Santa Claus Day

santa-clausWe say, of course, that every day belongs to Jesus.

Today, December 6, however, actually does belong to Santa Claus.

Very few holiday shoppers realize that Santa Claus risked his life to defend the Catholic faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ.

The stylish and mellifluous Arius of Alexandria had gained worldwide fame for his brilliant compromise between the Christian religion and the sophisticated Greek and Roman people. Jesus should be esteemed as an excellent man, worthy of the highest admiration, but…

Santa Claus attended the first-ever world-wide council of bishops, held in Nicaea, in Asia Minor, now Turkey. As we well know, the Council declared that Jesus is not just extremely cool and worth going shopping in honor of, He is also consubstantial with the Father. He is God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made.

What’s even worse than falling off the fiscal cliff? Having a spiritual house built on sand. Winds blow. Rains fall. Floods come.

In his day, Arius had as much cache as Bono and Bill O’Reilly put together. There were a lot more Arian churches than Catholic churches back in those days.

redskins-ravensBut it wasn’t true. Arius’ teaching was less than true. Christ is no angel-man. Christ is the God-man. Santa Claus went to the mat for that precise truth. Santa Claus built his spiritual house in the north pole on the rock of the true faith.

Because, as every child knows, “North Pole” is a code-phrase for: Heaven.

Happy feast day, Santa!

Now, we know you won’t mind, Santa, that we will spend the next nineteen days focusing exclusively on Jesus Christ, since that is what you spent every day of your earthly life doing.

PS. The Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins face-off in the regular season every four years.

Four years ago, the hallowed tradition of St.-Nicholas-Day(ish) contests for Beltway bragging rights began. That was not a happy afternnon, December 7, 2008. It was painful.

Will this Sunday afternoon prove otherwise? Will the RGIIIeeeeeeeeeeee
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!! train keep rolling? Santa could make us very happy this year, with one little W at FedEx. Everything is riding on it, Santa!

Discovering El Greco

View of Toledo by El Greco
View of Toledo by El Greco

In January, 1929, Louisine Havemeyer gave her late husband’s art collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Havemeyer had made a fortune as the president of the American Sugar Refining Company, also known as Domino Sugar.

Henry and Louisine Havemeyer
Henry and Louisine Havemeyer
The Havemeyers had travelled extensively in Europe to acquire paintings by artists that the other American collectors did not know about.

One of the countries they visited was Spain, and one of the artists they “discovered” was El Greco.

Their interest in El Greco’s paintings transformed him from an obscure sixteenth-century painter to one of the giants of the art world.

When I was sixteen, I had the opportunity to visit Spain. We toured the Museo del Prado, and I laid eyes on the paintings of El Greco for the first time.

El Greco
El Greco
To say that they are ethereal is an understatement. To say that they are sublime is to say too little. To say that they are spiritual is true–but it sounds lame. El Greco is simply the greatest, in a class by himself.

There are some El Grecos in Washington, at the National Gallery of Art.

Any opportunity to see a painting by El Greco should be immediately seized.

…Speaking of greatness:

Fourth and two? Here is how you stuff that situation:

Russell Files Closed: Veritas in Caritate

Baltimore Raven Michael Oher
Baltimore Raven Michael Oher

The truth is: the Ravens head-butted the Redskins last night in the preseason opener–without charity, pity, or mercy.

23-0? Yikes…

…Ephesians 4:17-18 reads:

Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

Commenting on these verses, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote:

Existing without an expectation of eternal life, the pagans held for a mortality of the soul contrary to faith and hope.

In “What I Believe” (1925), Bertrand Russell wrote:

bertrand russell
I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive…

It would be ridiculous to warp the philosophy of nature in order to bring out results that are pleasing to the tiny parasites of this insignificant planet.

We can conclude that Russell’s doctrine is perniciously erroneous.

As Father Mowbray said of his obtuse catechumen Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited, Russell’s darkness of mind is so extreme that it does not even “correspond to any degree of paganism known to the missionaries.”

Nonetheless, I promised to explain why the New York Supreme Court’s action against this enemy of God was unjust.

Charles Keating played Rex Mottram in BBC Brideshead
Charles Keating played Rex Mottram in BBC Brideshead

Judge McGeehan did NOT conclude that there is a standard of Christian truth that must be met by the doctrine of professors at public colleges. If he had, he would have articulated a fact that awaits clear legal articulation in this great land of ours.

As it is, the judge indulged in an untrue ad hominem* attack. He accused Russell of moral turpitude, for which there was no evidence.

It is true that purveyors of false doctrine usually teach their errors in order to justify their sins. But in the case at hand, the teacher’s sins were private–if he was in fact guilty of any. In order to keep dangerous error out of City College, Judge McGeehan libeled a world-famous philosopher who lived a perfectly respectable life.

The answer to error is not more error. And the answer to error is not force. The answer to error is truth, patience, the benefit of the doubt, and humble love.

The only way for us to conquer Bertrand Russell’s disciples (who run the show in this country these days) is by proposing the truth in love, patiently. Slow and steady wins the race. Actions speak louder than words.

(And Preacher’s aphorisms/bromides will stop at this point, until the situation demands more.)

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*Nota Bene: This link is very much worth clicking.