Thursday, March 13, 2003

Went to the Great Canon last night at a church in the Russian tradition, but it was in English in the framework of Little Compline. Much, much better!

Book picks
Religious: Saint Sharbel, Mystic of the East by Claire Benedict
Secular: Class by Paul Fussell
The bible for my copy-editing job, even more important than the AP stylebook. It's nasty, it's a little snobbish, it's funny... it's true.

‘Platonic’? Rubbish!
A word from a great mind and writer:
No, except in certain cases of outstanding saints, men and women can't just be friends — one or the other will always 'disappoint' the other by falling in love.
- J.R.R. Tolkien (a traditional Catholic), writing to his son, Michael, about love, courtship and marriage

Some words from ordinary people on the Net:
All I know is that if you get the "let's be friends" speech from a woman, it means she's nice enough to refrain from saying that [she thinks] you're a goblin.

Me: Right. Much like 'I like you, but... ' really means 'I don't like you'.

One or the other will most likely have an attraction to the other that is much stronger than friendship. It's intrinsic to our "wiring." So a man need not be a pig to have an ulterior motive, and in fact the motive can be very noble -- that of marriage, not simply a roll in the hay.


I have two female friends and a half-dozen guy friends. Though yes, at one time or another hormones will take over and someone falls in "love" though they usually get over it and the obstacle is thus surmounted.

Me: 'What's love got to do, got to do with it?
What's love but a secondhand emotion? ...
What's love got to do, got to do with it?
What's love but a sweet old-fashioned notion?'


Regarding When Harry Met Sally..., I never saw it and couldn’t care less what Nora Ephron thinks.

‘Platonic love is only so much Platonic nonsense.’
- from Pamela


Fr Neuhaus of First Things sells out on Iraq
Should I even be surprised? For all their erudition, these folks are really Establishment liberals (here I include the Republican Party) first, Catholics second. Then again, what can one expect from people who go along with the Novus Ordo ('Vatican II') Mass, altar girls, a Pope kissing the Koran, etc.?

Father Richard Neuhaus on the Iraqi Crisis
Editor in Chief of First Things Points to Disarmament as a Just Cause

NEW YORK, MARCH 10, 2003 ( Would the just war principles of
Catholic doctrine allow for military action against Iraq?

As part of its ongoing coverage of the arguments surrounding the Mideast
crisis, ZENIT asked Father Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief of First
and president of the Institute on Religion and Public Life.

ZENIT: On whether there is a just cause for an attack against Iraq, many
observers question if there is enough evidence of a direct connection between
Baghdad and the Sept. 11 attacks. Others doubt that there is clear evidence
of an imminent attack of a grave nature by Iraq against other countries. What
do you think?

Father Neuhaus: First it must be said that -- although it appears that
military action against Iraq may be only a matter of days or weeks away --
faithful Catholics are joined with the Holy Father in fervent prayer that war
may yet be avoided.

As he has said, war represents a defeat of the right ordering of peace --
what St. Augustine called "tranquillitas ordinis"; in history nothing is
inevitable; and with God all things are possible.

As St. Thomas Aquinas and other teachers of the just war tradition make
clear, war may sometimes be a moral duty in order to overturn injustice and
protect the innocent. The just cause in this case is the disarmament of Iraq,
a cause consistently affirmed by the Holy Father and reinforced by 17
resolutions of the Security Council.

Whether that cause can be vindicated without resort to military force, and
whether it would be wiser to wait and see what Iraq might do over a period of
months or years, are matters of prudential judgment beyond the competence of
religious authority.

In just war doctrine, the Church sets forth the principles which it is the
responsibility of government leaders to apply to specific cases -- see
Catechism No. 2309.

Saddam Hussein has for 11 years successfully defied international authority.
He has used and, it appears, presently possesses and is set upon further
developing weapons of mass destruction, and he has publicly stated his
support for the Sept. 11 attack and other terrorist actions.

