God Honors the Humble, Says Pope

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 22, 2010 (Zenit.org).-

The Virgin Mary is the “perfect example” of how God honors the humble, and humbles the proud.

The Pope said this today before praying the midday Angelus with the faithful gathered at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.

The mighty Archangel kneels before the lowly Virgin.

“The simple little girl of Nazareth has become the Queen of the world,” the Holy Father stated. “This is one of the marvels that reveal the heart of God.”

“Naturally,” he explained, “Mary’s royalty is completely dependent on Christ’s: He is the Lord, who, after the humiliation of death on the cross, the Father exalted above every creature in heaven, on earth and under the earth.

“Through a design of grace, the Immaculate Mother was completely bound to the mystery of the Son: to his Incarnation; to his earthly life, at first hidden in Nazareth and then manifested in the messianic mystery; to his passion and death; and finally to the resurrection and ascension in heaven.”

“The Mother shared with the Son not only the human aspects of this mystery but also the profound intention, the divine will, in such a way that her entire existence, poor and humble, was elevated, transformed, glorified, passing through the ‘narrow gate’ that is Jesus himself,” Benedict XVI continued. “Yes, Mary was the first to walk along the narrow ‘way,’ opened up by Christ, to enter into the Kingdom of God, a way that is accessible to the humble, to those who entrust themselves to the Word of God and who endeavor to put it into practice.”

The Pope urged those present to “renew, as sons of the Church, our devotion to her whom Jesus left to us as Mother and Queen.”

“Let us entrust the daily prayer for peace to her intercession,” he continued, “especially in those places where the absurd logic of violence rages most, so that all men are persuaded that in this world we must help each other as brothers to build the civilization of love.”

About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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82 Responses to God Honors the Humble, Says Pope

  1. Brother Burrito says:

    (The above is, of course, lifted from Zenit.org. I strongly advise all seriously joyous Catholics to subscribe to that website’s email bulletin.)

    My comment on this is: What, dear reader, will you say when you are overshadowed by the Holy Spirit? He will not be making the same offer that He made to Mary, but He will be asking you to Incarnate something of God into this world you live in.

    Will you too say: “Let it be done unto me, according to your word”? Your FIAT?

    Mary is our perfect example and model in this business, whether we are man or woman. Remember that many male religious take ‘Mary’ as their second name.

    You can only ‘make flesh’ from what you yourself have, but such a giving will take your all-ask any expectant mother!


  2. savvysrdc says:

    Dear Friends,

    Please visit my new blog. I have interesting interviews lined up too.




  3. joyfulpapist says:

    Nice first post, srdc – I take it you are the same srdc that defends the faith on ‘the other blog’? As the mother of four women and two men, and the grandmother of six boys, two girls, and one as yet unborn and mysterious, this is a topic very close to my heart.

    I’ll look forward to hearing more from you.


  4. johnhenrycn says:


    What? “SavySisterDiscalcedCarmelite”? Just a guess. Not a disrespectful one.

    God bless you, dear, and hope you have much success on your new blog. They won’t let me comment on this one, most of the time – so I’m not about to try another one; but like I said, SRDC, God bless you and your missionary work. 🙂


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    JP at 05:12 –
    You are such a braggart! ‘Course I would be too, if I could.
    ( But, I do have an aunt who had 11 children 🙂


  6. joyfulpapist says:

    (Don’t tell anybody JH, but I cheated: my beloved and I only had four, but we inherited another two from a friend. Shhhh.)


  7. johnhenrycn says:

    (there is no “high 5” symbol that I know of). God bless you, too, JP.


  8. joyfulpapist says:

    He has and He does. You too.


  9. johnhenrycn says:

    Thank you.


  10. teresa says:

    srdc, quite interesting about the concept of “true feminism”.


  11. kathleen says:

    Beautiful homily of our Holy Father from Castel Gondolfo about the Virgin Mary.

    I laugh at the irony of many anti-Catholics who call the Catholic Church misongynistic, who say it puts down women as second class human beings.

    No other religion holds a woman in higher esteem than we hold the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
    No other woman (or man) has been so highly favoured by God.
    The only human ever (apart from the Jesus Christ Himself of course) to be born without the stain of Original Sin, and assumed into Heaven, body and soul.
    She is our Mother too, given to us by Our Saviour as He hung on the Cross: “Behold your Mother!” And so we are Her children, who will be led by Her to God.

    God alone is worshipped, but no other creature is (or has ever been) honoured, loved, imitated or sought after for help and guidance as the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    So how do those who criticise us as anti-feminist get round these facts?


  12. kathleen says:

    I join the others in wishing you well with your new blog. That’s an interesting first post on sex and relationships. Now that you’ve given us this link I shall certainly be looking in from time to time to read those “interesting interviews” you mention.

