Monday, February 28, 2005

Thanks, Warner Bros.
I always wondered what your cartoon characters would look like if they were possessed by demons.

More on this story.

The magic of the old cartoons wasn’t just that in ways the culture was less evil then — they were smart, not just for kids as they were shown in the cinemas to all audiences before the actual films. They had political commentary and even innuendo for the couples watching.
Today’s truthout picks
Bush and Blair agreed to Iraq war in April 2002

W’s stiletto democracy

Spotting CIA torture flights: people power has wide eyes
LRC picks
Defend academic freedom
By Lew Rockwell
Of course there’s objective truth but as at least one Catholic academic who reads this blog and often comments here knows well there is a difference between catechesis and the university where all points of the catechism are taken apart and debated.

Global schoolmarm
By Charley Reese

On Hunter Thompson and the ’60s
Romanticized baby-boomer stuff: the hippies were wrong about a lot of things (explained a bit by the article linked below this one), largely because they shared their parents’ alienation from God and his truths, but they had a point.

Heresy is the intellectual vengeance of a suppressed truth.
- Vernon Staley

Thompson and Pope John Paul II compared
Sounds a little like RC neocon/house-organ treacle but again it has a point.
Now it’s personal
A slight acquaintance of mine and good friend of blog member John Boyden is being shipped to Iraq.

Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Eastern churches
Serbian Bishop Artemije on ecumenism
As I blogged in Howling about Fátima’ they have a point regarding mainline Protestantism, the target of this statement.

Father Justin Popovich of blessed repose, who motivated others by his example, his words and his deeds, and inspired many to follow him. Fr. Justin succinctly expressed his Orthodox theological position on ecumenism in his well-known book The Orthodox Church and Ecumenism, first published in Thessaloniki in 1974. In this book, Fr. Justin gave a concise but comprehensive definition of ecumenism. According to him, "Ecumenism is a collective name for pseudo-Christianities, for the pseudo-Churches of Western Europe. All European humanisms, headed by Papism [sic], have given it their wholehearted support. And all these pseudo-Christianities, all these pseudo-Churches, are nothing other than a collection of heresies. Their common evangelical name is pan-heresy."

He inadvertently proved that the Catholic-minded, guided by the Holy Spirit, think alike and in so doing rather shows evidence of (to quote an acquaintance) a divine sense of humour because so-called ‘Papism’, through St Pius X, rightly says the same thing only (not incorrectly) calling it modernism:

... synthesis of all heresies.
I actually agree with the bishop that as the WCC is less and less Christian in its beliefs and unwilling to listen to the witness given by the Orthodox it is a waste of time for the Orthodox to be members of it.
Fr Michael (Wood) on the Lords and the break-up of Anglicanism
Fr Michael wrote all of the following: The point about the House of Lords in its hey day, when it was largely hereditary, was that a fair number of the members had a genuine "stake in the country". Later of course, the really active Lords - those who had large estates or other interests, rarely attended at the House. Many of those who did attend were the impecunious Lords. However, it did include a fair component of those who had retired from otherwise active life. Its final descent came with the introduction of the "life peers" and the stacking thereby, with failed politicians and union leaders. Now, that is virtually all it will contain and, for some time to come it will be an essentially left of centre chamber, useless to man or beast.

As far as the de facto expulsion of two large chunks of the ramshackle Anglican "Communion" from its sort-of de facto governing talking shop is concerned: How much more evidence is needed of its actual demise?

1. An unconnected ecclesial body for 460 odd years.
2. Its primary existence and structural adhesion provided by the secular state.
3. Having no universally recognised or enforceable doctrinal corpus.
4. For the past two centuries, having permitted the very large scale penetration of its clergy and laity at all levels by a non-Christian secret organisation which is in direct competition with Christianity.
5. For the past century, unable and unwilling to enforce even belief in the basic doctrines of Christianity such as the existence of God, the Divinity of Christ, the Holy Trinity etc., upon its clergy, and having significant percentages of them openly denying some or all of the above.
6. For the past forty years having abandoned its traditional worship standard in favour of deliberately humanistic forms of assembly.
7. For the past thirty years having virtually universally embraced and in places, enforced - the breaking, of Catholic Holy Order by purporting to ordain women to the diaconate, presbyterate and episcopate. [My links, not Fr Michael’s.]
8. For the past year having some member jurisdictions perform church "blessings" or ceremonies of marriage between two persons of the same sex.
9. For the past year, having some member jurisdictions ordain or put forward for ordination persons openly living in and advocating homosexual unions.
10. For a century having persecuted through the secular and ecclesiastical courts, clergy who sought to return it to full Catholic faith and order.
11. For the past thirty years having persecuted those clergy and people who sought to retain some semblance of catholic faith and order.
12. For the past thirty years having suffered continual schisms of members forming jurisdictions intent upon fostering greater or lesser degrees of genuine Christianity.
13. There now exist at least ten quite separate credibly sizeable ecclesial bodies (including the "official" Communion) operating worldwide, under the name "Anglican".
14. A large number of people and clergy in the home country, are now planning an "independent" non-geographic Province - in effective competition with the geographical Provinces.
15. Catholic order insofar as it ever existed, having further broken down with major "official" dioceses setting up illegal operations within the diocesan territory of other parts of the "official" Communion.
16. The apparent inability of the "official" Communion to expel member bodies which break even its minimalist rules of faith and moral behaviour.
17. Widespread immorality among the clergy, amounting to criminal behaviour in some instances and virtual official ignorance of Traditional canon law in others.
18. The "official church" now having several massive schisms either incipient or in fact within itself.

This is a place worth "staying in and fighting" for? Good grief! It isn't even a "place" anymore.

Beginning over forty years ago, a large group of liberal humanists drifted into the ranks of the "Anglican Communion" and began a process of destroying its institutions from within. This was classical marxist tactics applied to their own agenda. Originally, they weren't actually all that enamoured of the radical feminist agenda for the "ordination" of women, but those among their number who resisted that idea were successfully removed or sidelined and the feminist-liberal-humanist remaking of the Communion rolled on.
truthout picks
Halliburton wins in Iraq — perhaps $1.5 billion more

Powell all but tells off Rummy
From The Perennial Rambler
Catholic common sense about animal rights v. PETA
Thanks, ‘evil twin’, LOL!

Men have feelings tooooo
Can I share mine with yooooou?

Aaaaaugh, a bear!
- Robert van Driessen
From A World of Speculation
Bill Maher is smarter than I’d been led to believe
Not right on everything but he’s spot on here

From MosNews
Psychiatrist: Mentally impaired Roosevelt failed to stand up to Stalin
A scientific explanation for common sense: poor physical health also affected the president’s brain
News of the weird
The Gutless Pacifist
Koko the ape likes Mardi Gras?
Actually it’s been all over the news but TGP’s Pen gave it the best headline. Somebody please draw a cartoon of that (the famous signing gorilla wearing beads while being a ‘party animal’ in New Orleans)!

Now a third woman is suing about this.

The foundation is denying everything.

I first read about Koko and Dr Penny Patterson about 25 years ago.

To be fair considering that we’re talking about different species it may not be a sexual thing at all.

If not I hope this latest isn’t true but you never know...
Eastern churches
The Onion Dome
‘Matushka Swap’

Saturday, February 26, 2005

On the box
And I liked that programme too
I happened to miss this episode. This outrage is along the lines of what another usually good show, ‘Lonely Planet/GlobeTrekker’, did with the actual Blessed Sacrament in the episode about Rome.

No-one secular cares about Protestant Communion, Jews are a protected class (unless, as in the vicious ‘Seinfeld’, it’s Jews making fun of themselves) and the Orthodox form of the faith is only useful for them as props in ethnic jokes so that leaves...

