The Fleming Foundation Cultural Commentary
2024 is looking to be a presidential race dominated by foreign policy. Usually domestic policy trumps foreign. Exceptions were 1980, when the Soviets were on the march, Carter couldn’t get the hostages out of Tehran and Reagan presented a stronger posture to voters. And 2004, when in the wake of 9/11, Bush’s Iraq and Afghanistan wars were seeming to succeed just before they went bad.
New Year’s Eve is always a conundrum wrapped in tinsel dilemmas, still more so for a habitual inebriate prone to superstition. But even when sober, my compatriots believe that “as you meet it, so you’ll spend it,” meaning that the last day in December represents the coming year in miniature, something like one of those presepio Biblical scenes, complete with microscopic sheep and papier-mâché Magi.
Why do journalists lie? I do not ask this question as a joke with a punchline waiting in the wings or even as an illustration of mankind’s general propensity to lie, cheat, and steal. My question is intended to go to the heart of what journalism is, fundamentally: a “profession” in which men and women, without any particular skills or qualifications, spend their time at work making and repeating statements that they either know are untrue or, if they are so obtuse as not to know they are telling lies, they should be required to keep silent.
The Holy Mass, as I have been trying to make clear, is one of the greatest and most carefully composed artistic constructions in the history of human civilization. However, the object of this great art is not entertainment or even instruction, but the praise of God and the salvation of the participants.
The attornery-general of Maine has joined the Colorado Supreme Court in ruling that the name of Donald Trump may not be put on the ballot. The justification is article three of the Fourteenth Amendment:
Well, here we are again, on the isthmus between Catholicism and Orthodoxy – shall we call it Christhmus? – as all around us the Italians stock up on panettone and prosecco while we fast. No worries, because in two weeks’ time, when our Christmas comes, we infidels can buy those festive trappings discounted.
The Pater Noster is the greatest and most familiar prayer of the Church, taught to us by our Lord himself. Incessant repetition of a prayer is a very good and necessary thing, but if we are not careful, we may cease to ponder on it. There are many fine commentaries by St. John Chrysostom, St. Thomas, et alii, which bring out the spiritual riches. I am only a philologist, a student of languages, and will confine myself to elucidating the words. Some of what I have to say—and more—can be found in the podcasts we did on the subject.
The Washington Post, owned by centibillionaire Jeff Bezos, is rabidly anti-Trump. Yet here’s the key part of its editorial on the Colorado Supreme Court throwing President Trump off the state’s primary ballot; albeit stayed until it’s taken up by the adults on the U.S. Supreme Court. WaPo:
Why does the Church authorize four Gospels? Of course there were many other versions, and some of them, surely, contained useful details. And, on the other hand, if we could not be permitted to read a dozen, why not one comprehensive story, which would avoid confusion and discourage the sneers of skeptics who search the texts for discrepancies?