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Hilaire Belloc: “all human conflict is ultimately theological”

17 February 2018

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“The profound thing which Cardinal Manning said to me was this: all human conflict is ultimately theological. […]
This saying of his (which I carried away with me somewhat bewildered) that all human conflict was ultimately theological: that is, that all wars and revolutions, and all decisive struggles between parties of men arise from a difference in moral and transcendental doctrine, was utterly novel to me. To a young man the saying was without meaning: I would almost have said nonsensical, save that I could not attach the idea of folly to Manning. But as I grew older it became a searchlight: with the observation of the world, and with continuous reading of history, it came to possess for me a universal meaning so profound that it reached to the very roots of political action; so extended that it covered the whole.
It is, indeed, a truth which explains and co-ordinates all one reads of human action in the past, and all one sees of it in the present. […]  All tragedy is the conflict of a true right and a false right, or of a greater right and a lesser right, or, at the worst, of two false rights. Still more do men pretend in this time of ours, wherein the habitual use of the human intelligence has sunk to its lowest, that doctrine is but a private individual affair, creating a mere opinion. Upon the contrary, it is doctrine that drives the State; and every State is stronger in the degree in which the doctrine of its citizens is united. Nor have I met any man in my life, arguing for what should be among men, but took for granted as he argued that the doctrine he consciously or unconsciously accepted was or should be a similar foundation for all mankind. Hence battle.”

Hilaire Belloc, The Cruise of the Nona

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Christos Yannaras: “the supreme road to theological knowledge”

16 February 2018

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“In the Church, bodily asceticism has always been the supreme road to theological knowledge. It is not possible for man to come to know the truth of life, the truth of God and the truth of his own existence purely through intellectual categories…”

Christos Yannaras

Peter Hitchens: “the power of the strong over the weak”

15 February 2018

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“Only one reliable force stands in the way of the power of the strong over the weak. Only one reliable force forms the foundation of the concept of the rule of law. Only one reliable force restrains the hand of the man of power. And, in an age of power-worship, the Christian religion has become the principal obstacle to the desire of earthly utopians for absolute power.”

Peter Hitchens

Christos Yannaras: “conformity to the example of Christ”

15 February 2018

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“Today, in this atmosphere, the very word and idea of asceticism is probably incomprehensible to a very large number of Christian people. Anyone talking about fasting and chastity and voluntary restriction of our individual desires is sure to meet with condescension or mockery. This does not, of course, prevent people from having their “metaphysical convictions” and believing in a “supreme being” or in the “sweet Jesus” who had a wonderful ethical teaching. The question is, however, what is the use of “metaphysical convictions” when they do not go any way towards providing a real answer — as opposed to one that is idealistic and abstract — to the problem of death, the scandal of the dissolution of the body in the earth. This real answer is to be found only in the knowledge granted by asceticism, in the effort to resist death in our own bodies, and by the dynamic triumph over the deadening of man. And not just in any kind of asceticism, but in that which consists in conformity to the example of Christ, who willingly accepted death so as to destroy death — “trampling down death by death.”

Every voluntary mortification of the egocentricity which is “contrary to nature” is a dynamic destruction of death and a triumph for the life of the person.”

Christos Yannaras

Christos Yannaras: “Repentance”

14 February 2018

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“To share out your soul freely, that is what metanoia (a change of mind, or repentance)really refers to: a mental product of love. A change of mind, or love for the undemonstrable. And you throw off every conceptual cloak of self-defense, you give up the fleshly resistance of your ego. Repentance has nothing to do with self-regarding sorrow for legal transgressions. It is an ecstatic erotic self-emptying. A change of mind about the mode of thinking and being.”

Christos Yannaras

Chrysostom: “don’t be ashamed when you repent”

13 February 2018

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“Be ashamed when you sin, don’t be ashamed when you repent. Sin is the wound, repentance is the medicine. Sin is followed by shame; repentance is followed by boldness. Satan has overturned this order and given boldness to sin and shame to repentance.”

Saint John Chrysostom

Christos Yannaras: “The people who really thirst for life”

13 February 2018

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“The people who really thirst for life, who stand daily on the brink of every kind of death, who struggle desperately to distinguish some light in the seated mystery of human existence— these are the people to whom the Gospel of salvation is primarily and most especially addressed, and inevitably they all remain far removed from the rationalistically organized social conventionalism of established Christianity.”

Christos Yannaras