Friday, May 30, 2003

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Coalition forces don’t protect Iraqi Christians

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Samer al-Batal
Justin Raimondo’s latest

In defence of Mel Gibson

Canadian PM taunts Pope: ‘Je suis catholique et pro-abortion’

‘We have the right to live’: Interview with Serbian Kosovo refugees

US troops raid Palestinian mission in Baghdad, arrest 11

God kept out of EU constitution

Another sentimental but true (in a couple of ways) story from the Net:
Why parents should have a crucifix in the house
Be it two- or three-dimensional. I've read similar stories from Eastern Orthodox about their kids responding to icons of Jesus.

The story:

I know that many Protestants find the image of a crucifix a bit off-putting, althought their reasons for feeling this way have never been in any way compelling to me (even when I was a Protestant).

I want to share an experience from yesterday that points out, yet again, the wisdom of Catholic devotional practices.

My little girl who is 3 1/2 years old has taken to staring adoringly at a large crucifix hanging in our bedroom. It is from Mexico, and so it is is traditional, and a bit bloody (although no comparison to the real event to be sure). I was a bit concerned that it might be a bit graphic, for her little eyes, but my wife and I loved it, and feel, like Paul, the need to preach "Christ crucified".

From time to time I hear her talking to Jesus, asking him to take care of mama, papa, her sister, uncle, aunt, grandparents, and even the souls in purgatory. Thank God for her prayers.

Yesterday she lovingly touched his bleeding knees and said, "Don't worry Jesus, I will take care of you...I love you."

I felt like crying. What a wonderful tool...this child has a more developed intuitive spirituality than many grownups (including me during most of my life).

Protestant friends: if you want to raise your children with a deep and intuitive love of Christ, start by getting a big crucifix for your home. Don't worry about the neighbors. It will foster a love and compassion for our crucified Lord. [End.]

Thursday, May 29, 2003

From friend of the blog Dustin Anastasios Hudson
550th anniversary of a sad event
Today, May 29, 1453, the city of Constantinople fell to the Turks. Let us pray for the suffering Orthodox Christians who still reside in that city, and that we may one day regain Hagia Sophia, no matter how slim a chance that may be...
During or shortly after World War I at one point the British had Constantinople. This by-then-nominally Christian people had the chance to 'put the cross back' atop Hagia Sophia (Greek for 'holy wisdom'), once the great cathedral of Greek Orthodoxy and a mosque since the 1400s, but didn't. It's now a museum.

The Turkish name for the city since the 1920s, Istanbul, is actually from the Greek eis ten polin, 'to the city'.

The Greek community in the city and in Asia Minor, before 1923 a centre of Greek civilisation for 2,000 years, has been driven nearly to extinction. The Phanar, where the patriarch of Constantinople (an ethnic Greek and required to be a Turkish citizen) lives, routinely is bombed.

From an Irish person
On the pseudo-Celtic spirituality game
From my reading, many who espouse 'Celtic Christianity' go to it with a idea of 'This was the warm, egalitarian mutual woman-affirming, nature-loving Christianity before those Awful Romans took over'. A sort of allergic reaction to things Latin maybe. [And perhaps the pseuds don't know the real Celtic Church prayed in Latin.] But since little is known, they 'reconstruct' i.e. make it up. Then you get the things like 'St Brigid was really a goddess who was taken over by the evil misogynist RCs' New Age stuff (gag and also bang head on keyboard).
Happy feast of the Ascension, traditional Roman Catholics. 'Men of Galilee, why do ye stand there, gazing up into heaven? Alleluia.' (From the Introit at Mass and the Antiphons in the breviary.) Click here to hear this chanted!

Fun fact
The meter for William Blake's poem 'The Tyger' is the same as 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Съ праздникомъ
Happy Julian-date feast day of St Pachomius, father of cenobitic monasticism, Eastern Orthodox.

Тропарь Пахомию Великому, глас 8:
Слез твоих теченьми пустыни безплодное возделал еси, / и иже из глубины воздыханьми во сто трудов уплодоносил еси, / и был еси светильник вселенней, сияя чудесы, Пахомие отче наш, / моли Христа Бога спастися душам нашим.

Житие его

Just for today
by Samuel Wilberforce
From my 1920s copy of the Anglo-Catholic Prayer Book

End of an era
While not dead, it's clear the English Church Union is on artificial life support, sad to say. Its London HQ and bookshop at 7 Tufton Street in Westminster, where I'd done some browsing a long time ago, are closing for ever May 30. Requiescat in pace.

From Dr James Dobson’s Focus on the Family
‘Catholic’ dioceses to use explicit sex texts to teach 5-year-olds
Considering the headlines last year, not the wisest move.

'The curriculum — "Talking About Touching" — was written by the Committee for Children, a group that used to be called COYOTE, which stands for "Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics." COYOTE was founded by Margo St. James in 1973 to work for the repeal of prostitution laws.'


Historically the Church has been libertarian about prostitution - teaching of course that it is wrong but not demanding the government outlaw it - but I agree this agenda is dead wrong and mind-boggling coming from putative 'Catholics'.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Samer al-Batal
The Palestinian struggle is about property rights

From The Onion
Terrifying bill passed during NBA playoffs
Panem et circenses.

The things people throw away

Pope John Paul II hails progress in ties with Bulgarian Orthodox

Friend of the blog Joe Oliveri observes that 'a number - for the sake of argument, let's say most - traditionalist RCs raised a hue and cry over the Pope's "gift" of Sts. Vincent and Anastasius church to Rome's Bulgarian Orthodox community recently.'

In the 1920s, Catholic Archbishop McNeil in Toronto helped build a Russian Orthodox church in that city and gave the Orthodox priest a chalice - back in the good old days before such gestures were debased by false ecumenism with Protestants. (Source: They Called Her the Baroness, about Catherine de Hueck Doherty.)

From David Virtue
Indian Anglican primate slams same-sex blessings
'Western Provinces should go their own way'
Exclusive Report

GRAMADO, BRAZIL-The Moderator of the Anglican Church of South India has
come out blasting those who would perform and participate in same-sex

In a letter obtained by Virtuosity, the Most Rev. K. J. Samuel wrote,
"Attempting to bless and affirm behaviours that are proscribed by the
Scriptures is a mistake. It is wrong. It is sin."

Archbishop Samuel, who could not be with his fellow Primates in Brazil,
wrote praising the efforts of his fellow Primate Drexel Gomez (West
Indies) for his study True Union in the Body? that condemned such
blessings, and warned of schism and broken communion if acted upon.

"Every person is precious to Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church. This
does not mean that all behaviours are helpful. It would be foolish to
suggest that all previous centuries of Christian teaching has risen out
of ignorance and been motivated by less than love. While there may be
people who have acted in less than a loving way or in less than a
faithful way, the 'traditional' position of the church has risen out of
the clear teaching of the Bible and out of concern for people."

Samuel said there were many examples of men who had close friendships
and strong relationships. "It seems to me to be a creation of modern
western culture that these relationships could only exist without
limits of propriety. Outside the libertine environment of the West,
many other cultures know what it means to have limits on behaviour."

"Enthusiasm for the innovation of individualism in the Northern and
Western cultures and churches is not shared in the South. Instead, it
is a prime contributing factor to distress and has led to a serious
departure from established Biblical norms."

Samuel said it that because the message of the Church is one of grace,
"it is important that we address movements away from God's grace.
Attempting to bless and affirm behaviours that are proscribed by the
Scriptures is a mistake. It is wrong. It is sin."

Samuel said that the book "True Union" touches on Natural Law. "We can
see in the order of creation being abrogated by same-sex intimacy. The
offence is only compounded when the church attempts to bless behaviour
that is so broadly held to be out of bounds. While boundaries and
limits of any kind are often viewed suspiciously in the West, it has
not been so through history or even today in the majority of the
communion in the Global South."

Acknowledging that the Anglican Communion is not organized under an
agreed constitutional or juridical system, "that does not mean it is
powerless to speak. Instead, it means that we have a covenant
relationship that we will live together under agreed principles of
theology and life."

Recognizing that the Communion does not have the legal right to tell
them what to do, the Indian Primate nonetheless argued, "We have a
moral right-even a responsibility-to speak the truth in love."

