Friday 22nd March 2019

Home » Featured Today » Currently Reading:

Counteracting The Discarnate Image

March 7, 2018 Featured Today No Comments

By DONALD DeMARCO

Jerzy Kosinski’s novel, Being There, centers on a character named Chauncey Gardiner who knows but two things in his life: gardening and television. There are no people in his sheltered world. When his employer dies, Chauncey is thrust into a reality in which he is completely unprepared. In the 1979 movie version, he soon finds himself accosted on the street by hoodlums. In an effort to defend himself, he tries to get rid of them by using his TV remote. But he can neither zap them into oblivion nor change the channel. He knows nothing of real people, only electronic images of them.
This scene brings to mind a disturbing question. To what extent has our steady diet of electronically produced images caused people to see each other as mere images? The question is disturbing because images have no rights. And if we see others as images, we do not see them as bearers of rights. We can change the channel if we do not like what is playing on TV. We can do this without compunction, but we cannot do the same for real people who have the right not to be removed. Real people are endowed with inalienable rights.
Marshall McLuhan, who gained the reputation of being a guru of the electronic age, was deeply concerned about how image and reality can blur into one, producing a discarnate image. The year after Roe v. Wade, McLuhan wrote a letter to the Toronto Star in which he expressed this concern and how it relates to abortion.
“It is important to realize,” he wrote, “that all of our thinking about abortion is taking place in the smogged-over world of TV. It is becoming monstrous even to mention the individual rights of the unborn. Only huge categories will serve, such as the ‘rights of pregnant teenagers’.”
In our world of abstractions, are the unborn anything more than images that can be removed for reasons of convenience? Are they real, individual entities who are possessors of rights?
The issue of image replacing reality is not only relatable to abortion, but to the horrific incidences of mass shootings that have been taking place at an unprecedented rate throughout the United States. Images have neither substance, individuality, nor rights. They are discarnate and therefore completely lacking in intrinsic dignity. Moreover, since they can be proliferated at electronic speed and multiplied indefinitely, they become utterly commonplace and therefore utterly trivial.
Existential philosopher Gabriel Marcel characterized his philosophy as “a persistent, unceasing fight against the spirit of abstraction.” As a Catholic convert, he accorded primary place to being as incarnate (être incarné). Human beings, he insisted, do not “have” bodies; they “are” bodies. “Incarnation,” he proclaimed, in Being and Having, “is the central ‘given’ of metaphysics.”
Many of us spend a great deal of time living neither in a culture nor in a civilization exactly, but in that amorphous region of cyberspace called “the worldwide web.” There, we become “netizens” rather than citizens and practice “nethics” rather than ethics.
As such, we no longer act as embodied persons, but as discarnate images intermingling with other discarnate images. We dwell in a kind of twilight zone where there is no true inter-subjectivity, no real meeting between the “I” and the “Thou.”
The Church, from the very beginning, strongly opposed heresies declaring that Christ was not an embodied person, but an image. The Docetists, for example, strenuously denied that Christ had a body and that He was born of a woman. The name Docetist is derived from the Greek word dokein which means “to appear” or “to seem.” Docetists taught that Christ was a phantom. Therefore, His suffering, death, and resurrection were also unreal.
Countering this heresy, Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35-107) taught that if Jesus did not shed His Blood on the cross, His death was meaningless. Therefore Docetism was essentially incompatible with Christianity. The Council of Alexandria (430) could not have stated its affirmation of the Incarnation more strongly:
“If anyone does not confess that Emmanuel is true God, and that therefore the holy Virgin is Mother of God, since she bore, after the flesh, the incarnate Word of God, let him be anathema.”
Similar heresies sprouted up in the ensuing centuries that also rejected the body. Marcion, a Gnostic, insisted that Christ had no mother. Manicheans of the fourth century held that Jesus was in no sense the child of Mary. The Albigensians of the twelfth century argued that Mary is merely a symbol and that Christ took nothing of her flesh. By contrast, St. Augustine stated that “Mary has given milk to our bread.” The discarnate world of today looks like the return of this ancient heresy.
The Incarnation is at the core of the Christian religion. Christ took on flesh as a result of being conceived, gestated, and born of a woman. “The mark of the Christian,” wrote Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen “is the willingness to look for the Divine in the flesh of a babe in a crib, the continuing Christ under the appearance of bread on an altar, and a meditation and a prayer on a string of beads.” The Church has always celebrated the importance of the tangible, and encouraged the tactile.
The Mass and the sacraments center on such concrete realities as blood, body, bread, wine, water, eyes, and hands. She teaches that marriage is consummated in conjugal intimacy.
The Church reminds us that we are bodified persons. At the same time, she is offering a warning that an excessive preoccupation with a world of discarnate images can lead people away from their rightful place in reality where love, responsibility, and salvation take place. A world of images is one in which there are no rights and human dignity is tossed aside as a meaningless archaism. Her message is urgently needed in our present world where discarnate images abound.
Those who may be trapped in the net may be freed by the Church. It is not electricity that unites us, but real love that takes place between incarnate persons.

