Monthly Archives: January 2016

Saturday Saints- #102

The letter U is featured in today’s post. Not the most common, but not unheard of, either. This gives us today’s saint, Saint Ursula Ledóchowska:

Ursula Maria Ledóchowska, USAHJ (17 April 1865 – 29 May 1939) was a Polish Catholic Religious Sister, who founded the Congregation of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus. She was a member of the prominent Ledóchowski family. She has been declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

A few snippets:

  • Her family came from Aristocratic origins.
  • She was the 5th of 10 children.
  • She traveled throughout Europe as part of her religious duties, eventually settling and dying in Rome.

More can be found out about her at her wiki, located here.

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Too Much Of A Good Thing? #1

I’ve a bit of a random question for my readers. Specifically, the Christian men.

Have you ever turned down or rejected a Christian woman because she was more devout or righteous than you?

I’m not talking about her being self-righteous, or possessing a false piety like the Pharisees. I mean real God-fearing devotion.

A similar, but ultimately different question is this:

Have you ever turned down or rejected a Christian woman because you thought she was too good for you?

I’m curious what my readers have to say on the subject.

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Masculine Monday- #1

I’m going to give a new series a try- one on Mondays that concerns itself with masculinity. Whether or not I keep the series running remains to be seen, of course. But I expect it to be somewhat irregular. While the overall focus will be Christian, it won’t be exclusively so. This first post will be one such example.

I came across this article recently, which is titled 10 Life Rules that Separate the Men from the Boys. Here is how it bills itself:

Being a male is a matter of birth, being a man is a matter of age, but being a gentleman is a matter of choice. Not a choice made once or twice during one’s life, but a series of choices made every single day when navigating the world, and life.

So – what then – are these choices that separate the gentlemen from the rest of the pack? The men who hold themselves to higher standards. Let’s explore.

I would encourage my readers to go through the whole article before continuing.

The author is apparently a self-described secular humanist, and unsurprisingly, it shows. Mind you, not everything on the list is bad. I agree with a few of the points. But there are several I disagree with, and will address them in turn.

I found the first point interesting. The basic premise is sound, but not as a matter of “being a Gentleman.” Rather, it is basic Christian living. Of course, being a SH, the author has to find some excuse for it. More interesting to me was his justification:

A man of quality is never afraid of equality.

“Equality” is not a necessary predicate to treating someone with dignity. Certainly not the “liberal” notion of equality he is referring towards. Rather, a recognition of their dignity as a human being is sufficient. Furthermore, part of being a gentleman, historically, was about recognizing that not everyone was equal. A gentleman treated others kindly out of mercy- he had power over them but didn’t abuse it.

The second point was a lovely materialistic/consumerist point. Essentially the author was stating that a “Real Man” always pays his way. Frankly, I suspect more than a little feminine influence in the thinking here- “the burden of performance” and all that.

While secular in nature, the overall thrust of the third point was sound.

The fourth point is another one that is true for everyone, not just a “gentleman.” If anything, this seems to put a burden on men that others won’t be expected to live up to.  And my readers can guess who “others” happens to be.

The fifth point is, in an act of poetic justice, wrong. Rather than being afraid of “being wrong”, we should be afraid of trying. Of giving it our best. Sometimes that means risking failure, of risking being wrong.

Only when you are wrong do you absorb new information, change your stance, and subsequently become “right.”

Again, this is wrong. You can learn plenty without necessarily being wrong. Furthermore, the ability to admit mistakes is not the same thing as being afraid of being wrong. This is pop philosophy, at best.

The sixth point is a stereotype that lives up to its reputation. Without delving into it too much, the obvious flaw with this is that it makes the woman in any relationship the one who decides just how “gentlemanly” a man is. The absurdity of this is staggering, and yet also pitiable.

I agree with the seventh point. Honest is an essential part of being a man. Leave deception to others.

The eight point is just pop philosophy. It lacks substance, which I would think would be the hallmark of any “real man.”

I happen to agree with the ninth point. Sexy and beautiful are not necessarily the same thing. In fact, I am pretty sure I wrote a post about that at some point.

The tenth and final point is wrong on several levels. Partly it is foundational- it comes from a secular viewpoint which fails to recognize that charity is a universal virtue. But here is a concrete error:

A gentleman will respect other men, women, children, and animals – and treat them with kindness. There is no need for a confident man to hurt another being in any way, as he gains nothing from it.

On the contrary, I can think of plenty of reasons why a confident man would need to hurt another being. Protecting other men, women, children and animals (yes, even them) can be justification enough.

So a few good points to be found, but overall not a good guide towards being a Gentleman or “Real Man.” Mayhaps the next post in this series will be devoted to examining that issue. Until then, I leave my readers with some of the final words of King David:

When David’s time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying, “I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; that the Lord may establish his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.’

