Thursday, January 31, 2008

The big church row in California
A bishop, on the outs with his parent denomination, with nearly all of his diocese following him, wants to switch jurisdictions

Of course I’m talking about the Assyrian Church (Church of the East, in the West commonly called Nestorian which they probably weren’t, the native Catholic church of what’s now Iraq — their traditional vernacular and liturgical language is Aramaic): the curious case of Mar Bawai Soro (more here and here), well-known in apostolic churches’ ecumenical circles for at least 10 years. This ex-Assyrian and his diocese, now the Assyrian Catholic Apostolic Diocese, want to go under Rome. The diocese’s territory includes the land in this Anglican one. (Is there something in the water?)

The numbers like in the local Episcopal row are small but the reason for the split is nothing chi-chi/upper-middle-class American and nothing to do with sex so the mainstream media don’t care: the bishop pushed very hard for union with Rome and Assyrian Patriarch Mar Dinkha IV in Chicago, sympathetic up to a point, baulked.

That’s right, a real Eastern church is based in the US — have you met the patriarch in your ecumenical doings, Tripp?

(There’s also an Ancient Assyrian Church of the East that’s not ecumenical: like Rome, the Orthodox and the Oriental communion — Copts, Ethiopians, Armenians and Syrians including Indians — they believe they alone are the one true church.)

I wonder if they’ve got diocesan or local ownership of churches because I’ve not heard of any threat of lawsuits from the patriarch. Update: ACAD handed all the property back to the Assyrians.

Nor have I heard of any ‘Remain Assyrian’ minority webcasting protest rallies and church services.

Of some interest are these photos apparently of one of Mar Bawai’s parishes but I imagine what Chaldæan Catholic (under Rome — ACAD wants to join them) practice in Iraq (they’re the country’s No. 1 church, outnumbering the Assyrians, making them unique among Eastern churches under the Pope) is like: heavily latinised with modern influences. (Arab Christians, mostly Catholic, stick together so this crossover isn’t odd.) Update: it is a Chaldæan Catholic church!

I understand that pure Assyrian Rite practice is like Armenian: an Eastern liturgy with the standard rich vestments (the Assyrian Rite cleric pictured here is wearing more or less the Eastern gear common to several rites, only the chasuble is cut all the way up the front so it looks like a Western cope) and tapestries (with crosses on them) but in a bare, nearly imageless church with plain crosses (Protestant missionaries have sometimes mistaken them for long-lost ancient brethren) either because the Muslims who took over their land banned images or their tradition is older than Christian use of them. They don’t oppose images in principle.

As for their rite they use the oldest anaphora (Eucharistic prayer, canon, consecration prayer) still in use (older than the venerable Roman Canon!), that of St Mari and St Addai, which in the form handed down has no institution narrative! (The latinised ACAD under Mar Bawai has added one, like latinised Chaldæan Catholic practice.)

Here’s something on Assyrian Church customs from Samer al-Batal (a Melkite from Syria).

Christians of Iraq
In Baathist Iraq, a secular state (not ‘Muslim terrorists’) whose political party was co-founded by a Christian based upon the radical notion that Arabs not Americans or Britons ought to profit from Arab oil (still the ruling party in Syria), one could practise Christianity, which is becoming less and less true in the Shia-Sunni civil war
The 123 game
Most of these memes have been around the blogs at least once. I don’t remember if I’ve played this before but anyway Solomon Hezekiah has tagged me (thanks):
The Rules:-
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)
Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.
Here beginneth the 647th verse of the seventh chapter of Web Design in a Nutshell, of course the nearest book to my computer desk:
Preformatted text is always displayed in a monospace font, which allows columns of characters to line up correctly.

The same block of source text was coded as < pre > text and as teletype (< tt >), another method for specifying a monospace font. The difference is obvious, as shown in Figures 7-13 and 7-14.
Aren’t you glad you asked?

I’ve never used those tags but very slowly by trial and error learnt how to do simple hand-coding, and how to modify and correctly use graphics, over eight years (most of the learning curve was in the first two, the same period and length of time it took me to convert to libertarianism though I’d been semi-libertarian more or less since 1992) and I dare say have improved somewhat.
...the one, true, traditional web-design program: Notepad.

All the HTML and JavaScript on this website has been hand-coded and checked for performance on both Netscape and Internet Explorer, and the reader may rest assured that no additives, preservatives, and no Novus Ordo methods whatsoever (read: “WYSIWYG” programs) have been utilized at any point in the process of constructing this all-natural website.
Bishop Jason Spadafore
I the above hereby swear that I have never ever ever received the sacrament from a woman, not that it would be the sacrament if I had, which I haven’t, furthermore I have never received the sacrament from someone who has received the sacrament from a woman. I therefore affirm that I receive the sacrament from men, manly men, even if they are laced up to the eyeballs, I have definite proof that they are men, and men are the only people I have received the sacrament from.
A liberal making fun of us Catholics and not doing a bad job of it

(The one about Bishop Minns of the Protestant Global South using 419 scams to raise funds is still funnier though: Dear Sir: I am the Right Revd Martyn Minns of the Church of Nigeria and I would liking very much to conduct business relationship with you...)

I never learnt how to use FrontPage or DreamWeaver and have only used HotMetal to check my work. Bishop Spadafore would still consider me compromised as in years past I’ve used Microsoft Word to make pages quickly (I haven’t done in five years so perhaps he will lift any latæ sententiæ excommunication I incurred) and by so doing and playing with the source code learnt how to tweak but not write CSS, the next best thing to pinching other sites’ code for learning how to do Web stuff on the cheap.

Next five: Tripp, Larry, Joshua, Fr Wells and Derek. Other regular readers with blogs are welcome to play of course.
And then there were four

Me thinks that Mike Hucksterbee will be the next one down.
A Paul advert in the papers

He’s got a new book!

He tells the GOP warmongers what for

The socialists as well (same people)

The reasons given for not supporting him

Like the birdbath in my neighbour’s garden. John Derbyshire gets it:
You already have a genuinely conservative candidate on offer. He’s just not slick enough for you. What, he has positions you don’t agree with? More than the other guys? Actually, I have heard very little complaining about Paul’s positions. What I have mostly heard is (a) He’s funny-looking, (b) He can’t win, and (c) He has a lot of icky supporters.
[Valley Girl voice:] He doesn’t have charisma!

