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I apologize for the delay in getting off the ground again. My grandfather, who was 91, passed away and the past several weeks have been trying and busy on a personal level. Your prayers for his soul and for comfort for his wife and children (my mother and her brother and sister also survive him) are solicited. I was quite close to my granddad my whole life. He was warm, generous, gregarious, and one of the funniest people I’ve ever known.

My next post will be with a view toward articulating a proper anthropology, with a special emphasis on the donum superadditum.

Kyrie, eleison. Christe, eleison. Kyrie, eleison.

Sorry, I encountered unexpected delays in writing (but not in reading). I have been deeply delving into a lot of primary source and secondary source material concerning the Atonement and also concerning distributism, social teaching and economics. I am leaving town tomorrow for 10 days, but I look forward to hitting the grindstone here as soon as I get back. Blessings to you all, and may God be praised!

The Holy See has posted the latest encyclical from His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, entitled “Caritas in Veritate” [Charity in Truth]. Please feel free to comment upon it here and we will discuss it together.

I have been away for a while handling personal and medical issues, and thanks to everyone for their prayers. I anticipate being able to write more regularly now and return to some neglected themes soon. God bless all my readers!

I simply don’t know how to reconcile this with this. We’re supposed to believe that A) Biden was “the voice of reason”? and B) that the former head of the Center for a New American Security, Michele Flournoy, now the undersecretary for Defense – and administration point person for Afghanistan policy – is going to be spearheading a policy not geared toward nation-building, etc.? This is the CNAS with Madeleine Albright and Richard Armitage on its board. The CNAS with John Nagl telling us

Currently 70,000 and projected to grow to 135,000, the Afghan army is the most respected institution in that troubled country. It may need to reach 250,000, and be supported by a similarly sized police force, to provide the security that will cause the Taliban to wither. Building such an Afghan Army will be a long-term effort that will require American equipment and advisers for many years, but since the Afghans can field about 70 troops for the cost of one deployed American soldier, there is no faster, cheaper or better way to win.  [source]

I look forward to the impending announcement of a shake-up at the SEC: Michael Milken will be replacing beleaguered head Mary Schapiro. Tension is said to be mounting there, though, as new board appointee Ivan Boesky and Milken have had minor issues in the past.

I’m sure you’ve all heard about it. The new Youtube Vatican Channel has already broadcast some interesting, edifying, and pastoral material. Here’s a synopsis of the Pope’s latest Angelus message.

Politeuma, the more cultural and political joint venture by Polites, Elihu, and me is no more. It was a noble time.

Enjoy. Praise God. Pray for Fr. Leahy.

Following on the heels of both the recent discussions here and the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, A few things occurred to me.

The Baptism of Jesus by John the Forerunner (see Mark 1)  is the only time when the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity are sensibly perceptible almost simultaneously. But, could one have recorded the “voice from heaven,” if one had a time machine and a tape recorder? Could one, to borrow an idea, scientifically validate such a claim as this obviously physical one? The voice made waveforms which resonated on tympanic membranes, thus indicating an indisputable physical aspect to the phenomenon. I wonder.

What’s interesting to me is what Jesus Himself said in John 5. Starting at verse 21, but really taking notice of vv. 32 through 37, there are several startling paradoxical statements. “For neither doth the Father judge any man, but hath given all judgment to the Son;” compare with “I cannot of myself do any thing. As I hear, so I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of him that sent me.” This is, upon reflection, vexing. Does the Father judge? We are told He does not. Then we are told that the Son judges, but only as He hears. This must mean that He judges according to what He hears from us, not from what He hears the Father judging, if you follow me. There are many opportunities for meditation on this passage.

I’d like to draw a parallel, though between Mark’s account of the Baptism and Jesus’ hearkening back to it in John 5. Note that Mark tells us a voice came from heaven. Note also that Jesus (calling to the Pharisees’ and Saducees’ minds the incident at least insofar as he bids them remember the baptizer, for whom they “had sent,” and thus, with whom they were familiar) tells His audience that they hadn’t ever heard the Father’s voice. Neither had they heard Moses’, upon whom they thought to rely. And Jesus said words of all words: “Amen, amen I say unto you, that the hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.”

Recent interaction with Turretinfan on his 4th response to Jay Dyer’s criticism, for those keeping score at home:

Me:

St. Luke himself addressed your errors in chapter 24 of his Holy Gospel:

“31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him: and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? 33 And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem: and they found the eleven gathered together, and those that were staying with them, 34 Saying: The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35 And they told what things were done in the way; and how they knew him in the breaking of the bread.

36 Now whilst they were speaking these things, Jesus stood in the midst of them, and saith to them: Peace be to you; it is I, fear not. 37 But they being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. 38 And he said to them: Why are you troubled, and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and feet, that it is I myself; handle, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as you see me to have. 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

41 But while they yet believed not, and wondered for joy, he said: Have you any thing to eat? 42 And they offered him a piece of a broiled fish, and a honeycomb. 43 And when he had eaten before them, taking the remains, he gave to them. 44 And he said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.

46 And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day: 47 And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 And I send the promise of my Father upon you: but stay you in the city till you be endued with power from on high. 50 And he led them out as far as Bethania: and lifting up his hands, he blessed them.”

Obviously there is no way, according to your philosophical and (if I might coin a word) scientistic mindset to explain the vanishing and appearing of Christ, nor the supposition of the gathered disciples, nor the vivid descriptions of our Lord’s bodily yet glorified presence. You are content to live with these mysteries, yet you wish to cast aspersions of absurdity on your opponents. Forgetting that, in the fulness of time, Christ died, was buried and resurrected, you neglect to make the necessary conclusion that He then manifested in the fullest sense His glorification and full “re-entry” (as it were) into an eternal mode of being. Temporal constraints do not affect Him any longer. One of your fellow Protestants, the brilliant astronomer and astrophysicist Dr. Hugh N. Ross, wrote an excellent book called “Beyond the Cosmos” in which he addresses the “multi-location” argument and demonstrates the flaw in your logic.

As to the original point of monotheletism (alternatively: monotheletelism), you again (as with Nestorianism) imply that the heresy was improperly condemned. You hastened to add your condemnation of the tenet, but one wonders why you felt, here as before, the need to apologize in some fashion for the heretics. Monotheletism was an offshoot of monophysitism, as Nestorianism was an echo of Apollinarianism. All of them were in error, and rightly condemned. Peppering your defense with veiled excuses, as has been pointed out, tends to give rise to concern about the total adherence to the orthodox doctrine.

As an aside, I look forward to further discussion in subsequent posts about your assertion that the Eucharistic Presence is “physical,” as you put it. Specifically, I am curious as to your definition of physical, and the implications for your rejection of the doctrine of transubstantiation.

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The announcement came today from Joseph Bottum of First Things.

Réquiem aetérnam dona ei, Dómine, et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Erue, Dómine, ánimam ejus. Requiéscat in pace.