Wednesday, December 31, 2003

For byzantinophiles and old liturgical-movement ‘litniks’
Video clip of the proskomedia in the Byzantine Rite
(Here is a link for those with a cable connection)
The Eastern Orthodox Liturgy's rough equivalent of the Roman Rite's offertory, done before the Liturgy starts, like the Dominican Use (links have been fixed)
Nicholas and Alexandra, Parts I and II
by Fr Barry Swain
Scroll down to get to the articles
The official site of the nation of Palestine
State of Israel to expand Golan Heights settlements
Prediction: And will keep playing victim as the Palestinians continue fighting back from their West Bank bantustan
Four survivors found in Iran quake rubble
Halliburton to lose Iraq oil project
In the post today
The little number of those who are saved
by St Leonard of Port Maurice
Beautifully written but what say all of you - is it orthodox or Jansenist-tainted? It seems a bit grim like the Jansenists but within the range of Catholic opinion/acceptable speculation.
People of peace
by Desiderius Erasmus
My daily reading for today from this book.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

America = dysfunctional family
by Ward Sutton
Many thanks
For the link, kuro5hin!
Light a virtual candle
At the shrine of St Gregorios of Parumala in Kerala, a saint of the Church of India. You can read about him on this page too. Funny, the candle disappears once you move your cursor off the painting of the saint. (I'm sure many sextons at traditional churches wish real candles were that easy to clean up!) Interesting chronology too: in Europe and the Americas one doesn't see too many 10-year-old deacons or teenage priests around.
From, 23rd December
America’s greatest depression-fighter
Not FDR (spit here if you like) but Warren Gamaliel Harding, who wasn't just an Al Stewart song title but, despite Teapot Dome, a pretty good president
From today
Johnny of the Cross
Remembering Johnny Cash
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Here are two warnings about biotechnology - from the neoconservative Weekly Standard, and from the orthodox/traditionalist Touchstone Magazine:

Biotech’s boiling point

Touchstone Magazine May/June 1999 - status confessionis
Lee Penn: The second article, by a conservative Protestant, is a warning of the "worst case." However, the Creed and the New Testament indicate that there will be people alive on earth, sharing our common nature [made in the image of God] at the time of the Second Coming. Therefore, I do not believe that the full measure of evil that the author warns against will come to pass. However great the peril we face, neither physical extinction nor "the danger that we will unmake man" (cited by the article's author) will come to pass.

God is just - but He is also loving and merciful, and as King of Kings, will yank mankind back from the brink of destruction. (Of course, that still leaves us a LOT of room to damage ourselves; see the events prefigured in the Book of Revelation for details - esp. chapters 6, 8, 9, and 16. Furthermore, the human agents of this destruction are responsible for what they will choose to do, and will be held to account:

"The nations raged, but thy wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, for rewarding thy servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear thy name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth." (Rev. 11:18)

The question remains: how far down the road to Brave New World do we go before it would be an act of "severe mercy" for God to allow events that stop this kind of "progress" ... even at the cost of the fall of the current technical structure of society?

Kyrie eleison - and, Jesus is Lord.

God's mercy is our hope, and that hope cannot fail.

Lee’s book picks: novels by Michael O’Brien
Lee: As some of you may know, I enjoy the novels by Michael O'Brien, a Catholic artist and writer from Canada. I believe that his apocalyptic novels are stories for our time -- and as literature (and in their theology), they are far better that the dreadful Left Behind series.

Here are Amazon links to several of O'Brien's novels:

Father Elijah: An Apocalypse
The book gets five stars from its readers, deservedly. Visit these Amazon pages to see the details about this book, and about other O'Brien novels. (And, if you are so moved, you can support this blog by buying the books through these links, or buy anything you like through the Amazon link at the bottom of this page.)

Eclipse of the Sun
Readers give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.

Here are both parts of the ZENIT interview with O'Brien.

ZENIT interview with Mr O’Brien, Part 1

Part 2

As the dateline says Combermere, I wonder if Mr O'Brien is part of Madonna House (Vatican II but orthodox, and part of the true social-justice tradition I alluded to the other day when naming Bishop John-Michael our Man of the Year).

The Communist Chinese regime remains true to its Communist tradition:

Execution reveals party’s grip in China
Lee: Will the US protest? Probably not; "free trade" and cheap labor trumps principle any day. [With apologies to Country Joe and the Fish: "There's plenty of good money to be made / Supplying the Commies with the tools of the trade."]

Anyhow, there is this description of the ways that Liu was tortured:

"The witnesses wrote of police denying Liu food and water, applying electric current to his body, and forcing him to squat in a small metal box for days."

Read this Atlantic Monthly article:

The dark art of interrogation
Read this description of how the US is treating its prisoners in the 'War on Terror', and for sophisticated justifications for using 'torture lite':

Quote from the Atlantic Monthly:

"He would have been warned that lack of cooperation might mean being turned over to the more direct and brutal interrogators of some third nation. He would most likely have been locked naked in a cell with no trace of daylight. The space would be filled night and day with harsh light and noise, and would be so small that he would be unable to stand upright, to sit comfortably, or to recline fully. He would be kept awake, cold, and probably wet. If he managed to doze, he would be roughly awakened. He would be fed infrequently and irregularly, and then only with thin, tasteless meals. Sometimes days would go by between periods of questioning, sometimes only hours or minutes. The human mind craves routine, and can adjust to almost anything in the presence of it, so his jailers would take care that no semblance of routine developed."

In other words, we do quite a lot of what the Red Chinese do -- even if we leave the electro-torture to our Third World allies.

Kyrie eleison. [End.]

Monday, December 29, 2003

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Liberal democracy versus ‘transnational progressivism’
An Adobe Acrobat file.
Lee Penn: An interesting article ... a critique of the ideology of the leftist part of the global Establishment.

Justin Raimondo’s Man of the Year: Pope John Paul II
Not very different from my choice!
Quotation: 'There is no universal policeman and ruler of mortal men worthy of the task, and any scheme to set one up is necessarily Satanic.'
Goddag, Norge!
Hello, new readers from Norway who've found this blog via Google! Yes, I think Kurt Nilsen is a real singing talent and seems like a humble, nice guy.
Parallels: more on al-Islam, the Mormonism of the East
Western Catholicism has a bastard, Mormonism, by way of Protestantism and Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's imaginations. Eastern Christianity has its bastard, Islam, by way of Nestorianism, pagan Arab religion and Muhammad's own ideas.

