Thursday, March 31, 2005

From The Washington Post
The real people behind the headlines:

From Fr James Tucker
The Prince of Wales...
This is Charles in one of his most cherished roles: champion of the English countryside and the people who live there. Away from the hothouse atmosphere of London, almost everyone he encounters is respectful, thrilled and honored to meet him. Two minders keep a small pool of journalists a safe distance from the royal presence. There are no tabloids, no Princess Diana fanatics, no rude anti-monarchists.

The announcement of his engagement and wedding has focused attention once again on the long-running national soap opera that is the 56-year-old prince's private life...

The relentless focus on these intimate details has obscured the prince himself, his life and his works. For nearly three decades, Charles has sought to carve out a public role for himself. He has emerged as a spokesman for traditional values, a rainmaker for charities, and a voice for those he deems voiceless. He has passionately promoted environmentalism and organic farming, questioned the wisdom of genetically modified crops and the ethics of stem cell research, defended Britain's Muslim minority, opposed a ban on fox hunting, opposed transforming the House of Lords into an elected body, and extolled back-to-basics education.
From Katolik Shinja
...And Terri Schiavo
truthout picks
Iraqi children fared better under Saddam Hussein
Now they’re starving

WMD report directly contradicts Bush claims
America to sink namesake warship as target
This isn’t a pacifist blog — I see the place of the military for defence. There is something beautiful about a lot of artisanship from old cars to warships, and while they are dwarfed by supertankers, aircraft carriers (which I’ve seen up close) approach awesomeness.

I hate waste, and the fact that it’s now more profitable to sink old ships than scrap and recycle them reminds me of what I went through two years ago when my old Mitsubishi car finally died after 150,000+ miles. Its value: nil!

That said, considering that in this exercise no-one gets killed so no real harm is done, there is something, well, fun about sailing a big ship by remote control, like a real version of those radio-controlled toys, and it sounds like the ex-America will have a spectacular finish like something out of a Roland Emmerich movie.

The tests remind one of the sign of things to come after World War I when US Gen. Billy Mitchell proved that air power was the way of the future by having some of his bombers sink stationary target ships like the captured German battleship Ostfriesland.

Now they can do this more realistically with moving targets.

P.S. In 1967 the America was in the area when the USS Liberty was attacked by Israeli forces.
Terri Schiavo

... but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Dona ea requiem sempiternam.

And God have mercy on Michael Schiavo and George Felos.
From Fr Thomas Janikowski
Not Lourdes
As I wrote to him it could be a metaphor for the Novus Ordo experience. The same kind of humour as Stonehenge in This Is Spinal Tap.
LRC picks
On government debt
Are conservatives naïve or just plain stupid?
Or simply liars?

Reason to miss second-term Clinton

The sad fact is that conservatives have no problem with trillion-dollar budgets as long as they are in charge of the government just like they have no problem with war as long it is their war. The fact that conservatives would have crucified Clinton if it was his trillion-dollar budget and his war shows that they are hypocrites without a shred of integrity.
And consumer debt
In the UK, the US and Canada: a time-bomb as Lord Griffiths wrote

The US global masquerade
Neoconservative ideologues resolve this tension [between what they say and what they do] by interjecting the idea of "American exceptionalism." Since America is the upholder of the ideals of freedom and democracy, then, by definition, whatever it does to spread liberty abroad, including the use of military force, should be blessed by all people of goodwill everywhere.
Rather like the Marxist notion of the blamelessness of historically oppressed races, giving a free pass to people like Robert Mugabe and the Wichita-massacre killers

A neurologist describes Terri Schiavo’s suffering
Meet Dr José Castillo
Among the corporal works of mercy are to harbour the harbourless and visit the sick

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


One of the joys of living in a city with a Jewish community. These are baked for the holiday of Purim.
Can’t stand the heat?
An RC neocon blog has banned me from posting comments as my few notes opposed, in no particular order, Zionism, Mr Bush’s handlers’ war and the Novus Ordo, daring to point out (based on the blogger’s own testimony as he is a former Lutheran pastor!) that there are better Anglican and even Lutheran services. (Demonstrating ‘Catholic v. “Catholic”’ isn’t what they want to hear.) So doing says more than I possibly could.
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
The story of the Muslim family who keep the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre/Resurrection
I think the other two churches, which can be described as Catholic as they are longer considered Monophysite, are the Copts and the Ethiopians (historically related but different in rite — similar iconography though, based on Egyptian funerary art): the former are the historic Church of Egypt (they are the descendents of the ancient Egyptians)
From The Telegraph via Charley Wingate
The strange death of the liberal West
Contracepting and aborting itself into oblivion
truthout pick
FAA logs corroborate torture transfers
LRC picks
The other Iraq war
Christians remember the good old days... under Saddam Hussein. Most of Iraq’s Christian minority are Catholic; Chaldean Catholics of the Roman obedience descended from the historic, smaller Assyrian church (formerly labelled Nestorians) are the country’s biggest church... AFAIK the only Eastern Catholic church that outsizes its parent.

Al-Jazeera on the folly of ‘exporting democracy’
After all it worked so marvellously in Vietnam, right? Ironically Mr Bush’s handlers (with their nucleus in Mr Nixon’s 1970s foreign-policy team as described here) may be giving Osama bin Laden what he wanted — a militant Muslim government replacing Mr Hussein’s secular one in Iraq for example

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

From The Onion
American torturing jobs increasingly outsourced
Lee Penn on Terri Schiavo
Judicial murder
By Nat Hentoff, The Village Voice
Lee wrote all of the following: Not a Bushie. His view on the state of liberty in post-9/11 America is in this book, which I recommend highly:

The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance

Truth and justice are on the side of giving Terri food and water .... but so are some money-grubbing right-wing opportunists.

List of Schiavo donors will be sold by direct-marketing firm


The money: Conservatives invoke case in fund-raising campaigns

The left, which opposes the war, the Patriot Act, and the US torture policy [on which they are correct], has blood on its hands because it supports the murder of Terri and the abortion of millions of babies since 1973.

The right, which opposes the murder of Terri and abortion-on-demand, has blood on its hands because it supports torture and murder of America's "enemies," imperialist wars in the Middle East, the death-by-neglect of those denied health care by the insurance companies, and the impoverishment of the American working class in the name of "free trade" and "outsourcing."

The American majority has blood on its hands in two ways .... first, because "we" re-elected Bush (knowing of his unjust war in Iraq and the torture of prisoners), giving him a clear win in 2004 and increased percentages of the vote in almost every state, compared to 2000. And second, because the recent opinion polls show that the public strongly supports the starvation of Terri.

Herod and Pilate, once enemies, were friends after they condemned Christ.

The left and the right in America now shake blood-stained hands over numberless corpses.

For now, the forces of death are the victors in this affair.

The solution begins with prayer: repentance, and the request that God may have mercy on, and save, our enemies.

