Wednesday, May 31, 2006

GOP cynically revive proposed anti-gay-‘marriage’ amendment
Just in time during an election year. From Verbum ipsum.

In the UK, a proposed revival of sorts of common-law marriage
Good or bad? From David Holford.

Conclusion: Get the state out of the marriage business.
The rise and continuing fall of mainline Protestantism in America
Com-box gems from Charley Wingate
I personally would interpret the "mainline" as the establishment Protestant churches -- the ones that assumed all along that they had some sort of God-given right to be taken seriously. The problem, of course, is that after prostituting themselves to the banking establishment up until the 1950s, they then prostituted themselves to the academic establishment thereafter. OK, so that was snarky. But the sense of the churches as having their strings pulled from elsewhere is a problem that almost all Christian bodies in the US face, except for some obscure ethnic churches with no white members. (That leaves out most of the Orthodox churches, BTW.)

The civil-rights movement for blacks stands as the high-water mark of mainline power. Vietnam showed how it was to decline. I remember the nonsense of liberation theology, all right. Possibly by that point every one had thrown away or just forgotten their copies of Mao's Little Red Book, but still the whole thing was deeply embarrassing. Not the "concern for the poor" part, but the political theorizing.

...everything we've
[the Episcopal Church] done about evangelism for fifty years has been an abject failure, and the only way we can grow, it appears, is to get upper middle-class whites to have a lot more kids.

Go to the Valpo maps: the Jews have an urban distribution, but except for one odd clump in South Dakota, we are very evenly spread across the country-- far more so that most bodies. Almost all other groups reflect patterns of immigration, emigration, and historical origin. If there isn't an Episcopal church at every whistlestop, it's most likely because there weren't enough non-Germans/Swedes to support more than a Methodist church, and not because the Cassatts, Garretts, and Mellons didn't get off the train there. In fact, of all the parishes in Montana, not one of them is in Essex-- the one place in the state where the magnates most assuredly
DID get off the Pullman.

And, um, "orthodox 'mega mall' super-duper 'more-is-better' whining/snearing crowd"
is sneering. The thing is that I think if you started a Shaker colony in the Plano suburbs it would grow spectacularly. The Evil Conservatives are very much wrong when they assert that reverting to "orthodoxy" is going to reverse PECUSA's demographic issues.
As I’ve said before, the Anglican Communion is breaking up — without state coercion the Elizabethan settlement doesn’t work — and the Episcopalians will merge with other liberal white upper-middles going after an ever-shrinking share of that demographic.
The persecution of the Palestinians
From Katolik Shinja
OK, one more on that silly book
From John Zmirak via Huw Raphael
Why Modernists don’t listen to you
From On the Silent Planet. If they argue on your terms — objective truth — they lose, but on their terms — their darling precious opinions, or ‘there are no absolutes’ taught absolutely — you lose!
...what I consider to be the essential difference between Catholics (and Orthodox) and Protestants – that of authority. If you have no infallible teaching authority, ultimately debates devolve into unassailable opinions. A traditionalist may appeal to Scripture and Tradition*, but unless he can defuse by invoking infallibility the progressive’s appeal to an evolving magisterium, then his correct evaluation of Tradition can be ignored.
Reminds me of what I read about Sister José Hobday**, who before the end of the world was a Thomist. She knows her current ideology is indefensible from traditional Catholicism so she deliberately works around that.

It’s also why talks with Broad Churchmen end up one of two ways: they refuse to answer you or you get this:

I HATE you!

This is supposed to represent Anglicanism, the tradition that inherited Oxford and Cambridge?

Then again much of the message-board peanut gallery consists of angry gay ex-RCs anyway: The Episcopal Church — We’re More Lenient Than the Church You’re Really Mad At.

*The Orthodox describe this better: Scripture is part of Tradition.

**She seems the typical age of her brand of churchman.
Series finale of ‘Will & Grace’ ends eight-year truce between straights and gays

Columbia House launches subscription-meds club

On Italy quitting Iraq

From The Onion.
Or My Lai redux: Mr Bush’s speech vs reality

Lefty hawks
Been observing these strange birds since Mr Clinton was bombing Serbia (the reason LRC started) — here’s more from the LRC blog
...the hypocrisy of so-called opponents of Bush's war screaming for the US to "do something" about Darfur.... the concept of "humanitarian intervention" originates on the left... it was Bill Clinton who made humanitarian intervention and nation building a cornerstone of American foreign policy. It was only when a Texas Republican began invading nations in the name of "democracy" that the left objected. Prediction: within six months of a Hillary Clinton or Mark Warner Administration most of the so-called anti-war left will have done a 180 degree turn and will be cheerleading the exercise of American power to "democratize" the world.
Poll: Many Britons would celebrate Magna Carta anniversary as national day
Celebrating freedom not war or even empire: honouring Britain’s gifts to the world of rule of law and tolerant conservatism (search the blog) over arbitrary and absolute human power. Like Guy Fawkes Day* without the anti-Catholic stuff.

P.S. The greatest wine you’ve probably never heard of (but the Russians have) is Kindzmarauli from the country of Georgia.

*Autumn’s current bonfire and fireworks fest as readers and viewers of V for Vendetta (search the blog) know: ‘Remember, remember the fifth of November...’ The month already has Remembrance Day for peace so why not have the fireworks on the 15th June?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Trinity, Wall Street does hip-hop
Just the thing to impress the homies — affluent middle-aged and older whites trying to imitate them. Word!
The Internet Theologian™ explains that silly book
That’s now apparently an unwatchable film. Didn’t want to blog any more about all that (giving it free advertising) but this is too funny to pass up. From Charley Wingate.
Bush planted fake news stories on American TV
From truthout
Good on you, Google!
War in any of its aspects is never something to genuflect before or honor.
From the LRC blog.
Monuments to bad taste: Poland in the news
On John Paul the Overrated’s capitulation to politically correct sentiment (craven apologies all round) and how the anti-Semitism guilt card can be used not only to prop up the state of Israel/persecute the Palestinians (a number of whom are Christians) but also to bully Slavs in their own countries. From Catholic Neocon Observer.
New phone scam abuses TDD/TYY deaf service
Foreign criminals can mask bad English to bilk victims
The framers and the faithful
It’s true as Catholic integrists point out that religious liberty is only a relative good and that Protestantism and secularism are, objectively, sequential errors. And there were of course theocracy and state churches in Puritan New England. But by blogging a link to this article Fr Jim Tucker makes an excellent point that today’s evangelicals have forgotten their own heritage supporting freedom.
Babies aborted for not being perfect
It’s happening

Monday, May 29, 2006

Right-wing peabrains try to hijack United 93
Sensationalising the Gospel of Judas
Reminder: it was discovered in the 1970s. From Mere Comments.
Some jottings on the Orthodox tradition
Bishop Tikhon (Fitzgerald): Certainly not the gentlest of men but a fascinating figure with good qualities at least from the distance of this blog (an outsider’s view): theological and liturgical traditionalism fuelling anti-Bushian politics. He is the reverend father in God of the old Russian Orthodox diocese of San Francisco in America’s Pacific Rim, which unlike the ethnic-Ruthenian majority (more) in what’s now the OCA is really historically Russian. (SF has its Russian Hill neighbourhood.) Regrettably he seems to have taken the wrong side in a horrible financial scandal (possible embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars by the synod officials from their largely elderly working-class Slavic parishioners*) and so is now being essentially ordered to retire.

