Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

From The Onion
TV in the States
According to Dr Amos Grunebaum, partial-birth abortion should be legal so the mothers can hold and eventually bury the corpses.

A perfect inversion of the classic example of chutzpah.


Incidentally, abortions that really are medically necessary - to save the life of the mother - always were legal as well as allowed by the church.
From OrthoVox and First Things
Thinly disguised totalitarianism
by Fr Raymond de Souza
I stand by earlier blog entries about 'gay' marriage but Fr de Souza makes very good points
From Taylor Marshall's blog:

Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.

- G.K. Chesterton

White House allows Rice to testify
Alistair Cooke dies
Many thanks for the link
To Joshua Snyder on his new blog, Ecclesia et mundus
To online friend Ann Lewis and her husband Joe on the birth of their son, Raymond, 15th March
LRC pick
Justified and just war
by John Schroder
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Searches without warrants now allowed in Louisiana
Goodbye, Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution
From blog correspondent John Boyden

Judge allows doctor’s testimony about fœtus pain

Monday, March 29, 2004

The blog of acquaintance Ben Sharpe
O My Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.

- Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
A word on religious liberty
by Neil
More on the subject
Rice refuses to testify publicly about 9/11
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Apocalypse now
Lee Penn: This article is in WIRED magazine, a techno-geek/futurist magazine that watches emerging technical trends. (I use it myself to look over the horizon at new technology.)

Read it and pray ....

Obviously, from an orthodox Christian perspective, what the article proposes is a Really Poor Idea ... a setup for a lethal spiritual deception. The idea that we ought to do anything to hasten the Apocalypse is sheer blasphemy. [End.]
In Russian
Patriarch of Moscow reconsecrates student chapel at Moscow State University
Detail, translated by me: the 19th-century St Tatiana's Chapel had been used by the Soviets as a club and a student theatre.

Vesti ('Messages') has TV news that's broadcast abroad.
From blogforlovers
Remembering Fr Lev (Gillet)
On the anniversary of his death
The apostolic ministry in a picture

Metropolitan Laurus (Škurla), first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

I've heard he's a very nice man and this photo seems to show that.
LRC picks
9/11 incongruities
by Paul Craig Roberts

The ‘war president’ waged a war of lies
by Eric Margolis

The fake narrative of 9/11
by Frank Rich
Fr Anthony Chadwick has e-mailed me to tell me that, regrettably, his fine page showing the texts of various Western rites such as the Ambrosian (Milanese), Mozarabic and of course the (traditional) Roman, has been taken down. I had it linked on my faith page. It seems he has broken this up into separate pages and so I have updated my links accordingly, as well as adding these:

The Mass of the Western Rites
by Dom Fernand Cabrol

The arrangements of Western medieval and Byzantine churches compared
by Christopher Rakowski
Sometime online acquaintance Stuart Koehl once explained to me that part of the reason for this obvious affinity is that after the decline of the Roman Rite in the Dark Ages it was reformed in the 1000s by borrowing much from the Gallican Rite, a non-Roman but Latin rite in France, that had got much from the Eastern rites including perhaps the Byzantine Rite. This Gallican-Roman hybrid then became the mediæval and monastic uses of the Roman Rite and of course the Roman Mass as handed down today*.

*A page from a vagante site not approved by this blog but good as it uses a fine English translation.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Protests as US closes Iraqi paper
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

- Bill of Rights, US Constitution, Amendment I

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Iraq war veteran, now conscientious objector Staff Sgt Camilo Mejia to be court-martialled
Arizona bishop sentenced to probation for running down and killing man with his car
"It should not matter if you wear a blue collar, wear a white collar or wear the collar of a Roman Catholic priest," he (County Attorney Rick Romley) said (criticizing the light sentence). "All should be treated equally under the law for similar conduct. Unfortunately, today that principal (sic) has been violated."

