Saturday, June 30, 2007

On the box
Black Narcissus

  • ‘Proper nuns’ as an old rector called them: Anglicans though you’re not told that.
  • Even in 1947 the popular media looked down on the church and preferred to romanticise Asia and its religions... Just like when I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man I don’t see the conflict between the faith on one hand and desire and the senses on the other (I know it’s different for monastics)... nor do I think people in Latin or Eastern European cultures would... could be an English and Irish thing (Calvinism for one, Jansenism definitely for the other).
  • Eye-popping colour... and from the actors, classic less-is-more... fabulously sexy.
  • On that note, Kathleen Byron as the sister who goes mad, definitely.
  • I wonder why David Farrar didn’t become a huge star! (From what I can tell here he had more going for him than Cary Grant.) At the last trump in my glorified body that’s what I want to look like to make up for my time here.
  • Can you spot the religious mistake? Hints: listen carefully to Sister Clodagh.
Why people pretend to like modern art
From LRC
Non-Roman ≠ anti-Roman
Reunion will come in God’s time after the Roman Catholic Church re-discovers itself. It certainly won’t come from throwing mud at Orthodox converts.
From Clifton Healy.
The face of the poor is my face too
Helen Thompson of Episcopal Café writes:
You see, sometimes I know I'm lucky to be employed at all.

I have lived through the American incarnation of poverty. Sometimes it's weird, seeing my present middle-class world through that lens. And I didn't start there, having been raised in a middle-class family...

But I've realized now that jobs aren't about work, and aren't even about career. They're about calling. Even when I was at my poorest, I followed a call out of poverty, one that would later help me connect with people from a wide range of socioeconomic circumstances.

But to this day, when I look into the face of American poverty, I see myself staring into a dark mirror.

I know wealth and abundance in how it comes from the love of friends. I'll wear my thrift-shop threads to the country club with pride. And I don't worry about what next great opportunity will cross my threshold. And most importantly, I know there are other doors waiting for me — ones that when they open, I'll know I'm supposed to walk through them. And I'll be able to say, "Here I am. Send me."

That's faith, and it's priceless.
What the motu probably will and won’t do
Fr Jay Toborowsky (another YF) is sensible and realistic
I’m fond of telling my students that there are no such things as liturgical changes; rather, there are theological changes with liturgical implications.
Derek Olsen

Friday, June 29, 2007

Facts, history and speculation
From’s Scott Horton:
Most Americans can't believe that their government maintains an overseas empire of as many as 1,000 military bases.
More than Britain at the height of empire.
We don't want empire, but we have one. Since the end of the second World War, the people of the United States and of the world have had to deal with the terrible consequences of our country's involvement. It turns out it's nearly impossible to turn a limited constitutional republic into a globe-spanning, war-making leviathan and then go back again.
My views on WWII:
The Battle of Britain was won. The Germans had no ability to mount a successful land invasion of England – or even an unsuccessful one. If they had, certainly the English would have stashed the queen [sic: HM’s mild-mannered father, King George VI, reigned then] away somewhere and fought an insurgency as ruthlessly as the French, Russians, and Serbs, among others.
There were plans to do just that.

BTW I’ve known Russian and Ukrainian insurgents who fought on the German side trying to get rid of the USSR.
The British empire may have been lost without U.S. help, but in the end, it was anyway.

However, the USSR was preserved by American intervention. The U.S.-UK invasion of Europe simply popped the lid off the jar wherein the two most despicable regimes in the world were stuck fighting each other. Had America not helped, the Soviets would likely have met defeat, with the vastly overextended Nazi empire on course for the same fate soon after. Instead, Stalin enslaved half of Europe, helped Communists seize power in China, killed millions more, and ultimately provided the pretext for America's dominion over the Old World's empires for the next half-century.

(The Holocaust was never a reason for American intervention. Indeed, Roosevelt delayed doing anything about the death camps for as long as he could.)
He ended up giving a chunk of Catholic Europe to the Communists.

Former US President Herbert Hoover:
In June 1941, when Britain was safe from German invasion due to Hitler's diversion to attack Stalin, I urged that the gargantuan jest of all history would be our giving aid to the Soviet government. I urged that we should allow those two dictators to exhaust each other. I stated that the result of our assistance would be to spread Communism over the whole world. ... The consequences have proved that I was right.
US: more Republicans turn against the war
Thank the Lord for small mercies. From LRC.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi
Mainline churches are declining there, reports Frank Lockwood, as they are just about everywhere
Sometime this year, if it hasn't already occurred, the number of Australians claiming "No Religion" will surpass the number of Australians affiliated with the Anglican Church. For most of Australia's history, the Anglican Church was the dominant denomination Down Under.
Most Australian Anglicanism is thoroughly Evangelical.

I understand the place is as secular as Europe (America has always been both very religious and theologically very confused — it’s gone from Puritan Protestantism dominoing into the ‘Enlightenment’ to ‘I’m spiritual but not religious’, like Unitarianism without the potluck dinners) so I’m not surprised.

Regarding the rising RC numbers I wonder if like in the UK and Ireland they’re Eastern European immigrants. (I’ve been told a regular Mass-goer in Eire is either about 80 or a young person from Poland.) Which is probably great for those churches because the immigrants are more or less really Catholic.

Now with the motu proprio about to come out (Deo gratias, alleluia, alleluia as is sung at Easter) that may get even better!

Between this latest from Pope Benedict, along with his promised clean-up of English texts, and Russian Orthodox reunion (more) this has been a good year indeed so far for the Catholic world.

It puts the Episcopal row into perspective. You’ve got the loud online liberals pushing gay entitlement, suing conservative congregations out of their buildings to push that (people who pride themselves on not being legalistic certainly know the intricacies of property law!), and then crowing about it... (As for accusing the other side of theft, negotiate something instead! The law says you don’t have to but do it anyway.) Try and engage these people on anything else, like Iraq or Palestine, and they don’t care. Their upper-middle-class causes are all that matter. (Gayness and their church politics trying to promote it.) It really is driven by that class’s changing mores and not a consistent theology. A dodgy convert to Islam doesn’t affect them so that’s like one tree falling in an empty forest or something. (Here I mean the liberal sites that report nonstop on the Episcopal row; if the Archbishop of Abuja trips and falls they’re on top of him! Lots of liberals and moderates have spoken up agreeing the Redding affair makes no sense.) But if it’s something they want — gay church weddings for example — there’s lots of allusion to living tradition (!), and what a surprise, officially or not they get their way. (‘The Spirit told me exactly what I wanted to hear — c’est un miracle!’)

