100% of Your RDA of Ken

The musings of Ken Hallenius, a Roman Catholic lay catechist and university administrator living in Portland, Oregon.
Recent Tweets @khiddy

Autotuned St. John Paul II. Finally!

A second-season LLama’s reflections on what it means to be humbled every day by a trivia quiz league.

But here is what Derrida said at one point when the interviewer spoke approvingly of deconstruction sowing disorder in the classroom:

I don’t start with disorder; I start with the tradition. If you’re not trained in the tradition, then deconstruction means nothing.

And when pressed on his reception in America, Derrida remarked,

I think that if what is called ‘deconstruction’ produces neglect of the classical authors, the canonical texts, and so on, we should fight it… . I’m in favor of the canon.

"The Enemies, and Friends, of the Humanities", Mark Bauerlein, First Things

I’ve been a LearnedLeague member for the last year, and it’s been a source of daily joy (or agony, depending on how the match goes). I was referred to the league by Stefan Goodreau, a Jeopardy! superchampion (5+ wins) that I had the good fortune to meet and befriend a few years ago. Some day, I’ll get the chance to show Alex Trebek that I’ve got the chops… some day…

The Cistercians had in fact chosen swampy, unproductive lands, but their diligence was rapidly transforming them into fertile fields, gardens, and pastures. The Count of Troyes offered a site on his great estates for a third new monastery and Abbot Stephen, aware of Bernard’s exceptional abilities, appointed him abbot and ordered him to take twelve monks, including his own brothers, and found a house in the diocese of Langres, in Champagne. They settled in the Valley of Wormwood, which had once been a retreat for robbers.
The Cistercians’ connection to absinthe (of which Wormwood is a primary ingredient) seems intriguing!

Satanists are planning a “Black Mass” on city property at the Civic Center in Oklahoma City on Sunday, September 21, 2014. They threaten to commit sacrilege against Our Lord by profaning a stolen consecrated host.

This isn’t a question of “freedom of religion”. It’s an outright provocation, a violation of both existing anti-blasphemy laws and every rational form of tolerance.

We can stop this. Your voice and prayers were decisive at Harvard University — the “Black Mass” there was stopped. Canceled.

Saint Michael won a great victory that day. And God can win again.

Please join in the peaceful petition. And please pray for these people, for their conversion, and for peace.

According to the Roman Catholic General Calendar. Years of their deaths indicated in parenthesis.


2 - Basil of Caesarea (379)

2 - Gregory of Nazianzen (389/390)

13 - Hilary of Poitiers (c. 368)

24 - Francis de Sales (1622)

28 - Thomas Aquinas (1274)


21 - Peter Damian (1072/1073)


18 - Cyril of Jerusalem (386)


4 - Isidore of Seville (636)

21 - Anselm of Canterbury (1109)

29 - Catherine of Siena (1380)

MAY (3)

2 - Athanasius of Alexandria (373)

10 - John of Avila (1569)

25 - Bede the Venerable (735)

JUNE (3)

9 - Ephrem the Syrian (373)

13 - Anthony of Padua (1231)

27 - Cyril of Alexandria (444)

JULY (3)

15 - Bonaventure (1274)

21 - Lawrence of Brindisi (1619)

30 - Peter Chrysologus (c. 450)


1 - Alphonsus Maria de Liguori (1787)

20 - Bernard of Clairvaux (1153)

28 - Augustine of Hippo (430)


3 - Gregory the Great (604)

13 - John Chrysostom (407)

17 - Hildegard von Bingen (1179)

17 - Robert Bellarmine (1621)

30 - Jerome (420)


1 - Therese of Lisieux (1897)

15 - Teresa of Avila (1582)


10 - Leo the Great (461)

15 - Albert the Great (1280)


4 - John Damascene (749)

7 - Ambrose of Milan (397)

14 - John of the Cross (1591)

21 - Peter Canisius (1597)

Catholics, having no detailed dogmatic program to go on besides “Love God and love your neighbor” can look like William F. Buckley, Dorothy Day, Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa, Richard John Neuhaus, or Oscar Romero. They can be all over the map once they leave Mass, for they are all one in Christ at the altar. For Catholics, as Chesterton said, agree about everything. It is only everything else they disagree about.

An excellent resource including texts and audio files for the Rosary, Litany of Loreto, and some novenas in honor of Our Lady under her various titles.

We are created in the image and likeness of God, and thus fundamentally good and endowed by God with an inherent dignity. At the same time, our nature is wounded, fallen through Original Sin, and thus inescapably flawed, inclined toward evil, and subject to illness and suffering. But more important, we have been redeemed by Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross and called to union with Christ and his Body, the Church. We are being sanctified by the continued work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we can receive forgiveness and redemption by contritely turning in faith toward God’s love and mercy.

Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, M.D., The Catholic Guide to Depression, Introduction.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post, this is the basic Christian profession of faith: we are all fallen sinners who are loved by God and redeemed by his Son, Jesus Christ.

Jeff Miller of the excellent The Curt Jester blog posted about a group of Portland-area parents who object to a child-oriented evangelical ministry that —horror of horrors!— teaches children that people are sinners in need of God’s grace-filled love and redemption.

The Facebook group “Protect Portland Children”, however, doesn’t accept the basic Christian teaching that all people, including the child that they exploited to hold their “I am not a sinner” sign, are sinners in need of God’s mercy, and paint such a belief as a contemptible “hardcore evangelical fundamental” teaching.

These people are sadly mistaken, much to their own (and their children’s) ruin.

Despite what the self-appointed theologians at PPC would have you believe, Christianity is predicated on the reality that we are all sinners, who are nevertheless loved and personally redeemed by God. Jesus Christ came to redeem sinners. That’s what the Incarnation was really about, and we all need to hear it. Any minister, of whatever training, who downplays this reality is not telling the truth, but simply tickling his hearers’ ears with the message that they want to hear (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3).

To be sure, catechists and evangelists need to use age-appropriate messaging and language to communicate the truth of the Gospel. You don’t “lay on the heavy stuff” while they’re still in the cradle. That much is understood by any effective teacher. I don’t know the pedagogical methods employed by this particular evangelical group, so I can’t 100% defend them, obviously. In this case, however, it’s not necessarily the methods to which PPC objects — it’s the basic doctrine of Christianity. For that, PPC itself deserves skewering.

As Pope Francis has said on multiple occasions, Christianity requires a profession of faith, not just the desire to learn how to “be a good community member.” If that’s all you want for your children, join a fraternal organization instead.

I hear the Shriners are recruiting.

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My earliest human memory is probably running around in the front yard of my childhood home with our dog, McKeever MacDuff, awaiting my grandparents’ arrival for a visit. Given that McKeever died when I was 3 or so, this would’ve been in the latter half of the 1970s.

Here is a photo from that visit by my grandparents (and yes, that is a sweet Fisher-Price toy airplane I’m clutching):

True civilization is a culture animated by the transcendental trinity of the good, the true, and the beautiful. The authentic presence of goodness is love and its manifestation in virtue; the authentic presence of truth is to be seen in the culture’s conformity to reason, properly understood as an engagement with the objective reality beyond the confines of egocentric subjectivism; the authentic presence of the beautiful is a reverence for the beauty of Creation and creativity, properly perceived in the outpouring of gratitude which is the fruit of humility. A society informed and animated by such a culture is truly civilized.
Joseph Pearce, "What is Civilization?", Crisis Magazine.