Thursday, July 31, 2003

To a regular reader of this blog
Posted here instead of this person’s site so it can't be erased
Thanks for stopping by. While there are differences between Western and Eastern approaches to basic orthodoxy, and while the tendency of some Eastern Orthodox to emphasize, even exaggerate, these differences as if they come from completely different religions can be annoying and hurtful from the Catholic point of view, once again your treatment of the Orthodox online goes against the letter and spirit of the church you claim to love so much. Strange: you make much of knowing personally and liking the writer whom you then proceed to trash: basically accusing the person of being a fraud, specifically of not reading sources, and/or too stupid to understand them. (Passive-aggression. Is that how you treat your friends? How many have you got left?) Based on your online conduct, you seem to think the Orthodox are handy targets to tease: that because some of them offend you, you have the right to go against your own church's word and offend them back. Suggestion: if you are offended by something an Orthodox writes, or you simply think that person doesn't understand something, why not contact that person privately and let him or her know? (After all, you claim to know this person.) Why not make your point instead by 'acting better' than the Orthodox who offend you and respecting them, like the Golden Rule says? Or: 'Mr/Ms X claims St Y said A. However, from reading St Y, I see s/he really meant B.' Respectful and gets the point across.
From yirmiyahu
More on the corruption of language
by Charley Reese

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The hot air machine
by James Nolan
From 1999: on things about modernity I hate, including the long, condescending middle-class euphemisms (mostly politically correct stuff: fake charity) I've dedicated my life as a copy editor to getting permanently out of print.
Creeping porn and the cable news networks
by Ilana Mercer

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

From John Boyden
The end of Gaudium et spes?
by James Hitchcock
New Pentecost, my foot.
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Berlusconi and Putin try to make peace between pope and patriarch of Moscow
Pet peeve/unintentionally funny
Ethnic-mismatch hyphenated names, something middle-class American women like to do as a kind of halfway concession to feminism. Things like 'Ashley Finkelstein-Hernandez'. Marry whoever you like, but for the rest of our sakes if the names don't match, don't cobble them together. I understand this was done in England (English, Welsh and Scottish names do go together this way) only for dynastic marriages to show a merger of fortunes and properties.

One usage I'm glad to see is going away is 'Mrs John Smith'. Looked silly. Time was 'Mrs Mary Smith' meant a divorcée.
Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky)
Born today in 1865. A member of the Austrian nobility who gave it up to head the Ukrainian Catholic Church for half a century... though one wonders if he could have been so de-/unlatinized — Orthodox — in his 'praxis' if he weren't a Polish count to begin with.
The August 2003 issue of Air Force magazine features a story (regrettably not online) on this tsarist Russian flying ace turned pioneering American aero engineer:

Alexander de Seversky
He earned a golden sword and the Order of St George from the tsar.

Not to be confused with Igor Sikorsky, who helped invent the helicopter.

Не потеряв свою русскую душу, можно стать американцем? Думаю так, 80 лет назад, когда Северский и Сикорский жили, а сегодня? Наверно, с сожалению, нет, потому что настоящая американская душа умерла. Убиенная.
From today
Terms of engagement
Definitions to keep on top of current events
by Eric Margolis
On ‘intentional communities’
This dream, here described by some Eastern Orthodox, is shared by some traditional Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants and can be seen repeating throughout history.

Simply moving into a town or a city block or neighborhood and having a true geographical parish (the way Catholics use the word) with the church physically and figuratively central might produce the effect they want and might even have a chance of lasting.

Some warnings: it seems to me that what's behind a lot of this utopianism in the Eastern Orthodox convert community is really the allegedly cultish 'covenant community'/shepherding/discipling movements from Protestantism. The same thing that charismatic Roman Catholics tried (and failed with) in the 1980s? You don't want to end up with a guru cult that happens to have icons and a liturgy.
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Russian pilgrimage for St Seraphim of Sarov begins
The Russian Orthodox Church worldwide celebrates the centenary of his canonization Friday. While harmony between church and state (without, we hope, confusing the identity of the two) is the ideal of medieval Christendom East and West, what strikes me about this article is that this easily could turn into a shallow celebration of Russian nationalism and/or the current Russian government. (A problem not peculiar to Russia or to Orthodox.) One wonders what the saint would think. Anyway, here is a little about him.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Iraq and the broader war

Canadian billionaire to contribute to ALPHA evangelism plan nationwide
Lee Penn: Why do I smell 'cult' when I hear about ALPHA?

Monday, July 28, 2003

Thanks for the link to this blog!
St Stephen’s Musings by Karl Thienes
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Archbishop Anastasios
Reviving Albania's small Greek Orthodox Church, which had been suppressed since 1967. (Communist dictator Enver Hoxha simply banned all religion in Albania, a Muslim-majority country.)

US could have captured Hussein’s sons alive

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Vatican criticizes publication of pictures of bodies of Hussein’s sons
And is right.

So if it really is the US government's job to kill 'bad characters' who aren't a threat to US national security, why doesn't it send the military to bomb the Kennedy compound?
Today I had one of those little experiences that told me 1) how 'out of it' I am re: mainstream society and 2) how wack mainstream society is. A real shocker for me, because since I realized three years ago I have Asperger syndrome I thought these things wouldn't happen anymore. (They don't happen nearly as often.)

Got a rent-two-videos-free card from my bank as a promo and tried to use it at Blockbuster. They wanted me to fill in this long form, to give out all this info... practically a background check. People, I just wanted to finally see The Deer Hunter, not buy a house or a new car!!!! Finally, after all that, they said no ’cos I haven't got a real credit card — never have and don't know how to use them. Only a debit VISA, for nearly 20 years. Then the clerk said, 'Have you got a utility bill you can bring in?' and I finally said, 'It just isn't worth it, only to rent a movie. Sorry!' and left. The sharper of the two clerks seemed to smile with me, realizing it was all BS. (The guy who started the interrogation was a hapless-seeming boy who looked like he was still in his teens and perhaps mildly retarded.)

Corporate America in action — demeaning the average citizen and s/he goes along with all of it.

Come on, it's just a library for pay. I remember 15 years ago when my debit card was OK with the local chain video store and all I needed to give were my name, phone number and maybe an address.

I realized, 'This is how most of the people around me live, all the time — at work, their employer treats them like this, etc.' I may be 'out of it' but at this point I don't think I want to be 'with it'.

This is of course old news to most of you, but the system actually punishes you by demeaning you this way if you don't go in debt to buy consumer products (mostly junk you don't really need and will be thrown away eventually, worthless). 'You vill conform, ja? Und ve vill make you pay us for ze privilege.'

I try to live simply and cleanly and can't even rent a movie!
Christian prayer for the dead, East and West
by Dr Daniel Stramara, Rockhurst University

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Вечная память
Christ the Redeemer Byelorussian Catholic Church in Chicago, a sturdy refuge for traditionalists, closed July 20. According to this Chicago Tribune story, at least the church building has been given to the Romanian Catholic Church, another Byzantine Rite group.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Religious order auctioning naming rights for church property
More vagante hijinks — these jokers aren't really Old Catholics. The only real such in the US are the Polish National Catholic Church, a 19th-century immigrant schism with a tiny following today. Irish bishops back then didn't like Slavs.

Emperor worship makes a comeback
Don't give Bush any more ideas.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Two documents from a Catholic mystic about rightist and leftist New World Order(s)
The Spiritual Ambush of a Universal Religion and the Antichrist

The Achievement of One Universal Government, and Its End

Lee Penn: I have found Miguel's writing to be useful, even though we don't see
eye-to-eye on various things .... it was he who alerted me to the problems posed
Opus Dei and other cults within the Catholic Church. Since I learned of this,
I have kept my antennae out for news about those groups. I have found more
than enough reason to continue warning you about them by sending out news of
their activities - as in the posts that you have gotten over the last 2 years.)

At the very least, I believe that we have just begun a new time like the
1914-1945 period, a time marked by global wars and by cruel tyrannies of the
and right contending for the right to rule us. In such a time, prayer and
acts of Mercy will do more for the good than politics ever could.

