Thursday, July 28, 2016

Front Porch Party

From Southern Lady:
A simple menu makes porch entertaining a breeze. We put a Southern Lady spin on favorite regional fare with a lively version of pimiento cheese and a fruit-infused blend of that essential refresher, sweet tea. These simply fresh recipes—from a Creamy Basil Dip paired with vegetables to a delightful fruit salad—will have you ready for fun and fellowship in no time. Just save some room for our mouthwatering Lemon Coolers! (Read more.)

A New Saint Shines in Heaven

From First Things:
What has just happened at Saint-Étienne du Rouvray can only arouse horror and even anger at a hatred which is as cruelly cowardly as it is stupidly suicidal. After the terrorist attacks in France and in Germany, it is permissible to observe that this time these lunatics have not killed at random. Until now (and with the exception of one attempt, fortunately thwarted, against a church in Ivry), the fanatics had attacked aspects of the flattering self-image that we “citizens” have of ourselves: the iconoclastic insolence of Charlie Hebdo, the pagan cult of sport at the French National Stadium, the carefree pleasure of the Bataclan and the boho outdoor cafés of the Eleventh Arrondissement in Paris, the 14th of July fireworks in Nice celebrating a Revolution that has promoted great ideals but also the guillotine …

This, today, was something else altogether. The target of this revenge was not the West in general, nor its complacent and egotistical prosperity, which can seem insulting to the penniless inhabitants of the world beyond. The target of this revenge was the root of the West, the West’s living source, even when it is unremembered—namely Christianity, in the time and the place where, tacitly but invincibly, it becomes most explicitly and intensely real: the celebration of the Mass. (Read more.)
 From Dr. Taylor Marshall:
It is helpful to remember that from AD 60 till AD 313, receiving sacramental baptism meant that you were enrolled for martyrdom. Every parish and every diocese on the planet during those years could name martyrs from their midst. Every Christian community possessed martyrs: Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch, Carthage, Lyons, etc.

Martyrdom was so common that Christianity underwent a crisis of identity after Constantine legalized Christianity: Can Christians truly be Christian without the reality of impending martyrdom? The monastic revolution of the 4th and 5th centuries was a response to this identity crisis – the monastics sought to regain the danger and asceticism of carrying the cross.

For me personally, this is a moment of personal crisis. I wrote books about Christ. I record podcasts and videos about Christ. I talk about Christ frequently. But am I ready for this to happen to me:
…two Islamic State knifemen who cut the priest’s throat after bursting into a French church and taking nuns and worshippers hostage before being shot dead by police.
(Read more.)

For Christians in the Middle East, such horrors are a part of daily life. From the Catholic Herald:
An 85-year-old priest has had his throat cut by an Islamic fanatic while saying Mass in a church in Normandy. For people in the West, this is a scene of almost unimaginable horror. Catholics in particular will be revolted and profoundly disturbed by a bloody killing perpetrated during the act of holy sacrifice around which our faith is built.

Catholics in the West, that is. For Catholics and other Christians in the Middle East, the atrocity at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray is far from unimaginable. They have been living with this sort of terror for years, while Western politicians and the liberal commentator looked away.

If I were to mention the Baghdad church massacre of October 31, 2010, how many of them would know what I was talking about? Come to that, how many Catholics are familiar with the details? On that Sunday evening, Mass in the Syrian Catholic church of Our Lady of Salvation was cut short by Islamist gunmen who took the congregation hostage, screaming: “All of you are infidels… we will go to paradise if we kill you and you will go to hell.”

One priest, Fr Thaer Abdal, was shot dead at the altar. In total, 58 innocent people were murdered. Their killers were members of an Iraqi faction of Al-Qaeda that had declared war on churches, “dirty dens of idolatry”, and in particular “the hallucinating tyrant of the Vatican”.

The Baghdad massacre was one of countless atrocities that have reduced ancient Christian communities in the Middle East to shriveled and terrified ghettos or underground churches. (Read more.)

The Herbal Cures of Hildegard von Bingen

From The Medievalists:
The scientists wanted to know the likelihood the abbess was correct in her claims, and was this level of accuracy just purely from chance? Here is how they explained their analysis:

Our statistical approach is based on the model of the game Battleship where a two-dimensional grid (similar to an Excel spreadsheet) is formed by all the claims known to the author on one axis and the herbs (those still used today) on the other axis. Modern herbal indications (medical uses) are represented as ‘ships’ which the medieval author tries to hit by randomly tossing a ‘missile’ into the grid. The hypergeometric distribution gives the probability that x ‘correct’ indications (‘hits’) could be drawn from the set of N herb/claim combinations with n ‘shots’, and the number of ‘ships’ (today’s herb/claim attributions) is M.

They focused their study on 85 plants that are being used today for medical purposes. It found that there were 212 health claims by Hildegard from this group, and 30 of them would be correct according to contemporary standards. If she had been making the claims up randomly, only between 6 and 7 of her cures would have accurate.