In the judgment of the U.S. and many other countries, he poses a grave and
imminent threat to America, world peace and the lives of innumerable
innocents. If that judgment is correct, the use of military force to remove
that threat, in the absence of plausible alternatives, is both justified and

Heads of government who are convinced of the correctness of that judgment
would be criminally negligent and in violation of their solemn oath to
protect their people if they did not act to remove such a threat.

As a theologian and moralist, I have no special competence to assess the
threat posed by Iraq. On the basis of available evidence and my considered
confidence in those responsible for making the pertinent decisions, I am
inclined to believe and I earnestly pray that they will do the right thing.

Q: Strong objections have been raised to the concept of preventive or
pre-emptive uses of military force to overthrow threatening regimes or to
deal with the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Is the use of
pre-emptive force justified according to just war principles?

Father Neuhaus: Frequent reference to preventive or pre-emptive use of
military force, and even to "wars of choice," have only confused the present

War, if it is just, is not an option chosen but a duty imposed. In the
present circumstance, military action against Iraq by a coalition of the
willing is in response to Iraq's aggression; first against Kuwait, then in
defiance of the terms of surrender demanding its disarmament, then in support
of, if not direct participation in, acts of terrorism.

This is joined to its brutal aggression against its own citizens, and its
possession of weapons of mass destruction which it can use or permit others
to use for further aggression.

To wait until the worst happens is to wait too long, and leaders guilty of
such negligence would rightly be held morally accountable.

In the Catholic tradition there is, in fact, a considerable literature
relevant to these questions. Augustine, Aquinas, Francisco de Vitoria and
Francisco Suarez, for example, all wrote on prudential action in the face of
aggressive threats. The absence of reference to such recognized authorities
in the current discussion among Catholics is striking.

Q: Many voices within and outside the Church ask that the United States not
go ahead with an attack without specific U.N. authorization. Is U.N. approval
just a prudential course of action, which could in the last resort be
bypassed? Or is it obligatory, given the provisions of the U.N. charter and
the growing importance of international institutions?

Father Neuhaus: Resolution 1441 of the Security Council, unanimously approved
last November, demands that Iraq immediately disarm or face the consequences.
Nobody claims that Iraq has complied, and proposals for "extended timelines"
and the like appear to invite no more than a repeat of the defiance of the
past 11 years.

No further U.N. "authorization" is required. The larger and more interesting
question is posed by the frequently heard assertion that the U.N. is the
locus of legitimate authority in international affairs. That is asserted but
it has not been argued, certainly not in terms of Catholic doctrine regarding
legitimate authority.

In view of the U.N.'s frequent hostility to the Church on family policy,
population, the sacredness of human life, and related matters, some Catholic
leaders may come to regret their exaggerated and, I believe, ill-considered
statements about the moral authority of the U.N.

Moreover, if the U.N. is not prepared to support the enforcement of its own
resolutions -- resolutions which it cannot itself enforce -- it is likely to
go the way of the old League of Nations.

The coalition led by the U.S. intends to act in support of the U.N. If a
minority on the Security Council rejects that support, the credibility and
future usefulness of the U.N. will be gravely undermined.

There is a necessary connection between power and moral responsibility. Every
nation acts and should act in its own interest, in the hope that interests
can be coordinated to serve the common good. The U.N. has sometimes been
useful toward that end. Many would understandably regret its self-inflicted
diminishment or demise.

But in its absence I expect that new institutions more attuned to the nexus
of power and responsibility would emerge in order to coordinate national
interests in the service of peace, never forgetting that peace as
"tranquillitas ordinis" will always be sadly deficient short of Our Lord's
return in glory.

Q: On the question of proportionality, many fear that an attack could
destabilize the Middle East and cause even greater hostility among Muslims.
Others point to the high cost that civilians might pay, due to the precarious
nature of life in Iraq. Is the United States giving sufficient weight to
these dangers?

Father Neuhaus: It is striking that the Bush administration has addressed the
Iraq crisis with very specific reference to Catholic just war doctrine,
including proportionality.

Widespread statements in parts of Europe about American inexperience and
"cowboy" impetuosity would be insulting were they not so adolescent. They are
especially unbecoming when made by distinguished prelates associated with the
Holy See.

