Monday, June 30, 2003

Panicware pop-up stopper
I use it - it's great! Especially handy now that Tripod owns the guestbook service I use - I was getting blitzed with three little boxes every time I tried to read the new entries you leave! The comments feature, courtesy of HaloScan, is a lot better.
Your children and the psychology of the Mass
by Elizabeth Altham
True — and everything she says about why the Tridentine Mass is better than the 'reformed' Roman Catholic Mass applies equally to the Byzantine and other Eastern rites, and to Anglo-Catholic services. Objectivity and Godwardness in church are food for the soul.
Fun with spam
From 'Pablo' ( Kolik je vám let?

Не хочу рассказать вам.

The contents, in English, were one of those ubiquitous offers to enlarge part of the anatomy.

Polyglot spam. Ah, the global village.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
My America vs. the Empire
by Bill Kauffman
Lee Penn: Good article from the libertarian, patriotic writer Bill Kauffman .... and a rebuttal to the secular messianic axis now ruling Washington, DC. Counterpunch is a leftist site ... but they sometimes publish works by non-leftists.
From David Virtue
Bishop of Fulham praises Orthodox
From an interview with Bishop John Broadhurst, Church of England bishop of Fulham and head of Forward in Faith
VIRTUOSITY: How do you think Anglo-Catholics can confront secular Britain?

BROADHURST: You cannot confront the secular world with a pale religious
reflection of the world. There are always old-fashioned truths that
need to be stated. Christianity has to offer the eternal truth and
stability. The Russian Orthodox Church offers something different; what
the Russian Church is offering is reality.

I understand that the Eastern Orthodox, while very small, are the only episcopal church in Britain that is growing.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Haaretz: Bush taking orders from ‘God’ in foreign policy?
Lee Penn: This is a long story from a major Israeli newspaper, with minutes from
discussions between the Palestinian Authority and terrorist leaders from Hamas,
Islamic Jihad, et. al.

"Abbas said that at Aqaba, Bush promised to speak with Sharon about the siege
on Arafat. He said nobody can speak to or pressure Sharon except the

"According to Abbas, immediately thereafter Bush said: "God told me to strike
at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam,
which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.
If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have
to focus on them."

Lee: Kyrie eleison; our President is taking orders from something that he thinks is a god.
Former college women’s basketball star now Russian Orthodox nun
To Joe Zollars on the Southern cause
Here's some advice for you, son (I'm not quite old enough to be your dad but almost) - think abstractly. That is, think about the issues behind the history and the slogans.

As you know, as somebody who has learnt a lot of his politics from Lew Rockwell, I have more sympathy for the Southern cause than many Americans. I liked Gods and Generals, Ted Turner's nearly four-hour film canonization of Stonewall Jackson. The Confederacy had a right to exist and Robert E. Lee, not a racist, was a hero. It was wrong about some things, such as slavery, but like any sovereign country (such as pre-invasion Iraq) it had a right to be. Its agrarian, almost medieval, ostensibly Christian culture was arguably better in some ways than the industrial North, which could and can be viciously antiblack in its own way. (I know - I live there, on the edge of a poor black city neighborhood I ride my bike through up to three times a week.) I've read enough articles by Thomas DiLorenzo on LRC not to believe the myth passed off as American history - Lincoln didn't care about the slaves.

And, having spent some time in the real South (namely, North Carolina, whose citizens don't consider Kansans like you Southerners), with wonderful, real people, sitting on a screened porch sipping iced tea on a hot summer night and sharing Sunday dinner, I think I have some understanding of the culture. Among my older white Southern hosts, incidentally from a social class in theory more likely to hate the blacks with whom they historically have competed economically, I saw a lively evangelical Protestant faith but no displays of racial hatred. A conservative blog for peace does not reflexively Southern-bash.

I don't see how opposing injustice equals 'disrespect for the dead', Joe. The record stands: while he may have opportunistically changed his stance later, in 1948 Strom Thurmond was nothing but a Truman Democrat who was antiblack. All the Old South sloganeering in the world doesn't excuse this un-Christian position. (I believe in states' rights, BTW.) Thurmond and Lester Maddox had a right to their racialist views and to exercise them on their private property, and I have the right both to defend their rights and as a Christian publicly reject their views.
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Exorcist calls for crusade against occult

AS in the mainstream media
Caught part of one of the better US TV programmes last night, one of the 'Law and Order' series (the one with Vincent D'Onofrio), and got my hopes up when I found the writers had discovered Asperger syndrome and incorporated it into the plot. ('Law and Order' does a lot of 'ripped from the headlines' detective stories, thinly disguised stories copied from the news.) While mainstream awareness of AS is usually a good thing, and the show's researchers got a lot of their facts right, unfortunately the writers misrepresented it, as well as perpetuated the stigma against mental illness, by making the AS sufferer a murderer. First of all, AS isn't a mental illness - no more than being dyslexic or colour-blind. (They're glitches in the way the brain is constructed and works.) Second, most people with mental illnesses and nearly all people with AS are not criminally violent. A sufferer is no more likely to hurt you than your neighbour who wears glasses!

The commonest mental problem associated with AS (but not directly caused by it) is depression - an understandable reaction to living with undiagnosed AS for years, which most sufferers do (it wasn't recognised as a diagnosis until 1994).

Kids today with AS, on the other hand, have it made - they've got parents and teachers who understand and get them into special classes at a young age to get them started on the right track.

Some societal changes are good!

Death notice: Dr Vince Eareckson
David Virtue reports from Rosemont, Pa., that an acquaintance of mine, Dr Vince Eareckson, died suddenly of a heart attack yesterday, aged 59, while riding in a car on his way to Sunday Mass at the Church of the Good Shepherd, an Anglo-Catholic congregation. I am fairly sure I heard him say once that he was a Baptist minister before he became an Anglican. Requiescat in pace. Jesu, mercy; Mary, pray.
I thought I should write and tell you all that our brother in Christ
and my dear friend Dr. Vince Eareckson died Sunday on his way to church in the back seat of a car driven by friends. He was rushed to Springfield hospital suffering from a heart attack, but apparently nothing could be done for him. Vince was 59.

He was a good and godly man who cared deeply for the church, The Episcopal Church. He was extremely well educated having earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He was knowledgeable about the history of the Episcopal Church and understood the nuances of the canons and constitutions and their interpretation. He was very perceptive about
the big picture of Anglicanism. He was a very thoughtful, bright, insightful, knowledgeable and humble servant of Jesus Christ. He was a significant commentator on the Anglican scene and had his own LISTSERV.

He was a theologian in residence at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, PA where Forward in Faith North America had just completed its 15th Annual Assembly.

I saw him for the last time there yesterday. We exchanged greetings. He was bright and cheery, with no known medical problems.

Vince had a great sense of humor. He was mightily amused by Washington Bishop Ronald Haine's vast right-wing orthodox conspiracy speech from two years ago, and took the VROC as his handle.

He will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved him, especially this writer.

Following Fr. David Moyer's Presidential Address as the Sermon at the FIFNA Annual Assembly where Vince and I sat just a pews apart, this hymn was sung. It is a fitting tribute to him.
Lord, forever at thy side, may my place and portion be;
Strip me of the robe of pride, clothe me with humility.

Meekly may my soul receive all thy Spirit hath revealed;
Thou hast spoken, I believe, though the oracle be sealed.

Humble as a little child, weaned from the mother's breast,
By no subtleties beguiled, on thy faithful word I rest.

Israel, now and evermore, in the Lord Jehovah trust;
Him, in all his ways adore, wise, and wonderful, and just.
May light perpetual shine upon him and give him peace.
Fr Chrysostom Frank and the Ruthenian Catholic mess
The shabby treatment given Fr Chrysostom Frank and his new Russian Catholic congregation in Denver by some Ruthenian Catholics*, including on their quasi-official message board, is very telling. It roughly parallels that board's running me off a long time ago. To recap, Fr C, a pastor, was driven out of a Ruthenian church in Denver for being 'too Eastern'. They really do feel threatened by Fr C and his brand of Byzantine Catholicism. He's what their propaganda says they are and what Rome says they should be - but what they wilfully aren't. That those people 'diss' somebody as respectable as Fr C speaks volumes. And of course the Ruthenian online peanut gallery hates people like blogger Sean Roberts (a new Catholic and member of Fr C's new church) - they're good conservative Catholics and expect Eastern Catholicism to be Eastern. How dare those interlopers! Don't they know the object of the online Ruthenian game is to mix liberalism with ethnic snobbery?

On CINeast, Mary Lanser seems to have got the Ruthenian mess sussed: link.

Yuck. No wonder their seminary is nearly empty. One point where I disagree is I don't think there is any Catholic plan to hand the Ruthenians over to the Orthodox. A pretty cockamamie scheme considering both Roman Catholic ecclesiology and the Ruthenian reality and I think if somebody did try to pull that off, the Ruthenians would react by self-destructing - namely, the rank and file would all go Roman Rite, the high-church minority probably would become Orthodox (as quite a number of online ones already are) and that would be the end of it.

*Most of the rank and file I've known in person are nice, profoundly Christian people who don't act like the types one sees online.

