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The Intelligent Catholic’s Guide News and Notes for Catholics

my battle against hitlerWyoming Catholic College announced that they are offering two full-tuition scholarships for four years for the Class of 2019.  Those nominated for the scholarships must attend one of two Scholarship Competition weekends scheduled for October 30 to November 2 and March 19-22. Further details available at http://www.wyomingcatholiccollege.com/admissions/founderscholarship/index.aspx.Growing in the Faith: A Bible Study Guide for Catholics is Father Mitch Pacwa’s latest….Loreto Publications has reissued the complete 12-volume set of the old Pohle-Preuss Manual of Dogmatic Theology.  Now in six books, this series was once used in many seminaries….Franciscan University of Steubenville plans a three-part symposium series celebrating the the 25th anniversary of Ex corde Ecclesiae, Pope John Paul II’s statement on what a Catholic university should be.  The first symposium, “Academic Freedom and Revealed Truth,” will be November 14-15…..From the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ publishing arm comes Call and Mission: The Adventure of the Twelve Continues which they describe as “a wonderful book to study Scripture and have teenagers and young adults delve into the Catholic faith.”…Before he died in 1977, the great Catholic philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote his memoir at the request of his wife Alice.  Now that part which covers the years from 1921 to 1938 has been turned into a new book, My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich, edited by John Henry Crosby, founder of the Hildebrand Project.

Maureen Williamson

Joseph Haydn and The Farewell Symphony

farewell symphony

A year or two ago I reviewed Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by Anna Harwell Celenza.  I’ve come across another of Ms. Celenza’s outstanding books that help introduce children to the world of music.  This one, which also has illustrations by JoAnn E. Kitchel, is The Farewell Symphony, about Joseph Haydn’s famous Symphony No. 45.

Joseph Haydn was born in 1732.  He spent nearly thirty years working for Prince Nicholas of Esterházy as his court’s music director.  Haydn composed music and was in charge of all the music, musicians and instruments of the court.  The story of how Haydn wrote his Farewell Symphony in F-sharp minor is well-known to classical music buffs and lends itself easily as the basis of an appealing children’s book.

I was not too fond of Ms. Kitchel’s illustration in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; but I found them quite likeable in this book.  They are in full color and should engage children.  Once again, the book includes a CD of its subject symphony along with Haydn’s Symphony No. 31.  Both are performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.

The author provides an easily-understood brief explanation of the eighteenth-century symphony and its history along with a note on her sources for the story of The Farewell Symphony.

The publisher recommends this book for ages five to nine; but older children will like it too.

Maureen Williamson

 

 

If Only I Had Known

I spent most of my life with no gravitous regrets.  Well I should not sound so past tense: I have no major regrets.  There are individual sins that I regret, of course, but no “regrets” of the lifestyle type, such as choice of friends, college, career moves and the like. I guess I never saw a point in regretting these decisions since I can never truly know what would have happened with all of the eventualities that could have come from a different choice.  So I was always happy with my decisions as they were.

Recently though, I found myself in the more mainstream mindset, saying to my husband “If I had known that this was coming, I would have gotten a few other things completed earlier.” I think I was discussing a trip overseas that will probably no longer happen.

This wasn’t a major life regret, but my husband saw the direction of it nonetheless.  “Don’t regret the things that you can’t do because you didn’t know,” he said.  “Regret the things that you still can, but don’t.” As usual, marrying the right person helps to illuminate different areas that were dark before. Am I taking advantage of the best opportunities God has put before me, whether small or large? What can I do, that I’m simply…not?

Paint more. Listen to classical music as I sit here and type.

(that is now righted)

Find a new way to volunteer my time that can be completed with two babies. Move a little faster through the pile of books by my bed. Reactivate my science magazine subscription, which I allowed to lapse because I was too far behind.

Perhaps the most morally invigorating decisions we make are not the ones that guide a career or a “life path,” they’re the little ones as life goes on.  Do I watch an episode of House Hunters (amusing indeed), or get another blog article written?  Here’s to writing and a little bit of self-improvement!

Christian Women Need Not Apply

Last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review (October 12, 2014) was dedicated to books by and about women.  Not one of the books was by or about a women who writes as a Christian.  Naturally.  We have Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, about which I wrote a few weeks ago, and a new book by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, junior senator from New York who, according to her website, has a “100 percent rating from the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL: Pro-Choice America.”  Along those lines, the Times also reviewed The Birth of the Pill and Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights.