As the Fátima Prayer says:

O my Jesus! Forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. [End.]
Jesse Jackson on the right side in Schiavo case
From InfernoXV
Misha and the search for the perfect jurisdiction
By Edward Yong
See my ‘alt’ text on Fr Janikowski’s picture below for my view on those hateful online fora

Премудрость! Вонмем! Wisdom! Be attentive!

Photo of the day

Agreed - just give me a breviary and a drink or a pipe and I'll sit back and watch the online religious world self-destruct.

Fr Thomas Janikowski strikes a pose in his tribute to good religion

More on the Anglican Breviary he’s holding
Eastern churches
Jordan Times update on the land sale in Jerusalem
LRC picks
Which way to liberty?
By Lew Rockwell

Pro-life is a matter of changing hearts not an empowered central state
By Dr Ron Paul, member of Congress
A punto.
Both Catholic (remember the principle of subsidiarity?) and libertarian, what this blog is trying to get at. Interestingly the most conservative Russian Orthodox, who don’t march in protests but of course don’t excuse abortion either, say essentially the same thing about these issues. Not all paleocons are cold-hearted people willing to let Terri Schiavo be starved/dehydrated to death (see El Camino Real or Katolik Shinja for an horrific description of the latter) to prove a point as some bloggers in my links list recently have accused.

P.S. I’ll concede that Jacob Hornberger seems to be really pushing it today.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Demokratura in England
By Fr Andrew Phillips
At work
Back before the information age
From a feature story:

Mr H prefers correspondence chess, where each move is recorded on a postcard or by e-mail and sent to the challenger. In 1982 he was named national co-champion by the United States Chess Federation after defeating a dozen top competitors in correspondence chess. The simultaneous matches, played by mailed postcards, took about a year to complete.
Imaginary languages
From Fr James Tucker

The Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be in Elvish
The Lord of the Rings phenom is one of those things that’s passed me by but I know that a few friends are into it. Tolkien was not only Catholic but brilliant, creating this whole fantasy world as a light diversion for himself; a linguist, he came up with Elvish including even a beautiful alphabet and script for it.

I understand that the fantasy world is so intricate that many people lose themselves in it, so you have people dressing up as hobbits and such, which wasn’t his intention (and he wouldn’t have any of it).

Also, he fell out with C.S. Lewis because he thought the Narnia books both were ham-handed preaching (which the Rings books aren’t) and a bad rip-off of his work!

Been to the Eagle and Child pub where they used to meet.

Anyway, of course the church has several such real languages in its rites: not only Latin but Slavonic (essentially archaic Russian) with its own beautiful script (something I use nearly every day) and of course languages such as Armenian and Aramaic.

Did you know... that language learning is so natural for young kids that twins left to themselves sometimes will create their very own language? Scientists have studied it — the language has a grammar, etc. like world languages do.
News of the weird
First Christmas was genericized, now Easter:

RIP Easter bunny
A rabbi criticizes this latest trend which I first noticed this year — the newspaper where I work reports town meetings, etc. and got press releases saying they were cancelled last Friday for the ‘Spring Holiday’. What a regression to pagan Rome!

The imagery that Rabbi Gellman uses reminds me of the perhaps apocryphal story of the Japanese shopping-centre owner (like most Japanese not a Christian) who tried to make a Christmas display: Santa Claus on the cross!

Note again that like the Muslim students who objected to taking down the crucifixes at Georgetown and like I blogged this past December about Christmas, observant Jews aren’t offended by gentile displays related to God. They aren’t threatened!

And what about the other phrase from the First Amendment about not prohibiting the free exercise of religion, even something as tangential and minor as the bunny?*

Of course in the Orthodox tradition where Easter is a bigger deal (see entry earlier today) there is no Pascha bunny (scroll down) but of course there are the eggs!

*Then again that’s about Congress: US federal laws. Actually you can make a case that the states can have established religions as indeed the Congregational Church was in some New England states until the early 1800s. One can argue from a libertarian standpoint that the malls are private property and the owners can censor whatever they like but it’s still disturbing. And the example I saw locally was from government, which I understand has to be neutral but again 1) free exercise and 2) disturbing.
Roman Rite
The Regina Cœli
From The Gutless Pacifist
Comparing Easter to Christmas
Funny and spot-on quotation from Frederica Mathewes-Greene, a convert Orthodox priest’s wife. Liturgically in the Christian East there’s no question that Easter (still about a month away on the Orthodox calendar) is No. 1. (The Russians have nearly all-night services for it; not so with Christmas.) Turning a pagan winter festival into one celebrating the Incarnation (though really Lady Day, the Annunciation, commemorates that, especially as the Catholic faith is pro-life) was of course a good thing (only killjoy Protestants* and bitter atheists hate it historically) but what turns off secular people is that Easter has no greed to it, no ‘gimme’ aspect, as Pen’s (who if I read the blog rightly is a Methodist minister) posting elucidates.

Western popular culture is messed up about sex
Of course we disagree with the article that glorifying porn is a step up — actually it’s part of the same problem that’s being criticized — but agree that it’s very telling that people are only comfortable talking about sex if it’s trivialized through attempts at humour for example. (The other side of that, though, is jokes can take away any potential occasion of sin in viewing such things.) A phenom you see, in different but related forms, both in the US and the UK.

*The Puritans (see LRC today for a little about Cromwell) banned it when they ruled England and in their American colonies — it was largely unknown in Congregationalist New England until well into the 1800s.
LRC picks
Gail Jarvis on Camille Paglia and good and bad poetry
I’ve met both Paglia and Angelou — the former is an intentional laugh riot and the latter takes herself deadly seriously.

Abusing our soldiers, abusing their prisoners

Mr Blair has lost his juju
Eastern churches
From Fr Michael (Wood)

The Orthodox are coming

It would help to understand that most of us Orthodox clergy mix almost daily with laity and fellow-clergy who to and fro very frequently between the west and Russia/the Ukraine/Belorus/Serbia etc. They go there and look at what is happening with cynical western eyes, and are not too willing to accept anything at face value. Particularly is this so of our ROCOR people, who really want to accurately assess the position of Orthodoxy in those countries as it is a matter of current policy decisions which all of us will have to make in the near future. Quite frankly, we are privy to the everyday details (good and bad) of Church life there than outsiders ever will be.

You can sniff all you like at the Russian Church's attitude, but the reality is that there is a different worldview inherent in Orthodoxy, a different society in those countries, and Russian/Ukrainian/ Belorussian Orthodoxy is growing at a phenomenal rate, right back into the permeation of society, and it seems to be taking a strong Orthodox hold. It is for us to judge its Orthodoxy, not outsiders.

It is a very American Romano-protestant
[sic] attitude to assume that the Church of Russia will have to "come to grips with pluralism". No it doesn't. Nor does Russia have to adopt American style "democracy" (or anything much else if it's smart). Just because American RCC and protestants "want" to bust their way into Russia, doesn't mean that their wants and money will get them in.

Not long ago, I had a man staying at the monastery - he had been sent in to Russia as a western Baptist missionary - Russia sent him back ..... an Orthodox Priest - missionary to the west .... and he isn't alone in being thus turned. I know that ROCOR has recently offered suggestions to Moscow regarding additional methods of dealing with RCC proselytising in Russia.

