds of great material—from video lectures by luminaries such as Alasdair MacIntyre and Francis Cardinal George to links to the most intriguing new titles by Catholic thinkers. I don't know how these guys manage to dig up all this stuff but I really appreciate their efforts.

Maybe M. Denton or M. Danna could add a permanent link on the righthand sidebar?

Catholic Church Growing in England

Amy Welborn on how immigration is energizing the Catholic Church in England.

Can Abstinence and Contraception Coexist?

That's the question Emily Byers asks in her latest column in the Daily Reveille. I hate to spoil the surprise, but the answer is no (of course, if you know Emily it's not much of a surprise at all, but that's besides the point). Emily defends this by discussing sexuality properly ordered within spirituality, something a recent panelist on the same topic failed to do.

This might be a heated topic, so be sure to check back on Emily's column throughout the day to check the discussion on the Reveille's boards. If you can spare the time, a comment showing support for Emily would be greatly appreciated.

Emily Byers on Abstinence and Contraception.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

First Things on Pop Atheism

Good column on it here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

William Cavanaugh talks to Godspy

Go read this interview with theologian William Cavanaugh at Godspy. Cavanaugh has a thorough understanding of Catholic social teaching and a lucid vision for what the Church should be doing in the new millennium. Read the whole thing; it's full of good thoughts.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Portugal seems poised to legalize abortion

Portugal, Ireland, Malta, and Poland are the only remaining countries in the 27-member European Union to have tight restrictions on abortion. Catholic News Agency reports:

Portugal's Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates conceded late Feb. 11 that despite his party’s tremendous efforts to grant broader access to abortion in the country, a pro-abortion referendum has failed to pass due to insufficient voter participation.

With nearly all the votes counted, the referendum, which would have legalized abortion for whatever reason, up until the 10th week of pregnancy, had gained 58 percent of the vote.

However, despite a multi-million dollar campaign on the part of the abortion industry and the socialist government, only 44 percent of the country’s 8.9 million registered voters participated. Under Portuguese law, a referendum must involve over half of the country’s registered voters in order to pass.

Socrates, for his part, says he will remain undeterred in his quest to change the law in Portugal. With the failure of his referendum, the prime minister has vowed to legalize abortion by way of parliament, a body over which his Socialist party holds strong control.
I hope my interpretation is wrong, but it seems inevitable.

Screwtape #3: Praying for People

In this letter Screwtape mostly discusses the relationship between the patient and his mother. Before he goes into that however, he mentions trying to convince the patient to take on too much at once. He tells Wormwood, "Keep his mind off the most elementary spiritual duties by directing it to the most advanced and spiritual ones." While Lewis keeps this brief because it's very hard to tell precisely what is too advanced for any person at any point in their spiritual journey, it's advice to keep well in mind. This is especially true is there's a habit we're trying to cultivate. So for instance, if we're trying to devote more time to Christ, jumping from no time to a daily Holy Hour might be a bit much. Instead we need to slowly work our way up as we learn how to pray better and can ask for the graces that we need to delve further into the spiritual world.

For the rest of the letter, Screwtape talks about focusing the patient's attentions on the fault of his mother, whom he lives with. Now everyone has faults and things they need prayer for, but Screwtape cleverly twists this need into a perversion that serves his end. He tells Wormwood to use the time of prayer as a time for the patient to focus on the faults of his mother so much that the mother becomes almost a different person:

"Make sure that that they (meaning his prayers) are always very 'spiritual,' that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheutmatism...his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins...since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some respects, be praying for an imaginary may get the cleavage so wide that no thought of feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment's notice from impassioned prayer for a wife's or son's 'soul' to beating and insulting the real wife or son without qualm."

I don't know about you but I find this fairly frightening. It's simple and it takes advantage of prayers to pervert into something horrible. Perhaps the greatest lesson we can take from this is that just because something is meant to be holy, that doesn't mean it can't be made to serve Satan. However, prayer should not be that way. When we pray for God to help other people, we can't be like the Pharisee, in part praying for the other person and in part praising him for making us better than the other guy. We have to keep in mind the goodness that is part of everyone's humanity so that we don't get lost in the sins and lose the person.

So the moral of the letter is to not become so obsessed with the deficiencies of others so much that you can't see the gifts that God has given them.

Next letter: A letter dealing more in depth with prayer