I say it again:  not one book written by a woman who writes from a Catholic or Christian viewpoint.

Something Other Than GodIt’s not that there aren’t any books by Christian women that could be included.  It took me about five seconds to come up with one that would easily fit into the issue: Jennifer Fulwiler’s Something Other Than God.  If I thought about it some more, I could come up with dozens more.

Once again Christian women are given no forum in the secular world of publishing.

Maureen Williamson

 

The Intelligent Catholic’s Guide News and Notes for Catholics

EWTN will televise Father Benedict Groeschel’s funeral Mass Friday, October 10 at 10:45 a.m. Eastern time.

*****

Good piece in Crisis by K. V. Turley called “Thomas More & The Man for All Treasons.”  The subject is Wolf Hall, the infamous book by Hilary Mantel and new stage adaption of same.  In case you aren’t familiar with it, Wolf Hall is a novel about Henry VIII, Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell during the time Henry wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon to marry Anne Boleyn.  Ms. Mantel, an ex-Catholic, makes Thomas More the villain and Thomas Cromwell the hero, a neat bit of revisionist history.   Ms. Mantel, by the way, once said that, “nowadays the Catholic Church is not an institution for respectable people.”

Mr. Turley ends his piece with an interesting bit of trivia: some years ago he met a descendant of Thomas More and a descendant of Thomas Cromwell at a dinner party and both are Catholics!

*****

Conservative Catholics who have no use for Cardinal Walter Kasper’s wish to see divorced and remarried Catholics able to receive Holy Communion might want to read a piece by Roberto de Mattei on the subject.

Maureen Williamson

First Thoughts on the Synod

The Vatican Information Service is putting out daily synopses of the sessions of the Synod on the family which are available to anyone.

After reading the first few, I’ve noticed that there is a lot of equivocating going on in the discussions.

Father Dwight Longenecker (from his website)

Father Dwight Longenecker (from his website)

An example: “It was underlined that even imperfect situations must be considered with respect: for instance, de facto unions in which couples live together with fidelity and love present elements of sanctification and truth.  It is therefore essential to look first and foremost at the positive elements, so that the Synod may infuse with courage and hope even imperfect forms of family, so that their value may be recognized, according to the principle of graduality.  It is necessary to truly love families in difficulty.”

Now I am not suggesting one should be unkind to people in irregular moral situations; but let’s be clear: these couples are committing sin.  One should always leave avenues open to these people to come into or back into the Church; but let’s not pretend what they are doing is anything but sin.

Father Dwight Longenecker writes in his blog Standing on My Head:

“Of course all are welcome in the Catholic Church, but this truth is balanced by the fact that the church has a door. The sheepfold has a gate. The path has boundaries….The problem with the statement, “All are welcome!” is that too often this is perceived as a wishy washy blanket statement that includes all in a bland, politically correct sense of being nice.

That’s not the Christian gospel….The danger of this language creeping into the Synod on the Family and into Catholic culture is that a huge amount of confusion results.

‘All are welcome!’ becomes a new orthodoxy by which all priests will be tested. Young couples who are cohabiting will beat the priest over the head with the ‘All are welcome!’ shibboleth . Divorced and remarried couples will threaten the priest with a condescending smile saying ‘All should be welcome!’

Should he suggest that they ARE welcome…welcome as everyone is to first repent and then alter their lifestyle he is likely to be met with tears, anger and protest.”

“My kingdom is not of this world,” Our Lord said.  That is especially true today when basic moral precepts have become things of the past and those of us who stand firm in our beliefs are becoming more and more marginalized.  Do we do people who do not abide by Catholic beliefs any favors by not teaching them the truth?