Mormons have the Book of Mormon, 'another testament of Jesus Christ' (a slogan that should set off warning bells in any well-taught Protestant). Muslims have the Koran.

Both religions use Christian historical figures (Jesus and Mary figure prominently in the Koran) and terms but not in Christian ways.

Both in their original forms have plural marriage with multiple wives.

Both haven't got clergy in the sense that the orthodox Christian churches do - every practising Mormon man is a 'priest'.

Both ban alcoholic drinks.

The 19th-century Protestantism (really represented by evangelicalism today) that begat Mormonism also resembles Islam with a very simple theology and soteriology - a weak understanding of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ and 'just believe in Jesus and be saved for ever' is a lot like Muslims' denial of the Trinity and 'just confess that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His prophet'.

They're wrong, they're no longer Christian, but culturally they're still kin - which is why Mormons blend in so well in American society. (Many people think they're just another conservative Protestant church, an impression I think the Mormons themselves encourage.)
New church now open and in use at Our Lady of Walsingham Church, Houston, Texas
From today
A Bushian Christmas Carol

Soviet boy hero a fake
That's right, comrades - the story of little Pauly Frost (Павлик Морозов), the Commies' version of SS. Dominic Savio and Maria Goretti, a sanctified snitch who was the role model for generations of Young Pioneers, was mostly made up!

Anna Pastukhova, who works with the Russian human rights group Memorial in the regional capital, Yekaterinburg, said: "Pavlik is one of the cornerstones of the entire Soviet foundation. If Pavlik was faked it means the whole myth of the Soviet Union was faked."

Well, duh. I have a lovely Russian friend who still largely identifies with the old Soviet Union and even she admits that! Give the Russians some credit - she says that back then just about everybody there knew the USSR was bogus and exactly how they were unfree, and tried to find creative ways to work round that to be free de facto if not de jure. Unlike the States today, where people are told incessantly how free they are and they believe it, while of course they're really not.
From Virtuosity
Anglican Church of Zambia breaks with Episcopal Church and C of E
The empire strikes back! I know 'theology of taint' doesn't work (Donatism) but this is still justifiable, ’cos it wasn't a case of an 'open and notorious evil liver' being consecrated a bishop while the church still gave lip service to orthodoxy, or even of the church being charitable to homosexuals, but rather a case of a church changing its teaching to proclaim evil is good. Next up: the next General Convention decides from henceforth the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.

A few lines about Christmas from a Desert Father
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
More on the disaster in Bam, Iran
'The earthquake has taken our families, lives and identity'

Also gone: the ancient city of Arg-e-Bam (more).

How the left stole Christmas

Ariel Sharon unleashed

Stand up to Sharon

A Samaritan soap opera
This little-known offshoot of Judaism still exists. More here and here.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

From blog correspondent John Boyden
With a whisper, not a bang
Bush signs parts of Patriot Act II into law — stealthily
JB: I was delighted when a pro-life president was elected.
I was pleased when he nullified much of what Clinton
had accomplished from the pro-death standpoint.
Much more of this draconian crap from Bush and I'm not
going to care WHAT he has done for the pro-life cause:
it's just not worth it if he's going to keep pushing
stuff like this through. [End.]

St Thomas à Becket
Sing we how, for naught esteeming
Tyrant's rage, a Prelate dies -
How the murderer's weapon gleaming,
Altar's sanctity defies;
How the martyr's life-blood streaming
Mingled with the sacrifice.

Which reminds me - A conservative blog for peace’s Man of the Year for 2003 is Bishop John-Michael (pictured above) of the Romanian Catholic Church's Diocese of Canton, Ohio, for 'speaking truth to power' to the tyrants behind the war in Iraq, a voice of sanity and of Catholic orthodoxy, in the tradition of St Thomas; St Philip; the metropolitan of Moscow murdered for standing up to Ivan the Terrible; Trevor Huddleston, CR standing up to the South African government over apartheid; and Archbishop Oscar Romero. Any other suggestions for Man and Woman of the Year are of course welcome!
The Holy Innocents
The truth about abortion

Saturday, December 27, 2003

20,000 dead in Iran
OMG. Think Sept. 11 times six, and more.

International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent

Light a candle
Jesu, mercy; Mary, pray
Also from The Economist
Cover story: Mary in Islam
Some typical secular dismissal of Catholic Mariology East and West but it makes the point that Islam is in ways a bastard of Eastern Christianity - its Mormonism.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
The spread of biometric ID technology
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
A net of control
Unthinkable: How the Internet could become a tool of corporate and government power, based on updates now in the works
Lee Penn: On the possibility -- perhaps, given the authoritarian political trends worldwide, the probability -- of an end to Internet freedom

Indian spirituality
Quote: This, however, raises a difficult question. If India is so spiritually rich, and spirituality transcends the details of individual faith, why has the country been so prone to religious strife? The swamis, of course, point out that the political exploitation of religious prejudices is none of their doing. But could they not do more to stop it?

For years now, the rising trend in Indian politics has been hindutva, or 'Hinduness', a nationalist set of beliefs that asks Indians to take pride in the traditions of the majority Hindus. Perhaps inevitably, this has sometimes taken the unhappy form of raising hostility towards minority religions, especially Islam, which is followed by about 12% of the population. Indeed, to many Muslims, all the central items on the hindutva agenda seem directed at them. These include the demand for a national ban on the slaughter of cows, sacred to Hindus. Second is the campaign for a 'uniform civil code', a reference to the separate family law that governs Muslims and is seen by many Hindus as an unjust affront to the idea of a unified, 'secular' state. [End.]

Friday, December 26, 2003

From blog correspondent John Boyden
Landslide in Leyte, the Philippines kills 133
Of your charity pray.
4,000+ dead in Iran earthquake
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.
From today
More on the WWI Christmas truce
Happy St Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day!

