Monday 18th November 2019

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

A Book Review . . . Mediocrity Vs. The Golden Mean

June 18, 2019 Featured Today No Comments

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY

Grace and Truth: Twenty Steps to Embracing Virtue and Saving Civilization, by Fr. George W. Rutler; 145 pages, EWTN Publishing. Available from Sophia Institute, www.sophiainstitute.com, in both print and electronic editions.

Grace and Truth: Twenty Steps to Embracing Virtue and Saving Civilization, comes from televised talks which Fr. Rutler did for EWTN. They make for a book which is full of meaningful thoughts and advice. The twenty chapters are divided into three sections entitled, Virtues and Abominations, Jesus and the Gospels, and Truth and Civilization.
Fr. Rutler begins with a discussion of what living by the “golden mean” involves. He defines it as living so as to avoid mediocrity and embrace virtue, and further states that if we are do this then we must confront our mediocrity and live lives of heroic virtue. He is particularly critical of that mediocrity which is a compromise between the truth and lies, and which has “virtually destroyed education in Western civilization, and…has dealt a mortal blow to our system of justice and politics.”
Mediocrity, then, far from being bland and inoffensive, has actually ushered terrible evils into the world.
In Christian terms, the golden mean can be seen as the narrow gate which Jesus spoke of, the way to which is itself narrow and hard (Matt. 7:14). Thus following the golden mean ultimately leads to the cross. But our civilization has largely rejected God’s goodness, the idea of original sin, and particularly the cross — which explains our present predicament.
Fr. Rutler also looks at the prevalence of lies and lying in our society. He argues that nothing could be more important than a desire for the truth, which is a desire for reality, and for God, and without which we cannot enter Heaven. He points out that in the Book of Proverbs we find lying listed as one of the things abominable to God (Prov. 6:17).
The author shows how the twentieth century came to revere lies, pandering to people such as Margaret Mead, the anthropologist, Margaret Sanger, the eugenicist and birth control advocate, and Alfred Kinsey, the sex researcher, who in one way or another promoted false views of humanity and the human person. Thus we have been living in an age of lies and disinformation.
But as Fr. Rutler says, “to live a lie is to be afraid of the truth,” and only by turning to Christ can we really live the truth.
Unfortunately, as he indicates, the story of our times could also be written in blood, the blood of all the innocent victims of Communism, and also of the innocent victims of those killed by abortion. These killings have been done in denial of God, and in acting this way, mankind has also been denying Christ. The consequence of this denial has been the shedding of rivers of innocent blood.
This has led, in turn, to a denial that evil acts are in fact evil, such that the perpetrator pretends to himself or herself that they are actually good. Often though, evildoers cannot convince themselves of this, and so have to intoxicate themselves, and hence our prevalent drug culture. As Fr. Rutler says, “Evil always calls itself good; every vice parades itself as a form of liberation.” But equally, “Living an abstraction by bearing false witness against the truth inevitably causes an emptiness in the soul.”
Our job as Christians is to bring harmony to society and to our souls, and to bring peace, insofar as we can, and by means of God’s grace, to the world. But as the author says, “There can be no real peace in any institution, in any family, in any soul, without a meekness before God, with a good fellowship, a good spirit, a good atmosphere in the soul that is compatible with the harmony of Heaven.”
We have to combat the discord brought about by any denial of the natural law, by any deification of the state — that is any attempt to make the state into some sort of god or idol, as happened with Marxism — and by any idolization of the body. This was the type of threefold spirit of discord introduced into the world by the Nazis which was condemned by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge in the 1930s, and which is an ever present threat in our society.
Fr. Rutler describes how passions can enslave the will, while pride can corrupt the intellect, and goes on to say: “Our Lord knows that passion and pride can be defeated only by suffering and failure. That’s what the Cross teaches.”
The author also compares the Sermon on the Mount with Christ’s words from the cross, and describes the crucifixion as the way that our Lord put the Sermon on the Mount into action, and in fact translated it into blood.
We need to follow this example by using God’s three keys to living a holy life — that is, prayer, mortification, and the sanctification of our work.
Regarding work itself, the author says, “The chief work of mankind is the worship of God,” and “the highest of all things we can do is to praise God for having given us the gift of life with which we participate in his plan.” But even our everyday work, regardless of how simple it might be, can be a “majestic cooperation with providence.”
Fr. Rutler cautions against taking civilization for granted — rather we should realize that it took an immense effort to create Christian civilization, and involved generations of men and women reaching up to God. And he says that we should remember that “we live in a time in which civilization is crumbling…and often don’t suspect or understand the power of evil.”
And we also need to remember that the Church is our Mother, that she is the guardian of culture, and where the Mother is loved there is a culture of life. But we live at a time when that Mother is scorned and so we have inherited a culture of death.
This prevailing culture of evil attempts to drown our truth with sentimentality. It is a culture that denies God and is therefore a culture of lies, but to deny God is “to enter into the biggest lie of all; that life itself is an accident. If we don’t understand that life is a gift, we will only be able to see death as a curse.”
The author goes on to say, “Either there is a plan for existence, or there isn’t. All things proceed according to a divine design, or they are all essentially meaningless.”
Grace and Truth: Twenty Steps to Embracing Virtue and Saving Civilization also covers such diverse topics as the sin of intrigue, the Pharisee and the Publican at prayer, the impact of the eyes of Christ on His followers — and how everything depends upon recognizing Him — as well as the importance of art, music, and laughter in life.
Fr. Rutler has written a bracing and stimulating book, full of memorable ideas and turns of phrase and one well worth reading and pondering.

