Monday, December 31, 2012

Most Popular Posts of 2012

With a few hours left in 2012, I can still squeeze in another post. I started this blog back in April, with the intention of sharing my thoughts on Catholicism, Philosophy, Theology, and Science Fiction/Fantasy, with a few interludes into the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic show that I began watching in February. Now, I haven't exactly kept this mission statement...

Anyway, I've seen a few bloggers in the Catholic blogosphere share their "top 10 most popular posts of 2012," so I decided to include mine, even though I get a fraction of the visitors of well-known Catholic bloggers like Mark Shea, Marc Barnes, and Edward Feser:

1. MLP: FiM Season 3 Spoilerific Post

2. Appletastic MLP: FiM Season 3 Speculation

3. Fluttershy and the Virtue of Friendliness: Part 1

4. Make Some Friends! Lauren Faust on Philia: Part 2

5. MLP and the Virtues

6. Octavia: Behind the Music

7. MLP: FiM Season 3 Preview: The Crystal Ponies

8. MLP: Top Wing (Spoilers!)

9. MLP: FiM Season 3 Extended Preview

10. Discord: The Most Dangerous MLP Villain?

I sense one common thread here among the top ten, but I can't seem to put my finger on it. On an unrelated note, here's a random picture of my favorite pony, Derpy Hooves:

I'm thankful for all the MLP-related visits, but in 2013, I might consider focusing more on the "Catholic" part of "RPG Catholic." Perhaps I can strike a balance between ponies and Catholic philosophy/theology...

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not a big fan of new year's resolutions since they usually involve virtues or vices that we should already be cultivating or avoiding. We don't really need a reminder to take care of ourselves, to be more honest, kind, and generous to others and less of a pain to be around. But, I guess it wouldn't hurt to list a few things not related to my struggle to become a virtuous person (or at least not as obviously related):

1. Start writing and finishing my writing projects (fanfics, blog posts, the MLP Virtue Ethics series, a sci-fi or fantasy novel, etc.)

2. Cut down on the social media distractions from Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (very important for resolution #1)

3. Learn a new skill, like video editing or drawing.

4. Finally pass Mass Effect 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

But the moral resolutions still loom large:

Prideful Trixie

1. I should work on humbling myself, lowering that pride that opens the door to all other vices.

Lazy Rainbow Dash

2. I should fight my tendency towards sloth, which not only leads to physical laziness, but also moral and intellectual passivity. If I let myself be ruled by acedia, not only can I not become an academic philosopher, but I also cannot hope to live a good life.

3. Of course, I should strive to be less of a bad Catholic, turning toward God, the Final End, instead of away from Him.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This is Muffin Turf!

I don't tend to encourage spray painting on public property, but this MLP graffiti from Argentina is pretty cool and preferable to the typical bleak gang-related stuff we see (HT: Nate Winchester):

Derpy Hooves: One Happy Muffin

Twilight Sparkle & Rainbow Dash

Check out more here & here.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I'd like to wish any reader who passes by a Merry Christmas!

I do hope we don't forget the true reason for our joy, as Linus from the Charlie Brown Christmas special reminds us:

We celebrate Christmas as the day where Jesus Christ, the Word, entered history, not as a mighty ruler, but as a small child:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man's decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father's only Son,
full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-5, 9-14)

I should also mention, for my fellow Christians, that we shouldn't dismiss the phrase "Xmas" as a secularized greeting. For, as Bill Vallicella notes, the X "was merely a font-challenged typesetter's attempt at rendering the Greek Chi, an ancient abbreviation for 'Christ.' There is therefore nothing at all offensive in the expression 'Xmas.'"

So, once again, I bid you a merry Xmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Few Good Books on the "Pelvic Issues"

There are two recently released books defending traditional Christian sexual morality (that the sexual act aims at 1) a "one-flesh" union and 2) procreation, the begetting and rearing of children) that might be of interest to my philosophically inclined readers.

The first is One Body: An Essay in Christian Sexual Ethics by the philosopher Alexander Pruss. Pruss takes a phenomenological approach (emphasizing the unitive aspects of the sexual act) similar to Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body, with some "new" natural law theory thrown in for good measure. You can find a short summary of Pruss's argument here.

The second is What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense by Robert P. George, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Girgis. The three defend the traditional view of marriage as between a man and a woman. This book couldn't be more timely, as there is a growing trend in public opinion to redefine marriage to include same-sex partnerships, as one can see from the election battles in Minnesota and three other states just last month. Check out an earlier journal article version here.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Hobbit is Here

I've been looking forward to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for some time and now it's out in theaters. I still haven't seen the movie but I hope to get a chance sometime this week. But for now, I'll link to a few interesting reviews from around the Christian blogosphere:

- Steven D. Greydanus (SDG), National Catholic Register

- Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer

- Peter Chattaway, Film Chat

- Arts and Faith, Forum discussion of The Hobbit

- Leah Libresco, Unequally Yoked

- Mrs. Darwin, Darwin Catholic

- Alan Jacobs, The American Conservative

- John Mulderig, Catholic News Service 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

MLP: Top Wing (Spoilers!)