    You are very courageous battling (often single handedly) against the trolls on DT’s blog.


  13. savvysrdc says:


    Thanks so much! There’s just too much confusion about this topic out there, so I thought it’s time to take it on.

    John Henry,

    No I am not a nun. My blog does have an about me section though. And Thanks too.


    Thanks and yes, there are many people out there not just Catholics who share the same views as us on this subject. The mainstream media ignores them. It’s time to bring them together.

    Thanks Kathleen,

    I won’t be around Damian’s blog as much, I might have to take care of the trolls on me. LOL.


  14. savvysrdc says:

    One more message, to subscribe to posts, just click on the first button under connect. Thanks.


  15. toadspittle says:

    I duly took a look at savvysrdc‘s blog. Very thought-provoking and inviting, too.

    She has the following quote in it by Goethe: Common sense is the genius of humanity.

    It made me think,
    1: I, like most Brits, know virtually nothing about Goethe. Must read Faust, I suppose.
    2: I disagree with him re ‘common sense.’ Common sense tells us the the sun rises in the East every morning and that the earth is not hurtling and spinning through space at thousands of miles an hour. It also tells us, that the earth is flat. Particularly if you have ever lived in Toledo. Ohio.
    And, since we are on CP&S, I suppose ‘common sense’ tells us that water can’t be turned into wine, or wine into blood, simply with a few words.


  16. joyfulpapist says:

    On the contrary, Toad, common sense tells us that we cannot always trust our senses or the opinions we hold in common.

    The usual dictionary definition is good sense and sound judgement in practical matters. Sadly, common sense is not at all common.


  17. toadspittle says:

    Are you suggesting that it isn’t common sense to believe that the sun circles the earth?
    Sure looks that way to me.


  18. toadspittle says:

    I don’t know if anyone on here is familiar with Gillian Anscombe. Catholic, mother of six, brilliant interpreter of Wittgenstein. (She was the only woman he admired.)
    One day she said to Ludwig,
    “It’s easy to see why people thought the sun circled the earth.”
    “Why?” said Wittgenstein.
    “Because it looks that way,” she said.
    “Well, how would it look if the earth circled the sun?” said Ludwig.


  19. toadspittle says:

    After posting the Anscombe bit, I checked. She is also known as Elizabeth. Her name in philosophy books is G. E. Anscombe, so maybe I’m OK anyway.
    Incredibly interesting woman.


  20. joyfulpapist says:

    I could be a spoil sport and point out that which circles what has not been a practical matter – a matter with practical consequences – for most of human history.

    Oops. I just was.

    But yes, even we who know better also believe that – to all practical intents and purposes – the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.


  21. joyfulpapist says:

    Of course it becomes a matter of practical consequence if you are in charge of a space race or an auto de fe


  22. The Raven says:

    The classical definition of the Common Sense was the collected sebsations of the other five senses informed by the reason; in its classical form the Common Sense was the tool that the Ancient Greek scientists used to examine the world (after all, Heliocentrism on the sphericality of the Earth were ideas current in the mainstream of Greek thought, long before a certain Genoese gentleman underestimated the circumference of the Earth or a Polish Augustinian wrote his book on astronomy).


  23. joyfulpapist says:

    Indeed, the curve of the world was more obvious to plains dwellers and those who lived beside the sea than it is to us in our crowded landscapes today. Any coastal living people can observe for themselves that the hull of a ship disappears before its mast.


  24. kathleen says:

    G.K. Chesterton once said…

    “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”

    And in an article about G.K. Chesterton, Dale Ahlquist writes:

    “The most famous thing Chesterton said is something he didn’t say. He is always quoted as saying that when a man stops believing in God he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything. It is a great line, and it is well worth quoting, and I have no doubt that Chesterton would agree with it and would be pleased to hear it quoted. But it’s just not what he said. What he said was, “The first effect of not believing in God, is that you lose your common sense.””

    (G.K. Chesterton is of course often referred to as “the Apostle of Common Sense.”)


  25. teresa says:

    Well, common sense is useful as far as the relationship between persons is concerned, but science can’t be promoted by common sense.


  26. savvysrdc says:


    I think teresa summed it up well “common sense is useful as far as the relationship between persons is concerned, but science can’t be promoted by common sense”

    Science is based on facts. Commons sense is not knowledge as much as it’s instinct, or what to do and say at a particular place and time. Common sense can also be called wisdom.


  27. toadspittle says:


    The simple point I was trying to make, in relation to Goethe, is that ‘common sense’ sometimes turns out to be wrong, as in the case of heliocentrism in the past.
    And I wouldn’t be surprised if the majority of people on this planet today believe that the earth is the centre of the universe, and that the sun revolves around it. If they have ever given it a thought.