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

Nancy Pelosi: ‘I Myself, as a Catholic, Believe…’

(CNSNews.com) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) said at her press briefing on Thursday that she wants to “salute” the Green New Deal and went on to explain that “as a Catholic” she believes—“as do many of our Evangelical friends”—that…Continue Reading

Pope Francis warns against gossip, forgetting one’s own sinfulness

Rome, Italy, Mar 3, 2019 / 01:30 pm (CNA).- In a visit to a Roman parish on Sunday, Pope Francis encouraged Catholics to stop gossiping and ruminating on the shortcomings of other people, and to instead focus on repenting of…Continue Reading

Catholic network Salt + Light stands by CEO Fr. Rosica despite plagiarism

TORONTO, March 2, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Salt + Light Catholic Media Foundation is standing by Father Thomas Rosica, the network’s CEO, despite revelations of his extensive plagiarism going back almost 30 years. Meanwhile, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says…Continue Reading

Measure to protect babies who survive abortion fails in Senate 53-44

WASHINGTON (CNS) — The Senate in an evening vote Feb. 25 failed to pass a measure sponsored by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, to require that babies born alive after an abortion be given medical attention and “the same protection of…Continue Reading

Prosecutors drop second trial against Cardinal George Pell

Melbourne, Australia, Feb 25, 2019 / 06:21 pm (CNA).- Prosecutors have abandoned a planned second trial against Australian Cardinal George Pell, who was convicted in December 2018 on five charges of the sexual abuse of minors. Pell is reported to…Continue Reading

Rosica resigns from college board after plagiarism apology; Jesuits withdraw award

Washington D.C., Feb 25, 2019 / 02:47 pm (CNA).- A Canadian priest who apologized last week for plagiarism has resigned from the governing board of a Catholic college affiliated with the University of Toronto. “As a sign of contrition and…Continue Reading

Abuse Survivor: Pope’s Devil Comments ‘Outrageous’

Pope Francis’ latest slam on church critics as cohorts of Satan stunned survivors of priest sex abuse and their advocates, who called the pontiff’s remarks “outrageous” on the eve of his clergy summit on the long-running scandal. “It’s outrageous ……Continue Reading

Pope picks liberal cardinals Cupich, Marx, Tagle for featured talks at Vatican Abuse Summit

ROME, February 18, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, and Cardinal Antonio Tagle of the Philippines will be featured speakers at the Vatican’s upcoming summit on clerical sex abuse titled, “The Protection of Minors…Continue Reading

SD BISHOP CALLS CATHOLIC GROUP ‘EVIL’ FOR OPPOSING CARDINAL CUPICH

RAPID CITY, S.D. (ChurchMilitant.com) – A bishop is calling a Catholic apostolate “evil” for being critical of Cdl. Blase Cupich. Bishop Robert Gruss of Rapid City, South Dakota issued a statement to be read from all parish pulpits the weekend of Feb. 9–10 condemning…Continue Reading

The Christian Faith: The only valid and the only God-willed religion

The Truth of the filial adoption in Christ, which is intrinsically supernatural, constitutes the synthesis of the entire Divine Revelation. Being adopted by God as sons is always a gratuitous gift of grace, the most sublime gift of God to…Continue Reading

Roberts joins Supreme Court’s liberal wing in blocking Louisiana abortion law

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Supreme Court’s liberal wing on Thursday in temporarily blocking a Louisiana law that would have placed restrictions on abortion clinics, in the high court’s first major ruling on abortion since the confirmation of Associate Justice…Continue Reading

Supermodel Takes On Catholic Poland With Sex Education Campaign

Supermodel Anja Rubik could be a symbol of any modern, progressive European country. After joining a campaign to defend women’s rights, she started tackling school sex education and published a book for teenagers that sought to counter the teachings of…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 . . .

On the question of a heretical pope

schneider

The issue of how to handle a heretical pope, in concrete terms, has not yet been treated in a manner which approaches anything like a true general consent in the entire Catholic tradition. So far, neither a pope nor an Ecumenical Council has made relevant doctrinal pronouncements nor have they issued binding canonical norms regarding the eventuality of how to handle a heretical pope during the term of his office. There is no historical case of…Continue Reading

GOP congressman sues Twitter for shadow-bans, discrimination against conservatives

March 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is taking Twitter to court for the social media giant’s alleged discrimination against himself and other prominent conservatives through shadow-banning and other means. Last summer, Nunes was one of several Republican lawmakers and GOP leaders whose Twitter accounts had disappeared from the drop-down menu that normally populates when typing in a name, without comparable figures such as Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez or any…Continue Reading

US bishops’ anti-poverty charity gave $60,000 to pro-gay Marxist group last year

March 15, 2019 (Lepanto Institute) — The 2017–2018 Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants list shows that the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC) received $60,000, bringing the total this organization has received to $290,000 since 2005. In 2012, the Reform CCHD Now coalition alerted the US bishops to serious problems with NWBCCC including homosexual activism and the promotion of Marxism. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan of the A