For conservatives and traditionalists, who are the majority of my list
members, the idea of a threat from the far right might seem fanciful; we are
to looking for political and spiritual danger to our left. But consider how
cycles of political reaction usually work .... left-wing extremism usually (as
in the Cold War conflicts in Latin America and Asia) provokes a violent
right-wing response (i.e., El Salvador, etc.). If Miguel is anywhere near
right, the
whole world is about to get a push to the Left ... and the rightist reaction
to that lawlessness and cruelty will follow. That right-wing reaction will
offer its own deadly spiritual seduction, as people react against leftist
lawlessness by submitting to an extreme-right version of Total Order.

[USA Patriot Act, anyone?]

Friday, July 25, 2003

How and how not to read the Church Fathers
by I.M. Kontzevich
Lots of good points here.

Just a few examples:

'Orthodox youth conventions in America as a general rule are an incongruous combination of the sacred and the profane: the serving of Divine Liturgy and discussions on such questions as the keeping of Lent, mixed with elaborate Saturday-night dances fully in the "American life-style" and other amusements for the delegates including "rock and roll" bands, imitation gambling casinos and "belly dances".'

The last example Mr K gives definitely goes too far! As did a dreadful party I once went to at a 'Catholic' college chaplaincy that had as dance music Meat Loaf's 'Paradise by the Dashboard Lights'. But somewhere between this extreme and playing monks there must be a golden mean. To hell literally with 'Spring Break' and MTV (I remember when it was relatively OK and actually played music videos), but really, an American ’50s-style sock hop isn't evil.

'Even more serious gatherings sponsored by some Orthodox jurisdictions usually fail to escape the light-minded spirit of contemporary life. Usually, they only reflect the majority of pampered, self-centered, frivolous young people of today who, when they come to religion, expect to find "spirituality with comfort," some thing which is instantly reasonable to their immature minds which have been stupefied by their "modern education."'

Reminds me: a lot of the recent dumbing-down of Western worship is really an abandonment of Godwardness and the adoption of middle-class decorum — superficial friendliness, 'team players', etc., the stuff of corporate America — as religion. The same is true of funerals that have become de facto canonizations of the dead person — actually praying for the dead is seen as superstitious and déclassé. A victory for Protestantism.

'We must face squarely a painful but necessary truth; a person who is seriously reading the Holy Fathers and who is struggling according to his strength (even if on a very primitive level) to lead an Orthodox spiritual life must be out of step with the times, must be a stranger to the atmosphere of contemporary "religious" movements and discussions, must be consciously striving to lead a life quite different ...'

Like anything this can be taken too far but it is still true, be you Anglo-Catholic, RC or Eastern Orthodox. People squarely in the historic mainstream of the great tradition are a sidelined remnant today, wherever you go. I've had allegedly religious-conservative ex-friends give me the same line as the openly liberal: basically 'drop that artsy-fartsy old-fashioned stuff and get with the program'. Whose program?

'... it is not surprising that some... should catch a glimpse of the fire of true Orthodoxy which is contained in Divine services and in the Patristic writings, and. holding it as a standard against those who are satisfied with a worldly religion, should become zealots of true Orthodox life and faith. In itself, this is praiseworthy; but in actual practice it is not so easy to escape the nets of worldliness they desire to escape, but also are led outside the realm of Orthodox tradition altogether into something more like a feverish sectarianism.'

Maybe Mr K had the gift of prophecy, ’cos it sounds like he’s describing a lot of the Orthodox online scene.
Thanks for the link to this blog!
Meletao (Joseph Willcoxson)
Tolle Blogge (a 'Reformed Christian'!)

On different prayer forms
Never got into the chotki and Jesus Prayer, even though The Way of a Pilgrim made me more aware of Russian Orthodoxy as a living reality that still exists.

A son of a 1917-exile Russian Orthodox priest told me his father was the same way. Chotki are monastic — literally part of the habit when worn on the left wrist. The late Fr X never owned any.

The Rosary is wonderful and does work for me — up to a point.

It's a great prayer when you are ill, overtired or otherwise unable to concentrate on more bookish prayers. (Devotees of the Jesus Prayer say the same thing.)

Consider where the Rosary came from — it is literally a substitute for the 150 psalms of the hours/divine office cleverly and effectively devised for the illiterate. All one needs is memorization: 'Pater noster, Ave Maria, Criede/Learn the child while yt is nede' says an inscription on a medieval English baptismal font. (The chaplet — that is, the set of beads = 1/3 of this bookless psalter.)

That it parallels the older use of prayer beads in other religions — Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, to this day — speaks of its effectiveness.

It has its place.

Literate people East and West have used forms of the hours/divine office since medieval times.

(Though using them privately/at home in a breviary format seems to be a western Catholic thing - as Subdeacon Lance Weakland points out in his foreword on my hours page, the Byzantine Rite hours evolved with no thought of using them anywhere other than church.

The long lists of the same long prayers — though orthodox and often beautiful and content-rich — every day in Orthodox manuals for the laity don't work for me. Sorry.)

I can read, therefore I usually prefer that form of prayer.

The akathist, a literate prayer, works wonderfully too as a standalone or as part of the office (Little Compline in the Byzantine Rite).

Also, the hours/office is the prayer of the Church — the opus Dei, the heartbeat of the Church, just like the Liturgy/Mass. Devotional prayers, however old or popular, aren’t. (There were and are books of hours, such as mine, that aren't official but at least are connected to the office.)

To keep this from seeming snobbish, I will point out that simple memorized prayer forms have flourished alongside breviaries/books of hours for centuries, so they obviously work for many kinds of people.

Although in traditional Roman Rite practice, and according to Byzantine Rite rules in church as well, one isn't supposed to read liturgical prayers from memory, I know by heart most of the ordo of the office I use (see link for hours, above) and so often do recite them at home without the book. So I can have it both ways — the non-thinking part of my brain getting into a prayerful groove, just like the way the memorized prayers of the Rosary or the chotki work, and the thinking part taking on board the written word of God.

Your mileage may vary.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Back to the ugly future

Foreign policy made E-Zee
By Tom Tomorrow

Grunt Vision Goggles
By Mark Fiore
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Champagne socialist full of bubbles
Maurice Strong profits from pushing leftist ideas
Abuse your illusions
by Thomas Fleming
A critique of pure libertarianism, recommended by Greg Depardo in the Russell Kirk entry's comments. Fascinating, and in a lot of ways it seems to agree coincidentally with what I've written recently, except 1) even though it has been disappearing — turning into just another empire — for some time, the American experiment has been incredibly successful and 2) it was founded by colonial Englishmen trying to get away from oppression and carnage in Europe by enacting reforms based on liberty — no more religious wars, no more fratricidal wars between princelings, no more inquisitions or pogroms. Dr Fleming seems to say I can't have the full faith and freedom too. Many LRC-linked writers disagree, and for that I'm glad. (My appreciation of America, warts and all, is not to be confused with the ill-informed super-patriotism of some, not all, second-generation American Catholics, for example, seeing the New Deal government as a saviour and surrogate church — ‘Don’t youse dare criticize our president!’ — and with silly stories about Our Lady appearing to George Washington at Valley Forge.) All Dr Fleming seems to prove is that libertarianism doesn't work as a substitute religion (no kidding), but I don't try to use it that way. It's 'a morally neutral science', he quotes Ludwig von Mises saying. Just like physics.
Hipster talk, translated for the rest of us
Kitsch, kitschy. Synonymous, in context, with ironic. ‘I really like this, but I’m gonna pretend I don’t and make it seem like I am a cool/socially acceptable weirdo with out-there tastes! Aren’t you IMPRESSED?!’ — from

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Reasons not to call this blog ‘libertarian’ instead of ‘conservative’
1. Reservations I have about pure, secular libertarianism, or the capital-L variety. I adopt libertarian ideas definitely as a relative good and maybe more, but don't want to find one day that I've sold out the faith for a mess of pottage such as a false gospel of selfishness. Or maybe, as reader yirmiyahu suggests, I simply am a strict constructionist regarding the US constitution (hard to distinguish from libertarianism) or a paleolibertarian, a kind of fusion of Russell Kirkian conservatism and the l-word. I'm cool with that.
2. The average person would have no idea what it means, thinking this is a liberal (modern definition) blog or, as I've had intelligent, educated people say to me when I used the term, that I have something to do with Lyndon LaRouche! Then again, the average American seems to think conservatism means bombing Iraq and is wrong.
Blog reader Paco has brought this article to my attention by way of the blog of another regular visitor, Nicholas Stanosheck:

Woman — salvation of man or his perdition?
by Fr Andrew Phillips
I wouldn't go as far as commentators like this - he echoes another extreme ancient-minded Englishman, Bishop Richard Williamson* - but unlike true moderns and seculars I see his point. John Weldon Hardenbrook, Eastern Orthodox like Fr Andrew, says a lot of the same things.