  28. toadspittle says:

    I ought to have said, ‘to be wrong with regard to heliocentrism,’ (which I appear to have misspelled, but you know what I mean ) of course. Foolish Toad.


  29. toadspittle says:

    Heliocentrism on the sphericality of the Earth were ideas current in the mainstream of Greek thought, long before a certain Genoese gentleman underestimated the circumference of the Earth or a Polish Augustinian wrote his book on astronomy).

    All the more reason then, for the church to be ashamed of itself for roasting alive Bruno, Vanini and Fontainier asmong others, less notable, no doubt, and condemning Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World, and forcing the man himself to deny the idea on his knees, to recite seven penitential psalms each week for three years, and then to house arrest until his death, ten years later.
    …Or so I would have thought.

    Still, he got off lightly by the standards of the day.


  30. savvysrdc says:


    I don’t know what all that has to do with my blog. Common sense is clearly used here in the context of interpersonal relationships or the nature of men and women.
    It’s used in the context of gender here. It also means to have good sense. People can go wrong, but common sense cannot.

    To quote some other people on this subject.

    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    As for your other comments. Bruno was burned by the church after he was excommunicated by both Lutherans and Calvinists churches for heresy.

    St. Robert Bellarmine supported Galileo. You should read him on the subject. And Copernicus was a Catholic priest. Why did the church accept Copernicus but not Galileo? It’s because Galileo’s theories were not yet proved by the scientific establishment of the day and he was asked to present them as theory and not fact, like Copernicus did.

    Galileo was also placed under house arrest in a nice apartment, with servants to wait on him, when other people were sent to jails. He could leave with permission.

    And I don’t get why any post on any unrelated subject brings out all the foaming at the mouth Catholic haters. Geez!


  31. toadspittle says:

    “And I don’t get why any post on any unrelated subject brings out all the foaming at the mouth Catholic haters. Geez!”

    Geez, girl. Who’s foaming at the mouth? Am I?

    “As for your other comments. Bruno was burned by the church after he was excommunicated by both Lutherans and Calvinists churches for heresy.”

    Well, that’s all right then. As long as he was burned by the Catholic church (after having his tongue ripped out to keep him quiet, by the way) after being excommunicated by protestants, that puts a totally different complexion on things. Lutherans and Calvinists are capable of all manner of silliness, as we know.

    And, if you put things in your blog and invite comment on them, don’t be altogether too surprised if you get it.


  32. toadspittle says:

    “I could be a spoil sport and point out that which circles what has not been a practical matter – a matter with practical consequences – for most of human history.”

    Says Joyful.

    Had extremely practical consequences for Giordano Bruno, among others…

    And for most of human history, we were living in holes and battling Sabre toothed tigers.
    And the like. The Good Old Days.


  33. toadspittle says:

    “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.”
    says Chesterton.

    Yes, and if there were no pigs, there would be no bacon sandwiches. And then where would we be?

    (And if there was no Omvendt, there would be no raw sewage, would there?)


  34. toadspittle says:

    (Kathleen, are you sure you got that Chesterton remark above right? Surely even he couldn’t have said anything as fatuous as that?)


  35. The Raven says:

    Bruno’s case is interesting. He seems mainly to have gone to the stake for being a thoroughly disagreeable fellow who’d pissed off the great and good just about everywhere he went (he was initially arrested by the Venetian authorities after spectacularly falling out with a patron who had appointed him to teach memory techniques).

    He finally went to the stake for denying the divinity of Christ and claiming that Our Lord was merely a superior sort of magician (very scientific). His idea that there were many worlds didn’t really come into it.


  36. savvysrdc says:


    I still don’t get what this thing on common sense has to with my blog on feminism. Do you mind explaining? What does this have to do with Bruno?


  37. toadspittle says:


    Indeed it must be puzzling. All I can say is, that someone posts something about, say, the sacred monkeys in the Vatican and – before one knows it – we are all foaming at the mouth about Henry Vlll, or something totally ( or partly) unrelated. It’s sort of organic. Like a virus. Or a raw sewage spraying. Omvendt can explain. It’s his job.


    Glad we are all on the same song sheet now. Clearly, Bruno got exactly what was coming to him, and he ought to Thank His Lucky Stars he wasn’t treated as unkindly as he deserved!
    Although, as a thoroughly disagreeable fellow myself, I hope I can continue to avoid the same, no doubt well-merited, fate.


  38. The Raven says:

    I didn’t say he merited his fate, Toad, just that he was no martyr for rationalism or science. I personally think that being thoroughly disagreeable can, on occasion, be a duty and is certainly never a crime (which is just as well, as I’d be spending the rest of my life in gaol otherwise!).


