Friday, July 29, 2016

A Traditional 'Rant.'

Okay so here goes, another one of my rants long overdue.  This is a post where I pour my heart out and appeal to all people, especially bloggers, Catholic bloggers.  Much has been written over the last few years with regards to the current pontificate under Francis that we are living through.  While I may not understand all the 'ins' and 'outs,'  I refuse to bash personally the Pope.  Why am I writing this now?  Well,.. Let's just say that although there have been calls to prayer and recollection regarding Fr Jacques Hemel's recent martyrdom at the hands of ISIS, there has been more coverage and so-called humor from 'Traditionalists' with regard to Pope Francis falling.  The following is the fruit and reflection of some conversations with my buddy Richard over at Agora X . (A french blog, and a brilliant theologian btw!)

Let me say that I love the EF Mass, and bathe in the Theology of St Thomas Aquinas.  The Church exists for the Salvation of souls and any social endeavor must flow from that and not be the starting point.  I believe the Church's doctrines should be clear, and then a pastoral approach developed from that starting point.  I can't help it, I used to work as a trainer.  (A bench press will grow your chest period.  Still if I find out that the person who started training has a torn pectoral muscle, then I will need to amend the exercise before bringing him full circle.)  That example is a pastoral application of a doctrine. That being said, I have never 'hid' my colors. 

First off I believe in questioning things, ultimately it is how one finds an answer.  I do not believe that every word that the Pope issues is infallible.  I am in line with Holy Mother Church.  The most recent document 'Amoris Laeticia' has recently sparked a controversy whereby some 45 theologians respectfully asked for some clarifications.  I would probably find myself in that line.  Where I do not find myself is inside the line of total disrespect and downright maliciousness toward the Holy Father!   Some memes on facebook recently surfaced laughing at the Holy Father for falling during Mass.   My question for the Traditionalist crowd is What prompts such anger that at a human level, that you would laugh at an old man falling?  Surely the Pope is the Pope, and perhaps you would question things, as would I!  Let me rephrase the question,.. If you love Holy Mother Church as you would your mother, would you scream from the rooftops if your mother was an alcoholic?  God will judge, not me.  I think we need to focus on the intentions of the Pope, and in that light, I believe they are good.

My friends, please understand that this agenda of hatred does no one any good.  I don't claim to know what is inside the Holy Father's mind, but as a son of the Church, knowing that it is Christ ultimately who guides the Church, I will always be respectful. Again, that does not mean that I won't question.  God has given us a brain and we are to make use of it.  I remember writing a similar critique of the leftist 'crew' who railed against Pope Benedict after he had issued Summorum Pontificum.  Please let us use our intelligence to ask questions and not come off as a bunch of hate mongers! As a Catholic, I trust the Holy Spirit and continue to pray for the Pope, as he is our papa on earth! 

We have recently been given a martyr.  Let us pray through the intercession of this priest, Fr Jacques Hemel, for unity among Catholics.  For an end to anger.  We need to be united, and the only way is through prayer and fasting!  You don't like something coming out of Rome?  Well,.. Pray and fast about it!  Time for all of us Catholics to get Holy or die tryin!'

St Thomas Aquinas, ora pro nobis!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Seeking the Good through the Intelligence.

**Blog title was changed, based on some emails**

According to an Aristotelico-Thomist format, the 'good' is designated as 'that which is in accord with the nature of the thing.'  We use words, phrases and expressions on a daily basis, but at times we forget essentially what they mean.  Vocabulary in the west has been hijacked and thus we are left with using words all the while not really knowing what they truly mean.  Our current crisis, is one of intelligence, not properly knowing how to think.  Our experience and emotions become the navigational tool instead of right reason and judgement.

Our current climate is seeing a clash of civilizations, to paraphrase Samuel Huntington.  It seems ideological standard bearers on either the so-called right or so-called left have hijacked the political and religious landscape essentially leaving no room for common sense.  The religious right, backed by fierce evangelical Christians particularly in the United States adhere to a fideistic, fundamentalist notion of what they understand as their Faith.  (Ie, Homosexual marriage is wrong because the Bible tells me so, and refuse any serious discussion as to the 'whys' of the Biblical commandment.)  Those on the left, adhere to a false social justice, and claim a subjectivist man-centered equality in marriage.  (Ie  Homosexual marriage is my right, because we are all equal.  They refuse any discussion of either authentic metaphysics or anthropology.)  The solution is the why's of certain proposals which never seem to make it to light. 

