Revenge of Conscience, What We Can’t Not Know

Many people claim to not know what truth is. Or they claim to be following their consciences. Or they claim there is no such thing as truth or a conscience either. I run into these people on Twitter and other places and the conversations are always stunning. Not stunningly beautiful but stunning to my mind. They make my brain hurt. So I’m posting this video below by Dr. J. Budziszewski at the Acton Institute, Natural Law and the Revenge of Conscience. J. Bud, as he’s often known (understandably) is the author of The Revenge of Conscience and also What We Can’t Not Know. See links at the end of this post.

Continue reading “Revenge of Conscience, What We Can’t Not Know”

500th post and a studies update

The Angels and Their MissionPeace be to you! Hope you had a very merry Christmas! Advent, Christmas, New Year’s, all passed me by, and the Jubilee of Mercy began, and I watched it all fly past as if I were Douglas Adams watching deadlines go whoosh. I’ve put off writing this, my 500th post for Catholic Heart and Mind because I wanted to write something Big and Important, something Significant. I’ve also been struggling to get back to reading and writing about Laudato Si’, but, to be honest, I’m feeling some real resistance to it. I’ll get over it and get back to it, eventually, or force myself to do it, but I haven’t yet. (I’ve also been really low on energy. The sarcoidosis has taken a toll the last couple of years, and reading and listening and taking a few notes is about all I’ve been good for. My dogs are exceedingly frustrated with me, I’ve been such a bore.) The result is that, for the longest, I haven’t written anything. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Funny how that works. Tonight I decided to go ahead and write a post instead of The Post and get on with it.

Just in case you’ve been burning with curiosity about what I’ve been doing with all this time on my hands–since I certainly haven’t been blogging–I’ll tell you: I’ve been delving into my theology studies and it’s been fascinating and inspiring. Been listening to a college level course by Dr. Brant Pitre, The Apostle Paul: Unlocking the Mysteries of His Theology, on MP3. It’s available on CD, too, but I’m the impatient type so I usually download these things so I can start digging in right away. The course is seventeen sessions, each one runs about an hour or more. I’m only on session thirteen right now, but most of the previous talks I’ve listened to two or three times.

Apostle Paul: Unlocking the Mysteries of His TheologyIn addition to the MP3 course on the Apostle Paul: Unlocking the Mysteries of His Theology, by Dr. Brant Pitre, I managed to get hold of three books he recommended:

  • The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle, by Albert Schweitzer (used, paper),
  • The Theology of Saint Paul, 2 volumes, by Fernand Prat, S.J. (used, hardback), and
  • The Angels and Their Mission, by Jean Cardinal Daniélou, S.J. (digital, Google Play, only because the Kindle sample I downloaded wasn’t working, and I was too impatient to take the time to deal with it).

The Unseen RealmAnd after watching a couple of videos (more about that later) featuring Dr. Michael S. Heiser and his work, I’ve decided to also read two of his books (for now):

The more I study about the angels, the more fascinated I become. Heiser is writing from a non-Catholic point of view, and I don’t know yet whether or not he includes the Church Fathers in his sources, but I still find his work very interesting. Danielou’s book certainly covers the Fathers; I’m not sure what all Prat or Schweitzer cover, but I’m hoping that Prat gets into the Fathers, at least a little. I’ll share more as I learn more.

Well, that’s more than enough about what I’ve been doing. Thanks for reading. May God bless you and yours in this new year!

A Course in Spiritual Theology

Spiritual Theology Course by Dr Brant PitreOf all the things I’d hoped to do during Lent, I’ve managed only to prove to myself that I am even weaker than I already knew. But, lucky for you, I have also spent some time listening to an audio course in Spiritual Theology taught by Dr. Brant Pitre. It’s available in DVD, CD or MP3 formats. (I bought the MP3 set so I could download it immediately and have been listening to it on my iPhone in GoodReader.)

TheThreeAgesoftheInteriorLifeOne of the earliest purchases I made after becoming attracted to the Catholic Church in the ’90s was Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s marvelous two-volume work, The Three Ages of the Interior Life. This was the first Christian work of its kind I had ever seen and I’m so glad I got it then in a clothbound edition. I have read and re-read Volume One, and have read Volume Two through at least once.

Why do I mention Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s book? Because Dr. Pitre uses it in his course! How exciting! For me, it is. (Stop looking at me like that. I know I’m a nerd. And you do, too, if you’ve even glanced at this site before. So there.) And that’s not all. Dr. Pitre uses several others that either I had in print or Kindle format, in my Verbum library or found online in PDF or other downloadable eBook formats for free. And, before you ask, of course I’ll give you links. Kind of me, yes? (Okay, my aforementioned weakness has engendered not quite enough humility in me. Yet.)