"Here is the truth: Because the Western Church, particularly in North
America (USA and Canada) has utterly rejected the request from Anglican
leaders of other provinces to abandon the pursuit of the divisive
agenda of attempting to bless and normalize homosexual behavior, the
consequence is that we are at a great and historic fork in the road. If
Western provinces do not wish to continue in fellowship with us around
a series of historically agreed positions, we will not force them to do
so. Neither can we be forced to continue an association that is leading
people away from Jesus Christ and the Anglican Way."

Samuel said that the responsibility to approve innovations rests not
with those who seek change. Assurance that changes will not be
disruptive must come from the rest of the community, he said. "The
Bishop and Synod of New Westminster seem determined to proceed. It also
appears that other dioceses are on a similar path (Pennsylvania,
Michigan, and others)."

Samuel launched a broadside against The Episcopal Church USA. He
highlighted three situations that undermined the [Anglican] Communion.

First. Dioceses taking it upon themselves to change biblical teaching
and overthrow well established limits of history.

Second. The timing of the election for Bishop of New Hampshire and the
possibility that an active homosexual candidate could be elected and
confirmed by the General Convention. "This is a serious change to the
church's teaching."

Third. The inclusion of a measure to be voted on at General Convention
that would allow the development of a service for blessing same-sex
unions as an "optional" service.

"There can be no place for the church to affirm destructive behaviours,
even if they are deemed to be optional. The position of this province
is clear. If the innovations proceed, it will be at the cost of
separation from us."

UK Life League
Rules OK

The Fathers
From The Catechism Explained, a Catholic book:
The chief sources of Tradition are the writings of the Fathers, the decrees of Councils, and the Creeds and prayers of the Church. (To which Eastern Orthodox would add that the Bible is part of Tradition, a perspective not out of harmony with western Catholicism.)

The Fathers of the Church were those who were distinguished in the early ages of the Church by their great learning and holiness. Such are St. Justin, the philosopher and zealous defender of the Christian religion (AD 166), St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (AD 202), St. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, etc. Many of these were disciples of the apostles, and are termed apostolic Fathers, as St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch (AD 107). The Doctors of the Church were those who in later times were distinguished for their learned writings and their sanctity. There are four great Greek Doctors, Saints Athanasius, Basil, Gregory, and John Chrysostom; and four Latin, Saints Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Pope Gregory, called Gregory the Great.

Defending the right to have private parties
by Pat Buchanan

The dark side of British foreign policy
In roughly the same position as the Greeks in the Roman Empire - 'Airstrip One', America's sidekick

Fun with spam
(cue 'Monty Python' song*)
In the spamtrap this morning are these subjects:

Earn $2000 Weekly Working from Home Stuffing Envelopes
Oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy - now I can quit my adequately salaried job and just roll in the dough - thank you, complete stranger on the Internet!

'Lucia' and 'Charmaine' seem to take turns with this pitch - I seriously doubt either lady provides this service personally. Quel dommage (kidding).

Из Больгарии от Георгия Далакова
'Try to contact'. Well, somebody has succeeded - must have been the recent postings about the Bulgarian Orthodox in Italy that got Mr Dalakov's attention.

Rats - nothing from Africa today from some deposed official's son or widow offering me, out of the blue, big bucks if I send a cash advance. One can always hope for tomorrow. (Most of these scammers are operating out of Lagos, Nigeria's lone Internet café with no overhead and enough gullible 'newbies' in the First World to make their business very lucrative indeed.)

Oh, wait - hello, what's this?

From;Sister Sandra Jones,Lome Togo.
'Dear, Greeting in Jesus Name ! Permit me to inform you of my desire of going into a relationship with you,I got your contact from a wedsite on the internet.'

Uh, wouldn't that go against your vows?

Funny how all these messages are in broken English when Nigeria's official language and lingua franca is... English.

One of those resusci-dummies would look cool sitting in the corner of my living room.

Pre-Order Mary Fahl & Get A Signed Photo!
You mean I get to drag home the real Mary Fahl and get an autographed pic? Wowee!

25-Piece Martha Stewart Cookie Decorating Kit - no cost!
Sorry, no - but I could direct her to a sex-offender online nemesis who'd probably declare it 'faaaaaaabulous!'

Your crusade info. from Team Delta Force
Guess Chuck Norris is keeping busy this way.

More on the spam epidemic

*Disclaimer: I'm an anglophile but not one of those naff ones who recites or sings whole 'Monty Python' bits, in an accent, at the drop of a hat.

Kasper the unfriendly cardinal
Friend of the blog Joe Oliveri: His Eminence (Walter Cardinal Kasper) made the following statement in an address at an Anglican church recently, during an ecumenical get-together. The other two speakers were the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Revd Elizabeth Welch, a former Moderator of the United Reformed Church. Given the context, consider the insidious nature of the Cardinal's remarks:

'How can we overcome this problem [of Apostolic Succession]? As I see the problem and its possible solution, it is not a question of apostolic succession in the sense of an historical chain of laying on of hands running back through the centuries to one of the apostles - this would be a very mechanical and individualistic vision, which, by the way, historically could hardly be proved and ascertained.' [End of quotation.]

Problem? Problem? The italicized bit sounds like heresy to me, in any context.

'The Catholic view is different from such an individualistic and mechanical approach. Its starting-point is the collegium of the apostles as a whole. Together they received the promise that Jesus Christ will be with them till the end of the world (Matthew 28.20).

'So after the death of the historical apostles they had to co-opt others who took over some of their apostolic functions. In this sense, the whole of the episcopate stands in succession to the whole of the collegium of the apostles.

'To stand in the apostolic succession is not a matter of an individual historical chain, but of collegial membership in a collegium, which, as a whole, goes back to the apostles by sharing the same apostolic faith and the same apostolic mission. The laying on of hands is, under this aspect, a sign of co-option in a collegium.' [End of quotation.]

All true. Not only is this fine but it resonates with the 'the Church - all or nothing' theology of Eastern Orthodoxy, doing away nicely with vagantes' games tracing their personal 'lines of succession' outside of any real church. But:

'This has far-reaching consequences for the acknowledge-ment of the validity of the episcopal ordination of an other Church. Such acknowledgement is not a question of an uninterrupted chain, but of the uninterrupted sharing of faith
and mission, and as such is a question of communion in the same faith and in the same mission.' [End of quotation.]

The rubbish here is a lot like Edward Schillebeeckx saying that since the whole Church is a sacrament, anybody coming into communion with it by fiat without the sacraments beforehand automatically gets them - a dodge to declare non-episcopal ministers priests in the event of a merger (such as the proposed Anglican-Methodist one in 1968, defeated narrowly by Anglo-Catholics). As one Anglican put it, this is very bad theology indeed - one could declare Quakers instantly baptized simply through an administrative merger.

Joe Oliveri: Why in God's name is this man a 'Prince of the Church', when he cannot even get the simple yet critical definition of Apostolic Succession right?

Why indeed. Very, very disappointing coming from a cardinal, and one appointed under a putatively conservative Pope's watch, too.

On the US and the Iraq war: is there anything left that matters?
The stopped-clock paradigm again.

Regarding the infinite-monkeys analogy, now it's been scientifically proved they probably couldn't write Shakespeare:
Give six monkeys one computer for a month, and they will make a mess

Monday, May 26, 2003

From Newsweek
The strange marriage of the Israeli state and the US Protestant religious right

US legislators: ‘régime change’ needed in Iran
Reminds me of old newsreels of Poland and France in 1939 and 1940. Pray more.

Israelis acknowledge Palestine’s right to exist, sort of
As if it were their prerogative. Reminds me of the US government's treaties with the American Indians. I trust Mr Sharon about as far as I could throw him - I've got bony arms and he looks like a solid 200+ lbs.

St Augustine of Canterbury
Today's Roman Rite and Book of Common Prayer saint of the day

Wilson, Bush and history
by Joseph Sobran
'Like Wilson, Bush is a moralistic Protestant who feels he has a divine mission to change the world. Bush too is a product of the Ivy League, though unlike Wilson, a minister’s son who presided over Princeton University, he isn’t exactly a student of history. Wilson wrote more books than Bush has read, but that didn’t make him wise. Neither man should ever have been let near a Bible.'