  39. toadspittle says:

    Point well taken, Raven.


  40. toadspittle says:

    “He (Chesterton) is always quoted as saying that when a man stops believing in God he doesn’t believe in nothing, he believes in anything. It is a great line…”

    It is not a great line. It is STUPID.
    If Chesterton had said it he would be a big fat idiot. The Rush Limbaugh of his day. But we must absolve him. On this one at least.

    It insolently declares that someone – such as me – who ceases to believe in God, then inevitably begins to believe in palmistry, astrology, reading the entrails of dead chickens, and tea leaves, fortune telling and Santa Claus and little green men from Mars.

    On the other hand, Catholics believe six impossible things before breakfast each morning without breaking sweat. I won’t bother to name them. You all know. Far from believing in ANYTHING, I believe in a great many fewer things than others round here, I am sure.


  41. Gertrude says:

    Ah Toad – you might have ceased to believe in God, but you’ll be glad to know God never ceased to believe in you! Btw, it’s a few more than six things!


  42. omvendt says:


    Just goes to show you should be careful what you wish for.

    You invite people from this blog to comment thinking it’s safe, only to find you have attracted the unwelcome attention of the resident sensationally unfunny and touchy dilettante.

    And if you don’t find his abuse funny it’s your fault.

    You obviously can’t take a joke.

    And there’s clearly something wrong with you.

    That’ll teach you!


  43. omvendt says:

    “All the more reason then, for the church to be ashamed of itself for roasting alive Bruno, Vanini and Fontainier asmong others, less notable, no doubt, and condemning Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World, and forcing the man himself to deny the idea on his knees, to recite seven penitential psalms each week for three years, and then to house arrest until his death, ten years later.”

    The sheer nerve of you, lecturing others about truth and morality, trying to make practising Catholics feel ashamed for being Catholic, when you yourself have denied truth, objective morality and meaning.

    How dare you offer moral criticism to anyone or for any action.

    And when you are called on these matters, you spit in our faces and tell us it’s raining.

    Another who blogs here once observed that certain egregious atheists inadvertently do some good by revealing the delightful effects of atheism on character.

    So I suppose to that extent you do some good.

    Oh, and I say this purely with the intention of adding some vinegar and piquancy to the blog.


  44. toadspittle says:

    Oh, come on, Omvendt.

    When did I ever try to make Catholics ashamed for being Catholic? I can’t work miracles.
    No, I merely said the Church, by no means your good self, might consider a little contrition for some of its past actions.
    Of course, it goes without saying that “lecturing others on truth and morality,” and “offering moral criticism,” is the sole province of the likes of you and the Catholic Church, and the rest of us really should just sit up straight, shut up, and pin back our ears.

    But people are funny, ‘Bolshie,’ I suppose you’d say.

    It did cross my mind though, that – instead of going back over old ground like Bruno and Co., we might be better moving on a couple of hundred years, but then we seem stuck at the Reformation at CP&S somehow, with constant references to Thomas More and Co.
    Oh, well.

    (I really think your work at the sewage farm must be getting you down a bit. Maybe you should consider a new career. I don’t think journalism would suit, though. Better – and far more decently – employed where you are!)


  45. joyfulpapist says:

    Not to be picky, Toad, but sabre tooth tigers belong to prehistory, not history. Precision in language, as I say to my poor abused offspring.


  46. toadspittle says:

    May be pre-history to you, Joyful, but it’s like yesterday to me. Those teeth. So big. And sharp!
    But I suppose you mean history starts with the Jews.


  47. joyfulpapist says:

    I was thinking of Ur, where accountants invented writing. But close.


  48. toadspittle says:

    Those naughty old accountants! Didn’t know what they were messing with!


    BUT… in order not to hog even more of this fine blog, I have put some thoughts on my own. As I have mentioned Raven by name, I feel I should let him, at least know. Out of fairness.


  49. kathleen says:

    Just read the article on your blog Toad + your comment at 4:30 today…… don’t you sleep at night?

    I’m very sad you think we are “rabid Neo-Caths”, when I think we have done no more than discuss our beloved Catholic Church and our Faith. As we love it, it’s normal we try to defend it….. as you would your hounds, or whatever else you hold dear. But I think you are unfair it not recognizing how we often admit to the sins and failings of some of its members. (Which doesn’t subtract from the immense goodness and holiness of the Church, founded by Jesus, Son of God, and guided by the Holy Spirit, and of that striving towards perfection of her human – and hence, frail – members.)