The last acceptable prejudice indeed.

O Lord, my God and Saviour, Who, as Thou didst endure for our salvation the outrages of those who crucified Thee, so now endurest the irreverences of those who "discern Thee not" rather than withhold Thy Sacred Presence from our Altars; grant us Thy grace to bewail, with true sorrow of heart, the indignities committed against Thee; and with devout love to repair, as far as lies in our power, the many dishonours Thou still continuest to receive in this Adorable Mystery; Who livest and reignest, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, world without end. Amen.
From Fr Bryce Sibley
Smart pro-life tactic
From Conciliar Press’s blog via Fr Joseph Huneycutt
The goddess and the corruption of love
How the modern debasement of women and sex might be connected to the current interest in ‘goddess’ religion/gnostic theories about St Mary Magdalene/New Age ‘empowerment’ for women. It explains juxtaposed items in popular culture like The Da Vinci Code and the non-song I heard on ‘Saturday Night Live’ recently in which rapper* 50 Cent and some attractive young black woman called and responded about fellatio.

Put vulgarly, I admit, here’s the secular world’s swindle for women: Yeah, sure, baby, you’re a goddess, anything you say... now shut up and spread ’em.

Not eros as God intended!

*There is good rap by talented people. (Can you rhyme and do word play like that?) This wasn’t it.
From Fr James Tucker
Another reason why drinking is good for you

Suicides up in US Marine Corps

Poor guys indeed

Why be a Libertarian?
... I vow it: the Republicans and Democrats can pry my vote from my cold, dead hands. So yes, the LP sucks. We don't win, and we probably never will. But remember, friends, all political parties suck. At least our party sucks with principle.
Or why I finally registered with them and they got my vote last year.
From blog member Samer al-Batal and The Gaelic Starover
The anti-conservatives
By Pat Buchanan
Leaders alchemize wars begun over lesser interests into epochal struggles for universal principles because only thus can they justify demands for greater sacrifices in blood and treasure. But Bush has gone Wilson one better. He is not only going to make the world safe for democracy, he is going to make the world democratic. Where Lincoln abolished slavery in the South [sic], Bush is going to abolish tyranny from the earth: “So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”

Who is feeding the president this interventionist nonsense?

America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy,” said John Quincy Adams, “She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” Under the tutelage of Jacobins who call themselves idealists, Bush has repudiated this wise core doctrine of U.S. foreign policy to embrace Wilsonian interventionism in the internal affairs of every autocratic regime on earth. We are going to democratize the world and abolish tyranny.

Giddy with excitement, the neocons are falling all over one another to hail the president. They are not conservatives at all. They are anti-conservatives, and their crusade for democracy will end as did Wilson’s, in disillusionment for the president and tragedy for this country.
LRC picks
Donald Trump v. the MBA mandarins
Problem: If you are not attending one of a handful of very expensive business schools, your network’s connections won’t be worth much. You will be like a line of drunks, arm in arm, helping to hold up each other. These top schools are Harvard, Wharton (the first one), Stanford, and Chicago.
An echo of Paul Fussell.

On the streets of Baghdad
From a blogger in Iraq

The Johnny Appleseeds of hate

A change of pace:

Joan Collins on Las Vegas
I’d always been a huge fan of the cool and confident night-club act of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme.
Not only good voices but people who recognize good music when they hear it and prove a good song can cross genres and work: their cover of Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’ is great!

There are only two kinds of music: good and bad.
- Sir George Martin
truthout picks
Retired general: Iraq to be a Vietnam

Guardian: Why are we welcoming this torturer?

Women no better off in Iraq
And it could be getting worse

Was ‘Dean scream’ a media fraud?

Friday, February 25, 2005

Terri Schiavo update
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer
From Stumble on Water
Practical suggestions for discerning a monastic vocation
By Fr Alexander Schmemann
I’m not sure if I could live up to all of these for a month! A good rule of life not only for would-be full monks and nuns but also permanently for some tertiaries.

From the sublime to the, well, amusing:

Neil the Irish Melkite on bishops at large
‘Churchly idle talk’ perhaps (sorry, Fr Alexander!) but I’m not a monk. Harmless online entertainment for those in the know but don’t go near them even with a barge-pole! (They might take a digital photo and post it online claiming they’re in communion with you!)
From a mass e-mail from Paul Hayes

A woman is about to be murdered
Dated 21st February 2005: Terri Schiavo is not a vegetable and her husband is in about the same category as Scott Peterson.

To have a right to do a thing is not at all the same as to be right in doing it.
- G.K. Chesterton

As he does so often, Chesterton’s got it sussed. Relevant to the entry earlier today about drugs.

It seems that their prayers have been answered for now.

As noble as this is, again, would that these people were as concerned about murdering Iraqis to not vote for somebody like Mr Bush.
At work
A news story:

A man busted selling 3.5 kilograms of cocaine in a shopping-center parking lot... will spend the next decade in prison before receiving a one-way ticket out of the country.

"His prior rehabilitation efforts have obviously been unsuccessful," A. said during the proceedings, "because he has continued a criminal lifestyle and drug use."
Paul Fussell would have a field day taking apart Mr A.’s word choices. I’ve dedicated my life to getting rid of such language from newsprint but of course I can’t doctor direct quotations. Alas.

"We want our citizens to know that we will use all available investigative resources to insure their safety and to catch criminals that prey on our residents," B. said in a statement released after the sentencing.
Well-worn libertarian point: Of course using cocaine is harmful but obviously there’s a demand for it: unlike thieves, rapists and murderers the ‘predators’ are in town because people including in nearby posh suburbs want to do business with them (to harm themselves, not others). Legalize drugs and drug trade-related violence would go away. (Like in the States when repealing Prohibition cut down the power of the Italian and Irish mafias.) Also the trade itself would become less lucrative.

Not everything that’s wrong can or should be outlawed: actually the historic Catholic view on prostitution!

P.S. In the 19th century cocaine was legal. A town chemist created Coca-Cola, so called because he used a product made from the coca plant. IOW it had cocaine in it and rumour has it that it still does — only a trace amount.
truthout picks
Sgt Benderman may be court-martialled
I’m sure he knew that — a real hero

Gannongate ‘worse than you think’

German protesters to Mr Bush: ‘Go home, No. 1 terrorist’
LRC picks
Thomas Woods critiques neocon Michael Novak’s new book
This blog recommends Mr Woods’ The Church Confronts Modernity

One would never guess that the transition from monarchy to democracy in Europe culminated in dramatic increases in government debt, bureaucracy, economic regulation, and rates of taxation—not exactly stunning confirmation of Novak’s thesis that democracy is the form of government most friendly to free enterprise.
Permanent US military bases in Iraq the real reason for war
By Michael Gaddy

And from LRC’s blog:

War is said to have ended slavery, genocide and fascism
Of course, it's not like slavery, fascism, genocide and communism were products and results of war, or anything. They were just here when we got here, because there wasn't a sufficient amount of mass killing between people.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Anglican doings
I’ll believe it when it happens (more)
That’d be nice but what about the Church of England and the Anglicans elsewhere in the British Isles and in New Zealand who ‘ordain’ women, as do parts of the Protestant ‘Global South’?
From The Perennial Rambler
Hollywood’s dirty little secret

There was no need for World War II

This needs some explaining and qualifying.

Obviously this isn’t a fascist or anti-Jewish blog.