Or you might hear about his prodigious fund-raising but not his actual views.

If you vote for somebody you hate ‘because he can win’ you get what you deserve.

McCain either lies or doesn’t know history

McCain the insider

Although McCain claims that he’s an “outsider”, he’s been part of the establishment for more of his life than any candidate in US history: Born on a naval base as the son of an admiral (and grandson of an admiral), lived on a military base his entire childhood, went off to the Naval Academy, served a full military career, immediately ran for congress in ’82 after retiring from active duty, moved on to the Senate in ’86, and has been there ever since. So McCain has been a paid employee of the US Gov’t for 54 years and grew up in an elite military family before that. You can’t get any more “establishment” than John McCain.
How the debates really work
Liberal: I’m conservative!
Liberal 2: No, I’m conservative!
Liberal 3: No, let’s talk about my conservatism!
Conservative: I’d like to talk about MY credentials.
Host: Sorry, no time for that. You already had 15 seconds of the last 30 minutes. Wait for the next question.
From the LRC blog.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What’s an evangelical?
Missing are a description and history of the Calvinist hue of English Anglican big-E Evangelicalism (as unknown in America as Anglo-Papalism). Other than that this is a good overview and it defines fundamentalism as well (more than, like fascism, an F-bomb of the religious left). Fact: Billy Graham and the late Jerry Falwell, about whom people often have very different opinions (and Falwell knew that), believe(d) in the same five fundamentals. From Covenant.
Clinton and Obama battle for Latino votes
More identity-politics rubbish (basura). I imagine ‘vote for me — I’m sort of Jewish by marriage’ doesn’t cut it.

Clinton is Tracy Flick
I love that film. Pick Flick!

Slate’s campaign blog, which blames neglecting campaigning in ‘the early states’ for Giuliani’s failure
If Christianity is just another box to tick on a list of equally valid religious options, I’d rather be a Gnostic or a Wiccan, something that asks less of us than “take up your cross and follow me.”
— a liberal but not a relativist on the Ship

++Ebor gives Holy Grail beer to Pope
The Episcopalians’ numbers
What’s interesting to me is the number of domestic dioceses (30) that have a diocesan ASA that is less than the Methodist church about a mile away from my home. Something’s seriously wrong when you have a diocese of less than 3,500 ASA, with two bishops and a support-staff of 10, 50 or so clergy, and lots of near-empty buildings. If TEC is going to go corporate and start litigating for property, they may want to look first to see what it is they’re really fighting for.
From T19.
An Arab perspective on Ron Paul
From Samer al-Batal:
I never thought someone would catch this and bring it to Lew Rockwell’s attention. I came across the original Arabic column in the paper myself a couple of days back!

I was pleasantly surprised and glad finally to see some attention given to Ron Paul from some corner of the Arabic media, which has by and large failed to notice him, typical mainstream-media behaviour that isn’t surprising. At any rate, what is even better is having Ron Paul introduced to an Arabic readership through a man who, as he mentions in writing, has known of him for a number of years (and so now I rest content in the knowledge that I am not the only native of the Middle East residing in the Old World who has) and presumably has been following his activity, rather than through the pen of somebody who by way of a little brief investigative reporting is only now beginning to understand and acquaint himself with what this campaign is and has been doing and how it has managed to win for itself such phenomenal public support. I am eager to see Mr al-Khaazin and others in this area write more frequently with the aim of directing people’s attention towards Dr Paul. I am also hoping to see his name appear in a newspaper headline (or mentioned on television) rather than pushed aside to the last page, tucked within a short opinion column.
Graffiti for a good cause
Have a message spray-painted on the Palestine wall for €30

From Paul Goings who adds:
The Holy Father’s central theme for Lent 2008 is almsgiving, so perhaps this ties in nicely.
Secularisation ≠ secularism
From Fr Methodius
Garrison Keillor admits state education doesn’t work

John Zmirak says no to racialism

More on race, tribe and class

From Joshua Snyder.
Pre-emptive nuclear war: the safeties are off
From Pro Libertate
The religious left again: well and good as far as it goes but...
I’d bet you a gold sovereign they don’t count killing an inconvenient baby as violence; actually they’ve called such ‘unwanted life’ (a bit catchier than Lebensunwertes Leben)
Paul Craig Roberts’ political prognosis
Are the Democrats choosing Hillary because she has the moral integrity to stop an unjust war and to hold war criminals responsible for leading America into war based on lies and deception?
Like the Dems I helped vote into power in ’06 have done, ha ha.
Are they choosing Hillary because she defends the U.S. Constitution from usurpation by executive power? Are they choosing her because she is public-spirited instead of personally ambitious?

No. The Democrats are choosing Hillary because of gender and race.
The race- and sex-based politics (I shan’t say ‘gender’; that’s a man-made construct) remind me of Charley on the Episcopal row (why their mainstream left turned on Catholics). Identity politics above the good of the country.
This is not to argue that Republicans are an improvement. Their likely nominee is John McCain, who has recently said that he is OK with a 100-year war in Iraq. McCain is as willing to attack Iran as George Bush and Dick Cheney, and he would not be averse to conspiring with Israel and the neoconservatives to pull off an attack. Republicans don’t even have a “change” candidate in the running. They have worked to marginalize Ron Paul precisely because he would be an instrument of change.

In the presidential race, Hillary would defeat McCain, who without any doubt is the war candidate. Hillary will get the women’s vote, the minorities’ vote and the antiwar vote. McCain will get the vote of angry macho white males.
As at least one celebrity endorsement shows. (‘Rambo says vote McCain: he killed gooks for real.’)