I proposed the article as a serious think-piece, not a matter for sour grapes. However, ... it might be sobering for the Vatican if it finds itself with the Patriarchate of Moscow right there in Europe, since the Patriarchate is a rather large, well-organised operation which is rapidly learning the ways of mass public leadership. It might be at least as attractive to many within western Europe as a moral leader as is the Vatican - perhaps more so, since it does not carry the historical baggage for people in the west. It could certainly become an attractive alternative for Anglican and even Lutheran people as an alternative to an increasingly inaudible, irrelevant and bumbling Lambeth Palace.
- Fr Michael

Officially the RCs don’t solicit born Orthodox. That’s not the goal — corporate reunion/restoration of communion is — and is seen as counterproductive to it.

Fr Michael makes a couple of good points.

The things the seculars and liberals hate about the Orthodox are often the Catholic things and perhaps a way Orthodoxy can be saving medicine for the whole Catholic world could be through some healthy competition in the West.
Back online
Good Shepherd, Rosemont
With photos of the Moyer and Chislett consecrations

Fireside Chat with the Rector
Fr Thomas Janikowski’s good-humoured tribute to the London, Brighton and South Coast religion

The nickname comes from a long defunct railway company which painted its locomotives strange colours. For example Stoudley Improved Engine Green was orange!!! Laterly, which in the case of the LBSCR means 1914-23 they painted their engines burnt umber rather than the usual maroon, black, or green.
- Fr Peter Robinson

The line covered the English equivalent of America’s biretta belt.
From Drake Adams
The myth of NINA
‘No Irish need apply’: I blogged about this back on the 18th March 2003

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Zimbabwe: Archbishop Pius Ncube stands up to racist thug Robert Mugabe
Wow, the liberals were right: favouring the black race really did get rid of the evils in that society!

Just like in religion:

Fun with spam
You can be in the Lamb’s Book of Life... for about $50!
Is You’re [sic] Name Recorded?

You can now, have your name recorded in the “Lambs Book Of Life”.

The first ever printing of the “Lambs Book Of Life” will take place after we receive 144000 names to be printed. We have all read the Bible and seen the signs posted, saying, “ Is your name recorded in the Lambs Book Of Life”? Well now you can make sure it is.

Old South Ministries has launched a new campaign to gather as many people as possible for the purpose of this publication. The book, the “Lambs Book Of Life” will be professionally and elegantly produced for public display. This will be something you will want to show friends and family. Show others that your name is recorded in the “Book.”

This is another form of publicizing your faith and displaying the fact that you are a Christian. You can include you name or your whole family or your whole church family.

One name only and to receive verification of your recorded name $ 49.95

One name only and to receive the printed “Lambs Book Of Life” $249.95
Yes, breaking with the Catholic faith purged corruption from Christian practice once and for all! You sure showed us.

This is obviously just sacrilegious marketing but it does reek of ‘once saved, always saved’ or ‘eternal assurance’, a heresy from Calvinism that some Protestants believe in.

Once got solicited for something like this 20 years ago by somebody claiming to compile and sell a Who’s Who of ‘Outstanding College Students’ to you, lucky you, who have been chosen as one (by whom?). The outfit selling the costly, worthless things had a fake Latin motto, misspelt, which was a fitting ‘tell’/giveaway. Paul Fussell would have lots to say about all that!
From truthout and The Gaelic Starover
FBI helped Saudi flights after 9/11
Terri Schiavo
De Fidei Obœdientia
Schindler family tell protesters to go home

Update: Apparently Mr Schindler changed his mind

From The Gaelic Starover
In our criticism and fulmination against the Bush Dynasty, let’s not make a human sacrifice of Mrs Schiavo

From The Perennial Rambler
Some links of interest
Roman Rite

Matthias Grünewald, Resurrection of Christ from Isenheimer altarpiece, 1510-1515

Happy Easter from A Conservative Blog for Peace
I chose this painting because like Olivier Messiaen’s music (for example) it’s traditionalist and timeless/cutting-edge all at once. William Blake’s art is similarly mystical and powerful.

Friend John Treat presents
Roman Rite Holy Week journal and pictures
The triple candle is also used at the Gospel reading in the Divine Liturgy in the Ruthenian recension of the Byzantine Rite

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Army probe finds abuse at base near Mosul

Schiavo’s father says she’s in last hours

As she entered her second week without the tube that sustained her life for 15 years, dehydration took its toll on the 41-year-old woman. Her tongue and eyes were bleeding and her skin was flaking off, said Barbara Weller, the Schindlers' attorney.
How can anyone defend this?
LRC picks
On Terri Schiavo, the state and the culture of death
And what’s wrong with Jim Wallis and Sojourners

Government lies and the death of sons

Christians in Iraq and elsewhere

As readers of this blog know, now that Hussein’s secular government is gone the persecution is under way
truthout picks
UK firestorm grows over illegal war
Did somebody ‘persuade’ Lord Goldsmith?

Left-right coalition rises to oppose USA Patriot Act

Once-beautiful Baghdad falling into ruins
Eastern churches
From blog member Samer al-Batal

Al-Jazeera photo: ‘Holding in their hands the Israeli newspaper that exposed the deal, Orthodox protest their patriarch.’

Did the Greek Orthodox patriarch sell land in Jerusalem to Jews?
S al-B: This has been whipping up a storm back in Palestine. There are two particularly sensitive points involved here: the properties, with their buildings, two hotels, and businesses, were allegedly sold, not leased, and the properties are located within the walls of Jerusalem's old city*, where Jewish expansion causes more worry than in other places. The patriarch was reportedly stunned, with no knowledge of such a purchase being contracted; he denies any involvement ("If I have done this, let them cut off my hands."), saying such a transaction would be revoked if it has indeed taken place. A shady character, a financial manager of the Church, Nikos Papadimas, disappeared after allegedly concluding the deal; the Church claims that he was not given authorisation to sell properties. An al-Jazeera article claims that "Papadimas is wanted in Greece after Greek Orthodox Church officials in Athens accused him of embezzling 600,000 euros (US$800,000) in church funds". An arrest warrant has been issued for him.

The allegations of millions of dollars being payed for the acquisition of Church property were brought to the fore by a report in the Israeli newspaper Maariv. Is there fraud in this story? Clear answers and clarifications better be forthcoming for the sake of everybody. Palestinians who work in the buildings on the sold properties and who were renting them from the Church from decades back were stunned by the news. There have been protests for the patriarch's resignation and callings for the withdrawal of Palestinian state recognition of the patriarch's legitimacy of office. The Palestinian prime minister has called for the creation of an investigative committee and for an inquiry involving, I believe, joint collaboration between Palestinian, Jordanian, and Greek authorities (Greece has already dispatched a team off to Jerusalem). Archbishop Aristarchos claims the patriarchate is conducting an internal investigation, and believes the patriarch should resign for the sake of the Church's reputation. On top of all this, some Jordanian MPs are agitating to give Patriarch Eirinios his ticket out of power and the Palestinian legislative council pushed for rescinding the PA's recognition of Eirinios as patriarch, and called for the 'Arabisation' of the Church. Schism, not really probable at this time in my opinion, could introduce further complications.