Filtering out/answering some of the sources Mr Perry uses, which apparently are pro-Nazi:

• Hitler did want to control Europe. But not the world.
• As every history student knows, technically it’s true that Hitler was democratically elected. That of course doesn’t mean it was a good thing!
• Of course he wanted war in Europe — that’s why he re-armed Germany. It was vengeance for being punished for being blamed, wrongly, for World War I. (A Central Powers victory would have been better both for Catholic Europe and Palestine. There would have been no Nazi nor Soviet threat.)
• One doesn’t show friendship to a country like France by invading it (unless you’re Mr Bush’s handlers looking at the Middle East). (Thank you, Paul Goings.)
• I don’t think he would have pulled out of France for peace with Britain, even though it’s true that he didn’t want to fight the British.
• I don’t believe he offered to step down nor would he have if ‘the German people had asked him’. There was the plot to kill him in 1944 by the sensible German generals trying to save their country.
• I don’t believe that Roosevelt, for all his faults, was the one really to blame for Germany invading Poland.
• The Duke of Windsor wasn’t the nicest of men.
• Nor was Rudolf Hess but to deceive somebody who thinks he’s travelling under a safe-conduct pass sounds wrong.
• And what of the German-Japanese alliance, seemingly overlooked in Mr Perry’s article? I think that without the Allies they would have turned on each other anyway.

It was not Hitler and Germany who could be described accurately as the war maniacs. The war maniacs were Roosevelt and Churchill and their backers, such as Bernard Baruch and Samuel Untermeyer.
No, it’s more like ‘a pox on all your houses’.

All that said, correcting the article’s apparent bias, what you’re left with, including Roosevelt’s violation of the Neutrality Act (impeachable and convictable) and his damnable deception regarding Pearl Harbor, is largely correct.

Churchill did not object to Soviet tyranny, for he hailed Russia as a welcome ally when she came into the war.
Without Churchill and Roosevelt there would have been yet another European war — again, letting the Nazis and the Soviets destroy each other — but not a literal world war so, strictly speaking, the title is true.

To their astonishment, the four Jesuit historians came upon records documenting the personal involvement of Pius XII in a plot to overthrow Hitler. In January 1940, he was approached by the agent of a certain clique of German generals, who asked him to tell the British government that they would undertake to "remove" Hitler if they were given assurances that the British would come to terms with a moderate German regime. Pius XII promptly passed along this message to Sir D'Arcy Osborne, Britain’s envoy to the Holy See. The offer was turned down.
I haven’t read a confirmation of that but I am inclined to believe it because it fits the known real history.

The Allied insistence on German and Japanese unconditional surrender was wrong.
From BBC News
Extent of US abuse cases revealed
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer

Bush to Putin: back us or else
At least he’s trying to push around somebody who can and indeed might fight back, as awful* as Russia can be. Plus it’s amusing to see the disparity of talent here: Mr Putin, a former KGB man, can dance circles around Dubya like a Bolshoi production round a maypole.

The Kremlin's centralisation of power and curtailment of press freedom have caused concern in the US...

A senior administration official told journalists travelling with Mr Bush that Mr Putin had recently told the US president that the Russian people had a history of strong tsars, and that they were accustomed to government playing a strong role in their lives.

The official said President Bush had rejected that notion.
Да, конечно... как в Америке и тоже сейчас в Ираке?

I’ll just say it: you fucking hypocrite.

What Mr Bush’s handlers really mean is, ‘No, Mr Putin, we mean our government must play a strong role in your lives.’

*As meant by that wonderful word грозный, ‘terrible’ as in ‘Ivan the Terrible’, which means both ‘awesome’ and ‘horrible’. (Also the name of the capital of Chechnya.) Seems a pretty accurate description of the place. Again, a tip of the hat to Mark Bonocore: here is a Catholic culture where the extremely holy and the extremely evil are thrown together.
Admittedly irreverent but...
Of course we’re sorry that, not surprisingly, the Pope was more unwell apparently than the official statements let on but, paraphrasing a friend who’s also a valued comments contributor here, one wonders how many of the doings in the Vatican these days resemble Weekend at Bernie’s?
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
Fr Darwin Kirby’s autobiographical jottings
Wit partly in the fashion of Merrily on High, a formative book for a lot of us
Philadelphia reference
Pop-music fun fact
Did you know that at the height of Gamble and Huff’s chart-topping success making rhythm-and-blues, soul and disco records in the 1970s, members of the Philadelphia Orchestra would literally walk across the street to moonlight in Gamble and Huff’s studio band?
LRC picks
Hands off Syria
The homeland of blog member Samer al-Batal

Voting for brutality
By Harry Browne
Eastern churches
Howling about Fátima
Happened upon this yesterday: reactions to the recent death of the last seeress of the vision, Sister Lucia (dos Santos).

Oh. My. Lord.

To quote a former friend, a lot of this sounds like it came right out of the pit of hell. It probably did.

Warning: After slogging through all these postings you may need to take another bath or shower, perhaps at your local hazmat unit.

A few things strike me about this recent but classic example of a thread of online Eastern Orthodox posting:

• I personally am not a Fátima devoté, which gives this entry some objectivity. My reaction is based only on principle.
• The Fátima devotion can go off the rails as a kind of devotional hysteria (what Ronnie Knox would call ‘enthusiasm’) inimical to the sober Mass-and-office Catholicism that’s this blog’s ideal and indeed that of much of the Orthodox tradition (a very sensual one though rightly on guard against delusion — прелесть — from ‘the passions’). And it does seem to exist peacefully in the unliturgical, theologically iffy world of the Novus Ordo. Sed abusus non tollit usum.
• As I’ve mentioned in the blog comments, private revelation including Fátima strictly speaking isn’t part of the Catholic faith. It’s tolerated but one isn’t required to accept it. To rubbish a church as not a church or even Christian because of it is, frankly, stupid. (As for the stock objections trotted out as theological differences, as if one were comparing Baptists to Bahá’ís, here are some answers.)
• With that understood, the rule that all traditional rites must be respected and preserved (an authentic traditionalism indeed) trumps any attempt to impose a non-native devotional practice on a people already ‘churched’ with the apostolic ministry and the sacraments (with the result of miraculous icons and, more importantly, scores of canonized saints, and of course a rite that both contentwise and æsthetically kicks the crap out of modern RC practice). To give these listserv people some due credit, the Russian Orthodox rightly feel insulted by some crude attempts to do that. (Not only from misguided traditionalists but ‘charismatic’ types who have travelled to Russia for that purpose. Puts some of Russia’s harsh laws into perspective as self-defence. Как сказать по-русски ‘Yankee, go home’?)
• I’m fairly sure that the Holy See has no objection to interpreting the messages as predicting a possible return of the Russians to their native rite and church, not a change to the Roman Rite! Rome does not solicit born Orthodox. (Although, logically, corporate church reunion, not individual conversions, is the terminus ad quem of dialogue.) The messages condemned Communism, not Russian Orthodoxy, as Monk Vasyl rightly pointed out — twice.
• Credit is due several decent people in the thread such as Monk Vasyl, Bishop Alexander (Mileant) quoted by Fr Ambrose, Vladimir Hindrichs and Mary Lanser, though I don’t understand why a sometime church worker for the Novus Ordo would really care about the Orthodox — seems insincere/condescending, a point for the other side. Such makes ‘œcumenism’, these people’s bogeyman, seem dodgy indeed. And they have a point regarding Protestantism. There’s that sad irony with these people — the most fervent and observant often are hostile as well. Or more simply put, they’re quite Catholic but also quite mad.
• Quite unintentionally I’m sure, the ‘anti-’ writers show that all roads do lead to Rome (not the Novus Ordo but Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s ‘eternal Rome’). As much as these people hate the Roman Catholic Church they just can’t stop talking about it! Something that for all his failings the late Gerard Bugge nailed them on. (Archimandrite Serge [Keleher] would smile.)
• The Immaculate Heart of Mary: it’s a devotion, not doctrine. It’s a metaphor. (Duh.) Get real.
• Answering the accusation that Fátima is false, even demonic, because it directs people’s attention to Our Lady instead of Our Lord ... sorry, have I clicked into a Baptist forum? I imagine a lot of these people came from that background and brought all their prejudices with them, reinforced with xenophobic, nationalistic screeds in the best/worst Eastern European manner that they’ve looked for and dredged up from the sewers of history. Put another way, these chaps are Catholics who still don’t want to effing admit they’re Catholic — the schismatic act par excellence. You know, their own rite says things like ‘Most holy Mother of God, save us’, which without an explanation is easily misread as heretical, arguably more so than this devotion. Our Lady by definition always refers people to Our Lord as any Catholic who’s had a couple of catechism lessons can tell you. Ad Jesum per Mariam. It’s not an either/or thing.
• Some visitors might want to discredit me, in the same spirit as this damnable listserv, by pointing out that a long time ago I bought into this sort of thing including online. (In fact one of the people in the thread did exactly that to me about six years ago to blackmail/sabotage me on a Byzantine Catholic board. Serious breach of netiquette that. It eventually worked for him. Way to work towards theosis, old son. There’s no fool like an [upstate Pennsylvania coal-country] old fool.) Here is my explanation and apology.
• AFAIK all the hateful things posted are in the allowable range of Orthodox opinion. And it’s in this blog’s allowable range of teachings to affirm that they suck.
• At least one of the worst offenders also signed a petition against the war in Iraq. Thank the Lord for small mercies. Or as this tradition says, glory to God (слава Богу).
• One of the other offenders isn’t even from a fringey church but rather a mainlinish one. Horrific.
• I admit that this entry is largely negative but I tried to show some good things as well. I don’t see anything positive from these people’s tradition reflected in most of these postings, anything that would make anybody else but a KKK or Ulster Unionist rally happy. (With whiffs of the martyrs of England being drawn and quartered and of American Nativists burning down convents.) Not the love and joy of the anonymous wandering Pilgrim nor the ‘spirit of peace’ of St Seraphim of Sarov... none of the beauty and palpable holiness of the Byzantine Rite, not only the ceremonial but the theological profundity as well as beauty of St Basil the Great’s prayers... no homespun grandmotherly Russian and Greek piety... (As the old Russian lady in the story says, ‘They’re Orthodox but are they Christian?!’)
• Reading postings like these rather makes me want to never post any links or quotations from their church again, as much as I like the rite (in spite of these people), the Russian language and many actual Russian people (most of these people aren’t).