+ + +

(Donal Anthony Foley is the author of a number of books on Marian Apparitions, and maintains a related website at www.theotokos.org.uk. He has also written two time-travel/adventure books for young people, and the third in the series is due to be published later this year — details can be seen at: http://glaston-chronicles.co.uk.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

On Sunday December 1st I will celebrate the 35th anniversary of my ordination to the holy priesthood at the 11 AM Mass at Church of the Holy Family 315 E 47 Street (between 1st and 2nd Aves), NY, NY. A reception will follow in the church hall. You are cordially invited to attend

ENOUGH. I accept our stewardship of the earth, as a gift of the Lord, the divine artist and source of the gift. But "eco-side" is an insane example of removing the human person, God's greatest gift, from the plan of salvation.

Deacon Greg Kandra on Twitter

“Pope Francis called on the international community to recognize ecocide as a “crime against peace.” https://t.co/66yU2lqe1s via @De...

twitter.com

I encourage you to view this video & to grow in awareness of the threats to the Deposit of Faith, the treasure house of truth in Jesus Christ. Let us all work to Guard the Deposit of Faith........:Guarding the Deposit of Faith via @YouTube

Load More...

Pope compares politicians who persecute gays, Jews to Hitler

Pope Francis denounced the persecution of gay people on Friday and compared public officials who stoke hatred and anti-gay sentiment to Hitler. Francis delivered his remarks at an international conference on criminal law at the Vatican City, Reuters reported. “It is…Continue Reading

7-year-old whose mom tried to ‘transition’ him chooses to attend school as a boy

DALLAS, Texas, November 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Seven-year-old James Younger, whose mother enrolled him in kindergarten as a “girl,” has finally been able to attend school as a boy for the first time. James’ parents’ fight over whether he should…Continue Reading

Cardinal Dolan on Biden communion denial: ‘I wouldn’t do it’

Washington D.C., Oct 31, 2019 / 04:58 pm (CNA).- Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York has responded to questions about the denial of Holy Communion to former Vice President Joe Biden last Sunday. On an Oct. 31…Continue Reading

Judge blocks Alabama law banning abortions, pro-lifers plan to appeal to Supreme Court