St Tikhon wasn’t a hypocrite. I wondered how he could be so friendly to the Episcopalians’ faces but at the same time plan what eventually became most of the Western Rite Orthodox experiment. In a com-box note to me Joe Zollars made it make sense. Indeed tsarist Russians weren’t particularly nasty to other Christians including those, like themselves, of Catholic traditions. St T envisaged not dishonest sheep-stealing but something rather like the provisional recognition of Anglican orders that some patriarchates announced in the early 20th century: corporate union of the Anglican Communion with Orthodoxy in which Anglicans would be received economically in their orders (without re-ordination) and retain their rite but de-protestantised and slightly byzantinised. That tsarist non-animosity included the first generation of the Russian Church Abroad: founding first hierarch Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky) agreed with that provisional recognition (which has never been nor will be activated) and his successor, the learned Met. Anastassy (Gribanowsky), once preached in St Paul’s Cathedral! But stories of official Orthodox approval of intercommunion with Anglicans and of Orthodox participation in episcopal consecrations and ordinations are the stuff of fantasy, nonsensical from the Orthodox point of view.

A word from Huw Raphael on that non-hostility and the Golden Rule. I don’t think there was a lot of imperial rhetoric about graceless heretics and dubious tortured Aleuts when Western Christians were being begged for refuge after World War II, for a reprieve from being sent back to Stalin’s USSR and its labour camps. In that spirit Joe Sobran, a Catholic, has good things to say about Protestant America. Here’s a note on religious liberty as a relative good.

On the recent furore in Moscow: the answer of course is neither thuggery nor political correctness. The Orthodox are of course entirely correct that it’s an abomination but the freedom homosexuals have in the privacy of their homes is the same freedom to be a Christian. So no, the government shouldn’t harass gays. Just don’t flaunt one’s perversion in public — if you want respect then show respect to the rest of us! (Note this predictable MSM dig at the church. If you believe in the laws of God and nature you’re painted as the murderers of Matthew Shepard.)

Today is the 553rd anniversary of the fall of the Roman Empire (its eastern half): its capital, Constantinople, to the Turks, who especially since the 1920s under Mustapha Kemal (God have mercy upon him) have nearly succeeded in wiping out millennia of Greek civilisation in Asia Minor including Christian civilisation — and people (Aristotle Onassis was a survivor of the rape of Smyrna). The last emperor died in communion with the Pope. By the time it fell it was the Roman Empire in about the same legal sense that Taiwan is the legitimate Republic of China: much shrunken with its historic homeland taken over by somebody else. Kyrie, eleison!

*A hit this relatively poor, shrinking (ageing) denomination can ill afford.
War criminals
In the past three years, the Bush Regime has murdered tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians and an unknown number of Afghan ones.

U.S. Marines, our finest and proudest military force, are under criminal investigation for breaking into Iraqi homes and murdering entire families. In an unprecedented event, Gen. Michael Hagee, the Marine Corps commandant, has found it necessary to fly to Iraq to tell our best-trained troops to stop murdering civilians.
State of Israel a winner again in US

Foreign policy: George Washington got it right


Sunday, May 28, 2006

More on ‘stop-loss’
‘The back-door draft’, or ‘the state owns you — owns
On ‘yahoo Bush-worshippers’
From The Gaelic Starover
Illegal immigrants: the great white hope?
From Katolik Shinja
US Memorial Day (more)
LRC’s Butler Shaffer on this bank holiday’s transformation into more militarism and pseudo-religious worship of the state

(Westminster Abbey, which at least was built as a Catholic church, the Benedictine abbey church of St Peter, is marginally better than all that.)

The story of Arlington Cemetery
And a real hero, Robert E. Lee

Here is more on ‘dying for a lie’ from LRC’s Laurence Vance, an evangelical.
Never again war!
- Pope Paul VI, who despite huge lapses in prudential judgement had some good things to say

P.S. Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, the defender of the Roman Mass, wanted to ban nuclear weapons. Peace.
To beautiful acquaintance and singer Marina Belica and her husband as she recently gave birth to twins Benjamin and Serena

Господь Бог да дасть им и многая и благая лета!

Speaking of music, who else remembers and loves the Sundays? Who as far as I know have left showbiz to concentrate on their kids. It seems that Harriet Wheeler has a personality to match her voice.
The deathcare business
The Goliaths of the funeral industry are making lots of money off your grief. From 1998.
Reagan’s Navy secretary, Vietnam vet now standing for office ... as a Democrat
"When I look at where this administration has taken its own party, I cannot help but think about the pendulum of history," [Jim] Webb said. "The pendulum has swung, I think, as far as it can swing given the principles this party had once espoused."

Webb says
[George] Allen is part of an arrogant Republican majority in Washington bent on repeating in Iraq the blunders that killed so many of his buddies in Vietnam a generation ago.

He accuses President Bush, whom he backed in 2000, of betraying conservative fiscal governance by pushing the federal debt toward $9 trillion. He claims the GOP, his former party, and Allen in particular are Bush's eager accomplices.

"We really need to get back to a time when the members of Congress will stand up to an administration that is abusing its constitutional privileges," Webb said.

...columns Webb wrote criticizing affirmative action. ...Webb's long-ago writings and comments questioning women's fitness for combat.
All that sounds good to me. Search using the blog’s Amazon box for Flirting with Disaster, by an ex-career Army officer I heard speak in person, on the politically incorrect truth about women in the military.

Though I’m not a pacifist I wonder if he’s still a Reagan-era militarist.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Gems from The Latin Mass magazine
On the Black Legend of Spain, or nobody expects the Dutch Inquisition:
It was not Spaniards who rejoiced that Indians were dying of disease ‘to make way for a better growth’. That was Cotton Mather in New England. Nor was it the Inquisition that killed supposed witches; that was New England too, late in the following century.
The Calvinists probably thought the Indians were damned anyway.
In fact, at almost exactly the same time as the Salem witch trials, the Inquisition in Mexico was asked to examine a number of cases of alleged diabolical possession in a town. After carefully examining the evidence the court found nothing to get upset about and reprimanded the Franciscan preachers whose emotional sermons and vivid imaginations seem to have run away with them and unsettled their listeners!