About the only reason I would change my mind on that is people like Bishop Alexander.

Господи, помилуй и прости (Lord, have mercy and forgive).

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Speaking truth to power
...both abortion and the mass murder of six million Jews came about as a result of people usurping the "law of God" beneath the guise of democracy.

"It was a legally elected parliament which allowed for the election of Hitler in Germany in the 1930s..." he writes.

"We have to question the legal regulations that have been decided in the parliaments of present day democracies. The most direct association which comes to mind is the abortion laws...

"Parliaments which create and promulgate such laws must be aware that they are transgressing their powers and remain in open conflict with the law of God and the law of nature."
- Pope John Paul II

From the sublime to the ridiculous:

The Catholic Church does not understand or does not want to understand that there is an enormous difference between mass genocide and what women do with their bodies...
- Paul Spiegel, German Central Council for Jews

‘Well, there’s murder and then there’s murder.’ Bizarre.
LRC picks
Want to cure poverty? Get the government out of the market

Today’s messianic communism
‘Global democracy’

The emperor’s latest tour
Trying to push Europe around
truthout picks
Brooklyn’s Abu Ghraib

For some, Iraq loss leads to antiwar activism
More on Gold Star Families for Peace

US holds secret talks with Iraqi resistance

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

From The Rockall Times this month
Bush gets policy boost from Punxsutawney Phil
It’s time for me to prognosticate, free from fault and error,
I cannot see an end today, to this global war on terror,
So be sure to lock up anyone who carries the Koran,
And cancel any holiday plans to Syria or Iran.
And something from 2002
Intentionally low and broad but funny with a lot of truth

Speaking of Iran:

Bush denies plans to attack
This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. Having said that, all options are on the table.
‘Even ridiculous ones. Mistakes were made. I did not have sex with that woman. I hope you’re not paying too close attention.’

Seriously, regarding Iran:

Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer
The Onion picks
I support the occupation of Iraq but not our troops
The actor in the photo even looks like a younger, bad-ass Donald Rumsfeld. Brilliant!

And following up on ‘The empathy of George W. Bush’:

New generation of dynamic can-do seniors taking on second jobs
From The Gutless Pacifist
On a phenom that’s been parodied in The Onion. A real-life example:

Stop the presses: cute white woman abducted

Writes TGP’s Pen:

My standard response to these stories -- Why is it news when a young attractive white woman is abducted -- but not news when a young black woman is attacked, killed, or abducted?

Is 'Amber' of 'Amber Alert' a white girl?

Of course it doesn't make this story any better -- still tragic. But how many tragic stories do we not hear because the victims have the wrong skin color?

From somewhere Trevor Huddleston is smiling on you, Pen.

But to be fair, black-on-white crime in the States such as the Wichita massacre* a few years ago is underreported in the name of political correctness: the awful Marxist notion that if a people have been oppressed they can commit crimes with impunity for revenge, thus blacks can’t be racists**. Which is rubbish of course. (Which is why, for example, Fr Huddleston opposed using violence in the early days of the anti-apartheid movement.)

*I am a 99 per cent disbeliever in death sentences but those lads deserved it.

**Somewhat like the feminists Patrick Arnold describes, who have no use for Our Lady and may actively dishonour her but their misandry makes them believe that every woman was conceived immaculate whilst men (hmph!) bear the stain of original sin.
LRC picks
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Father, forgive

Why second-term Bill Clinton was a serviceable president
After the 1994 elections he ‘triangulated’ away from his liberal rhetoric

A lot of us who got played using the morals/culture-wars business feel awfully stupid now. Europe was right about all that.

Mr Dispensationalist, Hal Lindsey
What the Protestant nutters who support Mr Bush believe, explained by a Protestant who’s not barking

The funniest lies about the Iraq war
From InfernoXV
Relationship advice
I’ve de-gayed (straightened out) some of these for our blog (they apply to both sexes so I’ve kept some as is) but Edward Yong’s got good judgement and maturity from life experience (I’ve learnt some of his lessons the hard way) as well as culture, living up to the stereotype and against his own point:

A homosexual orientation is not an automatic indication of taste, class or intelligence.
So here are some of his best points:

• Never assume. (He’s probably talking about orientation but it’s good advice anyway.)
• First dates don’t want to hear about your crappy day. They want to hear how in control and confident you are. Save the bitch session for when you know each other better — maybe.
• Spend less time trying to meet Ms Right and more time trying to be Mr Right.
• If it really doesn’t work out with someone, forget about the ‘I just want to be friends’ crap. It’s an insult to everyone’s intelligence.
• Learn to be happy alone. If you require constant companionship to be happy, you need a therapist, not a boyfriend.
• Some guys are simply jerks. There is no valid excuse for their actions, and there is no nice guy inside them screaming to get out.
• Don’t assume he’s immature because he’s young. Don’t assume he’s emotionally mature because he’s older.
• Mr Perfect is a myth. Mr Perfect is a myth. Mr Perfect is a myth. You will never find someone who satisfies all your criteria and is flawless. If you believe you’re dating Mr Perfect, you are either deceiving yourself or you are dangerously low in self-esteem.
• Realize that the two of you won’t always agree on every subject. Just because you have an argument doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed to failure. There’s a big difference between arguing and fighting.
• You can’t really change anyone, and no one can really change you, but you can be deceived into believing both.
• If it’s over, it’s over. You can’t bargain your way out of being dumped.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Eastern churches
From Mike Russell and The Perennial Rambler
Sex scandal in Church of Greece
It pains me to read reports of doings in those churches when not at their best but it simply shows that human nature is damaged, even amidst the manifest holiness of the Orthodox tradition, but that nature can still be transformed by grace — ‘deified’ as that tradition puts it (theosis).

