Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

The Perennial Philosophy

The Perennial Philosophy is a philosophy not invented, but identified, by Aldous Huxley - yes, the same dude who would go on to recommend LSD as a way to gain a new view of reality. Ok, so, before he got to that point, he wrote extensively about how certain elements of thought appeared in diverse sources. The basic principles of this philosophy found among puritans and pygmies are simple. Reality is real - both spiritual stuff and material stuff, and we cannot make them whatever we like just by intending to do so, or by calling them something different. A rose is a rose is a rose, and by any other name, it still smells the same. St. Thomas Aquinas saw it. Confucius saw it, and even said that the restoration of proper names to their things was the foundation of any real reform. We have to call a spade a spade. So those are the basic principles - reality is real, and we have to call things what they are. When we get away from this path, we get into real danger, the sort of danger of a man driving a car through a shopping mall, the whole way telling his passengers, "Relax, it's just the normal 9th Street Tunnel traffic! I can handle it."

The traditional moral code prohibiting murder, theft, etc., is part of it. The same perennial philosophy, this common inheritance of humanity's common sense, also sees marriage as the foundational unit of society and prohibits those things that directly attack it, like adultery, and also those things that call its purpose and function into question, such as contraception and homosexual relationships. These things call the purpose of marriage into question because, according to the perennial philosophy whether found in the West's Aristotelian Thomism or in China's Confucism, the purpose of marriage is the begetting of children and the mutual benefit of the spouses. Lopping off one of those purposes does not merely leave a sterilized marriage, but a crippled or imitation marriage. You can call it what you like. The pioneers of our present situation called it "companionate marriage," marriage for companionship only. But whatever they called it, it was not marriage according to the perenniel philosophy.

The trick in undermining the perennial philosophy in the West has been that the worst things are saved for last. Nobody came out eighty years ago and said what they wanted for this foundational institution not merely of the West but of all human society. They didn't say that they wanted to see it virtually liquidated. They said they wanted to make it more about love. That sounded real nice, I bet. But they snuck in a concept of love that had chiefly to do with feelings, and was not so much about permanence and the begetting of children. Everything since regarding marriage has been legitimated on the basis of this new, false concept of love - love as a feeling. The problem with feelings isn't that they are bad. They are unstable. And obedience to feelings as if they were gods explains a great deal of the fifty percent divorce rate, for starters.

It's going to be hard for us to transcend our feelings and do what's right even when it doesn't feel good. We won't be able to do it on our own, and as a culture we've gone too far down this road of irresponsibility masquerading as love merely to tweak our course. We need wholesale repentence. Only Jesus can bring it. We who know we need it also need to pray for it. If the Pelosis of the world are leading us into moral oblivion, they will be held accountable. If we who think we know better don't spend hours fervently praying, by our prayers hitting the brakes, we will be held accountable for that.

St. Thomas Aquinas made the bulk of his academic career going around Europe after a man named Sieger of Brabant, who said you could have contradictory truths (not perceptions, but realities), and that whatever you called a thing, that it was. Everywhere St. Thomas went, he calmly tried to get folks to listen to common sense and reason. While he lived, he was very successful because he was very prayerful. Let's follow his example.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.

Will it work?

Vous avez de si belles mains.

So, my grad program requires that I learn at least written academic French and German for research purposes. I'd rather just learn French and German, and get the written academic variety tossed in with the bargain. I've got the SparkNotes French and German daily phrase calendars. I am beginning to think that I will need a more rigorous, and um... structured, approach.

Whaddya think?


My niece experienced her first snow day today. School was cancelled for mommy and fun ensued. She even got to sled for the first time, down the hillock in front of their house, a drop of about four feet at a forty five degree angle. Do you remember the sheer joy of such things. It's distant for me.

Dear Jesus, please increase our virtue and wisdom so that we may be young in spirit again, and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.

Marching for Life

Today, for the 36th annual time, a LOT of people turned out in DC to march from the White House to the Supreme Court of the United States to tell our rulers what we think about their murderous policy regarding unborn children.

The media, of course, made it sound as if a few dozen hooligans had turned out to vandalize the Cannon Congressional Office Building. In reality, what you will find if you turn out for it next year, is the largest annual demonstration in the nation's capital, and one in which virtually everybody is singing, smiling, and praying. It's a good time to meet old friends. Even if, like me, other commitments and callings keep you from being as fully involved in the day-to-day of this spiritual struggle as you'd like, you will find the March a good way to get in on Jesus' head-count for who cared about his little brothers and sisters in the womb. Notable especially is the large number of young people present at the March. Seeing things like this always re-energizes my hope for America.

(The picture is actually two years old, because I didn't bring my camera this time. We had blue skies and 40* this year. Nice.)

So What if He Is the Antichrist?

What should a Christian do about it, differently than if he were just a normal man with some bad policy ideas?

Nothing, I propose.

Our enemies aren't flesh and blood (Eph 6:12), St. Paul tells us, and we don't use worldly weapons (2 Cor 10:4). Worldly weapons means more than just material weapons - guns, etc. It means worldly ways of thinking and fighting. Our weapons are prayer, truth, charity, reliance on divine providence, and love of suffering for Jesus. We don't have to get too tense about the whole thing either, because Jesus has already won the fight and conquered his enemies (Col 2:15).

So what do we do?

We just keep speaking truth, praying, meeting our Lord in the Sacraments, and waiting for Jesus to come again in glory, like we've been doing for 2000 years.

Priscilla Ahn

Okay, so I don't know anything about this particular singer, except that this song of hers is really nice, in the best possible sense of the word.

So listen to this song and tell me that it isn't nice, in the best possible sense of the word. I dare ya.


This week there's a high of 32* outside. That's not cool. But can't keep me down. (That's me in front of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on the campus of my university. Freezing.)

It's been a while...

since my last post, I've been thinking. New Year's day was busy, and after that I went a travelling through the Midwest(ern U.S.) to visit family and friends out there. I got back in time for my mother's birthday and my niece's baptism, and then for classes to start.

I've had one day of classes and I am already falling behind. Swell. I've gotta take care of that, and it will take at least through Thursday to catch up. Maybe by then I'll have thought of something interesting to write.