Meanwhile the conservatives often are of the Protestant persuasion like many Aussie Anglicans and, oh, yes, often wrong about Iraq and Palestine (and about Mr Bush and his minders). They really are in the Protestant religious right, like the RC neocons who still get played on abortion. BTW, those among them who boast that they belong to the church of Washington and Jefferson (I’ve seen this on ‘reasserter’ and Continuing church sites)... those were English ‘Enlightenment’ deists: ‘Don’t believe in that crap? Neither do we.’ They went to church because it was expected of men of their station: a good example because religion helped keep the masses useful, you know. Today without that social responsibility they wouldn’t be at this or the other side’s church (‘so wait, we go to church because it’s tradition but have gay weddings because tradition doesn’t matter... what?’). Chances are they’d stay home like most people in the equivalent class today do anyway.

It doesn’t have to be that one-sided though, and of course orthodoxy and Catholicity aren’t really like that. There’s ‘blogging ecumenism’ reaching across party lines and churchmanships, like with the ‘post-modern’ young people (really liberal liberals, open-minded and even charitable, who are giving tradition another listen) who even read the same offices I do (and sometimes better than me... you know who you are) and who do care about the big issues in world news for Christians, and a few centrists, usually born Anglicans at least my age... who knows, you may even learn a bit about the ‘disciple’ thing.

And politically you get good crossover like this now-reciprocal blogroll link:

Open Hand/Open Eye
Many thanks, John Spragge and Allison MacDuffee in Toronto

Anyway Mr Lockwood answered me about RC in Oz:
I think immigration is fueling the church's growth, but not necessarily immigration from Eastern Europe. The [Roman] Catholic church is vibrant in much of Asia.
Fr John Zuhlsdorf’s readers are debating whether to have the Roman Mass in the vernacular: repeated my pennorth here.

To thank the Pope for the motu, on this feast-day of the see of Rome’s patrons:
ODIE * Simon Petrus ascéndit crúcis patibulum, allelúja: hódie clavicularius regni gaudens migrávit ad Christum : hódie Paulus Apóstolus, lumen orbis terræ, inclináto cápite, pro Christi nómine martyrio coronátus est, allelúja.

EUS, qui hodiérnam diem Apostolórum tuórum Petri et Pauli martyrio consecrásti : da Ecclésiæ tuæ, eórum in ómnibus sequi præcéptum; per quos religiónis súmpsit exórdium. Per Dóminum nóstrum Jésum Chrístum, Fílium túum, qui técum vívit et régnat in unitáte Spíritus Sáncti, Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculórum.

Meanwhile the Russian Orthodox are commemorating St Tychon (Tikhon) of Amathus, a Cypriot who opposed the cult of Aphrodite, which tells you 1) when he lived and 2) some things never change.
HOU didst prove to be a citizen of the desert, an angel in the flesh, and a wonderworker, O Tychon, our God-bearing Father. By fasting, vigil, and prayer thou didst obtain heavenly gifts, and thou healest the sick and the souls of them that have recourse to thee with faith. Glory to him that hath given thee strength. Glory to him that hath crowned thee. Glory to him that worketh healings for all through thee.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

South Korea quits Iraq
Not that the third largest deployment of foreign troops in the "Coalition of the Willing" ever served any real function, for good or ill. But this is still a wise and symbolic move.
Joshua Snyder
Poem: ‘The War Works Hard’
By Dunya Mikhail. From Thicket & Thorp.
‘Head religion’ and practice
Self-conscious or natural orthodoxy, or protestantised religion opposed to sacramentalism: two kinds of Catholics/high churchmen

Somewhere along the line I’ve picked up the idea that ‘head religion’, where liturgy and other practice don’t matter as much as ‘doctrine on paper’, is something that appeals to former hard-core Presbyterians and other conservative Protestants; they seem happy as conservative Novus Ordo RCs (’we don’t want that artsy-fartsy high-church stuff; we’ve got the catechism and santo subito! Santo subito!’). From the Institutes to JPII’s catechism… almost seamlessly.

(The natives in the latter church scene — descended from persecuted Irish — are the people Thomas Day described perfectly.)

Those for whom practice including liturgy matters as much as doctrine are happier as Anglicans or Orthodox... and possibly as high-church Lutherans. (Nobody can accuse the Orthodox or the Lutherans of being weak on doctrine either.)

Unsurprisingly the two brands of high churchmanship (in the old sense of high theology and church authority not necessarily ceremonial) don’t understand each other or really get on.
Apparently the motu proprio is real
Gaudent angeli! Now let’s see if anything comes of it.

Here’s more on this.

Le Croix has confirmed the story.

A vocation for Anglicanism
Fr Jay Scott Newman, a conservative Novus Ordo priest not sympathetic to bringing back the Roman Mass, recently wrote:
Everything we experienced in the [RC] parish church this morning is alien to our tradition and not in keeping with the doctrine or discipline of the Church; it was foisted on us during a time of cultural upheaval and chaos, and in due course, we will be rid of it. Meanwhile, everything we experienced in the [Anglican] Cathedral this morning is Catholic in its origin: the building, the music, the words, the vestments, the ritual, the ethos of prayer. Perhaps in the Providence of God these things had to be kept for us against that day when we would forget our own patrimony and no longer know how to worship the living God in spirit and in truth. All we have to do is reclaim our birthright.

Perhaps now...
[Roman] Catholics can recover our own patrimony from unlikely places. Or not so unlikely; after all... we must remember where it all came from in the first place.
Thomas Day has explained why so many are not interested in doing that.

From Incarnatus.

In any event if the rumour is true thank the Pope for the chance to bring Western Catholic practice back to its rightful place alongside this.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Anglican row, the word ‘orthodox’ and the Orthodox
Clifton (Benedict Seraphim) Healy has sussed out the liberals

Did you know that Billy Graham had a mixed marriage?
Though the wife of a famous Baptist minister, Ruth Graham declined to undergo baptism by immersion and remained a lifelong Presbyterian.
Participation and the word
Talking to the Revd Chris Tessone and friends about liturgical revision and restoration
Conservatives must oppose militarism and war
High-schoolers get in Bush’s face about torture
And he lies to them. From the LRC blog.
More from Meyendorff
Very few Roman Catholic theologians and historians are presently defending the simplistic idea that Roman primacy and papal infallibility were actually established and defined by Christ himself, and that it is found on the pages of New Testament and in the practice of the early Church.
As I understand it this is required Roman Catholic belief, defined doctrine: if one denies it, it would be honest, if conservative, to become Orthodox or, if liberal, to become Protestant. My guess is Fr John, writing in 1981, is referring to liberal dissenters:
Without the authoritarian guidance to which they were accustomed in the past, many Roman Catholics tended to abandon the truths and values which had kept them so close to us... in adopting a ‘nice guy’ attitude to everybody and everything (including, peripherally, the Orthodox), they think to reach a univeral consensus which, if it ever occurs, will have little in common with the Christian faith.
The Romans caught a cold so the Anglicans came down with pneumonia. (Like the old joke about the altar boy fainting at Westminster Cathedral and spikes swooning all over the sanctuary at Bourne Street the next Sunday.)