October 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Alabama’s ban on virtually all abortions will not take effect on November 15 as planned, thanks to a preliminary injunction issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson. In May, Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed the Alabama…Continue Reading

Biden denied communion at South Carolina church over abortion stance, report says

Democratic front-runner Joe Biden was reportedly denied communion by a priest at a South Carolina Catholic church over the weekend. Biden, a lifelong Catholic, stopped by Saint Anthony Catholic Church in Florence on Sunday, but was denied Holy Communion by Father Robert E. Morey,…Continue Reading

Bishops call out Fr. James Martin for questioning if Bible is right to condemn homosexuality

October 24, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Fr. James Martin, S.J. is coming under fire from a U.S. bishop and a cardinal after a tweet appearing to question the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality. Yesterday afternoon, Fr. Martin posted the following to his…Continue Reading

Pope Francis appoints new head of Vatican security

Vatican City, Oct 15, 2019 / 04:39 am (CNA).- Pope Francis Tuesday appointed the second-in-command of Vatican security to head the City State’s national police force, after the resignation of the former chief Oct. 14. The pope named Oct. 15,…Continue Reading

Ecological ritual performed in Vatican gardens for pope’s tree planting ceremony

Vatican City, Oct 4, 2019 / 10:30 am (CNA).- Pope Francis witnessed an indigenous performance at a tree planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens Friday, during which people held hands and bowed before carved images of pregnant women, one of…Continue Reading

Young man stuns courtroom by forgiving brother’s murderer, urging her to seek Christ

DALLAS, Texas, October 3, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — In an incredible display of human compassion, a young man whose brother was shot and killed forgave the cop who had been found guilty of his murder. Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger shot and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Ouellet defends priestly celibacy ahead of Amazon synod

Rome, Italy, Oct 2, 2019 / 11:35 am (CNA).- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, presented a book Wednesday arguing that in the face of challenges, the Church should not grab at quick solutions, but seek to…Continue Reading

President Trump Defends Religious Freedom at UN, Announces Campaign to Protect Churches

President Donald Trump urged nations across the world to protect religious freedom Monday in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. Trump, the first U.S. president to highlight religious freedom at the UN, said America will set aside $25…Continue Reading

Archbishop Harry Flynn dies at 86

Minneapolis, Minn., Sep 23, 2019 / 03:40 pm (CNA).- Archbishop Harry Flynn, a former leader of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, has died. Flynn died Sunday in the St. Paul rectory where he had spent his final days…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

Pope Francis proposes adding ‘ecological sin’ against ‘common home’ to catechism

VATICAN CITY, November 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis said today that he is thinking about adding the “‘ecological sin’ against our common home” to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. “We have to introduce―we are thinking about it―to the Catechism of the Catholic Church the sin against ecology, the ‘ecological sin’ against our common home, because a duty is at stake,” Pope Francis told his hearers. The Argentinian pontiff made the remark in a…Continue Reading

Jury rules against Daleiden, pro-lifers who exposed Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby body parts

SAN FRANCISCO, California, November 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — David Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress undercover investigators have been found guilty of multiple crimes and must pay millions in damages to Planned Parenthood for the work they did in exposing organ harvesting on aborted babies. The jury of nine men and one woman released its verdict Friday afternoon after deliberating less than two days, even though the landmark civil trial

1 in 3 US bishops at fall meeting vote against calling abortion ‘pre-eminent’ issue

BALTIMORE, Maryland, November 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — American Catholic bishops showed today that the current pontificate has divided them on fighting abortion as a social justice priority, voting 143-69 to keep the issue “pre-eminent.” This morning during the Fall General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the bishops debated, and voted upon, a letter based on the USCCB’s document on political life, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizens.” At issue was the letter’s insistence…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke: Pope would be leading a schism if he endorsed errors in Amazon Synod working doc

November 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the Church’s most outspoken defenders of perennial Catholic teaching, suggested that Pope Francis could be leading a “schism” if he were to put his “stamp” of approval on the Amazon Synod’s controversial working document that has been criticized by top-ranking prelates, including Burke, as constituting apostasy, heresy, and “false teaching”. The Cardinal made this comment in a wide-ranging interview with Ross Douthat that was published

">Bishop Strickland . . .