(1 Kings 2:1-4)

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Saturday Saints- #101

Our saint for today is one with some measure of controversy around him, St. Tarasios of Constantinople:

Saint Tarasios (or Saint Tarasius) (Greek: Άγιος Ταράσιος) (c. 730 – 25 February 806) was Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 25 December 784 until his death on 25 February 806.

A few key facts about him:

  • He played an important role in fighting against iconoclasm. During the Second Nicean Council he served as acting chairman.
  • He was a layman before he became Patriarch.
  • Church unity was important to him, and he insisted on overtures of unity before accepting his post.
  • He was greatly deferential to the Byzantine Monarchy. This lead him to condoning Emperor Constantine VI’s divorce and “remarriage,” at least for a short time.

More can be found out about him at his wiki, located here.

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Yet More Random Musings And Links

It has been a while since I wrote one of these posts, so here goes.

Deep Strength has a good post up examining how men approach marriage and responsibility. His focus is on Incentives. I introduced a comment where I suggested that there is another way to look at why men are apprehensive (to say the least) about marriage. The basic idea I was grasping at is this:

We, each of us, have the natural law instilled in us. This is an echo of the divine law. This sense of the natural law is offended by things which are against the Order of Things- against what God intended. Many men (especially Christian men) are wary of marriage, and even shunning it, because this sense of the natural law in them realizes that marriage has become something unnatural. It has deviated from what God intended, and that echo of the Divine Law within us is repulsed by this. Society has to actively work to overcome this sense of revulsion, hence all of the “Man Up and Marry” efforts.

Over at Dalrock’s, a commenter calling himself The Question wrote the following comment, which I am posting in its entirety:

I want to be angry at Walsh for his foolishness, but when I look at him I can’t help but see myself – had things turned out differently. He is exactly what I wanted to be in my early twenties; married, a couple kids, good writing gig, a house. Just another good middle class WASP.

Instead, I like so many others went through something similar to that of Rollo Tomassi as he described in his post “That Was Then.”

The biggest unspoken lie perpetuated in the man up movement by inference is that women want to get married young, so if a man can’t get a wife in college it’s his fault because he’s immature and that’s why the women flock in droves to ride the carousal with Harley McBadboy. Go to any university and ask the typical 21-year-old coed if they want to get married. Chances are, they’ll say yes. Then ask them what age. It’ll be 28-30. There will be a handful that want to get married then and they will easily find a man. The rest want to earn their feminist merit badges and then when they enter the epiphany phase they’ll find that nice guy beta provider who has been dutifully working in the meantime and conveniently hears he needs to “man up” and marry her.

What makes columns like Walsh’s so infuriating is that these writers think that they were able to marry because, unlike us, they are wise-beyond-their-years. In reality, much of it is a matter of meeting the right person at the right time in the right place. I know men just like him who got married young and it’s no different with them in terms of their attitude toward bachelors. Anything I say about what is discussed here or other manosphere sites is dismissed with “Stop complaining. Look at me; I got married, so you should be more like me if you want to get married.” It makes them feel superior. They don’t realize they only married because they met a girl who wanted to as well (just pray she doesn’t decided to make up for missing out).

I’m sure Rollo would say the same thing as what I’m about to say, but Walsh’s problem is the same as Mark Driscoll’s when it comes to his views on sex, marriage, women, what not; they got married young and don’t know anything else beyond their own unique life experience and are oblivious to the world of dating since they got off the market. He is also unable to define masculinity and manhood outside of the feminine. You’re not a complete man until you have made a lifetime commitment to a woman.

Having gone a separate route has been tough at times, no doubt, but had I married before taking the Red Pill it would have been a disaster. Among other things, I would have read Walsh’s article and said “Amen!” instead of posting a link to it here with indignation.

I could have, and probably have at some point, written a comment that was almost exactly the same. Certainly I completely understand where he is coming from. There is a massive disconnect between most Christian men who are married, and those who aren’t. Fortunately, not all married Christian men are like that. There are several married men at my parish who are far more aware than men like this Walsh character.

I remember being in a conversation with one of them a few weeks back where he acknowledged how lucky he was to have found his wife. She wanted to marry young and have a lot of kids- which has since happened. He recognizes now how rare that was back then, and how much rarer it is today. His is a sympathetic ear.

One thing I haven’t experienced at that parish, and don’t expect to, is to hear a “Man Up and Marry” homily (sermon). My current priest is not a type who seems inclined to do anything of the sort (very traditional/Traditional fellow). Nor have any visiting priests done anything of the sort (benefits of attending an Eastern Catholic parish, I suppose). In fact, one visiting priest gave me the opposite as advice. He told me not to marry unless I could find a good woman to do so with. If I couldn’t, I should continue on doing what I was doing.