From an al-Jazeera Arabic video report I saw, Archmandrite `Atal'lah Han'na had the following to say: "There has to be an investigative committee for studying this matter. The question of the 'leaking' (i.e. gradual, slow handover - could suggest a surreptitious fashion) of Orthodox properties to Israel is a very dangerous issue and therefore whoever stands (i.e. is) behind this affair must be taken to account."

When the patriarch was first elected, the impression given by the press and by Israel's failure to recognise his election was that he would better improve relations with the Palestinians. Should the allegations regarding his complicity in this transaction prove to be true, his reputation may well be damaged beyond repair. But in all cases, if the sale of properties did in fact take place, his senior position will render him culpable even if he had no knowledge of the incident, and the reputation of corruption and scandalous dealings will further blemish the Church as an institution.

*The leader of the administrative committee of the Orthodox Congress (a laymen's organisation) in Palestine stated that the patriarchate's land dealings pose a danger to the Arabic Christian presence in Jerusalem, and that this, along with the increased influx of Jews would also deliver an impact on the final-status negotiations involving the city. [End.]

“We must separate the Palestinian Orthodox Church from the Greek Orthodox Church,” said MP Hanan Ashrawi during the debate. “We must solve this crisis by making the church an Arab church.”
is answered by this:

I don't see how phyletism and a schismatic church are going to solve the problem...
Such would flunk Catholic Ecclesiology 101.
From Jennifer
Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Oil
Nothing to do with chrism

Friday, March 25, 2005

Roman Rite
Good Friday

Agios o Theos
Agios Ischyros
Agios Athanatos
Eleison imas.

(The only day in the year that the Byzantine trisagion appears in the rite.)
Eastern churches
Construction starts on new Ukrainian Museum in New York
Jointly blessed by Ukrainian Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox (US) bishops

Of course most people in the Ukraine who go to church, probably a minority of the population, belong to the Church of Russia.

I’ve been to the existing museum — there’s not a whole lot to it! The most memorable part was being outside the building after it closed for the day explaining (using Russian) to an old man with a huge goiter that it had just closed!

From David’s Daily Diversions
Apparently those Eastern Orthodox using the Gregorian calendar are celebrating Lady Day today, its usual date in that calendar, displaced this year in the Roman Rite by Good Friday (see entry above).

Many thanks, everyone, for the 51,000+ visits to this blog since this day last year.

Turks go Orwellian on Armenian history
Turkey not only refuses to recognise that Armenians lived in Anatolia for thousands of years, it refuses to even recognise the adjacent rump of Armenia which devolved from the Soviet Union. As far as the Turks are concerned there are no such people as Armenians, past or present. If the Turks can't eradicate all of them through genocide, they can at least pretend that they have.

The Turks seem to have a bizarre lack of collective self-esteem. They think that they can bully their way into re-writing history and even the history of science so as to justify their deeds past and present.
Armenia (Hayastan) is the world’s oldest Christian country (the Roman Empire was the second one).
Atheists convene (This link should work through the 30th March.)
People have the right to be wrong.

The faith can take it.

Fair take on Madalyn Murray O’Hair:

Murray is often credited with putting atheism on the map — she was a major figure in the fight over prayer in public [US state] schools* — but she's also blamed for personifying a negative stereotype. Murray was a veritable leftist caricature: vulgar, litigious, conceited and shrill.
But the giveaway is here:

Rulon-Miller is piqued by Christmastime ("I hate walking around, seeing all the Jesus stuff").
So unlike Orthodox Jews (search the blog for the relevant link), practising Muslims and other reasonable and mature people you want to take away my right to practise, the flip side of the First Amendment.

*Regarding public schools in the UK sense it’s worth remembering that they originally were Catholic and charities: Eton is still officially the College of Our Lady of Eton and was set up to teach poor boys!
US soldier denied asylum in Canada
The mystery of itch, the joy of scratch

Mm-hmm! Pure pleasure!
- Ned Flanders
LRC picks
RIP George Kennan

Joe Sobran on the state of the English language

Or what I see my job as a newspaper sub-editor as being all about

Shakespeare uses the English language with great subtlety, but also with idiomatic ease. He’s never haunted by rules. In some respects the English of his day was more emphatic than ours. I like him not, where the crucial adverb is climactic, has more power than the modern I do not like him, where the adverb gets buried in the middle of the sentence. Why have English-speakers abandoned this fine old form? Well, these things happen.
It made a kind of comeback in the early 1990s: Statement, pause — ‘not!

We should be annoyed by superfluous words, especially those meant to sound “official” — a real vice of our times. Many people now say “prior to” when “before” will do. The same sort of people say “despite the fact that” rather than “although.”
Paul Fussell noticed it over 20 years ago. What I live for at work is making sure such never appears in print. Every day I thank God I don’t work someplace where I’m forced to write and even talk that way.

An argument for privatizing marriage
Tying into the Schiavo case:

One of the most interesting aspects of the case is how liberals have been correctly accusing the right of hypocrisy on issues of federalism, and how conservatives have responded with their own correct accusations of leftist hypocrisy. As in most political scandals, both sides are right about one thing: that the other side is inconsistent.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

truthout picks
Media self-censored Iraq coverage

Judge blocks Gitmo torture traffic
In the post
Gregorian Chant for Easter: Mass and Vespers
(here is something like it)
CD from the traditionalist Monks of Fontgombault

Sent to me be the traditionalist Benedictines of Clear Creek (who came from Fontgombault). This has essentially all of Breviary Sunday Vespers on it! Something nice to listen to a little later on, in Eastertide, and it’s doubly fitting that I got it this week as Monday was the Roman Rite feast of St Benedict. It was given away as part of a fund-raising campaign for a new monastery church; in this case it worked and I sent the good monks a contribution.

Robert Waldrop has visited the monastery (scroll down to 24th August 2004 entry) and also notes:

Thursday, March 24th, we observe the 25th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Here was a man whose heart was cold, but by the power of grace and the witness of the poor, he opened his eyes and ears and heart to the cry of the poor, and like Christ, willingly embraced the Cross which was placed before him, for the sake of his people and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
A 20th-century Becket.
Terri Schiavo
From LRC

On the end not justifying the means, rule of law and Mr Bush’s anti-life hypocrisy

From De Fidei Obœdientia
The secular world is not cool
Or the Nazi side of the Left
He might have understood the computer as bicycle for the mind
It was probably to help in delivering his lectures that he bought a typewriter, a ‘Blick’ model with an inkwell instead of a ribbon, which was later replaced by a neater apparatus. There can have been few dons of his time so equipped, and it may well be imagined with what disdain he would have regarded its intrusion into the University had it been the invention of a later decade. As time went on he became increasingly at one with it. He wrote a good hand, but he was not a neat-fingered man and he took no pleasure, as many writers have done, in the use of a pen. Most of his private letters are in holograph, but when he had something to say which required close thought, he found the keys of the typewriter in some way an aid to precision. There is a letter of his to Mr Laurence Eyres written in 1927 in which he began to type half-way through with the words: ‘I’m sorry but I can’t think properly with a pen.’
- Evelyn Waugh on Mgr Ronald Knox

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

LRC pick
RIP literacy
I’m not claiming to be as well-read as Mr Reed but of course he’s right
Juan Cole recently got something wrong and National Review gets something right:

Screwtape revisited

From De Fidei Obœdientia
Because she is
In short the Catholic position
From truthout
Hit and miss

US Department of Justice blocked criticism of Guantánamo

Miss, thus proving that the liberals are just as bad:

Rubbish about the Schiavo case
...private, intimate decisions
So was Scott Peterson’s ‘choice’. Bollocks. The same thing pro-abortion people say.

