Thursday, December 29, 2011


The great thing about being Catholic is that you can plagiarize and call it “being faithful to the Tradition”.

-Mark Shea

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sin and forgiveness

A culture that perpetually excuses sin is a culture that cannot, when push comes to shove, forgive it. Paradoxically, a culture that bites the bullet of acknowledging the reality of sin is a culture that carries within it the possibility of accepting forgiveness for sin.

-Mark Shea

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Despotism and democracy

It would seem that if despotism were to be established among the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them. ....

It covers the surface of society with a net-work of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting

[I]t is especially dangerous to enslave men in the minor details of life... Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every day and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they are led to surrender the exercise of their own will.

-- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Found via Mike Flynn's blog

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A perfect description of today's society...

The devil Screwtape:

We direct the fashionable outcry of each generation against those vices of which it is least in danger and fix its approval on the virtue nearest to that vice which we are trying to make endemic. The game is to have them all running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood, and all crowding to that side of the boat which is already nearly gunwale under.

-The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"But while they desire to set aside that true Council, they endeavor to give that name to their own unlawful combination; while they are unwilling that the decrees of the Council should be enforced, they desire to enforce their own decisions; and they use the name of a Council, while they refuse to submit themselves to one so great as this. Thus they care not for Councils, but only pretend to do so in order that they may root out the orthodox".

No, that's not an orthodox Catholic from EWTN commenting on a "spirit of Vatican 2" type (the latter needing to be dealt with by Geistbusters. Heh. :-) . Rather, that is a quote from St. Athanasius's Apologia Contra Arianos dealing, of course, with how the Arians tried to hijack the First Council of Nicea. But since today many try to hijack Vatican 2, I guess that only goes to prove Ecclesiastes 1:10-11 correct.

"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, 'See, this is new'? It has been already in the ages before us."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"What a strange world we moderns have created, where everything is permissible, and nothing is forgivable"

What a strange world we moderns have created, where everything is permissible, and nothing is forgivable

-commenter on Mark Shea's blog a couple of years ago

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Found in a post on the Catholic Answers forums (

I remember years ago Mother Angelica getting a call from a woman complaining about the issue of Hypocrisy. The woman told Mother Angelica, "I don't go to Mass because I don't want to be surrounded by all those hypocrites." Mother replied, "Don't worry there is always room for one more."

Or, in other words, "he who is without hypocrisy, let him cast the first stone."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"...Bill and Ted's Excellent Bible Shack..."

While reading this post by science fiction author Mike Flynn (which I would highly suggest reading in its entirety), I came across this quote that I enjoyed in particular. :-)

Atheists and other fundies often forget about the Orthodox Church, but it is the second largest Church in Christendom. Together with the largest, the Roman Catholic, they comprise better than 63% of all Christians. Throw in the third largest - the Anglican Communion - and we've got two-thirds of all Christians, well before we get down to the more exotic and idiosyncratic sects. If I want to know "what Christianity teaches," I would be inclined to ask the Orthodox or Catholic churches, as they have near 2000 years of noodling over it. Yet when the Coynes of the world want to tell us 'what Christians believe,' they agitate over the idiosyncratic beliefs of Bill and Ted's Excellent Bible Shack, whose teachings go back to last Tuesday. Go figure.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes; she is tolerant in practice because she loves. The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe; they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.

~Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

Saturday, May 21, 2011

If Jesus came back now....

...sometime in the Late Middle Ages six men went to visit a very famous monk. The six were men of wealth, position, and prestige. The monk was a man known first for his holiness and then for his wisdom. When they arrived at the monastary they inquired after the whereabouts of the monk. They thought they would find him either in chapel or in the scriptorium reading the Scriptures. Instead, they found him hoeing vegetables in the monastary garden. (The rule of his religious order prescribed two hours of manual labour a day for each monk.)

They introudced themselves and talked with him for a while. Finally, one of them asked the holy monk, "If you discovered that the Lord Jesus was coming at this hour, what would you do?" The monk leaned on his hoe and said, "I'd keep hoeing a straight row. Our rule calls for me to work for one more hour today, and my superior has assigned me to hoe this garden."

The educated wealthy gentlemen were shocked. They had anticipated that he would have said he would rush to the chapel to await the Lord. Sensing their consternation the monk said to them.

"In obeying the rule of my order I am obeying God. I fulfill my duty to God. I show my true love for God. If I would do something different if I discovered the Lord was coming at this time, then there is something wrong with the way I am living my life right now. If there is, I should change it right now. I should always live my life as if the Lord were coming for me right then. But right now I am supposed to be hoeing vegetables. So if the Lord comes right now, He is going to find me doing my job well, hoeing a straight row."

-Desmond Birch, Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph: Before, During, and After Antichrist

Friday, May 13, 2011

"The mission of the Church is not to crouch in a defensive posture behind the walls of Fortress Catholicism, but to take the fight to the enemy."