Sì, a punto. It's what should have been done with the predatory gay-priest scandal, with the cooperation of the church authorities. Speaking of which:

The accident (was) two weeks after he (the convicted bishop) signed an immunity deal with prosecutors in which he admitted concealing child abuse allegations against diocesan priests and agreed to a laundry list of changes to the diocese. In return, he was granted immunity from prosecution.

Seems like poetic justice. Makes poor Jim Reed seem almost Christlike, dying for this man's sins.
Three challenges in court to US partial-birth abortion ban
Taking God’s name in vain
There are many good spokesmen for the Roman Mass - this rather self-important chap isn't one of them. He seems to be a vagus priest (functionally bishopless - so much for being traditional, as St Ignatius of Antioch would agree) whose religion is mixed with a kind of caricature of American conservatism. And the claim he makes in his headline is dead wrong, as people from Pat Buchanan ('Operation Iraqi Freedom was an unnecessary war') to Bishop Richard Williamson prove.
Senator regrets voting for Iraq war
Stupid church jurisdictional fights
In one word: стыдно! (Shameful!) And it's not just the Eastern Orthodox convert boomlet in the West either - the Russkies (both in the US and Canada and in the old country) are guilty as well.

There are too many jurisdictions in the Ukraine due to superstition (?) and infighting. If the Ukrainians cannot solve it, then it will go to the MP (the Church of Russia) or the EP (the Greek patriarch in Istanbul... but as he's not the Ukrainians' patriarch, why him?) to do so even without general consent. Of the two, the MP would be the preferred peacemaker. (Well, yes, as the Church of Russia is the canonical Orthodox church of the Ukraine.) Unfortunately, the ROCOR has not the force of law behind her project (I assume he means setting up dioceses in a place where, however imperfect, there already is an Eastern Orthodox church - one would think the Suzdal' fiasco taught them a lesson about that).

- Joseph D

From Forum 18
Russia: ‘Alternative Orthodox’ denied legal status
A religious-liberty issue. Functional independence from the state church was necessary back in Soviet times but 'alternative Orthodox' in theory is a contradiction in terms and certainly would have been seen that way in the Tsarist era.

As traditionalist RCs and Anglo-Catholics have found out in the past 40 years, and as was the Byzantine Catholic experience in America 100 years ago, functional separation from hostile bishops is sometimes necessary though always regrettable. But that's quite different to Donatism, which on principle says 'validity' depends on the worthiness of the minister. ('Theology of taint', including the taint of 'Sergianism' - when the Church of Russia was literally beaten into submission to the Soviet government in 1927 - doesn't work.) The apostolic ministry - basic Catholic ecclesiology - doesn't work that way.

These Russian schisms seem historically to fit the pattern of the Old Believers (who have a separate church in Russia to this day, led by a Metropolitan Andrian 'of Moscow and All Rus’', and many, many splinters - it seems once you fall into it, schism is a hard habit to break) - an overreaction not about principles but rather the petty narcissism of small differences. (Imagine if 90 years ago Percy Dearmer's Sarumophiles and Ronald Knox's Tridentine Society of SS. Peter & Paul set up rival churches with their own bishops that didn't recognize each other's orders!)
From Huw Raphael’s blog
Arab Christians in America
Pope says Sundays for God, not sport
LRC pick
Blonde? You’ve got the job
It seems in ways the Nazis won after all :(
LRC pick from reader Terry Lys
Hyenas in Washington
by Karen Kwiatkowski
Дуже дякую, Terry!

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Kerry says US deserves truthful leader
Florida Sen. Bob Graham labeled him (Mr Bush) "Houdini" for turning a budget surplus into a deficit. Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt said Bush is the worst of the five presidents he's served under in Congress.

"I'm nostalgic for Ronald Reagan," he said.

