"Catholic Nerds" at the University of Notre Dame share their thoughts on Catholic identity at ND, cultural reviews, and other musings (or "moosings," as the case may be) with the rest of the world.

Saturday, October 16

The Bad News: Blogging will be sparse to none for the next week as Andy, Matt, I, et al. embark upon the long-awaited (fanfare please) Great Midwest Roadtrip across Wisconsin and Minnesota. The Good News: we shall return full of POD, fun, and no doubt just plain strange tales of the trip. Stay tuned.
Posted by: Emily / 8:16 AM

Thursday, October 14

"Don't hail Mary... hail a Papal Cab"

Priests on wheels! More POD than the Popemobile. Every cab drive should end with "That will be a $7.50 offering + $2.00 confession."

See it for yourself: AtomFilms - Papal Cab
Posted by: Andrew / 3:16 PM

Wednesday, October 13

From The Encyclopedia of Failed Ideas:

Malachy O'Less, St. (also known as Malachy the Forgettable, 1106-?) The half-brother of the more famous St. Malachy O'More (Maolmhaodhog ua Morgair), the famous archbishop of Armaugh and purported prophet of papal succession. Unlike his illustrious sibling, Malachy O'Less did not have the gift of prophesy, and instead forgot nearly everything that occurred to him in the past. As a consequence, he became famous as a great confessor. A description of his death seems to have been written down but got mislaid after being used as a coaster by the monastery brewer. He is patron saint of procrastinators, the witness protection program, the Dick van Dyke Show, those creepy pictures of big-eyed kids who look like aliens, and amnesia when used as a plot device in Colombian soap operas. Along with the prophet Ezekiel, he is invoked to ward off Erik von Daniken.

In 1648, a spiral-bound notebook of incomprehensible prophesies attributed to him was discovered stuffed behind a radiator in the Holy Office. One initial theory was that it was a sequel to the best-selling prophesies begun by his brother concerning the end of the world, though this was discarded after microscopic analysis by Anton van Leeuwenhoek uncovered a partially-erased palimpsest consisting of the words "Dan" and "Brown" repeated 666 times.

Another theory, brought forward only a few years ago, suggests that the text is in the list of next year's contestants on Survivor, or possibly the lyrics to Louie Louie. An epistle bearing his name that denounces Thomas Kinkaide as a sign of the Apocalypse is thought to be apocryphal, as is another fragmentary prophesy which alleges the anti-Christ will come to earth in the form of a velvet painting of a crying clown.
“St. Elvis?” inquired our intrepid Onion Dome editor.

“Long forgotten saint from 17th Century Russia. Invented leather trousers,” explained Fr. Vitaly.

I have long asserted (as a running joke) that there ought to be an all-girl heavy-metal Ultramontane rock band called the Sanctus Belles. Think of them as Anonymous Four, but in combat boots. My friend Andy himself thinks that, to restore the imbalance caused by wussy sixties folk masses, someone should compose a Ramstein Mass, maybe for one of Cardinal Ratzinger's appearances (Missa super Du Hast a 7?). Maybe they could do it. I also have yet another pet idea that the Patriarch of Moscow should start a double stand-up comedy act; it could be two priests and they could call themselves Tikhon and Nikon: the Hilarious Hegumens...but forget I said that. Anyway, it looks like Reader Alexei has beaten us to it with the band thing, anyway, with his Onion Dome article on Russian Orthodox rock music... I wonder, does that mean ZZ Top, with the big Athonite beards, really IS Orthodox?
Sanctoral Beauty Contests?

Just when Becket has proven definitively things can't get any weirder, Andrew Cusack asks which saint is prettier, Therese of Liseux or Bernadette Soubirous? Andrew says Therese. I'm unsure whether either choice is the correct one, as I have a previous loyalty to St. Agnes from my trip to Rome, and will defend her name against all contenders for "the fairest," with drawn sword if necessary. I would also suggest my good friend St. Catherine of Siena, but she's lacking a head at the moment. However, if Andrew's right and Therese is the winner, I guess that means I should start developing my official impossibly unrequitable crush of the year on Lindsay Younce...

Tuesday, October 12

I've been so busy with everything I haven't posted in a while. But my real reason for not posting is that I've been working on this. Based on a post I found a while back, I decided to spend my time in Logic class having some fun. So, with a little help and editing from Emily, here's what would happen if St. Thomas Aquinas met Mother Goose.

Does the cheese stand alone?

It seems that the cheese does not stand alone:

Objection 1: There are many dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cream, half and half and the like. In the natural world, all stand together with the cheese in the dairy isle and freezer section, therefore the cheese does not stand alone.

Objection 2: The tradition handed down by the FDA has always grouped cheese with other dairy products and as leading to your daily dairy intake. As such, the cheese does not stand alone.

Objection 3: It is not in the nature of cheese to stand as it has no legs or any other standing apparatus and since, as the Philosopher says, “nature is a source or cause of being moved and of being at rest” (Physics I, ii), nothing can do what is not in its nature. Thus the cheese does not stand alone because it cannot stand at all.

Objection 4: It is said that “milk does a body good” and therefore is great. Therefore the cheese does not stand alone, but with the milk.