News of the weird
Bishop wanted: apply to Church of England
No, this isn't from The Rockall Times - it's for real

Cardinal snubbed at university for preaching the apostolic faith
More proof that if one wants the faith, stay the hell away from 'Catholic' colleges - except the little private schools that offer great-books programs, like Christendom College.

I wish these people had the honor of the administrators of Marist College, which officially has cut its ties to the Catholic Church.

If I could do it all over again, I would have taken a couple of years off after high school to mature, then gone to a little, preppy, honestly secular liberal-arts college, getting my religion from a good old-fashioned church in town. (I ended up doing the latter anyway, but the cognitive dissonance from going to a 'Catholic' college at the same time did its psychological damage.) That's the way to go - gentlemanly WASP professors, even some truly liberal liberals from the older generation, and some nice, smart but philosophically confused kids as fellow students.

Georgetown always have been Ivy League wannabes - they're now catching up with some of them in their apostasy. (Except the Ivies can be pretty cool - Princeton has a great student-run radio station you can listen to here.)

The hellhole I went to was a sort of Notre Dame wannabe on the US East Coast - a jock/frat/yuppies-in-training place, offset by some PC heretics in the 'Catholic' chaplaincy. Bad, bad judgement on my part.

20/20 hindsight.

America: still the land of dreams come true
Lest one think I am 'anti-American' or this blog is nothing but a rant full of bad news, yesterday was one of those days that made me glad to be in this country as I saw an immigrant couple sacramentally married after Divine Liturgy (поздравляю!) in a Russian Orthodox church. (The post-Soviet immigrants I know all 'got religion' sincerely after moving to America - next to none from Soviet times were born Orthodox.) The Church, and grace, in action. Great reception afterwards with the couple's family and the parish family, and it is 100% true that Russian women are among the most strikingly beautiful in the world. Господь Бог да даст их многая и благая лета.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

US cuts contact with Iran
Not again. Pray.

Drudge Report

BettNet: Domenico Bettinelli

On the wonders of duct tape
It was useful for Mr Bush's war-effort propaganda - allegedly effective against imaginary poison-gas attacks from those evil Ay-rabs - but even more useful to me yesterday. As I started on my weekly 14-mile bicycle ride into the city and back, the bike's seat (about five or six years old and the replacement for an older one) popped off! I didn't happen to have a roll because of the hype. It's been said duct tape is the mechanical fix-all for those who don't know what they're doing/how to do it right. True a lot of the time for me but the only solution this time. It saved my a**, literally - rode into town, to the nearest bike shop, and - thank the Lord for charity and small mercies - the mechanic replaced it with a perfectly good used seat gratis!

US Memorial Day
Watched 'The Perilous Fight' on PBS late last night - a few hours' worth of World War II film in living color. Funny how I think of those times, long before my experience, in black and white! The quality was excellent - one of the few times when seeing old film that I felt 'I was there'! Through it you really could see the world of the 1940s through those people's eyes.

Hybridism? No
Some online have remarked somewhat accusingly that either I am somebody who 'dearly misses' the Roman Catholic Church or wants to create a kind of high-church Frankenstein's monster amalgamating Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism. I can understand the confusion but neither is true, though of course I want to see a reunion of all the orthodox, apostolic, Catholic (in the sense I described earlier on this blog) churches built on a foundation of small-o orthodoxy (‘mere Catholicism’) - a faith that includes but transcends several rites and ethnicities/cultures.

Except for a handful of practices that are really Victorian Anglo-Catholic - crossing myself with holy water at home, bowing my head at the Sacred Name of Jesus, praying the Angelus/Regina Coeli (using the Victorian AC wording) and having a palm leaf behind a crucifix in my kitchen/office - the only arguable, major Westernization in my religious life is the way I read the Bible - psalter, canticles and lessons twice every day, a method right out of classical Anglicanism, in a prayer life that is otherwise Russian Orthodox. The Pope is great and I wish him well always, but I have zero longing or desire to set foot into a modern Novus Ordo Mass - went to it occasionally three years ago and hated it; the only reason I went was because at the time I was dating a displaced Byzantine Catholic who lived in another city and that's where she went (there was no BC church there).

I have what I call the over-50% rule - more than half your prayer life should be from one rite. One can't really live in two or more rites at the same time.

‘Anna and the King’
Finally saw about half of it - a recent, nonsinging, even more PC remake of 'The King and I' with the charismatic and handsome fellow Chow Yun-Fat stepping into Russian-born Yul Brynner's golden slippers as King Mongkut and Jodie Foster in the other titular part, doing a old-fashioned cut-glass accent credible enough for an American movie but otherwise basically an assertive, rebellious, costumed and odd-talking American. It seemed to me the filmmakers didn't 'get' the English - those I've known would've felt right at home and known how to act in 19th-century Siam's world of subtle and maddeningly precise protocol! Can't speak for the Thais as I've never been to Bangkok (though I've been told one can have a wild, sinful time there for 1,000 baht). They still revere their king, though, and that's probably a good thing.

The remarkable story of the real King Mongkut
A great man - with both a Solomonic wisdom and libido!

Saturday, May 24, 2003

Tomorrow in church history
May 25, 735: Bede ('The Venerable'), father of English history, dies. In addition to his Ecclesiastical History of the English People (731), biographies of abbots, and Scripture commentaries, he wrote our primary source for the story of how Celtic and Roman Christianity clashed at the Synod of Whitby in 664.

Съ праздникомъ
Мы, A conservative blog for peace, поздравляем всем - и нашых самых дорогых и многолюбимых женщин словачкых, Михаилу Хадсону и Марину Белицу - сегодня с праздником (по-старому) свв. Кирилла и Мефодия, первоучителей словенских.

Happy Julian-date feast day of SS. Cyril and Methodius, Russian Orthodox and all the Christian Slavic people. The peoples of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia can thank these two Greek brothers from Salonika for giving them the written word. (They didn't invent the Greek-based 'Cyrillic' alphabet used in Russian, though - that came later.) They did, however, turn early Bulgarian into Slavonic, the Latin of Eastern Europe - the medieval literary language and still the liturgical language of Russians, who understand it about as well or badly as English-speakers do Chaucer.

Was talking to a Jewish friend last night who remarked about the survival of the Jews through centuries of persecution and foreign rule that one had to be smart to survive, and I added that the written word is central to the culture - Torah, Tanakh, Talmud (and no figural art per their interpretation of the First Commandment). An illiterate Jewish person is almost a contradiction in terms. People of the Book.

And of course Christians call God Himself the Word, ho Logos, Verbum, Слово.

Got a break from the depressing English-like weather last night (it continues today, though) as I went to hear talented friends October Project perform. 'Shout outs', in no particular order, to Emil, Julie, Marina, Dave, Urbano, Martha, Alan, Bill, Steven, Jeremy, the Reeds from Boston and Crystal (ex-Talisman)!

Today in church history
May 24, 1089 (traditional date): Archbishop of Canterbury, scholar, and church reformer Lanfranc dies. Known primarily for his development of the doctrine of transubstantiation, in which the eucharistic bread and wine become Christ's body and blood, he also educated brilliant scholar Anselm and future pope Alexander II.

May 24, 1543: Polish astronomer and cleric Nicholas Copernicus dies in Poland. His heliocentric (sun-centered) concept of the solar system was radical, though not unheard of before his time. Still, some theologians strongly criticized the theory. While not ordained to the priesthood, he participated in a religious community at the cathedral of Frauenburg.

May 24, 1689: Parliament passes England's Toleration Act, granting freedom of worship to Dissenters (non-Anglican Protestants) but not to Catholics and atheists.

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Samer al-Batal
Sit at the back of the church
Get the feeling these people are an embarrassment to the RC authorities and aren't really welcome? Meanwhile, the chick in the story and pic yesterday gets to use a cathedral high altar, all under the watch of a supposedly conservative Pope. Huh?
Dirigatur, Domine, oratio mea sicut incensum in conspectu tuo
However, there was some good news today:
Cardinal celebrates Tridentine Mass in Roman basilica

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
Vatican vs. Moscow : church politics and ‘missing letters’
Lee Penn: Are either of the players doing what Jesus would do? (Rhetorical question.)