To take but the last 100 years, the record of the U.S. in combating tyranny,
defending freedom, providing humanitarian aid, motoring economic development,
and securing a modicum of world order compares very favorably with that of,
for instance, Germany, France, Russia, or Italy.

[Comment: Here Fr N flys his neocon - really retread FDR/Cold War Democrat - colors. A pax Americana or American empire for the world's own good. Please. The 'white man's burden', Fr N?]

You ask about possible consequences of military action, including Muslim
reaction and civilian casualties. The simple answer is that such consequences
are unknowable and therefore unknown, except to God.

I know that possible consequences have been considered, day and night for
many months, by competent parties. I know there is a determination to
minimize damage to innocents, and a reasoned expectation that successful
action will weaken Islamist enemies of civilization and strengthen the Muslim
forces of decency and freedom. Nobody can know for sure what will happen.

Religious leaders should bring more to the public discussion than their
fears. Nervous hand-wringing is not a moral argument.

At this point, we should, with the Holy Father, be on our knees in prayer
that Iraq will disarm without military action. If war comes, we must pray
that a just cause prevails -- quickly, with minimal damage to innocents, and
with a long-term determination to help the Iraqi people then freed from a
brutal tyranny.

The Church cannot bless this military action as though it were a Christian
crusade. After the war, if there is to be a war, the Church, and the Holy
Father in particular, will be indispensable as a dialogue partner in moving
Islam away from the most ominously destructive possibilities of a "clash of

In sum: Military action in order to disarm Iraq can be morally justified in
terms of just war doctrine. Whether, in the retrospect of history, it will be
viewed as a prudent course of action, nobody can know. If such action is
undertaken, however, it seems to me that we have no moral alternative to
praying that a just cause will prevail justly.

Déjà vu
BTW, all this recent putting down of the French ('freedom fries' and suchlike) reminds me of the scapegoating from another stupid, immoral war, World War I, when Americans called sauerkraut 'liberty cabbage', towns named Berlin felt they had to change their names and there were even public burnings of German books. Not to mention World War II (not America's war) when FDR's supposedly enlightened government had no qualms about feeding the racism of the masses (egging them on to hate 'the Japs') to stoke war fever, even to the point of violating Americans' civil rights, stealing their property and forcing them into concentration camps, all because of their race (ethnic Japanese).

Mr Bennison wins a court case
Church Plans to Appeal Ruling
By David W. Virtue
PHILADELPHIA, PA -- (March 11, 2003) A judge in the Philadelphia Orphans'
Court ruled yesterday that the 150-year old parish of St. James the Less, a
small Anglo-Catholic parish located in located in Philadelphia's East
Falls/Allegheny West neighborhood, could not withdraw from the Diocese
without the diocese's permission and that the Diocese now has the right to
replace the vestry (Board of Directors) of the parish and take it over.

"We are appealing the judge's ruling," said Fr. David Ousley, the parish
rector. "St. James is committed to the Catholic Faith and we will continue to
be as faithful as we are able," he told Virtuosity.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania under its Bishop Charles E. Bennison
brought a lawsuit to dissolve the parish and seize all of its property after
the historic parish withdrew from the Diocese in 1999.

"The Diocese has never put any money into the parish," said Fr. Ousley after
the complicated 51-page ruling was handed down.

Judge Joseph O'Keefe of the Philadelphia Orphans' Court ruled that St. James
the Less could not withdraw from the Diocese without the Diocese's permission
and that the Diocese now has the right to take over the parish.

Parish leaders are hopeful about the parish's chances of success before an
appellate court.

"The decision was base on the judge's understanding of a 1935 PA statute
which he interpreted to mean that the bishop holds legal title to all
property in the
diocese. He said, in effect that whose name is on the deeds doesn't matter.
He ruled that all parish properties within the diocese before and after 1935
belong to the bishop who holds title in trust for the parish and the
diocese," said Fr. Ousley.

"The case was decided on fairly narrow grounds, and the opinion never reached
the central issues on property which both the diocese and St. James raised,"
he said.