Kwanzaa is kraap The truth about Kwanzaa
I'm sure that somewhere in the States some well-intentioned black people are celebrating this with its ethnic-pride theme and ceremonial stolen taken from religion (on the TV I saw a dashiki-wearing dad celebrating it with his kids - looked downright high liturgically) but I've never met anyone who does. It is in every way, as this article points out, a made-up holiday, not African at all and nearly exactly as old as I am. (Link has been updated/fixed.)
‘World Idol’
•The Belgian judge, Nina de Man, is hot.
•Simon Cowell still rules.
•The Polish judge was a buffoon.
•With a first name like 'Elias' the Arab judge is probably some kind of Catholic.
•The two non-U–accented young blokes (the two Geordies, Ant and Dec) presenting the programme were only half as annoying as Ryan Seacrest.
•Favourite all-round performer: the Dutch Afrikaner guy from South Africa, but based on pure singing talent the Norwegian Kurt Nilsen deserves to walk away with it (as Simon said), much like Ruben Studdard did in the States this year. Runners-up: the Canadian and the Flemish Belgian rocker covering Kurt Cobain. Good but not great: The Dutchman (who looked ethnic-Indonesian), the Arab woman singing traditional songs in Arabic and the glammed-up little girl from Poland. Kelly Clarkson: cute but feh. The British entry: Sorry, mediocre. Worst: the German, who is as handsome as the Afrikaner but sounds like karaoke night.

So who won thanks to the phone-in votes?

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Non-Christmas news
Two musicians whose respective work I like are now married:
Elvis Costello and Diana Krall
Wishing them every blessing.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Where the language of Christ lives
Among Christians in parts of Samer's native land, Syria
‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus’
Francis Church's classic American editorial from 1897
Reason to love Christmas
Even in this age, as Christmas has been downgraded to 'the holidays', a festival about snow and a retail-sales advertising campaign, it seems many, even the most Low Church, seem to suddenly become Catholic, remember that God became man and - even though they disdain religious images the rest of year - set up Nativity scenes.
The Queen’s Christmas broadcast
Not that one can expect much from these, but still - not even a glimmer of protest reflecting the majority of the British people regarding Messrs Bush and Blair's war? Sorry - very 'Airstrip One'.
Happy Christmas from A conservative blog for peace

Please join us - Lee, Dave, Samer, John and me - in praying 'for the peace of the world, for the well-being of the holy churches of God and for the unity of all' at the Online Chapel.

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Byzantine Rite Christmas prayers

Pope calls for peace in Christmas message

Text of Pope’s message

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas truce 1914
From The Onion Dome
Conclusive proof that C.S. Lewis was Anglican
Alex Riggle again takes the mickey out of (not all) Eastern Orthodox who try to claim everything good for themselves.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
In Iraq, Christians warily prepare an early Christmas

Hardships leave Bethlehem with no holiday

We should remember the Christians of Iraq and Palestine in our prayers tonight.
From today
A Christmas gift list
For various people of the US government

And indirectly tying into Lee Penn's link below:

Sacrificing to Gaia

Quotation: The writer Michael Crichton has called environmentalism "the religion of choice for urban atheists," and has labeled it a "perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths."

Which is exactly what much of this born-again paganism really is: a sanitized ripoff of Christianity.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
The goddess has no clothes
In The Goddess Unmasked, Philip G. Davis debunks the claims of Wicca, neopaganism and the goddess movement

Neocon theorist Michael Ledeen inspired by Italian fascism

RC cult watch: Sant’Egidio, ‘the great bluff’

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
The ‘transhumanists’: the next great threat to human dignity
Welcome to the Island of Dr Moreau.

Pew survey: most countries think less of US than they did a year ago
Thanks to the war in Iraq.

Holy, holy, holistic
Lee Penn: ...And there is also this bit of misplaced messianic enthusiasm:

"The mission of the Dominican nuns, for example, is "the salvation of the world." If saving the world means a convent needs a pub, phytotherapy sessions and a jacuzzi, then Arenberg's Sister Maris Stella says so be it. "We tried to find out what people need today and then offer them new forms of spiritual guidance and assistance to find it," she says. God does work in mysterious ways."

I must be a fundamentalist ... I thought that the job of "salvation of the world" was completely accomplished by Jesus. [End.]

This might surprise some people, but I'm not necessarily against all this... as long as it's kept in balance and perspective. In mediæval times monks and nuns like Ellis Peters' fictional Brother Cadfael, and indeed all physicians, practised herbal medicine, for example. And also related to holistic healing, tending to the health of the body, time was when all nurses were nuns, and even to this day in protestantized, disfigured England nurses are called 'Sister'. (Florence Nightingale, who revived nursing there in the 1800s, got the idea partly from the Sisters of Charity in France.) What I would object to is indifferentism - while Zen Buddhism has many good points (new blog friend and actor Michael O'Keefe is a Zen priest, for example) the ultimate criterion is the Catholic faith. And of course the ultimate mission of monasteries is to be radical Christian communities offering the sacrifice of praise (prayer) to God (the opus Dei, ora et labora, Mass and divine office), not running B&Bs and resorts for American tourists.

Christianity becoming minority faith in Europe
Lee Penn: Some sobering reading, and a reason to pray more ....

Several comments:

1. For now, what is going on in Europe is just as the poet Matthew Arnold wrote in his 1867 poem "Dover Beach":

"The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world."

and the poem ends ...

"And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."

2. Nature abhors a vacuum. If Christianity departs a person, a nation, or a continent, some alternative faith will take its place. As Jesus warns (Matthew, ch. 12):

43 "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. 44 Then he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation." (See also Luke 11:24-26).

3. Kyrie, eleison. [End.]

I disagree with the probably secular writer that 'harsh doctrine' drives people away, as the few thriving churches in England and the States tend to be conservative evangelical ones, and note the appeal of the 'harsh doctrine' of al-Islam to some American blacks.

Pictures of the renovation of Detroit’s RC cathedral
Like I say: it's lukewarm, Broad Church mainline Protestantism by and for non-Anglo-Saxons. Feh.
From Ut unum sint
Jerry Falwell, sounding quite Catholic about St Nicholas
Which isn't that surprising - he is a solid Christian, though of the classical Protestant school (an evangelical, he is an 'independent Baptist'), who knows much more about the Church than he sometimes lets on. Once I happened to hear him on the TV describing the Christological heresies that afflicted the early Church - Arianism, Nestorianism and Monophysitism, for example (there were many others) - and defending the hypostatic union, calling it that. That's not sola scriptura (thank God!) but 100% Catholic doctrine. How can he know so much and stay outside?

