George Dunlap, November 16, 2020. I still remember, my 4th grade elementary school teacher reading The Hobbit to our class, to this day. As I grew older I moved on to reading The Lord of the Rings series, and finally the LOTR movie version. I have always been fascinated with Tolkien’s writings, life, and Catholic Faith. The below is a wonderful article about how Tolkien dealt with “The Dark Times, in our…. faith, comes strength. Enjoy this article.
From the 1950s until now, readers of countless backgrounds and beliefs have been mesmerized by The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion. But the name of J.R.R. Tolkien is well known even to those who have no taste for fantasy literature.
Despite his fame, many fans of this literary genius are unaware that he was a devout Roman Catholic whose faith profoundly influenced his work. It was, in fact, Tolkien’s faith and frequent reception of the Sacraments that sustained him through the trials of personal life, the darkness of two world wars, the disappointment and suffering inflicted by members and leaders of the Church, and the scandal caused by destruction of the sacred liturgy.
I recently discovered a letter he wrote on November 1st, 1963 to his son Michael to provide encouragement in a time of upheaval. It is an astonishing letter, most especially because it feels as though it had been written today in the wake of egregious sins committed by some of our Catholic clergy.
Dear Catholic Bishops, The poet John Milton wrote: “The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed.” Church leadership is called upon to do the right thing, especially in difficult times: to speak the truth boldly and lovingly and to watch over those entrusted to their care. When bishops fail to fulfill this sacred obligation, the lay faithful are left feeling confused, neglected, and abandoned.
Such is the situation as we approach our national election in which a clear and obvious divide exists on essential matters related to earthly wellbeing and eternal welfare: the protection of God-given life from conception to natural death; the safeguarding of the family and the wellspring of sexuality; the dignity of all persons, including the rights of conscience and the freedom to live and worship without interference from the state or persecution from the culture.
The Democratic Party that once championed the civil rights of all has now become hostile to Christian faith and those who practice it. Their shrunken tent has no room for those who are pro-life, no room for those who profess what has been called mere Christianity, nor for any who believe in the value of patriotism insofar as patriotism embodies a natural preference for one’s own country.
Moreover, the Democratic presidential candidate himself can be considered Catholic in name only, for in nearly a half-century of public life he has routinely, repeatedly, and systematically rejected what the Church teaches: on life issues, on sexual morality, on religious liberty. When asked recently whether he would support an eight-year old’s decision to change gender, he answered in the affirmative.
Fr. Edward Meeks speaks the truth, but, will we hear, will we see, will we accept the TRUTH. I urge you and your family to spend 27 minutes and truly understand our journey with God on Earth. As men we have lost our way and with faith we can lead our families to the light. God Bless you and your family.
GEORGE DUNLAP, OCT 5, 2020. If you are seriously curious about Columbus, slavery, and the European transit to the Americas. I offer you a history lesson… by Robert Royal.
Earlier this year, statues of Christopher Columbus were torn down by mobs in cities like Baltimore and Richmond. In recent decades, some authors have questioned the legacy of Columbus. Robert Royal, Catholic author and the President of the Faith & Reason Institute, gave a defense of Christopher Columbus during a lecture at the Basilica on October 1. Royal is the author of Columbus and the Crisis of the West and 1492 and All That: Political Manipulations of History.
Royal clarified that he did not want to give a “full-throated defense” but added that Columbus has been unfairly demonized and that it is a topic that “very few people know anything about and that a lot of people are agitated about.”
Robert Royal is the founder and President of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. and Editor-in-Chief of The Catholic Thing. He is author of over 10 books, including Columbus and the Crisis of the West and 1492 and All That: Political Manipulations of History. His articles have appeared in scholarly journals and publications including First Things, The Wilson Quarterly, The Catholic Historical Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times and National Review. He is a frequent contributor on EWTN and can be regularly seen on “The Papal Posse” segment on The World Over. Thomas More College in New Hampshire recently named Royal their first Saint John Henry Newman Visiting Chair in Catholic Studies.
