What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

About

What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Recent Comments

Choice Devours Itself: Murder affirmed in the Netherlands

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Sep 19, 10:55:

Tony, right, and I didn't even get into that--the idea that desiring to live is a sign of dementia or irrationality! Which is bizarre. In the case in the o.p., they could claim that there was independent reason to believe the woman had major dementia, and I don't dispute that. But I think what you are describing is also at work. This is why one will hear those who defend these actions refer to the desire to live as "merely instinctual" or something like that. This arises as well when someone agrees to be su ... [More]

Choice Devours Itself: Murder affirmed in the Netherlands

Comment posted by Tamsin on Sep 19, 10:19:

Thank you Lydia, your analysis helps me understand this debate so much better. "The older view was that quite a lot of things are such that no one should ever consent to them..." Naturally, another current example comes to mind: the juvenile self binding the mature self to sterility by getting surgery now. The juvenile self sterilizes the future self. One's biological sex is medicalized to try to make transitioning a healthcare decision for greater health. ... [More]

Choice Devours Itself: Murder affirmed in the Netherlands

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 19, 06:28:

It occurs to me that while they are not entirely co-extensive, there is quite an overlap between the group of people who advocate for "choice" in opting for a (future) euthanasia, and the group of people who are adamantly opposed to the death penalty and have as their main reason (or one of their main reasons) that in the DP the state will sometimes mitakenly put an innocent person to death. They find even one case of such a mistake to be intolerable. Well, as Douglas reported in the Spectator article of ... [More]

Brexit and the independent substance of populism

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Sep 18, 10:17:

I think that is correct, Tony, provided we take into account the effect of the Marcusean New Left on 60's liberalism, some of whose followers embraced it while others did not. I think that what we're seeing now is in part a playing out of that dynamic, and not simply the devolution of the old liberalism into identity politics. It's notable that many old-style leftists have no time whatsoever for so-called "Cultural Marxism," seeing it as a largely heterodox outgrowth of "true" leftism, due to the fact it h ... [More]

Brexit and the independent substance of populism

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 17, 20:54:

There are some "old" liberals who think that many aspects of the new liberalism are problematic. Unfortunately you don't hear from them much, at least so far. NiceM, I suspect that there is some really problematic equivocation and identification problems going on under the surface here. For example, there are not-a-few blacks who regularly vote Democrat who, when you examine their actual beliefs, are actually far more conservative than they are liberal. Not completely separately, there are at least a few ... [More]

Brexit and the independent substance of populism

Comment posted by Paul J Cella on Sep 17, 12:51:

That's quite a large cavalcade of obnoxious characters and traits to trot out for his (presumably sympathetic leftish) readers. Perhaps he missed one or two symptoms of neanderthalism, but he got so many that it hardly matters. "Bring-backery" is probably my favorite. ... [More]

Brexit and the independent substance of populism

Comment posted by Nice Marmot on Sep 17, 07:28:

~~A political coalition of cultural Right and economic Left “has acquired independent substance.”~~ It's no secret that the broader Left has largely moved away from concern with class issues in favor of identity politics. But in C. Lasch biographer Eric Miller's view, the class-concern aspect of the New Left of the 60's eventually found something of a home in the agrarian/localist/populist circle of which Wendell Berry's writing has been a sort of hub or "meeting place," a hub to which certain groups and i ... [More]

Brexit and the independent substance of populism

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 16, 20:28:

That's quite a large cavalcade of obnoxious characters and traits to trot out for his (presumably sympathetic leftish) readers. Perhaps he missed one or two symptoms of neanderthalism, but he got so many that it hardly matters. While the rest of the article might appear to be somewhat neutral about the neanderthals he loathes, his caveat before the cavalcade gives the game away: But what then happens to the cultural-political strands that seem, with apologies to the good consciences of socialist and ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by ThomasL on Sep 16, 13:14:

Tony, I was going to write something longer, but rather than the comments event further off-topic, I might just direct you to this very interesting biographical sketch by one of his students at the time of his election: https://bulletin.hds.harvard.edu/articles/autumn2005/theologian-pope ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by David Madison on Sep 16, 11:22:

John's constant awareness of place, including obscure place names that would mean little to his readers, John's mention of pointless details, his emphasis on truth (!), and many other such factors all point to his being concerned with historical truth I'm particularly looking forward to reading about that. The impression that John is recounting what actually happened is very strong. For example, when Jesus tells Judas to do what he has to do quickly and John mentions that some of the disciples thought Jesu ... [More]

Vouchers for Home Schooling in Michigan--an update

Comment posted by Thomas Yeutter on Sep 15, 20:53:

This provides some background on the issue: www.mackinac.org/2041 A number of supporters of the Christian Reformed Church network of Christian Schools objected to the Parochiaid bill that was passed. They complained that this bill only benefited Roman Catholic and Lutheran Schools and not their schools. They demanded that they be subsidized too. Specifically these Reformed men complained that the Roman Catholics [and to a lesser extent the Lutherans] held to a radical disjunction between nature and gra ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 15, 20:32:

Cardinal Ratzinger is fairly conservative liturgically, but much less so theologically, very much in the nouvelle théologie camp. There is a very strange quirk of history in that after V2, the traditional Catholic "view" (if you can call it that) fell almost completely off the radar. With the Garigou-Langrange-types exiting the stage, anyone even a bit less liberal than Hans Kung and Karl Rahner was suddenly a "conservative". This is more or less how Balthasar and Ratzinger are both considered conservative ... [More]

Vouchers for Home Schooling in Michigan--an update

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 15, 20:12:

Thanks, Thomas, I had no clue about those details. Was there some movement, or at least some thinking at the time, that maybe Michigan would start using public money to assist those schools? Or were the Blainers just working on fear? ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by David Madison on Sep 15, 03:02:

Thomas, I think there is one point we should bear in mind about scholarly (or is it “scholarly”) study of Jesus. Metaphysical presuppositions will have a huge impact on what people do. Those who don't believe that God had any involvement in what happened at the beginning of Christianity and those who do could almost be said to be practising two different disciplines. So an atheist scholar who goes looking for the “real” Jesus will have an approach that depends fundamentally on his atheism. He is looking for ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by ThomasL on Sep 14, 23:45:

Lydia, Cardinal Ratzinger is fairly conservative liturgically, but much less so theologically, very much in the nouvelle théologie camp. There is a very strange quirk of history in that after V2, the traditional Catholic "view" (if you can call it that) fell almost completely off the radar. With the Garigou-Langrange-types exiting the stage, anyone even a bit less liberal than Hans Kung and Karl Rahner was suddenly a "conservative". This is more or less how Balthasar and Ratzinger are both considered c ... [More]

Vouchers for Home Schooling in Michigan--an update

Comment posted by Thomas Yeutter on Sep 14, 20:34:

Huge numbers of European immigrants came to North America in the ten years that followed World War II. Large numbers of religiously conservative Netherlanders, especially Groningeners, came to West Michigan. and southern Ontario. The number of Christian schools related to the Christian Reformed Church expanded to accommodate these immigrants. ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Sep 14, 17:30:

In general, my impression has been that Catholic "conservatives" have been more "liberal" on matters of biblical studies than evangelicals have been. It's only in the last couple of decades that evangelicals have started compromising on these things, reinterpreting the concept of an error, and so forth. Whereas my impression was that Cardinal Ratzinger (later Benedict) was not exactly a super-conservative biblical scholar even though he was thought of as a hardline "conservative" Catholic. E.g. If my memory ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by ThomasL on Sep 14, 12:39:

Tony, Yep, but I'd almost say nope. So the view here by Bishop Barron, now that I've listened to the debate, isn't really that far off from Craig Evans. I am not sure if they share the same presuppositions, but at the end of the day, the Gospels (especially John) are reduced to a kind of historical core, around which the Ecangelists (in John's case read, "Johannine community") wove beautiful and elaborate tales. The tales themselves never happened, but they reveal a truth deeper and more "fully flowered ... [More]

Vouchers for Home Schooling in Michigan--an update

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Sep 14, 09:26:

Tony, it looks like it was the Dutch reformed who really made the secularists rabid in Michigan in the 60s! ... [More]

Vouchers for Home Schooling in Michigan--an update

Comment posted by Scott W. on Sep 14, 05:28:

Off-topic: Another abortionist monstrosity discovered: https://www.breitbart.com/crime/2019/09/13/2246-unborn-children-found-in-abortionists-home/ ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 13, 18:06:

In a similar way, the literarily, spiritually, and theologically evolved portrait of Jesus is more instructive than any historical core, however carefully recovered. The Catholic instinct is not so much to assess the development by the origin as to appreciate the development as the full flowering of the origin. Egad, that's bad. Effectively he is claiming that the picture derived by embellishing the record with fiction gives a better grasp of the truth than stating the truth. It implies, however, that ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by ThomasL on Sep 13, 13:17:

David, I think you are right. Your reading fits better with the context. ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Sep 13, 09:28:

In a similar way, the literarily, spiritually, and theologically evolved portrait of Jesus is more instructive than any historical core, however carefully recovered. Oh, wow, that's bad. Yes, the "under the guidance of the Holy Spirit" thing is *rife* even in some evangelical circles. And it's flatly wrong. In fact, in John Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will bring to their remembrance what he *did* say, not that he will give them license to make Jesus say things he didn't say. Moreover, the narrator re ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by David Madison on Sep 13, 02:39:

In a similar way, the literarily, spiritually, and theologically evolved portrait of Jesus is more instructive than any historical core I can't say for sure but I think he may be giving too much credit to “historical-critical” practitioners rather than taking a swipe at them. In other words, he accepts that they have largely demolished the Gospel portrait of Jesus and then tries to salvage what he can from the wreckage. And if that means believing in a fictional portrait of Jesus then so be it. But this pr ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by ThomasL on Sep 13, 01:19:

BTW, the origin of the quote is not the recent Lenten Reflection; it was recycled from (then) Fr Barron's book, the Priority of Christ. He just keeps reusing it on Facebook, in these Lenten Reflections, etc, so he has has plenty of time and opportunity to think about it. Here is another interesting quote from the same work: In a similar way, the literarily, spiritually, and theologically evolved portrait of Jesus is more instructive than any historical core, however carefully recovered. The Catholic inst ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by ThomasL on Sep 13, 00:48:

I hesitate to say with any kind of confidence just how firmly he sits astride the fictionalizing cast of the above quotes. I would too. He tends to write in a pseudo-sophisticated way, so it is quite possible he was just conceding this ground and moving on to the point he wished to make. That would make it something like, "Whoever wrote or said this, it is useful to help me make this point I wish to make." But even if granted, throwing unnecessary doubt on the reliability of the Gospels, while perhaps ... [More]

Vouchers for Home Schooling in Michigan--an update

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 12, 22:41:

Thank you, Thomas, for the added historical details. I find it amazing that these Blaine-esque changes to law and regulatory provisions came along late as the 1960s: the original Blaine proposed amendment was in 1874, and most state constitutional provisions were enacted in the next 30 years. By 1960, what with Bing Crosby, Boys Town, and , along with Karl Maulden in On the Waterfront, and even The Quiet Man and A Man for All Seasons (though that came in 1966), plus Bishop Fulton Sheen having one of the m ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 12, 22:27:

Only, I must say, most conspiracy theories are better-constructed to give what epistemologists call "high likelihood." Lydia, your sharp, dry wit is coming out to play again. I had a good laugh there. But perhaps this doesn't happen with Catholics as much. Sorry to say this, but most Catholics simply don't know anything useful about the Catholic position on biblical inerrancy. By and large, Catholics have been exposed to parish priests who are fully developed material heretics (i.e. THEY don't know t ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by ThomasL on Sep 12, 21:49:

His fans do tend to be pretty prickly of any criticism whatsoever, but, no I don't think I am misreading him here. While he is often regarded as a conservative, he is a pretty thorough-going Balthasarian, and not just on the famous "dare we hope", but on things like Our Lord "learn[ing] his deepest identity and mission" at the Baptism, etc, etc. I'm not sure of HvB's views on Scripture in regard to authorship, but certainly his ability to interpret the Scripture was highly flexible and not much curbed by ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Sep 12, 14:49:

So, out of curiosity: If you said that Bishop Barron is insinuating that the evangelist made up the words of Caiaphas, would either he or his indignant followers tell you that you were misinterpreting him? I certainly agree with you that that is what he is saying--that the author fabricated Caiaphas's words. I'm just curious because in evangelical circles, when someone is admired, if you point out the obvious implications of what he writes in more stark terms, you often are told that (if it's some implica ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by ThomasL on Sep 12, 13:54:

I like this gem from Bishop Barron's Lenten Reflections (https://www.lentreflections.com/lent-day-39-2/): The author of John’s Gospel stresses this dimension when he puts in the mouth of Caiaphas the words: “You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.” Bonus points for not only insinuating the quotation of Caiaphas is a fabrication, but that the fabricator wasn't even St John. The attack (here and elsewhere) on the Gospel of ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Sep 12, 11:31:

Thanks for your comments, John, and for your encouragement! It's funny that you should ask about written notes, as I have just been writing and thinking a bit about this at the point that I've reached in my book version of the John material, which will hopefully come out some time in 2020. (Right now we're getting out The Mirror or the Mask, which also contains quite a bit of material on the Gospel of John.) We obviously can only conjecture whether any written notes existed of the unique material in John ... [More]

Vouchers for Home Schooling in Michigan--an update

Comment posted by Thomas Yeutter on Sep 12, 11:22:

Tony said: ...The Blaine amendments tended to arise due more to a specifically anti-Catholic animus than a broader anti-religious animus:... Historically, in Michigan, the hostility was directed at both Roman Catholic schools and the Christian Reformed Church's network of technically non-parochial schools; schools which are parental, not church, governed and controlled. In Michigan the anti-parochial school bias took some ridiculous forms. In the early to mid 1960s students who attended parochial school ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by John Evans on Sep 12, 09:59:

Lydia, first let me express my heartfelt graditude for all your research. I am a student of theology at Fordham N.Y who has found your work on this issue profoundly helpful and one which has strengthened my faith greatly as a devout Roman Catholic. Also let me apologise here for any errors in grammer as my screanreader, I am blind, has some hardship in navigating this page. You make a great point about details and statements extent throughout the four Gospells and placenames in John which affirm Papi ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Sep 12, 09:32:

Tony, the structure of the theories does resemble that of conspiracy theories, but they are not recognized as such if the scholars is broadly considered evangelical and is esteemed in other ways. There is terrible outrage when one makes the comparison. I think the reasons they are not recognized as such in that case are things like this: 1) The broadly evangelical scholar will often not bring out these specific theories when he's talking to a popular audience. You have to go dig into his commentaries or oth ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Lydia Mcgrew on Sep 12, 09:25:

Excellent point about the gnostic Gospels. ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by David Madison on Sep 12, 05:28:

Thanks again, Lydia. A very useful point of comparison is provided by the Gnostic works. If you want to see what "set-up" dialogue really looks like then you need only look to the Gnostic works. One particularly instructive example is The Sophia of Jesus Christ. I won't try linking to it, but if you google it, you can easily read it online. You immediately know that something is wrong when it tells you that the Mount of Olives is in Galilee (in the first paragraph). It's clear that the author has some aware ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 11, 23:45:

Ironically, I read one scholar (no longer remember the source, alas!) who made the opposite observation: In general, the dominical "discourses" in the Gospels have been shortened rather than expanded. You can read them aloud in a few minutes or less, yet they represent what was probably hours of teaching in the original setting. Steve, I have often thought the same thing: The so-called "great teacher" model of Jesus is recognized and allowed to have been a great teacher, and this seemingly includes the a ... [More]

The realism of Jesus' dialogues in John

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 11, 23:35:

Would it be too harsh to call these Gospel "scholar" hypothesizers by the term "conspiracy theorists"? At first, when I read Lydia's comment For example, the "Paraclete promises" in John *cannot* be fulfilled by this post-resurrection appearance, since Jesus says repeatedly that he will send the Comforter when he *goes away* and indeed that he has to *go away* in order for the Comforter to come! So this incident does not even *appear* to fulfill the promises of the Comforter, since Jesus is standing ri ... [More]

Vouchers for Home Schooling in Michigan--an update

Comment posted by Tony on Sep 11, 22:55:

Yeah, I agree about the "parochiaid" tag, but I gotta say that because only the Catholic Church had a vast array of "parishes" (called that) that typically had parish schools, the Blaine amendments tended to arise due more to a specifically anti-Catholic animus than a broader anti-religious animus: some people didn't really mind as much a school run by Quakers. My suspicion is that the underlying current of anti-Catholicism was the driving engine that enabled the amendment to pass, even though in actual fa ... [More]