By the way, the rift between Western Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy on one side and the Oriental Orthodox (Copts, Ethiopians, Armenians and Syrians including the Church of India) on the other does seem to be a big misunderstanding. The Oriental Orthodox weren't Monophysites but rather stuck to an earlier theological wording that St Cyril of Alexandria came up with. The Greeks used hypostasis (person) to describe the one Person of Christ and physis (nature) to describe Him as both true God and true man; the non-Greek Orientals, however, didn't use those terms, at least not the same way, which confused the Greeks and the Western Europeans; also, rivalry between these Middle Eastern peoples and the Greeks of the then-still powerful (eastern) Roman Empire was a factor in the split, which as I write appears to be ending, at least with the Eastern Orthodox.
From today
You’re in the army now
A history of military-themed TV shows and movies in America - since World War II it's been one long recruiting commercial ('military life and even war are really fun'). A correction to Mike Rogers' excellent article - Vic Morrow died in an accident filming a movie version of The Twilight Zone, not a remake of 'Combat'.

Monday, December 22, 2003

The Chickenhawk Database
Or how privileged neocons start wars, then send working-class kids to die in them.
Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
From Pastor Jeff Warner’s blog
God Version 6.0
Christopher Jones’ credo
A pretty good summary of the Catholic faith. To start off I'd be more specifically trinitarian and more specific that Jesus is God.
From blogforlovers
Austrian emperor Charles I to be beatified
The last Hapsburg ruler
From, 18th December
Next US target: the Vatican?
by Llewellyn Rockwell
From David Virtue
Evangelical Protestant scholar challenges ‘Christian Zionism’
A belief of the Protestant religious right that's partly to blame for the foreign policy of Mr Bush's handlers
From Pravda
US foreign policy - a mixture of stupidity and arrogance

British traveller in Iraq reports abuse by US Army

Rock music and Orthodoxy are compatible
In life in general, not in church! An interview with Fr Alexy Uminsky of the Church of Russia.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

'Ho, ho, hoooly *&#%, they're shooting at me!'
Threat level upped to orange
I see the US Gestapo have upped the scare factor for the States. They'd probably shoot down Santa - after all he's a foreigner with a beard flying into American imperial airspace.
On the box
This was one instance in my life when I was glad to be wrong. I loved this movie when I first saw it six years ago but was almost sure nobody else would - thought the snide hipster critics would rubbish it and the public would follow them, laughing it out of the cinema! No, they took it even further than me and went on a six-month binge of sentiment about the film. Great story, great effects and yes, Kate Winslet is beautiful. Knew from seeing her in another historical costumer that she's English; you can barely tell in this as she does a perfect American accent. Leo DiCaprio seemed to be his likeable self - it was fun back in ’98 to call him 'Lenny' just to tease cute 20ish girls ('It's Leeeeeeo!').

The movie distorted a few facts about the Titanic; I can only think of two right now: I don't think anybody pressured the captain to go too fast in order to get good publicity and (an old myth about the disaster) the band's last song was the hymn 'Autumn', not 'Nearer My God to Thee'.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Hussein was held by Kurds, drugged and left for US troops

Tanks roll into Tikrit
Free to endorse America... or else
Many thanks
For quoting this blog and for your added commentary, Republic of T.
Words of encouragement
That made my day yesterday:

I am glad you get the peace necessity.

- From actor Michael O'Keefe (The Great Santini), hopefully a new friend of the blog

Saturday, December 20, 2003

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Rumsfeld visited Baghdad in 1984 to reassure Iraqis
With friends like the US government and Mr Rumsfeld, who needs...

Lee Penn: Why are we convinced that Iraq had WMDs? Because we gave them to Iraq in the 1980s, when the Iranians were the Enemy of the Day.


"But throughout 1980s, while Iraq was fighting a prolonged war with Iran, the United States saw Hussein's government as an important ally and bulwark against the militant Shiite extremism seen in the 1979 revolution in Iran. Washington worried that the Iranian example threatened to destabilize friendly monarchies in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Publicly, the United States maintained neutrality during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war, which began in 1980.

Privately, however, the administrations of Reagan and George H.W. Bush sold military goods to Iraq, including poisonous chemicals and deadly biological agents, worked to stop the flow of weapons to Iran, and undertook discreet diplomatic initiatives, such as the two Rumsfeld trips to Baghdad, to improve relations with Hussein."

Maybe when Rumsfeld meets Hussein again, they can give each other high-fives and tell each other war stories. [End.]
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Shooting Samarra’s schoolboys in the back
S al-B: More destruction of lives and property offered up on the altar of democratic revolution, or 'democracy by force', a concept that reveals very little of the Founders' preferred form of government or of their modus operandi, which nowadays seem to be confused with those of the former Soviet Union.

Bremer escapes assassination attempt
S al-B: It had to happen at some point. Afghanistan gave ample warning with its share of attempted political assassinations. Bremer must realise that a cushy government job is not worth this threat to life and limb--unless he failed to comprehend that many Iraqis wish him injury to the point where his security entourage finds it necessary to function as something other than mere decoration.

The lovely Sabine Barnhart's reminiscences of Catholic Germany are now archived at
S al-B: Frau Barnhart details the agricultural cycle of labour in her village, and the blessing of bread. I can identify with what she writes; my great-grandmother used to work in the fields as did the men. It was not an easy life, and the habit was to pick up a fallen bread crumb and kiss it, in acknowlegement of its inestimable worth as food. Back then, people had quite the good sense for the blessings with which God provided them.

It's a delight to see that Mrs Barnhart finally has an archive.

Friday, December 19, 2003

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
A Catholic analysis: ‘The Ideology of American Empire’
An Adobe Acrobat file
Also from today
Why nerds are unpopular
Paul Graham has sussed what's wrong with schools, modernity and the way most Americans raise their kids.
From and VDARE
Chronicling the recent phase of the secular world’s war on Christmas
by Tom Piatak
Again, what strikes me is the parallel with the Soviets' replacing it with New Year's Day (tree, parties and all) is unavoidable.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

From three days ago
Government: an atavism
by Paul Hein
'The state is today’s church; the president is the American pope, or bishop, or head rabbi. As it becomes increasingly obvious that our political leaders have not only feet, but brains and souls of clay, there is growing dissatisfaction with their leadership. Some acknowledge that by proclaiming their own sovereignty – except that they can be quasi-sovereigns only over themselves – an unimpressive realm! To whom can we turn? To turn to the state is to leap from the frying pan into the fire. True freedom is subjection to Him whose burden is easy!'