Pathology: blaming and smearing the victims of last year’s gay-priest scandals

Vatican ties US outrage on abuse scandal to Calvinism; considers policy retreat
I wouldn't use NCR for toilet paper but a stopped clock is right twice a day. Lee Penn: Business as usual, as long as the hierarchy can get away with it ...

I agree with the worldly-wise (and even holy) European view that sacking a man over an offence committed decades ago and repented of is wrong. But what's really outrageous is when not only sex-offender ex-clerics won't own up to what they did, but the authorities themselves play games on such matters.

Снова в СССР России
McCartney serenades Putin, rocks Red Square

Friday, May 23, 2003

It's been overcast, drizzly and in the 50s Fahrenheit here in this part of the US... reminds me of England.

Blair plotting map towards euro entry
The day Britain drops the pound is the beginning of the end

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Dave McLaughlin
For every sincere Anglo-Catholic who has 'poped' or has considered 'poping' to get away from all the 'womanchurch'-ery and New Agery in the Anglican Communion

‘Thought you got away, did you, Fr Spike? EH-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh!’

Sometime correspondent Stuart Koehl, an orthodox Byzantine Catholic, has some keen observations on neo-pagan tomfoolery. The practitioners don't literally believe in the gods and goddesses they worship - they see them as Jungian archetypes of male and female or suchlike (which I'm sure the demons have a good larf about). Neo-paganism, with its sexual overtones, is a modern invention for women - by men! (Wicca was invented by an Englishman in the 1930s - he spelt it Wica - and included nudism, unknown to real European pagans centuries ago.) Stuart points out it's really a sanitized, Christianized set of beliefs ('harm no one', white magic, etc.), created whole cloth by apostate Christians and striking out Christ as the head - real paganism OTOH was/is about bashing in an animal's skull and sacrificing its blood on a rock to put curses on people and to appease gods who are very much believed in.

Maybe there should be a revival of 'pagan fundamentalism' (yea, brother) to give the ex-Christian dabblers a reality check and perhaps teach them a very scary lesson or two.

BTW, to prevent any questions along these lines, no, 'health food', homeopathic medicine and massage therapy are not ipso facto New Age or pagan. In the Middle Ages, all physicians and midwives used herbal medicine and potions, not the imaginary 'wise women' of the pseudo-pagans' mythology. (Read the late Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael mystery novels, well-researched historical fiction about a Catholic 'medical doctor' of the period.)

Today in church history
Lots of stake-burnings today - ugh!

May 23, 1430: French mystic and military hero Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians. They sold her to English, who tried her for sorcery and heresy.

Interesting fact: this was during the two-, then three-way schism in the Catholic Church when there were several men claiming to be Pope. Joan sincerely sided with a man later determined not to be the real Pope; I think the English who burned her for political reasons were under the real one. Nevertheless, perhaps because it was a confusing time and she was sincere, she was later canonized.

May 23, 1498: Italian reformer Dominican Girolamo Savonarola, who preached aggressively against the corruption of northern Italy's church and society, is hanged for heresy and his body burned. After gaining fame for successful prophecies, he sought to establish an ascetic Christian community. Scholars still debate whether he was a saintly prophet or a fanatic.

Savonarola is a man to admire - orthodox, sincere and holy, but like some of the saints he had his faults. (But to be fair, the excesses of the Renaissance were anti-Christ, part of the domino effect that caused the 'Reformation', 'Enlightenment' and today's secularism.) IMO he's canonizable. He was 'puritanical' in the commonly understood meaning of the word. Saints are meant to be examples but not all can or should be emulated in every detail! Has anybody reading or writing this got the stamina to live on top of a pillar for years?

BTW, there is a story, I think true, that one or two of his followers, disillusioned by their leader's execution, travelled to Eastern Europe and became devoted Orthodox monks. One, Maximos, may have been Greek to begin with. I think the other, an Italian, went to Russia and was canonized there - St Anthony the Roman. He became a monk of the great schema - the US Marine Corps of Orthodox monasticism.

Speaking of the 'Reformation'...

May 23, 1533: Thomas Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, declares King Henry VIII's marriage to Catherine of Aragon null and void: a key moment in the English Reformation.

The birth of Anglicanism: cynicism, political opportunism, compromise and early modern nation-state building... 'the Church has one foundation' and it sure isn't those things!

To be fair, Henrician Anglicanism wasn't Protestant - Cranmer was an out-and-out heretic who arguably got what he deserved (light the fire, lads) but he kept a low profile until old Harry died, five wives later. It was a schism that, if it had happened 50 years earlier, would have ended with his death.

Factoids I picked up last night while reading about Tony Blair's background: England has surpassed the Scandinavian countries as the most irreligious country in the West. About 3% of the people regularly worship in Harry's church today - such is his legacy.

From today
What feminism hath wrought
by Angela Fiori

West Pointer who changed his mind on war
Ex-Capt. David Wiggins resigned his Army commission on the front during Gulf War I and is now a doctor

I’m honored
If the neocons hate this blog, it's doing what it should do

Thursday, May 22, 2003

It has happened, as feared:

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Chaldean Catholics murdered in Iraq

The Word
In PDF (Acrobat) format - the magazine of the Antiochian Orthodox Church's metropolia in America

Patriarch of Moscow on the mend

Съ праздникомъ
Happy Julian-date feast day of the prophet Isaiah and of the moving of St Nicholas' body to Bari, Italy (translation of his relics, in church lingo), Eastern Orthodox. The Russians keep the latter feast and the Greeks don't, because it happened after 1054. The dividing line between East and West, though the two sides are distinct, isn't as clear as some think!

'The walls of the schism don't reach to heaven.'

A picture, on the St Nicholas Center site, of the Russian Orthodox chapel in the Catholic basilica of San Nicola in Bari: yet another example of goodwill to the Eastern Orthodox in Italy:

Photo: Anglican World/JMR

Romania remembers its modern-day Christian martyrs
(ENI) Romania's church leaders are drawing up a list of martyrs who died for the Christian faith under Communist rule, and aim to publish it next year.

"All the mainstream churches suffered during the communist period here, so this is a significant ecumenical development," said Costel Stoica, spokesman for the Romanian Orthodox church's Bucharest patriarchate. "It's supremely important that the history of our churches is properly known, and that today's young generation is made aware of the strong moral stand which many people adopted," Stoica noted in an interview with ENI.

"We began collecting data in 1990, and have already published material on Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians who suffered for their faith. We've now established precise criteria for acknowledging acts of martyrdom," Stoica said.

The criteria include meeting a violent death, death from lack of food and water or prison torture because of ''hatred of faith and church," representatives of Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches said after a meeting about the project earlier this year.

They said the list would include 120 Orthodox, 50 Latin (Roman) Catholics and 20 Protestants, as well as 150 martyrs from Romania's Greek Catholic church, which combines the eastern rite with loyalty to Rome, and was outlawed in 1948...

In a March 2002 census, almost 87 per cent of Romania's population of 21.7 million said they belonged to the Romanian Orthodox church, compared to about 6 per cent describing themselves as Latin or Greek Catholics, and 1 per cent citing membership of Protestant denominations...

From Rome correspondent John Boyden
Pope gives Rome church to Bulgarian Orthodox
The Church of SS. Vincent and Anastasius, Fontana di Trevi, in the city center

Today in church history
May 22, 337: Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, dies. Though known for calling the Council of Nicea (which condemned the Arian heresy) and for beginning the process of Christianizing the empire, he waited until just before his death before he finally accepted baptism into the church.

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
‘Earth Spirit Rising’
Brought to you by the kind of people who call my friends 'not Catholic'. About the pseudo-Irishness, friend Archimandrite Serge (Keleher) uses this litmus test for such people: 'Do you speak the language?' (He does. They don't.)

‘Women religious’ embrace ‘eco-spirituality’
Quoth Dr Rosemary Radford Ruether: 'To allow unrestrained fertility is not pro-life,' she said.
'A good gardener weeds and thins his seedlings to allow the proper amount of room
for the plants to grow. We need to seek the most compassionate way of weeding
out people

Translation: Ve hef a final solution. Only ze fit vill reproduce, ja? (Actually what Margaret Sanger, a keen eugenicist whose Planned Parenthood published Nazi articles in the 1930s, believed and said.)