From today
On ‘Sex and the City’
by Shelton Hull
I've never seen it, but Mr Hull describes the vicious circle of this evidently damnable show - it both mirrors and fuels the most uncool secular world.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Blog correspondent and Russian Catholic Dave McLaughlin told me the link I had up for St John Maximovich doesn't work. It was an old link from my Faith page. A lot of those sites last about as long as an Italian government - or a vagante church! Thanks for the heads-up. I Googled, found a new online biography and changed the link both here and on the Faith page. Спасибо большое!
To my good friend Anastasios
Thanks for your comment today. There simply is no excuse for 'Bush's campaign', but before the American aggression, Iraq's Christians lived in relative peace. Here is an article, not from an antiwar site like mine, which has these quotations:

'William Nurvyn is a Catholic from a family with British origins. In his 30s, he belongs to the generation of Iraqis who remember no other leader beyond Saddam Hussein. ...He says his family experienced no harassment during the former regime, and he knows of no Christians who did. "We were not harassed by anybody, and nobody could harass us because we were backed by Saddam Hussein and he liked the Christians and gave them all freedom," Nurvyn said.'

'Ara Karabed is a member of the Armenian Orthodox Church. He says that, as a Christian, he felt no pressure from the former regime. But he also says he has no sense that the Christian minority was ever given special treatment, and that Hussein treated many people the same regardless of their religion.

Father Yousif Thomas Mirkis is a pastor at Al-Fikr Al-Masih, a Baghdad church run by the Catholic Dominican order. He is also the editor in chief of the Arabic-language magazine "Christian Thought."

'...Mirkis says some 200,000 Christians have emigrated from Iraq over the last 20 years. Many of them left after the 1991 Gulf War, when the largely secular Ba'ath Party turned to Islam to fill the ideological vacuum created by Iraq's defeat.'

A Greek Orthodox Arab co-founded the Ba'ath Party. Based on Fr Mirkis' remarks, I dare say if the US hadn't stuck its nose where it didn't belong back when Bush the Elder was president, the alleged ill-treatment of Christians to which Fr M refers wouldn't have happened.

Christians for peace 1, neocons nil.

Friday, June 27, 2003

Съ праздникомъ
Happy feast day of St Jonah, metropolitan of Moscow, and of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco, Russian Orthodox. The latter, also known as St John Maximovich (d. 1966), seems to be one of Russian Orthodoxy's universally loved modern saints.

For those who enjoy that sort of thing
There is new MIDI music on my original site's Intro page - a beautiful piece.

Dan Lauffer, through his posting at, has reminded me of this site:

Perhaps what Iraq's Chaldean Catholics and Assyrian Christians have to look forward to, thanks to Bush's meddling? Let's pray they are spared this.

Freedom works both ways... so does government power
A final word about the overturning of Texas' rarely enforced anti-sodomy law: as much as one might like to ban such, it's not the government's place to do that. Consider: if we Christians, for example, willingly hand the government that much power to intrude in one's private life, it will probably boomerang on us - one's religion could be classed as a 'hate crime', for example. Freedom protects Christians, too. That's why in the US, at least in the values of the Old Republic, people have the right to be wrong - as long as they don't harm others.
To Joe Zollars
I don't know the details of the Texas sodomy-law case decided by the US Supreme Court, but not outlawing something isn't the same as condoning it, and unenforceable laws are dumb laws.

An example from history: the Church always was libertarian when it came to the law regarding prostitution. Very different from condoning it.

On a similar note, anti-marijuana laws are dumb, and hypocritical, because 1) marijuana has medicinal uses, while tobacco doesn't, and 2) they're not worth enforcing. It's Prohibition all over again.

Those anti-smoking commercials for kids from Philip Morris are among the most hypocritical things I've seen.

Ever notice that cultures that regularly use alcohol don't have lots of problems with drunkenness or alcoholism? It's people from teetotalling Protestant ones who are likely to abuse alcohol.

St Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church
I've seen this before. Some might expect me to hate it. I don't. They're bright, they're creative, they've got a lot of good ideas pinched from the liturgics of the orthodox - and they're wrong. Their problem is they're not 'churched' - the secular world is their magisterium. If this were grounded in truth, it could be a wonderful thing.

That mishmash iconography is pretty incredible. The real Malcolm X would have laughed his ass off at these (based on the pics) white liberals. Queen Elizabeth I is a very revealing choice - kill the Catholics and impose Protestantism by force. Shows how intolerant liberals really are at the end of the day. Most of the rest is simply contradictory nonsense or acknowledging the secular world's 'canonized saints'.
Today's topic is turning out to be...

Answering my mail...

To Justin Kissel
Thanks for reading the blog and for your kind comment in the now-gone 'Shout Outs' about the fine, hard-working Slavic Catholic people in your part of the world, western Pennsylvania. I know what you mean - a lot are socially conservative and prolife yet are also dyed-in-the-wool Democrats. I understand the latter even though I don't agree with it - it was a matter of survival back in the days of the robber barons who owned the factories and mines, but politically naive and economically shortsighted. (I don't think the Republicans now are any better.) From such came Nixon's silent majority and later the Reagan Democrats. Good people.
To Pharsea
Thanks for reading the blog and being the first person to use the new comments system! To answer your question, I wanted to balance out Fr Andrew Phillips' article with its unjust accusation against the Catholic Church, even though AFAIK St John of Kronstadt did nothing wrong and of course I agree he is a saint. A most interesting man — tsarist in his politics (I think he gave the last sacraments to Alexander III, if I recall Robert Massie correctly) and a zealous pastor, promoting Confession and frequent Communion. As for your guess about my orientation, you're wrong. But I have long seen the irony that I have things in common with some homosexual men, particularly the anglophile kind who share my tastes in church architecture and worship and even many of my religious and political beliefs. (Like the kind your site seems to be written for.) I think in my case it's because I'm 'differently brained' with AS. Because of it, like some homosexuals I know what it's like not to fit in and to be unfairly excluded from things. But as for what revs my engine, think Chrissie Hynde*, not some bloke's behind. A site I recommend to you, especially since you are Catholic, is that of the Courage Apostolate, a Roman Catholic group that helps homosexuals live according to God's plan - chastely.

*Gillian Anderson too, among others, but that didn't rhyme.
Not my kind of conservatives
Both Lester Maddox and Strom Thurmond died this week. My take on them? I'm with Lew Rockwell here - I'd say they were right only when it comes to private property (Mr Maddox's cause célèbre). 'An Englishman's home is his castle' - an idea that transferred to the Old Republic. American rights that apply to the Christian faithful equally as they do to people I don't agree with, such as practising homosexuals... or pond scum like Lester Maddox.

Around the time of the Trent Lott controversy, LRC made the excellent point that Mr Thurmond, the 1948 Dixiecrat candidate for US president, wasn't really a conservative at all, or even really for states' rights (a legit cause), but a New Deal liberal - he just didn't want that supposed largess of government extended to black people. Ugh.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Music, sweet music
News from acquaintance Marina Belica: her instrumental CD one sky is now for sale on Amazon. If you fancy New Age music, you can support this lovely gal's work and this blog (an Amazon associate) at the same time by clicking on the album title here and buying a copy.

Favorite tracks: I Was There (Я был/а там?): imagine slowing the tempo and you'll get the vibe - it's a наш thing. (It and the title track began life as 'Slavic One' and 'Slavic Two'.) Scene From Afar: when I hear it the deliberate dissonance in parts makes me imagine a shower of meteors scraping the night sky. In an interview on Classic FM online Marina explained she had in mind somebody in pain when she wrote it - now the song makes sense! And finally the tuneful piano piece The Way Home, which in the same interview she explained is one of her first-ever compositions, from years ago. Classic FM is wonderful, BTW - every time I tune in I end up listening for about two hours. It's based on free-form, noncommercial American FM radio in the early ’70s. Through it I get to hear rare stuff like Fats Domino covering 'Lady Madonna' (which worked!).

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin (who, like fellow correspondent Lee Penn, is Russian Catholic)
Catholic church split in Denver and the founding of America’s fourth Russian Catholic church, St Elizabeth’s
Two story links (one of which is from Dave) and my thoughts are here (scroll down). Blogger Sean Roberts, a member of the new church, mentions it is named after a postschism Russian Orthodox saint, one martyred by the Communists.

Anglican doings
Forward in Faith/North America is having its national meeting starting today at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, Pa., USA.

On the present spiritual crisis in the United Kingdom and the ‘Church of England’
by Fr Andrew Phillips, Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Good except for a bit of anti-Catholic vituperation copied from the secular world. The Roman Rite discipline of a celibate priesthood did not cause a priest shortage nor the recent scandal, nor is the scandal really about pædophilia but rather homosexuality.

The Russian Orthodox St John of Kronstadt was really a celibate who only married so he could become a parish priest, and it's been suggested he might have been homosexual. What he did wasn't a problem if his wife really agreed to a sexless marriage and his orientation doesn't matter. He may have been one of those so afflicted who channelled his energies into his ministry, becoming a man of real holiness as those who have read My Life in Christ (Моя жизнь в Христе) can attest.