Video Introduction to Spiritual Theology Course

SouloftheApostolateCWPSources used in the course include those in the list below. I’ve listed Kindle and print formats; eBook refers to various formats available mostly through the Internet Archive for free. On the course page there’s a link to a PDF outline of the course (scroll down). I strongly recommend that you download the outline even if only as a guide for your own study. What an amazing amount of teaching and work Dr. Pitre has put together for us! Btw, this is not a complete list. But if you get the free PDFs, Fr. Dubay’s Fire Within, and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s books listed (PDFs or Kindle), then I reckon you’ll be fine. I also reckon you already have a good and well-worn Catholic Bible and, of course, a much dog-eared copy of the Catechism. (You do, don’t you?)

  • Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM, Fire Within, Kindle, Paper
  • Fr. Adolphe Tanqueray, The Spiritual Life, Hardcover, eBook
  • Fr. Jordan Aumann, OP, Spiritual Theology, Kindle, PrinteBook
  • Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ages of the Interior Life, Kindle, Print Set (TAN Books & Publishers), eBook
  • Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life, Kindle, Print (now published as The Three Conversions in the Spiritual Life)
  • St. John of the Cross, OCD, Collected Works, ICS edition (in one volume), Kindle, Print
  • St. Teresa of Avila, OCD, Collected Works, ICS edition, Vol 2, Kindle, Print
  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux, OCD, Story of a Soul, ICS edition, Kindle, Print
  • St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Kindle, Print Translated by John K Ryan, Print TAN edition, eBook
  • St. Louis de Montfort, Secret of the Rosary, Kindle, Print, eBook
  • St. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Online
  • St. Bonaventure, The Soul’s Journey to God (or Journey of the Mind into God), Kindle, Print, PDF
  • St. Thomas Aquinas, OP, Summa Theologica (or Theologia), Kindle, PDFOnline, Print (Seriously? Wow. Go for it! All my copies are digital.)
  • Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, OCSO, The Soul of the Apostolate, Kindle, Print
  • The Holy Bible. I highly recommend the RSV-CE or RSV-SCE*
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (online free, Kindle or paperback under $10)

Notes
verbum_mobile*The RSV is available in two different Catholic editions, the RSV-CE (Catholic Edition) and the RSV-SCE (Second Catholic Edition). I use both because I like the SCE but the CE is available in interlinear format in my Verbum software. Can I read the interlinear Biblical Hebrew or Greek? Heck, no. But I like to explore and learn so I do use it. A little. I hope to learn to use it more as time goes on.

study-bible-nt-brownAnother form of the RSV for Catholics is the Ignatius Study Bible RSV-SCE, but is only complete through the New Testament as of this writing. You can buy the NT in separate booklets or the whole NT in paperback, hardback or leatherbound. (Several books of the Old Testament are available now in booklet format, but I don’t know when the entire OT study edition will be available.) This is such a great study help because it’s the work of Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch.

New stuff for me and my little blog too

I’m trying something new this year. First, I’m trying out a theology course. The other day I attended a Catholic Theology webinar hosted by Dr. Taylor Marshall. At the end of it, he offered attendees a special rate on the first month of tuition at his New Saint Thomas Institute. I got it but I’m still kicking myself for not getting in as a charter member in the beginning. Oh, well, hindsight and all that. I spent a while tonight deciding on a way to keep up with coursework. Here’s a screenshot (below) of the arrangement I finally settled on.

NSTI_Certificate_Theology_Scrivener

I started out using DEVONthink for this but I’m liking Scrivener better. For now. What I want is to find a way that works and then not have to mess with it. I just want to use it. When I’m through with the course, I can compile the different files into an ebook for my iPad or print it out. I’ve never tried to do either of those things with Scrivener, so that’ll be a whole other adventure.

Second, I’m working on getting organized with my writing, especially writing for the blog. I found a template for Scrivener (my preferred app for all kinds of writing) that has really helped me organize my thinking and planning. The editorial calendar is especially helpful, though I customized it by adding liturgical seasons and feasts to it. Here’s a screenshot of how the blog plan looks so far.

BlogManagement2015_Scrivener

The more I work on the blog plan, the more ideas I get and the more excited I get about writing again. It’s been a while since I’ve focused (or been able to focus) on much at all. Please keep me in your prayers. I need all the help I can get, for the writing projects, for the theology course, and for my health to allow me to do anything. You’ll be in my prayers, too. (I pray for all visitors to the blog and everyone I interact with online and in face-to-face life when I make the Daily Offering and when I pray the Rosary.)