Anyway, back to RC theologians and historians:
They recognise that the papacy grew in history, that its growth and development were conditioned by politics, by local doctrinal issues [that is, how to express the one body of Catholic dogma], and that it occurred in times when the Latin Christianity of Western Europe had very little contact with and understanding of the Christian East.
True and fair: they fall back on development of doctrine to explain it.

Fr John’s and other good Orthodox’ point:

There may be a hair’s breadth of difference between a top patriarch, whose position in the divinely instituted episcopate is man-made like any other rank of bishop for the good order of the church (which they accept; Kallistos (Ware): ‘Orthodox believe that among the... Patriarchs a special place belongs to the Pope’), and the doctrine Fr John describes above. But, they say, the latter skews the church the wrong way; even if done in the name of defending tradition* you end up with something un-, even anti-traditional, hence Protestantism, the ‘Enlightenment’ and the big liberal RC revolt after Vatican II.

Just something to think about.

On politics:
Christians have advantages over their non-religious co-citizens. They know through faith of the true meaning of such words as ‘justice’, ‘peace’, ‘security’. They know that none of these realities can be provided by political or military or economic means only. Politicians are lying when they promise those things to the people in their programmes or their slogans...

There is actually no clear and simple formula which would give us infallible directions as to how this divine love revealed to Christians is to be realised in their attitude towards society at large.
Liberating, isn’t it?

Remember what Archduke Otto von Habsburg said about being neither a monarchist nor a republican but a legitimist? (He can no more imagine America as a monarchy than Spain as a republic.) That’s the Catholic view: some forms may be better but we’re free to form any kind of government that works depending on where we live... a small real monarchy in Liechtenstein, a constitutional one in Britain and the dominions, a republic (or at least it should be) in America...

Unlike faith’n’morals, this is relative.
Psalm 145/146:2:
O put not your trust in princes, nor in any child of man : for there is no help in them.
Neither the sickle nor the swastika as this blogger’s husband said to me over 15 years ago. Don’t get played by the Christian right or the secular left.

*Pius IX did not see himself as above tradition, as above rule of law. On adding St Joseph to the Roman Canon: ‘I can’t! I’m only the Pope!’)
One more on Dr Redding, the Episcopalian-turned-Muslim
The loving thing for Bishop Warner to do would be not only to inhibit Mtr. Redding in her work as a priest but also to excommunicate her. This probably sounds incredibly harsh. But really and truly, it is the loving thing to do. If he truly cares about the state of her soul, and about the souls of those who look to her as a pastor and a teacher, it’s the action he must take....
Well put, Father.

You seem to be one of the few out there who understands what excommunication really means: it’s not telling somebody he’s definitely going to hell (nobody on earth can presume that) as it’s often misrepresented.

Of course the conservative sites I pop into were all over this story from the beginning but once the moderates and liberals started talking about it online I found lots of common sense much like yours.

Simply put, and as charitably as possible, Dr Redding and +Olympia are wrong. Intellectually dishonest and disrespectful to both religions.

Next to no-one, Catholic, Central, Evangelical or Broad, defends what they’re doing.

From J-Tron.
Pelosi in 2007
So what is the solution now? Logically, Cheney and Bush should resign forthwith... Maybe Pelosi would appoint her friend, Congressman John Murtha, as Secretary of Defense. That would be a start and a plus. Murtha is a straight talker... In any case, it appears most unlikely that President Pelosi could do more damage than what the co-consulship of Cheney & Bush has already. Nearly impossible, in fact. The “neocon” foreign policy legacy of Cheney & Bush is a disaster with a capital D, thanks to their own malfeasance--due in no small part to the establishment Democrats who enabled the disaster.
As I like to say a boxed-in Bill Clinton made a serviceable conservative president.

From The Western Confucian.
Ron Paul on stem cells and taxpayers’ rights
When Washington subsidizes something, it does so at the direct expense of the taxpayer. Likewise, when Washington bans something, it generally requires a federal agency and a team of federal agents – often heavily armed federal agents – to enforce the ban.

Our founding fathers devised a system of governance that limited federal activity very narrowly. In doing so, they intended to keep issues such as embryonic stem cell research entirely out of Washington’s hands. They believed issues such as this should be tackled by free people acting freely in their churches and medical associations, and in the marketplace that would determine effective means of research. When government policies on this issue were to be developed, our founders would have left them primarily to state legislators to decide in accord with community standards.
He’s not getting played.

From LRC.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The general’s report
How Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties. From Hoosier Musings.
My Myers-Briggs type: ISFJ
War, foreign policy and the church
The religious right is wrong
From a Christian perspective there is only one way to describe U.S. foreign policy: it is evil.
Why I would vote for a partnered gay atheist who shared these political beliefs with me
Luke 10:25-37

Standing for office ≠ canonisation.
Normal Catholic life or lack thereof
Or what’s wrong with both the RC traditionalist movement (Fr Anthony Chadwick nailed this when he was blogging) and conservative Novus Ordo. From Moretben via Arturo Vásquez.
Catholicism, one might be forgiven for observing, only actually exists today on paper. What Bishop Fellay calls "normal Catholic life" is not possible anywhere - not in a "conservative" parish, and not in the SSPX, either. Whatever one's position, one requires an additional layer of theory (“hermeneutic of continuity” or “state of emergency”, according to inclination) to qualify it - to paper over the theological or ecclesiological gaps and fissures one has to live with in practice.

What to do about it it? I don't know. Telling the truth, though, has to be the indispensible condition of an integrated Christian life. A religious posture which requires to be shored up with ideological constructions and historical contingencies in order to preserve the appearance of coherence - of
realisability - cannot be maintained indefinitely.
Well, at times in the past 40 years — in my case about 25 out of about 30 as a consciously practising churchman — it’s felt that way!

First of all, as I wrote to Fr Marshall Scott recently, there was the destruction of the Catholic Movement in Anglicanism, really accelerated in the time period I named above. Just like I’m sure Moretben doesn’t mean there are no churches with holy and sound priests and valid (‘grace-filled’ in Orthodox lingo) sacraments for a Western Catholic to go to (he and I aren’t advocating ‘home alone’ religion, which is just another form of ‘imagination church’ he’s rightly criticising) of course I know there are still Anglican parishes, even officially ‘non-aligned’ ones really ‘under the radar’, that have got the Catholic religion. What I meant was there really is no more Movement — the Congresses*, the Church Union, the American ‘biretta belt’ — that can confidently claim it alone speaks for Anglicanism (which, I said, wasn’t really arrogance, like it was all one person’s idea, but rather faith) no matter how much you can read Catholicism into classic Anglicanism.