    When someone holds up a mirror in front of you to show you how unreasonable you are to us, you smash it and protest “THAT’S NOT ME!” Then you scream blue murder at him.
    Lack of humility Toad?….. back to the blog subject I see!
    Well it’s pot, kettle, black, because I could definitely do with a bit more of this precious virtue. Only difference being that I am aware of it.

    Yet during our latest bun fight a couple of threads back, you stated a gem:
    “I… thought I was providing a useful service here by introducing the odd fragment of grit from which others might fashion a pearl.”

    You do. But you will insist on pouring in too much vinegar!! 😉


  50. kathleen says:

    Re your questions about my 10:08 yesterday on G.K. Chesterton:

    Yes, I’m pretty sure he did make that first quote about atheists I mention. (I got it from a reliable internet source.) But like most quotes, by being taken out of context, it probably sounds “fatuous” to you; yet it was probably some joke he made at a get together with friends when discussing atheists…… just guessing!

    The second quote: “The first effect of not believing in God, is that you lose your common sense”, has a deeper meaning. OK, maybe you are an exception and don’t go in for believing in palmistry, astrology, reading the entrails of chickens….. etc., etc., but a great many non-theists do!!! I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
    Man, created in God’s image and likeness (as I believe), has since the beginning of his existence had a belief in an invisible world, of a power beyond him, and of a need to communicate with this Being. Altars were raised to this “Unknown God”, Who was eventually revealed to us through God’s chosen race – you know all this – and brought to fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

    “Our hearts are restless Lord, until they find their rest in you”, says St. Augustine. And it is this restlessness that drives man to seek belief in all manners of hocus pocus cults if he refuses to recognize God as his Creator and Father.

    This is the loss of common sense that Chesterton was referring to I think.

    Btw, have you read Chesterton’s “Everlasting Man”? It’s a great read.


  51. savvysrdc says:


    Orthodoxy or Heretics is a good read too, but they are a bit complex for a beginner to Chesterton to understand.



  52. toadspittle says:

    Kathleen, I appreciate your reply. Thank you.


  53. omvendt says:


    Toad just keeps on keeping on.


  54. omvendt says:


    Re your latest gratuitous vulgar personal abuse, I’ll make no comment (for the moment) other than to say I have never expressed any desire to become a paid hack.

    And why do you continue to criticise morally when you deny truth, objective morality and ultimate meaning?



  55. teresa says:

    Toad I read your blog article too. I think it is our believing in some positives statements which bothers you most. But, don’t you think there could be a tyranny of dogmatic scepticism too? That is, to forbid other people from believing or stating anything in a positive, affirmative way?

    I am just reading a book on postmodernism: the fragmentary ego, no truth, no unity, anything goes, but, it seems, for postmodern theorists, what doesn’t go is to believe that there is Truth and Love and Objectivity…

    I apologise if I’ve been too direct …


  56. teresa says:

    Toad, after thinking over a while. I feel quite sorry that I wrote so directly. I think you are feeling a little uneasy because your opinion is here in minority, as you are playing football in a one-man team against several of us (though some of them are women, as we have a football team of mixed gendre ;-)), and, I concede, it is not fair!

    I would very much like to see you get a co-player against us! But how can we get an agnostic and atheist? I won’t like to see those whose intention is merely ranting and spreading out hated entering the debate here. But someone who can argue in a civil way and with a good will, though a quite different opinion and world view than that of ours is welcome, I think, personally, (only my personal opinion as I haven’t discussed with the others yet and this thought just occurred to me spontaneously).

    But, perhaps with some patience you can play in team against us, though I am afraid we will than need more orthodox Catholic debaters against your team. 😉


  57. omvendt says:


    Ilias the Presbyter bequeathed to us many fruitful insights on the topic of humility, such as:

    “The greater the pain that you feel, the more you should welcome the person whose reproof makes you feel it. For he is bringing about within you that total purification without which your intellect cannot attain the pure state of prayer.”


    “When you are reproved, you ought either to remain silent, or else gently to defend yourself to your accuser – not indeed in order to gain his approval, but to help him rise up in case he has stumbled by reproving you in ignorance. ”

    I have those lines on my own little ‘bulletin board’ at my place of work.

    I like reading his counsel: if only following it were so easy.


  58. kathleen says:

    Thanks Omvendt. That’s really good advice. But no, not easy counsel to follow, is it?!

    Nor is this following prayer an easy one to pray with true sincerity! It’s a litany of humility, by Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val (the secretary of state for Pope Saint Pius X). It is especially humbling when recited in front of a crucifix so that we can recall the humility of Christ.

    The responses (“deliver me, O Jesus” for the first two thirds of the prayer and “O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it” for the final third) should be said after each line:

    O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.