Just like blog reader Greg Depardo suspects my libertarianism disqualifies me as a conservative, they all may think I've spritzed some soda water into my faith and worldview, but I think a lot of modern styles on women are attractive (and yes, sexy), some women have a calling to careers and deserve a chance to pursue them and the modern awareness of health and fitness enhances and prolongs beauty. Look at old photographs from up to 50 years ago. By the time they were 40 and even before, a lot of people looked old. Thank you, baby-boomers! Some change is good, and (call me a naive optimist) doesn't necessarily lead to the hell that Vox Day describes.

*Ideologically and temperamentally he seems more like the French reactionaries identified with his religious order than typically English.
Many thanks to sinjinsmythe of for bringing these articles to my attention:

Part I
Spiting their pretty faces

Part II
Who let the dogs out?
by Vox Day
Ugly: a look at the 'dating' scene among young, privileged, secular Americans, from a Christian libertarian.

Great comment from 'Keble' at my aforementioned source:

This is pretty typical liberal stuff. I once got into an argument with a bunch of, shall we say, dedicated feminists over the fact that Catholic hospitals refuse to perform abortions and surgical sterilizations. When I suggested that, if they didn't like this then they should work to have alternative hospitals instead, they whined at great length and then went back to their original insistence that the Catholics should be forced to cater to their moral sensibilities.
From today
Boys without fathers
Or, more on what feminism hath wrought.
by Bob Wallace

Also from LRC recently, of especial interest to reader Joe Zollars (not the troll who impersonated him in the comments below, under the Russell Kirk entry):
Thoughts on Strom Thurmond
by Shelton Hull
I like the clever idea that a racist Democrat should have got the nomination in 1948, thus paving the way for Thomas Dewey, under whom everybody might have been better off!
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Melkites and Orthodox build shared church in Syria
I've heard of this story for a long time. Not surprising: the Melkites are unique among Byzantine Catholics in the friendly relations they have with their Orthodox opposite number/parent church (either the Melkites or the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch, depending on who you read, are the result of a complicated 1724 splitoff), especially in their Middle Eastern homeland as a Christian minority in Muslim countries.

Blog correspondent Samer al-Batal, a Canadian originally from Lebanon, is a member of the Melkite Church.

And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. — Isaias XXXII: 18
From The Onion this week
Hooray for goofy guys called Gary
Being 'normal' isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Troll alert
Imitation is the sincerest form of flatulence
Somebody visited this blog today through a link on a Yahoo! profile, dated Sept. 14, 2002, of a person pretending to be me. This has happened to me before, around the same time: a troll using Hotmail posed as me on at least one message board to try to discredit me. Both troll Yahoo! and Hotmail IDs use the former domain name of my original site, oldworldrus.

It's a left-handed tribute, really: something about my online writings has so moved an enemy (for whatever reason) that he felt compelled to fight in this childish way.
From blog reader Nicholas Stanosheck
Six canons of conservatism
by Russell Kirk
Any informed conservative is reluctant to condense profound and intricate
intellectual systems to a few pretentious phrases; he prefers to leave
that technique to the enthusiasm of radicals. Conservatism is not a fixed and
immutable body of dogma, and conservatives inherit from [Edmund] Burke a talent
for re-expressing their convictions to fit the time. As a working premise,
nevertheless, one can observe here that the essence of social
conservatism is preservation of the ancient moral traditions of humanity.
Conservatives respect the wisdom of their ancestors...; they are dubious of
wholesale alteration. They think society is a spiritual reality, possessing an
eternal life but a delicate constitution: it cannot be scrapped and
recast as if it were a machine. [Interesting analogue to the Church Catholic.]
"What is conservatism?" Abraham Lincoln inquired once.
"Is it not adherence to the old and tried, against the new and
untried?" It is that, but it is more. Professor Hearnshaw, in his
Conservatism in England, lists a dozen principles of conservatives, but
possibly these may be comprehended in a briefer catalogue. I think that
there are six canons of conservative thought:

1. Belief that a divine intent rules society as well as conscience,
forging an eternal chain of right and duty which links great and obscure, living
and dead. Political problems, at bottom, are religious and moral

2. Affection for the proliferating variety and mystery of traditional
life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and equalitarianism and
utilitarian aims of most radical systems....

3. Conviction that civilized society requires orders and clases. The
only true equality is moral equality all other attempts at leveling lead to
despair, if enforced by positive legislation. Society longs for
leadership and if a people destroy natural distinctions among men presently
Buonaparte fills the vacuum.

4. Persuasion that property and freedom are inseparably connected, and
that economic leveling is not economic progress. Separate property from
private possession, and liberty is erased.

5. Faith in prescription and distrust of "sophisters and calculators."
Man must put a control upon his will and his appetite, for conservatives
know man to be governed more by emotion than by reason. Tradition and sound
prejudice provide checks upon man's anarchic impulse. [As my mentors at
put it, libertarianism ≠ libertinism. Or as John Adams put it, the American
experiment of personal freedom only works with a godly people.]

6. Recognition that change and reform are not identical, and that
innovation is a devouring conflagration more often than it is a torch of
progress. Society must alter, for slow change is the means of its
conservation, like the human body's perpetual renewal; but Providence is
the proper instrument for change, and the test of a statesman is his
cognizance of the real tendency of Providential social forces.

Monday, July 21, 2003

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
BBC is purging Christians from its staff of broadcast presenters
Dave McLaughlin: 'If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the
world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.'
John XV: 18-19

Sunday, July 20, 2003

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Jehovah’s Witnesses actually affiliated with UN as an NGO
Old news but interesting.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Employers fire, end insurance for disabled workers
[Jul 14, 2003] [Extracts] The Wall Street Journal on July 14 examines the increased number of companies that have begun to fire employees with disabilities to reduce health care costs. According to the Journal, employees with disabilities have become "an increasingly common casualty of the drive to cut costs" as health insurance expenses and the number of disabled employees increase and as many companies face bankruptcies and takeovers. For example, Polaroid last July fired 180 disabled employees and terminated their health insurance as the company prepared to sell assets to Bank One. A survey conducted last year by Mercer Human Resource Consulting found that 27% of the 723 companies interviewed immediately terminate employees on long-term disability, and 24% terminate the employees at a set time after they are on long-term disability, often between six and 12 months; 15% of the companies retained employees on long-term disability and provided them with health insurance until they reached age 65. Although terminated employees can retain their employer-sponsored health insurance for 18 months through COBRA and disabled employees can purchase Medicare coverage after 18 months, few employees can afford the cost of the coverage... However, the "disability-payment squeeze is likely to continue for companies and their employees," the Journal reports. The Department of Labor estimates that 5.5 million individuals were on long-term disability last year, a 62% increase from 1992. The "reasons for the big rise aren't completely understood, but the most cited explanation is an aging work force," the Journal reports (Pereira, Wall Street Journal, 7/14).


James 5
1 Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come
upon you.
2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten.
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness
against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped
treasure together for the last days.
4 Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which
is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped
are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.
5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have
nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
Съ праздникомъ
Various churches' feast days.

St Elias (Elijah), Byzantine Rite, Gregorian date
St Sharbel (Makhlouf), Maronite Catholic. A reason I recommend the linked book for sale are the many stories in it from the Desert Fathers.