So Moretben is saying here about some well-meant movements among RCs.

From one of his more recent entries:
... pray the Office anyway. Pray the Missal. [Mass-and-office Catholicism!] Adopt both as the primary source and inspiration of your devotional life - but for the good of your soul, keep clear of TradWorld!
As I like to say the real pre-conciliar Western Catholic church was neither 1) monolithic nor 2) a perfectionistic, even Jansenist, little sect like the traditionalism I think Moretben is criticising. ‘The Catholic Church: here comes everybody’: you had the good, the bad, the indifferent and lots of it!

I know because not only am I barely old enough to remember the tail end of the old Anglicanism but my father confessor for the past 11 years remembers old-school RC: he grew up in it and loved every minute of it. (Prays for every Sister of St Joseph who taught him.) According to him what I just wrote above was true!

This natural traditionalism, not the cultish self-conscious kind, came up recently when I was talking to two Russian Orthodox priests, both of whom grew up old-school RC... we were talking about the people who reject the recent reunion of the Russian Church (more). These men, on the other hand, understand what it means to be the mystical body of Christ, in the Una Sancta: how could they not? The nasty doxer-than-thou converts who write much online about Sergianism, ‘evil’ ecumenism and how wicked the reunion is (and, unlike 19th-century Russian gentlemen, are beastly not only to other Christians — that toxic anti-Westernism — but, among them, other Orthodox!) often came from Protestantism and just don’t get this! Many born Orthodox do however — because of that, among them the big issues tearing the West apart never really come up. (Sure, there are lots of people with wrong opinions but they usually don’t about changing the church to fit them. Old-school RCs knew better too even when they didn’t live up to the church’s teachings.) And all without charismania, ‘Santo subito!’, EWTN or even this medium for that matter.
On the other hand, although I am grateful to the SSPX on whom I have depended, on and off (and never exclusively) for twenty-five years, they remain committed, apparently, to a mere restoration of the status quo ante.
Yes but the trouble is it’s not even really that but a fanatical sort of caricature of a certain kind of 1950s church life, not the real stuff with all its depth and breadth: people from Francisco Franco to Dorothy Day reading their traditional missals and Little Office and telling their beads.
That last forty years during which your family apostasised and you were pushed out of your parish? They never happened.

Asserted continuity is meaningless here. It springs from the same desperation that leads conservatives to insist, whenever an official statement includes something obviously at odds with reality,
"Oh well, of course he has to say that..." - as though Our Lord could ever require us, like Soviet Communists, to falsify reality in order to preserve the credibility of some a priori ideological position or "foundational myth" - the Conciliar Renewal or the Glories of the Revolution.
IOW people especially like my father confessor who lived through the horror of the changes don’t believe the neocon line about how wonderful everything really is, or ‘as long as it’s a Wal-Mart’, or ‘go to the Novus Ordo emporium run by people who are really non-Anglo liberal Protestants... because it’s under Rome and that’s what counts’.

You can know better and not hate Western Catholicism. Quite the opposite in fact.
Why has Western Christianity shattered into pieces at least twice in the past 1000 years? Why does it seem so predominantly arid and legalistic? Is a restoration of all the appurtenances of the central-bureaucratic Papacy, and an officially asserted “continuity” the answer? My own attitude to the Papacy - notwithstanding a sincere admiration and affection for its present occupant - is...
In the question at the end of the first entry here.

(Not at all the same as hating the Pope because he’s Catholic like the Western liberals do!) "heart-thinking encounter" with Orthodoxy...
Like I wrote above the Orthodox understand all this.

And now to be fair some criticism of the Orthodox. In his marvellous little book Witness to the World (in which, in the 1970s, he perfectly describes the Catholic view on the Episcopal row) Fr John Meyendorff writes:
...the Orthodox tradition disagrees with some Roman Catholic attitudes towards human sexuality and, particularly, married clergy, which were also firmly espoused by the Pope [John Paul II]. And we know that this Orthodox tradition (which also rejects some newer Roman Catholic dogmas [he means doctrines]) is not based on ‘modern trends’ or Protestant liberalism but is rooted in the very apostolic foundation of Christianity.
The rule on clerical celibacy is a matter of discipline not doctrine. And the Orthodox practise it: all bishops are monks. My objection is Fr John implies that the modern Orthodox view on artificial birth control is traditional as well as correct; it is neither. For example in the first edition of The Orthodox Church Bishop Kallistos (Ware) teaches the Roman position (as did all Christians before 1930) whilst the newer printings fudge this much like Fr John does here. I’m sorry but he seems to be telling a fib.

Roman Catholicism’s unique contribution to my life is traditional moral theology including the practice of the confessional. It’s the gold standard.

*A long time ago in England I spent part of an afternoon with somebody who was at some of the first Anglo-Catholic Congresses.

P.S. Here is a photo I like from Arturo of a Roman Mass in what looks like a 1940s parish church.

P.P.S. There are Russian exiles in their 80s and 90s who fled the USSR during World War II and reject the reunion because they are still afraid. (The KGB used to kidnap people in the States.) I know a few. Of course I understand.

Monday, June 25, 2007

‘War is horrible, but...’
A commentary from Robert Higgs via Wendy McElroy
Pope takes Blair to task over Iraq, abortion and stem cells
...the deep Vatican opposition to the war in Iraq, first expressed to Mr Blair by the late John Paul II and reiterated since...

Four years ago Mr Blair was given a dressing down by Pope John Paul II, who warned him not to invade Iraq. The Vatican feels that events since the late Pope's views were brushed aside have proved him right.

Today, the Pope made an enigmatic reference to "true conversion" in his midday Angelus prayers.
Did the soon-to-be-former PM really think the Pope would be impressed that he wants to join the liberal hypocritical faction of RCs?
...same-sex marriages...
Get the state out of the marriage business. These people deserve our charity and should be able to move in together, have any non-Catholic ceremony they want and be left in peace. It is part of the church’s mission (because it is in the truth business) to say it’s wrong. But none of the state’s or my business.

From The Western Confucian.
More muscular interventionism
Barack Obama is not and never really was a peace candidate and thus not worth your default vote
While state legislator Obama opposed an immediate war with Iraq in 2002-03, he did not do so on anti-imperial or noninterventionist grounds. He opposed the war at a time when the idea was relatively unpopular, especially among his Chicago constituents.