Patriarch of Constantinople hails Pope of Rome as witness to peace

Also from
RC bishops rubbish ridiculous ‘rapture’ fiction of Tim LaHaye
Sorry, I just couldn't keep the alliteration going.

Fun with spam
What smells funny?
Your intentions in sending me this and/or the shite you're trying to sell me.

Do you need some?
No. Now clear off!

This XXX area is like no other, real explicit sex as NEVER been seen like ...
Somehow I really doubt that.

European artistry in coal country church

New comments feature
Regrettably, the old 'Shout Outs' are now gone but the new comments service is more reliable, so do please leave your messages!

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Happy Julian-date feast day of St Onuphrius, Eastern Orthodox. In plain English, the exotic name Onuphrius becomes... Humphrey!

Rationalize with lies
Ilana Mercer debunks hawks' post-war justifications

Samer al-Batal is on a long trip home to the Middle East where he will be incommunicado online most of the time (though embattled Iraqis are finding the Internet a godsend now), so today I'm improvising. Have a safe trip, Samer, and looking forward to your return to Canada and this blog.

From today (lots of good stuff) and the New York Press
On US election-fixing in other countries
by Matt Taibbi

by Mark Alessio
Good article from last year that explains how George Harrison (the only born Roman Catholic Beatle, BTW) was an apostate and hypocritical about it. I do like a lot of his music (I have and listen to All Things Must Pass on beat-up vinyl), and the sincerity and bits of truth in his Hare Krishna-derived acquired faith, but understand why others think his songs are dreary, and factoring out my pro-George bias can agree with Joe Sobran's assessment: nice guy, competent musician but (except for a few brilliant songs that deservedly are pop standards now) overall a mediocre songwriter. Seemed a little ungrateful to the Beatles too — if he hadn’t been playing guitar for John Lennon and Paul McCartney all those years nobody would have known or cared about his own music.

Lines of his that apply to US politics and the world scene today:

Watch out now
Take care, beware the greedy leaders
Who take you where you should not go
While weeping atlas cedars
They just want to grow
Beware of darkness.

Funny how all the ex-Beatles (except maybe Lennon) stopped being considered hip around 1974 - just before their recording contract as Beatles would have run out anyway.

Ripping apart an apostate’s* screed
*To secularism

As a Roman Catholic seminary dropout, I’ve watched the ongoing pedophilia scandals and the church’s equivocal response with sadness but not surprise.

Most of these crimes weren't pædophile in nature - they were g-a-y.

This is, after all, Catholicism’s Enron, where insiders knew all along what was going on and wondered when the rest of the world would notice — or care.

True. A stopped clock is right twice a day.

I grew up Catholic in California, a sure-fire recipe for schizophrenia. I would attend mass every morning, then spend the rest of the day flirting with the ’60s trinity of temptations — sex, drugs and rock and roll.

As somebody who's done a lot of self-help reading and who has dated someone who happened to be a psychologist, I want to point out that this is a misuse of the word schizophrenia. The disorder involves visual and auditory hallucinations and unclear thinking, not 'split personality'. BTW, the clinical name for multiple personalities, which does exist, is 'dissociative identity disorder'.

On one hand, there were the “Secularists,” men who believed, as I did, that the best way to make our faith relevant was to make it contemporary. They protested the war, manned soup kitchens and maintained friendships with the opposite sex. They accepted the challenge of resisting the temptations of the present with very little support from a church moored in the past.

Like a lot of liberal types he is setting up an opposition that is false: liberal = charitable and friendly; conservative = not. Read the lives of Dorothy Day, Catherine de Hueck Doherty or the young Trevor Huddleston. One can be 100% orthodox and traditional and protest a war (I have marched twice this year), man a soup kitchen and, if one isn't trying out a celibate vocation, keep company with the other sex. In fact, one's orthodoxy can and should be the foundation of one's activism, as it was for the people I just mentioned.

Outnumbering the Secularists were those I called “Refugees,” men wholly at home in the church’s cloisters. They were socially awkward and uncomfortable with modern culture—boys in a hurry to become middle-aged men. While the Secularists drank beer and listened to the Stones, the Refugees sipped sherry and listened to classical music.

I'm definitely a Refugee without apology; this is a good description of young fogeyhood. Here the writer is again trying to slam orthodoxy by identifying it with somebody's weaknesses.

A Christian should be 'uncomfortable with modern culture' ’cos a lot of it is wrong.

And the Stones are way overrated. They haven't done anything I've really liked since Brian Jones was still with them, and even with that material they're far from my favorite band. Sorry! IMO Ray Davies wrote better songs.

For them, the priesthood was more a career than a calling.

LOL, I love liberals - they're so nonjudgemental and never stereotype people. Not!

While my Jesuit friends were doing the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius—a monthlong meditation to deepen their relationship with Christ — their Protestant counterparts were studying marriage counseling and learning how to run an after-school rec center.

False opposition: these things aren't mutually exclusive. He might have flunked logic in seminary. The game he is playing is 'orthodoxy is pietistic escapism; I live in the real world'. No sale.

About today's Roman Rite saint
St William
From an e-mail from Chuck Sampair

As he was Italian, he really was called Guglielmo.

Abbot, died 1142.

Saint William of Monte Vergine, born in Vercelli, a city of Lombardy, lost
his father and mother in his infancy and was brought up by a relative in
great sentiments of piety. At fifteen years of age, having an earnest desire
to lead a penitential life, he left his native region and made a long and
austere pilgrimage to the shrine of the Virgin founded by Saint James at
Saragossa. He would have made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but God made
known to him that he was calling him to a solitary life, and he retired into
the kingdom of Naples. There he chose for his abode an uninhabited mountain,
and lived in perpetual contemplation and the exercises of rigorous
penitential austerities.

After a miracle of healing wrought by his prayers, he was discovered and his
contemplation interrupted, so he decided to move to another mountain, where
he built a very beautiful church in honor of Our Lady. With several former
secular priests who joined him there, in 1119 he began the establishment of
the Congregation of Monte Vergine, or Mount of the Virgin. This site is
between Nola and Benevento in the same kingdom of Naples. These sons of Our
Lady lived in great austerity. Seeing the progress in holiness of the good
religious being formed there, the devil sowed division and criticism; but
God drew good from the evil when Saint William went elsewhere and founded
several more monasteries, both for men and women, in various places in the
kingdom of Naples. He assisted the king of Naples, who greatly venerated
him, to practice all the Christian virtues of a worthy sovereign, and the
king in gratitude had a house of the Order built at Salerno opposite his
palace, to have him near him more often.

When Saint William died on the 25th of June, 1142, he had not yet written a
Rule for his religious; his second successor, Robert, fearing the
dissolution of a community without constitutions, placed them under that of
Saint Benedict, and is regarded as the first abbot of the Benedictine
Congregation of Monte-Vergine. A portrait of the Virgin venerated there has
been an unfailing source of holy compunction; pilgrims continue to visit it.

Sources: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin
(Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 7; Little Pictorial Lives of the
, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints, and other
sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Spiritual Bouquet: The Son of man has not come to be served but to serve.
St. Matthew 20:28


At Beroca (in Syria), the birthday of St. Sosipater, (Sopater) who was a
disciple of the Apostle St. Paul.

At Rome, St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, (put to death) with twenty-two other

At Alexandria, St. Gallicanus, martyr. He was a man of consular rank who had
received triumphal honors, and was dear to the Emperor Constantine. He was
converted to the Christian faith by SS. John and Paul. After becoming a
Christian, he went to Ostia with St. Hilarinus, and devoted himself to the
relief of the poor and to the service of the sick. The report of this went
abroad into all the world. Many came there from all parts to see a man who
had once been a patrician and a consul now washing the feet of the poor,
preparing their table, pouring water over their hands, ministering carefully
to the sick, and performing other works of piety. He was afterward driven
into exile by Julian the Apostate, and returned to Alexandria. There he was
ordered by the judge Rautianus to offer sacrifice; when he refused to do so,
he was put to the sword and became a martyr to Christ.

At Sybapolis in Mesopotamia, St. Febronia, virgin and martyr. In the
persecution of Diocletian and while Lysimachus was governor, Febronia, for
defending her faith and chastity, was first beaten with rods. She was then
tortured on the rack, her body mangled with iron combs and burned with fire.
Her teeth were knocked out, her feet were cut off and she was otherwise
mutilated; finally, her head was cut off. Thus, adorned by jewels of many
sufferings, she left this world for her heavenly Spouse.

At Reggio, St. Prosper of Aquitaine, bishop of that city. He was famous for
learning and piety, and strove mightily against the Pelagians in defence of
the Catholic faith.

At Turin, the birthday of St. Maximus, bishop and confessor, for learning
and holiness.

In Holland, St. Adalbert, confessor, who was a disciple of St. Willibrord. +

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas (Julian calendar)
St-Jean Baptiste (Gregorian calendar, and a special holiday in Québec)

Съ праздникомъ! Happy feast day to all!

Statism does not create man — it destroys him
by David Forte

Flight 93 Memorial Chapel
Its priest founder apparently has gone vagante (story) but it is still a beautiful monument in the Pennsylvania countryside to these Sept. 11 victims. It looks like there should be an icon or the Reserved Sacrament behind that lamp. The chandeliers certainly would look right in an Eastern Orthodox church!