The appearance of the icon of Our Lady of Kazan, Julian date, Russian Orthodox
From David Holford’s blog
UK government to gut House of Lords again
No more hereditary peers. Mr Holford explains briefly why this is not good.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
The taming of the dude
by Rod Dreher
Lee Penn: Occasionally, I have some Good Stuff to forward. Here is some writing by Rod Dreher on marriage and on growing up.

Foreword by me: I've seen people marry because of love, or perceived obligation, or desperation. Mr Dreher describes the transforming, maturing power of marriage for love. (Basically overcoming some of the worst influences of secular culture on boys and making them men.) Profoundly Christian - Mr D is Catholic.

The article:

My guy pals were raising their glasses to me at our favorite saloon in Fort
Lauderdale. I had flown the previous weekend to Austin, Texas, a ring in my
pocket, and returned with the promise of marriage in a year's time. I was, of
course, exhilarated.

But something was wrong. The bar had lost its gloss. I was jumpy, bored,
restless. What was the point of sitting here, working on a hangover? My friends
were great, and this was the best bar in town. So why did I feel as if I were
drinking a flat Coke?

This is a story about the taming of the dude. My fiancee, Julie, was in
college halfway across the country, but putting that ring on her finger had
the spell of the pick-up bar. It had been years since I'd actually picked up
someone in a bar, mind you. A conversion to Catholicism does tend to rein in
the bad boy. But I still went out all the time. What else could I do? Stay home?

Hey, my True Love might turn up any night, I told myself. We might discover
our joint destiny sipping bourbon, talking about God and the movies, and
uttering witty imprecations against modernity. If Walker Percy were a young
bachelor, wouldn't he be doing the same thing?

But the desire to go out had almost vanished since the day I met Julie in an
Austin bookstore. I'd assumed I'd want to get in as much carousing as possible
before I was lashed to hearth and home. But I was wrong. The e-word
(emasculation) came up among my unmarried male pals. But I didn't care.
Something subtle, inchoate but real was happening: I wasn't like them anymore.

Julie and I were both worried about merging households. She has always been a
fastidious housekeeper, while I was a Boy Whose Mama Picked Up After Him.

When we married and moved to New York, it was not the easiest transition. I
was twenty-nine years old, and it had never occurred to me that dishes needed
to be done daily, not whenever the sink got full. Under the new regime, dirty
clothes didn't remain on the floor where they fell; sheets were changed with
dazzling speed (anything more than once a month).

This is the stuff of bad domestic comedy, I realize, but learning to live
like a grownup instead of a superannuated teenager effected a spiritual
transformation within me. I began to see taking care of domestic chores as part
taking care of Julie. Though she never put it to me like this, it became clear
me that loving her meant that I would have to quit adoring my piggish bachelor
self so much. It meant sacrificing the freedom I had to keep house like a

On a higher level, it meant leaving the worn-out melodrama of guyhood for the
awesome adventure of manhood. I expected that I would learn these things of
reluctant necessity.

What I didn't expect was the joy I would find in taking on the burden of
these responsibilities. The life of the married man is a wondrous and fearful
thing to the single guy. The single guy wants the timeless joy of married life,
but he is terrified of its potential cost to his everyday happiness.

I am not so far along into marriage that I've forgotten what it's like to
have those fears. But now that I am here, I am grateful beyond all telling. If
someone had told me only three years ago how much fun it would be to spend
Saturday night roasting chicken and playing Scrabble, I would have mocked him.
that man had told me I would quit fantasizing about fast convertibles and start
coveting a Weber grill, I would not have believed him. The single guy is
weightless: he can choose to stay out till 3 a.m., or not; he can break up with
this girl, and start an affair with that one, and very little of it matters at
all. But once you've freely yoked your own life inextricably with another's,
and taken on the burden of manhood, all your choices gain moral and
philosophical weight. Things matter. Life ceases to be melodrama, or comedy, and
becomes something altogether more satisfying and substantial.

Milan Kundera once observed, "The heavier the burden, the closer our lives
come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become." This is the secret
treasure you discover when you give up a bachelor's freedom, a lightness that
may have itself become an intolerable load.

Having tamed the dude, we are preparing for yet another miracle. In October,
God willing, my wife will give birth to our first child. I will on that day
become, with Julie, wholly responsible for another life. Very few burdens are
weightier than this, but what is that to a man who can leap over all of Brooklyn
in a single bound?

Rod Dreher is the chief movie critic for The New York Post.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Police: UK weapons adviser David Kelly’s death ‘likely suicide’
Am I psychic? I thought they'd say something like that.

Journalist in Japan: ‘Have you got blood on your hands, prime minister?’
Eastern Christianity as seen in popular fiction
Most of these examples are American. The Orthodox tradition isn't on most Westerners' radar so there aren't that many of these, but a few are noted here. They vary quite a lot, from the fair and pretty accurate (the wedding scene in The Deer Hunter, filmed in a real Ohio Rust Belt cathedral with a real priest playing that part) to the condescending and contrived (George's insincere conversion to the fictional 'Latvian*' Orthodox Church [the writers' standins for Russians] on 'Seinfeld') to the damnable (Andy Kauffman, Carol Kane et al. on 'Taxi'), a real church reduced to a prop for 19th-century stage-style putdown jokes about Eastern Europeans. (I rate My Big Fat Self-Hating Ethnic Joke Greek Wedding halfway between The Deer Hunter and 'Seinfeld' in this regard.) I read The Shoes of the Fisherman and haven't seen the film. Morris West's book simply projects his own liberal, trendy early ’60s ideas onto 'Pope Kyrill' (very loosely based on Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Joseph [Slipyj]); there is next to nothing about the Byzantine Rite (and it's a given in the book that the new Pope becomes Roman Rite anyway).

What I’m listening to
Carlos Santana, 1969: ‘¡Jing-goooooooo! ¡Jingo BA!

*Latvians aren't Slavs and are either Roman Catholic or Lutheran.
From today
Teach your kids how to drink
Why Protestant prudery about alcohol is wrong and backfires
by Bob Wallace

Nutball foreign policy
Why a popular Protestant heresy is vociferously pro-state of Israel
by Gary North
I think many fundamentalists don't put two and two together to realize the anti-Semitic, murderous intent behind their dogma. ISTM many of these well-meaning Zionists think the Old Covenant still stands - Jews have a direct connection to God - and that the New is only for gentiles.

Not only is avoiding physical death part of the dogma's appeal, but I think also there is the appeal of an approved form of revenge/wish fulfilment as the great unwashed suffer after 'us Christians' have been 'raptured'.

This heresy seems to be chiliasm, which the late Fr Seraphim (Rose), a Russian Orthodox, and his followers and commentators condemn.

Premillenial dispensationalism has filtered into the beliefs of some conservative (not traditionalist) Catholics through the charismatic movement, whence they also got equally dotty, prudish ideas that it's wrong to kiss and indeed have any 'public displays of affection' with one's girlfriend or boyfriend - I remember reading all that in one of Bud Macfarlane Jnr's novels, Pierced by a Sword.

(Note to Mr M: a traditional priest and nun back in the 1930s never would have gone for a walk in the woods together by themselves to pray - they were taught to avoid even the appearance of scandal. Which was a good thing.)

In pre-tribulational dispensationalism's view, the Church Age will end with the Rapture of living saints into heaven. The millennial age, which will be marked by Christ's bodily presence, will not be a church age, but will be a restored Davidic kingdom. It will even involve the restoration of the Temple sacrifices – as memorials, however, not as redemptive sacrifices. As Scofield writes in one of his notes, "Doubtless these offerings will be memorial, looking back to the cross. . . ." (Scofield Reference Bible, p. 890n).

According to these people, the Divine Liturgy/Mass/Qurbana (the one Sacrifice of Christ made present) is blasphemous but animal sacrifices 'in memory of' the crucifixion are OK????
Nothing to clap about
More reasons why the secular world is not cool
By David Virtue
Consider the following:

In the land of the free, 15 million Americans will contract an STD* this
year. Half of the women experiencing their first sexual encounter get a
disease to remember it by. More than 8,000 teenagers a day get
infected. Nearly one in four people over the age of 12 already has a
variety of genital herpes, and experts anticipate that 50 percent of
white American men will be infected in the future.