'We need to compost ourselves.' Dr R's fellow ethnic German, the late Dr Josef Mengele, couldn't have put it better.

Lee Penn: Ah, the 'Springtime of the Church' ......... and the 'spirit of the Council'.

Speaking of which:

Interview: Abbot Boniface (Luykx), now in the Ukrainian Catholic Church, on the disaster of Vatican II

W’s secret society (Skull and Bones, at Yale) induction ritual exposed
Lee Penn: Our country is run by these folks. Sleep well. Stupid

From Greg Singleton's site
(Western) high-church guide to Chicago

‘This Modern World’ by Tom Tomorrow: The Republican Matrix

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Happy Julian-date feast day of St John the Evangelist, Eastern Orthodox.

From Ilana Mercer’s site today
Women who wed the wrong Wahhabi
Long story short: stop whining, grow up and accept responsibility for your actions.

From today
Why the coed Army doesn’t work
by Karen De Coster

War supporters: you were scammed
by Thomas Woods

From May 20
Neoconservatism explained
by Lew Rockwell

From May 19
The unintendend consequences of good intentions
by Butler Shaffer

From The Onion
Maybe one of the things Jayson Blair made up while writing for The New York Times was that there were stockpiled weapons of mass destruction in Iraq!

R. Grant Jones’ site
A gentleman from the Christian West, who is Eastern Orthodox

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Apparently the US is now on 'Orange Alert' for terrorism and there are attacks in Saudi Arabia and Palestine. Well, what could one expect since W and his handlers have repeated the exact thing that got Osama bin Laden p*ssed off in the first place? (Maybe that was their plan.)

From The Onion
Department of Homeland Security deputizes real mean dog

Today in church history
May 20, 325: Emperor Constantine convenes the first Ecumenical Council in Nicea (now Iznik), Bithynia, to discuss Arianism, a heresy arguing Jesus was not divine. 'I entreat you,' Constantine said at the opening of the Council of Nicea, 'to remove the causes of dissension among you and to establish peace.' The council attempted to resolve the bitter conflict by anathematizing Arius (Arianism's founder) and ordering the burning of all his books, but the conflict continued to rage for decades.

Serbian Orthodox Church to canonize Nikolai Velimirovic

A new slice on physics?

California’s RCs lead the way - to Protestantism
I think Goodbye, Good Men might explain it in part (as it does the gay-priest scandals that made the headlines last year) - liberals manufacture or aggravate a 'vocations crisis' by driving away orthodox would-be ordinands (who still exist) and then, having 'created a need', push their agenda. The perfect opportunity for Sister or Ms to play priest - advancing from giving Communion (ugh) to really pushing it. They made Rome blink on altar girls so like Hitler after Czechoslovakia they're even more aggressive.

And that's what it's about for them - you see, liberals are the biggest clericalists who ever lived. (The orthodox, OTOH, are sacerdotalists as Fr George Rutler puts it.) These gals want 'prelacy', not episkope - it's not about the apostolic ministry, but POWER. 'I am woman, hear me roar.' No, thanks.

They've outprotestanted middle-stump Anglicanism AGAIN.

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
NY Gov. Pataki changes mind about joining Masons
Well, that's good.

Vladimir Soloviev vs. Modernism
Pronounced 'so-lo-VYOFF' (Соловьëв). He wasn't perfect (are any of us?) - his Russia and the Universal Church reads in a lot of places like hackwork, an anti-Orthodox screed uncharacteristic of a Russian or of a Catholic - but his Tale of the Antichrist is a good read as is this Catholic article.

Buon giorno!
A big hello to the person in the Vatican who visited this blog today.

Monday, May 19, 2003

St Dunstan
Of Glastonbury and Canterbury - a man of many talents and today's Roman Rite and Book of Common Prayer saint

Great places to learn about Russian Orthodoxy
Both of which I've visited.

St Vladimir’s Seminary
Crestwood, NY
Of the Orthodox Church in America*, a nearly all-American church mostly of Russian heritage - they speak English and their books are like reading things from the Catholic liturgical movement of the good old days. A internationally respected little theological college in a quiet New York City suburb. My good friend Dustin Anastasios Hudson is a student there - a Catholic who is accepted (of course he obeys both sides' rules, which the OCA does enforce, and doesn't receive the sacraments there).

*Either the completely independent, fully canonical Orthodox church of the US and Canada or the American metropolia of the Moscow Patriarchate, depending on who you talk to. Either way, they're great.

Holy Trinity Seminary
Jordanville, NY
Of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad - the site is in English but the community, in the middle of rural nowhere in New York state as befits the serious monastery it is part of, speaks Russian, as the site explains. In a way it's like travelling through Pennsylvania German (Amish and other conservative Mennonites) country - you're in a religiously motivated, self-segregated micro-culture that deliberately is not American, which can have its up and down sides.

Both places have services every day.

The Amish are fascinating in their own right. Contrary to popular belief, they're not pretending to live in the early 1800s. Every archaism they use is a deliberate choice, codified in their Ordnung (rule of life), to keep the religious community together. Anything modern that's not perceived as a threat to that is accepted - they use at least some modern farming methods, for example.

British reality TV
On the same theme, I'm hooked on the upmarket, often English version of reality TV, the programs done by Channel 4 and/or PBS where a largish group of ordinary people agree to live for three months nearly exactly as in a certain historical period - pioneers in 1880s Montana, England during the Blitz and the latest one I've seen, 'Manor House', in which an Edwardian mansion in Scotland was lived in and run nearly exactly the way it was, unromantic reality of hard work for the 'downstairs' servants and all. (The first two scullery maids actually ran away early on!) Best part - Hugh Edgar, the butler and top-ranking servant, an older man with what sounded like a thick Northern accent who knew a lot about the period as his grandparents lived the life he was re-creating. It was almost eerie - of all the people, he fitted in perfectly, sternness and all. He WAS an Edwardian - it was a shock to see him really 'break character' at the end of the series and see he isn't really like that!

And of course as conservative as I think I am, I'm glad some of that is gone - the women have it better now and even the hair and fashions for them are more flattering today.

The inflatable church
'A Church of England spokesman said the inflatable could be used only for civil ceremonies. "A church is its people, and you can't have inflatable people."' - The Sun

True - and of course it's not really a consecrated church, set apart for God and the community's worship. As for the last bit, well, you COULD always... oh, never mind.

Sure, it's making fun of religion but ironically it seems to be a copy of a 'middle-of-the-road' Anglican church, nicer than most Novus Ordo Catholic churches.

And think about it - lots of secularized Britons and Americans, nominal Catholics, nominal Protestants and yes, nominal Orthodox, 'use' the church exactly this way. Namely, as a pretty setting to rent for hatches, matches and dispatches (baptisms, reduced to a new-baby party/baby-naming ceremony; weddings and funerals). So seen as a parody, this 'inflatable church' actually makes a statement about this trivialization of the church in people's lives.

On the same note, did you know that many non-Christian Japanese like to have Christian-style weddings complete with fake church (building) and fake minister (an actor, perhaps licensed to do civil marriage ceremonies), just like this?

And on a lighter note, I can imagine the kind of people depicted by 'Onslow' and his family in 'Keeping Up Appearances' having a wedding in the inflatable church, for real.

What I believe, in photo form

On Mt Athos, Greece

High church, my church
Low church, no church
Middle church, muddled church
High church, my church

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Dave McLaughlin
‘Seriously Orthodox’
The life story of the Old Rite bishop for the Russian Church Abroad, Bishop Daniel. I know somebody who grew up in what is now his cathedral, in Erie, Pa., back when it was part of the priestless Old Believers.

Not a religion for dilettantes looking for the flavor of the month

From The Rockall Times
Matrix Reloaded stars in alternate reality nightmare
Carrie-Ann Moss sobs uncontrollably in hermetically sealed fetish costume

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
Chris Patten, UK diplomat, said in 2000: people look to the EU rather than God
Mr Patten was the last British governor of Hong Kong before the city was returned to the Communist Chinese in 1997.