Iraq: back to the Dark Ages
What Bush hath wrought. Then again, Protestants of his kind don't think the Chaldean Catholics (80% of Iraq's Christian minority) are Christians.

Serbian Orthodox accept Pope’s apology
For Croat crimes during World War II.

Russian Orthodox cemetery in New Jersey vandalized; culprits caught
From May 2003: Childish mischief did serious damage.

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
All Belgian hospitals, including Catholic ones, must have euthanasia
Lee Penn: The Culture of Death spreads. First the Netherlands, then Belgium then .... where?

UN admits condoms don’t work
Lee: I am not surprised at all by these findings. It is standard that, when evaluated as a birth-control method, the failure rate for condoms is 10-15%.

Rhetorically speaking, the only thing one need wear for 'safe sex' is a wedding ring.

Full text of Kasper the unfriendly cardinal’s speech
In which he waffles on apostolic succession.

Lee: Is the Vatican preparing to say that Anglican orders are valid, in whole or in part? Is that now on the negotiating table? It makes me think that the favorite Vatican shoe is a flip-flop, and its favorite breakfast food is a waffle.


Richard Harries disses the Eucharist
Old news but significant. Ironic coming from a man whose see gave the Oxford Movement its name! Incidentally, I met him there once. The Real Presence is so out of style, he says, but being 'gay-friendly' (ugh) is in.

More up to date:

Nigerian Anglicans reject England’s appointment of gay bishop
Maybe objectively he's not a bishop, but unlike Dr Harries, Archbishop Peter Akinola sounds like a real 'reverend father in God' nonetheless.

Fun with spam
Re: Fwd: Stop debt today (eloquent origin) from Tiennot Nashira
Looks like an example of Engrish - an attempt at English by Japanese not fluent in the language.

Please don’t tell anyone
OK, your secret's safe - I've deleted your e-mail.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Heard on the radio this morning that the fighting goes on in Iraq. Wow, they're shooting back: who'd have thought it?

US Supreme Court rules race can be used to admit or refuse students
Heroic Jennifer Gratz wins appeal, but verdict on second case vs. U. of Michigan upholds 'affirmative action'
It's official - the Old Republic value of fairness regardless of ethnicity is dead. Now, membership in a American university is detemined by and divided into Marxist soviets classed by race. Dreadful. What happened to Martin Luther King's 1963 rhetoric, 'not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character'? I have a dream today.

Saintly Italian beauty pageant is thanks to God

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Small-o orthodox priest suddenly ousted by RC bishop of Altoona-Johnstown

From David Virtue
Holy Kool-Aid, spiritual poison
by Kevin McCullough
A bit Protestant in tone but pretty good.

Sydney Anglicans risk split in Lord’s Supper rumpus
by Kelly Burke

Blog correspondent Lee Penn: Most of the news in the Anglican Communion pertains to the developing schism
over the gay question.

Lee: Meanwhile - as has been threatened for at least 10 years that I am aware of -
the Anglican province in Sydney, Australia is moving toward allowing the laity
to preside at the Eucharist. It would be another step (among many) away from
catholicity for the Anglican communion if this occurs.

Me: Well, why not? Since this group has 'bishops' in good standing who don't really believe in God, why even keep the pretence of the apostolic ministry?

Sydney has moved a step closer to splitting from the Anglican Church in
Australia in a radical move to change the nature of Holy Communion.

Documents obtained by the Herald outline how the Sydney diocese plans
to allow lay people to administer the Lord's Supper.

The diocese has already been warned by bishops here and overseas that
such a move would be theologically unsound and probably illegal, and
that Sydney faces likely expulsion from the Anglican Communion if it
goes ahead.

But a draft ordinance tabled in Sydney's Standing Committee on Monday
night claims it has found a way to overcome the legal hurdle, thanks to
a 1976 amendment to state legislation.

That amendment, the report argues, effectively frees the Sydney Diocese
from the Church of England's Act of Uniformity 1662, which states that
"no person whatsoever . . . shall presume to consecrate and administer
the holy sacrament of the Lord's Supper before such time as he shall be
ordained priest".

The move has already prompted sabre-rattling from Sydney's neighbouring
diocese of Newcastle. Its bishop, Roger Herft, said the motive behind
Sydney's push for lay presidency was tied to the diocese's continuing
opposition to the ordination of women to the priesthood.

"Now that women are allowed to [administer] the sacraments and proclaim
the word of God, Sydney has said 'let's devalue the currency - now
anybody can do it'. It's very subtle and very sinful." [!]

The ordinance will be debated next month, but several sources within
Standing Committee were already conceding yesterday that the pro-lay
presidency lobby clearly had the numbers on its side. The draft
ordinance will be presented to Sydney Synod in October, and could
become law before the end of next year, providing the archbishop, Peter
Jensen, gives his assent.

Unlike his predecessor, Harry Goodhew, who vetoed a similar move in
1999, Dr Jensen has always said he supports lay presidency, as long as
it can be achieved legally.

Dr Jensen declined to comment yesterday. It is understood he plans to
write to bishops all over the world and gauge by their responses what
price Sydney might pay for its renegade action.

But Bishop Glenn Davies, who chaired the committee which drew up the
ordinance, has indicated that the issue is important enough to risk

"Sydney recognises that the preaching of the word is the heart and soul
of ministry," he said. "As we have authorised qualified lay people to
preach sermons, so we believe these people . . . should be able to
administer the sacrament, which is the visible word of God." [End.]

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Secularizing a Catholic school in Dallas
Perhaps an example, per Lew Rockwell, why vouchers aren't a good idea after all. Once the state gets in, it owns you. Owns.

On the lighter side...

From The Rockall Times
Very fabric of society threatened by appointment of gay Satanist dope-smoking bishop
The other Times takes a shot at everybody - Dr Harries, the orthodox and secular Britain.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Неделя всех святых

Неделя всех святых
Братие, толик имуще облежаш нас облак свидетелей, гордость всяку отложше, и удобь обстоятельный грех, терпением да течем на предлежащий нам подвиг.

Brethren, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. — Hebrews 12:1
Happy All Saints' Sunday, Eastern Orthodox.


Today in church history June 22, 431: The Third Ecumenical Council opens in Ephesus to condemn 'Nestorianism', which holds that Christ was two separate persons rather than one person with two natures.

Because He is one person who is both true God and true man, it follows that Mary gave birth to God as well as man, so the orthodox, catholic Church, East and West, calls her the Mother of God (Theotókos in Greek).

The Assyrian Church of the East, the ancient church of what is now Iraq, went its own way after this, but the experts today say Assyrians aren't Nestorian. Their rite doesn't really use icons (but doesn't ban them either) since it is older than their use, their liturgical language is the vernacular spoken by Jesus, and their Liturgy of St Addai and St Mari has the only consecration prayer still in use in Christendom that hasn't got the words of institution, 'This is My Body', etc.

On the TV
All right, I haven't got a life at the moment. Last night I caught most of The Seventh Seal, Ingmar Bergman's breakout success film from the 1950s with Max von Sydow as Antonius Block, the war-weary Crusader knight who plays a surreal (as seen in art films like this) chess game with death. I can see why people might find it stagey and pretentious but I liked it. I was singing along with the monks, who sang a marchlike Dies Iræ (about the only thing I understood without subtitles as the rest is in Swedish) as they walked in on the action, complete with swinging thurible and life-sized crucifix, to conduct what sounded like a preaching mission. (Bergman, a Lutheran pastor's son, seems to have the fashionable hipster contempt for the faith.)

Also caught the beginning and end of Steven Spielberg's long anti-slavery movie Amistad, about a real-life slave revolt aboard a Spanish ship by that name (ironically, the word means 'friendship') in the 1830s and the trial in the US afterwards. It is moving in all the ways Spielberg probably intended. A favorite moment: when the British naval vessel destroys the slave-traders' fort with cannon fire and immediately afterwards the captain dictates a letter to the US foreign secretary: 'My dear Mr Forsythe: I write to confirm your assertion that the slave fortress in Sierra Leone does not exist...' Score one for the old world order and implicitly Christendom: Britain came out of that looking good, on the side of right, as it had banned slavery before the Amistad incident. The same stance it took later, in the days of apartheid. The baddies then were the über-Protestant Afrikaners (Dutch Reformed - puritanical Calvinists who think they're the elect so to hell literally with everybody else) - apartheid was their brilliant idea. It was the British in South Africa and in Britain itself, including Anglo-Catholics like Geoffrey Clayton and Trevor Huddleston, who stood for common decency, built on Christendom and the belief in the Incarnation: God made man (which the council of Ephesus was all about). In the case of men like Clayton and Huddleston, that connection was explicit.

Before finally falling asleep I caught the ethnic humor of Bernie Mac. You learn something new every day - I had no idea hot sauce was a big part of some black Americans' taste in food. But I detected something else in that comedy sketch - liberal, indeed Marxist, dogma. According to it, it's OK for blacks to put down white people as such. The politics and morality of revenge, of class hatred: liberal dogma says that if one's ancestors have been through something like the Amistad experience, one is 'entitled' to forgo common decency and charity. Racism - from the Left. No, thanks.