These numbers, by the way, do not originate with groups pushing
abstinence and decrying moral decay. They come from studies and reviews
conducted by or for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the
National Institutes of Health and published in periodicals such as the
New England Journal of Medicine. And since many of those infected are
asymptotic and undiagnosed, the statistics are inadequate.

These are not your STDs from 40 years ago, either, curable with a shot of
penicillin. [Austin Powers: 'Only sailors get those.']
Forty years ago, gonorrhea and syphilis were the only
commonly known STDs; now there are more than 50. Many are incurable.
Some can kill you. One - AIDS - will kill you. [Nature's payback.]

*Funny, when I was a kid they were called venereal diseases. Wonder if the change in nomenclature has to do with 1) a dumbed-down populace who don't get the classical reference anymore and/or 2) separating sex from any notion of love, however imperfect. How 'liberating'. (Youch! Time to go to the clinic again.) Also, in a funny coincidence, STD is also the abbreviation for a doctoral degree in sacred theology.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Beware of darkness
Watch out now, take care, beware...
Not all that glitters is gold, and not everything holding basic apostolic orthodoxy, or at least claiming to, is healthy or even good, blog correspondent Lee Penn and others point out. Besides the barminess often (misre)presented as 'true-believer Eastern Orthodoxy', often something outside the real Orthodox Church (things such as Old Calendarist schisms and counterschisms, the Pangratios group, Blanco, HOCNA, ROCiE, ROAC, ad infinitum) but not always (I've come to the conclusion too much of the online EO scene is orthodox but also barking mad, the playground mostly of misanthropic misfits*, usually men, usually single and often church-hoppers), there are plenty of con men (I've met at least one) and other dangerous types preying on the conservative Catholic community: Lee's subject in this entry. Lots of well-meaning people get burned. Blog reader Paco has as his link the Regain Network - very scary indeed. Ditto Opus Dei. Such groups always struck me as being merely the right wing of the same team as the liberals, equally this-worldly. Charismatism seems similarly tainted. (It seems that conservative devotions and even social conservatism are tolerable as long as you're liturgically low-church, make babbling noises and faint in the aisles.) Lee agrees in a way.

New groups not cults
Lee (a nonliberal, 100% faithful Russian Catholic): Maybe I
have gotten too cynical as a result of researching Church scandals
... but I see the endorsement of "new ecclesial movements" by a "spirit of
Vatican II" journal [Concilium] as -- in a small way -- analogous to the German-Soviet pact
of 1939. The totalitarians of the left and right in 1939 shook hands and agreed
to divide Poland; it seems that the Right and the Left in the Roman Catholic Church are giving
each other a handshake, too. Who will be the loser? You fill in the blanks.

*There but for the grace of God go I. To be a true traditional Christian today is a kind of martyrdom, and a lot of us are curmudgeons by default partly because of that, but I mean something different. The problem obviously is not with the faith or defending it; it's with them.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Bush’s government trashes habeas corpus
by Jacob Hornberger
Lee Penn: Bush is following the precedents set by Lincoln and Sherman.

FBI acts on tip; quizzes journalist for reading ‘suspicious material’ in public
by Marc Schultz
Lee Penn: Heil ______ (name your favorite government official).

Lee: Any Republicans who see this, and assume that nothing will happen to them
(because they would NEVER 'look suspicious') should think again. All those
spiffy new powers that the government is now using will still be in place the
next time we elect a liberal president. Imagine Hillary Clinton wielding the
powers in 2005 that Bush and Ashcroft wield now. Be afraid; be very afraid.
And note well that the FBI was acting on a tip from a 'neighbor' - just like the
good old days of the Gestapo, the Stasi, and the KGB.
Body ID’d as ‘missing’ UK weapons adviser
Wonder if he ‘got suicided’.
Sen. Bob Graham explores grounds for Bush impeachment
Bring them on.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Medical nightmares that are a reality in the brave new world (order):

Age-based rationing of health care proposed by ‘bioethicist’

Lee Penn: .... the next step to 'control health care costs'?

Lee: It appears that the utilitarians of the left and of the right are embracing a
new form of social Darwinism. And at the end, traditional Christians will be
the only defenders of justice and mercy.

Lee: The guy who is putting the idea forward, Daniel Callahan, is 'well respected
in the bioethics field and has pushed the discussion toward the taboo'. Let
him ration his own care, and that for his own family.

Lee: Others may wish to follow up on Callahan's other activities and associations.
Is he a public supporter of abortion or population control? [Yes.] Is he Catholic?
[No. AFAIK he had the honesty to quit, years ago.]

UPI, 7/11/2003 [Extracts]
Analysis: Age-based health care rationing
By Ellen Beck

WASHINGTON, July 11 (UPI) -- America's struggle to pay for rising health care
costs leads people to consider the idea of rationing based on age -- a
discussion topic many consider ethically and morally taboo, yet necessary.

For a decade or more health care providers, ethicists, geriatricians, the
young and the old have danced around the subject of how much health care is
enough, how much is too much -- if that even is possible -- how should it be
paid for and who is entitled to it.

Daniel Callahan, director of International Programs at the Hastings Center in
New York City, told a panel discussion held by the Alliance for Aging
Research in Washington, D.C., this week, "We have to find some way to integrate
age as a standard or criterion for the allocation of resources" in health care.

The bottom line is people are living longer. Ancient Greeks lived only to
their 30s, but in the past 100 years life expectancy has soared past 65 and now
more people are living well into their 80s, 90s and beyond. It is also a fact
that older people consume more health care services.

Callahan is well respected in the bioethics field and has pushed the
discussion toward the taboo.

"We now have on our hands what I call the infinity model of medicine," he
said. It is the idea that we simply want more -- treatments, drugs, procedures,
technology -- without a guarantee of success in curing disease or extending
lifespan and without a limit on cost.

"I think that is increasingly unsustainable," he added.

The numbers are mind boggling for younger workers, who through payroll taxes
pay for a large chunk of Medicare expenditures. This brings up the issue,
Callahan says, of what the young owe to the old and vice versa.

He said the young owe the elderly the possibility of a decent old age, Social
Security, respect and an appropriate level of health care.

"The old at least owe the young not to take away what they need for their own
living conditions," he said. Health care should help young people live to old
age but "not to have old people become infinitely older."

"The notion of a lifespan, a life cycle, seems to make sense to me," he
added. "Beyond a point it is not a human tragedy that people die. ... It's good
for the species."

Dr. Roger Levy, a clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at Mount Sinai
School of Medicine in New York, who often writes about these issues, said
rationing health care based on age is "something that might not literally get
discussed because of the political implications," but will be part of the
general discussion of allocating resources.

He said efforts to rein in costs largely have focused on the supply side and
have not worked, whereas little has been done to curtail the demand side of
the equation.

Physicians and other health care experts can consider a wide body of
literature on the efficacy of various treatments, but they might or might not
include it all in the decision-making process.

There is concern rising costs will force families to contribute not only to
their own health care expenses but also to care for their parents or
grandparents. It brings up the potential of having to decide if Grandma gets a
hip replacement or Johnny goes to college.

Dr. Christine Cassel, president and chief executive officer of the American
Board of Internal Medicine, said seniors are making rationing choices for

"I don't believe that most older people are clamoring for artificial hearts
at age 95 ... What I see is a movement toward more palliative care, hospice.
There is a very strong basis for exactly the kind of democratic social movement
Dan (Callahan) is talking about," she said. "At a certain point those patients
themselves say it's time to stop."

Cassel said America spends a lot of money on health care treatments that do
not produce better quality and, as Levy does, supports rationing based more on
evidence-based medicine.

The religious perspective also will color this issue. Excluding any group,
including the elderly, from health care treatments could be seen as playing God
-- setting limits to that group's life expectancy. Christian and Jewish
doctrines are founded on the premise that all people are created in the image of
God and no one has the right to relegate anyone else to a lower status that would
shorten his or her lifespan.