Feel the need... the need for ponies? Well, this probably isn't a surprise, but the Wonderbolt pony Spitfire returns for this Saturday's MLP: FiM episode "Wonderbolt Academy." (Photos HT:

Rainbow Dash finally gets a chance to join the elite pegasus flight squadron and almost immediately develops a fierce competition with another young hotshot flyer...

I imagine the Top Gun Anthem playing somewhere in the background...


My Top Gun-MLP mashup video, featuring the Top Gun Anthem and Danger Zone.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today (December 12) is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas. In Mexican Catholic culture there is a tremendous devotion to "La Virgen de Guadalupe."

The story of the miraculous Marian apparition goes:

In the winter of 1531, a poor, 57-year-old Aztec Indian living five miles outside of Mexico City encountered a miraculous happening on his way to morning Mass. First he heard strange music coming from Tepeyac Hill, and then he heard a woman's voice calling his name. Juan Diego climbed the hill and encountered a young woman, appearing to be of his own people in physical appearance and dress. The woman identified herself as the Virgin Mary, and told Juan Diego to ask the bishop of Mexico City to build a church on the hill to assist in the conversion of the nation and be a source of consolation to the people.

Juan Diego obeyed the request, but the bishop was skeptical regarding the message, even though he perceived that Juan was a humble, and well meaning Catholic. Juan reported the bishop's doubt to Our Lady at Tepeyac Hill, and she asked him to return to the bishop once again, bearing the same message. The bishop once again heard the story, and told Juan Diego to ask Our Lady for a sign that it was indeed herself that wished for the church to be built.

When he returned to the hill, Mary gave Juan Diego such a sign. Miraculously, roses appeared on the hill in the middle of winter, and Juan gathered them in his tilma, or cloak. Our Lady arranged the roses in his tilma with her own hands, and Juan returned to the bishop's presence. When Juan released the tilma, allowing the flowers to fall to the floor, it was revealed that a miraculous image of Our Lady had imprinted itself on his tilma (see above).

The bishop immediately fell to his knees, and came to believe in Juan Diego's message. A church was built on the spot of the apparition, as Mary had requested, and 8 million people converted to Catholicism in a short period of time upon hearing of or viewing the miraculous image of Our Lady.

Other helpful links:

- Warren Carroll, Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness

- New Advent, "Shrine of Guadalupe"

- Our Lady of Guadalupe page

- "La Guadalupana" Marian hymn (HT: Mrs. Darwin)

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us, that we may be more deeply united to your Son, Jesus. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Amable Virgen de Guadalupe, Madre y Auxilio de todos los Cristianos desde que te apareciste a San Juan Diego en los cerros de México, las penas que me atormentan pongo en tus benditas manos. Acuérdate, Oh Santa Madre, que jamás se oyó decir que alguno te haya implorado sin tu auxilio recibir: por eso con fe, confianza humilde y arrepentimiento lleno de amor y esperanza, este favor yo te suplico.
Amén. Así sea.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Upcoming Attractions III

Just a few previews.

First, here's a clip from Entertainment Weekly for the upcoming MLP: FiM episode "Sleepless in Ponyville" on Saturday. I imagine this episode involving Scootaloo won't be as epic as "Magic Duel." Wait a minute...  Princess Luna sighting!  (HT: Equestria Daily):


The Cutie Mark Crusaders

MLP Facebook page

Applejack with Apple Bloom and Rarity with Sweetie Belle

Princess Luna in Scootaloo's nightmare

Next, a new trailer for Star Trek into Darkness:

Don't forget, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey releases next Friday, Dec. 14:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bronies and Masculinity

Bronies get a mention on the Feminist Philosophers blog.

Santa, Honesty, and Lying

The real St. Nick

With the feast day of St. Nicholas coming up tomorrow (Dec. 6), I thought I'd share a few comments from other Catholic bloggers on the question of whether we should tell our children about Santa Claus and if conveying the Santa tale counts as lying. (HT: Marcel)

- Edward Feser, "There is No Santa Clause"

- James Chastek, "Santaism"

- Marcel, "Is Telling a Child About Santa Claus Lying?"

- Mr. Darwin, "My Youth as a Santa Skeptic"

- Blackadder, "No Virginia, There is No Santa Claus"

The Element of Kindness in a Nutshell

One of the major things on my mind lately is that oft-repeated Brony slogan "Love and Tolerate," especially on how to understand "love" and "toleration" so that the phrase doesn't become "disinterest in what others say or do whilst having warm and fuzzy feelings." I think the nature of love demands more than mere sentiment. If you truly are the friend of another and wish them well (love), you don't adopt a stance of “not giving a shit” about what they do. More on this in a future post...

I've also thought a little about Fluttershy and the virtue of friendliness/amiability she embodies. I've had a few posts on the subject, but I think Rainbow Dash in the first issue of the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic nicely summarizes my point:

"Fluttershy! When are you going to learn that you're nice until it's not time to be nice!"

Saturday, December 1, 2012