|Frescos in Saint Elian Church, Syria. Bulldozed by ISIS|
However, did you hear about the destruction of the irreplaceable frescos and sanctuaries at the Mar Elian monastery? The possible slaughter of its abbot and inhabitants? The desecration of the tomb and the remains of St. Elian?European press covered it.
UNESCO condemned it.
American press coverage? Nope. Read all about it and get links to the stories at GetReligion.
Stephen Colbert, Tolkien, and Leaning Into Fear
I love the thing that I most wish had not happened.This is the excerpt you might have seen around the Catholic blogosphere, and it's the one that pulled me in via The Deacon's Bench. There's a lot to chew on in this interview. For me the takeaway moment was about learning to love the bomb. I've been leaning on that in the last few days. Very worthwhile. Go read it all.
I asked him if he could help me understand that better, and he described a letter from Tolkien in response to a priest who had questioned whether Tolkien's mythos was sufficiently doctrinaire, since it treated death not as a punishment for the sin of the fall but as a gift. “Tolkien says, in a letter back: ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” Colbert knocked his knuckles on the table. “ ‘What punishments of God are not gifts?’ ” he said again. His eyes were filled with tears. “So it would be ungrateful not to take everything with gratitude. It doesn't mean you want it. I can hold both of those ideas in my head.”
Denethor's Ghost and Faramir's Rangers
See how his mind has been turned to despair?Thomas M. Doran has two excellent, thought provoking pieces at Catholic World Report. The response was so great to his thoughts about how we are struggling with Denethor's problem of despair in our age, that he wrote a follow-up piece, Faramir's Rangers. I found both of them enlightening and inspiring. Via Ignatius Insight.
These days, aren’t many of us haunted by the ghost of Denethor? Isn’t most of what we are shown in the media, on our various devices, and on social media discouraging and demoralizing? Aren’t we tempted to retreat, resign ourselves to the toxic culture, or rebel in the sense of thinking that it’s up to us to set things right? Don’t we sometimes use the tactics of the Enemy against our adversaries?
Thomas M. Doran, Denethor's Ghost
On a dark evening in 1879 in the town of Knock, Ireland, fifteen villagers witnessed a vision of the Virgin Mary, an event that shaped the tiny, rural community and declared the town a Marian Shrine. This documentary introduces the world to daily life in Knock as parish priest Father Richard Gibbons transforms the shrine, and the village itself, to adapt to contemporary Ireland and Catholicism.Underground Films in Dublin is currently producing a feature documentary on the miracle town of Knock, Ireland, also a Marian Shrine. This looks interesting. Do go check out the info at their film page. They're doing crowdfunding to cover the costs, though it looks as if that is going pretty well. They could also use publicity. Take a look around and tell a friend.
Also a lawyer, philosopher, and local hero, Father Richard is charged with saving the shrine, and with it the village and his beloved church. His vision is to bring the Marian Shrine into the twenty-first century. In August of 2015, 178 American pilgrims, led by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, depart from New York City and touch down at the Knock airport. The future of this tiny rural town is about to change.
Predicting Social Future: Political Correctness
One of my science fiction novels was rejected by a publisher, who told me that my book was sexist. Why? Because two of its characters are planning an act of genocide, the extermination of an intelligent species on a distant planet, but the woman is the instigator and the man is just carried away by her. Apparently, women cannot be wicked!Manuel Alfonseca looks at past science fiction classics to see how they predicted some of our current day ills. Those following the Hugo Awards wars over "social justice" will appreciate Manuel's piece as timely.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”That's the inspiration for the new blog Shine Catholic. Their goal is to shed light on the Catholic faith and, from what I've read, they do a good job. I especially appreciated "Four Things People Who Oppose Gay Marriage Need to Stop Doing" but there are a variety of pieces ranging from personal testimony to information about Catholic basics like sacramentals. Check it out.