Callahan said despite the public's perception at the moment, "age is not a
bad standard." He noted, however, that Congress would be unlikely to tackle any
legislation in this arena that does not receive huge public support. But
eventually, he said, people will come around and see "this is the only way to

(UPI's Religion Editor Uwe Siemon-Netto contributed to this report)

(Tim Macchio's comment: Instead of rushing in to discuss this issue, why
don't these people spend more time on eliminating the waste and streamlining the

Scientists create human ‘she-males’
Researchers combine male and female cells into one embryo.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

On the demise of common courtesy
by Larry Mendte
Friends and I have observed over the years that most of Generations X and Y aren't very nice. (What one gets after rearing a child with modern secular culture, broken homes and day care.) Mr Mendte confirms this. It isn't just me - they're rude even to celebrities such as local newsreaders.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Memorial church for Russia’s last tsar

On the New Martyrs of Russia
Молите Бога о насъ. Pray to God for us.

About St Tsar Nicholas II
One need not buy into Russian messianism to see he was a transparently good man. Read Nicholas and Alexandra, by an American, Robert Massie, with no obvious pro-Russian, pro-Orthodox or pro-tsar agenda, and you too will be convinced he, his family and the servants who stayed with them to the end are saints.

Objectively, he was a good man but an incompetent tsar, except that slowly, through capitalism and the selective borrowing from Western culture that characterizes Russia, the country was realizing its potential to be a free, humane society in the 20th century - a potential the Communists destroyed.

The tsar himself, by the way, didn't dislike the American republic. He thought it worked wonderfully for Americans but didn't think something like it would work in Russia.

Getting the country into an imperialistic war with Japan and especially miring it in World War I, owing to entangling alliances and a misguided crusade to fight for 'fellow Orthodox' Serbia, were mistakes, the latter directly causing his downfall and death.

World War I was evil, not only killing the tsar but also taking down the West's last sacramentally crowned emperor, in Austria-Hungary, what was left of the old Germanic 'Holy Roman' empire from medieval times. The tsar, of course, was the successor to that emperor's rival, the eastern Roman or Byzantine emperor (Moscow: two Romes have fallen, one remains, a fourth can never be, etc.). Both Christian emperors are now gone. Sic transit gloria mundi.

A Central Powers victory wouldn't have been a bad thing - what Germany wanted was really no different from the role it plays in Europe today. No US involvement in the war, contra stupid British propaganda about 'the Hun', would have meant a negotiated peace years earlier, and more importantly, no Lenin and no Hitler later on. (And Germany didn't start the war anyway.)

Being a good man doesn't make one's prudential judgement infallible.

In the Edwardian era, when immorality among the upper classes and cynical dynastic marriages were the norm, his marriage to the German-born, English-bred Princess Alexandra (herself devout, an ex-Lutheran) was a love story.

Rasputin? The imperial couple saw what he wanted them to see - again, prudential judgement is always fallible. (He was right, though, that getting the country into WWI was a a mistake that would destroy them.) He wasn't a monk, by the way. Actually he was married! His daughter eventually wrote a book about him.

Was the tsar's death Christlike? Yes. Did Russia's regicide have a spiritual meaning? Yes - for Russia. It was part of the evil attacking the whole world at the time.

Back to WWI: I don't know if the evil it unleashed on the modern world was by human design (I think not and that spiritual forces were at work) but what perhaps was planned was the passing of the leadership of the Western empire from Britain to the US - shadowy, New World Order back-room dealing. It's what the Rhodes Group, now the Council on Foreign Relations, was about. The British Empire politically was finished, even though one didn't see that on the map until after World War II.

What we're seeing in Iraq today (what the powers that be now admit is a protracted guerrilla war) is 'empah', Mk. II, in action.

Let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. And bring the American and British troops home where they belong, actually defending their homelands.
From Dustin Anastasios Hudson
Tenet faces grilling over uranium intelligence
It's obvious what's happening and will happen: Tenet will take the blame and get the sack, and it will be empire-building business as usual.
Book I’m dipping into
Byzantium and the Rise of Russia by the late Fr John Meyendorff

Am learning bits and pieces from it, like how the Pope pre-German empire was basically seen as an employee of the Byzantine emperor, 'God's vicar on earth' (pretty hollow now that he's been gone since 1453), how the Byzantines really did see 'empah' and their rite as universal vs. anything else, how medieval princes switched churches, getting dunked and redunked by either side to play politics (shameful), how Ukrainianness (as something separate from Russianness) dates back to about 1340 and Polish rule over Galicia-Volhynia, and obscure stuff like the Legend of the White Cowl (клобук), the Byzantino-Russian version of the Donation of Constantine. (Interesting coincidence that the Pope has worn white since the late 1500s — because St Pius V was a Dominican and wore his habit when he was Pope.) Now I know why all Russian metropolitans wear white hats - thank the legend and Peter the Great.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Americans Against Bombing, Americans Against World Empire
From blog reader yirmiyahu
Who is buried in Bush’s speech?
by Michael Kinsley

‘The Bushies say: 1) It wasn't really a lie; 2) someone else told the lie; and 3) the lie doesn't matter. All these defenses are invalid.’

Not yours to give
by US Congressman Ron Paul of Texas
Speak, that I may see thee
To the person at the FALIBPUB03 server who's viewed this blog 30 times (so far) today, thanks! Glad you find it so compelling. Please leave a comment or three!
Ex-inspector Scott Ritter blasts Bush, UN on Iraq
India refuses to send troops to Iraq

Bush and Straw lied about Iraqi nukes
From Robert Quick
New York Catholic Conference OKs ‘emergency contraception’ at hospitals

Also from
Homosexual unions only last 1.5 years on average, says study
Saints galore
St Swithun (translation of his relics): today's black-letter-day Book of Common Prayer (1662) saint. Things look good here: it shouldn't rain for the next 40 days. I've been to his shrine (or the site where it was) in Winchester Cathedral.

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
St Vladimir: today's Gregorian-date Byzantine Rite saint. The Russian Orthodox remember him 13 days from now (Julian calendar), on the 28th.

Tropar’, tone 4
Sitting on the throne of God-protected Kiev,/ thou wast like a merchant
seeking goodly pearls, O Vladimir./ Thou didst search and send to the Imperial
City/ to know the Orthodox faith./ Thou didst find Christ the Pearl of great
price,/ Who chose thee like Paul and enlightened thy blindness at the font./ Thy
people celebrate thy repose:/ wherefore pray for Russia and all peoples,/ that
the Orthodox may be granted peace and great mercy.

Kondak, tone 8
Like the Apostle Paul, O Vladimir, thou didst abandon childish ways/ and in
manhood wast royally adorned with Baptism./ Now thou art joyfully standing in
the presence of Christ our Saviour:/ pray that Orthodox hierarchs and people,
and all creation, may be saved.

St Juvenaly (Julian date)
The first Eastern (Russian) Orthodox martyr in America (Alaska)

The Byzantine Rite calendar using the Julian reckoning notes today was an important day in the history of the old Eastern Roman Empire — a relic of Our Lady (her veil) was placed in a church at Blachernæ.

Monday, July 14, 2003

From Athanasius’ blog
Why ‘tolerance’ as an absolute is self-defeating

Duly noted
On The Rockall Times: as Justin Kissel pointed out in the comments below, as it is a somewhat campy, satirical site for grownups, it sometimes shows mock banners that might offend some readers here, as seems to be the case with this week's main page.
From The Rockall Times
Taking the mickey out of bloggers
From Nicholas Stanosheck
Trailers for Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion
High- or low-resolution.
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Greek Orthodox in Turkey look to EU for protection from government
Shortsighted? Or a lesser of two evils?
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
New war plan for US in Korea; plans may provoke all-out war
Lee Penn: If the North Koreans are as crazy/evil/aggressive as we say that they are,
why would they wait for us to take these telegraphed-in-advance actions against

Australian government lays out ‘interdiction exercises’ against NK — war prelude?
Lee: Another straw in the wind.