Went to a little opera-singing concert this afternoon at an historic black Methodist church in the city. Beautiful building - even though the denomination isn't liturgical and doesn't claim apostolic succession its 19th-century sanctuary is fittingly 'churchy' with stained glass, carved wood and painted angels and gold 'Gothic' letters on the east wall. But what did I see on the tract rack? 'AIDS and Safer Sex' (when it became obvious that 'safe sex' is BS, the PC police tacked on an '-er') and 'Be Protected'. Hello? In a church that's supposed to teach the gospel of Christ? This seemed to me like some racist accusation that 'they just can't control themselves', only this time presented to blacks by blacks themselves. Unbelievable.

The arrangement of the furniture in the sanctuary was that for gospel music: pulpit front and center with the choir behind. The inspiration for one of my favorite pop songs, Stevie Wonder's marathon 'As':
We all know sometimes life's hates and troubles
Can make you wish you were born in another time and space
But you can bet your life times that and twice its double
That God knew exactly where he wanted you to be placed
So make sure when you say you're in it but not of it
You're not helping to make this earth a place sometimes called Hell
Change your words into truths and then change that truth into love
And maybe our children's grandchildren
And their great-great grandchildren will tell

Saturday, June 21, 2003

From Reuters
US troops smash open homes to hunt for Iraqi militants
I was going to say 'Today in Iraq, tomorrow in America' but this violation of civil liberties already happens in America - remember Waco, Ruby Ridge and Elián Gonzalez?

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
An ugly new church?
I'm not as harsh on it as Lee - unlike a lot of ugly Mass-boxes built in the 1950s it has a postmodern artistic sense about it. I really like the bell tower, inside and out. I agree, however, about the iconoclastic, über-modern interiors, Bauhaus or International Style style stuff like (ugh) the UN. I've been on the tour of the UN - majorly cheesy.

Which reminds me of the wonderful Catholic monastery of Chevetogne, whose site has been linked on my Eastern Churches page for some time and was mentioned and linked on another blog recently. Their Byzantine Rite chapel, built in the Russian Orthodox tradition, dates from the 1950s - when I see it in pictures I instinctively react thinking, 'This is a Catholic church' (see my May 16 blog entry for more on this). When I see their Roman Rite chapel, built much later, I think and feel, 'This is a rather mean little Protestant church, like middle-of-the-road C of E or lukewarm Lutheran.'

Lee has made me aware of the American Prowler site, part of The American Spectator, which has a lot of good, thought-provoking stuff:
Could the Pope be arrested for ‘hate crimes’?
It’s possible in the New World Order.

From the Italian Catholic journal L’Espresso
Heresy: when do interfaith gestures go too far?

Where are the men?
The feminization of RC liturgy
Lee Penn: There is one element missing from the analysis: these days, how many parents
will want to leave their teenage son alone with a Catholic priest who might be
prone to "celebrating diversity" and "achieving a holistic integration of
spirituality and sexuality"?

Asia Times: US finds communist ally against mullahs in Iran
Lee Penn: Note that this story is fron an Indian official.

Lee: Let's put this in context. The US allied with the Muslim fundamentalists in
Afghanistan to fight the USSR. We ended up with the Taliban and Osama. We
allied with Saddam in the 1980 to fight the Muslim fundamentalists in Iran - and
since waged two wars against Saddam. Now we have allied with some unpopular
monarchists in Iran, and have a de facto alliance with the Iranian communists,
against the Iranian mullahs.

Lee: My description of our policy: "crackpot realism".

Friday, June 20, 2003

Today's 1662 Book of Common Prayer feast (a black-letter day from the medieval missal): the Translation of the Relics of King Edward the Martyr.

And now, apropos of nothing really:
Richard Holloway: out of me head
I don't know whether this formerly orthodox priest, now retired primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, is simply a sellout or has gone barking mad, but the way he criticizes the Anglo-Catholicism he used to believe in makes it sound pretty good, ironically.

Joke about Protestantism
Q. What's the sequel to Tim LaHaye's evo-Prot pulp novel Left Behind called?
A. Oh, Man, What a Dream!
— Dustin Anastasios Hudson

Funny, now whenever I think of the word rapture I hear somebody with an American Southern accent saying it, making the a a diphthong and coming down hard on the r: 'the ray-aap-churrrr'. Thanks a lot, Tim LaHaye.

Islam in a nutshell
by Brendan Ross
From the Orthodox Christian perspective, Islam can only be viewed with deep sadness. Muhammad was someone who was a genuine seeker, but a confused and ultimately misguided one. He clearly cobbled his religious ideas together from (1) existing Arab paganism, (2) heretical Christian sects he came across on his travels in the Middle East and (3) contemporary Jewish theology, particularly anti-Christian polemic. The sum total is a made-up religious system based on the ideas of Muhammad, which themselves became increasingly muddled as he moved on in years and became ever more entangled with the secular war for dominance in Eastern Arabia.

Islam appeals to those who (1) seek simplicity and (2) seek discipline. Islam is very simple because it really rejects the Trinity and any kind of higher theology, it is really highly monotheistic, so it's great for the lazy intellectual who can't wrap his brain around the trinitarian dialogues of the Cappodocian Fathers. Islam also has the appeal of discipline ... regular prayer, fasting, dietary restrictions, etc., in a sense Islam has been rightly described as an "orthoprax" religion rather than an "orthodox" religion because there isn't much belief to speak of (other than a near deification of Muhammad and a religiously-inspired ignorance as to the facts of his life) .. it appeals to those who want to get wrapped up in a religion of externals, to those who want to "do religion".

As was well pointed out by V.S. Naipaul after 9-11, Islam has always been a fanatical religion, and one in which the fanaticism nearly always had a violent, secular expression. It is nonsensical to think of an Islam without its violent fanatical element, therefore. As long as there is an Islam there will be someone like Al-Qaida, more than willing to take up arms to spread the green terror of the Qur'an and the cult of the misguided Muhammad, and so we are really pissing into the wind, so to speak, if we think that this will go away any time soon. It has been present when Islam was ascendent, at the beginning. It was present during the height of Islam. And now it is still present, when the Islamic world is largely "down & out".

Islam is very much a transvestite religion. It has excelled at adopting religious stuff from other spiritual traditions and gussying it up (eg, the Mosque, which is copied from Eastern Christian Churches, the idea of scripture, stolen from Judeo-Christianity, the adaption of the Judeo-Christian pantheon of prophets, etc.), while covering up what lies underneath -- namely a confused hodgepodge of Arabic paganism that has no place being the world's second largest religion. Islam is intensely Arabic in other respects, as well. Again, as Naipaul has pointed out, there is a tension everywhere in the non-Arab Islamic world between this sense of "Islamic arabness" and the non-Arabic pre-Islamic histories of these regions. It is a very Arab culturally imperialistic faith, and it is this disjuncture that leads to much radicalism outside the Arab world itself as those who are truly fanatical Muslims will seek to resolve this contradiction one way or the other (either in the near Messianic Shi'ite version of Iran -- "us against the world" -- or in the crazy-quilt Taliban, a group really reminiscent of the Khmer Rouge). And we all know that the Arab world itself is always on the boil because of the contradiction between what the Qur'an says (ie, that Islam should be in charge) and the way the world looks today. Sure, today the problem is Israel. Rest assured if Israel disappeared into the Med tomorrow, there would still be loads of discontentment and angst throughout the Arab world -- Israel is a scapegoat and focal point for all of this resentment, resentment which has largely other causes.

When I see Muslim women in the supermarket or at the shopping mall wearing their headgear, I feel sorry for them. They have had the misfortune of being born into a fundamentally mysogynistic religious cult. I pray for them that they can find their way out of this situation, particularly since they now live in the United States where they can do so without incurring the death penalty for leaving their religiously inspired slavery. [End.]

True, but this isn't a licence for neocons and Protestant do-gooders to go beat on and conquer Muslim countries 'for their own good' and for the glory of the 'Empah', Mk II.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Happy feast of Corpus Christi, traditional Roman Catholics.

Heritage of the First World War
· Why the US should have stayed put (quotation attributed to Winston Churchill?!)
· The surprising battles of Baghdad

From the last comes this déjà vu quotation:

'People of Baghdad, remember for 26 generations you have suffered under strange tyrants who have ever endeavoured to set one Arab house against another in order that they might profit by your dissensions. This policy is abhorrent to Great Britain and her Allies for there can be neither peace nor prosperity where there is enmity or misgovernment. Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.' — Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude

Hit-and-run liberals
Until now I haven't written anything about the débàcle in Phoenix with its sometime RC bishop because, evil as it is, I thought it didn't have anything to do with the faith or the world situation, but this article has a point.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

US troops open fire on protesters* in Baghdad
*Armed with rocks.

From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Mel Gibson defends his movie The Passion’s Matt Barganier spoofs National Review’s blog

From which I learnt, for real:

60% of MTV viewers support Iraq war
Like, whateverrrr. Where, oh, where do people get the idea that in addition to not being very nice (grown-up day-care brats, thanks to secularism, broken homes, etc.), the people in 'Generation Y' lack critical thinking skills? At least the fellow who was photographed and pullquoted gets it.

