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!