The Ten Commandments of Lucifer
by Bob Wallace
'The Second Commandment is usually mistranslated as "You will not take the name of God in vain." It has nothing to do with cursing. The correct translation is, "You will not use God's name for vain causes." Because if you do, the bit about the "inequity of the fathers" and the "children to the third and fourth generation" goes into effect.

The vainest of causes, again in the 20th century, has been – again – the belief in the State. Believe in the State, believe that God supports it – whether you call it "God and Country" or "Gott mit uns" or "Holy Mother Russia" or whatever other delusion you can come up with – and you'll end up murdered every time. Think Stalingrad, in which "Gott mit uns" went up against "Holy Mother Russia" and more people were killed than in all of America's wars combined.'
From today
In defence of the gospel of peace: an evangelical antiwar view
by Bill Barnwell
Cardinal says US treated Hussein like a cow
Many thanks
For the link, Joshua Snyder at shinja!
Metropolitan Lubomyr of Ukrainian Catholic Church moves to Kiev
A move that was announced some time ago. Once again - great news for the internal affairs of the Ukrainian Catholic Church; terrible for relations between the Pope and the Eastern Orthodox communion. If anybody asked me, I'd just say, 'Stay focused on the big picture, on the long term'.

And also from chiesa, a 'human-rights violation' story that's being ignored in mainstream media 'cos it's not strategically important to the New World Order:

Eastern Orthodox attacked in Kosovo
Not because Eastern Orthodox are being singled out by the NWO for attack - they're just irrelevant to its agenda.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

On the box
Still-lovely Diane Sawyer's chat with Mr Bush, which aired in the States last night. When she asked him the important questions about the war in Iraq, he reminded me of a child - keep repeating your lie, despite the facts, and if you wish hard enough, it'll come true. Very scary, kids:

Mr Bush: ...look, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a dangerous person, and there's no doubt we had a body of evidence proving that, and there is no doubt that the president must act, after 9/11, to make America a more secure country. [Nyah, nyah, nyah, Miss Sawyer.]

Diane Sawyer: Again, I'm just trying to ask, these are supporters, people who believed in the war who have asked the question.

Mr Bush: Well, you can keep asking the question and my answer's gonna be the same. Saddam was a danger and the world is better off cause we got rid of him. [If at this point he'd put his hands over his ears and sung 'la la la' it would have fit his behaviour here.]

Diane Sawyer: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could move to acquire those weapons still —

Mr Bush: So what's the difference?

Diane Sawyer: Well —

Mr Bush: The possibility that he could acquire weapons. If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger. That's, that's what I'm trying to explain to you. A gathering threat, after 9/11, is a threat that needed to be de — dealt with, and it was done after 12 long years of the world saying the man's a danger. And so we got rid of him and there's no doubt the world is a safer, freer place as a result of Saddam being gone. [Aha! Almost an admission there are no WMDs. 'The possibility that he could acquire weapons.' Pathetic.]

Diane Sawyer: But, but, again, some, some of the critics have said this combined with the failure to establish proof of, of elaborate terrorism contacts, has indicated that there's just not precision, at best, and misleading, at worst.

Mr Bush: Yeah. Look — what — what we based our evidence on was a very sound National Intelligence Estimate. ...

Diane Sawyer: Nothing should have been more precise?

Mr Bush: What — I, I — I made my decision based upon enough intelligence to tell me that this country was threatened with Saddam Hussein in power.

Diane Sawyer: What would it take to convince you he didn't have weapons of mass destruction?

Mr Bush: Saddam Hussein was a threat and the fact that he is gone means America is a safer country.

Diane Sawyer: And if he doesn't have weapons of mass destruction [inaudible] —

Mr Bush: Diane, you can keep asking the question. I'm telling you — I made the right decision for America —

Diane Sawyer: But-

Mr Bush: — because Saddam Hussein used weapons of mass destruction, invaded Kuwait. ... But the fact that he is not there is, means America's a more secure country. [End.]

He also admitted he doesn't read news stories in the papers.
From the latest New Directions
Tweenage apostasy in England

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Why I’m not into Lord of the Rings
Even though I read that J.R.R. Tolkien was brilliant and Catholic - I have enough trouble keeping track of the real world to try to keep up with a fantasy one!
Centralia, Pennsylvania
And its remaining church (more).

There's something moving about this story - about people living with minimal government, about 'home', about 'community' (20 people still live there) - that in a way is more so than the underground mine fire that's been burning there for over 40 years. That there is still one active church - a Byzantine Catholic one - makes it more poignant.
From The Onion this week
Christmas comes to Iraq... by force
I wonder if the Church of Iraq celebrates Jan. 6 - Theophany - instead of Christmas like I understand the Armenian Apostolic Church does.
From last Thursday
Solzhenitsyn turns 85
Singer and actress Della Reese is an ordained minister of some kind, but isn't preaching Christianity! This sounds like New Age and John Lennon's 'Imagine' (an evil song really) dressed up in the 'amen-saying, hand-clapping' and other trappings of American black evangelicalism. Like the Nation of Islam, she has a point or two - black ethnic pride and the notion that pursuing success can cancel out the earthly effects of racism and 'self-defeating' thinking - but those points aren't worth the soul-killing effects of this 'solution'.

An observation about the Nation of Islam (not real Muslims, by the way) - while the racism in their teachings is of course wrong, what strikes me is their method, including their externals, in their effort to better the lives of many blacks. With the old-fashioned suits, bow ties and 'Malcolm X' glasses, and the self-denial not unlike that of strict Protestant churchgoers decades ago, it seems - perhaps consciously, perhaps not - they are trying to recreate the lifestyle of the emerging black middle class as it was in the early 1960s before everything was ruined.
Two excellent links
Found this on the blog of reader and comments-writer polis (welcome!):

Conservatives Against Bush

Sunday, December 14, 2003

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Christmas in the White House...
Apparently this has been making the rounds of e-mail lists.

Come, they told me
pa rum pa pa pum
they caught Saddam to see
pa rum pa pa pum

I have a gift for Bush
pa rum pa pa pum
to save his lousy tush
pa rum pa pa pum
pa rum pa pa pum
pa rum pa pa pum

so, the horror ends?
pa rum pa pa pum
pa rum pa pa pum

Rumsfeld smiled, I see
pa rum pa pa pum
and Ashcroft now will be
pa rum pa pa pum
A group for all to praise
pa rum pa pa pum
at least those in the haze
pa rum pa pa pum
pa rum pa pa pum
pa rum pa pa pum

Now, the wash to see
pa rum pa pa pum
pa rum pa pa pum
So what?
He didn't do Sept. 11, he didn't have plans to attack or invade the US or Britain, he didn't even have WMDs... meanwhile, Osama bin Laden, the one most likely behind Sept. 11, is still at large. It was felicitous for the propagandists, though, that Mr Hussein had a full grey beard when he was captured ('you all look alike to me anyway').