The several treatises of
[Fray Bartolomé] de las Casas, biased and seriously flawed as they were, had the merit of keeping the issue of Indian rights alive.
The living tradition of pre-conciliar Catholicism has both its ‘charismatics’ and its workers for social justice and peace!
It is often said as an excuse for the very different English relations with the Indians that the Aztecs and other [Mesoamerican] tribes were civilised while the North American Indians were still savage... the Guaraní of Paraguay were Stone Age people when the Jesuits first converted them.
Writer Diane Moczar recommends the film The Mission as do I:
[It] is remarkably accurate except for the Jesuits taking up arms at the end which they did not do.

From the melancholy fate of the Indian neighbours of the English colonists and their American successors, denied the true faith, done out of their land, given worthless treaties and herded onto reservations, the Aztec cannibals were — by a mysteriously divine dispensation — blessedly free.
On the Inquisition:
[In] Henry Kamen’s The Spanish Inquisition ... an interesting detail is that the Dutch, arch-enemies and arch-critics of Spain, had an Inquisition more harsh than that of the Spanish; in Antwerp [now in Belgium] alone 103 heretics were executed over a five-year period, more than in the whole of Spain for the same period.

Kamen makes the point that torture was limited and often not used at all; it was employed only for the purpose of gaining information, not as punishment. (This reminds me of the quaint English custom of hanging, drawing and quartering criminals such as Catholics.)

The inquisitors were trained lawyers, not monks; torture... never included the monstrous gadgets sometimes found in German prisons.
A nation in chains
...the land of the free imprisons more people than any other country in the world – both in raw numbers and as a percentage of its population.
The death of the nation-state

...the former rock ’n’ roll singer, who may have exhausted his limited supply of wisdom half a century ago with a lyric like "Awopbopaloomopalabopbop!"
His status as a rock singer is dubious and this like much of his material was pinched from stars like Little Richard (who has charisma to burn). He stands in the same tradition as (reference for ‘Simpsons’ fans) Pious Riot, or as P.J. O’Rourke put it, ‘I found the Lord and lost my talent’.
...the "bad guys" from central casting, those Arab terrorists...
What, no comments in this blog on United 93?
Really, you would have to conclude by now that the people still supporting Bush are even dumber than he is, or dumber than he appears to be.

I will, however, plead guilty if someone wants to accuse me of being a Susan Sarandon conservative. Sarandon, in a political advertisement that the Cable News Network declined to run in the patriotic fever leading up to Bush War II, raised the question all America and especially members of Congress should have been asking: "Before American boys start coming back from Baghdad in body bags," she said, "I want to know what Iraq has done to us."
From LRC.
The song of the vagante
Fr Michael (Wood) describes this phenom
Autism and quality of life aren’t mutually exclusive
The weakness of empire
I noticed this in The American Conservative and so did Samer al-Batal, who writes:

On the classic shift (or mutation, or natural progression, depending on your point of view) from republic to empire and the interplay of elements from both: a look into basic concepts and how these apply in the case of the US.

Interesting is this brief tangential note that draws a distinction between the concepts of king and imperial ruler, pointing out amongst other things that a republic often proves to be the larval stage from which an empire emerges.
First of all, what is an empire? Empire has less to do with scale of realm or of power than it does with one single feature. Simply, it is a polity where politics itself revolves around the person of the emperor.

This differs from the politics of kingship. Kings represent and embody a densely woven social fabric. They preside over a society of aristocracy: an extended family of rule, where the king is also father. Empires in contrast often emerge from republics.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Catholic values from Mexico
Gratitude to God, humility and putting family and friends first

The few, the proud...
The kind of people who brought you the Abu Ghraib follies

From Katolik Shinja.
Authority vs power
From Rod Dreher
President Disastro
Joseph Sobran rightly rubbishes both the Establishment right and left
Relics of a real saint but in a fake church
The Kyiv Patriarchate isn’t canonically Orthodox but an opportunistic nationalist schism from the Russian Orthodox, the biggest of several such shows in the Ukraine. A fault of RISU is that they usually don’t distinguish between such groups, calling every Eastern group not under Rome ‘Orthodox’. I understand the KP are friendly with the Ukrainian Catholics as part of beating their nationalist drum and they get a boost from the fact that President Viktor Yushchenko is a member.
Eurovision ’06
Well, at least the winners look interesting (like an act from a really well done Finnish ‘Star Trek’ convention) and not as naff as Abba* in 1974

A good explanation for Americans
Imagine whole countries embarrassing themselves like contestants at ‘Idol’ auditions

An example of what it’s about

*Who did record a lot of crap but also a few pop treasures, one of which was good enough for Madonna to recently (with permission) nick.
The GOP won’t try to stop abortion
So stop being played, people. From Daithí Mac Lochlainn.
More RC-EO dialogue
From gentleman blogger Huw Raphael
For anybody who’s been burnt by church gossip
Detraction is a sin, reminds Fr Jim Tucker
A common-sense, non-xenophobic argument for a national language
And a follow-up

The olden days of immigration

The myth of the Wild West
And the real savagery

From the LRC blog.
What fascism is
From C.F. Featherstone
Messrs Bush and Blair aren’t really sorry
A pathetic attempt at spin/damage control

P.S. Osama bin Laden is still at large.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Remarks on a recent RC-Eastern Orthodox conversation online
I see that the com-box in Jeffrey Moore’s second entry in Pontifications is closed (as is the one in his first) so I’ll write here. Thanks, All Too Common, for the heads-up. And I agree that Mr Moore’s first apologia reads rather like Rod Dreher’s recent controversial religious stuff: big on emotion, weak on logic.

As readers of this blog know I’ve no animosity towards the Roman Pontiff at all and am not trying to preach Eastern Orthodoxy here but I would like to answer some of the comments.