Belgian Catholic hospitals may be forced to allow euthanasia
Brussels, Jun. 16 ( - Catholic hospitals in Belgium may be
required to allow euthanasia according to new rules laid down by a group
forming the country's new government. The Dutch news web site
reported that the political parties negotiating the form of the new ruling
coalition after May 18 general elections have agreed that every hospital
must have a team of doctors prepared to kill their patients under a strict
policy they said was designed to protect patients and their relatives.

Belgium passed a law last year legalizing euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Karel de Gucht, chairman of the Flemish VLD party, was quoted as saying that
"euthanasia is the business of the doctor and a patient, and that hospitals
should not interfere."

From a blog reader in Europe
Brian Brindley obituary from 2001

Death will have his day

I didn't know until this morning that he had died! Theatrical as he was, when it came to the faith and orthodoxy, it turned out he wasn't play-acting after all.

Fifty years on
Anthony Kilmister remembers watching the coronation of HM the Queen on a flickering 10-inch screen

What ‘the other side’ really wants
Jocelyn Hellig 'suggest[s]... with Rosemary Ruether that the only way Christianity can learn to relate without potentially catastrophic prejudice to Jews is to demand we shed belief in the Incarnation and insistence on the necessity of conversion for all.' - the Revd Luke Miller (with whom I was once acquainted), reviewing Hellig's The Holocaust and Antisemitism


Test your IQ

Pentecost on Mt Athos: between heaven and earth
by Sandro Magister

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Real anarchism and distributism
by Miki Tracy
The formatting on this page is wonky but it is well worth the effort to read. My mentors at might not agree with distributism economically and I don't pretend to understand all this, let alone live up to what I do understand, but it sounds profoundly Christian and in sync with the worldview expressed on this blog.

Norma McCorvey, repentant, converted ‘Jane Roe’, asks court to overturn Roe v. Wade
Glory to God.

Canada to have gay marriage

US secrecy on detained foreigners upheld
'We're disappointed that for the first time ever, a US court has sanctioned secret arrests', said Kate Martin, a lawyer for the Center for National Security Studies.

Very bad precedent. This is fascism, not real American conservatism.
To Dustin Anastasios Hudson
Many thanks for your thoughtful essay in yesterday's shout-outs. As far as I know none of the seven (or nine, depending on how you count them) general, dogmatic councils of the ancient Church made a dogma of Eastern Orthodox opinion on how grace works.

Interestingly, today both St Gregory Palamas (a lifelong Orthodox) and St Thomas Aquinas, whose opinions about grace polarized East and West in the Middle Ages, are accepted as saints by the Catholic Church.

...the Church has always taught that dogma and spirituality cannot be separated.

Right, nor am I arguing for that.

I believe that the belief that they don't matter to salvation is a belief that actually is a product of the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

Agreed. I was talking about opinions, not dogmas.

Having known you for five years, you probably mean that what matters for salvation are beliefs such as Trinity, Incarnation, etc., the great beliefs held by all orthodox Christians

Right, as well as the other things I named in my May 16 blog entry, 'What I believe'. My 'Mere Christianity' is not Protestant!

These mistaken beliefs on the part of the West--while not nearly as great as the convert provocateurs would like us to believe--still resulted in the Reformation and the Novus Ordo. While I agree with you wholeheartedly that many exaggerate the differences (we can agree that for instance, that the Byzantine Rite is not necessary for salvation, etc), there are differences that must be appreciated.

That's a compelling argument, and I haven't found any other explanation why those things afflicted the West and not the East. It's the key argument, I believe, in the writings of both Alexis Khomiakov in the 19th century and Fr Seraphim (Rose) in the 20th, both of whom I've read.

On the other hand, not letting the side down on artificial birth control is the Pope's trump card vs. what passes as Eastern Orthodoxy in much of the modern world.

You seem to find my statement relativistic, as I predicted others would react (though you stated your case respectfully and very well), yet it is my understanding that it is by this same criterion of basic orthodoxy that you, and I, accept the Oriental Orthodox.

Patrick Rothwell on the Anglican contribution to American culture

St Alban
The first martyr of England and today's 1662 Book of Common Prayer saint (one of the black-letter days that came from the medieval missal)

The Fellowship of St Alban and St Sergius
The High Anglican and Eastern Orthodox group, founded in 1928. The postal address is that of the Orthodox church at Oxford, Holy Trinity and the Annunciation in Canterbury Road, jointly used by a Greek and a Russian congregation. Once saw the great Bishop Kallistos (Ware), bishop for the Greeks in England, serve Vespers and go through the whole reception and chrismation ceremony for an English convert at this place and went to the Russian Divine Liturgy here too.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Trés bien!
'France's defense minister took a double swipe at the United States on Saturday, accusing her counterpart Donald Rumsfeld of American supremacism and U.S. industry of waging "economic war" on Europe.'

From today
US media caved in to the Bush agenda
by Eric Margolis, The Toronto Sun
'Iraqis, Iranians, Pakistanis, Saudis, Taliban, al-Qaida ... it's all too much for many geographically challenged Americans. Don't bother us with the details and strange names, they say, kill 'em all, God will sort 'em out. The Muslim 'A-rabs' did 9/11 and we got revenge. Whacking those I-raqis made us feel a whole lot better. So what if Saddam didn't really have the weapons of mass destruction good ol' George W. Bush said endangered the entire world? All politicians lie. So what?"'

Tale of two b*tches
Or why the secular world is not cool. These vicious, clueless people (on their way to Las Vegas, natch) believe both in killing 'inconvenient' unborn babies, not realizing such makes life harder for women ’cos it's pig heaven for lowlife men, and in more use of the death penalty. Hahahahaha, die, die, die! Isn't it reassuring to know that this secular 'Generation Y' will have its hand on the switch of life support when my generation is old and feeble?

Ironically, the self-styled hipster élite (mostly privileged, upper-middle-class kids who 'got religion') who write for Envoy are neocons who support the war in Iraq (like their friends in the former Intercollegiate Studies Institute), so like in their religion, in which they are 'conservative' only in that they 'conserve' the innovations of the 1960s (ugh), they are only one jump removed, if that, from the secular people they expose and criticize so well in the blog entry linked above.

Tina Kim
Caught a bit of her act on the TV. She's kind of like Margaret Cho, except she's funny.
День Святого Духа
No news from Lee, Dave or Samer today!

Православный Церковный Календарь

Criticism of the liturgical theology of the late Fr Alexander Schmemann
by Fr Michael Pomazansky
Having skimmed For the Life of the World I see the dangers in Schmemann's writings that this writer does, but as far as I know Fr Alexander (to use his Orthodox name) himself never advocated changing the Russian Orthodox ritual along liberal lines. And anybody who said, like he did, that the attempted ordination of women is the death of all dialogue was far from a modernist. So while Fr Michael had a point, I think he was overreacting.

‘That Orthodoxy business’ in perspective
One basic difference between me and some in Eastern Orthodoxy is I see things a lot like Fr Lev (Gillet) did: I see the same light, only clearer. You see, to me, EOxy has every essential I believed in all along (see blog entry for May 16) as a would-be Roman Catholic (they confirmed me and taught me how to go to Confession - in short, gave me my moral theology) and a would-be Anglo-Catholic (disclosures: I was baptized Anglican when I was a month old and in my 20s spent a term at a theological college in England - not that I learnt or retained enough to be a theologian!). This is what I mean by 'I believe EOxy is right' or 'I believe everything EOxy teaches', because all of its positive doctrinal statements are simply statements of those fundamental beliefs. 'Mere Christianity' with icons and a liturgy. Or as I like to say, Orthodoxy is Catholicism in 11th-century Greek theological form.

The reason I like Russian culture (the language, the rite) isn't to stick it to Western Catholicism, for example, but because, just like the rest of medieval Christendom East and West, it tried to live out those fundamentals, to incarnate them, however very imperfectly. And as you can see from reading The Way of a Pilgrim and other 19th-century Russian books, it often did so beautifully.

Another way of putting it is while everything I believe as essential is contained in EOxy, I don’t think I believe any opinion peculiar to EOxy, or to RCism for that matter, as necessary for salvation. (Which is how I write off objections like 'What about the Pope? What about the filioque? What about created grace?' Blah blah blah.)

Some probably are going to jump on that as relativistic, denying the one true church, etc. I don’t care.

I don’t claim I can back myself up academically either, but that’s what I really believe.

And I see the risks in what I wrote, ecclesiologically speaking — authority and communion ecclesiology (which, IMO, EOxy has a bead on) keep it from flying away into vagante fantasyland.

I do believe in EOxy’s Churchness and consequently that it has grace — speculation about everybody else is nondogmatic in EOxy and is wide-open space where people like me have lots of breathing room.

Where the difference comes in is that I don't hold, like some, that these fundamentals are the exclusive property or invention of Eastern Orthodoxy.

(I'm not dogmatizing or claiming to proclaim EO dogma, simply stating opinion that happens to be in the range of EO opinion.)