Advertisement3

News That Is Not News

By DONALD DeMARCO Back in 1973, when the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down, The New York Times editorialized that the Supreme Court had brought “an end to the emotional and divisive public argument.” In retrospect, this oracular statement appears not only completely wrong-headed, but actually somewhat comical. If anything, the divisiveness of the…Continue Reading

Bernie Leads His Party To Open Borders

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Some 100 members of an American Mormon community in northern Mexico, nine of whom — women, children, toddlers — were massacred weeks ago on a lonely stretch of highway, just crossed over into Arizona. Other family members who have lived there for decades will follow. The atrocity was the work of…Continue Reading

U.S. Bishops’ Pro-Life Chair… Supports Dignity For Aborted Children Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ZENIT) — Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities, sent a letter on October 31, 2019, to members of the U.S. Congress in support of S. 2590 and HR 4934, the Dignity for Aborted Children Act. In the letter, Archbishop Naumann cited the…Continue Reading

Cardinal Pell . . . Objected To Controversial Vatican Hospital Loan

By ED CONDON VATICAN CITY (CNA) — A 50 million euro loan request to secure the purchase of a bankrupt hospital was vetoed by George Pell Cardinal Pell and financial authorities at the Institute for Works of Religion, commonly called the Vatican Bank, before it was approved by the Holy See’s central bank, APSA, where…Continue Reading

Reverence: The Ultimate Form Of “Active Participation” In The Sacred Liturgy

By JAMES MONTI Over the decades since the Second Vatican Council, a lot has been said and debated concerning the concept of “active participation” in the Mass and how this should properly be defined. There has been a growing recognition and consensus that active participation is not about inventing external roles for everyone to play…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In a recent weekly bulletin, Fr. George Rutler of the Church of St. Michael in New York City offered these perceptive comments: “ ‘Secularism’ is a religion with a non-creedal creed censuring those who do not believe in unbelief. Young people in the United States who claim to have ‘No Religion’ — called ‘Nones’ — now outnumber Catholics,…Continue Reading

">Guarding The Deposit Of The Faith

Bringing An Era To An End

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Thirty-Second Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Mal. 3:19-20a 2 Thess. 3:7-12 Luke 21:5-19 In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells His listeners that the day would come when the Temple would be destroyed and not one stone would be left upon another. When the people asked what the sign would be to let…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Life Is Beautiful With Final Judgment In View

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The prospect of final judgment brings negative impressions, images, or emotions to mind for many. Sometimes it also does so for some who claim our Catholic faith. As a step along the way to spiritual maturity, we must often be purged of our childish or worldly impressions. With an authentic and deeper faith, the prospect…Continue Reading

God’s Plan… Embrace Glorious Chastity

By MOST REV. JOSEPH STRICKLAND (Editor’s Note: As Bishop Strickland has been traveling, he wasn’t able to submit a column for this week’s Wanderer. Instead, we reprint here, with permission, his reflections on chastity from his Bishop’s Blog of February 14, 2019.) + + + In the year 2019, we live in a world that’s off kilter. One of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Guido Maria Conforti

By CAROLE BRESLIN Many men and women who have established religious orders had to overcome various obstacles to obtain canonical approval. In addition to finding those persons with the same heart to serve God’s people, they must acquire housing, and find funding. These may be worldly concerns, but they are still important. Founders must also consider the statutes for their…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Joseph Pignatelli

By CAROLE BRESLIN Since the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola up to the mid-eighteenth century, the order of priests and brothers had met with phenomenal success. But despite the high respect the Jesuits received from Popes, bishops, and kings, they eventually found themselves exiled and suppressed. The same bishop who started the…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)