Monday, February 01, 2016

Twentieth Century Martyr Leads to Twenty First Century Miracle

In a previous post, I prayed to Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río for Kathleen Parker.  Maybe a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist is a bridge too far even for one of God's heroes, but hope is one of the theological virtues.  

I knew of the young martyr's heroic sanctity.  What I did not know is the nature of the miracle that has advanced Blessed José's cause.  If you can read the story of Ximena Guadalupe Magallón Gálvez with dry eyes, good on you.  But the glory of miracles is that they are eucatastrophes: yes, the story has a happy ending!  Read it—it will make your day.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Blessed José Please Pray for Media Talking Heads Whose Attacks on Ted Cruz Display Their Ignorance

Blessed José Sánchez del Río is well on his way to being recognized as a saint and martyr by the Catholic Church, maybe as soon as Pope Francis' visit to Mexico next month.  He was the young man depicted in the movie For Greater Glory: The True Story of the Christiada and who, in some ways, stole the show.

Blessed José took his religion seriously. I wonder about the people whom Kathleen Parker says she knows who take their religion seriously.  Were he still alive, would he have been among those whom Kathleen Parker would likely have known?  I don’t know anyone who takes their religion seriously who would think that Jesus should rise from the grave and resurrect himself to serve Ted Cruz,  I know so many people who are offended by that comment.” This bit of sociology of religion came in response to Senator Ted Cruz who said "If we waken and energize the body of Christ, we will win and turn the country around."

If we awaken and energize the body of Christ,”
If we awaken and energize the body of Christ,”
If we awaken and energize the body of Christ,”
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz continues his appeal to religious conservatives. “If we awaken and energize the body of Christ,” he recently said, “we will win and we will turn the country around.” - See more at:

Quick review of Christianity 101: 

1) Do Christians believe Christ is still in a gave in Palestine awaiting His resurrection?

2) Do Christians refer to His church as the body of Christ?

If you answer "no" to 1) and "yes" to 2), you are not Pulitzer Prize material and probably not a member of the new post Protestant WASP elite who seem to run the country.  R.R. Reno analyzes them with great insight in the February First Things.  The sociologists do not study them explicitly.  Reno figures those who self identify in public opinion polls as 'none' for religious affiliation are a good approximation. He concludes, "Under the leadership of the post-Protestant WASPs who run almost all our establishment institutions, the Nones are the most dynamic force in our cultural and electoral politics. They now drive the culture wars. They’re the twenty-first-century values voters who are altering the political landscape."

Maybe we are seeing the revolt of the lowly of the world against those dressed in virtual purple.


Sunday, December 06, 2015

Rubio on His Faith

Marco Rubio was asked about his personal relationship with Jesus by an obviously Protestant audience. How many of us could respond so spontaneously and so well?

To my mind, this is not your everyday politician!

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

"The Strees of London" or is it our own streets?

Rod McTell sings his song of great poignancy, "The Streets of London," in the video below. He was originally inspired by Paris, but wrote it of London. I have heard many folk singers perform it, often substituting their own city:

Jasmine Bonnin does the song justice in her German version, Strassen unserer Stadt. This 1975 version shows her singing it:

Sunday, August 02, 2015

The Myth of the Constantinian Fall, the Myth of the House Church, and the Loss of the Sacred in Architecture


Ideas are more dangerous than men.  Men with ideas are more dangerous than those who are merely venal.

The Myth of the House Church

The word myth derives from the Greek word mythos which means "story."  Some stories are true, some false, and some just embellished.  Some stories tell us truth even though they do not recount facts.  Think of Aesop's Fables.  Nowadays, we use the term "myth" primarily for stories that are untrue.  That is the sense I will use it today particularly as such myths animate ideological folly.

There seems to be one thing that Fundamentalists, liberal Protestants, and liberal Catholics are united on: how the "pure early church" got corrupted when Constantine granted peace to the church first in the western empire and then in the east.  This myth provides the peculiar weltanschauungen of these three strange bed fellows.  

The myth proceeds as follows: In its first few centuries the church was simple and met in peoples' homes for a Eucharistic gathering that was very communal in the sense of today's suburban bon ami and bon homme.  Thus emerged the concomitant myth of the house church or domus ecclesiae, a term that never appears in early Christian literature.  The half baked experts of the 1950s and 1960s evangelized the need to return to these simple house churches.  In that era of the Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul, and Mary this led naturally to the Kumbaya, My Lord church, with all of us sitting around the camp fire and the tabernacle that houses the King of Kings exiled to a distant place like the Jacobean Prince of Wales

By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them

Architecturally, this led to the idea of very simple churches, often in the round, that emphasized the horizontal dimension of the liturgy and rejected the previous millennia of church architecture.  This mistaken archaism allowed penny pinching bishops to hire architects who built new churches by recycling blueprints for basketball stadia or similar structures. The style of these churches was austere Modernist architecture such as that of Le Corbusier conveying the same sense of the sacred as the equally functional parking lot. 

Steven J. Schloeder, an architect and theologian, demolishes this myth of the house church in an article for the Institute for Sacred Architecture, "Domus Dei, Quae Est Ecclesia Dei Vivi: The Myth of the Domus Ecclesiae." It is worth a close reading.  His research is well documented and liberates us from the sterility of our forty plus years in the architectural desert.  Schroeder's firm, Liturgical Environs PC, ( specializes in Catholic church building projects across the United States. He does what he preaches.

Note: the picture on the left is of Sant' Apollinare in Classe.  The turn around alter is a recent addition: the main altar is in the apse as befits a basilica.  Entering Sant' Apollinare in Classe or
Sant' Apollinare Nuovo give a sense that you have left this world and you have entered a heavenly world.  As Sacrosanctum Consilium teaches us, "8. In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle [Apoc. 21:2; Col. 3:1; Heb. 8:2]; we sing a hymn to the Lord's glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory [Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4]."

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Chesterton On Sex

"Sex is an instinct that produces an institution; and it is positive and not negative, noble and not base, creative and not destructive, because it produces this institution. That institution is the family; a small state or commonwealth which has hundreds of aspects, when it is once started, that are not sexual at all. It includes worship, justice, festivity, decoration, instruction, comradeship, repose. Sex is the gate of that house; and romantic and imaginative people naturally like looking through a gateway. But the house is very much larger than the gate. There are indeed a certain number of people who like to hang about the gate and never get any further."

-G.K.’s Weekly, 1/29/27