Tuesday, September 16, 2003

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Still more of the apostolic ministry in action
Lee just wrote an article for The Christian Challenge about a trip to Europe that Episcopal Church bishop William Swing took this past spring with some colleagues from other churches. Here are, as he says, money quotes:

Archbishop [William] Levada [RC ordinary of San Francisco] led a Catholic Mass [sic] at the tomb of St Francis in Assisi, where the lesson was read by Beth Hansen, '[maybe] the first woman priest ever to participate in a Mass at the Basilica', Swing wrote. [I assume Ms Hansen is a lady Episcopal cleric from Swing's diocese.]

Pardon my Jèrriais, but how the f**k did this man get a pallium from an allegedly conservative Pope?

Compare and contrast with this:

When the pilgrims met Patriarch Bartholomew [the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, now Istanbul], Swing said that 'we covered a wide range of subjects. When we hit on women's ordination, he had a deacon bring books on that subject to the three women in our group--Mary, Beth, and Lou. I mentioned that I have ordained more women than any other bishop in the history of the Church and would be glad to talk about my experience. He said, "I don't want to know your experience." That was that.'

The apostolic ministry hath spoken: that was that, indeed. Eis polla eti despota!

Cardinal Kasper said wistfully, 'Women's ordination is a hard issue for us.'

Boo hoo. And who's giving out the red hats over there?

Beth Hansen was brave to wear her clerical collar in an audience with the Pope and an audience with the Ecumenical Patriarch. The Pope didn't react. The Patriarch seemed slightly perturbed.

Good for His All-Holiness the Patriarch. Time was when Anglicans, including those in colonial orders, had some manners. Not anymore?

Quoth William Swing:

Rome and Orthodoxy are very, very, very male. Also they both have high doctrines and devotion about the Blessed Virgin Mary. I find it difficult to utter the word 'Theotokos' in referring to Mary. Although I honor the devotion that Levada and [Greek Orthodox bishop of San Francisco] Anthony have for Mary, I think that calling Mary the Mother of God moves close to idolatry. Jesus said, 'Who is my mother... ? Those who do the will of my Father in heaven are my mother, brothers ....' And if she is the Mother of God, what relationship does she have with the one whom Jesus calls Abba, Father? Popular Islamic thinking is that Christians are polytheists: God, Jesus, His Mother. I can see where their impression comes from.

So, Your Grace, goddess worship in your cathedral is OK but praying with Our Lady isn't? Strange kind of Protestantism that. (Or maybe you're drawn to one kind of supernatural force, that of the beings you invoke, which recoils from the other kind, of which she is part.) Reminds me of something I read recently that posited that Protestants often are really Nestorians - just gauge their reaction to the term 'Mother of God'. (Even though Luther, still orthodox on that point, believed in it.) Actually it's a diss to her Son, denying His Godhood, so arguably Swing is stepping out of Christianity - yet still sounding culturally very Protestant while so doing. Kind of like the Mormons. (They believe in plural gods too!)

Believe it or not, I have been friendly with some New Agers. The thing is, they're honest. (And objectively, yes, they're wrong.) Not pretending to exercise the apostolic ministry like this man does.

Пресвятая Богородице, спаси нас. Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Mark Bowden, the author of "The Dark Art of Interrogation," on why the practice of coercion is a necessary evil
Lee Penn: This is an interview with the author of a long article in the October issue of Atlantic Monthly, about the use of torture and coercion in interrogating prisoners. The writer says that we should, like Israel, "ban it, but you
practice it in certain selected cases."

It also appears from the main article (which is not yet online, but is in the stores as hard copy) that the author would accept US use of the KGB "conveyor" tactics that broke the will of the Old Bolsheviks in the Moscow Trials of
the 1930s. After all, round-the-clock questioning, sleep deprivation, and the like are not really torture.

Mark Shea makes a Catholic [no sic needed] response.


Pleeeeeeze can we torture? Everybody else is doing it!

A member of the chattering class does his bit to snip away at another little piece of our souls. Of course, that's okay, cuz we're the Good Guys. Everything we do is made okay by the fact that we do it, cuz we're Good Guys, so how could what we do ever be wrong?

Cue the "What if you had exactly 10 minutes to find out where the bomb is?" scenarios.

Yes, and some pregnancies are tragic. So let's just make abortion as easy as possible. Hard cases make bad law.

[End of Shea quotation.]

Lee Penn: Shea is right. Remember the proponents of liberalized divorce in the 1950s and 1960s, and the pre-1973 debates on abortion legalization? The "reformers" always talked about the hard cases, and said that overthrow of traditional restraints was necessary to alleviate the suffering of people in extreme circumstances. So now half of marriages end in divorce, and a quarter of pregnancies end with abortion.

Prediction: If we officially accept torture now for "terrorists," it will be universal in 20-30 years. And in 40 years, it will be on pay-per-view TV, or the future equivalent thereof. [End.]

I've been saying that a revival and update of gladiatorial games, and the mainstreaming of snuff films, are probably just around the corner as 'entertainment'. (Accidents on video already are - this just the next step.) Why not some torture sessions by the government as well? Mr Bush's handlers' version of the Two Minutes' Hate.

More weird science
Sperm made from stem cells of mice
Lee Penn: Mark Shea offers this comment:

Human History Summarized:

Step 1: 'What could it hurt?'

Step 2: 'How were we supposed to know?' [End.]

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