And regarding The Independent’s headline, she’s not comatose! And even if she were, starvation/dying of thirst isn’t the way to go.

We agree on stopping the war but not on how to conduct the peace!
From The Onion
Non-white postal workers forced to go to ‘diversity’ seminar

Friends always on best behaviour around playwright
From The Gaelic Starover

Smiles, everyone, smiles!

Their fantasy, our nightmare

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

On the box (video)
The Silence of the Lambs

Finally saw it — brilliant. (Yes, I’m behind the curve. Young fogeys are like that.) Now I have to see all of Manhunter or see Red Dragon.

Goody goody... I’m having an old friend for dinner

From Salon’s archive
Robin Williams is a comic genius so why did he become unbearable?
I love Moscow on the Hudson and The Fisher King
From Mike Russell
Blogs are saturated with Schiavo news but here’s one more:

Her brain is in better shape than claimed
That’s obvious as there are publicized photos of her smiling

MR: Real medical professionals weigh in on the Terri Schiavo homicide-in-progress.

Even more as-yet-unanswered questions, especially regarding the dubious conclusions reached by prior "medical experts" who had given testimony.

Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have mercy on the dying. [End.]

Eastern churches
Greek court upholds eviction notice to Esphigmenou monks
Correct — the patriarch of Constantinople is in charge. The monks may mean well but it’s like the history of the Old Believers in Russia. Such types are often quite Catholic (and essentially right about Vatican II and the World Council of Churches as it is today) but also quite mad. Freedom of religion where such is the law would mean they would have the right to set up house somewhere other than buildings and grounds owned by the patriarch.
LRC pick
Patriotic extortion
By Dr Ron Paul, member of Congress
$656 million for tsunami relief.
Sounds good but Dr Paul explains why private charity makes it unnecessary.

Why is flooding in Sri Lanka or Thailand more important than flooding in Wharton, Victoria, or Galveston, Texas?
Race has nothing to do with it. A government’s first obligation is to its own citizens, which is why it exists.

$76 million to build a new airport in Kuwait, one of the wealthiest countries on earth.
Speaks for itself.

$200 million in economic aid for the Palestinians
Sounds good but the principle above stands and it’s also hypocritical because the US still supports the Zionist state in Palestine.

$150 million for Pakistan, which is run by an unelected dictator
Hey, wasn’t that one of the excuses for invading Iraq?

$34 million for Ukraine, where the U.S. already intervened in last year’s elections using your tax dollars.
Wrong even if Mr Yushchenko was the better man.

Ukraine recently repaid our generosity by dumping the U.S. dollar and adopting an exchange rate that includes the Euro.
Whatever one thinks about the euro that seems to make sense as the Ukraine is part of Europe. Mr Y also is pulling Ukrainian troops out of Iraq, слава Богу.

Monday, March 21, 2005

From Ut Unum Sint
Changing of the guard at RC uni chaplaincy
The old baby-boomers like the ones who bragged to me 20 years ago that they would win are now getting the sack and deserve it. The Novus Ordo neocons replacing them aren’t ideal but unlike their predecessors at least they get the basics right.
A Terri Schiavo overview
It’s no surprise that Michael Schiavo is using the same arguments as the pro-abortion people (keep your laws off the body of the inconvenient person I want to torture and kill). Mr Bush is throwing the red-staters a bone (while of course it’s right to try to stop this atrocity) but characteristically is trying to use big-government means to do so, going against both real conservative praxis and hypocritically against his anti-life policy in Iraq (as the world duly notes). And meanwhile the pro-murder people are making libertarian noises about the matter: states’ rights etc. Of course the libertarian argument doesn’t work here: the creepy people* who want the right to suicide have the right to be wrong but what’s going on here is one person trying to harm another, which logically should be covered by laws against abuse and murder.

As an acquaintance who is a scientist has pointed out, this is really to do with the hesitation and hypocrisy of Mr Schiavo and his supporters: they want Terri dead but don’t want to, like, you know, kill her, so they’re starving her instead. How merciful. If one is going to sin that way be consistent and euthanize (which is still wrong of course).

*I’ve heard a Hemlock Society speaker in person. Scary.
From Fr James Tucker via blog member Samer al-Batal
Christian acrimony threatening Easter
No matter that it’s from a Moonie* paper: it’s all too true

One senior [Roman] Catholic clergyman in Jerusalem described Patriarch Irineos as a "lightning rod for trouble." He said: "We had good relations with the Greeks before now, but since he was elected, it has gone from bad to worse. This is a serious crisis for all of the churches here in the Holy Land, because we increasingly look like a laughingstock."
S al-B: The violent incidents involving Christian factions in Jerusalem have always remained a pitiful disgrace for Christians and a series of shameful spectacles for the world to see. Sadly, the state of affairs in areas under Jerusalem’s jurisdiction is markedly more hostile than in those under Antioch’s. The Franciscans and the Greeks — ethnic Greeks, not Arabs, control the Orthodox patriarchate — are not known for enjoying stellar reputations for observing good conduct. [End.]

For generations and centuries a Muslim family have owned the keys to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre/Resurrection. That and the fact that the various Catholic groups all fight each other, even literally with fists, point both to fallen human nature and in the midst of that, as an acquaintance suggests, a divine sense of humour.

I thought the Zionist government didn’t like the Greek patriarch, which spoke well of him.

Greek control of the local Orthodox may be the reason why the Franciscan custody/Latin patriarchate there, a Crusader arrival, has become a successful, largely Arab and Arab-run church.

The Orthodox and Melkite Arabs are also mediæval converts, in this case byzantinized. Before that they were probably Muslims, or Christians of the West Syrian rite.

*Like the Mormons they’re non-Christians and it seems that they blend into the American Protestant culture whence they partly came (Sun Myung Moon like many Koreans was a born Presbyterian) and like the evangelicals the paper may appeal to, they may have a bias against the Catholic world and thus may be quite happy to report on it when it’s not at its best.
LRC pick
Iraq two years on
Of course I carried a sign the other day
Eastern churches
From Dave Brown

Tradition shopping
I admit the title is problematic. Isn’t such ‘shopping’ antithetical to tradition? The word implies instability and dilettantism or at least condescension from the writer towards the traditions being described.