He makes second-term Clinton look good.
US Congress approves Laci and Conner’s Law
From blogforlovers
John Donne on the Annunciation

Mater amabilis, ora pro nobis
Pray for thy children who call upon thee
Ave purissima, ave sanctissima
Sinless and beautiful Star of the Sea.
Psalters, breviaries, choir books, Books of Hours and other liturgical works
Thanks to James Pepper for including the page I made for Fr Deacon Lance Weakland's hours

Pope Shenouda III, 117th Pope of Alexandria and the See of St Mark

Pray for the Copts
Unconfirmed report on how members of the Church of Egypt are treated in their homeland
LRC pick
CFR Team A vs. CFR Team B
Gary North on presidential elections
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
Syncretism in religious architecture
A mistake

Bush supports United Religions Initiative, syncretism
Do the Protestant religious right realize that?

Lee Penn: As you may recall - from a story that I wrote for The Christian Challenge in early 2002 - President Bush has praised the United Religions Initiative.

Here's the story, as it was published then:
Bush Praises URI Initiative

By Lee Penn
January 5, 2002
The Christian Challenge (Washington, DC)

Was it a Freudian slip, or just a coincidence?

It's hard to say. But a lot of Christians reading the current issue of the URI Update, the official newsletter of the United Religions Initiative, might be surprised to learn that "a lowerarchy, not a hierarchy" was recommended as a structural model for the URI--the controversial interfaith venture founded by California Episcopal Bishop William Swing.

Attentive readers of C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters may remember that Screwtape, a senior demon, tells his nephew, Wormwood, that some strategies for tempting people are "decided for us by spirits far deeper down in the Lowerarchy than you and I."

The eye-catching reference appears in an article in the latest URI Update about selecting the URI Global Council (the board of directors). Its author noted that: "At the 1999 URI Global Summit, 100 participants offered their highest vision for the URI Global Council. Some comments: 'Encourages a lowerarchy, not a hierarchy.' 'Service of love, not power.' 'Inspires spiritual citizenship.' Visions like these have inspired and carried the URI into being."

Organizational activities apparently according with this "vision" in the U.S. and overseas show what the URI means by its stated mission to "create cultures of peace, justice and healing for the earth and all living beings." In one of them, the URI "Cooperation Circle" (local chapter) in Asheville, North Carolina "held the Council of All Beings for people to experience being part of a ritual where the human species is only one voice among many." It was not disclosed whether the non-human participants in the ceremony were animals, plants, rocks, spirits, or all of the above.

MEANWHILE, TCC has learned that President George W. Bush has lauded the URI and Swing--who was recently in the news for blaming all religions for fostering terror, albeit with a sterner eye toward Christianity than Muslim extremism.

In a November 6 letter from the White House, Bush congratulated Swing for receiving the 2001 Citizen Diplomacy Award from the International Diplomacy Council, a private organization that works closely with high-level State Department officials to assist overseas groups who visit the US. At the end of the letter, Bush said, "Both the United Religions Initiative and the International Diplomacy Council exist to foster a greater understanding among peoples. I salute these organizations for their roles in facilitating interaction among people and nations."

Gray Davis, the (then-)Democratic governor of California, joined Bush's tribute. In a November 14 letter from his office in Sacramento, Davis said, "By promoting peace and tolerance through the United Religions Initiative, you have made a positive and lasting impact. Your outstanding dedication to fostering international goodwill is an inspiration to us all."

Frank Damann, manager of membership for the International Diplomacy Council (IDC), said that the Secretary of State is familiar with the work of IDC; in addition, George Shultz, Secretary of State in the Reagan administration, is a member of the IDC Advisory Council. It appears that Bush's commendation of the IDC and the URI was at the suggestion of senior officials in the State Department. It was not clear that the President was aware of Swing's post-September 11 statements claiming that the terrorists did not hold a corrupted view of Islam, since all religions foster terror, a view Bush would be unlikely to endorse.

URI staff did not return phone calls asking for comment on these developments.
The letter from Bush praising the URI is - as of March 25, 2004 - on the Internet

Sources for this story also included ch. 20 of C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters, and issue 10 of the URI magazine, URI Update, pp. 1,3, 7, and 8.
A Federal agency, the US Institute for Peace, gave a training grant to the URI:

Grant Awards: April 2002 Issue: PeaceWatch: US Institute of Peace

The Web site lists this grant: "United Religions Institute, San Francisco, Calif. "United Religions Initiative Peace Building Training Program." Barbara Hartford. $30,000."