    From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Jesus.
    From the desire of being loved,
    From the desire of being extolled,
    From the desire of being honoured,
    From the desire of being praised,
    From the desire of being preferred to others,
    From the desire of being consulted,
    From the desire of being approved,

    From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Jesus.
    From the fear of being despised,
    From the fear of suffering rebukes,
    From the fear of being calumniated,
    From the fear of being forgotten,
    From the fear of being ridiculed,
    From the fear of being wronged,
    From the fear of being suspected,

    That others may be loved more than I, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
    That others may be esteemed more than I,
    That, in the opinion of the world, others may, increase and I may decrease,
    That others may be chosen and I set aside,
    That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
    That others may be preferred to me in everything,
    That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


  59. joyfulpapist says:

    Kathleen, that’s a wonderful prayer. Thank you.


  60. Brother Burrito says:

    (with apologies to Toad) Yes, great prayer Kathleen! I love prayers like this.

    As people may have guessed already, I am an amateur contemplative, who hopes that God really does love amateurs.

    Your prayer is an excellent example of a mental device designed to help its reciter achieve detachment and selflessness, for the express purpose of getting nearer to God.

    It is ESSENTIAL to have a sound faith in God before attempting selflessness, otherwise one may find oneself in the void, all alone! That is a terribly perilous place to be. I am sure that untold mental and spiritual illness has been caused by people shedding their egos, either deliberately or under external force, and in their crisis, losing their minds, or worse, meeting malevolent entities in the resulting vacuum.

    It is always good advice to attempt such pilgrimages in a state of Grace, in good company, with experienced guides, and after a good grounding in basic theology. This is how monks do it. They are the experts.

    As with all transcendent business, you have to understand that Heaven is in a very different time zone. BE PATIENT!


  61. toadspittle says:

    Teresa, you are very kind. But I’m not really a team player.

    To me ‘dogmatic skepticism’ is a bit of an oxymoron. And postmodernism is virtually incomprehensible. I’ve tried. Too old, I suppose.

    “…why do you continue to criticise morally when you deny truth, objective morality and ultimate meaning?” asks Omvendt.

    I don’t think I do criticise morally, because notions of morality vary from time to time and place to place and person to person.
    Bullfighting in Spain right now, for example.
    It’s not that I deny these things, it’s that they vary according to many externals.
    I doubt that you have the same notions of truth, objective morality and ultimate meaning as a Muslim. But he, or she, may well feel as deeply and sincerely as you do.
    So where does that leave us? Who’s to say who is right?

    The other day Kathleen was talking about her being a cradle Catholic, as I was. But we both know that, had we been born in Saudi Arabia, we’d both have been cradle Muslims. With very different ideas than those we hold now. Would those ideas be wrong? What idea of morality can someone who has never even heard of Christ have?
    Not a Christian one. Could non-Christian morality idea ever be valid to you?

    This is what I mean when I contend that truth (and morality) is largely geographical and historical.

    Plato thought that lying under certain circumstances was right. I don’t. I could go on, but, oh well. Maybe next time.


  62. Brother Burrito says:

    Toad, in reverse order:

    Sod it, you aren’t Plato. Stop looking for a guru, ancient or modern.

    Truth has to be eternal to be worth the name. Morality, the same. How humans live those is another matter, whatever their time or place. Stop judging other humans, and judge yourself, kindly.

    You were born in Hounslow, not Saudi. What if there were no hypothetical situations? Stop hypothesising.

    You don’t criticise morally, because you don’t know enough to do so properly, and you lack the courage to do so definitively. There is such a thing as a blunt scalpel, weakly handled. It often causes injury and death. Thank God, you are not a soul surgeon!

    Dogmatic skepticism and Postmodernism are just fancy badges people invent to show off their dearly beloved fockwittedness*. You’re above badge wearing, surely.

    God love you, of course.

    *is that the first ever naughty word on CP&S? Is there a prize?


  63. toadspittle says:

    Toad Says:
    To me ‘dogmatic skepticism’ is a bit of an oxymoron. And postmodernism is virtually incomprehensible. I’ve tried. Too old, I suppose.

    So Burro replies:
    Dogmatic skepticism and Postmodernism are just fancy badges people invent to show off their dearly beloved fockwittedness*. You’re above badge wearing, surely.

    So Toad says. Oh, well.


  64. toadspittle says:

    So Jesus is not to be considered a ‘guru.’ Well, it does sound a bit foreign. A bit Hindu. Not British.


  65. toadspittle says:

    My dictionary defines ‘Hypothesis’ as:

    1: A tentative explanation that accounts for a set of facts and can be tested by further investigation: a theory.
    2: Something taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigation: an assumption.
    3: The antecedent of a conditional statement.

    Follies not to be indulged in (by Toad anyway) according to Burro.