This strain among at least some EOs comes off to me and I dare say to non-Orthodox of good will as simply arrogance. Ignorance and ethnocentrism/chauvinism, even more repellent (hateful, ungrateful, dishonest) coming from converts. (You usually don't get this from ethnics because they've got nothing to prove to themselves - they're happy with their received form of religion and don't care about anything else.)

To use two of my favorite fictional illustrations, this is as ridiculous as Mr Portokalos claiming the word kimono is Greek or Mr Chekov on 'Star Trek' claiming every scientific discovery for the Russians. And perhaps born out of the same defensiveness and inferiority complex.

My ‘russophilia’ as described above, I dare say, is different to this, which I would agree is ‘playing Russian’, etc., in an obnoxious way. (I see fixations with certain jurisdictions the same way.)

A Catholic interviews an Orthodox priest
Interviewer: 'I take exception to the statement that the real difference between Orthodoxy and Catholicism is the doctrine of grace. The Byzantine and Latin doctrines on grace are complementary, not contradictory. This complementarity is what Pope John Paul meant by the Church "breathing with both lungs." The real difference remains our being subject to the universal primacy of the Roman Pontiff, whom the Orthodox view as an oppressive, alien power.'

I can agree with that.

The real reason the two rites exist and are different is that compared to today, people in the ancient world didn't travel or communicate with other cultures as much or as easily, so very different rites developed. And the real reason for the schism between the Orthodox and the Catholics was rivalry between two empires that no longer exist. The other reasons were come up with after the fact to justify it.

My Q&A on the differences between the two sides

Sunday, June 15, 2003

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Youth in Rome lose the faith - story from Italian paper L'Espresso
'...evidence that the Christian faith is threatening to go extinct in Catholicism's capital par excellence, the Rome of the popes. The new generations are the indication of this trend - more so among youths aged 16 to 18 than among those in the 24 to 26 age bracket, the two age groups examined in the survey. The vestiges of Christianity are resisting only within the restricted circle of those who are most faithful. But in society as a whole, the desert is advancing. "One is no longer born a Christian, one becomes one"...'

Civiltà Cattolica strongly condemns US war on Iraq

NewsMax: Russian/Chinese alliance grows; Russian nuclear attack exercises on US
Lee Penn: We may have more problems on our hands than Bush thinks ... especially if he attacks Iran or war starts in Korea.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

15 Июня
Сошествие Святого Духа/Святая Троица
Icon of Trinity (Old Testament appearance) by Andrei Rublev: click for explanation

O heavenly King, the Comforter, Spirit of Truth, who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come dwell within us, cleanse us from all our sins and save our souls, O gracious Lord.

Happy feast of Pentecost (Trinity), Eastern Orthodox!

And happy Trinity Sunday, traditional Roman Catholics.

Interestingly, Russians call Pentecost 'Trinity' but that's not related to the Western feast day. Western Trinity Sunday was instituted by a medieval Pope, and so the Sarum Use of the Roman Rite used throughout England at the time counted Sundays after Trinity, not Sundays after Pentecost like the rest of the Roman Rite, which is why the 1662 Book of Common Prayer does the same.
Родительская Суббота
It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead. - 2 Machabees 12:46

Today in church history
June 14, 847: Methodius, an Eastern church leader who fought vigorously for icons to be preserved and venerated, dies of dropsy. He had earlier survived seven years of imprisonment with a decaying corpse, as ordered by officials under iconoclastic Emperor Theophilus. Upon Theophilus's death his wife, Theodora, took Methodius's side, and he was named Patriarch of Constantinople (see Eastern Orthodoxy).

June 14, 1936: English writer G.K. Chesterton dies at age 62. Authors from T.S. Eliot (who penned his obituary) to H.G. Wells, a longtime friend and debating opponent, expressed their grief. After the funeral, Pope Pius XI declared the rotund writer (a convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism) Defender of the Faith.

From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Three samples from Lew Rockwell's blog, which already is linked at the bottom of this page.

Neocons: Hijackers of conservatism. Dispensationalists: Hijackers of Christian orthodoxy
by Thomas Woods
S. al-B.: Thomas Woods makes a short blog entry, calling for the equivalent of the
paleocons in the religious sphere to reclaim orthodoxy from the
dispensationalist heretics. Hear, hear. Huzzah to a Christian Old Right.

S. al-B.: Amazing the parallels. Also notice how Catholic neocons have hijacked
traditional Catholicism (especially on what concerns the Pope) from
traditionalists who were not papal absolutists.

Heroic Church vs. murderous state by van Dyck

Government to homeschoolers: ‘We own you’

Mark Fiore on those imaginary WMDs

Spam that’s not fun
The latest con from Third World organized crime
Got this yesterday, fittingly on Friday the 13th. It seems the same mobsters and small-time crooks at the Internet café in Lagos, Nigeria have gone from impersonating AOL (complete with impressive HTML and graphics) to mimicking PayPal (the online ticket-sellers):

From: "Info5c1xf3g"
Subject: Dear PayPal Customer

This e-mail is the notification of recent innovations taken by PayPal to detect inactive customers and non-functioning mailboxes.

The inactive customers are subject to restriction and removal in the next 3 months.

Please confirm your email address and credit card information by logging in to your PayPal account using the form below. [End of citation.]

Nice try, losers.

Friday, June 13, 2003

The founder and CEO of hip teen-20ager retail company Urban Outfitters is in his 50s and is... a free-market conservative! Yessss! I love it! (This link should work for the next four days.)

JAH rules OK
My ‘assigned’ psalm reading this morning (according to the system I use) was a long and familiar one to Eastern Orthodox, Ps. 67 (68 in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, whose psalter I use), ‘Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered’ (Да воскреснетъ Богъ), which figures in a big way at the services for Pascha (Easter). Anyway, this Tudor English rendering of the tetragrammaton (written with four letters in Hebrew), the Sacred Name which observant Jews to this day don't speak or write out (JHWH, which they render as 'G-d' - the written word as icon), struck me:

O sing unto God, and sing praises unto his Name; magnify him that rideth
upon the heavens; * praise him in his Name JAH, and rejoice before him.

Recently from a travelogue program I learnt that the Rastafarians in Jamaica, kind of an eclectic 'back to Africa' cult, call God 'JAH'. (Here's an example from reggae that quotes this very psalm.) Easy to see where they got that from. Rasta seems to make much of Ethiopia and the last Christian emperor there, Haile Selassie (photo above, at right - thanks to Samer al-Batal for the link), but doesn't seem at all connected really to Ethiopian Orthodoxy, one of the Oriental apostolic Churches. (Also, Ethiopians aren't related to American and Caribbean blacks - they're different ethnic groups from opposite sides of Africa!) Seems to have more to do with ganja. That's too bad.

There is a thriving little Ethiopian and Eritrean neighborhood, with at last count three restaurants/bars, in the city within bicycling range of where I live. A welcome sight in America - some God-fearing, apostolic Christian immigrants. Once got acquainted with the owner of one of these places, a fellow who seemed to radiate joy. The place had lots of Eritrean folk art (paintings), which looks like Eritrean/Ethiopian/Coptic church iconography - which in turn is based on the tomb art of the ancient Egyptians, who now are the Copts.

The tetragrammaton also is mistranslated as 'Jehovah' or 'Yahweh'.

To my good friend Dustin Anastasios Hudson, who has redesigned the main page of - so beautiful I'm linking it here today. The site's forum is permanently linked below.

And thanks
To Clifton Healy, who has added this blog to his links on his: This is life: revolutions around the cruciform axis.

From 2001: orthodoxy (catholicity) is not racist
by A.N. Wilson
It has been announced that the Archbishops of Canterbury and York are to attend a 24-hour residential course on racial awareness. These kind and good men have taken this decision after it was discovered that the Church of England, like the Metropolitan Police, was riddled with ‘institutional racism’.

Clearly, institutional racism, like dry rot, is a plague which can be present in a house without any of its inhabitants being aware of it. As a lifelong Anglican, attending various high churches, I had thought that the Church was rather ahead of the rest of society in racial matters. There actually seems something wicked in stirring up the fictitious notion that this group of well-intentioned Christians unconsciously harbour hatred in their hearts for other races. Was it not a group of Anglican monks, the Community of the Resurrection, in South Africa, and above all Father Trevor Huddleston, CR (link to audio file), who did more than any other group of Europeans to alert the world to the evils of apartheid? That was very nearly half a century ago. According to a recent report, to be debated at the General Synod of the Church of England later this month, non-white Anglicans now feel ‘alienated, lonely and excluded’ when they come to church. The report complains that there is a ‘glass ceiling’ which prevents many ‘ethnic minority Anglicans’ from becoming vicars.

All this sounds sad, but one wonders whether the explanations for it are to be found in the comparatively recent science of ‘race relations’ and political correctness rather than in observable human character traits? ...In the bricky, incense-laden shrines where I spent so much of my uncynical earlier life, and for which I still feel a strong affection, at least half the congregations would tend to be black. Singing hymns to the Eucharistic mystery, surrounded by beautiful women of Caribbean origin, I found it hard to think that the afterlife could provide any heaven more sublime. ...

