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

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