It’s a possible weakness, something jumped on years ago by a very strange fellow who trolled* Eastern Catholic message boards, a liberal ethnic born Ruthenian Catholic who hated the traditionalist refugees who now form a pillar of ‘his’ church, both those who remain Roman Rite at home and — he especially hated these latter people — those who honour, adopt and defend the rite including its restoration removing these churches’ self-latinizations, who become high-church восточники. People who are stable and definitely not faddish.

Such ‘shopping’ should be the exception but is an option especially in today’s religious-liberal miasma. These churches of the Orthodox and other traditions of the Christian East are sturdy refuges from that miasma for the Catholic-minded.

BTW yesterday’s liturgical texts (for the first Sunday of Great Lent) in the Orthodox tradition are an in-your-face rejection of modern religious iconoclasm, celebrating the Catholic doctrine defined by an œcumenical council (Nicæa II) defending and restoring the use of images (in its most developed form, icons) in worship.

*In the online world, literally, through sock-puppetry which included impersonating other people.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

From Fr James Tucker
I see all these opinion polls that tell me a majority of American [Roman] Catholics disagree with Church teaching on this, that, or the other. You know what role public opinion plays in determining truth? Absolutely none.

I looked in my bible to see whether it said anything about public opinion polls, and I only found one instance of an opinion poll being taken. Pontius Pilate asked the people what should be done with Jesus, and the majority opinion was, "Crucify Him, give us Barabbas, we have no king but Cæsar."

Public opinion is fine in politics, but it stinks in religion.
From Mere Comments
Meet John Lukacs
From The Free Republic
Anonymous submission
Is the horrible treatment of Terri Schiavo as much to do with Scientology as Michael Schiavo’s malice?

From Joseph Oliveri
St Anthony of Padua Chapel turned over to Newark Archdiocese
Founded by the late Fr Paul Wickens, a nice fellow I’d met in the late 1980s when he was still relearning the Roman Mass and St A’s met in a rented hall. (The building is nine years old; the congregation’s been around for nearly 20.) Again, ahem, it’s NOT about Latin! This months-old furore is news to me. I’m told that Fr Perricone is dead-on sincere — he brought his Novus Ordo parish up the candle, even adding things from the Roman Mass, which he’s not allowed to do, and sacking the so-called ‘Eucharistic ministers’, which he may do.

Maybe it’s because Bishop Richard Williamson of the SSPX, who used to do episcopal functions at St A’s, has moved to Argentina and the people in charge of the chapel realized they needed to be under a bishop.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Bloggers on Terri Schiavo
A prayer from Benjamin Andersen, and Lee Nelson reports that she received Communion yesterday.
From Cælum et terra
The Passion of Terri Schiavo
Which reminds me: another parallel in the Christian East to the stigmatists in the West are passion-bearers (страстотерпцы).

Interesting timing indeed.
Good answer to Christopher Hitchens on Mother Teresa
From blog member Lee Penn
Lee wrote this entry via mass e-mail:

An Iranian mass-murderer and child-rapist was executed by public hanging after receiving 100 lashes and being stabbed by one of the victims’ relatives:

Child killer gets public torture then hanging

The crimes were hideous, and the punishment was what you’d expect in Iran.

What I had not expected is for a neocon/libertarian American constitutional law professor and blogger, Eugene Volokh, to approve of this ... and to suggest that we could weaken the Bill of Rights’ ban on cruel punishment so that we could do the same to mass killers here [in the US]:

Go to his blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, and scroll down to read his March 16 post.

He said ... with only some prudential back-tracking in more recent posts:

"I particularly like the involvement of the victims' relatives in the killing of the monster; I think that if he'd killed one of my relatives, I would have wanted to play a role in killing him. Also, though for many instances I would prefer less painful forms of execution, I am especially pleased that the killing — and, yes, I am happy to call it a killing, a perfectly proper term for a perfectly proper act — was a slow throttling, and was preceded by a flogging. The one thing that troubles me (besides the fact that the murderer could only be killed once) is that the accomplice was sentenced to only 15 years in prison, but perhaps there's a good explanation.

I am being perfectly serious, by the way. I like civilization, but some forms of savagery deserve to be met not just with cold, bloodless justice but with the deliberate infliction of pain, with cruel vengeance rather than with supposed humaneness or squeamishness. I think it slights the burning injustice of the murders, and the pain of the families, to react in any other way.

And, yes, I know this aligns me in this instance with the Iranian government — but even a stopped clock is right twice a day, and in this instance the Iranians are quite correct.

UPDATE: I should mention that such a punishment would probably violate the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause. I'm not an expert on the history of the clause, but my point is that the punishment is proper because it's cruel (i.e., because it involves the deliberate infliction of pain as part of the punishment), so it may well be unconstitutional. I would therefore endorse amending the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause to expressly exclude punishment for some sorts of mass murders.

Naturally, I don't expect this to happen any time soon; my point is about what should be the rule, not about what is the rule, or even what is the constitutionally permissible rule. I think the Bill of Rights is generally a great idea, but I don't think it's holy writ handed down from on high. Certain amendments to it may well be proper, though again I freely acknowledge that they'd be highly unlikely."
My [Lee’s] assessment .....

This is the usual procedure for making the unspeakable a matter of public discussion, and then to make what was unspeakable seem normal. Taboo-smashers have been doing this for a long, long time. I never imagined that I would hear a constitutional law professor suggest, even tentatively, that we should amend the ban on cruel and unusual punishment. (Of course, given what we are doing in Guantánamo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in secret prisons elsewhere, we already torture and kill our enemies ... we just move them into a category of people that have no rights under Constitutional or international law, and then do what we wish.)

And then there is the matter of torture and degradation as entertainment ...

‘Guantánamo Guidebook’ brings torture to TV
An upcoming British television special attempts to recreate alleged techniques used at the American prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In The Guantánamo Guidebook, former American Delta Force interrogators subjected seven volunteers to sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation and intense questioning over the course of 60 hours. NPR’s Madeleine Brand talks with Chris Guelff, who volunteered for the show.
So what’s next ... bringing back the Colosseum?

As a context, here is what I wrote in mid-April 2004 in ‘When the State Becomes God’ ... a story that the Spiritual Counterfeits Project Journal published just as the Abu Ghraib scandal was surfacing:

I said then:

The proponents of torture and hostage-taking say that these acts are necessary in wartime — especially when dealing with terrorists who might be induced to reveal the location of a ticking bomb. It is the same taboo-smashing, utilitarian logic that liberals in the 1960s and 1970s used to overturn laws limiting abortion. Those who favored legalized abortion said that it was a necessary, tragic way to deal with pregnancies resulting from rape and incest, threats to the health of the mother, and severe deformity of the fetus. Thirty-five years later, there are 1.3 million abortions a year;91 for every 1,000 babies born alive, about 250 are slain in their mother's womb.92 Given the decay of the culture, and the way that taboos fall when they are broken for the "hard cases," I venture a prediction. If we start torturing terror suspects in 2004, then torture will be widespread for "routine" crimes by 2014, and will be on pay-per-view TV (or its future equivalent) by 2024.