From Chronicles.
From Fr Hunwicke
On praying for the conversion of the Jews:
We are told that the Holy Father is going to revise the Good Friday prayer for the Jews in the 1962 Missal. Since a pope wrote that prayer, it can hardly (whatever the SSPX may say) be beyond the competence of a pope to rewrite it. And because of ecumenical tactfulness the term ‘blindness’ (obcæcatione) has long been regarded with suspicion. But there do seem to me to be big questions here. It is definitely the teaching of the NT that Jews who do not accept Christ are blinded (Romans 11:25; Ephesians 4:18 (cæcitatem); and see 2 Corinthians 3:7-18). Do critics of traditional liturgy dislike it because, as they sometimes seem to say, it is insufficiently biblical, or because it is too biblical? I think we should be told.
‘East good, West bad’ say liberals:
...the East does get away with a lot compared with poor old Western Catholicism. It is commonplace to condemn something Western as ‘medieval’ or ‘baroque’ while the same thing in Eastern dress is regarded as part of a wonderful mystical tradition which is pretty well beyond criticism. The ARCIC Report on Mary, soon to be discussed by the English General Synod, is a case in point. It says many excellent thigs about our Lady, but there is an in-built anti-Western prejudice. If fifth-century Greeks write rather extravagant poetry about Mary, this is termed ‘flourishing’ (p36). But when fifteenth-century Latins do the same, it is called ‘florid’ (p41). The prejudice shown here is all the more entertaining because both of those words come from the same Latin root; but the first has acquired meliorative vibes, the second pejorative.
As I was saying.
If your religion is based entirely on emotion, if you believe yourself to be ‘spiritual’ simply because you feel all warm and toasty and inclusive inside, then one religion is pretty much the same as another.
Arlo Guthrie endorses Ron Paul
Saw him in concert once, outdoors. (Here is ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ on YouTube.) He was good!
I love this guy. Dr. Paul is the only candidate I know of who would have signed the Constitution of The United States had he been there. I’m with him, because he seems to be the only candidate who actually believes it has as much relevance today as it did a couple of hundred years ago. I look forward to the day when we can work out the differences we have with the same revolutionary vision and enthusiasm that is our American legacy.
From the LRC blog.
Restrictions by Israel on Roman Catholics
From M.J. Ernst-Sandoval

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Continuum 30 years on
As of yesterday. Probably my best experience with them so far was more than nine years ago when friend Jeff Culbreath was with them, going to Christmas and Sunday Mass with him and another friend, the late Alison Engler (one of the few former Episcopalians at that parish — her son-in-law, never Episcopal, was the rector and one of her little grandsons was acolyting those Low Masses), at a rented veterans’ hall for an American Missal Mass (the US 1928 BCP fitted into the framework of the Tridentine Mass). It would give a Lefebvrist cognitive dissonance: looks like his Mass, sounds like the services when I was a kid.
Liberal Protestants and politics: there they go again
Sorry, Tripp, but this messianism brought you Prohibition and the wars in Vietnam and Iraq! I’m for the candidate who’s not trying to be such a figure and is based only on his principles.
Church humour
Silurian in Wales on schism:
A joke quite common in Wales! It goes like this.

Thomas Tudor and a few others had split off from their chapel because they could no longer accept the doctrines of their denomination.

Some months later the minister asked Mr Tudor whether he and the others worshipped together.

Tudor: ‘No, I found that they accepted certain points to which I could not subscribe, so I withdrew from Communion with them.’

Minister: ‘So I suppose you and your wife carry on your devotions together at home.’

Tudor: ‘Well, not exactly. I found that our views on certain doctrines are not in harmony so there has been a division between us. Now she worships in the north-east corner of the room and I take the south-west.’
From the Ship, in fine English and Anglican fashion not a place for prigs:
At an ecumenical gathering drinks were served at which a teetotalling free-church minister exclaimed, ‘I would rather sleep with a prostitute than have alcohol pass these lips!’ To which the Anglican bishop host answered, ‘So would I but that’s not what’s being offered.’
BTW MadPriest’s theology — ‘we follow where upper-middle-class society, I mean, the Spirit leads’ — may make about as much sense to me as the angel Moroni, golden plates and magic glasses to read them (both seem cases of belief in ongoing revelation! ...not like those stodgy Catholics and rule of law getting in the way of feeling all prophetic) but I know enough about English camp to have a clue what he’s on about and suspect he probably thoroughly enjoyed getting Stand Firm’s (a name ready-made for bawdy jokes, a fact not lost on liberals) knickers in a twist recently (ooh, he said ‘penis’).
The curious case of Mar Bawai Soro (more)
I know his name from the good kind of ecumenical stuff about 10 years ago (Catholic ecumenism between Rome and the East). He and his Californian congregations aren’t in the Assyrian (Nestorian) Church any more (as of about two years ago) and want to go under Rome. Does anybody know what happened?
Religion: time to put these puppies to sleep
Ecclesiastical clichés/common knowledge. Sorry if I’m repeating myself.
  • ‘The Patriarch of Constantinople is the spiritual head of the world’s Orthodox Christians.’ More.
  • One from the right on the left: ‘clown Masses’. 35 years ago even the keenest novelty-loving cleric twigged that clowns scare the bejaysus out of many kids (cue creepy Krusty laugh) and stopped doing this.
  • One from the left, recently challenged by the Whapsters: if you grew up in the polyester 1970s or later and are a lapsed RC, stow the ‘mean nuns hit me’ stories. Chances are you’re making that up and either won’t come clean with the real reason or are too lazy to make up your own horror stories so you stole that one from older folks. (My rector and father confessor grew up with proper nuns, as my late rector called them, in the ‘awful’ 1950s, loved every minute of it and prays for every sister who taught him. ‘Yes, S’ter.’)
  • The Episcopal row: ‘_________ are destroying the church’ with no qualifiers. Destroying the church. THE church? The left commune non-Christians (which didn’t happen recently in LA BTW) but show them a conservative or bring up property and they turn into Trollopean Tories or Pius IX in platform shoes. The right are guilty of this exaggeration as well. As the pugnacious and often funny Christopher Johnson rhetorically asked, has anybody phoned or woken up the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow in the middle of the night with this dire news? (‘Your Holiness! It’s... the Episcopalians!’) Right, if the Piskies get uninvited to Lambeth Mr Bush will send Homeland Security to confiscate their churches, knock on their doors and fly Terry Martin to Gitmo all on +Fort Worth’s or ++Abuensis’s orders. Bwa ha ha (laughs conservative bishop in big armchair petting cat in lap). I really don’t think so (nor ought it).
The statist of the union
The Dear Leader by descent — our Kim Jong-Il — announces a long list of his desired domestic and foreign crimes, to the the frantic applause of the Supreme Soviet. All hail the land of the flea, the home of the knave. Ruffles and flourishes.
From the LRC blog.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A cynical effort to save Bush’s legacy
Business as usual, buying off the local warlords
Some time ago, it was revealed that Kissinger has been secretly advising Bush on the war. And it shows. Even today, Kissinger continues to self-servingly spin the end of the Vietnam as follows: the Nixon administration was winning the war until the Democratic Congress cut off funding. Of course, that line of argument is nonsense. In 1971, President Nixon wanted to end U.S. involvement in the lost cause until Kissinger pointed out to him that South Vietnam might fall during the election year of 1972. Not surprisingly, the peace deal with the North was delayed until early 1973 — safely after Nixon’s reelection. Of course, many U.S. military personnel and Vietnamese died during that time to ensure that Nixon was reelected. (Nixon took the same cynical approach to the economy, pumping it up before the election while realizing that the resultant ill-effects — for example, price inflation — would not be felt until after the plebiscite.)
Good-bye, liberty
Papieren, bitte. ’Cos 9/11 Changed Everything™.

