Tuesday, December 23, 2003

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
The ‘transhumanists’: the next great threat to human dignity
Welcome to the Island of Dr Moreau.

Pew survey: most countries think less of US than they did a year ago
Thanks to the war in Iraq.

Holy, holy, holistic
Lee Penn: ...And there is also this bit of misplaced messianic enthusiasm:

"The mission of the Dominican nuns, for example, is "the salvation of the world." If saving the world means a convent needs a pub, phytotherapy sessions and a jacuzzi, then Arenberg's Sister Maris Stella says so be it. "We tried to find out what people need today and then offer them new forms of spiritual guidance and assistance to find it," she says. God does work in mysterious ways."

I must be a fundamentalist ... I thought that the job of "salvation of the world" was completely accomplished by Jesus. [End.]

This might surprise some people, but I'm not necessarily against all this... as long as it's kept in balance and perspective. In mediæval times monks and nuns like Ellis Peters' fictional Brother Cadfael, and indeed all physicians, practised herbal medicine, for example. And also related to holistic healing, tending to the health of the body, time was when all nurses were nuns, and even to this day in protestantized, disfigured England nurses are called 'Sister'. (Florence Nightingale, who revived nursing there in the 1800s, got the idea partly from the Sisters of Charity in France.) What I would object to is indifferentism - while Zen Buddhism has many good points (new blog friend and actor Michael O'Keefe is a Zen priest, for example) the ultimate criterion is the Catholic faith. And of course the ultimate mission of monasteries is to be radical Christian communities offering the sacrifice of praise (prayer) to God (the opus Dei, ora et labora, Mass and divine office), not running B&Bs and resorts for American tourists.

Christianity becoming minority faith in Europe
Lee Penn: Some sobering reading, and a reason to pray more ....

Several comments:

1. For now, what is going on in Europe is just as the poet Matthew Arnold wrote in his 1867 poem "Dover Beach":

"The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world."

and the poem ends ...

"And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."

2. Nature abhors a vacuum. If Christianity departs a person, a nation, or a continent, some alternative faith will take its place. As Jesus warns (Matthew, ch. 12):

43 "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. 44 Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation." (See also Luke 11:24-26).

3. Kyrie, eleison. [End.]

I disagree with the probably secular writer that 'harsh doctrine' drives people away, as the few thriving churches in England and the States tend to be conservative evangelical ones, and note the appeal of the 'harsh doctrine' of al-Islam to some American blacks.

Pictures of the renovation of Detroit’s RC cathedral
Like I say: it's lukewarm, Broad Church mainline Protestantism by and for non-Anglo-Saxons. Feh.

No comments:

Post a comment

Leave comment