While I sat with the mothers and daughters, their lanky sons, up to the age of about 11 or 12, would be seen in the sanctuary, serving the altar. It did
sometimes cross my mind to wonder whether any of them would choose to be ordained, but only a few seconds‘ reflection explained to me why, in the majority of cases, this was rather unlikely. ?All Gas and Gaiters’ and the novels of Barbara Pym might here come in more useful for the Archbishops than their 24-hour racial awareness course. ...The usual unfair jokes about the third sex, are untranslatable into an Afro-Caribbean context, where, for the most part men are men, women are women and indigenous whites are mild jokes. Of course, this is to rehash gross stereotypes, and it is obvious that there are exceptions to the rule. But if it is true that young men of African or Afro-Caribbean descent do not want to go to theological colleges and train for a no-hope, badly-paid job as a vicar where everyone assumes they are pansies, is this surprising? Go to any of the churches I describe ...and you will find the altar-boys, black and white, go off religion as soon as they discover girls. Like quiche, High Mass isn‘t for real men — it is for women, and homosexuals and sad people like me. In short, though it might surprise the racial awareness experts to realise it, more or less everyone in church feels ‘alienated, lonely and excluded’: that‘s why we go there.

While I am no doubt putting my foot in it badly, may I offer the Archbishops another generalisation? To anyone who isn‘t on a racial awareness course it should be blindingly obvious, but no doubt the kindly people in Church House are too polite to mention it: the [attempted] ordination of women [in Anglicanism] to the priesthood has put paid to the idea of many black men even considering it as a profession for themselves. There might have been some chance of persuading the black altar-boys to carry on going to church during their adolescence and then considering ordination, if the old ‘chauvinist’ ethos of the High Church world prevailed. But it doesn‘t. It has all been swept away — as most enlightened church members desire. But feminist and racial liberalism are not always culturally compatible.

If everything I have written above merely proves that I am unconsciously racist (which I know I’m not), then what positive, uncynical advice can one offer the Archbishops? If I‘m right, there is about as much likelihood of a streetwise young black man wishing to become a priest alongside women as there is of a miner‘s son choosing to become a ballet dancer. Why not a recruitment drive based on a film? ...Since unemployment among young black males is so high and since the shortage of ...clergy is so acute, it is obvious that the Church ...could, here, be on to a winner. The [church] is guilty of many follies, but not the sin of race hatred. It distresses all those who love it to see the archbishops flagellating themselves for a sin of which they are incapable. [End.]

On Poland joining the EU
While this is worrisome - first the Communists, now the New World Order swallow up Catholic Poland? - I'm not at all surprised considering Poland's history. Poles don't want to be considered part of Eastern Europe! They will point out that the geographic center of Europe is in their country and this worldview partly explains why they are Western Catholic and not Eastern Orthodox.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Tomorrow in church history
June 13, 1231: Anthony of Padua dies at age 36. His mentor, Francis of Assisi, wrote early in his ministry, 'It pleases me that you teach sacred theology to the brothers, as long as — in the words of the Rule — you "do not extinguish the Spirit of prayer and devotion" with study of this kind.' With this blessing, Anthony went on to a life of teaching and preaching, becoming the most popular and effective preacher of his day (the real reason for his fame - here are his sermons).

June 13, 1893: Dorothy Sayers, English mystery writer and apologist, is born in Oxford. 'Man is never truly himself except when he is actively creating something,' she once said. Another excellent quotation from this Thomist Anglo-Catholic: 'We have declawed the Lion of Judah and turned Him into a fitting household pet for blue-haired ladies and pale-faced curates.'

Reminds me: a friend similarly keen on such things told me that Mrs Slocum on 'Are You Being Served?' was high-church. Never found that programme uproariously funny but actually a little depressing (like the English weather) because it all seemed so wretched, like something out of Dickens, or gallows humour. 'Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.'

From today
Wise up, Protestant religious right
...the overwhelming support of the Christian right for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, another fiasco that destroys American credibility abroad and divides the public at home. Just because President George W. Bush is open about his Christianity does not mean that Christians should give him carte blanche when it comes to invading and bombing other countries that were not at war with us in the first place.
Samer al-Batal is back with more excellent links:
Samer adds the disclaimer that the site is pro-UN, which this blog is not. Also, Mr Bush and his handlers can and do get things right, like being anti-affirmative action and supporting school kids' right to practise religion. Still, this very funny site has a lot of truth in it.

My idea?
Dr Dumblove
Yee-haw! I wrote nearly the same thing here three months ago. This looks like one of Mark Fiore's (see excellent cartoons but I think it's by somebody else.

Saddam or no Saddam, Iraqi press will always have censors

More from Mr Fisk

Executions planned at ‘Gitmo’?

Ted Rall cartoon: Gitmo House

Remember Kosovo?
by Nebosja Malic
The chattering classes (Clinton's people) conveniently don't any more, but this blog and still do.

Jesus, Lover of Mankind
Happy month of the Sacred Heart, traditional Roman Catholics. This devotion as such is peculiar to Western Catholicism, dating in its current form to the 1600s based on the private visions of a French nun, St Margaret Mary Alacoque, but some say it can be traced back to the Middle Ages and St Gertrude in Germany. Some controversialists say it's out of harmony with Eastern Orthodoxy, and while I agree it's not native to that form of spirituality and not necessary to it, it's certainly not wrong either. After all, the Byzantine Rite calls Our Lord the 'Lover of Mankind' (philanthropos, человеколюбец) all the time! 'You worship a heart' is a Protestant putdown the same as 'you worship a piece of bread' or 'you worship paintings'.

While regrettably not a friend of this blog, Gerard Serafin of has written down some good quotations about this devotion from several sources. This one from a 19th-century Anglican, Robert C. Jenkins, Rector of Lyminge and Honorary Canon of Canterbury, resonates:
The devotion to the Sacred Heart, which in its symbolical meaning and as representing the love and tenderness of the Saviour towards His children, had found its way into the hymns and prayers of almost every private form of devotion, and commends itself to the more enthusiastic of every communion, as the most touching of all those exercises of piety which cluster around the suffering life of Jesus ... The Heart of Christ, whether to Puritan devotee, to the member of the High Church in England, or to those who had outwardly separated themselves from the communion of both, was the temple of a common worship — the home of common love.
— From The Devotion of the Sacred Heart, the Religious Tract Society, London, probably printed around 1876, pp. 8-9

By many Americans' standards I'm poor but thanks be to God I realize I am really very rich indeed. This quotation from the late Trevor Huddleston puts things into perspective:
I can't tell you what the culture shock was like, coming out of a country like Tanzania with a peasant farming population in a very poor area of a very poor country, and coming back to the urban area of London which was always described as the most deprived area of London, the East End. My area of jurisdiction as a bishop was three boroughs, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington, and today Hackney and Tower Hamlets are the most deprived boroughs in London. But I came back and I saw shops bursting with goods. I had kids who said they were going to get Christmas presents costing 70 quid, and so forth. And that was a year's wage - if it was a good year - in Masasi. I didn't know what had hit me! I couldn't believe that people could say they were poor. The children in Masasi never had more than one meal a day. The greatest treat I could give to kids was to go in the Land Rover with them down to the sea, stop on the way, and the meal that gave them most delight was just a plate of rice and some fish and the gravy the fish was cooked in. That was a treat. And every child would have to come to school, not on a full belly at all, but waiting until school was over to walk home, perhaps two or three miles, before they got their main meal. So you can see, deprivation means different things wherever you are.
Moscow Patriarch criticizes Vatican plans in Kazakhstan
MOSCOW (CNS) - Jun-10-2003 - The head of the Russian Orthodox Church lashed out at Vatican plans for new dioceses in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. "I don't think that relations between the churches should resemble the worst kind of secular diplomatic dealings, when lies and treachery are tolerated, when one hand is outstretched in a sign of friendship and the other hand is delivering a punch," Patriarch Alexei II told the Russian daily Izvestia on June 9. Leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church, the country's dominant, politically powerful faith, had earlier criticized the Vatican's move in May to create two new dioceses in Kazakhstan. The interview was the first time the ailing patriarch, recently released from a Moscow hospital, spoke out on the issue.
I think the issue here is alleged incursion into a traditionally Russian Orthodox territory - a former part of the Russian Empire, Kazakhstan (home of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan’?) has a large native Russian minority population - and solicitation at least of unchurched Russians (of whom there are lots). If unchurched Russians worry the patriarch, then the Church of Russia should assiduously evangelize them rather than pick on Catholics, who let's hope simply are ministering to the large German, Polish and Lithuanian communities in the Russias (Russia, Byelorussia and Ukraine - три России, один народ, одная Русь; был, есть и будет) and formerly Russian-owned places such as the Baltic countries and Kazakhstan. Historical perspective: Roman Catholic dioceses in Russia are nothing new - they had one in tsarist times.

More perspective
Considering the mess in Anglicanism today, where not only Catholics and Protestants but Christians and ex-Christians are yoked together (it's madness), it kind of puts the little pissing-contests over jurisdiction and a man-made calendar among the Eastern Orthodox (who all hold to the same orthodoxy about the fundamentals) into perspective.

RIP Gregory Peck, 87