Cardinal DiNardo hospitalized after ‘mild stroke’

Houston, Texas, Mar 16, 2019 / 06:33 pm (CNA).- The president of the U.S. bishops’ conference was hospitalized March 15 after suffering a mild stroke, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, which has been led by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo since 2006. “It is expected that Cardinal DiNardo will remain hospitalized for a few more days of testing and observation, followed by a transfer to another facili

Democrats Demand Right to Life for Kittens, But Block Bills to Stop Infanticide

What do cats have that newborn babies don’t? Democrats’ support. In one of the sickest ironies no one is talking about, Senate liberals picked this moment — 17 days after they voted to kill America’s perfectly healthy infants — to fight for the humane treatment of kittens. Maybe the DNC’s strategists are out to lunch, or maybe the Left really is this shameless, but I can’t wait to see so

Advertisement(2)

Medical Ethics: “Who’s Next?”

By BARBARA SIMPSON (Editor’s Note: This column first appeared on WorldNetDaily, March 1, 2019.) + + + It’s really getting out of control. The headlines and news reports are filled with life and death. Not war. Not accidents. No, these news stories are about how and when our medical system can, and will, legally kill…Continue Reading

A Dark Night Finally Turns To Day

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate distributes his column.) + + + They could have just kept going, but they didn’t. It was another cold South Dakota day on February 28, 1981, when Lee Litz went out with a friend to test-drive a…Continue Reading

My Reply… An Eastern Orthodox Writer’s Attempt To Justify Divorce And Remarriage

By JAMES LIKOUDIS An Eastern Orthodox correspondent has taken issue with Catholic teaching rejecting adultery as a legitimate ground for divorce and remarriage. His arguments stem from ill-digested readings drawn from both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox sources. The writer, in effect, rejects Catholic doctrine regarding the absolute indissolubility of sacramental marriage. That doctrine, based on…Continue Reading

How Middle America Is To Be Dispossessed

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN In all but one of the last seven presidential elections, Republicans lost the popular vote. George W. Bush and Donald Trump won only by capturing narrow majorities in the Electoral College. Hence the grand strategy of the left: to enlarge and alter the U.S. electorate so as to put victory as…Continue Reading

Love And The Virtue Of Love

By JUDE DOUGHERTY At some time in the last century, perhaps due to the influence of John Dewey and other influential academics in this country, the concept “the values we hold dear” came to replace the notion that we may be accountable to a moral order quite independent of ourselves. Politicians, educators, and journalists commonly…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Empty Chalice At Consecration Time… Could Signal A Grave Violation Of Canon Law

By Fr. Edward McNamara, LC (Editor’s Note: Following is a Q-and-A from Fr. Edward McNamara’s regular column published by ZENIT News Agency. The date of this column is March 12, 2019. (ZENIT holds the copyright to this article. All rights reserved.) + + + (Legionary of Christ Fr. Edward McNamara is a professor of liturgy and dean of theology at…Continue Reading

Heaven, The Promised Land

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Third Sunday Of Lent (YR C) Readings: Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15 1 Cor. 10:1-6, 10-12 Luke 13:1-9 In the readings today we hear about both the justice and the mercy of God. The first reading is all about God’s mercy. The people of Israel had been enslaved in Egypt for 430 years, but in that time they…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Cardinal Pell: The Pendulum Swings

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The pendulum means nothing on its own and functions only by means of a power external to itself: the law of gravity. The swing of the pendulum is a symbol of the lack of balance, for the forces at work upon it which keep it in constant motion prevent its rest in a central position…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: In his weekly bulletin at the Church of St. Michael in New York City, Fr. George Rutler, after noting that John Henry Cardinal Newman of England will soon be proclaimed a saint and Jozsef Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary will be declared venerable, said that “Mindszenty was not Newman’s intellectual peer, but his life was the most muscular testimony…Continue Reading

The Church In The Midst Of The Storm . . . “Come To Me All Who Are Weary”

By FR. SHENAN J. BOQUET (Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission of Human Life International, www.hli.org. It first appeared at www.hli.org on March 4, 2019. Fr. Boquet is the president of HLI.) + + + “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me” (John 14:1). Holy Mother Church is in the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Benedetta Cambiagio Frassinello

By CAROLE BRESLIN Mary and Joseph led a chaste life, as husband and wife for the greater glory of God. The parents of Therese of Lisieux, Marie-Azélie Guérin and Louis Martin, also hoped to live this way, but their spiritual director advised them not to do so. In obedience, they provided the Church with a wonderful example of holiness. Another…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Cuthbert

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Melrose Abbey in Scotland, which is located about 30 miles south-southeast of Edinburgh, attracts more visitors than just about any other attraction in Scotland. Although mostly in ruins now, the abbey boasts a museum and other sites of interest, such as the embalmed heart of Robert the Bruce. Mel Gibson revived interest in him with the…Continue Reading