Sunday, April 24, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
"But the worshipers of Moloch were not gross or primitive. They were members of a mature and polished civilisation, abounding in refinements and luxuries; they were probably far more civilised than the Romans. And Moloch was not a myth; or at any rate his meal was not a myth. These highly civilised people really met together to invoke the blessing of heaven by throwing hundreds of their infants into a large furnace."
"Nobody understands the romance of Rome, and why she rose afterward to a representative leadership that seemed almost fated and fundamentally natural. Who does not keep in mind the agony of horror and humiliation through which she had continued to testify to the sanity that is the soul of Europe? . . . It is not for us to guess in what manner or moment the mercy of God might in any case have rescued the world; but it is certain that the struggle which established Christendom would have been very different if there had been an empire of Carthage instead of an empire of Rome. We have to thank the patience of the Punic wars if, in after ages, divine things descended at least upon human things and not inhuman."
"Europe evolved into its own vices . . . but theworse into which it evolved was not like what it had escaped. Can any man in his senses compare the great wooden doll, whom the children expected to eat a bit of the dinner, with the great idol who would have been expected to eat the children? That is the measure of how far the world went astray, compared with how far it might have gone astray. If the Romans were ruthless, it was in a true sense to an enemy, and certainly not merely a rival.
"Many moderns have insisted on the smallness of that Mediterranean world; and the wider horizons that might have awaited it with the discovery of the other continents. But this is an illusion; one of the many illusions of materialism. The limits that paganism had reached in Europe were the limits of human existence; at its best it had only reached the same limits everywhere else. The Roman stoics did not need Chinamen to teach them stoicism. The Pythagoreans did not need any Hindus to teach them about recurrence or the simple life or the beauty of being a vegetarian. In so far as they could get these things from the East, they had already got rather too much of them from the East. . . . It is essential to recognize that the Roman Empire was recognized as the highest achievement of the human race; and also as the broadest. A dreadful secret seemed to be written as in obscure hieroglyphics across those mighty works of marble and stone, those colossal ampitheatres and aqueducts. Man could do no more"
"There was nothing left that could conquer Rome; but there was also nothing left that could improve it. It was the strongest thing that was growing weak. It was the best thing that was going to the bad."
"Jesus was crucified. He faced the Holy City for the last time."
"Mary of Alphaeus said she did not want to leave. . . . Mary Magdalen sat down beside her. Both leaned against the stone.
"The two Marys sat with their backs to the stone. They loved him and, in their love, they missed the enormous triumph; the new promise; the good news.
-- p. 319
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Saturday, April 2, 2011
In the spring of 1967, after about six or seven years of dithering, doubting, questioning and wondering about the Faith -- i.e., was what I was taught as a child able to fit the complexities of the adult world? -- I walked up to St. Bridget's and had a long talk with the assistant pastor, Fr. Bill Ward (God rest his soul) and decided that it was and I would stay. Lewis and Chesterton had a lot to do with it too.
In the summer of 1967, a scuffle between some white kids and some black kids, after the Minneapolis Aquatennial torchlight parade, escalated into a full-scale race riot. A lot of people who thought "it would never happen here" were pretty surprised. Late that summer I went back to school full time for good and stayed till graduation.