Of course, Obama is being dishonest when he pretends that the U.S. government was trying to "ignore the rest of the world" prior to 9/11. Isolationism did not provoke the terrorists. On the contrary, the terrorist attack was partly a result of decades of U.S. intervention overseas--precisely the kind of meddling that Obama euphemistically calls "maintaining a strong foreign policy, pursuing our enemies, and promoting our values around the world."
Well, what did you expect from the establishment left? Woodrow Wilson could have said that. The twist now is that the right — not to be confused with free-trade, mind-your-own-business real conservatives — are just like them.

From CounterPunch via the LRC blog.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire and other peaceful protesters gassed and shot with rubber bullets by Israeli army
From John Treat

Palestine: they want freedom now
Alas, President Bush discovered that he didn't like democracy after all.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

On being Catholic
There is a lot of joy and consolation in the Catholic religion. (Remember the famous quotation from Hilaire Belloc? Benedicamus Domino.) But:
I am not a Catholic because it feels good; I am a Catholic because I want to save my soul, and that means embracing the truth as revealed by the Son of God.
As friend Paul Goings sympathetically said recently lots of people ‘get burned by organised religion’ (even the church is made up of fallible people but is more than that) but people who are ‘into spirituality not religion’ often want instant gratification: I’m in charge; God is like a vending machine. No.
In Iraq at this moment, being Catholic means suffering murder, rape and exile. No, it is not always a fun, happy and enjoyable thing to follow the Catholic religion.

The point is, being a Catholic means that
sometimes you cannot marry the person you want to marry, when you want to marry them. It means not always being able to sleep with the person one may want to sleep with, at one's personal convenience, if at all. At times, being a faithful Catholic means NEVER being able to marry or sleep with the person one loves. It means self-denial and taking up the cross, which is why chastity and consecrated celibacy are among the highest forms of love and martyrdom.

So many people want the trappings of Catholicism, but not the inner core of suffering and sacrifice that must accompany true belief. As St Teresa of Avila said: "The battle will not last long, and the reward is everlasting."
Mark 8:34...

From Tea at Trianon.

And there’s this from Orthodoxy:
...The amazing thing about the author’s family in Karen was not that they were [Roman] Catholic but that their whole lives were lived in the context of their faith. It was deeply woven into every day, every decision. That is what I longed for. That is what I have found in Orthodoxy. A faith that is not content to stay neatly confined to Sunday morning but overflows its banks, sweeping away the debris of my soul and pouring through every crack, every corner of my life. Fasts and feasts, darkness and candlelight, the scent of incense, the taste of bread, all running together in a glorious flood that transforms the ordinary into a sacrifice of praise. That transforms me.
I heard Clark Carlton speak once on his journey to Orthodoxy. He quotes an archimandrite from Mount Athos who said "A God who does not deify man; such a God can have no interest for us, whether he exists or not." True Christianity is integral to the whole man; mind, body, soul and heart and man yearns to be whole.

I am an Orthodox Christian because I am broken and I long to be whole.
From From Wittenberg to Athens.

Caught on camera
In my habitat, here at the Rosary for the Dead. From John Treat.

Of your charity pray.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Awful corporate lingo
The classic middle-class act as Paul Fussell described
‘Vienna Station received another signal from Locksmith this morning, fully prioritised.’
‘Er... prioritised, sir.’
‘Will you be around for initialling appropriation orders later in the afternoon, sir?’
‘Well, young Reeve, after a brief luncherising and half an hour’s memorandorising Cabinet, I’ll be at Lord’s.’
‘Right, sir.’
‘So if you want me to signatorise anything, send Simon Hesketh-Harvey round, he’s a member. Now I must go and lavatorise. And while I’m away for God’s sake try and learn to speak English.’
— Stephen Fry from The Liar

I really shouldn’t complain — Deo gratias, I don’t work in a place that talks like this and the people who do use pseudo-words like these give me lots to do! (Rewriting their articles and press releases, putting them into real English.)
What we want in our political leaders
By Fr Thomas Hopko. All good except this (paving the road to hell and all that):
Some of us want political leaders with the courage to conduct an all-out campaign against global and domestic terror, crime, injustice and neglect of the neediest by sacrificial spiritual, economic and philanthropic actions that begin with their nation’s strongest and richest people.
Lots of well-meaning Christians including Catholics support things like this. Interventionism and socialism: the worst of the establishment left and right all in one go! Here and here are some recommended reading.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Whoa, whoa, whoa, feelings
A good word from Mere Comments on objectivity and Godwardness, not to be confused with coldness. Feelings of course have their place. Mass-and-office Catholicism keeps them there.
I had never thought about it before, but now that I do, I think the Byzantine liturgy is entirely lacking in words about feelings. At least, sitting here, I can't think of a single word about how we (or I) feel that occurs in the Divine Liturgy or any other liturgical service I've been to. And I have never so consistently looked forward to going to worship as I have since I went east.

Okay, a possible exception: some of the Psalms do speak of feeling desolate. But those are usually chanted by a Reader and there is no suggestion that *I* am supposed to be feeling that way at that moment.
Comparing Christian and Muslim theologies
Islam doesn’t make sense: the Pope’s point. From Tea at Trianon.
Five from
Via The Western Confucian
The West chooses Fatah but Palestinians don’t

Octave day*: God’s love for mankind
The devotion to the Sacred Heart, which in its symbolical meaning and as representing the love and tenderness of the Saviour towards His children, had found its way into the hymns and prayers of almost every private form of devotion, and commends itself to the more enthusiastic of every communion, as the most touching of all those exercises of piety which cluster around the suffering life of Jesus ... The Heart of Christ, whether to Puritan devotee, to the member of the High Church in England, or to those who had outwardly separated themselves from the communion of both, was the temple of a common worship — the home of common love.
— From The Devotion of the Sacred Heart, the Religious Tract Society, London, probably printed around 1876, pp. 8-9
Let us offer to the Heart of Jesus all that we have done through imperfect or purely natural intentions, with an ardent desire and a full confidence that He will, through the abundance of His merits, supply for all, as though it had been done according to His divine will. He will take pleasure in repairing our losses, in filling up the voids of our miseries, and completing our works, in proportion to the measure of our faith.
— Fr André Prévot, from Tea at Trianon

*Pre-1955 rules.
Protestants and contraception
Touchstone takes this one on, a favourite target of people who hate the Pope: the Catholic teaching on this was held by all Christians until the early 1900s

A massive dodge of reality
The secular world on sex: pig heaven for feckless teenage boys of all ages marketed as feminine empowerment. From LRC.