Zippy had a post up recently addressing the concept of “the same God.” Worth a read.

I disagree with several of Rollo’s conclusions, but I agree with the main point in the post Women Improving Men:

“[W]omen, Red Pill or otherwise will never be honest arbiter of ‘improving’ men’s states of masculinity.”

Masculinity, and men improving themselves, is a purely male endeavor. We must keep that in mind, otherwise we will keep repeating Adam’s error in the Garden.

I think this post over at Finer Femininity should be required reading for all married women.

Over at AlphaGame there is an interesting series on “Gamma” Protaganists by someone calling himself Delta Man. While I don’t necessarily agree with Vox’s supposed hierarchy, I think that the series does expose some of the absurdity in Sci-Fi literature. Here is part 1, part 2 and part 3. I don’t read nearly as many books these days for a variety of reasons, but one of them is because I can now recognize a lot of “Blue Pill” nonsense that puts me off from enjoying the work.

 

That is all for now.

 

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Tradition Thursday- #51

Various discussions as of late have me thinking about masculinity in a Christian context. Towards that end, I have started parsing through scripture for verses and passages which concern masculinity. St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy features a fair amount of advice and teaching that doesn’t directly address masculinity, but it does address how a Christian man should act in certain situations. Until I have other ideas on where to take this series, I will quote some of St. John Chrysostom’s homilies on 1st Timothy as they relate to 1 Tim 4 and 5. This post will have some selected quoting, as different verses move in and out of relevance in this part of Scripture:

Ver. 7. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself rather unto godliness.

Putting them in remembrance, he says; here you observe no authority; but all is condescension: he does not say commanding or enjoining, but reminding them: that is, suggest these things as matter of advice, and so enter into discourses with them concerning the faith, being nourished up, he says, meaning to imply constancy in application to these things.

For as we set before us day by day this bodily nourishment, so he means, let us be continually receiving discourses concerning the faith, and ever be nourished with them. What is this, being nourished up? Ruminating upon them; attending ever to the same things, and practicing ever the same, for it is no common nourishment that they supply.

But refuse profane and old wives’ fables. By these are meant Jewish traditions, and he calls them fables, either because of their falsehood or their unseasonableness. For what is seasonable is useful, but what is unseasonable is not only useless but injurious. Suppose a man of adult age to be suckled by a nurse, would he not be ridiculous, because it is unseasonable? Profane and old wives’ fables, he calls them, partly because of their obsoleteness, and partly because they are impediments to faith. For to bring souls under fear, that are raised above these things, is an impious commandment. Exercise yourself unto godliness. That is, unto a pure faith and a moral life; for this is godliness. So then we need exercise.

Ver. 8. For bodily exercise profits little. This has by some been referred to fasting; but away with such a notion! For that is not a bodily but a spiritual exercise. If it were bodily it would nourish the body, whereas it wastes and makes it lean, so that it is not bodily. Hence he is not speaking of the discipline of the body. What we need, therefore, is the exercise of the soul. For the exercise of the body has no profit, but may benefit the body a little, but the exercise of godliness yields fruit and advantage both here and hereafter.

These things command and teach. Let no man despise your youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

In some cases it is necessary to command, in others to teach; if therefore you command in those cases where teaching is required, you will become ridiculous. Again, if you teach where you ought to command, you are exposed to the same reproach. For instance, it is not proper to teach a man not to be wicked, but to command; to forbid it with all authority. Not to profess Judaism, should be a command, but teaching is required, when you would lead men to part with their possessions, to profess virginity, or when you would discourse of faith. Therefore Paul mentions both: Command and teach. When a man uses amulets, or does anything of that kind, knowing it to be wrong, he requires only a command; but he who does it ignorantly, is to be taught his error. Let no one despise your youth.

Observe that it becomes a priest to command and to speak authoritatively, and not always to teach. But because, from a common prejudice, youth is apt to be despised, therefore he says, Let no man despise your youth. For a teacher ought not to be exposed to contempt. But if he is not to be despised, what room is there for meekness and moderation? Indeed the contempt that he fails into personally he ought to bear; for teaching is commended by longsuffering. But not so, where others are concerned; for this is not meekness, but coldness. If a man revenge insults, and ill language, and injuries offered to himself, you justly blame him. But where the salvation of others is concerned, command, and interpose with authority. This is not a case for moderation, but for authority, lest the public good suffer. He enjoins one or the other as the case may require. Let no one despise you on account of your youth. For as long as your life is a counterpoise, you will not be despised for your youth, but even the more admired: therefore he proceeds to say,

But be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in purity. In all things showing yourself an example of good works: that is, be yourself a pattern of a Christian life, as a model set before others, as a living law, as a rule and standard of good living, for such ought a teacher to be. In word, that he may speak with facility, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in true purity, in temperance.