GEORGE DUNLAP, SEPTEMBER 30, 2020. A good friend, of mine, from my days at Bowling Green State University, has a daughter who was a student of Amy Coney Barrett, from her days at Notre Dame Law School. She has opened my eyes to this smart Catholic woman, mother and Judge. Patrick Deneen tells us so much about the Judge.
Amy Coney Barrett is my neighbor and friend. This fact, along with my complete lack of familiarity or expertise in her scholarly and judicial work, gives me no special insight into how she will adjudicate as a justice of the Supreme Court, assuming she is confirmed by the Senate.
But neither does anyone else know how she will adjudicate—quite possibly, not even Judge Barrett herself. The fact is, even her closest friends, and experts with the most advanced knowledge of her legal and judicial writings, have no special insight into how she will eventually rule in some of the most contested cases likely to come before the Court in future years. In coming days and weeks, we will be subjected to competing narratives over Judge Barrett’s judicial philosophy, presented with confident certainty about how she will decide cases in light of previous writings and decisions. Color me skeptical over what the experts tell us to expect.
George Dunlap, September 30, 2020. Two Catholic writers I really enjoy, Brad Miner, alive and kickin’ it, and G.K. Chesterton, a man for all ages. This awesome article by Brad Miner is about Chesterton’s…… Blue Tigersand today’s lack of clear understanding.
Do you know about G.K. Chesterton’s example of the blue world? He writes in Orthodoxy of a reformer whose passion is to make the world blue – not in the sense of unhappy, mind you, but actually the color blue.
“He could have heroic adventures,” GKC writes, “the putting of the last touches to a blue tiger. He could have fairy dreams; the dawn of a blue moon. But if he worked hard, that high-minded reformer would certainly (from his own point of view) leave the world better and bluer than he found it.” It’s a silly example of reforming, he admits, but therefore simple to grasp.
However, “if he altered his favourite colour every day, he would not get on at all. . .there would be nothing to show except a few blue tigers walking about.”
Chesterton’s famous summary is this:
So it does not matter (comparatively speaking) how often humanity fails to imitate its ideal; for then all its old failures are fruitful. But it does frightfully matter how often humanity changes its ideal; for then all its failures are fruitless.
This seems to me a paraphrase of Edmund Burke’s sage counsel that:
it is with infinite caution that any man ought to venture upon pulling down an edifice which has answered in any tolerable degree for ages the common purposes of society, or on building it up again without having models and patterns of approved utility before his eyes.
2020 is the Year of the Iconoclasts, and it remains to be seen if it ushers in an Era of Iconoclasm – a sorrowful period during which not just stores continue to be looted by rioters but more of our history and culture too: library shelves stripped, and bonfires built. I doubt it will come to that, but even less likely is that a phoenix would rise from the ashes if it does.
When Girolamo Savonarola set ablaze the “vanities” on February 7, 1497, his intention was to cleanse the Catholic morals of Florence, not to destroy Florence itself. This is clearly not true of our contemporary iconoclasts: Antifa, Black Lives Matter (BLM), and the rest of the neo-totalitarian mob, whose lawlessness and seditiousness have only rarely been condemned or suppressed, even in the cities they’ve besieged. Indeed, they’ve often been praised by local officials – so much so, in fact, that some mayors have marched in solidarity with them, unmasked against COVID-19, even as they have imposed draconian measures against church attendance in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
If I recall correctly, it was in the aftermath of the death of the career criminal George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, that the basketball player LeBron James popularized the hashtag “#Kap was right” – “Kap” referring to Colin Kaepernick, whose kneeling at NFL games was in protest to what Kaepernick asserted is an extreme number of racist murders by white police of black suspects.
But Mr. Kaepernick is wrong. It is the heart of his argument (and of Black Lives Matter) that white police apply fatal force to black suspects at a rate and frequency that “proves” systemic racism. But if that’s so, why do the facts say otherwise?