  66. toadspittle says:

    Long dogwalk further pondering Burro’s remarks made at 21.55.

    So ‘gurus’ are out. Stop looking for them. This applies to everyone, not just Toad, I hope. We want no ‘Toadism’ on CP&S. (Though I can’t help regarding Burro as a bit of a guru’ himself. Very deep on death today. Cheered me up a treat!)
    Goodbye then to Teresa of Avila, Saint John of The Cross, the Pope, Christ and even G.K. Chesterton.

    Burro is right, however, that while one can take the Toad out of Hounslow, one can’t take the Hounslow out of Toad.
    And when the aging, acerbic amphibian waddles off to The Great Hole in the Sky, there will be some corner of a foreign field which will be forever Hounslow.

    Burro’s attitude to learning from our ‘betters’ Plato and co, (which is ‘Don’t’) puts me in mind of the Caliph Umar who ordered the 5,000,000 books of the library at Alexandria burned because:
    “If these writings of the Greeks agree with the book of God, they are useless and need not be preserved; if they disagree, they are pernicious and ought to be destroyed”.
    The books were considered contrary to the Koran and the whole library was burned down without even opening the books.

    Substitute Burro for Umar and The New testament for the Koran, and pass the matches and the gasoline!

    Oh, and don’t go judging people, Burro tells Toad as he judges him.


  67. Brother Burrito says:

    Toad, you might enjoy Anthony de Mello on Youtube. There’s lots of his stuff there.

    I borrow and paraphrase his sayings all the time. He was a Jesuit priest and psychologist, and an apostle to the godless.

    He would be the first to say a guru is someone who teaches you that you don’t need a guru! When a guru points to the moon, why do his disciples stare at his finger etc etc

    He’s dead now (1987 aged 56), and his writings have been censured by the Vatican. Has that got your juices going?

    He certainly helped this Croydonite ass out, some years back.


  68. omvendt says:

    This from the Lovable Rogue:

    “All the more reason then, for the church to be ashamed of itself for roasting alive Bruno, Vanini and Fontainier asmong others…”

    Followed by this:

    “I don’t think I do criticise morally…”

    Um, ok.


  69. omvendt says:

    One of the more bracing aspects of this blog (for me) is the opportunity it affords of reading the comments of my dear friend, toad, whom I think of as the Diogenes of Dagenham (ok so he’s from Hounslow. Don’t get all fact checky on me).

    Diogenes, like lovable rogue toad, was a Cynic. Indeed, Diogenes (of Sinope) has the honour of being the first person to be given the title, Cynic.

    Diogenes was labelled a “dog” – partly for his rather unusual public behaviour; (he thought nothing of defecating on the street).

    He liked the epithet, and the dog became his emblem. The term, cynic, is actually derived from the Greek word for “dog”.

    And toad likes dogs (a somewhat tenuous link ;-0).

    I write the foregoing because toad likes to share his cynicism with the rest of us, and I think it might be helpful briefly to analyse cynicism, in order to understand the pay off for the cynic.

    I’ll begin with a quotation from a Protestant theologian, Edmond La B. Cherbonnier:

    Cynicism is “the attempt to avoid entanglement with the fickle gods of idealism by espousing none at all… (but) … Every cynic turns out to be a covert idealist, in the sense that he does gravitate to some ideal outside himself as the criterion of his decision… In fact, the real motive of his apparent lawlessness is generally some hidden virtue. Most often it is the virtue of honesty. Perceiving the hypocrisy of the idealist, he fancies his own disillusioned outlook to be truer to the facts of life… Despite his effort at concealment, this kind of cynic turns out to be a sheep in wolf’s clothing.”

    To be continued.


  70. omvendt says:

    Cynicism is powerful because it is difficult to pin down; it has no official school of thought; it comes and goes.

    It offers no positive terrain of its own to defend, so it makes itself difficult to attack.

    Cynicism thrives on eliciting disgust and fostering shame in others, which makes it something to be feared.

    What’s more, to engage the cynic is to risk the retaliatory strike. Nothing new here. (“Whoever corrects a scoffer wins abuse”, Proverbs 9:7).

    Some cynics excel at making their interlocutors look earnest, dense and doubleplusuncool.

    So there’s a big incentive just to leave him be.

    To be continued.


  71. Mimi says:

    Isn’t a cynic one who “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”?

    Or am I thinking of some other school of thought?


  72. omvendt says:

    But to leave the field to the cynic ultimately does no one any favours.

    As Chesterton knew, cynics themselves have ideals: it’s just that they keep them hidden; they don’t want them to be subject to the kind of scrutiny to which they like subjecting the beliefs of others.

    You see, if they were upfront about their own ideals they would risk rigorous questions about their sources and validity – and that would never do.