Saturday, December 13, 2003

From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
From Lew Rockwell's blog:
US Marines execute an Iraqi to the cheers of fellow marines
S al-B: Apparently, according to the posted comments, the Iraqi was attempting to ambush them. However, the soldiers proceed to kill him even after he has been incapacitated.

Friday, December 12, 2003

71% of Americans say Iraq war hasn’t made them safer, says poll
From David Virtue
Update and correction
In the last [Virtuosity] digest a Roman Catholic bishop said that an
ECUSA diocese was ready to flee ECUSA for Rome. That apparently is not
true. A friend of mine who investigated it thinks the Catholic bishop
mistook a group of "continuing Anglicans" who have been talking with
people in Rome for Episcopalians. It was not San Joaquin, nor Quincy,
and not Fort Worth either. Forward in Faith President Fr David Moyer,
and with FIF-UK Director Stephen Parkinson, said they know of no
Episcopal diocese that is making the approach to Rome that RC
Archbishop Brunett of Seattle describes.

- David Virtue
Random thoughts about topical stuff
Paris Hilton isn't hot - she's 'handsome' in a very WASPy way with that aristocratic long nose and colouring that's a Nazi's wet dream but she doesn't come within 25 nautical miles of turning me on, no matter how lewd I hear she has been on camera.

Ditto Britney Spears (the dancing, prancing antiseptic swab, as a critic once described Kylie Minogue) and that faux-lesbian posing with Madonna, the latter of whom seems to have settled down to writing English-themed children's books. Can't complain about that. And unlike Britney, even though she isn't really a musician but a media-savvy performance artist, the woman can sing rather well. (And I heard her show off her guitar lessons on a chat show once and was impressed.) Evita was out of her league, though. Of all her phases and sounds, I think my favourite FWIW was her Indian one a few years back - when she cheesed off real Hindus by wearing a bindi on her forehead. At least she isn't abusing sacramentals anymore and is 'more honest' in her apostasy, being into Kabbalah and all that.

That wonderful PBS concert 'This Land Is Our Land' reminded me that there are no anthemic pop songs for this decade or even this half of it - just jingles and junk to sell today and forget tomorrow, rather like when Merv Griffin and ’is loverly bunch of coconuts and Patti Page - arf arf - topped the charts in the early ’50s, or when no-talent Fabian and suchlike flooded the airwaves around 1960, separating baby-boomer teens from their allowances. But the late ’50s still had Elvis and Chuck Berry. There is no 'song of my generation' for the early Oughties - yet? (How about a cover of 'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?') The early 1960s had beautiful songs like Pete Seeger's 'Where Have All the Flowers Gone?' (if Mr Bush's minders are visited by three ghosts this Christmas, I hope they sing that loud in harmony); the late ’60s had voices like Scott McKenzie's. The ’70s had Pink Floyd’s 'The Wall' (covering a lot of the same ground - a kind of social history of England, including WWII - Ray Davies and the Kinks did in 1969's 'Arthur' only more successfully), and the ’80s at least had a recognizable sound, that so-modern-it's-now-dated synth thing. The ’90s had Nirvana.
From yesterday
How Mr Bush and the neocons probably will use and dump the Prot religious right
by Christopher Manion
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal is linked permanently at the bottom of this page but in case you missed it, Samer has given the link to this article from it:

Now they’re after Putin
The hypocrites of the 'democratic' West set their sights on Russia
by Justin Raimondo
Don't miss his other columns linked on the right side of the page!

Gangster government
Taking aim at the US Postal Service

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Chaldean Catholic church photos
St Joseph’s, Troy, Michigan, US
The Chaldean Catholic Church is the biggest Christian church in Iraq, outsizing its parent, the Assyrian (formerly called Nestorian) Church.

But this building seems very influenced by the Eastern Orthodox - I understand the Assyrian Rite uses relatively austere churches because the Church of Iraq was estranged from what became the Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox before icons were introduced. (They don't oppose icons in principle but traditionally don't use them.) The Church of Armenia, one of the Oriental Orthodox ones, is like that too.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

What I’m watching
Breaker Morant

Scapegoats of the Empire - it could happen today and for all I know well may have.
From The Onion
The least essential music CDs that are American reality-TV/game-show cash-ins
Noise pollution

On the ending of ‘Average Joe’, FWIW
I didn’t watch it but can infer that...

American viewers weren't sufficiently amused (as measured by ratings) by making fun of average-looking chaps nor titillated by making fun of a moderately attractive woman by having her essentially (though not graphically on camera) gang-banged by aforementioned chaps.

So some magazine-cover types were flown in halfway through the series to take their turn at it.

And the strumpet chose a pretty boy over the nice man who happened to be a millionaire.

Don't get me wrong - of course looks are a factor - but that doesn't sound like a healthy woman's choice. (See link 'Sex and the modern woman', 9th December). Let's see - a relatively good-hearted (simply being on the programme lowers this to 'relatively'), only OK-looking man with the means to 1) care of her so she never has to work again if she doesn't want to, and 2) guarantee security for any future children (healthy women want peace and stability for their babies). Sounds like 'a good catch'.

Then again, isn't a woman who'd participate in her own degradation and that of 'average' men by being gang-banged on national TV by definition not healthy?