Objection 5: In the Holy Land per se, also known as Wisconsin or Land that is inherently Holy, cheese is not the only object of fame. For Wisconsin is also known for polka, toilets, tamales, fireworks, and bubblers. The cheese must, then, stand with all of these and not alone.

On the contrary: The Poet says, “Hi-ho the derry-o, the cheese stands alone.”

I answer that: The cheese stands alone in two ways. Firstly, among dairy products it is the most pungent and therefore the most easily identifiable by smell and taste. It is also the most carefully crafted of all dairy products as well as the most diverse in kind. As what is most important is given the most attention, the cheese is unique among dairy products and stands alone as one.

Secondly, cheese by its very nature is holy. Some cheeses have a greater actuality of their holiness, such as Edamer or Swiss. (Note that this is why the Swiss Guards are only allowed into the Vatican after consuming exorbitant amounts of Swiss cheese.) Other cheeses have a lesser actuality, such as Cheddar or Brie. Nevertheless, this holiness is possessed by each cheese essentially regardless of its actuality. As such, cheese is necessarily holy, unlike other foods, and therefore stands alone.

Reply Objection 1: The word ‘alone’ can be used in two different senses; the first existing individually and in solitude, the second existing in a class of its own above all else to which it is compared. The Poet uses ‘alone’ in the latter sense while the objection applies to the former.

Reply Objection 2: There are two types of grouping, metaphysical and effectual. Metaphysical groups mark out something regarding what it is while effectual groups mark out something according to the result it produces. The FDA’s grouping is an effectual one as it means that all those in its group result in a healthy body. However, thee cheese stands alone metaphysically.
Moreover, there are two types of tradition, for tradition depends upon authority. A contingent tradition is dependent on a temporal authority, while a universal tradition does not. The FDA is a temporal authority, has a contingent tradition, and therefore can not speak on the metaphysical matters at hand.

Reply Objection 3: The word ‘stand’ can not only be used properly, i.e. by the means of legs, but also analogically, i.e. “I should stand up to him” or “Stand proud”. Regarding the cheese, stand is used analogically and therefore does not require legs or any physical organ of standing.

Reply Objection 4: It is also said, “Behold the power of cheese.” Cheese has a power that strikes fear into the hearts of men. As fear is a gift of the Holy Spirit, cheese has a greater power than milk and stands above it and alone.

Reply Objection 5: Cheese is not native to Wisconsin, nor is it found only in Wisconsin as it is commonly found in France, Italy and the like. As such, it is not associated with Wisconsin per se but per accidens. Hence it is only accidentally associated with bubblers, polka, etc. So it does not stand with them per se but per accidens. Thus, the cheese stands alone per se.

Posted by: Becket / 6:58 PM

Monday, October 11

For a Perpetual Record: The Shrine reached 100,000 hits today. Huzzay!
Shameless Plug

One of my designs from last year for an apartment building (with a decorative scheme honoring warrior-pope and Michelangelo patron Julius II) is displayed on the Notre Dame School of Architecture Gallery, along with a group project for the rehabilitation of a Dominican church in Orvieto that I participated in. While the final presentation drawings were a collaboration in which I played a comparatively small role, the church facade and tower, the fountain, the re-faced three-arched public building and the smaller block of housing on the piazza were nonetheless largely designed by me.
A Child with a Future in Scholasticism!

Recently a number of people in St. Blog's recieved this email:

Help! My four year old son has stumped me with a theological conundrum. Can God do everything or can't he. What is the answer to the dilemma my son posed to me today?? I need some answers quick. I am probably overlooking something very simple so please help me. Its funny but just before this conversation he was quiet and I asked him what he was thinking about and he said he was thinking about the Holy Spirit and why it came to people as a dove.

In the car my son has a conversation with Mommy.
Son: I know something God can't do Mommy!
Mommy: What could that be George, God can do everything!
Son: God can't die.
Mommy: Hmm, well Jesus was God and he died. But he did rise again.
Son: But after he rose again Mommy he can never die.

Not bad for a four-year-old!

I guess I would consider this question from two angles. First, I think I would contest his argument that the death of Jesus doesn't count as a real death. It certainly seems to me that Christ died completely, and that counts regardless of whether He rose later. However, at the same time, it is in reference to the humanity of Christ that we say He died, and not the divinty. So, the son's point stands.

Can God die? Cutting to the chase, absolutely not. God is existance itself; His name, Yahweh, means "I am Who am." For God to cease existing, He would cease being God. But we cannot cease being what we are by definition; further, God is eternal. God cannot die.

However, does this truly constitute something God "can't" do? Dying isn't an action, it's the end of all action. It isn't an affirmative thing, it is the lack of a thing (life). To say that God cannot die is the same thing as to say that God cannot lie. God cannot lie because lying is the absence of Truth. God cannot die because dying is the absence of Life.

In otherwords, God is too perfect to die, and too perfect to lie. Dying occurs to those who are imperfect -- they cease to be -- and is not a positive action which one can perform.

That's my thoughts on the matter. Best of luck explaining it to a four-year-old, though -- even such an inquisitive one :)

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