Wednesday, May 14, 2014

a passing thought about passing

Commencement time is here and once again the odd quirks of college life--the passionately held beliefs, the experimentation, the bad haircuts--evaporate.  Colleges has long since transformed summer into additional instructional and operational sessions, but it's still worth remembering the cyclical celebration of passing time.   John Cuddeback, in a larger post on Christian good-byes, adds this:
As a professor in a college community of several hundred people, I have had ample opportunity for reflection upon saying goodbye. Every May the students with whom I have shared a life for four years effectively vanish into thin air. Sure some of them stay in touch, and come back and visit. But fundamentally, that group of roughly ninety people, some of whom I have really come to know and love—sharing trials, tears, and triumphs—leaves never to return.

My eldest daughter has herself ‘gone off’ to college—that was rough, and the rest will probably follow in succession. When I watch fathers give away their daughters in marriage, I have to fight back my own tears. I hope I won’t need to be resuscitated at my daughters’ weddings.

So I am learning to say goodbye. And it is a skill that I would do well to learn better.

Read the rest of it here.

The big good-bye, the one for all the money, is of course death.  Cuddeback recognizes this and takes the opportunity to contribute an insightful disagreement with C. S. Lewis' adage that "Christians never say good-bye."  In fact, Cuddeback suggests, Christians do say good-bye and the ways in which they do then assures that such partings are not, ultimately, final. 

College graduations, much more mundane, are final.  The students can't come back as they once were. The telos of college education--liberal, professional, or technical--will be discussed in future posts.  For now, though, it seems appropriate to recognize that educators hope that their students, once they've encountered this 'minor' finality of graduation, carry something with them.

Monday, May 12, 2014

not the same thing

Getting ready for the Albany diocese's 2014 Spring Enrichment...and yes, Spiritual Diabetes will play a role.  In that mind, googling "spiritual diabetes" also brought up this blog combining spiritual and diabetic discourses.  Goldstein seems to seek spiritual remedies and/or therapies for those suffering from diabetes.  Here is another example of somebody combining "sweet," "sugar," and "spiritual" language.  While using similar terms (at least at first), those blogs pursues an agenda quite different from this one.  As stated earlier, this blog uses diabetes as a discursive and analytic metaphor.  I don't pretend to address the physical realities confronting those combating diabetes--type I or type II.  Those are very real problems, and I am *not* seeking to add to the burdens of those suffering.  (Nor, it should be clear, is Goldstein.)

Our nation's--and, really, our planet's--diabetes epidemic, though, prompt questions about spiritual consumption and 'exercise.'  Just as the type II diabetic can no longer convert the energy already present in the bloodstream, the spiritual diabetic sits awash in spiritual energy...but can't properly convert it.  The resulting 'high blood sugar' in this spiritual version becomes an unslakable thirst for more and more spiritual consumption...which in turn only exacerbates the original problem.  Signs of this, it seems to me, are the various expressions of rock-sure supremacy of one's views or, in the secular framework, assurance of purely secular solutions to situations which clearly involve spiritual perspectives.  These damaging absolutisms are counterbalanced by the broader Christian, and specifically Roman Catholic, tradition.  These, obviously, involve absolute perspectives--Jesus Christ is fully human and fully divine, etc.--but these appear within a spiritual "work-out" framework that juxtaposes human frailty/tragedy with divine knowledge and mercy.  Make no mistake, though, Christians--and certainly Roman Catholics--can suffer from spiritual diabetes, just as they suffer from the physical form.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

polyvalent separation and inclusive inclusion

So much to do but just yesterday an example that the Gospel, and with that the Church, navigate the waters while human pretensions and errors fall away on either side.  What has come into being in the Word was life, and the life was the light of the world (John 1:3b-5)

OK, some Facebook friends expressed dismay over the CDF's castigation of the LCWR's recognition of Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ. Friend #1:  "Well, that's some bull***t. Everyone go buy more of Johnson's books immediately." <<edited version!>>  Somebody posted musings about Pope Francis' view of Johnson, to which Friend #2 posted:  "
Does this pontiff's honeymoon ever end? He reiterated full-bodied support for Ex Corde and all the Catholic Identify jive-ass mantras in speech not long ago...coulda been reading verbatim from the Benny-Wotyla playbook. Nary a word on this from 'progressive' Catholic media..."

Translation:  Pope Francis is way more conservative than anybody is willing to say, and [the one posting] doesn't like it.

H/T to those FB friends--they know who they are

OK, insert here a blog post about the distance between Pope Francis and the media perspectives thereof.  

Then consider this:  last September the Catholic News Service posted a video about the dual canonization's announcement.  Check out the YouTube combox reactions recently!  Views range from those unhinged about the clergy sexual abuse scandal:

Whatever!...two old creepy men, head of the biggest pedophile ring in history get canonized? They do nothing for humanity. Do you forget this church supported Adolf Hitler's Nazi's and do you forget the dark ages where they also murdered millions? They bless wars, promote wars they do not promote peace but promote hatred and lies.
Earlier somebody else suspected a deeper problem:
John Paul II, Woytila was not the legitimate Pope, but a jewish infiltrator. The real Pope was Gregory XVII (the former cardinal Joseph Siri) at the time when JPII was `elected`. John Paul II has hijacked the holy see, persecuted the real Catholic church and the real Pope just as Nero did in his cruelty. He is the antiPope of the New world order universal religion. Funded and supported by jewry, the most cruel enemy of Catholicism, he can be compared to Judas, who betrayed Jesus Christ by a kiss. never in the world would the real Church declare this deceiver a saint. But he is the hero of the new world order guided by Antichrist´s spirit. His damned soul has descended into hell.

Do not interpret this blog as endorsing these views!  Antisemitic sedevacantism and postmodern, ahistorical sexual nihilism must be seen and combated as the gnostic sins that they are.  Second, nor should good ol' fashioned liberal American Catholicism (although truth be told, both of my FB friends mentioned above really don't consider themselves Catholic anymore) be confused with the outer rim territories that are conspiracy theories.  Liberal Catholicism has its problems, but those are of a different kind and character than the likes of sedevacantism.

That being said, notice the shared target:  the broader Roman Catholic tradition that continues to churn along.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  That's because it won't.  We do need to be honest:  in several instances the Church's members have done quite a good job helping the darkness accomplish precisely that.  It's this humanity and holiness that in part perhaps fosters such a broad spectrum of rejection.  And yet the Church possesses and celebrates a vision that includes all, even the active deniers:
Only in freedom can man direct himself toward goodness. Our contemporaries make much of this freedom and pursue it eagerly; and rightly to be sure. Often however they foster it perversely as a license for doing whatever pleases them, even if it is evil. For its part, authentic freedom is an exceptional sign of the divine image within man. For God has willed that man remain "under the control of his own decisions,"(12) so that he can seek his Creator spontaneously, and come freely to utter and blissful perfection through loyalty to Him. Hence man's dignity demands that he act according to a knowing and free choice that is personally motivated and prompted from within, not under blind internal impulse nor by mere external pressure.