Mr Moore writes:
My answer to your question is - because I believe the Pope is necessary. I will admit that I am not familiar with all the “earliest evidence of that deposit (which) doesn’t clearly reflect the papal claims as understood by Rome today” as Phil mentioned.
There was a kind of Roman primacy in the patristic age as a catena of quotations from the Church Fathers can show, but experts on both sides acknowledge that the papal powers as now defined were unknown circa 1000 so Roman Catholics fall back on the idea of ‘development of doctrine’ to explain them (as Newman once famously described). In short, what constitutes infallible teaching (a function of church infallibility is one way of putting it that I like) is one of these: 1) an ecumenical council — and the Pope, 2) all the world’s bishops — and the Pope or 3) just the Pope. AFAIK the early church didn’t really operate that way. The Pope didn’t summon the first councils — the Roman emperor did! (The emperor didn’t claim the charism of defining doctrine himself — he left that to the bishops.) Nor was ‘reception’ of defined doctrine by the church as easy as having the Pope sign off on it. (The early church also didn’t make excuses for contraception like many modern Orthodox do, sounding just like Protestants, but that’s another conversation.) If that were so, why have bishops at all? Communion ecclesiology makes sense.
But frankly I did not think it was necessary to know all those pro-Orthodox reasons in making my decision. One reason for this is because when I look at Orthodoxy I do not see the unity that I was looking for; instead, what I see is a group of Churches that, although they share a common faith, are nevertheless very divided into ethnic groups.
I’m sorry but that’s just silly. The point is they share a common faith — they are in communion with each other. Roman Catholicism is similarly divided, both into national parishes in the US (default-Irish and everybody else: Polish, Italian, etc.) and by rite (the Eastern Catholic churches) so Mr M’s argument could be used against Rome! Does Mr M in his newfound love for mainstream RC imagine that everybody, including Ukrainians and Arabs, should all just become default-Irish Novus Ordoites? (That’s right: ‘Dump all that artsy-fartsy foreign stuff and listen to the St Louis J-Boys like a real Cat’lic. That goes for you Anglicans too.’) That’s not the mind of the church. Never was.
But that is only a secondary reason. My primary reason is that no matter what pro-Orthodox argument may be put forward you still cannot get around the fact that Jesus said, “You are Peter, and of this Rock I will build my Church, and the powers of hell shall not prevail against it.”
True but have a look at church history for the context. Churchmen in 500 or 1500 didn’t flip on EWTN on the tele or go online to get the latest pronouncement from Rome. In mediæval Christendom the faith was organic, lived according to immemorial custom. As Mr Dreher might agree, a crunchy traditionalism! Something the Orthodox get right.

Diane Kamer writes:
“Upon this Pentarchy I will build My Church”? I think not.
More silliness. The Orthodox don’t believe that either but rather that the Pentarchy, which simply meant all the patriarchates in the then-known world (there is no magic about the number five), was an historical accident, not divinely instituted. There are more than five patriarchates today, which rather proves that point.

I’ll put it this way: to spin an old joke seriously, I like the Pope when he’s Catholic. He’s not the measure of things; the faith is. (And I think Roman Catholicism actually agrees per St Robert Bellarmine.) I disagree with many of the Orthodox that the West was graceless, without the sacraments, etc., for a millennium, and that the Western Catholic saints in that time were deluded or even demoniacs* just because the West wouldn’t submit to the Byzantine or Russian emperor, neither of whom now exists. (That’s what the schism was about at the end of the day: ‘You won’t submit to God’s vicar on earth, our emperor, so you’re out of the church!’) But apart from that I see their point ecclesiologically. (And based on what little I know, so does the reigning Pope!)

*The late Gerard Bugge described this as the ‘anti-’ spirit (the spirit of schism?) among the Orthodox that turned him off. Far from the spirit of St Seraphim of Sarov or the anonymous Pilgrim, and happily few ethnic born Orthodox obsess negatively like that. The convert wackos online vomit that filth. And Rome most emphatically does NOT say things like that about the Christian East!
The return of the extended family?

Legalise it
Pot doesn’t increase risk of lung cancer

Johnny Rotten, pro-life witness?

From Katolik Shinja.

*Recently ‘reclassified’ in the UK.
The Western Rite Orthodox experiment
Part of the Orthodox convert boomlet that appeals to Vernon Staleyish (high-church, interested in the Church Fathers but anti-papal) Anglicans. One thing I forgot to mention is a byzantinisation also found in some Anglican consecration prayers written by patristic-minded old high churchmen (but not the English Prayer Book’s*): a strong epiklesis (invocation of the Holy Ghost over the consecrated elements) along with tightening up Cranmer’s dodgy wording to make it clear the elements really become the Body and Blood of Christ. Those who use a modified Gregorian canon* also add an epiklesis* but those who know better say it’s not needed in that prayer, older than the Byzantine Rite* anaphoræ that have that, and look forward to its deletion.

Here is the WRO version* of the American Missal/1928 American Prayer Book Mass, named after St Tikhon because this tsarist Russian bishop first had the idea of using this kind of service with ex-Episcopalians.

From Fr Joseph Huneycutt.

*Scroll down to read and compare the consecration prayers.
The enemies of freedom
Mr Bush’s minders’ buzzwords or ‘9/11 milked’. ‘The weapon of fear’ indeed. From Empires Fall.
Basra explodes
The British military in Iraq. From
Milquetoast Mussolini
The idiocy of Pat Boone. (Hooray for Natalie Maines.)

In praise of Tesco’s
Ordinary supermarkets make life better for the poor, says this article, a challenge to the romantic appeal of crunchy conservatism. It’s rather like the arguments for Wal-Mart (which owns Asda).

From LRC.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Is Christendom finished?
There should be a link in this list explaining why not to give up

Also, friend Paul Goings notes and AFAIK I agree even though I haven’t done the reading:
It may come as a surprise to those here that, in spite of my extreme liturgical conservatism, I am still quite interested in some of the current theological thinking. Two areas where work is being done seem to have certain natural points of convergence: the Radical Orthodoxy* (of Milbank, Pickstock, and Ward) and the Emergent Church movement (popularized by Brian McClaren in the U.S.).

Radical Orthodoxy purports to be, in part, a reclaiming of Augustine and Aquinas. It is a conscious rejection of the postmodern assertions that objective truth (religious or otherwise) does not really exist, and that a laissez-faire relativism is the only way to approach life; a kind of "post-postmodernism," if you will.

The Emergent Church movement is many things to many people, but one of its core aspects is the acknowledgement that, to a large extent, the Church needs to find new ways to present her message to the people of the twenty-first century (especially in the industrialized West) and that it is necessary to adapt our way of life as churchmen to the realities of a thoroughly post-Constantinian world.

I happen to agree with much of this, but what does it say about the catholic teachings regarding the Church? How can she be both a visible, discernable, body, with a visible head, and at the same time increase her accessibility to the diffuse communities and networks that we exist in today? Is there a period in history that we can look to?

The answer, I think, is both yes and no. With the Christians of the early Church, and with those through the centuries who have lived in pagan lands, we can share the experience of living in a culture which is indifferent to, and at times openly hostile towards, our beliefs and way of life. At the same time, I think that it is safe to say that society is fluid and tentatively connected like never before in history, both benefiting and suffering from a glut of easily available data and almost instantaneous communication.

Most of us
[to whom Paul was writing] are Anglicans, and so we have always been a part of an established or semi-established church. This provides certain comforts and aids to ministry, but we all know that it can be a trap as well, if we are not willing to see it as a tool for the building up of God's kingdom on earth, and not a supreme goal to be attained or preserved. This is the real danger of any bureaucracy-bound ecclesiastical structure, although I admit that structure and order is entirely necessary.