Thank you for reading and for your prayers. Peace be with you. God bless you!

Updating the Resource Pages

I’m in the midst of editing and updating some of the pages around here (about time!). Made some additions tonight including some new resources on the Life Issues page, more  about the HHS Mandate (including the false claim made by the Vice President during the VP debate and the USCCB’s quick response to it– breathtakingly fast!). Made a couple of changes on the Year of Faith and the Vote pages. Comments are welcome and thank you for reading. God bless you and peace be with you.

Catholic Every Moment and While I’m Voting Too

[Brief list of voting guides at the end of this post and on the new Vote page.] People have told me here at the blog, in emails, on forums, in conversations, that being Catholic has nothing to do with politics, has nothing to do with choosing a candidate, has nothing to do with any part of life except one hour on Sunday. Most of these people are not Catholic or they would realize many of us don’t go to Mass just that one hour on Sunday; many of us go during the week, too, and some go every day of their lives and always have. Even so, being Catholic is not just about what we do at Mass, no matter how many times a week we attend.

And voting as a Catholic is not merely a matter of prayer and reflection, but prayer and reflection on the teachings of the Church, listening to the priests and bishops giving guidance concerning the teachings of the Church, and doing our best to live as faithful Catholics abiding by the teachings of the Church. Yes, we have to follow our consciences. But first —FIRST–we have to FORM our consciences! And how do we form our consciences? By listening to our priests and bishops, the Chief Bishop, and studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the marvelous teaching documents written by the Popes (including but not limited to the last two Popes, the late Pope John Paul II and the current Pope Benedict XVI).

There is absolutely no excuse for any Catholic old enough to vote not to know his or her faith. You can read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (here or here or here) and/or study the Catechism and the documents written by the Popes and the documents of Vatican II, and much more, all on the web and all for free. The bishops of the USCCB have been trying to teach people for some time now and the “faithful” blithely ignore them and say they can follow their own consciences. Without forming them!

Yes, some bishops are less than stellar examples. So don’t follow their examples! But do as they say, the same way Jesus told the disciples to do what the Pharisees said do. But He told them not to do as the Pharisees did! And besides, a good many bishops are wonderful shepherds and I pray for them every day. They do not have an easy job. Shepherding Catholics is like herding cats. Everybody wants to be his own Pope! Well, there’s only one Pope and he’s in Rome!

So form your Catholic conscience and THEN follow it! Read Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life) and Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life). Study them (study guides to  Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae). I’ve been told that the Church has yet to rule on abortion being a sin. Newsflash: The Church has taught that abortion is a grave sin since the time of the early Church, in the Didache (in chapter two, really the second paragraph)! And we know that taking it upon ourselves to take an innocent life is prohibited by the Ten Commandments.

So right there, before we go any further, we can see that if a candidate wants to do everything in his power to promote and support abortion and cram it down the throats of the people and refuses to do anything that would limit abortion, which is an intrinsic evil, which means it is always and everywhere a serious and grave sin, then, guess what? A Catholic may not vote for that candidate and say that he is following his Catholic conscience. Because he would be demonstrating that he does not, in fact, have a Catholic conscience!

We can vote for someone who does not share our idea of the intrinsic evil of abortion IF–IF IF IF–we have reason to believe that that person would act in such a way as to limit abortion more than another candidate would. And we do have just this case in our political landscape as I write these words. We must vote in such a way as to limit evil. If you vote for the candidate who has put into positions of authority numerous people formerly connected with the largest abortion provider in this country, then you are not voting to limit evil, you are voting in support of evil. You are voting against a Catholic conscience, which you would demonstrate by your action, by your vote.

This is a grave scandal and for the life of me I cannot understand anyone not understanding this issue or thinking that any issue at all could ever take precedence over LIFE! If you don’t have life, I ask you, then what, pray tell, do you have? Nothing! The economy doesn’t matter if we are happy to ignore the slaughter of millions to get that economy. And the economy certainly doesn’t matter to those who we slaughter! So stop saying that pro-life people are “one issue voters” and then proceeding to say that you are voting on the issue of the economy. Hello! Isn’t that being a “one issue voter”? Isn’t that what you just said we shouldn’t do, reduce our vote to a vote on just one issue? Well, at least, if I “reduce” my vote to “just one issue”, I “reduced” it to the ONE FOUNDATIONAL issue–LIFE ITSELF!

Yes, other matters matter. But Life is the one matter that matters most. Without it, the rest of the issues are empty talk and chatter.