Prediction: the 'relationship' (in modern secularspeak, that means 'we're having it off') won't last.
From yesterday
Christmas in Germany
More from Sabine Barnhart
Forget the American 'holidays' - fröhliche Weihnachten. Like the Soviet Новогодный (New Year's Day has replaced Christmas for most Russians), 'the holidays' in the States are a mutation of the feast of the birth of God made man - the manifestation of the Incarnation of Christ - into 'a festival about snow' as I heard one chronicler of American songwriters brag about this change.
From today
How to lie about the war in Iraq
by Matt Taibbi
The dos and don’ts of counterinsurgency spin
On the provisionality of rite and jurisdiction

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

ARCIC refuses to die - it just ploughs forward
What a waste of time and manpower - dump the whole lot and bring in Nigeria and the Continuum!
Sex and the modern woman
To quote Mark Twain, if that (headline) don't bring ’em in, I don't know Arkansaw.
Top 11 signs your ISP has given you away to the RIAA as a dangerous KaZaA user
A little old but still funny
Lewes bonfire both anti-Catholic and anti-gypsy
I remember: the English are like the rest of Europe in hating the travellers
Countdown to a boondoggle
Or, ‘Hey, look, a distraction!’, Part II
On literal lunatics: Mr Bush's handlers' crazy moon project

Monday, December 08, 2003

From blog correspondent John Boyden
‘Miserable failure’ links to Mr Bush
President Sock Puppet has been Googlebombed
The Granola Conservative
The opinions there don't exactly match mine but the overall worldview sounds nearly the same.
Déjà vu
News story: a racist, oppressive régime in Africa quits the Commonwealth after being censured by that group (reflecting the English and Christian value of justice).

Is this...

South Africa in 1962 under the Afrikaner National Party?


Zimbabwe in 2003 under Robert Mugabe?

Thou hast said it
Did I expect George Bush to f*** it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did.

- US Sen. John Kerry re: Iraq, quoted in Rolling Stone
What I’m watching
‘King of the Hill’
An unexpected explanation why churches shouldn't follow secular fashions in worship, etc.

This droll, less laugh-out-loud-funny creation of Mike Judge ('Beavis and Butt-Head') was surprisingly good last night: everyman hero Hank Hill tries to get endearingly confused son Bobby away from gangsta culture and back on the straight and narrow by enrolling him in a church youth group, who turn out to be charming, über-hip, tattoo'd and pierced skateboard 'dudes'. Hank the square's cast as the bigoted villain through most of the piece, but the ending made the whole show worthwhile:

Hank drags Bobby home from the 'Christian rock' concert (which are fine with me, just not in church) and shows him a box in the garage with assorted discarded fads: Bobby's dead tamigotchi electronic pet, a photo of the boy in a Ninja Turtles costume, etc.

Money quote: Son, five years from now I don't want to see you putting the Lord into this box.

Съ праздникомъ
Julian calendar: St Clement, Pope of Rome, the Gregorian calendar (including Roman Rite and Book of Common Prayer) feast-day of 23rd November. He has an indirect, legendary connection to Russia too. It's said he was killed by the Romans in Crimea by being tied to an anchor (his symbol, which was also a disguised form of the cross to early Christians) and thrown into the Black Sea.

Roman Rite: Immaculate Conception. In the Byzantine Rite Churches traditionally Our Lady's conception is celebrated Dec. 9/22 - only the Annunciation is exactly nine months before the birthday feast-day to symbolize that only God is in Himself perfect.
For the priests' meeting this week and the bishops' meeting next week of the Russian Church Abroad as it considers its logical and historical goal - reunion with the Church of Russia now that the USSR has been gone nearly 11 years.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Expats Against Bush
From Pravda
Protestants tell Russians: convert and you’ll be rich
American-style religious liberty isn't a bad thing but this sounds a lot like bribery

US historians demand truth be told about Hiroshima bombing
Targeting civilians is a war crime

Attention, Wal-Mart voters
Lost jobs and military funerals haunt Bush in America’s heartland
A day which will live in infamy
Or business as usual 62 years ago

Japan forced into 1939-1945 war by US
Hosei Norota is exactly right

Pearl Harbor: the facts
Don't believe Hollywood's war nostalgia: James Perloff tells the ugly truth (click here for still more info)

Pearl Harbor exposé links

Truth behind US POWs in Philippines
FDR stranded them to boost US support of the war

Friday, December 05, 2003

From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Communist Party faces obscurity in the new Russia
S al-B: Good riddance.

Still, all is not rosy in Russia. The people need a vibrant faith to steer them in difficult times, and it is one wasted if put in the ideals of Communism, using the cliched justification that party apparatchiks have presumably betrayed its principles. Let us hope the Russian Church grows stronger and presents Russia with better ideals, ones of an immeasurable worth.
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Geneva meeting to discuss whether the UN should run the Internet
Lee Penn: The New World Order may take a step forward ....

Imagine the UN running the Net, with input from Red China, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Cuba, and other bastions of enlightenment and progress.

Kyrie eleison ... and yet, since the Net is a large-scale conduit for pornography, such a change might be a form of rough justice.
From The Church of England Newspaper (and not confirmed on Forward in Faith’s site)
FiF in talks with RCs
Historically and dogmatically on paper this makes sense, but...

...when Good Shepherd, Rosemont had a communitywide church service to support Fr Moyer the night before Charles Bennison tried to depose him, no RCs came. No, not one.

(Message to Anglo-Catholics: you are an embarrassment to them, ’cos you’re Catholic and won't settle for being 'Catholic'. They don't want you. The Anglican Use, like the 'insult Mass', is condescension, nothing more.)

Fr M knows what's what, and whichever way he goes, his congregation are in good hands.

I think the bit about retaining 'Anglican doctrine' was a mistake on the part of The C of E Newspaper. Many people in FiF don't believe in a peculiar religion called 'Anglicanism', but simply the Church Catholic wherever they happen to live. The writer probably meant matters of discipline like ordaining married men or even having married bishops. Not doctrine!
From blog reader Keble
The bubble of American supremacy
by George Soros
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Mr Bush’s Baghdad turkey was for looking, not eating
That fits somehow.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Prot cult watch

An examination of the word-faith movement
by Richard Vincent
Evangelicalism meets New Age narcissism - believe it or not! Read it for yourself.

Lee Penn: An Episcopal priest, who is firmly opposed to the New Age movement and religious cultism, sent me this critique of the "word-faith" movement, a popular heresy among some Pentecostals. Leaders of the movement have included Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Paul Crouch, John Avanzini, Robert Tilton, Fred Price, and Benny Hinn.

I have known nothing of this movement before; based on the following description, it sounds quite New Age. The references in the following document are more than 10 years old -- the question is whether this movement has continued in its heresies, or whether it has turned back toward orthodoxy -- and I do not know the answer to that question.

Cultism comes in many deceptive forms.
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Reasons to boycott Coca-Cola
Shocking accounts of 'Coca-Colonialism' in Colombia - just proves that a godless, corporate slavery (Brave New World) is no better than Big Government (1984).


Dave McLaughlin: I'll admit that I really like the stuff... and even prefer it to Pepsi...

