We feebly struggle, they in glory shine! Saturday, Oct 31 2009 

Today is the Solemnity of All Saints. This is the day we commemorate the entire communion of saints, of which we ourselves hope to have an eternal part. Today is an especially important feast for several reasons – the two that press on my mind right now are catechesis and intercession.

For catechesis, this is the day when best to explain to children or Christian neophytes just what we believe saints are. We do not believe they are a sort of pseudo-Christian pantheon, with patron saints merely replacing pagan gods. (more…)

Obama to speak at Notre Dame US, receive doctorate? Saturday, Mar 21 2009 

This has nothing directly to do with Japan, but as the “president of the world” anything Obama does, particularly when it intersects with the Universal Church, is of international importance.

Via the American Papist and the Notre Dame front page

This is a shocker.
The nation’s premier Catholic institution of higher learning is bestowing an honorary degree, and allowing to give the commencement address, a president who is actively pursuing policies and legislation that threaten Catholic institutions and offend Catholic values:

“President Barack Obama will give the commencement address at the University of Notre Dame on May 17, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said this afternoon.
The address in South Bend was one of three Gibbs mentioned in a briefing to reporters this afternoon. Obama also plans to speak to graduates at Arizona State University on May 13 and at U.S. Naval Academy on May 22.
Obama would be the sixth U.S. president since Dwight Eisenhower to speak at a Notre Dame commencement, according to an article on past commencement speakers on the university’s Web site.” (Chicago Breaking News)

Below is the letter I sent in protest via the contact page on the Notre Dame website. I strongly encourage everyone, Catholics, Americans, and particularly Notre Dame alumni (not that absurd, not-Latin “alums” that Americans use) to contact the university and express your unreserved protest.

Dear Mr President,

I recently learned via the “American Papist” blog of Mr Thomas Peters that Notre Dame intends to welcome recently inaugurated US President Barrack Obama for the purpose of awarding him an honorary degree and giving him a speaking platform. I wish to express my absolute shock and outrage at the thought of the most prominent Catholic university in the anglophone world giving lauds to the most active and prominent proponent of objective evil in the same world. As an undergraduate student of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia I had the pleasure and privilege of living alongside several Notre Dame US students at the St Thomas More residential college. My experiences with them gave me the fondest of memories, especially in the way they each lived the Catholic Faith of their families and their school.

How could it be that these wonderful friends of mine were formed by a university who is willing to act in such contempt of their Catholic charism, the direct instruction of their bishops and the indisputable requirements of universal Canon Law? How indeed can Notre Dame persist in claiming the dignity of a Catholic charism and a true mandate to instill the pursuit of Truth in her students if she is willing to give honour and publicity to the most dangerous promotor of moral, scientific and political obfuscation in contemporary history? The example of your institution is appalling and thoroughly diabolical – please be assured that unless this news is either immediately reversed or shown to have been completely false, the scandal caused by your actions will offend not only a “small number of ultra-traditionalists” in the local region but reasonably thoughtful people the world over, both Catholic and not.

I beg you sincerely as a Catholic, a Dominican, a scholar and a friend of your institution; hold fast to the principles of the Catholic faith which have made Notre Dame the great bastion of academia it is today, and that have sustained it through so many bitter storms. Do not place this charlatan on a podium and give him a platform to spread even more the culture of death.

In Corde Regis,

Robert Anthony Bautista, OPL

Contact information provided by Thomas Peters:

To contact Notre Dame:
Phone: (574) 631-5000
email form: http://president.nd.edu/contact-us

To contact the USCCB:
Phone: (202) 541-3000
email: catholiceducation@usccb.org

Reverence for Life [2001] Sunday, Mar 15 2009 

Please forgive my silence this week. The computer problem I mentioned previously was more serious than I initially realised. In the meantime, I have been looking at the 2001 CBCJ document Reverence for Life and have been struck by several parts. Over the next few weeks I will try to post small excerpts for reflection and discussion, interspersed by other content.

Economic priorities and the distortion of Japanese society

3. Japan rebuilt itself out of the ashes of World War II. However, many human values were sacrificed in the pursuit of economic development.
Placing our priority on economic development has led to putting our children through an examination hell for places in schools and has turned adults into cogs in an economic machine that allows no rest. As a result, family ties have weakened.
If we listen carefully to the voices from our schools and workplaces, we can hear the pain of those whose lives are being warped by our economic priorities. We judge people by their usefulness in achieving economic goals. As a result, the elderly, the handicapped and others who are not considered useful in the pursuit of profit are shunted out of the mainstream.
We are convinced that unless we change our values there is no meaningful future for Japan. We must reaffirm the value of each and every person and the sacredness of life.

This is only the third paragraph in the document, and is already an exceedingly powerful statement on the state of the contemporary Japanese social mechanism. Each of these seven sentences states in an utterly unreserved way truths at which have been hinted a thousand times in as many different ways by all elements of Japanese, and yet none could ever come out and simply admit to the horror that has seduced the Japanese machine. Could it be that it took a “foreign” formation, namely the Catholic perspective, to see what has happened and name it?