Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Coconut Oil: Miracle Product or Beauty Fad?

From the Trianon Health and Beauty Blog:
Coconut oil is one of the main ingredients in my creams and in the cleanser. It fights aging by tightening the skin and helping it to stay firm. It helps to heal blemishes by increasing the collagen and by the antioxidant and antibacterial activity. (Read more.)

Proper Lenten Fasting

From The Catholic Herald:
In his Physiology of Taste, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, that philosopher of the delicious, describes Lenten fasting during his youth in 18th-century France: “...Neither butter, eggs, nor anything animal was served at these collations. They had to be satisfied with salads, confitures and sweetmeats, a very unsatisfactory food to such appetites at that time. They went to bed, however, and lived in hope as long as the fast lasted.” Even as early as the 18th century, however, the custom was under assault, leading Pope Benedict XIV to write in a manner that should give us pause today:
The observance of Lent is the very badge of Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of Christ. By it we avert the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should men grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.
This statement ranks as accurate papal prophecy – ranking up there with Paul VI’s exact prediction of the modern dating scene in Humanae Vitae. Brillat-Savarin later speaks of the gradual decline of fasting during the Age of Reason in a manner eerily parallel to Dom Guéranger’s account in his Liturgical Year. In the end, all was swept away in the French Revolution. Although the Catholic Revival of the 19th century saw a partial re-establishment of the practice (though most notably with two collations), even this was gradually done away with, until we reached the point we are at now. It cannot be said that the current conditions in church and state – to say nothing of the individual piety and happiness of Catholics – speak well for the results of the relaxation. (Read more.)

Historical Evidence for Jesus

This is for the people who keep insisting that Jesus is a myth. There is more historical evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth than there is for many Roman Emperors. From Reasonable Faith:
1. There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts. The interval of time between the events themselves and recording of them in the gospels is too short to have allowed the memory of what had or had not actually happened to be erased.

2. The gospels are not analogous to folk tales or contemporary "urban legends." Tales like those of Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill or contemporary urban legends like the "vanishing hitchhiker" rarely concern actual historical individuals and are thus not analogous to the gospel narratives.

3. The Jewish transmission of sacred traditions was highly developed and reliable. In an oral culture like that of first century Palestine the ability to memorize and retain large tracts of oral tradition was a highly prized and highly developed skill. From the earliest age children in the home, elementary school, and the synagogue were taught to memorize faithfully sacred tradition. The disciples would have exercised similar care with the teachings of Jesus.

4. There were significant restraints on the embellishment of traditions about Jesus, such as the presence of eyewitnesses and the apostles’ supervision. Since those who had seen and heard Jesus continued to live and the tradition about Jesus remained under the supervision of the apostles, these factors would act as a natural check on tendencies to elaborate the facts in a direction contrary to that preserved by those who had known Jesus.

5. The Gospel writers have a proven track record of historical reliability.
I don’t have enough time to talk about all of these. So let me say something about the first and the last points.

1. There was insufficient time for legendary influences to expunge the historical facts. No modern scholar thinks of the gospels as bald-faced lies, the result of a massive conspiracy. The only place you find such conspiracy theories of history is in sensationalist, popular literature or former propaganda from behind the Iron Curtain. When you read the pages of the New Testament, there’s no doubt that these people sincerely believed in the truth of what they proclaimed. Rather ever since the time of D. F. Strauss, sceptical scholars have explained away the gospels as legends. Like the child’s game of telephone, as the stories about Jesus were passed on over the decades, they got muddled and exaggerated and mythologized until the original facts were all but lost. The Jewish peasant sage was transformed into the divine Son of God.