Lee Penn: Here is the hot quote, which suggests that modern-day Europeans look to the
European Union rather than to God for deliverance:

"In any case, like it or not, the Commission has to respond to an active
global social conscience. In the past people asked God to deliver them from
evil. Today they look to international institutions - and in Europe that
means the EU."

The agency that released the speech said, "The European Commissioner
responsible for external relations, Chris Patten has initiated the debate on
the demands, constraints and priorities of the EU's policy in this field. He
has done so in a succinct paper (which he drew up himself without passing
through drafts prepared by the services) which he has forwarded to the
College urging it to engage in a policy debate. ... The tone of the
Commissioner Patten's communication is unusual for an official document. It
notes that today we no longer turn to God to deliver us from evil but to the
EU; that certain "invitations" from Member States to the Commission have the
nature of Mafia offers that cannot be refused, etc...."

Here is another look inside the mind of those building the New World Order.

W goes to Shinto shrine
Lee Penn: Maybe Bush honored the warrior-emperor tradition in Japan because that's what he wants to be himself.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Lee Penn
DC insiders begin lobbying for ‘régime change’ in Iran
Lee Penn: The ‘boys’ want WW3, and they will do anything to get it.

Rumsfeld adviser wants to build more nukes; says we can win a nuclear war
Lee Penn: As I was saying ... the ‘boys’ WANT a Third World War.

From David Virtue
From an obituary for the Revd William Ralston:
Episcopal traditionalist respected for his intellect, dies
by Ann Stifter

The Rev. William H. Ralston may have seen God in secular classics.
Homer and Haydn; Shakespeare and Schumann.
He also saw the divine in spiritual classics.
Traditional prayers and time-honored methods.

...He took a stand for tradition at a time when others were siding for
change to something a little more contemporary.

"He was a man who stood for the essentials of the Christian faith and
he would not shrink from defending that faith," ...
"And at same time was a compassionate individual."

..."I learned from him that a person can be firm in their beliefs but kind
and gentle in their tolerance of other people's beliefs." [End.]

A similar life lesson I learnt long ago from a similar gentleman, the Revd Peter Laister, who died last October.

Christian persecution around the world
Martyrs aren't just names on a church calendar


Dr Patrick Sookhdeo
The Barnabas Fund (UK)

700,000 Christians fear the establishment of an Islamic state governed
by Shari'ah.

The political and constitutional future of Iraq is an immediate concern
for Iraqi Christians. According to Archbishop Sleiman of Baghdad, "If
the influence and pressure of extremist groups, which are regaining
their vigour, increases in the future, I don't know what kind of future
can be envisioned." Christians in Iraq fear rule by the majority Shia
Muslim population. On 14 April Shia clerics made it clear that they
wanted Iraq to become an Islamic state governed according to Shari'ah.
Judging by past events this does not bode well for Christians, for in
1991 when the Shia rebelled against Saddam Hussein in Basra the first
district attacked was the Christian quarters of the city. Shia
hostility to the presence of US and British troops is increasingly
evident as many took to the streets of Nassiriya to demonstrate on 15
April, while the main Shia opposition group boycotted talks with the US
and Britain held at the Talil air base. In a Friday sermon on 2 May,
in the town of Kufa, Ayatollah Mohammad Sadeq Sadr specifically called
for the Shari'ah to be imposed, not only on Muslims but on Iraqi
Christians as well. Such anti-western feeling could still lead to
Iraqi Christians being associated with the 'invading' armies, leading
to attacks on Christians.

The news agency ZENIT reported Father Nizar Semaan, a Syrian Orthodox
priest, in the context of the Shia pilgrimage to Karbala, as saying,
"we see these events with apprehension, not because we are against
freedom of belief and religion which we want as the foundation for the
new Iraq, but because we are familiar with the mentality and culture of
Shiite Muslims and we know that what they want is a theocratic Iraq
founded on Islamic law. There is a danger that we Christians may have
to choose between remaining in Iraq as second-class citizens deprived
of our rights, or leaving this land of our fathers. We are sorry to
see that while the Shiite gatherings were broadcast far and wide, no
media attention was given to Christians in Iraq who at the time were
celebrating Easter. While we are praying for peace and true freedom
and democracy, our Shiite Muslim brothers were chanting slogans for an
Islamic state and a new war. I hope the rest of the world will see the
danger and continue to help Iraq become a truly secular and democratic
country were all groups are respected."

The more moderate Iraqi National Congress (INC), an umbrella
organisation sponsored by the US and made up of Iraq's major opposition
groups, has already discussed draft constitutions, some of which
describe "Shari'ah as the source of tomorrow's legal norms" in Iraq.
The INC is dominated by Sunni, Shia and Kurdish groups. Christians,
who make up 3% of the population, fear that it will be difficult for
them to have their say in the building of a new Iraq.

The Chaldean church recently issued a statement asking that any future
Iraqi constitution should guarantee them the right to, "profess our
faith according to our ancient traditions and our religious law, the
right to educate our children according to Christian principles, the
right to freely assemble, to build our places of worship, and our
cultural and social centres according to our needs."

It seems unlikely that the US would knowingly allow a new Iraq based on
Shari'ah, yet many Christians remain nervous. This is especially
because, according to Secretary Colin Powell, the US would see no
objection to "an Islamic form of government that has as its basis the
faith of Islam" and is democratic. Many Christians would prefer a more
overtly secular or pluralistic democratic constitution. Otherwise, in
the words of one man in Baghdad, "it is going to be like Iran...all
Christians are afraid now." The small Iraqi Jewish community, mainly
resident in Baghdad, are also afraid of the creation of an Islamic

[The US has no right to 'allow' or 'not allow' the kind of government in Iraq, anyway, unless Iraq actually were a threat to it - which it wasn't.]


Half of Iraq's Christians live in and around Baghdad where looting and
pillaging has been rife since the city was taken over by US troops.
Some churches, like other public buildings, have been broken into and
vandalised, adding to the damage of church property that was sustained
during the bombardment of Baghdad by the coalition forces.

Despite widespread fears, there have been no reported attacks on
Christians by Muslims as a result of the war, either in Iraq or other
countries in the Islamic world. This is probably partly due to the
well publicised anti-war stance taken by many western Christian



Naglaa, a Christian convert from Islam, and her husband Malak have been
held in prison since mid-February in an effort to force Naglaa to give
up her Christian faith and return to Islam.

Naglaa and her husband Malak Gawargios Fahmy were arrested at the
airport as they tried to leave Egypt for Cyprus. They were sentenced
to be detained for four days by the El Nozha District Attorney.
However, on 26 February this was extended for a further 45 days and for
another 45 on 18 March, and the couple are still being held despite
this period having now passed. Police are trying to force Naglaa to
give up her Christian faith and return to Islam, to leave her husband,
and to raise her children as Muslims.

In 1996 Naglaa Hassan Ibrahim, then a student at Ain-Shams University,
was baptised after spending three years exploring the Christian faith.
The same year Naglaa married Malak, a Christian.

Barnabas Fund was informed of the couple's plight by senior church
leaders in Egypt involved with their case. "Becoming Christian
shouldn't be a crime punishable by a prison sentence," the Fund was
told by Egyptian church leaders who lament that "it is strictly
forbidden to convert from Islam to Christianity ... although the
opposite happens hundreds and even thousands of times. Freedom of
religion should be a human right to all, and conversions should take
place with each person's own accord."

The ostensible reason for the couple's arrest in February was that
Naglaa had a forged passport and ID card. Conversion from Islam to
Christianity, although technically not illegal, is not recognised by
Egyptian law, and it is prohibited for Christian men to marry Muslim
women. Since Naglaa acquired her passport as a Christian woman after
her marriage it may have been viewed as bogus by the police as she is
still a Muslim in the eyes of the law. Similarly since there is no
capacity for converts to change their religious identity on their ID
card, so this too may have been considered technically bogus.


All the major schools of Islamic law (Shari'ah) agree that converts
from Islam (apostates) should be put to death, their marriages
annulled, and their children and property taken away. This tradition
is upheld and taught by most Muslim religious leaders around the world
today. In countries like Iran, Sudan and Saudi Arabia the death
sentence for leaving Islam is actually part of the law. Whilst in Egypt
there is technically no law banning apostasy, converts are still
actively punished by the police and often face imprisonment, beatings
and torture on various pretexts in order to try to force them to return
to Islam. Some have died in prison. Several have had to flee the
country. Converts have sometimes been arrested under the country's
emergency legislation which allows for the holding of suspects without
charge or trial for indefinite periods.


