Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
10 January 2012
My libertarian and anarchist friends might be interested in the concept in this novel. American Second Amendment folks might enjoy the most quoted line in the book, as advocated by the mysterious weapon shops:
The right to buy weapons is the right to be free.
The author posits a situation in which (let’s say it) magical guns are offered for sale, much to the consternation of the governing empire of a far future Earth. The idea is intriguing and probably outpaces the material van Vogt gives it in this book, which is a patched-together novelization of three distinct short stories. The short stories are better, if you have access to them, by the way.
A weapon shop appears out of nowhere. Police and military personnel cannot enter the shop. But any other citizen can. Once inside, a merchant describes the nature of the guns they sell. They may be used only for self-defense. They extend a protective shield around the owner impervious to energy weapons, but not bullets, spears, or presumably, punches. The guns are amazingly inexpensive. They are not for passive individuals. When one client finds himself swindled by a bank in collusion with a corrupt rival company, the weapon shop folks counsel him to be polite but to resist the actions taken against him.
If you want to use a weapon shop product for hunting, there is an approved list of animals. Newbies to gun purchasing are amazed there is nearly a perfect implementation of gun ethics. One guy tries to turn a hunting rifle on a weapon shop merchant–the psychological profile drawn from the aggressor when he entered the shop prevents the gun from working. He is easily subdued without injury, and turned out into the street.
Another sf author, Arthur C. Clarke once posited:
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
The weapon shops of Isher are a magical counterweight to the cruelties and indifference of a ruling empire. There is no hard science behind them in the books. Nothing explained, that is. I suspect many people around the world would wish they had such a fantasy come true for them. One of the interesting aspects of weapon shop ideology is that they do not interfere in the larger picture of politics. They tolerate a corrupt government, knowing that the rulers cannot take the final step toward totalitarianism because of the access citizens have to their weapons.
One of the things I look for in science fiction is an intriguing idea. I can overlook (especially in a 160-page book) an author’s ideology (van Vogt is reported to have been a monarchist, though the emergence of 20th century totalitarianism was extremely distressing to him). I can pass on concepts like sexism or things happening with little apparent reason (like why on Earth did the weapon shop woman marry the country rube?) because a good idea will latch on, and I’ll be thinking about it days later.
As for my next book, it’s back to non-fiction for me. I’ll take my ideas straight with no ideology for the next few books. But if any of you conservatives out there want a quick read that spins you back to the 50′s, and want to chime in on the weapon shops, knock yourself out.
10 January 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Liam
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Liam sent me the link on what your parish should have been celebrating yesterday if it observed Epiphany this past Sunday.
Here’s a riff on that theme …
Many feasts of the Lord lend their names to parishes: Nativity, Transfiguration, Sacred Heart, Corpus Christi, Christ the King, etc.. Have you ever wondered by some feasts do not inspire such patronage? Baptism of the Lord strikes me as one of these.
The celebration of the Baptism of the Lord has been given a place of honor through the reform of the General Roman Calendar, which has assigned it to the Sunday after Epiphany. This is meant to facilitate observance of the feast by the whole Christian community gathered together on that Sunday, since in the history of salvation and in the liturgical year this feast has highly important doctrinal, pastoral, and ecumenical dimensions.
If this is true, I would expect more parishes dedicated to the Baptism of the Lord.
10 January 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Art
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Now that the white, gold, and silver festivities of the Christmas season are behind us, it’s time to consider the Church’s shorter stretch of ordinary (or ordinal–counted) time. I hope your green vestments are laundered and burnished and ready to go, if not for today, then for Sunday, at least.
I have to say I’ve usually been unimpressed with the papal vestments I’ve seen the past several years. This sea-green shade has gotten a lot of mileage, at least on Google. I’ve seen images of the pope with a shimmering bluish-green, too. That seems even less inspired. At least the chasuble on the left is a relatively pure green, if lacking a certain gravitas.
But while this shade on the right is a bit more serious, it’s still a tad too light and too yellow for my taste. Olive just doesn’t float my boat.
One challenge is the Catholic indulgence for trimming green vestments in gold. You may feel differently about it, and I know that gold is well-intentioned. But the overall green+gold effect is just too yellowy and not quite serious enough for liturgy. It reminds me of the Packers, all too often.
Silver trim with a forest green is much better. Our parish’s new ordinary time vestment would be about as light of a shade of green as I would go:
Our committee really grilled my friend David Cooper to get something just right for us. The committee didn’t need my opinions–they were hoping for something a bit darker than the very darkest in David’s cloth samples. Here’s a closer look at that shows a pleasant green, silver lining, and a red-to-green pallette for the center:
What about your parishes, my friends? How green do you go?
10 January 2012
Very little changed in the period 1975-2011 on what takes place between the opening procession and the first reading:
124. Once all this has been done, the Priest goes to the chair. When the Entrance Chant is concluded, with everybody standing, the Priest and faithful sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross. The Priest says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The people reply, Amen.
Then, facing the people and extending his hands, the Priest greets the people, using one of the formulas indicated. The Priest himself or some other minister may also very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day.
125. The Penitential Act follows. After this, the Kyrie is sung or said, in accordance with the rubrics (cf. no. 52).
126. For celebrations where it is prescribed, the Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) is either sung or said (cf. no. 53).
127. The Priest then calls upon the people to pray, saying, with hands joined, Let us pray. All pray silently with the Priest for a brief time. Then the Priest, with hands extended, says the Collect, at the end of which the people acclaim, Amen.
Introductory remarks are optional, and if done shoulod be “very brief.” My thinking is two sentences, maximum. But omission is preferable.
Note the presciption for silence after the priest calls upon the people to pray. This silence is indicated, and should be longer than any introductory remarks. Do your clergy follow this? This would be an example of a needful and positive implementation of the MR3: a caution that we all, especially the clergy, look at practices that add to the celebration of Mass and increase its potential for fruitfulness.
10 January 2012
The message of catechesis is “A message of liberation,” as the section 103-104 is headed.
103. The Good News of the Kingdom of God, which proclaims salvation, includes a “message of liberation”. (cf. Evangelii Nuntiandi 30-35) In preaching this Kingdom, Jesus addressed the poor in a very special way: “Blessed are you poor, yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh” (Lk 6,20-21) The Beatitudes of Jesus, addressed to those who suffer, are an eschatological proclamation of the salvation which the Kingdom brings. They note that painful experience to which the Gospel is so particularly sensitive: poverty, hunger and the suffering of humanity. The community of the disciples of Jesus, the Church, shares today the same sensitivity as the Master himself showed them. With great sorrow she turns her attention to those “peoples who, as we all know, are striving with all their power and energy to overcome all those circumstances which compel them to live on the border line of existence: hunger, chronic epidemics, illiteracy, poverty, injustice between nations… economic and cultural neo-colonialism”. (Evangelii Nuntiandi 30) All forms of poverty, “not only economic but also cultural and religious” (Centesimus Annus 57; cf. Catechism 2444) are a source of concern for the Church.
As an important dimension of her mission, “the Church is duty bound—as her bishops have insisted—to proclaim the liberation of these hundreds of millions of people, since very many of them are her children. She has the duty of helping this liberation, of bearing witness on its behalf and of assuring its full development”. (Evangelii Nuntiandi 30)
To many Catholics, the distinction between charity and justice is indiscernible. Also, “liberation” has suspicious political connotations, further preventing this aspect of the Gospel message to be heard and engaged. And yet Church teaching is bluntly clear: the Church has a “duty” to promote liberation and to place its weight behind the development of justice, especially for the poor.