The Fearful Descent

Tory anarchist

Richard M. Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences, published in 1948, was one of the books that (so it’s often claimed) helped define postwar American conservatism. Today the title, which wasn’t even Weaver’s — he planned to call the book The Fearful Descent, but his publisher insisted on something less pessimistic (see also Kirk’s Conservative Mind, which was originally to have been The Conservative Rout) — is a cliche among movement conservatives, many or even most of whom have never read Weaver’s succinct, 190-page book.

How much of a relationship is there really between Weaver’s thought and latter-day conservatism? Perhaps a pretty strong inverse relationship. My host last week when I spoke on “Where the Right Went Wrong” at North Carolina State University was a very principled student named James Lawrence. Although I didn’t recognize his name immediately, I was familiar with his work from long before my…

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Fast facts for fasting

Praying for Peace in Syria

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has called for a day of fasting and prayer tomorrow. And to help people prepare, the U.S. bishops have posted a quick guide on what fasting entails:

For the two days of the year when the Church requires fasting of Catholics (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), the parameters of the fast are given as: “When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal.” Catholics may, of course, eat less, but this is considered the minimum required.  

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Fast facts for fasting

Praying for Peace in Syria

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis has called for a day of fasting and prayer tomorrow. And to help people prepare, the U.S. bishops have posted a quick guide on what fasting entails:

For the two days of the year when the Church requires fasting of Catholics (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), the parameters of the fast are given as: “When fasting, a person is permitted to eat one full meal. Two smaller meals may also be taken, but not to equal a full meal.” Catholics may, of course, eat less, but this is considered the minimum required.  

View original post 354 more words

Kristeva’s Declaration of Dependence: On JP2

Cosmos the in Lost

The only thing better than exposing famous atheists as believers as I did with Sartre and Camus is enlisting the help of atheists in unpopular ecclesial causes.  I sense the tide has turned, especially for Neo-Cons, on John Paul II.  Their attempts to baptize capitalism and every American war with the aid of JP2 have fallen short.  A surprising number of them now busies themselves taking the same sorts petty pot shots at Wojtyla they once hated from liberal Catholics (I won’t stoop to linking their attacks).

I would argue being in the crosshairs of both sides of the theological spectrum is a good place to be.  But don’t let me make the argument.  I’ll let Julia Kristeva, an atheist, feminist, and psychoanalyst make it for me. (She also appeared at the 2011 World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi.  You can read her call for peace…

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Acquainted with the Night: The Art of Jerzy Nowosielski (An IMAGE Journal Essay)

Here’s an artistic blast from the past.

Cosmos the in Lost

What follows is an essay I published with IMAGE Journal with the help of the Starmach Gallery in Krakow (You too can own a Nowosielski!).

IMAGE needs your generous emergency donations more than ever. They are in serious financial trouble through no fault of their own.  I know many of you read IMAGE, so please step up.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,
But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

—Robert Frost

Lately I’ve become acquainted with the night coursing through my veins. Like any good diabetic, I have to draw murky drops of blood several times daily to measure my sugar levels…

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Catholic-Bashing: America’s Last Acceptable Prejudice (Vis–à–Vis the Fortnight for Freedom Campaign)

Cosmos the in Lost

[The contents of this post have been slightly modified for this repost.]

Systematic prejudice in America is rightfully in the spotlight again after yesterday’s verdict in Florida. The reaction to it reminded me of an article by Philip Jenkins, a sociologist who is America’s most even-handed commentator on religion. The article below summarizes the argument of one of his most important books The New Anti-Catholicism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice.

The irony is that anti-Catholicism is so pervasive in the United States that it’s invisible. The biased coverage of the priest sex-abuse scandals is one recent example that’s also the subject of another book by Jenkins, Priests andPedophiles. 

I also dug out this article because of a bigoted anti-Catholic comment today on my Kristeva post by someone named “Frank.” I initially wanted to respond to it, but the whole thread landed in this blog’s trashcan. I…

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A True Opium for the People is a Belief in Nothingness After Death!

A message from beyond the grave from the poet Czeslaw Milosz who died on this day in 2004.

Cosmos the in Lost

When was the last time any of you (who don’t attend fundamentalist churches) heard a good and theologically sound hellfire sermon? The last, no the only one, I’ve ever heard was in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Here it is in its glorious entirety if you need a memory refresher (BE AFRAID!):

Over the last two centuries Hell has been banished from the Catholic imagination more effectively than Adam and Eve from Eden. I suppose the last blows came sometime during the long 19th century dominated by Napoleon, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, and Feuerbach.

The infernal trenches of World War I gave hellfire a slight rebound. The whole messy experience cast hell from oblivion back into our world, but not the underworld. It became a truism to say that people not infrequently make hell on earth. The concentration camps and gulags of World War II…

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