What people who vote for Clinton and Obama believe:
The Democrats are not adverse to inheriting the powers in Bush’s precedents. The Democrats, of course, will use the elevated powers for good rather than for evil.

Instead of having a bad dictator, we’ll have a good one.
Who’ll buy everybody a pony.
Mormon leader dies
He was behind some of the recent marketing implying his religion is a Christian church — it’s part of the same culture as the mainline churches and plays that up

Arturo Vásquez visits a Mormon temple (more)
The one I’ve seen from the motorway outside Washington, DC reminded me of The Wizard of Oz: ‘Surrender Dorothy’ indeed! Disney-fied as he describes them, they seem to appeal to the semi- or unchurched person (somebody who knows little about Christian theology but has picked up from the culture that ‘God... and Jesus’, the Bible and being a nice person are good things) who really worships American culture as one imagines it was in the 1950s.

Happened recently to pick up Separated Brethren, a Roman Catholic high-school-level book from the 1950s giving a fair and accurate overview of other churches, which listed Mormons, Unitarians and Jehovah’s Witnesses but explained they’re not Christians. On the first the writer noted they tend to naturally replace themselves and for all their missionary work don’t seem to convert many non-Mormon Americans, and that the Mormon is kept too busy — intentionally? — being a Mormon (temple and social life) to inquire into Christianity.

Liberal (not necessarily in a bad sense) for his day he also noted that translating services from Latin (few at the time asked for that!) might show commonality with Anglo-Catholicism (he was writing when the upper Mid-Western biretta belt, though a minority, was at its peak as arguably American RCs were as well) and high-church Lutheranism. Would that things went that way.

It’s fascinating to see what has and hasn’t changed: he also pointed out the Unitarians were stagnant in their numbers and have much in common with modernists in mainline Christian churches, the mostly make-believe world of vagantes (lots of bishops, few real churches) and the heterodoxy (universalism and Christological heresy shading into Unitarianism) of the PNCC’s founding prime bishop (which I’ll add was balanced/cancelled out by the conservatism of his parishioners; today it’s an orthodox Christian church with the downgrading of sacramental confession a remaining protestantisation). He hoped intercommunion with the Episcopalians (1946, ended by the by-then-conservative PNCC in 1977) would help steer the Nats back towards credal orthodoxy; after all it was 1958!

North American ACism as seen from across the pond
As expressed aboard the Ship. Take out the put-downs — the Pope bringing much of this back is not ignorant (he made professor in 1958!) and there are liberals who admit some of the scholarship behind the changes was wrong — and that’s why there are still Catholic parishes under the radar in the official Anglican churches there. Also, I don’t think a parish can sack the rector; the vestry (PCC) has a say in hiring him but only the bishop (who also does the actual hiring) can fire him.

Catholic practice worldwide never was monolithic (given different cultures and the historic lack of easy travel and communication how could it be?): witness the different rites and their local versions.
Some years ago I was in Jerusalem, and was attending an early morning Divine Liturgy at the Tomb of the Theotokos, which we all know is empty. Shortly after the Greek clergy began the Liturgy, the Armenians began their Liturgy at another altar, soon to be joined by the Syriac clergy who were serving in their rite at another altar. Soon after the Coptic and Ethiopian clergy began their Liturgy at a fourth altar beheind me. The mix of the chants was one of the most beautiful experiences that I have ever had. I looked up at an ikon of the Panagia Mother of God. As I prayed I smiled at her saying, ‘Dear Mother although your divided children may not celebrate together, nevertheless through their common love for you and your Son they do CO-celebrate the Divine Sacrifice of your Son. Thank you.’
Fr Gregory (Valentine)
I am not saying that I have a reputation for being a conservative Anglo-Catholic, but when I say ‘the Council’ folks tend to assume I mean Trent!
Fr Peter Robinson
Protesters to Canada: let war resisters stay
From Rational Review
Random thoughts on the US presidential campaigns so far
McCain tries to buy Floridian pensioners’ votes with promises of insurance subsidies, Obama won the black vote in SC and Romney knows jack about economics

McCain and Lieberman rattle sabres

SF writer Jerry Pournelle likes Ron Paul
Worth reading

From the LRC blog.
The path to peace. From LRC.
RIP Archbishop Christodoulos
Late head of the Orthodox Church of Greece

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Libertarians vs cosmopolitans
A useful distinction: real libertarians can overlap/work with palæoconservatives whilst the cosmos, apparently named after a drink, can be the group for ‘one who advocates, endorses and champions particular lifestyle choices’ like Howard Stern (remember him?) and the very funny (met her) Camille Paglia or those who look down on the straitlaced and unhip who actually care about freedom for all and constitutional government. IOW the pink-drink people can be the mirror of the old progressives, the Protestant religious right and the religious left (God’s politics or we know what’s good for you so shut up). From the LRC blog.