George Orwell's dystopian novel
1984, written in 1948, prophesied current events: "Every new political theory, by whatever name it called itself, led back to hierarchy and regimentation. And in the general hardening of outlook that set in round about 1930, practices which had been long abandoned, in some cases for hundreds of years —­ imprisonment without trial, the use of war prisoners as slaves, public executions, torture to extract confessions, the use of hostages, and the deportation of whole populations —­ not only became common again, but were tolerated and even defended by people who considered themselves enlightened and progressive.93
[Note ... the numbers are footnotes. Go to the website to read the whole article, and to see the sources.]

My predictions are coming true, years early.

Kyrie eleison. [End of Lee’s text.]

Seamless-garment people might say the same thing about the death penalty, full stop, but this blog holds the historic Catholic position that there is a place for it, that some crimes forfeit one’s right to live and that it’s the taking of a life but (unlike with Terri Schiavo) not a murder. But we also agree with the reigning Pope that its use should be exceedingly rare.

There’s no parallel here with ‘safe, legal and rare’: an ‘inconvenient’ or infelicitously conceived baby hasn’t committed a crime that forfeits his or her life. P.J. O’Rourke wrote that a cold-hearted atheist can say ‘kill them both’ whilst a well-meaning seamless-garment religious person opposes both takings of life but it takes a lot of mind-bending ‘therapy’ to reach the modern liberal POV.

P.S. The Terri Schiavo site quotes Mr Bush or one of his staff:

It should be our goal as a nation to build a culture of life, where all Americans are valued, welcomed, and protected and that culture of life must extend to individuals with disabilities.
Iraqis evidently are exempt from this ‘culture of life’ and his handlers won’t try to stop abortion.
On the second anniversary of the US aggression in Iraq
truthout pick


And on that note some prayers last night from the Orthodox tradition:

Verse: For with the Lord there is mercy: and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel: from all his sins.

Martyr Theodore, with the God-given grace of your miracles you enfold all who come to you in faith. By that grace we praise you, saying: You free captives, you heal the sick, you enrich the poor and rescue those at sea. You restrain your petitioners from running away in vain, and make clear the injury done to those who are plundered, O Champion. Thus you train soldiers to abstain from pillage; compassionately you grant the petitions of the young; you become a fervent protector of those who hold your sacred memorial. With them, most holy Champion, number us who hymn your martyrdom in asking of Christ His great mercy.

Verse: O praise the Lord, all ye heathen: praise him all ye nations.

You proved yourself God’s supreme gift, Martyr Theodore; for even after the end, as if still alive, you grant the askings of those who come to you. Thus, when a woman's son was captured at spear’s point by a pagan army, the widow stood drenching your Church with her tears, while you, mounting a white horse in your pity, presented her invisibly with her son, never ceasing afterward to work miracles with him. But entreat Christ our God that our souls may be saved.

Friday, March 18, 2005

From Dan Lauffer
How liberalization has killed Scouts Canada
Rather like churches that did that. The former Boy Scouts have gone bankrupt in HM Dominion.

Our Father, which art in heaven...
Eastern churches
What Holy Ghost, Philadelphia should look like (actually this is a new Orthodox church in Slovakia)
The verse over the arch is the first one of the Magnificat from Luke 1:

My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
And what it really looks like
It once resembled the first picture but was the victim of a 1950s modernization thanks to the infamous Nicholas Elko. Even an aircraft hangar, which both these buildings are architecturally inside, can be made into a dwelling-place meet for Our Lord.

From Cælum et terra
Iconography by Daniel Nichols
Blessed, praised, hallowed and adored...
Firefighters risk own lives to save consecrated Hosts from burning cathedral
St Tarcisius: pray for us
Anglicans for Life
This group is about a year old. Not the most cutting-edge website but a good catena of patristic quotations on abortion.
From Forum 18
Byelorussian authorities cut electricity to charismatic church
A Schadenfreude part of me says this but seriously this blog supports religious liberty and not uncharity. Yet at the same time we ask, ‘Как сказать по-русски Yankee, go home?’

Kazakhstan: Guilty verdict for Protestant dance teacher
For promoting Christianity in that Muslim land. Again, despite the joke above, he may well be a kind of martyr.

Burning Baptist literature in Uzbekistan

On the ‘Orange Revolution’ in the Ukraine
Of course we are wary of ‘democratic change’ rhetoric but the important bit of news here is that Mr Yushchenko is abolishing the State Committee for Religious Affairs.

Row in Serbia over unofficial church building
I too question the government meddling but it seems the Catholic thing to do would have been for Fr Deacon Bojan (Богдан?) to go under the local Serbian bishop. Interestingly the deacon is under the Romanian Orthodox Church but has a Serbian-sounding name.
From blog member Samer al-Batal
More instability for Iraq as US ambassador departs

Samer wrote all of the following:

International gay pride parade planned for Jerusalem

A majority of Jerusalem's more than 600,000 residents are either Orthodox Jews or Muslim or Christian Palestinians, traditional communities that oppose homosexuality.
I can’t imagine this sick trash happening in the bordering countries, but what else is to be expected from a colony of the secular West which embraces the culture of death and possesses no qualms about making it sprout in the Middle East?

[Protestant religious right who support ‘those righteous Israelis’, call your office. People have the right to be wrong but point taken.]

Happy Feast of St Joseph in advance to Roman Riters.

On St Joseph’s paternity
This Remnant article includes an excerpt from the reflections of 18th-century French Bishop Bossuet of Meaux, which makes a foray into the topic of suffering and the saint’s worries, misfortunes, and trials.

Some noted differences between East and West:

I am not sure how strongly the tradition of St Joseph’s virginity is stressed in Western Christianity, which is characterised by a much stronger devotion to Christ’s adoptive father, but Eastern tradition is disposed to seeing him as a widower — and a father with biological children (the brethren of the Lord) — who became St Mary’s husband when he was already at an advanced age, and already a sheikh, a view supported by a number of Church Fathers.

Another difference can be seen in how the article extols St Joseph as the highest saint and patron after the Mother of God, whereas amongst the ranks of intercessors, the East views St John the Baptist as the primary candidate after St Mary.
LRC pick
Playing the democracy card

Can democracy survive Bush’s embrace?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

From Orthonormal Basis
List of 100 best films of all time
This is one of those blogging games apparently making the rounds but I promise it won’t take up too much space here. My answers:

Saw: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 (finally!), 15, 18, 20, 21, 25, 32 (quite an accomplishment for a sequel!), 39, 40, 41, 43, 49, 51, 55, 58, 60, 62, 75, 77, 82, 84 (ja, you betcha), 91 (for something less soppy see Pygmalion in black and white), 95.