The study finds the probability of this happening just by chance is 1 in 10,000,000. They conclude:
The hypothesis that Hildegard could have achieved her ‘correct’ claims by chance is to be clearly rejected on the basis of the highly significant level of our new statistical procedure. The finding from this approach that medieval medical claims are significantly correlated with modern herbal indications supports the importance of traditional medicinal systems as an empirical source.

They add that European researchers should also be more open to the possibility that herbs might be responsible for a larger variety of remedies – typically these plants are now only associated with one or a small number of medical treatments. (Read more.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Summer's Day

By Frank McKelvey. Share

Romance Porn

From Crisis:
Among those who admit that romance literature is pornography, there is a tendency to consider it “soft-core” (some also downplay it as “mommy porn“). This implies that it is less potent and less dangerous than the “hard” visual stuff that fries the brains of men. When viewed from a male perspective, it makes sense to classify “pornmance” as “soft” pornography. Men are more visual than women, so they respond more strongly to photographs and video. To men, images are like crack cocaine, and literary pornography is mere marijuana. But for women, the opposite is true. Women are less visual, and so less attracted to the internet pornography that is irresistible to men. For women, visual pornography should be considered a light beer while the emotionally charged “pornmance” novel is 70-proof liquor, hard-core pornography. And there are many “romance alcoholics.” Women get addicted to romance books in the same way that men get addicted to photographs and videos. In 2011, one psychologist reported that she was “seeing more and more women who are clinically addicted to romantic books.” Like other addictions, “pornmance” novels mess with women’s brains and wreak havoc in their lives. According to therapists, these books can cause women to become dissatisfied with their marriages, to become “dangerously unbalanced,” and according to a pornography addiction counselor, to have affairs. (Read more.)

The Horse in Early Medieval Britain

From English Historical Fiction Writers:
Bede mentions the bearing of weapons and riding a stallion as ‘attributes of the elite male warrior class’ so to ignore this, even if it may be a social or cultural stereotype, would be to ignore at least an essence of the historical fact. Likewise, Sundkvist says the horse is ‘the most important animal of the Old Scandinavian cult’. They ‘played a part in sacrifices and divination, were emblems of sovereignty and symbolised a warrior-ideal’. To support these comments, an array of Old English words abound that refer to horses and their upkeep:

Stodfaldas – stud folds/paddocks
Stodmyra – stud mares
Stodhors – stud stallions
Stodðeofas – stud thieves
Hengest – stallion
Horsa – horse
Horsþegn – horse thegn/thane
There are also several mentions of the importance of horses in a variety of literature from, or in reference to, the Early Medieval period or thereabouts. These further substantiate horses as means of owning and showing wealth and a deeper spiritual connection with the divine. It is worth noting here that in Germanic culture white horses were linked to nobility and kingship, while red (chestnut) horses were linked to Frejya and fertility. (Read more.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Celtic Women in Ancient Ireland

From Mark Fisher:
We’ve seen how the ancient Celts gave women certain inheritance and property rights, how some early Celtic women led their people, and how marriage laws gave women some rights. Women were also able to abandon their husbands after the first year of marriage if she wasn’t satisfied with her spouse. So women in ancient Ireland had more rights and privileges than their counterparts in Rome or Greece. But until Patrick brought the Christian idea of equality between the sexes, it was still a man’s world. It’s a truly Christian idea that every person  is considered equal to every other. (Read more.)

You Can't Be Catholic and Pro-Abortion

I have never understood why some Catholics think they can support abortion and pro-abortion candidates and remain in good standing. From LifeNews:
Bishops Thomas Tobin of the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, posted a message on Facebook that was so popular it received over 1,000 shares:
VP Pick, Tim Kaine, a Catholic?
Democratic VP choice, Tim Kaine, has been widely identified as a Roman Catholic. It is also reported that he publicly supports “freedom of choice” for abortion, same-sex marriage, gay adoptions, and the ordination of women as priests. All of these positions are clearly contrary to well-established Catholic teachings; all of them have been opposed by Pope Francis as well.
Senator Kaine has said, “My faith is central to everything I do.” But apparently, and unfortunately, his faith isn’t central to his public, political life.
The Virginia politician is on record as trying to have it both ways — saying he is both a “traditional Catholic” and a strong supporter of abortion. (Read more.)

 From The National Catholic Register:
I want to ask one of these politicians, "Why are you personally opposed to abortion? Is it because you believe that abortion is the deliberate killing of an innocent person? If not, why are you personally opposed to abortion? It's just…it's yucky? Like you're personally opposed to yogurt?" If abortion doesn't kill a human life, I agree with the pro-choicers: it is an intolerable oppression of women's freedom and women's bodies to tell them what to do. If that's their body and not somebody else's body, you have no right to tell them what to do. But if it's somebody else's body, they have no right to kill that other person. (Read more.)

From Life Site News:
  Catholic priest asked that pro-abortion Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine “do us both a favor” and not show up in his Communion line.

“I take Canon 915 seriously. It'd be embarrassing for you & for me,” tweeted Dominican Father Thomas Petri, the vice president and academic dean of the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies. Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law instructs that those “persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person — among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. ... Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law...Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense” (CCC 2270 - 2272). (Read more.)