"While the order is to be effective immediately, we will be seeking a stay
of the order
pending the appeal, and we hope that will be granted," said the
Anglo-Catholic priest.
"The order does not dissolve the parish, which is what the diocese asked them
to do, but it nullifies the merger by which we withdrew in 1999. So
corporately we are back to where we were before," said Fr. Ousley.

Speaking for the parish, current church vestry member Becky Wilhoite
remarked, "It is amazing to us that a Judge would rule that a parish is
required to obtain permission from the Diocese in order to disaffiliate.

Certainly, that is not in the parish's Charter or Bylaws, nor is it required
by the diocesan or national Episcopal canons. To have a Judge pronounce it
to be the law four years after the fact is difficult for us to fathom. As a
practical matter, if that is now the law in Pennsylvania, it would seem to
put all congregations in a pretty perilous position."

Bennison is now free to remove the vestry. However the parish is 100 percent
behind Fr. Ousley, and Bishop Bennison would be obliged to look outside the
parish for any support he might have for a new vestry.
In the end his victory could be entirely pyrrhic.

John the Bulgarian: From Christian to Muslim to Christian Martyr

A Lenten prayer of the Malankara Church of India
O Christ, our God, the eternal Tranquility of creation, and the true peace of the uttermost parts of the world;
Thou Who art love and art called love, and Who delighteth in this title more than all other titles;
Thou Who giveth honor to those who hold to this love.

By Thy love for us, Thou offereth Thyself as an acceptable sacrifice and a sweet fragrance.

By Thy crucifixion, Thou breakest down the barrier of enmity and by Thy blood, Thou hast reconciled the dwellers of heaven and earth and hast removed the enmity from the middle and united them as one.

By the indivisible unity of Thy Godhead from eternity and Thy human nature in time, Thou hast called all those who were far off and those who were near, and thus Thou has joined them together with the concord of Thy divine love.

By this same love, Thou hast counted them among the household of Thy eternal kingdom and brought the whole world good tidings of peace and tranquility. At Thy birth, the heavenly hosts proclaimed peace to the
shepherds. Thou gavest peace to the women, who went and announced Thy glorious resurrection. In peace, Thou assureth Thy holy apostles of Thy resurrection in the upper room where they gathered. When Thou wast
ascending to Thy Father, Thou gavest Thy peace to Thy disciples, saying to them: “My peace I leave with you; not as the world giveth, do I give it to you. This is my commandment that you should love another, just I have loved you.” Keep this love entrusted to us, our Savior, and by it, confirm our minds.

By Thy love, may we be bound together.
By Thy love, drive out from among us divisions and controversies.
By Thy love, make us keep Thy life-giving commandments.
By Thy love, hold afflictions and sufferings from us.
By Thy love, make us children of peace and tranquility.

By Thy peace, unite the shepherds and their flocks.
By Thy peace, cause priests to delight in their offerings.
By Thy peace, perfect Thy Church and her children.
By Thy peace and tranquility, guide and adorn Thy Church.
By Thy peace and tranquility, lead her congregations and make her children glad.

In Thy tranquility, keep those who are near her.
In Thy peace, purify her deacons.
In Thy tranquility, unite her leaders.
In Thy peace, reconcile the wrathful.
In Thy tranquility, unite those that are divided.
In Thy peace, fill bitter souls with happiness.
In Thy tranquility, keep Thy flock.
In Thy peace, settle doubting minds.
In Thy tranquility, purify our thoughts.
In Thy peace, deliver us from merciless people in authority.
In Thy tranquility, adorn us in all Thy festivals.
In Thy peace, accept our fasting and our prayers.
In Thy tranquility, grant us mercy and forgiveness.
In Thy peace, loosen us from the bonds of wickedness.
In Thy tranquility, break us out of the yoke of the adversary.

May Thy peace be with us and may Thy tranquility reign among us. Bind our minds with Thy Love and establish Thy loving-kindness in our hearts that we may offer thanks to Thee, O Lord of tranquility, and to Thy Father, the Giver of peace, and to Thy Holy Spirit, the Perfector of true love, now and forever.


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