Here’s more from Joshua Snyder.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ron Paul reaches out to Gen-Yers
‘AOTS’ caters to the tech-savvy, 18-29 demographic, where much of Ron Paul’s support is coming from. Second, Paul’s ardent opposition to Internet regulation meshes quite well with the show’s technolibertarian slant.
Homeland Security computers are not, erm, secure
You can’t make this stuff up any more than ‘I’m a Christian minister and a Muslim at the same time’ or ‘ignore this story until it slips back beneath the radar’ (so much for the ‘ethic of transparency’, what?)

And they say Americans don’t do irony.

From the LRC blog.
Witness to the World
By the late great Fr John Meyendorff. Got it from Anastasios, then a divinity student at St Vladimir’s, five years ago. Pulled it off the shelf yesterday and started re-reading it. Newspaper cuttings — about my level. Regarding ecumenism and how Catholics should approach the modern world, more or less what I believe in.

BTW a biretta tip to Fr Micah Jackson for the ‘Random Books from My Library’ widget now in this blog’s sidebar.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Is Sir John Tavener losing it?
Oh, dear. Господи, помилуй.

He’s skating on thin ice...

But is Sir John really saying anything heterodox? He’s branching out artistically not joining another religion (like that poor confused minister in Washington) or even playing at another religion, though he seems to approach that... I give him the benefit of the doubt and think he’s speaking metaphorically about his dreams and about changing his music which of course he has every right to do.

This strikes me funny though, a bit of romantic stereotyping:
Many people when they’ve met American Indians have very strong dreams afterwards.
Do they?

It reminds me of an episode of ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ (a recent TV show in the States) in which a man living in Alaska finds a totem pole and imagines he’s having visions because of it. Its owner, who happens to be a native, comes round to get it and the guy starts blathering to him about feeling the emanations from the sculpture. The Indian says:
You white boys are all alike! [OK, he’s stereotyping too.] Every time you see brown skin you think we're all dancing with bears! Well, let me tell you something. I'm a Baptist, I work for a living and I've got only one word for snow: snow!
Turns out the Indian carved and painted it as a rainy-day project with his grandkids... to make a marker at the end of his drive.
He says Mary "feels closer to me than Christ. I can't explain that - she's much more mysterious because there's so little known about her, yet she seems very active in the world in an extraordinary way."
Actually this is fair game because he didn’t say she is closer to him than Christ: that she feels closer, right or (often) wrong, has been a big part of Catholic folk religion for a long time. And there is very little known about her! As long as you actually knows Christ, and know the right doctrines, there’s no need to go all protty and analyse it to death. ;) Right, Arturo?

Remember what C.S. Lewis wrote about the ‘good dreams’ in paganism? And there’s natural religion, something the church has always appropriated.
One of the dedicatees of the work [a choral piece called The Flood of Beauty] is Pope Benedict. Tavener is an admirer, then? "Sort of, because he's a traditionalist, and I think that's very important. Part of the senility of religion [What?], I seriously believe, is Vatican Two [an Ecumenical Council of the Vatican which held sessions between 1962-65]. It was the third betrayal of Christ. Where they started throwing out Latin and all the best music ... I think it was a downward path for the [Roman] Catholic church. It was trying to modernise religion. They are eternal truths and if you try to modernise it, it just becomes ridiculous."
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt.

Update: Here’s more from Mark Shea.
Rome: no plans to convert the Russians
And a comment

Patriarch of Moscow supports Orthodox-Roman Catholic cooperation in Western Europe
I know it’s diplomatic talk but still...

The larger church is coming together.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Legalise it
Even if one takes every reefer-madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.
— William F. Buckley Jnr

From Tripp.
The UK takes notice of Ron Paul
From the LRC blog and David Holford
A good one about tolerant conservatism
You know, I am actually... liberal about doctrine — not quite: I am dogmatic about doctrine, but liberal about other people's difficulties with doctrine. There are some good pastoral priests I know who have real difficulty saying parts of the Creed — sometimes able to say it only as a statement of the belief of the universal Church or to say it with a desire to believe — but they do not publicly teach or affirm their doubts, fears or dark nights of the soul.

I want them to teach and preach what they vow to do, not to undermine my church or make it a laughing stock. I'm not advocating hypocrisy — that they can believe one thing as long as they teach what the Church believes, just recognising that we're human and the course of true faith, like true love, sometimes doesn't run smoothly. But if their crises of faith are permanent they need to examine their consciences as to whether they can remain as priests in the church.
— From Ship of Fools

Monday, June 18, 2007

On the commercialisation of our culture
There’s a post in me somewhere about princesses and the marketing of northern European mythology. For those without preschool and primary school girls, princesses are a huge industry. All of the girls know all of the princesses. The Disney princesses, that is. And the stories – as Disney tells them…or Barbie…or whoever is doing the packaging. What I find odd is that I see in and through these princess narratives bits of Germanic and Scandinavian epic cycles and elements. On one hand I’m glad something of these ancient stories is being passed down; on the other, they appear in their altered state for the sake of selling units that contribute to sucking children into a consumer culture that undercuts the very virtues, values, and realities encoded in those epics.
Derek Olsen

Many thanks to Tea at Trianon for the ‘Code of Chivalry’ link.
American allies’ ethnic-cleansing campaign against Iraqi Christians
Assyrians, in Iraq longer than the Arabs

From Joshua Snyder.
...all we brought was rape, murder, and Planned Parenthood.
Tea at Trianon on the invasion
Wanted: a new conservatism
Or a really old one. The current establishment one is an imposter, writes Joe Sobran.
The real thing can be found in the American Founders and, in England, in the writings of such men as Samuel Johnson, Edmund Burke, John Henry Newman, and C.S. Lewis.
From LRC.
Five great comedians who’ve lost it

Numbers 22, anyone?
There was a time when their names were spoken in hushed, revered tones. Then, at some point, they became That Old Guy Who Voices The Groundhog in That Sh*tty Kid's Movie.
Actually Shrek’s good.

I like Roxanne because I like Cyrano.

The Truman Show is comparable to great literature IMO.

When Robin Williams is on he’s gold: I’ve seen him on stage. But he’s made his share of crap films.
Who he is now: What "Trying Too Hard" looks like when it's flopping.
On Mike Myers:
An actor mincing around in a cat costume terrifying children...
Nun quits teaching job after ‘insulting’ demand
For a letter declaring her a practising [Roman] Catholic!

Doesn’t her reaction say it all?

