Saturday, April 25, 2009

Eyes Wide Shut . . .

WASHINGTON--President Obama at Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda, attended by Eli Wiesel, other survivors, rescuers, members of Congress and members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council:
"It is the grimmest of ironies that one of the most savage, barbaric acts of evil in history began in one of the most modernized societies of its time, where so many markers of human progress became tools of human depravity: science that can heal, used to kill; education that can enlighten, used to rationalize away basic moral impulses; the bureaucracy that sustains modern life, used as the machinery of mass death, a ruthless, chillingly efficient system where many were responsible for the killing, but few got actual blood on their hands."
Think about it.

HT: here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Romano Guardini

On the liturgy:
The liturgy as a whole is not favorable to exuberance of feeling. Emotion glows in its depths, but it smolders merely, like the fiery heart of the volcano, whose summit stands out clear and serene against the quiet sky. The liturgy is emotion, but it is emotion under the strictest control.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lifelong Friends . . . C. S. Lewis

In "The Problem of Pain" C. S. Lewis offers this beautiful thought:
Are not all lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Handed Over . . .

In Caravaggio's "The Taking of Christ" there are four depictions of hands: in the upper left, the hand of panic; below and slightly to the right of that, Judas' hand clutching Christ; above and to the right, the hand of the artist himself (holding a lantern as though holding a paintbrush); and at the center of the painting at the bottom, the hands of Christ who -- as he is being "handed over" to those who will torture and kill him -- has already handed himself over to the Father in whom he has complete confidence.

As T. S. Eliot famously said: "Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good."

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Culture (Tug-of) War on the Religious Left

While the United Church of Christ is handing out condoms at church on Sunday, confident that "condoms are a sign that people of faith take sexuality seriously," certain well-placed Episcopalians -- eager not to let their liberal preeminence be eclipsed by low-church congregationalists -- have responded.

The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts has announced the appointment of Katherine Hancock Ragsdale as the school's sixth president and dean.

In one of her sermons -- which in the meantime appears to have been taken down from her weblog -- the new EDS president said this:
And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion – there is not a tragedy in sight — only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.

These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.

I want to thank all of you who protect this blessing – who do this work every day: the health care providers, doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, who put your lives on the line to care for others (you are heroes — in my eyes, you are saints); the escorts and the activists; the lobbyists and the clinic defenders; all of you. You’re engaged in holy work.
God help us.

We've Come a Long Way . . .

In case you missed it.

Until the Anglican Lambeth Conference in 1930, there was an unbroken and unanimous Christian opposition to artificial birth control. That year the Lambeth Conference declared artificial birth control methods licit in limited situations. We've come a long way in a very short period of time.

The United Church of Christ HIV and AIDS Network announced that it is encouraging condom distribution IN CHURCHES:
Making condoms available at houses of worship and faith-based educational settings provides opportunities to open conversations that can save lives. In this context, condoms become educational tools. Their presence encourages questions and discussions with individuals who are prepared to respond with factual and up-to-date information. Condoms are a sign that people of faith take sexuality seriously as a part of human life and that we endorse all options for preventing HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Let me quote:
"Condoms are a sign that people of faith take sexuality seriously . . ."
Think about that.