Saw parts of: 9, 14, 53, 56, 78, 89, 99.
Macabre imagery can be good for you
Both psychologically and spiritually and that goes for kids too, says Steve Greydanus (whom I met in passing when he was just starting out).

The Last Judgement of course is a common theme in Catholic art East and West — scaring the hell out of you before you die. (In the Orthodox tradition the icon of it, fearsome serpent and all, appeared in church on Meatfare Sunday recently as part of the preparation for Great Lent.)

One of the holiest men I’ve met, the Revd Dr Jay Reino, was a university lecturer in literature for many years (before retiring and becoming a priest) who specialized in the genre of horror!

I also slightly know E. Michael Jones, also the debunker of Medjugorje.

Children, especially, demand imaginary adversity in the course of developing the emotional resiliency to handle real-life difficulties and dangers ...Adults, too, crave stories that frighten in part because such stories help us get a handle on real-life fears and anxieties. The simple fact is that we occupy a fallen world, and stories that reflect this reality in imaginatively compelling ways help us with the business of living in it.

In the 1940s, when moral taboos against nonmarital sex were much more taken for granted, one might have a film or book in which the wanton were punished and the chaste rewarded, but it would be a morality-tale or parable, not a horror story. As moral norms shifted, however, what was once regarded as sexual immorality became increasingly associated with horror, as slasher films like John Carpenter’s Halloween, the promiscuous die and the virgins survive. The unacceptability of fornication was no longer an idea that enjoyed common acceptance in society, yet on some level society was not entirely reconciled to the new ethic, and the image in the film expressed with fairy-tale inchoate directness something that was felt to be true but could no longer be straightforwardly affirmed.
This book looks good:

Killing Monsters: Why Children Need Fantasy, Super Heroes and Make-Believe Violence
LRC picks
Charles Spurgeon
Victorian, evangelical, anti-war and anti-imperialist

Joseph Sobran on the glorification of war
By people who’ve never experienced it, unlike Germans such as Sabine Barnhart, who remembers:

The fire-bombing of Würzburg
60 years ago yesterday: ‘collateral damage’ was the point (and thus a war crime)

The made-for-TV revolution in Lebanon
From the blog archives

Bad snakes! BAD snakes!

‘Bad snakes! BAD snakes!’

St Patrick’s writings


The story of the American holiday
The Orthodox tradition
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt

O Lord and Master of my life (Господи и Владыко живота моего)
The Prayer of St Ephraim the Syrian, said in the hours of this rite during Great Lent. He’s also a doctor of the church in the Roman Rite.
truthout picks
Italy to quit Iraq
Along with Poland and the Ukraine

Bush rejects timetable for Iraq pullout

Amnesty International remembers Rachel Corrie

US military says 26 inmate deaths may be homicide

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Scott Peterson sentenced to death
That’s just even though I am a 99 per cent disbeliever in the death penalty. Some crimes forfeit one’s right to live and Laci’s and Conner’s murders are among them. The judge could have chosen life in prison instead but didn’t have to.

Laci's mother, Sharon Rocha, sobbed and trembled from a podium as she lashed out at her former son-in-law. Scott Peterson stared back at her without emotion.

"You decided to throw Laci and Conner away, dispose of them like they were just a piece of garbage," she said. "You were wrong; dead wrong."
Don’t you listen to NARAL like the intelligentsia tell you to, Mrs Rocha? The poor boy was only exercising his right to choose, you know — he just took it to the max.

As I understand it, the law at least in some places says women can do this without the father’s OK.
Anglican doings

Soon more than one C of E church could close per week

And a possible happy ending with an Eastern church connexion:

Arthington church may go to Copts
Why Jews don’t believe in Jesus
Don’t panic — this posting also has a rebuttal. I know the argument that the Messiah won’t die, and since Jesus was killed...
Making fun of what I do for a living
And like doing:

The Proofreader’s Hall of Shame

Grammar Snobs’ Journal
From Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Vatican speaks out for Terri Schiavo

Commando nuns?

Take back the church
From The Gutless Pacifist
We’re not pacifists but this is idolatry
New blog
The bait-and-switch president
The Irish partly explained
Irish Jansenism ...seems to have been responsible for building up the "lace curtain Irish" mentality which is one of the more positive stereotypes about the Irish. Its faults and its virtues were practically the same. It was puritanical, devoutly if somewhat illiterately Catholic, upwardly mobile, obsessed with respectability, and, for better or worse, it was the backbone of Catholicism in the English-speaking world. Those who hanker for the American Roman Catholicism of the 1950s are essentially hankering after the American version of the lace curtain Irish and their religion. BTW, that isn't a criticism. Given the morality, order, devoutness, and discipline of that culture to return to it, and iron out it imperfections might be no bad way of improving our society.
- Fr Peter Robinson

Not really this blog’s brand of culture but he has a point.

Thomas Day goes more in depth.
Is Sinn Fein’s relationship with Irish-Americans on the wane?
LRC pick
Rhyme and reason
By Camille Paglia, a smart (though not always right) and funny lady I’ve heard speak and have met

While my parents spoke English at home, my early childhood in the small factory town of Endicott in upstate New York was spent among speakers of sometimes mutually unintelligible Italian dialects. Unlike melodious Tuscan or literary Italian, rural Italian from the central and southern provinces is brusque, assertive, and consonant-laden, with guttural accents and dropped final vowels.
Tuscan and literary Italian are Latin that’s had a few drinks. The rural dialects as described here sound like Latin as a Germanic invader might try to speak it, which is historically what happened!

What fascinated me about English was what I later recognised as its hybrid etymology: blunt Anglo-Saxon concreteness, sleek Norman French urbanity, and polysyllabic Greco-Roman abstraction.
A clanking Germanic language with an infusion of French vocabulary and on top of that lots of Latin and a few Greek words.

The initial mixture of English with French words is Middle English (Chaucer for example), which we can read: ‘Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote/The Droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote’. Before that there was the English of Beowulf, which we can’t understand untranslated: ‘Beowulf mathelode, bearn Ecgtheowes’.

If the Normans hadn’t invaded, English would resemble Dutch today.
What does Fido know?
Intelligence of dogs gives pause to animal scientist

Turns out dogs are not immature wolves, as some theories have it. They aren't dumber than wolves, Csányi said, and they aren't following us around out of subservience to the so-called alpha dogs of the pack, i.e., us.

Rather, dogs are carefully evolved human assistants, said Csányi, who have learned to interpret our social lives in a way unmatched in the animal kingdom. They hang around us because they think there might be something good we could do together. And, we feed them.

If you're thinking that's a fancy way of saying "dogs are man's best friend," you're on the right track, but not yet at the destination. Dogs have evolved to think not exactly like us, but in ways that complement and parallel our thinking, Csányi wrote. We have a symbiosis with dogs that goes far beyond what most of us imagine.

No, they don't understand English or Hungarian, no matter what some doting owners think.
I disagree: they understand at least somewhat. Key words, that sort of thing. Once a police department imported some specially trained Alsatians from Germany and the handlers had to learn to give commands auf Deutsch.