Voting as a Catholic: Live Your Faith, Vote Your Faith!

These links are also on the new Vote page added tonight. I’ll add more as I find them.

To Help You Form Your Catholic Conscience:

Abortion Never Saves A Woman’s Life, It Just Kills A Baby

Abortion never saves a life

How many times have you heard the lie that we must keep abortion legal to save women’s lives? I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this monstrous lie. And that is just what it is. A monstrous lie. A fabrication. An absurd and false claim that is nothing but a ridiculous attempt by some people to rationalize the destruction of those who they consider to be unwanted or inconvenient. It’s a lie often told by those who pretend to be rational, upright, responsible and–this is my favorite–compassionate.

Well, I never believed it. And doctors in Ireland don’t believe it either. (See video below or on YouTube.) They have testified in a court of law that abortion is never medically necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life and that life-saving healthcare is never denied to a pregnant woman in Ireland either. In fact, despite the ban on abortion in Ireland, it’s one of the safest places in the world for women to have children according to the United Nations. (Well, perhaps it’s because abortion is banned; it’s pro-life!) So next time you hear someone lying about how abortion is necessary, speak up. And tell that person to admit that he or she is pro-choice, that choice being the death of an innocent child in the womb.

From the story at LifeSiteNews:

“Abortion is not needed to treat cancer. In fact, it’s not needed to treat any medical condition arising in pregnancy.” Those are the opening lines of a powerful and important new video message from the Life Institute, which brings good news for mothers and babies.

That good news has been confirmed by medical experts, and is borne out by Ireland’s experience in maternal healthcare. The demonstrable, verifiable, and certain truth is that abortion is not needed to save a mother’s life. The only purpose of abortion is to kill a baby.

View video on YouTube. View video on The Life Institute website.

One decision down, get ready, the real battle is only just beginning

Where's the freedom? Protesting the HHS Mandate outside the Supreme Court

Yes, I heard the news. No, I’m not surprised. Neither am I throwing up my hands in despair. The battle over religious freedom (and freedom in general) is on and it has only just begun. I’d like to quote a newsletter I received today from Eric Scheidler. I think it will help to clear up some of the misinformation which is already flooding the airwaves now that this decision has been handed down. We have a long way to go, folks. Get educated. Do it now.

THE SUPREME COURT DID NOT UPHOLD THE HHS MANDATE TODAY.

Our opponents will try to claim we’ve lost our fight against the HHS Mandate because of today’s ruling. That is simply FALSE.

The Supreme court did not address the HHS Mandate issue in their ruling today. Nor did they declare the whole 2700-page Obamacare law to be constitutional.

Today’s ruling only addresses the constitutionality of a few pages of that law, on completely different issues from the HHS Mandate.

Provisions of Obamacare like the HHS Mandate could still be struck down in the future. In fact, I’m sure it will be when the scores of lawsuits against the HHS Mandate reach the high court.

But I’m not willing to wait that long — not when religious freedom is on the line. …

As I said, I’ll be nailing down specific plans for future action against the HHS Mandate soon. Meanwhile, visit the Stand Up website to see what you can do RIGHT NOW to fight the HHS Mandate:

http://StandUpRally.com/action/

So don’t lose heart.

Yes, today’s Supreme Court ruling is a disappointment. But in the end it will only INCREASE the urgency of our protests and inspire MORE people to join us out onto the streets!

The fight to stop the HHS Mandate will go forward with zeal — in the courts, in Congress, on the streets and on election day!

Yours for Life,

— Eric

This is truly spiritual warfare. Join the battle! Stand Up For Religious Freedom today! Read another interesting take on the decision and its implications.

Fortnight for Freedom and a novel in progress

Fortnight 4 Freedom

I plan to write more about this at some point but right now I’m linking to the USCCB‘s Fortnight 4 Freedom site. My current novel-in-progress focuses on this very issue of freedom and faith, and the writing has taken over my blog time and pretty much the rest of my life. (After much struggle and a long dry period, having the writing take over my life, at least part of it, is a good thing and I am loving it.)

“The fourteen days from June 21—the vigil of the Feasts of St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More—to July 4, Independence Day, are dedicated to this “fortnight for freedom”—a great hymn of prayer for our country. Our liturgical calendar celebrates a series of great martyrs who remained faithful in the face of persecution by political power—St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, SS. Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.  Culminating on Independence Day, this special period of prayerstudycatechesis, and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty. Dioceses and parishes around the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.”

For information, bulletin inserts, web graphics, pdf’s and more: http://www.fortnight4freedom.org