One of the major problems with the legend hypothesis, however, which is almost never addressed by sceptical critics, is that the time between Jesus’s death and the writing of the gospels is just too short for this to happen. This point has been well-explained by A. N. Sherwin-White in his book Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament[2] Professor Sherwin-White is not a theologian; he is a professional historian of times prior to and contemporaneous with Jesus. According to Sherwin-White, the sources for Roman and Greek history are usually biased and removed one or two generations or even centuries from the events they record. Yet, he says, historians reconstruct with confidence the course of Roman and Greek history. For example, the two earliest biographies of Alexander the Great were written by Arrian and Plutarch more than 400 years after Alexander’s death, and yet classical historians still consider them to be trustworthy. The fabulous legends about Alexander the Great did not develop until during the centuries after these two writers. According to Sherwin-White, the writings of Herodotus enable us to determine the rate at which legend accumulates, and the tests show that even two generations is too short a time span to allow legendary tendencies to wipe out the hard core of historical facts. When Professor Sherwin-White turns to the gospels, he states that for the gospels to be legends, the rate of legendary accumulation would have to be "unbelievable." More generations would be needed. (Read more.)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Litany to the Holy Heart of St. Joseph

A rare litany to the Holy Heart of St. Joseph, in honor of his feast day. Share

McCabe and Comey

From The Hill:
McCabe is accused of misleading investigators about allegedly giving information to a former Wall Street Journal reporter about the investigation of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton family’s charitable foundation. McCabe asserts in his post-firing statement that he not only had authority to “share” that information to the media but did so with the knowledge of “the director.” The FBI director at the time was Comey.

 “I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor,” McCabe stated. “As deputy director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter.”

If the “interaction” means leaking the information, then McCabe’s statement would seem to directly contradict statements Comey made in a May 2017 congressional hearing. Asked if he had “ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation” or whether he had “ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation,” Comey replied “never” and “no.” (Read more.)
Meanwhile, from The Federalist:
 Newly discovered text messages obtained by The Federalist reveal two key federal law enforcement officials conspired to meet with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge who presided over the federal case against Michael Flynn. The judge, Rudolph Contreras, was recused from handling the case just days after accepting the guilty plea of President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser who was charged with making false statements to federal investigators.
The text messages about Contreras between controversial Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lawyer Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, the senior FBI counterintelligence official who was kicked off Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, were deliberately hidden from Congress, multiple congressional investigators told The Federalist. In the messages, Page and Strzok, who are rumored to have been engaged in an illicit romantic affair, discussed Strzok’s personal friendship with Contreras and how to leverage that relationship in ongoing counterintelligence matters. (Read more.)

The Family and the Fight Against Obesity

From Return to Order:
A strong family life offers much needed order to the lives of children. Fathers and mothers can address not only avoiding unhealthy attachments to foods but also the culture’s call to pleasure through materialism and experiences. When we line up to purchase fast-food, junk food and snack food in abundance, we also, as a society, appear to feed our intellect, our spiritual and emotional lives with cheapened missives that emanate from the mass media marketing campaigns that drive our materialistic culture. That is why the family can be an essential shield against this culture. There are all sorts of ways in which parents can work against some of the influences that affect obesity among children.

Disconnecting the TV from the networks and reserving it for controlled DVDs with content that edifies the soul is one significant strategy. Parents might discourage those tight and unforgiving schedules that give way to pressures that are threatening our family structures, our own mental health and that of our children. They can keep out poor quality entertainment in the form of bad novels, violent and sensual video games, hyped-up movies and reality TV as a means towards depressurizing our lives.

All these things have made us ill by malnourishing our minds and spirits, leaving us spiritually ill, and emotionally empty, unable to find spiritual or emotional solace in our frantic preoccupations. Taking measures in these fields, will influence eating habits. It is interesting that the emptiness and dreariness of this generation’s outlook on life matches the colorless dinner plates they choose to consume. The family that is Christ-centered offers protection against society’s assault on hope. (Read more.)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Helena Modjeska as Marie Antoinette, 1899

Helena Modjeska was a celebrated Polish-American actress. More about her HERE. Share

Who Will Banish the Madmen in Education?

From Return to Order:
The modern mantra is that all students need to attend university. Thus, young people continue to enter colleges in droves. As a result, they pile up massive amounts of debt, which they owe mainly to the federal government. Such student debt now stands at an astounding $1.4 trillion and growing. The problem is that more and more graduates fail to pay back their loans. Federal loan programs can only work on the assumption that they will be paid back. In fact, interest collected on these loans has always been more than enough to cover costs. For decades, the government has even shown a surplus — a rare feat these days from any government agency. But the federal loan programs are now projected to lose tens of billions of dollars. And young people are getting the blame. (Read more.)