Looks like Punch (as in Punch and Judy) won in SC.
Quo vadis, Metro?
Good thing I didn’t get that copy-editing job there in 2004. The interview was fun though — it was a friendly small office then and I got to proof that night’s issue. Not only do such people at dailies lose the privilege of having a life but I read here that so many bad things happened afterwards: complete turnover of staff, trying to be hip (better to have my stable, unpretentious small-town paper) and a year later that job was made redundant as everything was centralised in another city.
About the general connection between Christianity and politics, our position is more delicate. Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster. On the other hand we do want, and want very much, to make men treat Christianity as a means; preferably, of course, as a means to their own advancement, but, failing that, as a means to anything — even to social justice. The thing to do is to get a man at first to value social justice as a thing which the Enemy demands, and then work him on to the stage at which he values Christianity because it may produce social justice. For the Enemy will not be used as a convenience. Men or nations who think they can revive the Faith in order to make a good society might just as well think they can use the stairs of Heaven as a short cut to the nearest chemist’s shop.
— C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

From Mark Shea.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The evil of abortion packaged in middle-class euphemisms
By doctors and med students: person product of conception, heart FH and so on. Fœtus is just a way to avoid saying baby. Paul Fussell wouldn’t be surprised.

A Final Solution wrapped up in green
As P.J. O’Rourke wrote, an approved, even socially acceptable way to be racist. One gets the impression the latte crowd fears the Third World (the thought of those people... breeding) as much as the loser sheets-and-swastikas one does. Sometimes they let the cat out of the bag and say ‘unwanted life’.

From BB.

One of many Ron Paul fan videos on YouTube
A music video from Aimee Allen: catchy rock tune, cute girl and BTW he’s right. From Brits4RonPaul.
Marshall McLuhan
From LRC
YouTube: Paul in the Florida debate
From the LRC blog

[Conservative Christians] ...rejecting Ron Paul because they love war, the military and the warfare state, and ... because they don’t know the difference between libertarianism and libertinism.
Why don’t they tell James Dobson to shut up?

As for the objections from the left exacerbated by the newsletter row, a few white supremacists such as Nazis saying they support Paul because they like immigration restrictions doesn’t make him one. Paul’s reasons are economic not racial as he has explained. (How much of that objection is prejudice against a straight-arrow, non-libertine nominal Republican and adopted Texan? Or ageism for that matter?) They want the state to round up minorities and put them in concentration camps. Paul wants to empty the jails of black non-violent drugs offenders. 180!

It’s a red herring. Stick to answering Christians’ and liberals’ well-meant economic objections to libertarianian.
[Some Republicans might want to] draft an outsider — a non-candidate of their choice. The draftee could end up being SC Gov. Mark Sanford, a pro-life, small-government conservative who is publicly agnostic on the war in Iraq. Sanford would be able to come out against the war, triangulate the Democratic candidate, and win the election — that’s if winning trumps all other issues. In such a scenario, it could even be possible to have a Sanford-Paul ticket in the fall (Paul has stated in the past that he thought Sanford would “make an exceptionally good vice president”, so a flipped ticket cannot be out of the question).
This probably won’t happen but I like it.
Alternatively, anti-McRomneybee (Rudy’s finished) conservatives could just let the Democrats win, saddle them with responsibility for a terrible economy over the next four years, and run Sanford or Bobby Jindal in 2012.
[Progressivism is] Unitarian superstition of... 19th-century New England Yankees.
A bankrupt empire
From Justin Raimondo

Also read LRC’s Gary North on stocks this week.

Quit Korea
Also from

From Joshua Snyder.
Common sense about the Episcopal row
‘This is the end’... ‘the horror...’ (more)
  • Behind the curve: took me 29 years to see it!
  • One more down, 42 to go. (But... No. 1? The whole list is debatable.)
  • Great cinematography.
  • Perhaps some of it went over my head but... surreal masterpiece, overrated, over-budget pretentious glop or a bit of both?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Boondoggle on the bayou
Second place isn’t bad but perhaps Paul won
Crunchy criticism
  • ‘Those kids today.’ I know. But this is real:
    I believe we may have come to the point where we’re entering into real “Love in the Ruins”-type stuff. I think we finally have reached the point where the young — and this is a gross generalization, I realize — are really, really pissed [off], utterly adrift and are starting to turn on society. There are no rules, and it’s absolutely tribal.
    This echoes the late historian William Manchester, a World War II veteran who in Goodbye, Darkness wrote unromantically about his times (he wasn’t Tom Brokaw), who saw the shared culture of parents and children replaced with the advertising-driven ‘brooding influence of the peer group’ (a pseudo-tribe — here’s more on tribalism) among the boomers. Throw in late-’60s destruction and most people in their 20s and 30s just aren’t very nice. (But you’ve got a small counter-current with the orthodox religious restoration.) More than a decade in the work world has only emphasised that to me.
  • The corporate, establishment-conservative way of life sucks (or simply mainstream middle-class with the approved PC views):
    Modern conservatism really doesn’t like families or family life in general. Turbo capitalism [I’ve never read that term before] is all about people working ungodly hours to sustain a living in the US of A. Our dog eat dog system sucks! It ain’t very Christian at all — or moral. That’s the “freedom” of the market.
    I’ll let the Misesians answer that one.
    I never could understand how you can be a Christian and be a turbo capitalist, but oh well, it’s the US of A and we are the “exceptional” nation.
    Seriously that last bit — ‘aren’t we special?’ — is deeply of the modern left, ‘progressive’.
From the head curmudgeon at Chronicles
People who care who the next ‘American Idol’ will be or who will win ‘Dancing with the Stars’ could not be trusted to elect the board members of the Parks Department, much less the temporary dictator of an empire of 300 million people.

We Americans laugh at the people of India and Pakistan who choose party leaders on the strength of their last names, and then a significant number of us run out to vote for George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton. Benazir Bhutto may have been as crooked as Hillary Clinton, but she spoke far better English and was a fine-looking woman. acting like the suspicious peasants that most of them were, Athenians showed themselves more capable of self-government than any generation born after 1860.