As Anglo-Papalists we should look to what Rome has done, and is doing. The many "new ecclesial movements" which we see springing up all over the place (e.g. Communion and Liberation, the Neo-Catechumenal Way, the Charismatic renewal movement, the Focolare Movement, and the S. Egidio Community) have the full approval of the Holy Father, who will again celebrate Pentecost with them this year in Rome. In a way, the traditional (Indult and S.S.P.X.) communities which are increasing in numbers throughout the world are very similar to these other movements in several ways. They are using extra-normal (in today's world) theology, liturgy, and piety to reach those who are seeking to love and serve God.

I would argue that Traditional Anglo-Papalism can see itself as another of these movements, and that this is both helpful to us, and perhaps also helpful to others in understanding what it is that we are about. We do not wish to appear separatist, sectarian, or schismatic, and I don't think that it's necessary for us to. We are upholding a valuable tradition, not as a museum piece, but so that it can serve as a light (one of many!) to the nations in this age of darkness.

If there is any interest in this topic, I think that there's much more to discuss; but I'll leave it there for now.
Post-post-modernism or pre-modernism by choice as ‘gathered community’. I see it.

*Which I understand describes modernity as essentially a heretical reconstruction of Christianity.
Graduating student at RC college slated... for preaching Catholicism
The moral: if you want to be Catholic stay away from those places. Apparently being ‘Cat’lic’ is to do with a kind of Irishness, excelling at sport and other than that living just like others in your newly attained social class (only without the noblesse oblige*, nice Gothic architecture and the idiom of the King James Bible and the old Prayer Book that WASPs used to have). From the Revd James Konicki.

Here’s Fr Martin Fox on the little darlings.
What a bargain: At a cost of a mere $100,000 or so, a northeastern college can take your child and transform him into a delicate flower incapable of handling opinions at odds with his own. It can close his mind and vacuum-seal it against opposing views. And it can, as a bonus, perhaps make him rude and incorrigible.
- Rich Lowry

Note to Mr L of the National Review (the instrument with which CIA agent Bill Buckley betrayed real conservatism, as much as I like ‘Don’t immanentise the eschaton’): inviting warmongers like Condoleezza Rice and John McCain is as absurd as preaching contraception at an RC institution. The ‘flagrantly tattooed and pierced’ kids you mentioned are correct.

*Instead they get political correctness preached by the chaplaincy and like their mainline Protestant neighbours conclude they may as well lie in on Sundays and, in their case, not listen to crap hymns.
United 93
Excellent filmmaking and a moving story worth seeing, showing what it probably was really like for those poor crew members and passengers on that plane. ‘Not an ounce of Hollywood bull’ is correct: no big-name actors, no incidental music, no stupid explanatory dialogue and no main characters to identify with (except possibly Ben Sliney, the FAA air-traffic-control boss who re-lived the day by portraying himself).

A possible drawback is that those (and I imagine they are legion) who’ve no idea why some parts of the world don’t love the American empire (my thought exactly on 9/11 when I found out what happened) will come away only with the view that Muslims are Very Bad. (And yes, these Muslims were.)

Possibly jingoistic: the Nordic-looking and sounding chap who argues that his fellow passengers should do as they’re told and all will be well.
A few gems from Rod Dreher
Why ‘as long as it’s a Wal-Mart’ doesn’t work for church

On using disabilities as an excuse
Especially when it’s ‘a transparent attempt by a very irresponsible member of an arrogant and privileged family to portray himself as a victim’

The neoconnerie as Protestants gone bad
From something bad to begin with! Sequential errors domino-ing to an endgame.

Why the religious left is a dead end
Pure sentimental mush. It has no power to bind anybody, which means it has no power to inspire. Can you imagine Martin Luther King Jr. saying, "I don't want to play the game of 'the Bible says this or that.'?" Can you imagine facing Bull Connor and the police dogs, much less Diocletian, with that bucket-of-warm-spit stuff? Come on!
Surprising conversions
Randall Terry is a Roman Catholic as are former ‘Jane Roe’ Norma McCorvey and former pioneering abortion doctor Bernard Nathanson.
Gladys Knight is a Mormon. (A fellow ex-Christian, specifically ex-Baptist, along with Buddhist Tina Turner.)
Where ‘reform of the reform’ isn’t just talk
Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Philadelphia, where friend John Treat goes. The Mercedarian Fathers always were sound.

Treat writes:
The 10:00 a.m. Mass on Sundays is an east-facing Latin celebration with Gregorian minor propers. There are still many kinks to work out, but it's moving in the right direction. 18 months ago, the parish was a standard American modern Roman shop. Over time, the pastor has introduced a higher standard of worship bit by bit.
I knew a corner had been turned when a couple of years ago I told a curate (about my age) there that the 1965 Missal would be a good default setting for the whole Roman Rite and he agreed! That wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago.

Another parishioner told me that the mainstreamish white liberals are leaving but the black locals love it.
Skeletons in togas
Or perhaps the early church wasn’t only a slave phenomenon. From LRC.
Bush vows US military defence of state of Israel
Four spiritual flawed assumptions
I’m not sure the concepts are wrong — they sound like largely orthodox but Protestant (particularly Calvinist-tinged?) Christianity — but Huw Raphael’s point is how do you communicate with the entirely unchurched/never churched who literally don’t understand those concepts? It’s a tough one, something that everybody from the original Modernists (who started off trying to be defenders/missionaries of the faith) to advocates of inculturation have wrestled with.
Bernard Brandt on the attempted ordination of women
Clericalism vs sacerdotalism: its proponents are about the former (power, as in ‘empowerment’), the Catholic faith the latter

I also like his take on the Christian East’s village mentality, or real not contrived ‘Christian community’ to use that shopworn expression: that matushki (priests’ and deacons’ wives), starosti (rector’s wardens) and the Orthodox version of PCCs/vestries defuse clericalism. (Then there’s the flip side, the problem of congregationalism vs apostolic authority.*) St Paul’s ‘diversity of ministries’, not at all the same as the fad of clericalising the laity one sees among modern RCs for example (like having every other Tom, Dick and Molly give out Communion). Just like the Orthodox version of ‘modes of presence’, with icons as a unique part of that tradition, doesn’t mean de-emphasising the Sacrament at all.

On one hand I don’t entirely accept his criticism that the historic Latin West has a skewed view of the apostolic ministry that automatically lends itself to the distortion of clericalism. On the other I see the ‘close contact’ of some Byzantine Catholics with the Novus Ordo as compromising. Lives down to the worst accusations of some Orthodox that it’s only the NO with a change of set and costumes. (Too often it is!)