Kyrie, eleison!

Mike Russell: Check out the familiar passive-voice non-apology that acknowledges nobody and nothing:

...mistakes have been made.
A stupid evasion and hardly original!
From The Gaelic Starover
From the US political party of strong moral values. Not so much.
David Virtue reports that the General Synod of the Church of England is barrelling towards ‘women bishops’ by 2010 and proposes to extend pension benefits to the ‘partners’ of deceased gay clergy.

Meanwhile, Dr Philip Blosser reports a rumour that a man who might succeed ‘Ratz’ as Rome’s doctrinal watchdog denies the literal resurrection of Jesus.
The Catholic faith
From Fr Alvin Kimel via Fr James Tucker

Where did the Bible come from?
The trump card for arguing with Protestants. I think I’ve blogged this topic before but it’s worth repeating.
Matters liturgical
From Whitehall

Simple Godwardness
The legitimate liturgical movement captured in one photo of monastic austerity: it need not be ‘precious’ nor is it only of interest to culture vultures and æsthetes (though æsthetic highs have their place too).

From Occidentalis
The Roman Mass pictured
Probably using the English Missal

P.S. Thanks for the link, Benjamin.
LRC pick
Parents, bar the door to military recruiters
The last time we went to war in defense of our own freedom was in 1941.
Not so much. Neither the Germans nor the Japanese had the plans nor the ability to invade the US. Britain was of course defending its freedom. So were the Russians who joined the Germans to fight FDR’s and Churchill’s ally, Joseph Stalin (who killed more people than Hitler did). Ultimately the war lessened freedom both in the US (thanks to an expanding and more militarized government) and in Britain (thanks to postwar socialism) and advanced Bolshevism in the medium term, handing the Soviets half of Catholic Europe.

Cartoon by Ward Sutton
Blog power
Blogs monitor the press in Europe
New York Times article: you have to register to read
Hunter S. Thompson
A suicide: God have mercy on him. He gets credit for the moniker ‘gonzo journalist’, something some of us bloggers, such as The Perennial Rambler, claim to be.

Sandra Dee
Not only Tammy and Gidget in the movies and Mrs Bobby Darin in real life but an ethnic Ruthenian born Alexandra Zuck.

Dona eis requiem. Or, for her: Во блаженном успении вечный покой подаждь, Господи, рабе твоей Александры и сотвори ей вечную память (in her falling asleep, O Lord, grant unto Thy handmaiden Alexandra rest eternal with the blessed and make her memory eternal).
truthout picks
‘Homeland security’ leaves ports poorly defended

Aboard Air CIA

Will Mr Negroponte keep up the torture flights?

GIs rap their anger
The few, the proud, the horribly used

Sunday, February 20, 2005

From Fr James Tucker
This story has been making the rounds:

Anti-Iraq war movement picking up steam

Gold Star Families for Peace
Gay ‘conservatives’ to work with GOP
How to be objectively wrong across the board: pro-gay ‘marriage’* and pro-Iraq war

Fair’s fair
Even for those who are objectively wrong to begin with

More on the few, the proud, the horribly used
Sounds like standard operating procedure in the Russian army

*Yes, it’s objectively wrong but as the state already licenses things that aren’t marriages to the church (rather like the upcoming royal wedding — thanks for the link, Whitehall) what’s one more especially as only a fraction of less than 10 per cent of the population would ever use it? Although there is a difference of degree here — a marriage such as the royal one isn’t listed as one of the sins that cries out to heaven for vengeance.
Egyptian baby girl has second head removed
Hmmm. What are the possible pro-life issues here? It seems like a tough one as the second head looked complete and was functioning in several ways. The deciding issue for the doctors was that it couldn’t have lived independently. Objectively I think it hangs on how sentient the head was — was it a whole brain or part of one? One or two people?

It’s not as clear-cut as with poor Rebeca Martinez, who died a year ago after having an incomplete second head removed.

The common-sense answer seems to be that it may have been the taking of a life but not a murder*, but how do you explain the difference to the pro-infanticide/euthanasia people?

And of course for little Manar Maged:

Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.

*Like abortion to save the life of the mother, both allowed by the church and rightly legal everywhere before the 1960s, something the crossed-out coat-hanger people might not tell you.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Catholic faith
Why stigmatists?
This question came up on a message board today about stigmatists, those who bear Christ’s wounds like St Francis or St Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio):

...if Christ only had to suffer the Passion once, why did this woman [in this person’s example] suffer it 182 times?
Good question. While I’m no expert here’s my attempt at an answer.

First, one can compare it to crying icons/icons that drip or stream oil and incidents where the Sacrament turns into flesh and blood, not only in the miracle of Lanciano but AFAIK IIRC something actually covered in the rubrics of the Russian Orthodox Church (which the questioner attends) so it’s happened more than once! There’s always the possibility that God will work a miracle to better show Himself to us.

Rather than fall for the Protestant dodge ‘you idol-worshipping papists, et al. recrucify Jeeeeesus’ I think it’d be at least more accurate, maybe even on target, to say that stigmatists:

1) do penance/ascesis/подвигъ by sharing in Christ’s sufferings, the salvific oblation of Himself once offered in the flesh and

2) like the Mass/Liturgy IS a real re-presentation of that one Sacrifice (in an unbloody manner), are an icon of that Sacrifice, not literally it (the Mass is) nor a repetition of it, nor an addition to it, which are of course impossible.

Hope that helps answer the question.
On the box
From David’s Daily Diversions

King Arthur on DVD
Haven’t seen it but knew from the reviews that historically it’s crap — just another action pic with a sword-wielding, ass-kicking heroine — but David describes what’s really wrong with it. Once again Hollywood is anti-Catholic and preaches that heresy and paganism are cool.

Reminds me of how the anti-Catholic and anti-Hispanic messages of Elizabeth with Cate Blanchett went without complaint from the mainstream media.

Did you know that St Dyfrig was the real Merlin? (I imagine Drake Adams probably did.)

BTW the big TV sensation right now in England is... ‘Desperate Housewives’, just like in Utah and places like that. O tempora...
Historical details I didn’t know about the US RC-labour-Democrat connexion
The tie, made during the late 1800s as immigrant labour reacted against unfair management, isn’t as strong throughout history as I’d supposed! As this well-written posting explains:

The first Republican whom Catholics found sympathetic was McKinley
Who egged on by William Randolph Hearst brought America a very stupid war of conquest fuelled by propaganda about the Black Legend of Spain and a need to ‘Christianize’ (that is, protestantize) the well-churched Filipinos.

and by the time the Democrat Cox ran to succeed Wilson (whom Catholics also did not like at all) the majority of the Catholic vote went to the Republicans.
And on that they were right.

HOWEVER, when the Catholic Al Smith ran in 1928, all the latent anti-Catholicism of the Republican Party of the day came boiling to the surface. The campaign against Smith (primarily because of his religion) was vicious and disgusting. Catholics, who felt that they had been deceived and betrayed by the Republicans, returned to the Democratic Party en masse. They stayed loyal to that party
Understandable given the common man’s reaction to the Depression.

until the election of Eisenhower, when they once again gave the majority of their votes to the Republican (Stevenson, the Democrat, was divorced, and not clearly an anti-communist).