I’m always delighted to see it when people get excited about the word of God and see in the revelation of Christ the power of liberation. My reader gets it: The mission of the Church is not to crouch in a defensive posture behind the walls of Fortress Catholicism, but to take the fight to the enemy. “The gates of hell” is imagery from siege warfare. You do not attack with a gate. You hide behind it while the attacking army deploys battering rams to smash it to pieces. We, the Church, are the attacking army against the gates of hell, with Jesus as our captain. The weapons of our warfare are not violence but the testimony of Christ, charity, and our own blood and suffering, offered in union with His sacrifice. We do not fight because we are sinless and perfect, but because grace enables us. We defeat our enemies by making them our brothers and sisters and no longer enemies. We can’t be defeated, because even death is on our side now, having been taken prisoner and made the conquered slave of the Risen One. The only thing hell can do is lie and plant thoughts of despair or presumption in our minds to turn us from Hope. If we accept these thoughts, either by bitterly embracing the lie that there is no hope for the Church or by drunkenly concluding that we need not fight since the battle will be won someday, then we turn from Hope. But if we remain in Christ and keep putting one foot in front of the other in obedience, we have every reason to rejoice as we keep battering at the gates of hell in his Name and Power.

-Mark Shea

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"... But the greatest of these is Funding. "

Now abide these seven elements of Modern Science: Time, Space, Matter, Energy, Power, Prestige, and Funding. But the greatest of these is Funding.

-Mark Shea

Friday, April 8, 2011

"I feel about Catholicism as G.K. Chesterton did — that it encourages an exuberance, a joy about the gift of life."

I feel about Catholicism as G.K. Chesterton did — that it encourages an exuberance, a joy about the gift of life. I think my conversion was a natural growth. Even in the darkest hours of my childhood, I was an irrepressible optimist, always able to find something to fill me with amazement, wonder and delight. When I came to the Catholic faith, it explained to me why I always had — and always should have — felt exuberant and full of hope.

-Dean Koontz

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"It is convenient because it tends to turn our eyes away from ourselves and our own faults to find a scape-goat."

...You speak of 'sagging faith', however. That is quite another matter. In the last resort faith is an act of will, inspired by love. Our love may be chilled and our will eroded by the spectacle of the shortcomings, folly, and even sins of the Church and its ministers, but I do not think that one who once had faith goes back over the line for these reasons (least of all anyone with any historical knowledge). 'Scandal' at most is an occasion of temptation- as indecency is to lust, which it does not make but arouses. It is convenient because it tends to turn our eyes away from ourselves and our own faults to find a scape-goat. But the act of will of faith is not a single moment of final decision: it is a permanent indefinitely repeated act > state which must go on- so we pray for 'final perseverance'. The temptation to 'unbelief' (which really means rejection of Our Lord and His claims) is always there within us. Part of us longs to to find an excuse for it outside us. The stronger the inner temptation the more readily and severely shall we be 'scandalized' by others. I think I am as sensitive as you (or any other Christian) to the 'scandals', both of clergy and laity. I have suffered grievously in my life from stupid, tired, dimmed, and even bad priests; but I now know enough about myself to be aware that I should not leave the Church (which for me would mean leaving the allegiance of Our Lord) for any such reasons: I should leave because I did not believe, and should not believe any more, even if I had never met any one in orders who was not both wise and saintly. I should deny the Blessed Sacrament, that is: call Our Lord a fraud to His face.

If He is a fraud and the Gospels fraudulent- that is: garbled accounts of a demented megalomaniac (which is the only alternative), then of course the spectacle exhibited by the Church (in the sense of clergy) in history and today is simply evidence of a gigantic fraud. If not, however, then this spectacle is alas! only what was to be expected: it began before the first Easter, and it does not affect faith at all- except that we may and should be deeply grieved. But we should grieve on our Lord's behalf and for Him, associating ourselves with the scandalizers not with the saints, not crying out that we cannot 'take' Judas Iscariot, or even the absurd & cowardly Simon Peter, or the silly women like James' mother, trying to push her sons...

-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 250

Saturday, April 2, 2011

"As Catholics, we do not subscribe to a system of dogmas. We begin with a person, the person of our Lord continued in his mystical body the church."

As Catholics, we do not subscribe to a system of dogmas. We begin with a person, the person of our Lord continued in his mystical body the church. What is faith? Faith is the meeting of two personalities. You and the Lord. There is no adhesion to an abstract dogma, but rather a communion with a person who can neither deceive nor be deceived. The authoritarians start with a party line. We start with our Lord, the Son of the living God, who said, 'I am the truth.' In other words, truth was identified with his personality. Remember when you were a child. What did you consider your home? just a sum of commands given by either your mother or your father? It was more than that, was it not? It was the love of their personalities. Our faith, then, is first and foremost in Christ, who lives in his mystical body the church. It is only secondarily in the explicit beliefs. If our Lord did not reveal them, we would not believe them. If we lost him, we would lose our beliefs. He comes first.