Barnabas Fund is currently engaged in a major international campaign on
behalf of converts like Naglaa focusing on the Islamic law of apostasy
and the treatment of converts in Islamic societies. The Fund is
calling upon Muslim religious leaders to vocally condemn the harsh
treatment of converts and to make public statements calling for a
reform of Shari'ah teaching on apostasy to clearly affirm that Muslims
who choose to convert to another faith are free to follow their
personal convictions without fear of punishment or harassment. Further
details of the campaign can be obtained by contacting Barnabas Fund or
visiting the Apostasy Campaign pages on our website


Barely a month after a local army unit attempted to attack and demolish
the perimeter wall of the Patmos Centre, Church leaders at the centre
believe another attack is imminent in the next few days.

Staff at the Patmos Centre, a Christian centre for physically and
mentally handicapped children 30 kilometres east of Cairo, have faced
seven attacks in the past six and a half years and now fear another
will occur in the next few days. On 5 April soldiers under the command
of a Lieutenant General were only prevented from destroying the
centre's perimeter wall by staff who bravely lay down in the path of
the bulldozer.

Soldiers from the local army unit are seeking to destroy the wall
supposedly in order to conform with a new law passed on 25 January
which requires all buildings to be at least 100 metres from the Cairo-
Suez road. The wall stands 50 metres from the road and was built ten
years ago in full accordance with the law at the time. Under the
Egyptian constitution such new legislation cannot be enforced on
existing buildings and can only be applied to future construction.

Workers at the centre point out that the local army barracks' own walls
also stand 50 metres from the road and no attempt has been made to
demolish these. Similarly many other buildings in the area are much
closer to the road, including some 15 mosques which stand only 5 - 10
metres from the road. Likewise no attempts have been made to demolish
any of these buildings. Instead the Christian Patmos Centre has been
singled out.

Church leaders say that the Minister of Defence, who has been opposed
to the centre since 1997, ordered extreme and conservative Muslim
officers from the local army unit to enforce the law on the Patmos
Centre. Conversely other government representatives, including the
President's office and the Ministry of the Interior, have conversely
intervened positively in the past to protect the centre from
intimidation and attacks by the military.

Staff at the centre say that, although they are not forced to do so by
law, they are willing to co-operate if they can see evidence that the
same rules are being applied equally to the neighbouring buildings.
They particularly believe that the army should set a good example by
first demolishing its own fences. In singling out the Patmos Centre
the army risks sending out a message that Egypt's laws can be
selectively applied in order to victimise Christians.

The Patmos Centre has been serving the local community in Egypt for
fifteen years. The centre is providing love, care and support for both
mentally and physically handicapped children and orphans, and is
legally registered with the Egyptian authorities. It receives between
500 - 1000 visitors every day.

In previous attacks in 1996 and 1997 some buildings at the centre
suffered severe damage. In February 2002 significant sections of the
perimeter wall were levelled and trees outside the centre uprooted.
Staff who have protested against the attacks have at times been
threatened and beaten. One teacher at the centre had his arm broken
during an attack in February 2002.


A Jordanian convert to Christianity has been killed by a bomb planted
outside the home of a missionary couple in Tripoli, North Lebanon.

Initially the Police stated that Jamil Ahmad al-Rifai, 28, had himself
planted the bomb; but it is now apparent that he was killed when coming
to the aid of the Dutch missionary, Gerrit Griffioen, 52, and his

At 11.30pm, Tuesday 6 May, Griffioen's German wife, Barbel, 44,
realised there was an intruder in their garden. The Dutchman called to
al-Rifai, his next door neighbour, to help; by the time they entered
the garden the intruder had fled. Griffioen proceeded to extinguish the
fuse and then gave chase. Meanwhile al-Rifai was carrying the couple's
three children out of the house; after that he returned to the garden.
The 2kg bomb detonated when he was either trying to diffuse it or
simply move it further away; the blast made his body almost

The family survived the blast without injury, though according to
Beirut's Daily Star one of their children, a 9-year-old boy was
slightly hurt. Griffioen has been repeatedly threatened during his 20
years of work in Lebanon. He is a widely known and well respected
Christian leader.

A man, going by the name of Mohammad, is being held in connection with
the bombing. Recently he had been attending meetings run by the
Griffioens claiming that he wanted to become a Christian.

Last November American missionary Bonnie Penner Witherall was shot
dead by an unidentified gunman in Sidon. Both Sidon and Tripoli are
known to be centres of radical Sunni Islam.

Happy 83rd birthday, Pope John Paul II
I don't know how to write it in Polish, so с днëм рождения!

Friday, May 16, 2003

What I believe

On being a Catholic:
  • God, Christ, the Trinity, the hypostatic union, Mary the Mother of God, bishops, the Mass, sacraments that do what they signify, baptismal regeneration, auricular confession, and the option of using images in worship ("all can, some should, none must").
  • Doctrine.
  • Creed.
  • The true church subsists in the Catholic Church.
  • The common set of beliefs and practices of the ancient churches with apostolic succession (us, the separated Eastern churches including the Orthodox, and a few splinter groups). The Vincentian canon and the great Catholic family of valid orders (again, the ancient churches: credal orthodoxy, unbroken apostolic succession, and unbroken true teaching about the Eucharist).
  • Traditional Mass (video).
  • Office. (Actually I have Winfred Douglas’ Monastic Diurnal, the Benedictine office in traditional Book of Common Prayer language.)
  • The Orthodox rite. A rite is a school of Christian thought and living.
  • Prayer for the dead.
  • The church is infallible, limited by tradition, its doctrines final. The Pope's office is part of church infallibility.
  • Integralism: a complete Catholic worldview, the social reign of Christ.
From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Samer al-Batal
US military tells Iraqis to turn in all guns or face arrest
S. al-B.: The ‘American Way of Life’ hits town, so to speak.

Analysis: no more messy Mass?
Régime change on a religious message board
Or 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers' online
Over a year ago I was run off the unofficial (quasi-official, de facto official?) board of the Ruthenian Catholics in America for stating a lot of these views, only perhaps less sharply. And by Byzantine Catholics who until only a few months before were amicable online acquaintances - for caring about the Roman Catholic Church, which they threw in my face. Freaky. The owner, whom I now know is nothing but a church-politics operator and a big phoney who actually goes to a Roman Catholic church most of the time, even though there is a Ruthenian church in his area (he left because he couldn't get on with the people there), seemed to have been replaced by a hostile pod person claiming both publicly and in e-mails to people that I have 'imaginary' complaints about the state of the churches and am on a 'crusade' against the Pope's Church, a larf to anybody who knows me or reads my sites! Another former online friend, an ethnic Slav in the Ohio Rust Belt heartland of such churches, seemed to have been replaced by a pod person with a big fat ethnic chip on his shoulder, the kind who wants to keep the gringos out of his ethnic-lodge church and/or the message board in question. Really perverse treatment of me since I speak Russian and agree that latinization of Eastern churches is a bad thing. Guess anybody who bursts his parochial ethnic bubble is a latiniak outsider to him. Maybe he just has mood swings or some kind of personality disorder. I definitely feel sorry for his wife and kids and hope he is never ordained, anywhere. As for the third main player in that farrago, a born Roman Catholic like the owner, an ex-Jesuit seminarian and a liberal who seems to like playing Byzantine because he claims he's half-Greek, he attacked and then shunned me ever after - even though he'd been friendly before 'The Invasion of the Body Snatchers'. That third incident wasn't so bad, since I really don't care what heterodox 'religious' people think of me. But the first two people (I won't call them 'men') struck me as orthodox, both before and after the purge. Very 'Twilight Zone' that. Oh, well. Maybe it's just more proof that this little church (Ruthenian), hæmorrhaging second- through fourth-generation members and with a rank and file who don't really want to be Eastern, is on its way down the toilet demographically anyway.

So apparently if one adopts these people's rite, learns their ethnic language, defends that rite against encroachments from the Roman Rite and defends their larger church from abuses within, and asks questions about those abuses, that earns their hate and ridicule. ¿Qué? With 'friends' like that...