...anyone really thinks that Huck or Mitt really is able or willing to do any good, let me suggest that he vote for Heath Ledger. What harm can a dead foreigner actually do?
A corny mirage
Another government-fuelled scam like high-fructose corn syrup
...about 70 per cent more energy is required to produce ethanol than the energy that actually is in ethanol.
Income redistribution is not charity
Answering this
I always find it interesting that socialists treat government as a sort of supernatural entity: it affects all things without actually being a part of it. The money and actions they take have no (important) effects apart from what the socialists intend.
Suppose that I wanted to donate $500 to a local church. If we were to socialize/nationalize charity, it’s likely that those $500 will no longer be available to me. Thus, my charity will not receive those funds and there will be little chance that I would be “much happier.”
I’m surprised that AFAIK the religious left hadn’t thought of that one.
Free exchange is always ex ante beneficial.

Charity is a virtuous act that requires freedom. Forceful charity does not and cannot exist. If A steals from B to give to C, C might be better off but became so at the expense of B. B is a victim and A is a thief. The exchange between A and B is not legitimate. Not everyone is “much happier.”
‘Pa, what does “confiscate” mean?’

— James Stewart in Shenandoah

From LRC.
Church, state and the red herring of candidates’ religions again
Talking to Huw
Why I avoid ‘O tempora!’ entries
Because those rants are as old as fallen humanity. M.J. Ernst-Sandoval notes that the expression comes from Cicero and the Revd Susie quotes Plato! Fr Mark, actually it’s people our age and younger who are bringing back the artsy-fartsy, orthodox, Godward old-fashioned stuff and before that the Orthodox convert boomlet was a phenom of disaffected boomers.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kucinich drops out
The Dems’ only peace candidate least there is a core of voters in the Republican primaries that has rallied to the real antiwar candidate on the right. Meanwhile, Democratic antiwar voters mostly divide among those candidates who would bomb Iran and those who would invade Pakistan, all of whom endorsed the war against Lebanon in 2006. By all rights, Kucinich ought to have been able to pull together 10% of the vote in every vote, but instead was usually drawing less than half the support given to Ron Paul on the other side. However bad you think the GOP is, and I think it is pretty bad, don’t ever let anyone tell you that the Democratic Party is a party opposed to needless and illegal wars.
From Eunomia.
Four more religious ones today
The restoration is under way
Has been for some time now. A graduate of Philadelphia’s St Charles Borromeo Seminary recently told me that when he was there 15 years ago ordinands would nip into the church where I’ve been a happy part-timer since 2003 to see how things are done. Now not only are that college and the SSPX teaching official RC priests that but the rector of Clem’s writes:
The traditional way of celebrating the Mass is making a come-back in both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches, and I have had many fascinating letters from priests who say they have used our service sheets and our splendid pictures to get it right. This should make me very careful at the altar — who knows how many might copy my errors!
The complete ironic turning inside-out of the old joke that if a server fainted at Westminster Cathedral the next week they’d be swooning all over the sanctuary at Bourne Street.
Paul on abortion
“I honor and respect the notion that our homes are our castles, and I don’t want the government in our homes,” he said.

That does not say that the parents of children in a home have the right to kill their children.
From Rod Dreher.
Artists Against the War

From Tripp.
Why Greens ought to support Ron Paul
Not using the state to try and protect the environment is better for it as well as more economical says Carlo Stagnaro

Moral equivalency vs outorwelling Orwell
‘The West must nuke other countries in order to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction!’
Danse macabre
Veteran journo John Pilger takes no prisoners:
Of the presidential candidates I have interviewed, only George C. Wallace, governor of Alabama, spoke the truth. “There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans,” he said. And he was shot.

What struck me, living and working in the United States, was that presidential campaigns were a parody, entertaining and often grotesque. They are a ritual
danse macabre of flags, balloons and bullshit, designed to camouflage a venal system based on money power, human division and a culture of permanent war.
the destruction of American democracy: the dismantling of the Bill of Rights, habeas corpus and separation of powers
proceeds unchecked and perhaps helped along by this distraction.

BBC sycophant Justin Webb:
It is a celebration of the one-to-one relationship between an individual American and his or her putative commander-in-chief.
Heil Hitler!
To audiences of the poor, [Robert] Kennedy would present himself as a savior. The words “change” and “hope” were used relentlessly and cynically. For audiences of fearful whites, he would use racist codes, such as “law and order.” With those opposed to the invasion of Vietnam, he would attack “putting American boys in the line of fire,” but never say when he would withdraw them. That year (after Kennedy was assassinated), Richard Nixon used a version of the same, malleable speech to win the presidency.

Barack Obama is a glossy Uncle Tom who would bomb Pakistan. Hillary Clinton, another bomber, is anti-feminist. John McCain’s one distinction is that he has personally bombed a country. They all believe the US is not subject to the rules of human behavior, because it is “a city upon a hill,” regardless that most of humanity sees it as a monumental bully which, since 1945, has overthrown 50 governments, many of them democracies, and bombed 30 nations, destroying millions of lives.
The absurdity of prosecuting thought crime
To the left trying to be charitable, no thanks, says William Grigg
Every human being is, to use Will Durant’s phrase, a colorful medley of discordant fragments. Each of us has his prejudices; most of them are benign, some of them invidious, and none of them of any consequence to others as long as they are not coupled with deceit or coercion. It is when force or fraud is introduced in a way that impinges on individual rights that we should take alarm over prejudice.
The religious left gets it right on Iraq

From LRC.
Israeli sanctions on Gaza affect Christians
From Miguel José Ernst-Sandoval

Joshua Snyder on José Padilla
Padilla’s Abu Abdallah al-Muhajir now BTW: ‘the wrong Muslim at the wrong airport on the wrong day’.
Traditio in Radice is back

Gabbling the Mass
Lest some reason think I’m gone completely barmy I hasten to add both are Christian but:
Catholicism and Protestantism are essentially two different religions. “The idea of worship is different ... for, in truth, the religions are different. Don’t deceive yourself, my dear Bateman: it is not that ours is your religion carried a little further — a little too far, as you would say. No, they differ in kind, not in degree: ours is one religion and yours is another”.