‘And Mr Howard acknowledged for the first time that the interdiction project
— which it will undertake with 10 other countries as part of an agreement
reached last week in Brisbane — could serve as a bridging exercise to military

Evangelical Protestant lobbyist Gary Bauer seeks more pro-Israel US policy
Lee: A snapshot of a small part of the War Party, in political mode, as reported by an Israeli paper.

Lee: The link to the story was provided by an e-mail from Bill Koenig, a
Protestant who is convinced that any US pressure on Israel to accommodate the
Palestinians is an attack on God's promise to Israel.

Lee: FYI, Koenig's mission statement is at this URL:

Christian news reported from the White House focused on Israel

Lee: I am sending this to show that there are some religious fanatics who claim to
have political influence with the White House, and these fanatics hope to use
political pressure to make US policy conform to their heterodox,
millennialist, dispensationalist view of the Bible.

Mainstream ‘Catholic’ colleges are a sick joke
Lee Penn has tracked this story on the Net and in the news.

What an academic theologian has written
Lee: Fr Chappell knew his True Self.

What he taught his students
Lee: Looks like a good example of AmChurch theology.

Lee: Fr Chappell helped at least one student in hands-on ‘critical exploration of
the authentic Roman Catholic tradition in the light of personal experience
and the adult identity issues which are a part of the developmental stage of
college students’.

Here is what he did
Lee: The priest says it was ‘consensual’. With an 18-year-old student [a young man, and a seminarian to boot] who was under his spiritual direction.

Lee: More fruit of the ‘Renewal of the Church’, it seems.

Barbara Clement, by the way, is a communicant at a fine Anglo-Catholic church in that area, Good Shepherd, Rosemont, which does not practise pederasty under the guise of 'spiritual direction'.

So who, then, is ‘Catholic’?
From blog reader yirmiyahu
Stay out of Liberia
by Charley Reese
From today
Slavery to the past
by Butler Shaffer
His take on reparations.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

What I’m watching
Alfred Hitchcock’s first American movie: info.

Friday, July 11, 2003

To Nicholas
Again, re: the political discussion. Funny how Marcus Garvey never actually went 'back to Africa' (he was from Jamaica anyway), and how some people in the 1960s, such as Maya Angelou, did, but aren't there now. (At least W.E.B. DuBois, a Communist, had the integrity to put his money where his mouth was, moving to Ghana in his old age and staying.) About 10 years ago, a man wrote a book about his African travels. A black American, he wanted to connect with his roots like Alex Haley but ended up being shocked to the core by the incompetence and corruption in sub-Saharan Africa, falling in with some European travellers with whom he had far more in common culturally and relieved by the time he got to Zimbabwe ’cos dictator-for-life Robert Mugabe (the guy practising race-hatred politics there now, stealing white farmers' land, homes and money and giving them to his cronies) hadn't completely destroyed the place yet and there was enough of the old British system still in place there that he felt somewhat comfortable.
Another spammer in the works

Get up to $10,000 Bad Credit Gold Visa jemzivnh utn

Why would I want bad credit? Nanoo-nanoo to you too.
Catholic pastor says ‘Enough!’
Priest in Texas dumps 'new Mass' - good man.
On the political discussion in yesterday’s comments
First, thanks for writing. Second, yirmiyahu and (read today's great articles!) pretty much speak for me on Liberia. LRC's Thomas DiLorenzo has written about the whole business of colonization in the early 1800s. Liberians aren't American citizens so the US government has no obligation to be there. As for race relations in America, reparations 1) would violate the rights of present-day white Americans like much of government already does and 2) wouldn't work - like most current government programs don't. And as for the plight of too many black Americans, essentially Joe Zollars is right: it's a result both of what white people did to them and their own mistakes - as full-fledged human beings they are as responsible for their actions as anybody else, contra Marxist/PC radical-chic dogma that 'entitles' historically oppressed peoples to do the same thing to others (like in Palestine).
A blog reader and former friend who was a formative influence on my views forwarded me this today:

Pregnancy and childbirth make woman’s body stronger
Russian newspaper warns against dangers of abortion

If only the press in the United States would publish the horrors of an abortion as the main newspaper in Russia (Pravda), many lives would be saved. Who would have thought that the news would be censored in our country but not in Russia? Especially lifesaving news. — Frank Joseph, MD

Here it is in the original Russian if you're interested.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Robertson tells Bush to butt out of Liberia
Of course the US should stay out of it, but Pat Robertson's reasons are hypocritical and self-serving.
From Reuters via Yahoo! news
British official: small chance of Iraq weapons find
How small? Try nil.

Blair ‘absolutely confident’ of finding Iraqi weapons
In a related story, PM's nose mysteriously grows during press conference.
Spammers in the works
More fun with junk e-mail

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I wonder why! acwayne xujvjhnk

bCentral: 5 Reasons to Upgrade to FastCounter Pro

Reason No. 1: You pay us.
Are young Catholics cultural orphans?
by Joanna Bogle
Thou hast said it.

There are three striking things about being in England, where Mrs Bogle lives: 1) There is the shell of medieval Catholic culture in everything from the established church to the names of colleges and streets. 2) Today's everyman has no idea what it means and doesn't care. (See end of article. By the way, Dr Jeffrey John withdrew his acceptance of the bishopric of Reading.) 3) The Oxbridge élite, it seems to me, do know what the names of their colleges and parish churches mean but, part of the coldness and palpable evil one sometimes can sense with these types (but not always the case!), say consciously 'Non serviam' to it all.

From The Rockall Times
C of E considers opposite-sex marriages

I was minding my business
Lifting some lead off
The roof of the Holy Name church
It was worthwhile living a laughable life
To set my eyes on the blistering sight
Of a vicar in a tutu
He's not strange
He just wants to live his life this way

— The Smiths
Curiosity from the Web
A whole site all about the bread used in the Byzantine Rite (Orthodox) Divine Liturgy!

Fun fact
Friend Brendan Ross notes that while the Orthodox Church in America seems predominantly Russian, as it is the former Russian Orthodox metropolia in these United States (or the current one, depending on which Orthodox you talk to), its Romanian diocese is its biggest in terms of number of congregations. Who'd've thunk? Still, when one thinks OCA, one thinks Russian usage. It seems to me its New York and Californian congregations (such as its cathedrals in New York and San Francisco - Washington, DC too) are really Russian; many of its churches are in the Pennsylvania and Ohio Rust Belt and made up of ethnic Ruthenians (about 60% of total membership) who follow what amounts to modified Russian usage.

On revolutions and Catholic vs. Protestant culture
Was IMing with a good friend with neocon leanings the other day and got to talking about US Independence Day and my views on the War of the Rebellion. I think most Americans don't realize it was a revolution - death, mayhem, destruction and all. (Or that about one-third of Americans were loyal British subjects - it was a civil war.) Revolution, like any war, is one thing (but can be others too, and thus justifiable as a last resort): bad.

But compare the American revolution to the French (not long after the American) or the Russian ones. Relatively speaking, it wasn't nearly as horrific. I chalk it up to the difference of Protestant vs. Catholic and Orthodox societies. Protestantism and its offspring the 'Enlightenment' had errors, but in their English forms they also reflected in part a moderating, humane strain in that culture. So the English Enlightenment, of which the American experiment is a part, wasn't the horror show of Robespierre or Lenin. (There was the 1600s Civil War and the martyrdom of King Charles I and others, but that was pre-'Enlightenment' - the ultra-Protestants did it.) French and Russian culture, however, go to extremes: traditionally with both you have extreme holiness and extreme evil in the same society, and their revolutions took the form of total war between the two. Protestants, however, flatten this out and you get a kind of lukewarmness, a mediocrity. I've written about this before. (Can't help thinking about what Our Lord said He'd do to the lukewarm, though — eew.)

The great thing about America and Britain in theory (but who knows how much longer, what with the New World Order) is you can have it both ways: freedom from the terrors of other places in other times plus freedom for the faith to flourish.