And some people wonder why I don’t think mainstream RC is the answer.
UK: Lords to look at legality of Iraq war
Brought to you by the party that stands up for family values
Happy Father’s Day to Iraq from DoD. From Rod Dreher.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

This week’s after-Mass read
There is a passage in the writings of Simone Weil that has long been important to me. In the passage, Weil describes two prisoners who are in solitary confinement next to each other. Between them is a stone wall. Over a period of time — and I think we have to imagine it as a very long time — they find a way to communicate using taps and scratches. The wall is what separates them, but it is also the only means they have of communicating. “It is the same with us and God,” she says. “Every separation is a link.”
I don’t believe in ‘you gotta sin to get saved’ (but do in felix culpa, good coming out of evil) but like this anyway.

What little I know about Simone Weil includes that she was a Jew who believed in Jesus and was very close to the church but stayed outside.

This quotation from her reminds me of the Orthodox iconostasis, a separation that, thanks to the communion of saints quasi-sacramentally present on it, is also a link.

From Episcopal Café.
Hamas seizes control of Gaza; Fatah, al-Aqsa retaliate in West Bank; PA president declares emergency, dismisses unity government

And Daniel Levy’s input via Syria Comment:

What next on Palestine: time to get real

From Samer al-Batal.
Tantum ergo and all that
Talking to Derek Olsen and company
Talking to a religious inquirer
I ... recommend that you get an icon of Mary the Theotokos with Christ as an infant and spend some time before it in quiet meditation on her life and consider your issues in this context. She is the all-pure one and can guide us, who are equal to her in nature, to righteousness and true submission to the will of God.

I hope that you take your time, become an inquirer and enter into the liturgical cycle. Work these things out within the communal context of the body of Christ. Don't be an isolated person that our modern individualist society attempts to unnaturally impose on us!
A life, a worldview that came naturally
...medieval Catholicism's hegemony over English society... its ingrained religious semiotics... its instinctive communal rhythms. The noted Cambridge historian Eamon Duffy has recently drawn a lush and often lyrical portrait of the world Cranmer sought to leave behind: a beautiful world of soaring church towers, newly built, and instructive irridescent interiors, softly candlelit; a balanced world where affective personal piety grieved over the sufferings of Christ but festive bonfires abetted neighborly fellowship made jolly with ale; a supernatural corporeal world where saints and sacramentals diverted demonic fury and fecundated husbandry and home; a supernatural spiritual world where human tears averted the doom of divine wrath as well as celebrating the indwelling presence of divine love; and, above all else, a supernatural sacramental world where liturgy marked life's milestones and offered the daily miracle of one's maker.

What would make an archbishop of Canterbury want to end such a world as this?
— Ashley Null quoted by Arturo Vásquez
And I too ask the question "why?" Having had some experience with Protestants, I have to wonder what precisely they find so offensive about our Catholic practices. It just feels that they are subtracting the human element from Faith, and trying to make a "better" religion that is an enemy of our Good One. It is a textual religion that is falsely angelic in its worst manifestations.

As I have said elsewhere, it seems Protestants want God to treat them like "mature adults" who need nothing else but the "pure word of the Gospel" and the most stripped down sacramental life in order to believe. Thank God the true Church has adapted to the weakness of our human frailty!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The American left criticizes itself

The American left criticizes itself
Matt Taibbi whose writings I know and like from links on LRC is spot-on in much of what he says here: ‘his own people’ are elitist and...
What makes the American left silly? Things that in a vacuum should be logical impossibilities are frighteningly common in lefty political scenes. The word “oppression” escaping, for any reason, the mouths of kids whose parents are paying 20 grand for them to go to private colleges. Academics in Priuses using the word “Amerika.” Ebonics, Fanetiks, and other such insane institutional manifestations of white guilt. Combat berets. Combat berets in conjunction with designer coffees.

At a time when someone should be organizing forcefully against the war in Iraq and engaging middle America on the alarming issue of big-business occupation of the Washington power process... It sells scads of Che t-shirts ($20 at the International ANSWER online store)...
ANSWER and ‘silly’ are roughly synonymous.
What we call American liberalism is really a kind of genetic mutant, a Frankenstein’s monster of incongruous parts – a fat, affluent, overeducated New York/Washington head crudely screwed onto the withering corpse of the vanishing middle-American manufacturing class.

...hard as they try to worry about food stamps or veterans’ rights or securing federal assistance for heating-oil bills, they invariably gravitate instead to things that actually matter to them...
I respect the good intentions of trying to get the state to help people (a belief that many Christians fall into) but by so doing you’re on the same wrong track as the establishment right.

Besides the economic problems of that solution, liberals, let me put it this way: according to his lights the late Jerry Falwell wanted to use the state to do what’s right and help you too!
“Perhaps what the real issue is that the left is not really a grassroots movement,” he [David Sirota] says. “You have this donor/elite class, and then you have the public ... You have these zillionaires who are supposedly funding the progressive movement. At some point that gets to be a problem.”
Then the other shoe drops:
When they start embracing their position of privilege and taking responsibility for the power they already have – striving to be the leaders of society they actually are... they’ll come across as wise...
Yes, we, your betters, know what’s good for you. Now if only the dumb proles in flyover country... and the Anglican Global South... would listen...’

From Episcopal Café.
FBI terror watch list ‘out of control’
From John Boyden
A new political fusion?
Goes well with this long article from Murray Rothbard. From Eunomia.
United not divided — against Bush
Courts, conservatives, military officers and everyone outside Albania can agree on one thing.
Also from Joshua Snyder:
Strange that folks who get worked up about kids not pledging allegiance to the flag [‘Hey, look! A distraction!’] don't give a hoot about the chief law enforcement officer calling the country's founding document "quaint."
A ‘pro-lifer’ celebrates the killing in Iraq
Another reason not to let yourself be played by the anti-abortion industry (that is, shills for the Republican Party). I got that horrible forwarded e-mail (isn’t saying ‘horrible’ redundant?) as well, like Mr Kenny from a (charismatic Novus Ordo) conservative RC (actually somebody I used to know — other than this e-mail a nice man really, a septuagenarian who went neo-Pentecostal back when it was the only non-liberal game in his part of town, so to speak).

P.S. Ron Paul is pro-life.

From LRC.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Why are the Republicatholics ignoring Ron Paul?
From Catholic Anarchy

Catholics for Ron Paul
A new blog

From The Western Confucian.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart: make our hearts like unto thine
The gnostic excesses of the Manicheans, the upheavals of the Protestant revolt, and the chilling exaggerations of Jansenism required as an antidote the gradual but compelling manifestations of the love and mercy of the Heart of God.
From Tea at Trianon.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary: and was made man.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world... For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
25 years on: defending the Falklands was just
William Hague and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo (the other YF) get that right
That such an effort was made to restore freedom to 1,800 Britons is further testimony to our strong British sense of right and wrong, our support for international law and our fundamental belief that those who have lived under the protection of Britain should have the right to determine their own future, rather than have it dictated by anyone else.
How to sell a war
Have a look at the rest of CounterPunch while you’re there

It’s all about Israel
Justin Raimondo on threatening Iran


Urgent call from heads of churches in Jerusalem to Fatah and Hamas
Joshua Snyder writes: Ziocons will surely cringe.