...for classical Protestantism, the Eucharist is an acted word; it is a sermon dramatised; it is intended to instruct the witnesses and draw their heart to that saving faith which justifies. But for the Catholic, it is an
opus operatum, an action which by the powerful and indefectible promise of Christ is objectively (not merely subjectively and in the heart of the believer) effective. So the celebrant is not in the business of moving or instucting or edifying or converting the viewer — if such may be the the by-products, even useful ones, of the action, they are not its intrinsic purpose.
What some old-school Protestants and their liberal spiritual progeny make fun of and call magic: hocus-pocus mocks the Latin words of consecration hoc est enim corpus meum.

Michael Ramsey on Newman

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A kamikaze plan for Obama

Anti-European neoconservatism and the story of Europe’s secularisation

From Eunomia.
Internet words of the day: hobot/fembot
From this story. You mean those women filling my ‘away’ box in Yahoo! Messenger with webcam links aren’t real? I’m destroyed. I’m on Facebook but rarely go there and not on MySpace (which seems mostly for kids and to consist of very badly designed pages). First heard ‘fembot’ in the 1970s TV show ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’.

BTW is Zwinky the Weather Pixie’s slutty sister?
As I was saying
Let’s see now. The church that began its existence by keeping all its property after seceding from the parent organization with which it disagreed is now insisting that those who disagree with it cannot do the same.

Got it.
From the Dover Beachcomber via The Bovina Bloviator.

Also from DB, a Roman Catholic:

The secular world hates your guts
Yes, I know the Orthodox also believe as we do about that, but we’re by far the better-known target.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
— Matthew 5:10
Padilla’s sentence should shock and disgust all Americans

Foreign thought police target US candidates

No torture

Whose job is it to help the poor?
The religious left likes the state of course (just like the NYT does). Interestingly it says the poor ought to be ‘cared for’ not helped to help themselves. Classical-liberal fashion I prefer liberty to perpetual childhood. With that of course comes responsibility including personal and religious charity to take care of those who really need it.

From Tripp.
Economic doom and gloom

Bush lied, thousands upon thousands died

US military breaks ranks

Never mind the bollocks about the surge. Don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

From Joshua Snyder.
NPR and Fox News: the same?
NPR interviews Giuliani and ignores Paul. (What’s the excuse? Rudy doesn’t have a chance.) I love liberals: they’re so open-minded. (At least PBS’s Bill Moyers, who lied about Goldwater in 1964’s ‘Daisy’ TV ad, gave Paul his say.) Then again is it surprising that people who get misty over the October Revolution like an authoritarian pol? From the LRC blog.
Punch and Judy Obama and Clinton
Try a real peace and change candidate
From the Order of Julian of Norwich
  • St Vincent. Yesterday’s Western feast-day. Like the Church Fathers his story shows the importance of the local and Catholic bishop (clearly in communion/соборный/Eucharistic ecclesiology those aspects are inseparable and even the same really). Among the few treasures on my shelves is a booklet from the Episcopal guild for acolytes, which was like the GSS Catholic society in England, with this Roman deacon from what’s now Spain as its patron, from the 1950s with the American Missal order of Mass (US 1928 BCP fitted into the framework of the Tridentine Mass; of course I’ve seen it done!).
  • Yesterday’s Church Unity Octave intention was, to put it one way, ‘bringing all of America to the Catholic faith’, something of course I’m all for (without using the state/coercion). How would you try to do it (evangelise, catechise)? I still say the old biretta-belt example — ‘full faith’ and practice but using the best of America’s British and Protestant culture — isn’t a bad way to go. Blessed Anthony Rosmini (Catholic and classical liberal), pray for us.
  • Thursday Thoughts, a new Anglo-Catholic blog. Thanks for adding me to your blogroll!
  • St Gregory of Nyssa. Today’s Julian-calendar Byzantine Rite feast-day (stichera).
  • The Episcopal row. Yuck. Their supremo (who also apparently looks down on Roman Catholics for, you know, breedingplus ça change) compares conservative parishes and province-switching dioceses that want to stay in their buildings to rapists whilst their bishop in La-La Land apologises for evangelism and communes Hindus. Funny how the same people become higher than the old Tories or Pius IX in elevator shoes when real estate is involved. Note to the boomer hard left RC and mainline: Beavis and Butt-Head (and their distant cousins the same age being born again, serving the Tridentine Mass or learning to chant in Slavonic) are laughing at you.
  • I try to keep this blog focused on things important to many people, and the antics of a few dippy ministers in a small mainline denomination don’t fall under that (Roman Catholics or Southern Baptists speaking on peace issues and politics do simply because the numbers are so huge), but this is idolatry or at least taking God’s name in vain no less than the German Christian movement in the 1930s or the Protestant right and RC neocons supporting Bush (still playing them using abortion to cadge votes for the GOP).
Update: The first reports of the LA service were wrong: Christians were communed, Hindus given flowers. That makes sense.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Paul newsletter row and libertarian culture clash
Stating statistical facts is not racist — pointing out differences says nothing about anybody’s inherent worth as a human being — and I don’t believe in being politically incorrect for its own sake/to be rude. I don’t know of any white supremacists who would empty the jails of drugs offenders. Paul’s approach to immigration is pragmatic; if some racists like that it’s not his fault. And as the economy improves there would be fewer restrictions: not what the racists want to hear. From Rational Review.
McCain and the militarist mentality
Reason not to vote for Clinton
The candidate’s sex or (un)likeability are nothing to do with it

Femininity ≠ peace candidate.

A Clinton administration official:
...former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, when asked by “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl if it was worth over 500,000 innocent Iraqi children dying, said, “It was worth it.”
Want some (more) of this? Then vote for Clinton.
The difference, I suppose, for the American electorate, was that Albright (and her boss Bill Clinton) killed other people, like Iraqis and Serbs, rather than Americans.
Most Americans don’t care now because middle-class kids aren’t being drafted and shipped over there (yet?).
So Monte Asbury’s question is right on: Does Hillary Clinton really want to “reverse it”?
She doesn’t.