-Fulton Sheen

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Knox again

From a good piece of satire. :-)

"When suave politness, temp'ring bigot zeal
Corrected I believe to One does feel

-Ronald Knox, Absolute and Abitofhell

Friday, March 25, 2011

From our "Be careful what you say" department. :-)

A passage found in Archbishop Fulton Sheen's autobiography:

One day on a New York subway when the door opened at Forty-second Street a drunk got in and threw himself alongside of me and began reading a paper which I doubted very much he could see in his condition. Then he said to me: "How does a man get diabetes?" I said: "Oh, by getting drunk and paying no attention to his wife and children." A moment later I was sorry for having made that quick diagnosis. I asked him: "Why did you want to know how a man got diabetes?" He said: "I was just reading that the Pope had diabetes."

-Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen (1980)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

William of Ockham

Just came across a great quote on William of Ockham made by Mike Flynn, himself commenting a post by Edward Feser (thus introducing me to a great blog I wish I would have come across long before!). Anyway, here is Michael Flynn's comments, adding to Edward Feser's thoughts:

Christopher Hitchens claims that William undermined medieval scholastic thought using proto-scientific rationalism. But because it is Hitchens, we know that it must be wrong. In fact, William was a voluntarist who believed in the Triumph of the Will, specifically of God's Will. This was contrary to Thomist thinking, which held that the intellect was prior to the will. (Basically, you cannot desire something that you do not know.) As always when you get things exactly bass-ackward, things do not cohere and all sorts of "paradoxes" and "problems" appear out of nowhere. Causation blows up, and with it ethics and morality, and the limited state. There is no demonstrable connection between cause and effect, so causation goes bye-bye; and it is only so far as scientists paid little attention in practice to Ockhamism/Humeanism that science prospered at all. When al-Ghazali pulled the same stunt in the House of Submission, the scattered fires of natural science faded out. The triumph of the will over the intellect meant that God becomes the Tyrant in the Sky issuing arbitrary rules about what is good or bad. Draw a straight line from there to absolute monarchs and libertarians. (A libertarian is an absolute monarch with a very small kingdom.) The denial of essences meant that you could never know if another creature was "really" human. If there was no human "nature" or "essence," then there are only individual human beings; and those creatures with different skin colors or talking jibber-jabber might not be human at all.
Unfortunately, we all know where that led...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God! the
British journalist.
But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there's
no occasion to.

-Humbert Wolfe

Friday, March 18, 2011

"How else but through a broken heart may Lord Christ enter in?"

And thus we rust Life's iron chain
Degraded and alone:
And some men curse, and some men weep,
And some men make no moan:
But God's eternal Laws are kind
And break the heart of stone.

And every human heart that breaks,
In prison-cell or yard,
Is as that broken box that gave
It's treasure to the Lord,
And filled the unclean leper's house
With the scent of costliest nard.

Ah! happy they whose hearts can break
And peace of pardon win!
How else may man make straight his plan
And cleanse his soul from Sin?
How else but through a broken heart
May Lord Christ enter in?

-Oscar Wilde, extract from The Ballad of Reading Gaol (deathbed convert to the Catholic Church)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"...but Satan never has and never will appear with scars"

Satan may appear in many disguises like Christ, and at the end of the world will appear as a benefactor and philanthropist- but Satan never has and never will appear with scars. Only Heaven's Love can show the mark of love's greatest gift in a night forever past.

-Fulton Sheen, Life of Christ

"Can God make a weight so heavy that he cannot lift it?"

"Can God make a weight so heavy that he cannot lift it?" asks the unbeliever. He feels he has us cornered. If we say "yes," then God cannot lift it; if we say "no," then God cannot make it [....] Our reply is that God can indeed do all things, but self-contradiction is not a thing. God cannot make a four-sided triangle, because the terms contradict each other and cancel out. A four-sided triangle is meaningless; it is not a thing at all, it is nothing. A weight that an almighty Being cannot lift is as much a contradiction in terms as a four-sided triangle. It too is nothing. And (to give an old text a new emphasis) nothing is impossible to God.

-Frank Sheed, Theology for Beginners

Monday, March 14, 2011

"They would want to know how it got there."

Why I realize I *have* to read Ronald Knox. :-)

From Second Friends: C.S. Lewis and Ronald Knox in Conversation by Milton Wash (p. 57):

...Can the philosophy of materialism explain the existence of intelligence? [Bertrand] Russell believes it can: given the vastness and complexity of the universe, it is probable that among the various combinations you will have one or two that produce intelligent organisms. This, for Knox obfuscates the question: "If the police were to discover a human body in Mr. Russell's Saratoga trunk, he would not be able to satisfy them with the explanation that, among all the innumerable articles of luggage in the world, it is only natural that there should be some few which are large enough to contain a body. They would want to know how it got there." By airily talking of hypothetical possibilities in a vast universe, Russell is avoiding the question of how in fact our material world has produced the spiritual reality of intellect. The existence of something different from the material world requires a cause that is other than material, and points to a Mind which is the source of our human ability to reason.


Welcome. :-) I decided to start a blog dedicated to recording wonderful quotes that I come across that I wish to share. I already have a blog to providing quotes from G.K. Chesterton ( ), so I decided that, in order to make it clear to my friends that I *do* read other books besides Chesterton, that I would start this blog providing great quotes I come across from other authors. :-)

In any case, I hope you enjoy the quotes that I provide. God bless!