More pax Americana
I thought I read somewhere that Mr Bush might send American troops to Liberia. There already are more US soldiers stationed abroad than there were British at the height of Empire, Part I.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

From today
The twentysomething male, his times and his environment
by Karen De Coster
She shows the reader how and why, from the personal to society at large, including what is considered 'normal' by most of middle-class America, the secular world is not cool.
From Yahoo! news
Man wakes up after 19 years in coma
Score one against euthanasia.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Supreme Court cited European Union precedents in legalizing sodomy

The following is from Lee Penn:

Whether you agree with the result of the Court's sodomy decision or not,
there is Very Big News that is part of the majority decision: use of overseas
legal precedent as part of the ruling. Note the following story well; it is
from a mainstream paper.

Justin Bosl, an orthodox Catholic law student, adds the following assessment:

"Another aspect of Lawrence that seems to be largely ignored, but which is
nonetheless scary is its reliance on EU law. While it isn't too uncommon for
the court to look at foreign precedent when there is not U.S. precedent, the
court normally looks to U.K., Canadian, Australian, or S. African law, since it
is based on the same [common law] system. In Kennedy's opinion, however, he
claims that the EU law, from the European Commission of Human Rights, is more
authoritative than U.K. law, and cites it as showing the way to go. This not
only treats the EU as a sovereign entity, but as one with the ability to pass
judicial law that is more authoritative than that of nations with similar legal
systems to our own."

Here are some quotes from the majority opinion in the case, as found by Mr.
Bosl. (Bowers, referred to in the sections below, was the 1986 Supreme Court
case that upheld laws against sodomy.) ...

""The sweeping references by Chief Justice Burger to the history of Western
civilization and to Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards did not take
account of other authorities pointing in an opposite direction. A committee
advising the British Parliament recommended in 1957 repeal of laws punishing
homosexual conduct. (The Wolfenden Report: Report of the Committee on Homosexual
Offenses and Prostitution
(1963)). Parliament enacted the substance of those
recommendations 10 years later. (Sexual Offences Act 1967).

Of even more importance, almost five years before Bowers was decided the
European Court of Human Rights considered a case with parallels to Bowers and to
today’s case. An adult male resident in Northern Ireland alleged he was a
practicing homosexual who desired to engage in consensual homosexual conduct.
The laws of Northern Ireland forbade him that right. He alleged that he had been
questioned, his home had been searched, and he feared criminal prosecution. The
court held that the laws proscribing the conduct were invalid under the
European Convention on Human Rights. (Dudgeon v. United Kingdom,45 Eur. Ct. H.
R. (1981))

Authoritative in all countries that are members of the Council of Europe (21
nations then, 45 nations now), the decision is at odds with the premise in
Bowers that the claim put forward was insubstantial in our Western

"To the extent Bowers relied on values we share with a wider civilization, it
should be noted that the reasoning and holding in Bowers have been rejected
elsewhere. The European Court of Human Rights has followed not Bowers but its
own decision in Dudgeon v. United Kingdom. (See P. G. & J. H. v. United Kingdom
, App. No. 00044787/98, (Eur. Ct. H. R., Sept. 25, 2001); Modinos v. Cyprus
,259 Eur. Ct. H. R. (1993); Norris v. Ireland, 142 Eur. Ct.H. R. (1988).

Other nations, too, have taken action consistent with an affirmation of the
protected right of homosexual adults to engage in intimate, consensual
conduct. See Brief for Mary Robinson et al. as Amici Curiae.

The right the petitioners seek in this case has been accepted as an integral
part of human freedom in many other countries. There has been no showing that
in this country the governmental interest in circumscribing personal choice is
somehow more legitimate or urgent."

(End of quote from majority decision)

Now that the High Court is using foreign precedents in its rulings, what will
it do next? It should be of great concern, since the European Union (whose
rulings the Court cited) is using hate-speech laws and other novel legal
concepts to suppress freedoms that Americans have still taken for granted. We
threw out the foreign rulers in the Revolution; it seems that the High Court is
opening the way to being foreign law into force in the US. Since much foreign
legal procedure and precedent is more authoritarian than US tradition, there
could be trouble ahead.
New in the links list
I've added a permanent link at the bottom of this page to Christianity Today's This Week in Christian History page, where you can click on any week to learn about great events and trivia in the history of the church for each day of the year.
Съ праздникомъ
Happy feast day of Our Lady of Tikhvin, Russian Orthodox. This year the icon has returned to Russia after being in safe keeping in Chicago for years after the Russian Revolution.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

From Touchstone
The truth about men and church
by the Revd Robbie Low
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Chaldean Catholic patriarch dies
The head of the largest church among Iraq's Christian minority.

One of this blog's regular readers has pointed out on his site that the man who is to be tried in Boston, mentioned by Leon Podles in Touchstone's excellent blog, is called Paul Shanley, not John. My bad. It has been fixed below. Thanks!
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Canada’s heir-apparent PM courts one-worlder Maurice Strong for adviser
Strong is no fan of democracy, national sovereignty or any traditional religions.
All the fulness
Christopher Jones' blog: 'Setting forth and defending the Apostolic Tradition.'

Quotation: 'The sad fact is, when it comes to evangelism - defined as proclaiming Christ to unbelievers - Orthodoxy in America delegates the entire process to the Protestants. Protestantism serves as Orthodoxy's farm team in this country.'

Like I said, they're small, they're complacent, they're ethnic-based (which can be a plus vs. the larger culture but a minus when it prevents evangelism) and the recent 'boomlet' in converts (almost all from Protestantism as Mr Jones points out) has been a windfall they neither sought out or expected.
Mark Shea on the Texas case and on the war
First Divine Liturgy at SS. Cyril and Methodius Russian Catholic Church, Denver
What strikes me is the the contrast between the Byzantine Catholic ideal I thought Fr Chrysostom Frank believed in and the reality even in this new, supposedly improved setting. First there's the problem of biritualism, a practice the Catholic Church officially avoids. Rather than give the impression he is a Novus Ordo priest playing games, Fr C should have insisted his Russian Catholic church be separate from the Roman Rite church that hosts it - have a different priest for each so he can be all Byzantine, all the time. A rite isn't a costume change - it's a package deal and a way of life. Second, there is the issue of bination, and on the same altar as Fr C seems to want. Surely he knows that in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, a priest serves only one Liturgy a day and a holy table is used only once a day for Liturgy - this stands for the unity of the local church gathered round its bishop (or his deputy, a priest) offering and receiving the one Eucharist from one altar. I know about economy and all that, but it seems like he has 'no respect for the thing' (the rite, the tradition). To see the Russian Orthodox tradition reduced to a show performed in a side chapel of a Novus Ordo church seems to live down to the harshest criticism of some Orthodox.
To a regular reader of the blog
Thanks for reading and for including a link here in a recent entry on one of your pages. Your blog has a lot of news about, accurate descriptions of the beliefs of and nice, sincere-sounding sentiment about the Catholic Church, but when you defend homosexual sex-offender ex-priests like Paul Shanley (and the Boston 'gay' community) and put down Touchstone (the kind of magazine I would have created if I had the erudition and the means) and Leon Podles for not so doing, you look like you're really still making excuses for yourself. Holy people don't do that. And sadly it makes the rest of your Web writing seem like only so much fulsome Tartuffery. (Given your past and your reactions related to it, even your blog's name sounds like some queer, defiant double-entendre.) Your contempt for the Eastern Orthodox as manifested in your occasional baiting makes it seem like you tried to use them and dumped them after a few years when you didn't get your way (about what I don't really know but I have an idea). That you're not even Byzantine Rite now seems to say to me you never were really interested in it. OK, fine - you're where you belong and never should have converted in the first place. But: 1) Treating the EOs the way you sometimes do online isn't following the letter or the spirit of the teachings of the church you claim to love so much. 2) It seems to me the personal problem that led to your getting caught in the act and eventually to your leaving the priesthood is still bothering you - get over it (I don't care what your orientation is: act like a man and a good Catholic and stop making excuses for sin) and your Web apostolate will become credible and perhaps even holy.