From Fr Methodius.
Guns, summed up
From LRC

I’m not a pacifist.
Damian Thompson rubbishes Mormonism
I’d vote for somebody who worships the 1966 World Cup champions or nothing for that matter as long as his political principles are sound but Mr Thompson is correct
‘Roe’ of Roe v. Wade endorses Ron Paul
Norma McCorvey changed her mind on abortion years ago

As does the former governor of New Mexico

The Free at Last money-bomb

Lobotomised culture
Today’s 6-7% declines on foreign stock markets should cause the MSM to contemplate their broader, worldwide implications. The only presidential candidate who is addressing the issue of the systemic causes of the incipient recession/depression is Ron Paul. So, the MSM will be falling all over one another to interview him for his insights, right? No, today’s television news reports are focused on how 2% Rudy Giuliani expects to do in the upcoming elections (forgetting that Ron has bested him in the voting thus far, and that even the Republican Party apparently can’t stomach Benito’s brand of fascism)! For a follow-up, the media has given us the information for which all lobotomized Americans yearn: actor Chuck Norris’ comparative assessments of John McCain and Mike Huckabee! Wonderful! Shall we next hear from PeeWee Herman, Jerry Springer, and the team of Beavis and Butthead, as they take turns weighing in on the pressing issues of the day?
“Pol Pot was obviously a major mass murderer, but it’s not clear that Pol Pot killed very many more people — or even more people — than the United States killed in Cambodia in the first half of the 1970s. We only talk about ‘genocide’ when other people do the killing.”
Yet, conservatives frequently rail against King and Chomsky for their leftist views while at the same time supporting mass murder in Vietnam or Iraq.
From the LRC blog.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Talking to Fr Jake’s readers about Catholic gentlemen in years past, the Episcopal row and politics
David H writes:
Well, jimB has mentioned a couple of times feeling put-upon by more politically liberal folks.

So maybe “we” wouldn’t be so rough on y’all if the Republicans could field a candidate that didn’t set off all sorts of alarm bells for us ;) I mean really, Huckabee? (Baptist minister who doesn’t believe in evolution and wants to use the Constitution to make us into a “Christian nation”?). Paul or Giuliani? (just plain scary unpredictable — tho’ in different ways). Romney? (not so bad, until he flip-flopped on a bunch of stuff to pander to the “evangelical” base). Thompson? (utterly unqualified, panders to the “evangelical” base — go back to sleep, Fred).

If the GOP wants to be taken seriously and get votes from people like me, they need to stop pandering to the far rightwing, “evangelical” nutjobs and field intelligent candidates who’ll pursue classic Republican virtues (small, limited gov’t with less interference in the lives of private citizens, fiscal responsibility, etc.... you know, real conservatism) and knock it off with all this “ban gay marriage,” “bomb Iraq” nonsense.
The last paragraph describes Ron Paul! Why do you think he’s scary unpredictable? In Congress for 10 terms he’s been remarkably consistent.

jimB writes:
I am an economic conservative usually. That is, I think after a lot of years working for Illinois, that the best way to do almost anything is to avoid government.

I am concerned because I live in Illinois, about Sen. Obama. He was for the entire time he was a senator in the State legislature, the single most likely “yes” vote on any tax increase.
The change he’s after is in your pockets or purse!

Wolfstan writes:
This is a year where both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address occur on the same day. And as it has been pointed out, “It is an ironic juxtaposition of events: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication, while the other involves a groundhog.”
McCain is living Giuliani’s dream
I was going to ask Puckpan why he’d vote differently if Giuliani or McCain were the Republican candidate as I don’t see a real difference between them
While satisfying to antiwar conservatives, the demise of Giuliani was a victory for hegemonists, whose goals will not be burdened any longer by Giuliani’s personal history and social liberalism.
Romney is Gore
He is the stiff technocrat chastised by the media for his awkward style and for his many changes of public persona. He is the son of a politician, born to privilege and capable of tremendously detailed policy wonkery that bores most other people silly. He is frequently compared to a robot or some other passionless humanoid, for which he then overcompensates with public displays of emotion.
From Eunomia.
More pro-lifers who just don’t get it
Me on this. From Deacon Jim.
Cockburn on Clinton, Obama and race
A view from the left. Looks like they won’t team up but you never know. My guess is if they did they’d win because like the Democrats in 2006 they’re wrongly perceived as peace candidates. Of course race, sex and religion (the silly fear-mongering about a Muslim connexion) should be nothing to do with it.
Obama purged his rhetoric of populism or outrage and has levitated on soft cushions of hot air about “change”, thus emulating Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932.

Bill Clinton, a career liar, said Obama was a peddler of fairy tales.
But it’s true.
Bob Johnson, a communications czar, America’s first black billionaire and a big Hillary supporter, stood next to Hillary on a campaign platform in South Carolina and said the Clintons had been fighting for black justice while young Obama was still “doing something in the neighborhood” — i.e., doing drugs behind the schoolyard fence.
Sure, smoking pot with his fellow upper-middle-class kids at private school. So what? Legalise it.
It won’t be long before the Clinton campaign circulates some of Rev Wright’s sermons linking Zionism with racism, and brandishes the photo of Mr and Mrs Barack Obama having lunch with the late Edward Said, America’s best known Palestinian.
Dr Wright is correct and Mr Obama being pro-Palestinian is too much to hope for and outweighed by other issues (he’s pro-war and pro-state).
Why the establishment hates gold
Much like religious modernists don’t like infallibility in the form of rule of law

MLK on Vietnam
Worth remembering on a day when the neocons are tempted to bowdlerise him, using his name for everything from helping homeless animals to ‘doing something for the troops’ other than what the Iraqis and troops really want

Having it both ways
If she’s so strong why’s he fighting her battles?

And she’s for the war too
All this needs is a cartoon of a taxpayer writing a cheque, wearing a Santa hat and saying ‘Ho, ho, ho’. Compare to:

Paul’s economics in four words
No Fed, no empire

The NYT and Fox lie
The Guardian tells the truth: Ron Paul did twice as well in Nevada as even his supporters predicted, finishing second

From the LRC blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sanctus Clemens, papa et martyr

At S. Clement’s (more).