Here’s a good word for an organic kind of traditionalism from Daniel Mitsui, a Roman Catholic gentleman who is part of one of the longest and liveliest comment-box debates in this blog’s recent history:
I've written that I am have a basically "Latin Orthodox" attitude as a Catholic - I see natural traditionalism as the primary way that the faith is preserved, not catechisms or papal pronouncements (the metaphor I use is that those are part of the armor, not part of the knight).
The crunchiness that Rod Dreher rightly likes (search the blog for more on his views including criticism).

*In the US for example Orthodox congregations have a history of treating priests like Protestant ministers, hired help the church council can virtually sack/force out. (Happily that problem doesn’t really affect the liturgy.) Jurisdiction-jumping is similar, and it seems this problem has hit the UK.
Talking to Andrew Bacevich
An ex-Establishment conservative warns of American militarism

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The left and the Klan: race-conscious
It always strikes me as odd that many of the same people who tell us to be color and gender blind are actually the most color and gender conscious. That infects us all because we begin to look at people only as members of a group rather than individuals because they see themselves only as members of a group and not individuals. Group identity takes precedence over everything, including the search for the truth.
The pretty face of the culture of death
Pig heaven for certain men being marketed as empowerment for women
The Church's stand on birth control is the most absolutely spiritual of all her stands and with all of us being materialists at heart, there is little wonder that it causes unease. I wish various fathers would quit trying to defend it by saying that the world can support forty billion. I will rejoice in the day when they say: This is right, whether we all rot on top of each other or not, dear children, as we certainly may. Either practice restraint or be prepared for crowding.
- Flannery O’Connor

From Katolik Shinja.
Cracking the Hillary code
By Arianna Huffington
It doesn't take a dashing Harvard symbologist and a sexy French cryptographer to figure this one out. this most propitious political moment, the presumptive favorite to lead the Democrats is doing everything in her power to distance herself from what should be the central holy tenet of the Democratic Party: opposition to the war in Iraq.
Condoleezza Rice, theologian
As I wrote earlier about places like Boston College (search the blog), they’re both ‘conservative’ and liberal in exactly the wrong ways

And as I wrote before, many/most people called Fahey or O’Malley aren’t being driven by hardship to join the military nor are they being conscripted.

From The Gaelic Starover.
Natalie Maines takes it back
The apology to Mr Bush, that is

People like him are why Americans in Europe often say they’re Canadian.

Support this site, peace and the Dixie Chicks by buying their music through the Amazon link on this page.
The Anglican Use as Potemkin village/bait-and-switch
This just in from Paul Goings:
I do not remember now how many Masses per week or Sunday that is required for AU priests to offer using the Novus Ordo Missæ, though that may vary from diocese to diocese at the discretion of each of their bishops. It could also be that as time goes by, expect to see an increase in the number of required Novus Ordo Masses as these parishes are gradually absorbed into the Latin Rite with of course, the Novus Ordo Missæ being the norm for that Rite.
Paul writes: Apparently they’re already compromised from the start!

Potemkin himself didn’t build such villages* but apparently the RC PTB do. Traditionalists, beware.

*Nor was Catherine the Great a nymphomaniac who died from trying to have sex with a stallion.
Crying for a horse
...if Americans cared as much about people as they do about horses, Sunday night’s presentation of the HBO documentary ‘Baghdad ER*’ might have actually awoken the somnolent majority of our citizenry who are as indifferent to the carnage in Iraq as they are to tax rates in Tanzania.

Sunday night’s premiere of ‘Baghdad ER’ brought the horror of an American medical hospital in Iraq’s Green Zone into full view and perfect focus. Unlike countless episodes of ‘MASH’, the only humor was gallows humor and the laughs, when they occurred, were so obviously forced that they seemed to be the only way to fight back tears.

But since the film does not include any information on how to get rich in real estate, lose weight, or buy cheap gas**, it probably won’t. And since none of the wounded or killed American soldiers hails from Great Neck, Grosse Point, or Glendale, ‘elite’ opinion will remain dormant.
From LRC.

*Casualty ward.

**Petrol, which wasn’t cheap in the UK to begin with.
Which is the real Iraq?

Middle class leaving Iraq

Samer al-Batal writes: Not quite news in pointing out the obvious, but there you have it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

From truthout
Murtha wins award

Nixon was quaint in comparison
John Edwards agrees
Wired news: ‘Why we published the AT&T documents’
From Huw Raphael
The last word on that book and film
As for impact on Christianity, I doubt this will have any more influence than the equally stupid The Last Temptation of Christ that came out in 1988. Yes, Brown sold a lot of books and made a bunch a money, but the book's message only appealed to those who wanted to be deceived in the first place.
From the LRC blog.
Analysing Spong
As Vernon Staley (a different and better brand of Anglican) wrote over a century ago (?), heresy is the intellectual vengeance of suppressed truth, or a stopped clock is right twice a day. The quondam Bishop of Newark (why be a bishop when you’re not even really a theist anymore — shock value, the pension?) has a point that religion has gone from being identified with noble-sounding causes like peace and the rights of minorities to (one can infer) the warmongering of Mr Bush’s fans but for the most part his statements employ crap logic: politically correct posturing with little critical thought.
"The public God we see today is mostly opposed to abortion and gay and lesbian people, and I find that really rather fascinating."

Thirty-some years ago, God was mostly mentioned in the context of the anti-war and civil rights movements, Spong said.

"That was the public voice of Christianity," he said. "Now it's the Religious Right, centered in the South and basically homophobic and anti-female."
• Perhaps his functional atheism is like that of some others: a convenient excuse to commit sins like bearing false witness. Fred Phelps, with whom Spong wants to identify all of us, doesn’t represent conservative Christianity, which goes out of its way to say it does not hate the sinner, only the sin.
• As humorist P.J. O’Rourke has observed, in real hard times like a depression when you don’t know if you’ll live through the next day, narcissistic self-pity like that of gay activism* (quoth Charley Wingate: the love that dare not shut up) and self-centred ‘spirituality’ are right out; people chuck it for real religion (submission of ego, of self, to a higher power).
• Why were the causes of mainstream churches 40 years ago noble? The anti-war movement was in part about the preservation of life, not the selfish taking of it like the pro-abortion movement. Equating one’s sexual wants to the real hardships (need) many blacks have endured is insulting. ‘We shall overcome someday... to fight for our right to party’?!
• Interestingly Spong doesn’t mention the real social-justice and peace issue of the Iraq war, only some pet causes of white upper-middle-class boomer narcissism/arrested adolescence.
• Once again, baby-killing as part of using women for sex — pig heaven for certain men — is presented as empowerment for women (so if you oppose it he slanders you as ‘anti-female’).
Bishop John Shelby Spong is a heretic ahead of his times.
Rewarmed 19th-century scepticism. Really ‘with it’.
The talks, under the heading of "Militant Language and Martial Metaphor," have so far focused on faiths other than mainstream Christianity - including Islam, the ancient Hebrew faith, rabbinical Judaism, Orthodox Christianity and Buddhism.
That’s news to Eastern Orthodoxy: for 2,000 years the Church Fathers weren’t mainstream Christianity and deracinated oldline Protestantism was**. Who knew? Mirror-worshipping rubbish.