The crisis if one of anthropology.  What is a human being?  According to the Aristotelico-Thomist model which built Europe, we are a body/soul composite.  There are certain faculties proper to the soul and are immaterial.  Intelligence, and will for example. Now, we don't need the Bible or Catechism to show us that there is an inherent gap between the two.  My intelligence freely knows that 'broccoli' is 'good' for me, but my will is predisposed toward donuts.  For a human being to make a free decision, he must adhere to his intelligence, training his willpower to follow it, and thus create a habitus. (habit.)  On the other hand, when he adheres exclusively to his emotive and experiential side, negating the knowledge he may possess because he deems it to hard, he will create an addiction or a vice.  To adhere to the higher faculties of intellect and reason over sense and emotion is indeed the complex situation that we find ourselves in. Still it remains the path to true freedom, or doing what you ought. (As distinct from 'license,' doing what you want.)

Today's relativism will soon give way to an individual choosing to put orange juice in their car because it is cheaper than gas, thereby becoming a pedestrian.  An individual getting hurt, because he jumped out a ten story window claiming it was his right to 'fly.'  A quadriplegic will be suing the Olympic commitee for discrimination because he cannot compete in a downhill slolem.  Finally people attempting to marry their 'pets' as they are the only ones they 'feel' truly 'loving them' and it will be their 'right' to do so.

Into this vaccuum of false anthropology, comes ideology whereby the 'good' is ultimately what the deity decides in their particular holy book.  There is no room for questioning, or intellectual discourse, only blind obedience.  As thinking people, we need to stop labeling, and separate the person from the ideology.  A member of Isis has intelligence and can love, while radical islam cannot.  There is no such thing as an 'alcoholic,' instead there is a person who is suffering an addiction to alcohol.  We are men and women, equal but different.  We can be 'conditioned' but retain an actual capacity to discover Truth.

In closing, our current crisis is one of intelligence.  I pray that I don't come off as a right-wing nutjob(some of you accuse me of being) or a bleeding heart liberal. (Others accuse me of being.)  All I am asking for is an authentic search for what the Truth is in all the bio-ethical, moral, civil, and social issues affecting us today.  Millions of lives lost through abortion, yet we will willingly dive in front of a bulldozer to save a tree.  We are in the middle of bathroom issues with regards to so-called transgendered.  We blame pitbulls and guns, but what about trucks?  (That last attack was with a truck.)   We need to reclaim responsibility for ourselves and stop passing the buck.  I don't blame the dogs, instead I question the intellectual and moral acumen of a person with a young family buying such a dog.

Until we rediscover authentic anthropology, true metaphysics, and seek the proper 'good?'  We will remain at the mercy of Isis, and the new 'evangelization' will remain futile.

My ADD came out full force on this one.

Our Lady of Fatima, ora pro nobis!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Jiu Jitsu and Life

The last time I posted, I gave a quick 'heads up' that my next post would be about BJJ.  Well here it is.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a martial art I've been practicing exclusively for the last 7years.  Before that I had experience in Traditional Kung Fu, some wrestling and when I was young, some Judo.  Still BJJ is different, waaaaaaay different.  So much so, that most of us who train would spell it 'H' 'U' 'M' 'I' 'L' 'I' 'T' 'Y.'

Learning to tap is definitely an acquired taste.  For most of us, our pride gets in the way and thus our fragile ego gets bruised when as a white belt, (and sometimes being experienced in another style) we get washed clean on the mat and end up in a choke or armbar.  (This happens at every belt, but at white, its especially discouraging)  A 'tap' is essentially a surrender to your opponent or training partner signifying that you are done.  To paraphrase Joe Rogan, a tap is essentially telling the other guy that you are dead, or your arm is in a position to break, and then they'll kill you.  At first, the power game becomes a way of survival at best, but then, you go up against a blue belt 50lbs lighter than you and you quickly realize that throwing your weight around is futile, when he'll want to throw your weight around first and with technique, it becomes a reality check.

Jiu Jitsu is also an investment in one's self and personal development.  Along with 'learning' to 'tap,' and getting your ego in check, you realize that the road to black belt is long and arduous.  Today, people will say that it took them 2yrs to earn a black belt in Karate, but you've been training for 7yrs and your only a purple!   You invite them to do their homework, and then they realize that up until a few years back, it was easier to find a sasquatch than to find a black belt in BJJ.  This art shows leverge and common sense.  It doesn't complicate things and then only way to progress is to train and to roll (spar).  There are no katas, forms or other ways to get promoted, you need to work, accept defeat and keep on truckin!'

God gives us many talents and many gifts.  The Martial Arts are a way to sharpen those talents and gifts putting them at the service of your community.  I've trained BJJ in other academies and the same respect and friendliness is everywhere.  Show me one BJJ/MMA/Kickboxer with a 'punk' attitude and you'll find no so great a fighter, and an even worse human being. 

I'll continue to say it, train BJJ!  You will never regret it, only if you give up.   Your confidence will improve and your humility will be realized.  See you on the mats!

Blessed Pier Georgio Frassati,........................ Ora pro nobis!