The Kennedy campaign brought Catholics back to the Democratic Party
Jack the big nothing didn’t fool everybody: the No. 1 RC in the States, Francis Cardinal Spellman, sensibly favoured Nixon.

and they also preferred Johnson (and his Great Society program) to the right-wing Goldwater, who wanted to abolish Social Security.
And there they were wrong. Goldwater should have been president. Johnson lied in 1964 about being a peace candidate!

However, Catholics voted for Nixon over McCarthy [sic: I think he means McGovern] in 1972, and also preferred Reagan.

The idea of the Catholic voter as a knee-jerk Democrat is therefore a myth.
Now I know. And:

Like evangelicals, they consider moral issues important, although with some difference of approach: for example, like evangelicals they consider homosexual activity immoral; unlike evangelicals, they do not favor criminalizing it.
Essentially ‘where this blog is coming from’.

The biggest difference surveys show between evangelicals and active Catholics is in economic issues -- evangelicals poll two to one in favor of the concept that big government is bad, and that government should not be involved in spending on large social programs. Catholics go two to one in the other direction -- they poll in favor of the concept that sometimes government intervention is necessary to control economic injustices and to provide for the poor. This is not surprising, as it comes from one of the basic theological differences between evangelicals (each of whom sees Christ as his or her PERSONAL savior, and who relies on INDIVIDUAL interpretation of the Bible as the rule of faith) and Catholics (who see themselves as part of the communion of saints, and as components of the larger Mystical Body of Christ.)
The evos were closer to the truth on this one and one doesn’t have to buy their bad theology to get there. A read of some LRC writers, among whom are Roman Catholics who are authentic Catholics, can disabuse well-meaning fellow Christians of socialist notions.

That is, many evos made conservative/libertarian noises as recently as second-term Bill Clinton (whom they feared but who made a serviceable president in retrospect) and the first Bush campaign. All that’s changed now that they’re sort of in charge. pick
Bush’s Iraq coalition shrinking
Such as it is, as lampooned by Michael Moore
LRC picks
The myth of democratic peace
On September 11, 2001, the 350-year experiment with the modern nation-state ended in failure...
Commonweal and Joe Sobran on why pro-Iraq war RCs are wrong
In the case of the latest Iraq war, some Catholics have argued that the decision to wage war belongs to “competent civil authorities,” and — by implication, at least — that once they make the fatal decision, the rest of us must obey. And also refrain from opposing them, it seems. Apparently this falls under the expansive heading of “the things that are Caesar’s.”
More like the discredited Nuremberg defence: I vas chust followingk orders!

ChoicePoint: they’ve got your number
Like the now-retired Home Secretary David Blunkett’s ‘security’ ideas only worse
truthout pick
Papers reveal torture at US bases in Afghanistan

Friday, February 18, 2005

truthout pick
Experts see conscription as inevitable
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.
From Pontifications
A grief observed
A long but well-written article from the Revd Folke Olofsson on being an embattled high-church minority in Sweden, a country worse off spiritually than either the US or Britain. You can suss from his descriptions of good things that Scandinavian high churchmanship historically was pretty cool. Take away the indifference to or rejection of the apostolic ministry and the goofy Lutheran view that the divine presence in Communion ends with the service and you get something resembling Mass-and-office Catholicism.

I’ve met two or three high-church Lutherans. Here’s a stateside example.

Did you know that some churches that don’t claim apostolic succession see their pastors not as the equivalent of priests but of bishops?
Bill Maher is a prat
More proof that ‘Politically Incorrect’ wasn’t. Of course the reason he says what he does is to get a reaction from people like WND.

Part of a rebuttal from Jim Coffey:

When I was a kid we used to refer to a guy like Maher as a "silly little s*it." His remarks are jejune and totally bigoted. Maher is not very funny and not very witty. As an entertainer he is overrated. I really don't know how he got as far as he has come in show business. Nobody should take his fatuous remarks seriously, except that IMHO they are shared by too many people in this country, not just the entertainment and media elites.

Let's look at the modern secularlist impact on the world. I am going to use numbers for which I cannot give a valid source. I'm working from memory but I believe that they are in the ball park.

Hitler: a minimum of 18 million people died under Nazi occupation, including the approximately 12 million in the work and death camps, 6 million of whom were Jews. These are not direct war deaths due to combat and German bombing of Allied cities, etc. Of course Hitler's ideology could be considered pagan--therefore "religious"--but it was functionally agnostic/atheist. I think it was overtly Satanic (which makes it [ir]religious as is atheism/agnosticism).

Stalin: in addition to the estimated 20 million (a minimum no.) Soviets/Russians who died in WWII (yes, with the help of Hitler), Stalin's purges pre-WWII (not just of the military) which reinforced the Gulag system, led to at least 20 million additional deaths.

Communist China: Mao dispatched at least 30 million Chinese during his reign. This does not count the 15 million Chinese who died in WWII, most due to starvation caused by the actions of the Japanese Empire.

In almost every situation in which I have read condemnations of Christianity in general or Catholicism in particular, it is by someone playing up his Jewish background who is functionally an atheist.

I have witnessed (on TV) Maher play up his Jewish card in putting down Jesus and Jesus’ followers (he calls them freaks). You will notice that he didn't add Judaism to his list of religions. Perhaps this is because all too many Jews--of the liberal variety--may be secularists and agnostics, functionally. The Orthodox Jews in this country may be very small in nos. in comparison with the larger American Jewish population. His shots were basically aimed at Christianity.
Maher seems more Soviet than a real believer in religious liberty.

Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake: rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven.
- Our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ quoted in Matthew 5:11-12, sung most Sundays in the Russian recension of the Orthodox Liturgy
From New Directions
Robbie Low on what the counterculture was really about ... and Jerry Springer: The Musical
Libertarian angle: do British viewers want their TV licence fees paying for blasphemy?

An observation worthy of David Lodge (not exactly a Catholic but smarter than most liberals) at his best:

Word went round town that there was to be an occupation (‘sit-in’) of a major university administrative building the following morning in order to paralyse the oppressive machine which offered us free further education to the highest standard in the world. Not being an early riser in those days and, conservative by nature, I arrived about lunchtime driven by curiosity rather than conviction. It transpired that the only other bona fide member of the working class there, the porter, had been beaten up on the way in by the exuberant thugs of the new classless order. You know what they say, ‘if you can’t raise the consciousness of a proletarian then remove it.’
About the musical:

The second half is, of course, what it is all about.
And I had no idea it was that bad.

People have the right to be wrong but ‘I’ll be damned if the government makes me pay for it’, British viewers should be saying — and it seems some of them are.
LRC picks
Why foreign government charity to the Third World doesn’t work

US ‘just war’

Targeting civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki: as engraved at the former high altar in the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral (St Michael’s), ‘Father, forgive’.

Looking at Latin America
Linguists, behaviorists, and anthropologists disagree about the precise relationship between language and thinking, but there is no question that they are closely linked. To speak is essentially to think, which is the defining characteristic of our species. Therefore, to only speak one language is to understand only one way of thinking. At least one language beyond the native tongue should be mandatory for all students, just as it is necessary to know how to read or count. Thus, it is an example of the gross malpractice of educators in the US that second language instruction typically begins with a pathetic attempt during middle school. Languages should be a fundamental part of all curriculums all through primary and secondary schools. This is the common standard throughout most of the world. The failure of US schools has been well documented at LRC. However, I do not recall anything specific about language instruction, but I would not be surprised if the trouble began during that wellspring of bad thinking, the Progressive Era.
¡Sí, claro! Да, конечно! Yes, of course! (Samer can supply the Arabic and now-blogger in his own right Daithí the Gaeilge.)