Like anybody the Orthodox aren’t above criticism but what’s even funnier is when some conservative Roman Catholics try to throw the ‘You’re screwballs!’ argument at them (like Frank Kimball did in New Oxford Review a few years ago), making themselves sound like they’re really on the same team as the Modernists and opposed to their own authentic tradition!
It isn't nice but every time I've been at an Eastern liturgy I keep remembering Christ's comments on the Pharisees about repeating long prayers for appearance sake — just like Orthodox Judaism to this day.
Have fun at your guitar Mass — the way, you know, normal people (like the Irish?) go to church. Not that artsy-fartsy stuff that’s only for ethnic grease-balls, right, chaps?

In other news...

Narcissistic pop star whose albums I don’t buy tries to pull my chain

From Fr Joseph Huneycutt.

*In Philadelphian terms, if you can afford to live around 13th and Pine you’re not enduring hardship.

**Looks like an an example of Americocentrism. World-wide I know that Roman Catholics and Orthodox far outnumber all Protestants combined. Do Orthodox alone outnumber the Protestants?
On the morality of war
And the legitimate rôle of the military

Commie comics
Bamse the bear from Sweden

From LRC.
What people believe
...unscrupulous men, through misrepresentation and propaganda, can motivate people to go to war even though it is not in their country's interest, much less their own.
On Iraqisation
And doncha know? It’s now ‘just a police action’. Déjà vu.
On the evil of this war and the plight of handicapped veterans
Why mince words? From Empires Fall.
In the 20th century the bad guys weren’t the Christians!
A reality check from Srdja Trifkovic. From Katolik Shinja.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

On the myth of the Beatles
Let's make one thing absolutely clear: I love the Beatles.
They’re both overrated and one of the greatest bands.
The Beatles were not nice. From their birth as a VD-riddled speed-freak Hamburg show band to their misogynist, acid-addled mumbo-jumbo spouting hippie heyday, the Beatles remained at heart fucked-up, stumbling, nasty little gutter punks — way more Sid Vicious than Pope John Paul II.

For sure, Lennon's solo classic "Imagine" is an ideologically perfect socialist/atheist utopian anthem. But against that you've got to set George Harrison's bourgeois bellyaching on "Taxman" (the government taking money off multimillionaire pop stars to build schools and hospitals? Outrageous!)
Here Mr Wells and I are 180 degrees apart: I’m anti-‘Imagine’ (even more evil and dangerous because musically it is beautiful) and think Harrison sounded libertarian.

But I found the latter hypocritical in two other ways: an apostate Roman Catholic who was fine with elaborate ritual and organised religion when the Hare Krishnas did it but didn’t actually join*, he complained about intrusive fans which was justified up to a point (look what happened to him towards the end of his life and of course what happened to Lennon). But like I’ve written about ‘Imagine’ (search the blog) if it wasn’t for them buying his records (the market) he wouldn’t have had the landed-gentlemanly life he had. If he hated fame and what went with as much as he claimed, he could have given away Friar Park, Henley-on-Thames to me, gone on the dole in Liverpool like he probably would have ended up anyway if not for the Fabs and everybody would have been happy.
...and Paul McCartney's excruciatingly embarrassing support of Dubya's war on brown-skinned people controlling their own oil.
Really? Sorry to hear that.
Rock stars! What don’t they know?
- Homer Simpson after Sir Paul’s guest appearance
Bands were now expected to write their own songs. They were no longer pop musicians; they were "artists."

It should've been obvious at the time that something disastrous had happened. Great songwriters with shit voices murdered their own material. Great singers recorded self-penned drug-drivel that wouldn't have been used for arsewipe back in the Brill Building. And everybody was too stoned to notice.

Has there ever been a branch of show business that's taken itself so absurdly seriously?
In short the Beatles were good at what they did but disaster struck when the less talented tried to emulate them as songwriter-performers and the business indulged them.

Ringo Starr seems nice, like he knows he has modest talent and is genuinely grateful for the big break he got.

*To join, members give up all their goods and give all their money to the group, like monasticism except everybody has to do it.
On the US government’s latest diversionary tactic of racist fear-mongering
¿Un sólo idioma?

From Daithí Mac Lochlainn.
The Lion and the Cardinal
From Paul Goings: the blog of Catholic Daniel Mitsui. Regarding this, I understand the sentiment — it echoes Jerry Mander (ha ha) in Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (I only actually read about half of it) and indeed the whole radical cultural traditionalism of some in the Society of St Pius X or of the Russian Old Believers (who are still around). It’s Amish-like really: everything they do is intended to keep their religious community together; modern things that aren’t seen as a threat to that are accepted (they’re not pretending it’s the early 1800s). But I can’t sign onto it in theory even though functionally I end up largely doing so anyway (most of you are probably hipper than me) — I’d be a hypocrite. (What? Never watch ‘The Simpsons’ or ‘Law & Order’ again?) Some things are worth taking a stand for — doctrine and praxis in church for example. Whether one spends a few quid to see Roland Emmerich for example do what he does best — blow shit up in summer blockbusters — is morally neutral. The key words are discernment and judgement, being in the world but not of it (not the Vatican II nonsense of ‘openness to the world’; look what good that did!). Learning tolerant conservatism (search the blog) from old-school Anglo-Catholicism, for example, helps with this. Living in monastic fashion obviously isn’t for everyone.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Graduates at New School heckle speech by McCain
...there had been intense media coverage of Mr. McCain's graduation speech last week at Liberty University, headed by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, in which Mr. McCain strongly defended the Iraq war.
News from Russia on impending church reunion
The ROCOR will now join the Moscow Patriarchate as a self-governed branch, similar to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

It will retain its autonomy in terms of pastoral, educational, administrative, economic, property and secular issues.
Хорошо. From Huw Raphael.
On the Iraq war, RC neocons, Mr Bush and Iran
TCR News talks to Michael Baxter of the Catholic Peace Fellowship
How the Bush administration deconstructed Iraq
Doing the Baghdad Bob
Samer al-Batal writes: The administration’s fear of the truth of post-invasion Iraq throws a monkey wrench into CIA efforts at assessment.
The inner ring
By C.S. Lewis, from LRC today. Regrettably, bitch-cliques and other kinds don’t go away when you leave school and grow up. An LRC writer once wrote against the state schools that the kids naturally react against their different kinds being forced together by forming them. After that it’s just fallen human nature. I agree of course that little circles aren’t in themselves evil — just like you don’t fall in love with everybody you meet (that’d be awfully inconvenient) you aren’t friends in the fullest sense with all and sundry (the English reading this don’t need to be told that*). But what they make people do often is.