Then there were the two online sociopaths, one Eastern Orthodox, the other Ukrainian Catholic (lovely - bookends!), who got their jollies posting things allegedly about me on the board that I didn't volunteer to that board - horrible netiquette and textbook passive-aggressive behaviour. As William Shatner said to the Trekkies, 'Get a life!'

If I've fallen short of Christian charity here, простите меня. Forgive me. But that was about the third worst treatment I've ever got online from 'church' people.

The myth of rude, stupid traditionalist refugees
It has become fashionable for Byzantine Catholics in the know to put down the Roman Catholic traditionalist refugees who often fill their churches, which floors me because 1) they're dying off as churches (their mainstay generation is old and their kids move away) and seem perversely to want to hasten the process by driving these people away and 2) I've met several such people myself in two very different congregations and never have encountered anybody like the caricature - either they turn Byzantine themselves, falling in love with everything Orthodox, or they are good guests, often self-educated and very intelligent and therefore not wanting to force their practices on their hosts, even though they still identify with the Roman Rite personally.

And on a similar note as that board and the perps described above, a history site to enjoy:

US arrests 135 for Internet crime
Good. Now maybe 'Lucia' or 'Charmaine' will stop offering (via my spamtrap inbox every day) to 'INTENSIFY my ORGASM' (all-caps theirs).

RIP Robert Stack
Thanks for 'The Untouchables', 'Unsolved Mysteries' and much else - you had a good run. Go with God.
Съ праздникомъ
Happy feast day of St Theodosius of the Kiev Caves, Russian Orthodox - the father of Russian monasticism.

What I’m listening to
'Bolero' by Ravel, on the radio. A cliché now but amazing when played well, like the version Torvill and Dean skated to when winning the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. Trivia question: What inspired Ravel to write it? The answer is no, not that, ha ha. He was inspired by a visit to... a 19th-century steel mill! Specifically, by the rhythm of the machines. Maybe that rhythm's resemblance to, uh, that is just an example of the natural order of the universe, which of course points to the existence of God.

More fun music trivia: Barry Manilow didn't write 'I Write the Songs'.

Point to ponder
Why have drive-up ATMs (cash machines) got Braille on them?

From today
Cutting the BS on ‘date rape’
Common sense from the late, great Murray Rothbard.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

St Athanasius the Great (Julian calendar)
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

Quicumque vult
Today's saint probably didn't write it but it's attributed to him. This Western version has the filioque. The Eastern Churches never use it liturgically but it is sometimes printed at the beginning of Russian Orthodox books of the hours.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Serbian Orthodox church harassed, vandalized in Priština, Kosovo
From a religious-liberty site in Oslo. Predictably there is no mainstream media outrage. Lee Penn: The results of American intervention in Serbia/Kosovo, 1999...

Traditionalist Catholic church vandalized in Long Island
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:10

In the post
Friend John Boyden has given me a link that claims JFK's German phrase in his Berlin speech was correct. It may well have been. He also points out that the Pope has given several old churches in Rome to various Orthodox and other Eastern Christian groups to serve the large immigrant population there.

Canonizing Uncle Fred
by Fr Joseph Wilson

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Dave McLaughlin
An ugly side of Islam
A Russian Orthodox priest who lived in Palestine has told me similar things - he has no time whatever for Islam. There is a lot about Islam I respect but it is still wrong. My guess is these horrors were relatively uncommon in the secular state of Iraq - where Christians lived in relative peace, too. The trouble with stories like this is some 'conservatives' including Roman Catholic neocons and the Protestant religious right use them as an excuse for American imperial adventures like 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'.

Sudan atrocities ignored

Pope stresses religious liberty for Eastern Rite Catholics
Disturbing, and here's why.

'Religious liberty'? Makes sense as a relative good for the faith to survive in hostile Muslim countries, but... 'Religious liberty'? That craven posture is only one jump removed from Frank Griswold and his 'pluriform truths', where catholic orthodoxy and high liturgics are just menu items in a smorgasbord with gay spirituality and New Age. 'Religious liberty'? How about converting people to truth? How about saving souls?

Maybe Dr Thomas Droleskey 'gets it' - so-called conservatives may really be on the same team as the liberals.

But of course it's good the Pope wants the Eastern Churches better known and understood.

More on religious liberty

Happy anniversary of the first vision of Our Lady of Fátima, traditional Roman Catholics. In my opinion this series of visions condemned Communism, not Russian Orthodoxy.

On this date, the Russian Orthodox remember St James, the son of Zebedee, and St Ignatius Brianchaninov.

Also on this day, says orthodox high-Episcopal priest the Revd Stephen Petrica, is the Roman Catholic feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, kept by one religious order. 'This feast day is observed in the RC Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, founded by Peter Julian Eymard, and the inspiration behind the Anglican Priests Eucharistic League. Although it isn't widespread, I love the way it draws together the two themes of the Our Lady's role in the Incarnation and the Blessed Sacrament. Images and prayers for the observance are here' and include the beautiful icon above.

Monday, May 12, 2003

From today
On the rebirth of Russia
by Charley Reese
Real heroism and liberation.

Why I am not a Republican
As in 'supporter of the US Republican Party', that is, the folks who brought you the Iraq war. The other day in the 'shout outs' below (do please add your comments!) good friend Dustin Anastasios Hudson called on me and others to support the GOP, saying it supports 80% of what I believe in while the Democrats support maybe 10%, and he thinks it is prolife. (Obviously I'm not a Democrat either.)

My answers: no, it doesn't and no, not really. Republicans haven't really stood for things I stand for at least since the 1950s, in the good old days of Robert Taft, the man who should have been President. I'm not even so sure about Barry Goldwater, considering how liberal he became in his old age, though at the time (1964) I would have voted for him. The party still pays some lip service to these ideals but is really nothing but another backer of the welfare/warfare state, tax-and-spend, big-government semisocialism and Keynesian economics, the only differences with the Jackass Party being that it advocates doing such things at a slower pace and favors the military-industrial complex. Ronald Reagan, for whom I voted in 1984, promised a balanced budget and only dug us deeper into debt because he so favored the military. (He had his strong points, though, about the 'Evil Empire', and his 'Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!' speech in Berlin was a shining moment, moving me while the old film of the mannequin JFK's mangled German at the same spot does not.) Plus there are now the neocons (the big backers of Reagan, Bush and now Shrub) - retread New Deal liberals who defend FDR's abandonment of the principles of the old republic. Unthinkable in the GOP of Robert Taft. And unlike the Republicans of old, like Wendell Willkie, they are hawks, often of the chicken variety, sending others overseas to die.

As for prolife, it's nothing but cynical manipulation of the voters - party leaders know the prolifers have nowhere else to go. They couldn't care less. (Fact: California liberalized its abortion laws when Reagan was governor.)

So, good friend, I opt out of supporting the American Tory party.

From A conservative blog for peace correspondent Samer al-Batal
(Her Majesty’s Canadian subject and a better American than many Americans)

Neocons and Beltway Libertarians: a tautology
From Karen De Coster's blog

From Mike Russell
Borowitz Report

Frank Purcell’s Live Journal

Sunday, May 11, 2003

From Dustin Anastasios Hudson
120 Christian homes to be demolished by Israeli soldiers

In the news:

US to Syria: Don't be ‘on wrong side of history’
Updated 3:02 PM ET May 11, 2003

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday that Syria would find itself "on the wrong side of history" if it tried to destabilize postwar Iraq or continue harboring radical Palestinian groups.

Powell spoke in an Israeli television interview after launching talks with Israel and the Palestinians on implementing a new "road map" peace plan. [End of excerpt.]

Translation (hooray again for Tina Fey): Watch out or we'll liberate the crap out of you.

Thanks for the good word
Links to my site (to two pages, on praying a form of the Byzantine Hours and a version of the Rosary) on a prayer page by Byzantine Catholic and all-around good guy David Brown

Неделя святых жен мироносец
18 лет тому назад, в этот день в церковные календаре в первый раз я был на византийской Божественной Литургие - «Служба Божий» в Украинской Католической церкви, парафия св. Иоанна Крестителя в Випани, Нью-Джерзи. Слава Богу.