Samer al-Batal writes from the Lebanon: It is becoming a habit for summer to invite more trouble into this country. The closer you get there, the more violence intensifies it would seem. The Fatah al-Islam militants in Tripoli, the bombs that have been going off in various areas, and just right now, another assassination. Things continue to spiral downwards.
The larger church coming together
With the reunion of the Russian Orthodox Church a not insubstantial part of the Catholic world — the world’s biggest Orthodox church — has come together. Now the long-standing kindness of an Italian noblewoman in Kazan’ shows the world an example of the right kind of ecumenism.
HEAVENLY King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life, come dwell within us, cleanse us from all stain and save our souls, O Good One.
From The Western Confucian.
The deep mythic and cultic symbolism of the sexes
Reflecting reality. Peter Kreeft on why the God of Jewish and Christian revelation always revealed himself as ‘he’, unique in ancient religion, and why the Catholic priesthood (the apostolic ministry) is masculine as well.

Believe it or not the second matter isn’t a preoccupation of this blog; ‘the larger church > everything else’ works fine for me. (‘That’s it?!’ That’s it.) But Kreeft’s defence sounds pretty cool.

From Taylor Marshall.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Another blogging young fogey!
The culture of modernity and Catholicism
By Fr James Schall of Homiletic & Pastoral Review, long a good conservative Novus Ordo magazine for priests
Ever so slowly, [Roman] Catholic theologians are beginning to acknowledge that the deep, intractable conflict between the faith of the Catholic Church and the faith of the secular world.
— Fr Alvin Kimel

IOW Vatican II was a mistake.

From the new Pontifications.
Adolescence is a bad invention
Episcopal Café scores again on an issue nothing to do with the Episcopal row, repeating a profoundly traditionalist point I’ve been making for years
The ‘eight things about me’ meme
It’s been done: last time it was ‘six weird things about me’. But Tripp tagged me for this one.
Here are the rules...

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
1. I learnt to drive as a teen-ager but didn’t for eight years — started again 10 years ago. (Even though I drive now I take the train to work — it’s great having that time to read books or pray the office.)

2. I’ve never read nor seen the films of Lord of the Rings nor Harry Potter. Things you’d think I’d really enjoy but just never got round to.

3. Random secular book that formed me: 1984 (which I read that year) by George Orwell.

4. I rent rooms in an Edwardian house. The whole town sprang up as a development in 1910; I’m in one of the original houses. I’ve lived here for seven years.

5. I haven’t got cable or a satellite dish.

6. I never shop at malls. It’s not a conscious choice; I just don’t do it. Just as well. (Now there’s less overhead and less waste, thanks to the medium I’m using right now. I like it!)

7. I’m a ‘Simpsons’ fan.

8. A random favourite food: lamb saag wala.

Eight more people: Joshua, David, Deacon Jim, Michael, Jorge and Frs Tucker, Methodius and Anderson.

All are regular readers so no need to put off-topic comments on their blogs. (Besides, Fr Tucker has no comment boxes.)

Also from Tripp:

One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small
I keep getting these (fake/spam/fictional/false) messages about my viagra or valium order today. Viagra and valium. Are these drugs working at cross purposes? I was just wondering.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Talk of attacking Iran escalates tensions
Joseph Lieberman, Senator for the State of Connecticut...

The press typically places an “(I)” after his name to denote the fact that he is an “independent” i.e., not a Democrat or Republican. Well, independent would be an oxymoron in his case. I’m thinking that “(I)” stands for Israeli stooge.
Deacon Jim
On the surge in air strikes
To put it bluntly, there is no surer or faster way to lose in 4GW than by calling in airstrikes. It is a disaster on every level. Physically, it inevitably kills far more civilians than enemies, enraging the population against us and driving them into the arms of our opponents. Mentally, it tells the insurgents we are cowards who only dare fight them from 20,000 feet in the air. Morally, it turns us into Goliath, a monster every real man has to fight. So negative are the results of air strikes in this kind of war that there is only one possible good number of them: zero (unless we are employing the "Hama model," which we are not).
From Joshua Snyder.

Also in LRC:

How radical Protestantism ruined America
World War I and the old connexion between the religious left and the religious right: using the state to try and make a utopia, a temptation at least as old as Plymouth Rock. At least William Jennings Bryan was anti-war. From the late great Murray Rothbard.

Incidentally Inherit the Wind is fiction: Bryan gave the evolution textbook a chance and was horrified as a Christian should be at the racist ideas it taught!

RIP Protopresbyter Elias Wen
Aged 110, the Russian Orthodox Church’s oldest priest was Chinese. Вечная память.
Blessed are the poor

Embracing poverty

Poverty is not sanctity

Touching on detachment and its difference from oppression: three good short articles from Episcopal Café quoting What Can One Person Do? Faith to Heal a Broken World
The State under men like Lloyd George had initiated a welfare state but now the problem seemed to be the materialism of the age. [Eric] Mascall argued that there were four orders of being: God, Man, Things, Money, and that each exists for the one before: Man for the glory of God, Things for the good of Man, Money for the production and distribution of Things. However, he argued, with man’s modern repudiation of the supremacy of God the whole scheme has not only lost its first member but had gone entirely in reverse. Things are for the production of Money, Man is for the production and consumption of Things and a very hypothetical God is for the convenience of Man. The chart:
GOD had become MONEY
MAN had become THINGS
THINGS had become MAN
MONEY had become GOD
— From Mascall’s Man: His Origins and Destiny, ‘written... at the beginning of the second war’, described by Fr Ivan Clutterbuck in The Catholic Social Conscience
I was sent to South Africa work in a slum in Johannesburg and ... I saw tremendous challenges to my beliefs in the dignity of man according to the Christian gospel... there’s a desperate need for development, again for the sake of human dignity... we are desperately poor and poverty in itself is not a good thing, is not something which God loves, and therefore I want to try to help as far as I am able to...
— Trevor Huddleston in 1966

Which of course is why many well-meaning Christians including Catholics have been socialists... this site among others explains why they are wrong.

That hypothetical God is the one of ‘I’m spiritual but not religious’ so fashionable today: ‘I’m really in charge.’

Knew a sound priest, recently departed, who was thrown out of Namibia in the 1960s for opposing apartheid. He ended up supplying at a Continuing parish.