However, several articles in the Belfast-based newspaper have alerted me to grave humanitarian and workers' rights concerns.

Unfortunately, we hear too little of these international labor issues in this country.

These allegations are most serious; and if true, I can no longer continue to purchase or consume this product in good conscience.
Hey, look, a distraction!
I just read that NASA is bringing back the 'teachers in space' programme 17 years after Christa McAuliffe and crew died painfully aboard the Challenger.

Perhaps Mr Bush is about to play 'Captain Kirk, space pioneer', as well as 'general at the front with his troops' and 'macho Navy carrier pilot'.
The liberals won’t let ARCIC go down without a fight
URL alerts
Now you can access this blog every day by typing an address that's easy to remember:

The name remains 'A conservative blog for peace', however.

Those of you who have kindly linked to this blog using the URL: please update your links to the new address!
From David Virtue
‘Gay’ group admits AIDS culpability
They couldn't dodge reality for ever

Unnamed Episcopal diocese approaches RCs about joining
Which only embarrassed the liberal RCs (that is, mainline liberal Protestants who are not Anglo-Saxons): not surprising anymore. It would make more sense for chaps like Archbishop Alex Brunett and his people and this unnamed bishop and his people to follow their convictions and simply swop church affiliations! (Except the Episcopalians have too much culturally conservative good taste for the Alex Brunetts.)
From blog correspondents Dave McLaughlin and Lee Penn
Sound RC priest ordered out of parish by revisionist bishop
Fr Paul Weinberger - Catholic. The Bishop of Dallas - ‘Catholic’.

Terry Mattingly on this story

To be fair, a little criticism of Fr Weinberger from the traditionalist side - while his heart is in the right place, in liturgics the ideal is to be 'objective', not show off one's piety by elevating the Host and the chalice for 'a solid minute', for example, as journalist Rod Dreher reports.

Lee Penn: Fr Wilson asks: "Why, oh WHY is it that the [RC] Church in this country [the US] has to stomp on anything healthy and Catholic?"

Lee's response:

Revelation (Apocalypse) 12:7-13:
7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12 Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" 13 And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

From The New York Times
People to admire
From today (a great read every day)
It’s, like, official
I've seen the whole process from its start 20 years ago: the Valley Girl accent has gone from being a joke to the default white American accent used by young people and, as Andrew Gumbel writes, the not-so-young as well. Much like Mockney/Estuary is taking over middle and even upper-class English speech. (It's made huge inroads on the BBC but hasn't completely taken over there.) That's more like the English version of wiggers in the States - talk like you're from Catford even if you went to public school. Mick Jagger's been doing it for 30 years and now even Prince William does it! Alas.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

What I’m watching
‘This Land Is Our Land’
A PBS pledge-drive warhorse: a music concert so good I watched it both times it was broadcast, a few days apart. Some of these people - the original Serendipity Singers and signature voices like Scott McKenzie and The Seekers' Judith Durham, for example - are amazingly good after 35-40 years!

As for the music:

Children always love folksongs, which are easy to remember, easy to sing and seem to be about things that matter... Folk music goes in and out of fashion; by the late 1980s it was in fashion once again, included in ‘roots’ music. When folk music is not in fashion, it is always there on obscure labels in specialist shops for those who want it, and those who do not want it are people who have no souls.

- Donald Clarke, The Rise and Fall of Popular Music
It’s confirmed - from The Telegraph
RCs dump ARCIC talks with Anglican Communion
The apostolic ministry at work again.

One can still hope, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, representing the Pope, created precedent by bypassing the Episcopal Church and sending a letter directly to the American Anglican Council, that perhaps this will be replaced with worthwhile talks with Archbishop Peter Akinola and the provinces of the Two-Thirds World (the real Anglican Communion?).

Anglican Province of Southeast Asia breaks communion with ECUSA
A story
by Fr Taras Kowch

Monday, December 01, 2003

Borg religion
by Huw Raphael
Another person susses out that 'Star Trek' - and the real-world 'postmodern' liberalism it promotes - advocates totalitarianism and ultimately is anti-God and anti-truth.
Anglican-RC talks break down
Rome might drop ARCIC
This is unconfirmed but if it's true, of course I'm glad to see the RCs doing what the Russian Orthodox Church has done - realize dialogue with someone who doesn't listen to you is a waste of time.
Rumsfeld ramble wins ‘Foot in Mouth’ award
Satire found linked at The Onion Dome
The Most Holy Church of Rockall
Or the only extremist schismatic group (genus: vagante) pseudo-Orthodox Internet wackos in the States haven't claimed to join yet.

It's understandable and sometimes necessary for the Catholic-minded - as the Society of St Pius X and the Continuing Anglicans can tell you - to 'circle the wagons' to protect oneself against widespread error and evil regarding important things. All heresy and dissent boil down to three things - who Jesus is, the Eucharist and sex (that last one hits modern man where he lives - dodging reality about sex is a big non serviam*) - and ultimately to one, how God and matter interact. And up to a point we all are 'walled off' by choice and by spiritual forces from what passes as 'normal', mainstream society in Europe and the US - in the world, critically and selectively taking some things on board (we are not Amish**) but not others, but not of it. But that's quite another matter from being schismatic in one's beliefs as if that were an objective good! The nutters make that mistake and take that 'circling the wagons' impulse to the nth degree, splitting off at the drop of a skufia - here they are satirized wonderfully.

Love the choice of place - reminds me of the still sleeping Rockall Times.

Don't miss its links!

*Medieval man thought greed was a worse sin than lust (the healthy sex drive knocked off course) because he realized money can buy sex!

**To be fair, the Amish do change - they do the same thing I describe. If they decide a new thing doesn't threaten the religious community, they allow it. It only seems to outsiders like they're pretending it's the early 1800s.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
US forces ransack Coptic church in Baghdad
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Orwellian eyes
He knows if you've got a blood clot, or are going to hijack the plane; he knows if your dog has run away or if you've dodged a car inspection (extortion)...

No, Santa Claus isn't coming to town.

Lee Penn: Note in the story that the intrusive new technologies are in use overseas as well as in the US. There is resistance to them now; how much resistance to these devices will survive the next 9/11? (I can already hear the statists' reply to defenders of liberty: 'Don't you know that there is a war on?')

It is an odd coincidence that this story appears in a paper with strong ties to the Moonies. [End.]

Another one to jot down as 'not my kind of conservatives'.