My first impression of Brazil, with the exception of the plane graveyard at the São Paulo airport, was that of a first-world country, possibly Spain or Italy. While the relaxed pace of life would imply a lack of ambition, on the contrary, the people I met exhibited intelligence, education, and creativity that match what I have seen in the US or Europe. In fact, I think the Brazilians have a unique sense of style in everything from clothing and interior design to toilets that is beyond what is typically seen in the US.
Hurrah for Catholic cultures: these are the same things people worldwide love about another Latin people, the Italians.

But I did not meet the people in the vast slums called favelas, though I wanted to visit a children’s center that my friend’s wife supports. And I learned that the people I had met with the ideas and dynamism are typically frustrated in their plans to better themselves, which in turn limits the opportunities of the people in the favelas. The cause of the frustration is the parasitic class who control the state. They maintain a bureaucratic swamp whose progeny is massive corruption. Furthermore, the elite are steeped in the socialist or Keynesian thinking that has kept the multitudes mired in poverty the world over. It is such a tragedy that this naturally rich country, with so many wonderful people, should be stained with so much poverty.
As old friend Mark Bonocore explained to me once, in Catholic cultures from Italy (home of the Pope and the Mafia) to Russia and the rest of Eastern Europe (home of world-famous monastic holiness and the No. 1 exporter of prostitutes and the new world centre for organized crime) you see extreme holiness and extreme evil in mortal combat while Protestant ones tend towards a kind of mediocrity.

Joseph Sobran sets the record straight on Lincoln and race
He wanted to ship all the blacks back to Africa
From blog member Samer al-Batal
More from Neil the Irish Melkite on the building of the first-ever intentionally joint Greek* Orthodox (Antioch)/Melkite church in Syria
Or how Eastern church history in the Middle East differs to that of East Slavic Americans

S al-B: For the Byzantine Catholic/Orthodox bickerers on religious (unfortunately not always describing a prayerful attitude) message boards**, excessively coloured as they are by Slavic perceptions (adopted by the die-hard Orthodox converts who dominate those boards) and where the Slavic historical mindset enjoys a monopoly and oversees and directs the discussions, which often turn quickly into pissing contests. For those who have convinced online visitors that that little online world (similiar to the ugly caricature of [Western] Catholicism Americans revel in, who see the somewhat puritan, quasi-Jansenist streak of Irish Catholicism imported into America as indicative of the character of the Catholic religion and Catholic world at large) universally characterises relationships between the two sides at both the hierarchical and grassroots level, comes a good description of another reality not from the diaspora in America and elsewhere, but from the ‘old country’ and part of the Old World itself. [End.]

Though I’ve often had the impression, Samer, that the Greeks (as represented by Mt Athos and the Old Calendarist sects and from whose language we get the word xenophobia) and those who follow them are more vicious to Western Catholicism than the Slavs. Russians, for example, historically alternate between reacting against it (Old Believers and Slavophiles) and incorporating things from it ranging from good scholastic theology and baroque architecture to the harmonies of Russian church music (naturalized: slightly Orientalized with that ‘sad’ minor-key sound to make them uniquely Russian, just like some of the best 19th-century Russian icons are lifelike but immutably Eastern at the same time).

*As I understand they are called in English in Samer’s Syria and in the Lebanon, and maybe Palestine and Jordan as well. By Greek what’s really meant is Romaios, ‘Roman’ or what Western historians call Byzantine, not Hellenic as in pagan Greek (temples, buggery and all that), which has never been applied to the church. The word for all these Christians in Arabic, got from Turkish IIRC, is Rum: Roman. (Members of the Roman Rite are called Latin.) Interestingly the Catholic world historically always assumes a Rome; the historical question disputed by various factions has been which Rome.

**As covered by me recently in a blog entry on ‘the online homeless’.
From the blogosphere
From friend Paul Goings

By Fr Christopher Cantrell

Many thanks for the link!

To paraphrase George Santayana, he who becomes wedded to the spirit of the times will be a widower in the next generation:

From An Aid to Memory
The Lord ending up in that box
I’ve blogged about this story before.

Hank Hill on evangelical Protestant attempts to be hip:

Can't you see you're not making Christianity better? You're just making rock n' roll worse!
Or as P.J. O’Rourke put it in Holidays in Hell,

‘I found the Lord and lost my talent.’

Seriously, looking at recent history and my own people-watching experience over about 30 years, the generation before the baby-boomers were Pastor K desacralizing Western churches: ‘why Christianity must change or die’ as one famous apostate of that generation arrogantly put it. How many of them or the boomers practise Christianity of any kind now? Such put on the ‘Search’ weekend, guitars and all, for the RCs that I went on as well when I was 17, which I admit was therapeutic — God can use just about anything. But I’d already seen the Catholic religion in full flower (such as in this form) even though I didn’t understand much of it yet, so even though I’m far from perfect, the Lord hasn’t ended up in ‘that box’. For most of the ‘Searchers’ it was quite different after a couple of years and even sooner. Looking around at people my age and Generation Y as well, it seems He has ended up there for most of them.

So to the hip and ‘relevant’ Christians 30 years ago: thanks for nothing! As the bloggers at The Shrine of the Holy Whapping might say, ‘We was robbed!’

And speaking of evo-Prot faddishness, this has probably ended up in that box with the Prayer of Jabez and, for casual New Age consumers, not evos, the Celestine Prophecy:

Two funny options from Huw Raphael:

What would Journey do? (‘Don’t stop! Believin’!’)
Why waste Jack Daniels?
From David Holford
What the ban on fox-hunting really means
Americans went after Martha Stewart for similar reasons. Of course the obvious solution here would have been to leave Iraq alone and let the few who did continue riding to hounds.
Iraqi died while hanging from wrists, being questioned by CIA
truthout pick
Iraq war helps recruit terrorists
But the insurgents are Iraqis and not al-Qaeda

"Our policies in the Middle East fuel Islamic resentment," Vice Adm. Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate panel.
No shit, Sherlock.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

From InfernoXV
More reasons not to take The Da Vinci Code seriously
Edward Yong’s read of the book plus three links
On time travel and other dimensions
Based on Einstein’s theories one can fast-forward through time but not jump back. Other dimensions are possible, which may be the physical explanation for other states of being than the one we know on earth: heaven, hell, the intermediate state/purgatory and the aerial toll-houses described in Russian folklore as the venue of the particular judgement of the soul shortly after death.
From The Perennial Rambler
Israel is a racist state
By Charley Reese
Anglican doings
Bishop David Moyer follow-up
• According to Archbishop John Hepworth (heard him in person) the rumour that his Traditional Anglican Communion has an offer to go under Rome, and without accepting certain dogmas like the Assumption, is false. (I was at the press conference with David Virtue and a few others.)
• Not only was Bishop Moyer consecrated but David Chislett from Australia was as well.
• The consecrators were Abp Hepworth and two sitting Anglican bishops, Ross Owen Davies of the Murray in Australia and Maternus Kapinga of Ruvuma, Tanzania.
• Bp Davies has licensed Bps Moyer and Chislett in his diocese.
• Œcumenical notes: As far as I could see there was no official RC presence but Bishop Basil (Losten) of Stamford of the Ukrainian Catholic Church sent the new bishops stoles, said Abp Hepworth after the service, and the Greek Orthodox (Antioch) metropolitan for America, Met. Philip, sent a priest observer.
• The service was too modern (Rosemont has altar girls for example) but still far better than the Novus Ordo — very like how I understand the Anglican Use RCs do things.
• IMO Abp Hepworth preaches very well.
LRC pick
Why the evangelical Protestant arguments for the war in Iraq are all wrong

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

On the box
‘Law & Order’
Poor New York Sentinel. The fictional newspaper’s editors must have crap judgement as they’ve hired not one but two Jayson Blair-like reporters as seen in both the original show a while back and recently on ‘Criminal Intent’! Is Dick Wolf plagiarizing himself? Interesting, passing ethnic-Russian connexion in the second one: the lovely intern helping the Blair clone in his fraud, and also having an affair with him (of course), is called Katya (Russian for Kate or Cathy BTW) and has a three-bar cross on a wall in her apartment, and Detective Bobby Goren (part Columbo, part Sherlock Holmes) questions her Russian mother.
Anglican doings
Bishop Moyer
Eight years ago I was sitting down and talking to Fr M and remarked that the way things were going in the Episcopal Church, Good Shepherd, Rosemont might end up in the Continuing Churches by default, and today that’s partly coming true. It doesn’t seem likely that the building will be taken out of the Episcopal Church and more like an easy legal victory for Bishop Charles Bennison to chuck out new Bishop Moyer. I wish well the new bishop and whatever congregation that go with him but functionally it looks like the end of Anglo-Catholicism on Philadelphia’s Main Line.