    With cynicism as his target, Chesterton opined that “the cause which is blocking all progress today is the subtle scepticism which whispers in a million ears that things are not good enough to be worth improving”.

    The cynicism has to be “whispered” cuz if the volume were any louder the ideals of the cynic would be exposed to the light.

    Ironically, for all his protestations to the contrary, the cynic must appeal implicitly to an objective moral standard outwith his personal preferences.

    They do believe in various ‘oughts’ after all: One ought not to be a hypocrite; one ought not to oppress, etc

    But that exposes the cynic to the kind of question I alluded to earlier: “Where does this moral standard come from?”

    And he doesn’t want to talk about that.

    I have a ‘powerful’ glass sitting in front of me (which I have been addressing from time to time) even as I type, so I’ll shut up for now.

    I have a feeling this is a topic I’ll want to say something more about, though – if no one minds too much.


  73. omvendt says:

    “Isn’t a cynic one who “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”?”

    Another example of the peerless wit of Oscar Wilde, Mimi.


  74. Mimi says:

    Ah, right — I should have guessed it would be Wilde!

    So, is it just a play on words, or do you think it holds something of truth?


  75. omvendt says:

    I’ll need to get back to you on that one, Mimi. ; – )


  76. toadspittle says:



    Not cynicism.

    You old silly.

    (I, too, will probably come back on this topic later. Right now I am preoccupied with giving breakfast to two French nuns from the community of St. John, in full ‘kit.’ Habits, I suppose. They stayed here last night. And who sung grace!)

    But I must confess I’m a bit concerned at the amount of ‘ink’ I’m generating on here. I am not worthy. Let’s get back to sin, or at least something more interesting than Toad!

    And I must also confess, if I’m honest – which I try to be – that I mentioned the nuns as much to make Omvendt jealous, as anything. Vanity of vanities!


  77. toadspittle says:

    What, ho, all.

    Monday morning. Nuns gone. Off for dogwalk, but first..

    Burro – I will certainly boned uo on De Mello. It was the censuring of Rahner that got me interested in him.
    I like troublemakers. I first took an interest in Sartre when I read that both the Catholic Church and the Communist Partysimultaneously had declared him the most dangerous man in the world. Cynical (and skeptical) about him now, though.

    Omvendt: I hope you do pursue your ‘differences’ with me. We may have more in common than it seems. Language often gets in the way.
    And I have revised my thinking in the light of your posts the other day. I find I am a good deal more cynical than I had supposed. Sadly, no doubt. Largely the result of 9/11. But that’s another topic.

    “Isn’t a cynic one who “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”?”i.e. he/she knows what something costs, but not what it’s worth. Depends on the ‘thing’ I suppose. What is a Picasso ‘worth?’ What is Saint Teresa of Avila’s finger ‘worth?’ What are my dogs (none of whom were actually purchased) worth?
    The cynic (me, if you like) doesn’t know. Does anyone? Do you? And, if you do, can you blame me for not knowing?
    Tell me the value of some thing. Anything. ‘Incalculable’ is cheating. I suspect we may end up with ‘beyond price.’ If so, maybe the cynic would give the same answer.


  78. toadspittle says:

    Interesting first sentence to Burro.
    Doh! But you understand. How do these things happen?


  79. omvendt says:

    Says toad:

    “We may have more in common than it seems.”

    I think you’re onto something there, toad.

    I’ll happily discuss matters with you – hopefully without the assistance of a baseball bat. 😉


  80. golden chersonnese says:

    Toad, a classical skeptic would say that real knowledge is unobtainable, except for the real knowledge that real knowledge is unobtainable.

    But you seem full of knowledge.


  81. hopeful62 says:

    Do you know what? I’m beginning to like old ‘Toad’.

    And the daftest thing is, I really can’t say why. I disagree with the substance of almost every post of his. In fact he put me off posting here full stop (some full stop!).

    Yet, now, I can’t help thinking he’s a fairly decent chap.

    I have half an idea why that is so, I went to a dreadful talk about Cardinal Newman. It was rambling, incoherent and a total waste of 75 minutes. I offered it up. (It might have been easier if I had not had a three day hang-over). I later read the introduction, at home, to ‘Apologia Pro Vita Sua’ and was quite amazed by the courtesy of the first few letters between Charles Kingsley and Cardinal Newman when the latter was accusing the former of slander.

    It might be me drink-addled wits, but to my mind there’s a touch of Kingsley’s gentlemanliness in (most) of Toad’s comments.


  82. Brother Burrito says:


    Toad is a sincere seeker after Truth. (we hope)

    That is why he fits in so well here

    PS, if you visit the Help! page, you can get kitted out with best bib and tucker/a suitable screen name and avatar


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