Naturally I love books like Paul Fussell’s that reveal secret codes far more useful than anything Dan Brown can dream up: these formerly unwritten rules, even the ones you already knew, confirmed on paper.

On a related subject here is Arturo Vasquez on mobile manners or lack thereof, I reckon from people who used to be called yuppies.

From the same source:

On recent wars
Fred Reed takes a page from William Lind and explains that World War II-style armies don’t work in modern guerrilla or Fourth Generation combat

Sucker art
Proving C.S. Lewis’ point
Andy Warhol was not a great artist, but he was no fool. When he died, it was discovered that with his own money, he bought traditional, representational paintings – not post-modern blotches.
*When you live on an island, reserve preserves your sanity and is a sign of respect for your neighbour’s privacy.
Fearful Iraqis seek haven in Syria
From blog member Samer al-Batal, safe in Beirut and with us again after a long absence

Ibadi Muslims (more)
Samer writes: They are the majority in Oman and form the small, fascinating, and only surviving faction of Muslims who belong to what could be called the third and less known branch of Islam. Other Muslims would call them Khawarij, or ‘exiters’ (those who have exited), though as a faction, they have evolved to beyond what characterised the mainstream Khawarij. They ultimately took neither side, Sunni or Shi’ite, in the question of the caliphate after Uthmaan, having as Shi’ite followers of Imam Ali rejected the Umay’yads in the person of Mu`aawiya, but then afterwards deserting Ali, considering his right to the caliphate forfeited after having improperly accepted Mu`aawiya’s compromise of arbitration. Ibadism assigns Muslims not of the sect to a special category of ‘heretics’, kuf’faar un’ni`ma, as opposed to outright idolaters.

Update from Samer: It wouldn’t be right to speak of Sunni or Shi’ite sides when talking about the conflicts between Mu`aawiya and Ali, as the Sunnis accept the caliphate of Ali, but also accept the legitimacy of Mu`aawiya’s Umay’yad dynasty which succeeded Ali, whereas Shi`a consider the Umay’yads the persecutors of the prophet’s family who ultimately killed Muhammad’s grandson Hussein at Karbalaa’. The Kharijites too greatly opposed the new dynasty.

Also, I should not have said that Kharijites were Ali’s Shi’ite (in the sense we would understand the term today) followers at the time before defecting (but they certainly were from amongst his forces and supporters). These core followers from the start did not accept the legitimacy of the first three caliphs who preceded Ali. Kharijites, though, if their view on this matter was the same as that of Ibadis today, would have recognised the first two, Abu Bakr and `Umar, as rightly guided.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Iraq descending into mass-murder state
Not only is it bad for Christians but overthrowing the secular government has also turned Muslim sects against each other. I understand that Shia vs Sunni is worse than Northern Ireland: neither side recognises the other as really Muslim. From Empires Fall.
An imprecatory psalm about spammers
From Crowhill

On that note:

The gospel as rewritten by revisionists
John 6:
53: Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. [...]
65: And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
66: From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
67: Then Jesus ran after them saying: Wait! Do not go away, I beseech you. I - I take it all back!
John 8:
10: When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11: She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and and do whatsoever thou desirest, even lie again with a man not thy husband, yea, even with another man’s wife, and become life partners with her, as long as thou thinkest thyself a nice person. Verily, verily, I say unto thee: that is all that counteth really, is it not?
UN panel backs closing Guantánamo
A feminist group in the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad?
NOW I’ve seen everything!
- Phœbe Buffay on ‘Friends’

Seriously, the Orthodox tradition has been blessedly free of these problems compared to Western churches. Are these legitimate differences of opinion about equity and not gender feminism, and criticising clericalism vs sacerdotalism? (In these two contrasts, the former and the latter respectively are the authentic Catholic position.) They seem so to me on the surface. Or are they really the tip of the iceberg: something sinister?

From Mere Comments
The Vineyard churches consider having women pastors
Theologian Wayne Grudem, a former member of the Vineyard movement, responds that asking those who hold to a complementarian view of gender roles to "bless" such a thing is asking believers to sin.
He echoes the impossibilist Catholic position. The improbabilist position is the other one.

Here is a photo of Orthodox proper nuns.
Sieg heil!
Private interests must give way to national security, federal judge says
From Ad Orientem.
More libel against Iran?
From The Gaelic Starover. Looks like agitprop. And remember, in Saudi Arabia you will be killed if you convert to Christianity or convert somebody else but I don’t hear any sabre-rattling from the Christian neoconnerie about that.
Can and should constitutional liberalism survive?
From Cælum et terra
The US military, recruiting and teen-agers... again
Best. Day. Ever.
For visits to and page views of this blog so far was yesterday, as Comic-Book Guy might express it. One counter registered 590 hits, the second more than 650 and the third more than 800. Many thanks, everyone!

How to do it:

Blog something that Fr Jim Tucker likes and writes an entry about.
Piss off some Broad Churchmen like at this blog.

P.S. Thank you, Fr O’Leary, for acknowledging this blog’s peace message after I was banned and Doug equated my disagreement with his theology to torturing and murdering Matthew Shepard. We disagree but you are a gentleman.
Much ado about nothing
The word is out all over the ’Net. Conservative Christians gave this much free advertising by letting themselves be whipped into a frenzy. Even the lovely Audrey Tatou (she looks great with her hair like this) couldn’t get me to buy a ticket.

Apparently according to Mr Brown if you carefully study the famous painting you’ll find that they served a big, fat turkey at the Last Supper.

Spoiler: !gnihgual tuo tsrub (?sennaC ta) ecneidua eht — taht ekil gnihtemos ro ’tsirhC suseJ fo tnadnecsed gnivil tsal eht era uoY‘ ,uotaT ot syas sknaH moT — enil citcamilc s’mlif eht tA
I swear to Astarte and the crone I’m not making this up
A parodist hardly could have come up with something better.
• Another shining example of Broad Churchpersonship: belief in nothing therefore everything. (Except eroding moral capital stolen from Christianity, mutating into political correctness, or ‘murdering the already born is still bad, maybe’.) Condescending relativism. Or Calvinism inevitably shattering into Unitarianism. (John Spong started out as a conservative Presbyterian!) Anyway, the people who 400 years ago tipped out prayer to Mary and the saints and devotion to relics as ‘vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture; but rather repugnant to the word of God’ are now into this.
• Not the Episcopal Church that introduced me to the Catholic faith nearly 30 years ago. Requiescat in pace.
• You can’t order the English Missal or the Anglican Breviary but until recently could order this through this site.
• Here’s more from Charley Wingate.