A new blog with promise:

Now that Taylor Marshall has pulled the plug on his blog without notice and the amusing but we think sincere Fr Thomas Janikowski seems to have moved on to other things.
LRC on Abraham Lincoln
Much of this is from historian Thomas DiLorenzo. Chances are Lincoln wasn’t who you thought he was and it’s nothing to do with the new book that claims he was gay.

P.S. The fact that he was at the theatre on Good Friday when he was shot tells you what use ‘Father Abraham’ had for Christianity.
truthout picks
Fascism watch:

Bush urges renewal of Patriot Act

The few, the proud, the horribly used

The 25 opposite the Bush revolution

What we don’t know about 9/11 hurts us

Media found guilty of deception

LRC picks
Hariri killing: a neocon dream

The brownshirt ‘conservative’ media

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Eastern churches
Joint Greek Orthodox (Antioch) and Melkite church started
Not surprising really — as this blog’s born Eastern Christian and Syrian Samer al-Batal can tell you the two sides (a minority in a Muslim land with the same rite, same basic beliefs and lots of intermarriage*) intercommune all the time over there. The only division is the clergy, who are quite friendly with each other, don’t concelebrate.

Neil the Irish Melkite gives some background and historical context here.

Underneath all the historical and political rhetoric the Catholic recognize each other as Vladimir Soloviev once described.

Has Esphigmenou Monastery gone Donatist?
Donatism is the heresy that says the grace of a sacrament depends on the personal worthiness of the minister, which they seem to apply to the apostolic ministry: the bishops of the Church of Russia and by extension now the Russian Church Abroad for going into dialogue with that church. For all their admirable traditionalism and anti-Protestantism it seems the fathers have flunked Catholic ecclesiology in addition to being somewhat mad. (ISTM a magisterium and some scholastic theology could clear that up in a jiff — and that wouldn’t diminish the rite or the spirituality at all.) In Soviet times the Russian bishops weren’t to be trusted but they remained bishops (and never fell into heresy or even liturgical revisionism, unlike the West since the 1960s), and now the Soviet Union is gone.

They themselves admit:

Although they (the Russian bishops) occupy the places of authority
which means they haven’t got a leg to stand on.

Poor Metropolitan Vitaly. I understand he never was the gentlest of men but still he doesn’t deserve to be horribly used in his senility by those saddos in Canada.

P.S. Today in the Byzantine Rite, Julian calendar, is the feast of the Meeting of the Lord (Presentation of the Lord, Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, commonly called Candlemas): сретение Господне.

*A wife always joins her husband’s church so if she is from a Melkite family then technically she passes over to the Greek Orthodox — and vice versa. The people continue communing wherever, as usual.
LRC pick
The way it is
Bob Murphy recently made a post hinting that I should comment on a particular matter because I don’t live in America. But he has made a mistake: He thinks I live outside the US, simply because I live in the UK. Not true! I live in an overseas province of the US. This is obvious when you consider the fact that, if the UK were an independent nation, it would have its own foreign policy, based on its own national interests. Instead, what happens here is that our colonial administrator, Toby Bear or something of the sort, whenever faced with a question related to foreign policy, flies to Washington and asks George Bush what to do.

George, of course, has no idea, but he asks Dick Cheney, and then tells our administrator to do that. And our fellow complies. So there you have it.
- Gene Callahan
From blog member Samer al-Batal

Former Lebanese prime minister Rafeeq il-Hareeri assassinated
Samer wrote all of the following: This was carried out by technically sophisticated professionals and was well organised. The explosion was tremendous, creating a crater metres deep and metres wide due to an estimated hundreds of kilograms of explosives being used.

This is very serious news for the country, and for Syria as well. First and foremost, I make an earnest request to blog readers to pray for Lebanon, as this assassination crosses all red lines and, I'm afraid to say, can only mark the start of an escalating deterioration of stability in the country, as the strength and outrage of the opposition makes clear. The army is now on full alert, and both the French president and the Lebanese opposition in the person of MP Bassem Sabaa have called for an international investigation, with the latter holding the Syrian and Lebanese governments (the latter is seen by many Lebanese as an extension of the former) responsible for Hareeri's death.

People have to understand the man of power, influence, achievement, and longevity (about ten years as prime minister – most of the post-war years), that Mr. Hareeri was on the public stage for so long a time. Lebanon was a land of political assassinations during the war, but with much fewer occurences following its conclusion. Despite this history, I don't think anyone expected Hareeri of all individuals to fall as the primary target of the most serious assassination operation since the years of civil conflict. It is a very shocking event; to quote from the Christian Science Monitor:

"Hariri was the most visible, most influential Lebanese figure around the world," says Farid Khazen, professor of politics at the American University of Beirut. "It's the first major peacetime political assassination. This is as far as you can go when you target someone of Hariri's stature. This has broken taboos."
People are trumpeting about the threat of a new civil war. I personally do not think this is very exaggerated. After this travesty of an act, the country can only find itself in a state approaching such. A difficult period lies ahead.

It is natural that most are considering Syria to be the likely culprit. A group, never heard of until now, has claimed responsibility in footage from al-Jazeera, suggesting a motive resulting from Hareeri's famous Saudi connexions. It is too outlandish, and the timing of the act, committed at a time when pressure on Syria had been mounting and threats against it rising, after Hareeri had joined the opposition bloc, and in anticipation of the coming parliamentary elections and the former prime minister's future role in them hints at an operation that was planned precisely because of the international and domestic political situations that have arisen.

That Syria may have a role in this or is even the likeliest suspect is not at all unusual, but it still begs the question: why would Syria commit an act that would only result in disastrous consequences and serious harm to itself? Washington would (and will) certainly use this incident to its own advantage, and Syria would court the threat of an even more solid opposition and the danger of outside force and the world's condemnation. But no matter who the guilty party is, it is Syria that inevitably will bear the responsibility of what happened. There are other parties and groups that could be suspect, and right now things are not fully clear. Syria's blunder in extending President Lah'houd's term and antagonising the Lebanese had unfortunately triggered a domino effect that has cost it more than what must have been expected. Thanks to the events and results that have followed since, the passing of a UN resolution against Syria with backing by the French, a more vocal Lebanese opposition with strong statements made by important people such as Mr Waleed Jumblaat and enjoying support by the late prime minister, and the resignation of members of government, Hareeri's death will now hit back at Syria with much more force. The Americans will be more emboldened in threatening Syria and taking action, following their policy of interventionism.

Below are important entries and some professional commentary from Syria Comment:

Syrian reactions to Hariri’s assassination

NY Times, White House and press-secretary interview

The Lebanese battleground

Again, please offer fervent prayers for peace in the region and in Lebanon.