Till I come give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Even Timothy is commanded to apply to reading. Let us then be instructed not to neglect the study of the sacred writings. Again, observe, he says, Till I come. Mark how he consoles him, for being as it were an orphan, when separated from him, it was natural that he should require such comfort. Till I come, he says, give attendance to reading the divine writings, to exhortation of one another, to teaching of all.

Chap. v. ver. 1. Rebuke not an elder.

Is he now speaking of the order? I think not, but of any elderly man. What then if he should need correction? Do not rebuke him, but address him as you would a father offending.

Ver. 1. The elder women as mothers, the younger men as brethren; the younger women as sisters, with all purity.

Rebuke is in its own nature offensive, particularly when it is addressed to an old man, and when it proceeds from a young man too, there is a threefold show of forwardness. By the manner and the mildness of it, therefore, he would soften it. For it is possible to reprove without offense, if one will only make a point of this: it requires great discretion, but it may be done.

The younger men as brethren. Why does he recommend this too here? With a view to the high spirit natural to young men, whence it is proper to soften reproof to them also with moderation.

The younger women as sisters; he adds, with all purity. Tell me not, he means, of merely avoiding sinful intercourse with them. There should not be even a suspicion. For since intimacy with young women is always suspicious, and yet a Bishop cannot always avoid it, he shows by adding these words, that all purity is required in such intimacy. But does Paul give this advice to Timothy? Yes, he says, for I am speaking to the world through him. But if Timothy was thus advised, let others consider what sort of conduct is required of them, that they should give no ground for suspicion, no shadow of pretext, to those who wish to calumniate.

(Sources: Homily 12 and Homily 13)

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Saturday Saints- #100

Today marks the 100th post in this series. It has been roughly two years since I started, and I have enjoyed it thus far. Unfortunately, certain letters are less well represented than others in the names of Saints. This means that I won’t be able to continue this series as I have been. Once I finish with the alphabet in this iteration, I will change how I run this series. I haven’t decided yet what method to follow, but when I do I will mention it in one of these posts.

The letter for today is “S”, and this gives us Saint Stephen I of Hungary:

Stephen I, also known as King Saint Stephen (Hungarian: Szent István király; Latin: Sanctus Stephanus; Slovak: Štefan I. or Štefan Veľký; c. 975 – 15 August 1038 AD), was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians between 997 and 1000 or 1001, and the first King of Hungary from 1000 or 1001 until his death in 1038. The year of his birth is uncertain, but many details of his life suggest that he was born in or after 975 in Esztergom. At his birth, he was given the pagan name Vajk. The date of his baptism is unknown. He was the only son of Grand Prince Géza and his wife, Sarolt, who was descended from the prominent family of the gyulas. Although both of his parents were baptized, Stephen was the first member of his family to become a devout Christian. He married Gisela of Bavaria, a scion of the imperial Ottonian dynasty.

After succeeding his father in 997, Stephen had to fight for the throne against his relative, Koppány, who was supported by large numbers of pagan warriors. He defeated Koppány mainly with the assistance of foreign knights, including Vecelin, Hont and Pázmány, but also with help from native lords. He was crowned on 25 December 1000 or 1 January 1001 with a crown sent by Pope Sylvester II. In a series of wars against semi-independent tribes and chieftains—including the Black Hungarians and his uncle, Gyula the Younger—he unified the Carpathian Basin. He protected the independence of his kingdom by forcing the invading troops of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, to withdraw from Hungary in 1030.

Stephen established at least one archbishopric, six bishoprics and three Benedictine monasteries; thus the Church in Hungary developed independently of the archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire. He encouraged the spread of Christianity with severe punishments for ignoring Christian customs. His system of local administration was based on counties organized around fortresses and administered by royal officials. Hungary, which enjoyed a lasting period of peace during his reign, became a preferred route for pilgrims and merchants traveling between Western Europe and the Holy Land or Constantinople.

He survived all of his children. He died on 15 August 1038 and was buried in his new basilica, built in Székesfehérvár and dedicated to the Holy Virgin. His death caused civil wars which lasted for decades. He was canonized, together with his son, Emeric, and Bishop Gerard of Csanád, in 1083. Stephen is a popular saint in Hungary and the neighboring territories. In Hungary, his feast day (celebrated on 20 August) is also a public holiday commemorating the foundation of the state.

Much, much more can be learned about this saint at his wiki, found here.

 

 

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