Maureen Williamson

 

 

The Intelligent Catholic’s Guide News and Notes for Catholics

My Sister the SaintsIn My Sisters the Saints journalist Colleen Carroll Campbell tells the stories of six women saints who influenced her spiritual life…. EWTN televises The Crusades, a four-part miniseries beginning October 8 ….Vianney Vocations is a Catholic company whose mission is to help inspire more men to consider the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  To help with this undertaking they have just published A Priest in the Family: A Guide for Parents Whose Sons are Considering Priesthood….Sophia Institute Press has brought Father Romano Guardini’s Meditations on the Christ back into print…If you live in the Denver area, go see Magnificat contributor Lisa Lickona lecture on “Love at the Heart of the Family: Motherhood in the New Millennium” on October 7 in Bonfils Hall on the campus of the St. John Paul II Center….C-Fam calls the Vatican’s response to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s comments earlier this year about the Catholic Church “explosive.”  Read more about it here: http://c-fam.org/en/issues/human-life/8010-vatican-un-committee-a-sword-against-freedom-of-religion.

Maureen Williamson

Help for Our Battles with the Devil

DeceiverPope Francis recommended the other day in his homily that we “recite the ancient but beautiful prayer to the archangel Michael (one of my favorites), so he may continue to do battle and defend the greatest mystery of mankind: that the Word was made Man, died and rose again.”

The Pope’s sermon focused on Satan and his determination to “destroy man,”  how Satan uses “seduction to destroy,”  and how angels help us fight the devil.

One very good book published in this century on Satan and how he undermines us is Father Livio Fanzaga’s The Deceiver.  Pope John Paul II observed, “Each and every man … is tempted by the devil when he least expects it.”  The Deceiver expands on this, showing us how Satan tempts and deceives us.  Father Fanzaga provides advice on how we can see through the devil and resist him.

Maureen Williamson

 

Lena Dunham: What Sexual Liberation Has Wrought

lena dunhamUntil 2012 and her infamous Obama ad during the presidential campaign, I had never heard of Lena Dunham.  Now it seems that Ms. Dunham, creator, star and producer of HBO’s Girls, has written a book, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned”

If, like me, you have never seen Girls, I can tell you, that once I read a description of a particularly unpleasant sex scene from the show that appalled me.  The writer of the piece assured his audience that this was by no means the worst of what the show includes.

What kind of advice is Ms. Dunham dispensing in her book?  Here are some of her words of wisdom:  “If I could take what I’ve learned and make one menial job easier for you, or prevent you from having the kind of sex where you feel you must keep your sneakers on in case you want to run away during the act, then every misstep of mine was worthwhile.”

Modern women are reduced to this.  Liberation means fornicating, but possibly being disgusted by the act and/or the man with whom you are performing the act.  It has taken half a century or so for women to degrade themselves like this.

Chastity is not always easy.   It does not always guarantee a perfect marital relationship; but the odds are pretty good that a chaste woman who waits for marriage before engaging in sexual activity will not feel that she wants “to run away during the act”.  The odds are certainly much better than those that today’s modern women face in the world of sexual liberation.

Unfortunately, no major network or major publisher is going to pay me what Lena Dunham gets to create a TV series or write a book espousing chastity.

Maureen Williamson

New Pew Survey Shows Some Changes in Attitudes on Religion in the Public Square

A new Pew poll shows a few interesting variations in attitudes toward religion and politics.  In some ways the poll also illustrates the dichotomy between liberals and conservatives.  72% of Americans think religion is losing influence in our lives, 5% higher than in 2010.  56% of those who think this, say it is a bad thing.  Of the 12% who think it is a good thing, 34% say they have no religious affiliation.

Pew reports that “The findings reflect a widening divide between religiously affiliated Americans and the rising share of the population that is not affiliated with any religion” and further that those who are affiliated with a religion “have become significantly more supportive of churches and other houses of worship speaking out about political issues and political leaders talking more often about religion.”

The latter is not surprising.  Nor is it surprising that more Republicans than Democrats think religion belongs in public life.

Regarding same-sex marriage, 49% of Americans favor it; 41% are opposed.  Pew reports that this a slight drop in those favoring it.  50% think homosexuality is a sin, up from 45% a year ago.  47% believe that businesses should be allowed to refuse services for same-sex marriages; 49% believe they should be forced to provide services.

The most surprising thing in the survey to me is that only 18% of Catholics feel that it is more difficult to be religious in the United States today.  Where do they live?  Any Catholic – or other person – who publicly expresses opposition to same-sex marriage at the place where he works could easily be fired.  Catholic employees are forced under the HHS mandate to provide their employees with insurance coverage that is against Catholic teaching.   Do things like this make it easier to be a Catholic?

There is more in the survey.  I suggest you read it.

Maureen Williamson

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