Note well that the URI has been in existence since 1995. Nevertheless, the Clinton Administration never gave the URI the public praise and public grants that the Bush administration has done.

Why is a Republican administration doing this, despite its putative debt to the Evangelical Religious Right?

Some people have offered me a soothing explanation: that Bush and his administration know nothing about the URI, and heard a little bit about it, and since it sounded nice ... they made some polite gestures in behalf of the URI.

The reality may be far more serious: that the URI and other ventures in religious syncretism are consistent with Administration plans in the War on Terror.

For evidence, see this link to a recent story in a neo-conservative magazine, The Public Interest.

The story is long; it is worth reading for any traditionalist. It gives us an idea of what we are up against.

The URI-relevant part of the story is at the end:

"The American project in Iraq exceeds anything Lincoln could have imagined. By the same token, it both implies and demands the abandonment of the link on which he so relied between liberal Christianity and liberal democracy. For it is crucial to our victory in the forum of world opinion (including, crucially, Muslim opinion) that we not couch our global project as akin to Christianity in any way. Mr. Bush learned shortly after September 11 not to dub his campaign against terrorism a crusade. He could hardly have done worse to call it a jihad.

By its deeds, not merely its words, this administration has exceeded all previous ones in rejecting the dependence of democracy on Christianity. It has adopted the premise that just as Confucianism, historically anything but liberal or democratic, has posed no insuperable obstacle to the democratization of East Asia, so Islam will pose none to that of the Middle East.

... [of] all Republican presidents since McKinley, Bush appears to be the most concerned with living a Christian life. All the more ironic, then, that in the most important policy and riskiest gamble of his presidency, Bush has embraced willy-nilly the view that liberal democracy is one thing, Protestant Christianity (or Christianity of any sort, or even Judeo-Christianity) entirely another. He has chosen to present America to the world not as the Christian nation for which his religious supporters take it, but as the universal sponsor of liberal democracy, which as such is impartial in principle as between Christianity and Islam.

Thus must Bush present America not just to the world but to itself. It is said that John Foster Dulles helped desegregate American society by persuading a reluctant Eisenhower to send federal troops to Little Rock lest inaction hand the Soviets a propaganda windfall. Bush finds himself similarly trapped in the glare of global headlights. However trying the struggle with Islamism may prove, whatever sacrifices it may demand, he cannot revive Lincoln's appeal to Christianity, no matter how nondenominational that appeal would be. His religious rhetoric must be "inclusive," anodyne, and sterile. His administration must become America's first genuinely Methodist Taoist Native American Quaker Russian Orthodox Buddhist Jewish (and Muslim) one. And so the challenge of Islamic terror will collaborate with other forces to drive official America to ever greater lengths of secularism or syncretism.

Copyright of The Public Interest, Issue #155 (Spring 2004), National Affairs, Inc."

In other words, the URI's syncretism may fit perfectly with the Bush Administration's agenda in the war for the Middle East.

Kyrie eleison

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin

The real St Patrick

Moroccan Jewish leader condemns killing of Yassin

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

US Supreme Court to hear case on ‘under God’ in flag pledge
Be consistent - either way is fine, but either scrap separation of church and state or keep that separation and take the words out. They weren't put in until 1954 anyway and the pledge itself is suspect - an 1800s composition, I think 1930s fascism 'inspired' the government to push it, complete with toned-down arm salute for civilians.

Reminds me of when Bush the Elder was president and people tried to use the nonissue of flag-burning ('Aaagh! We need an amendment banning it!') to scare up support for alleged conservatism.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Clarke’s take on terror
From blog correspondent John Boyden
The Exorcist in 30 seconds... and re-enacted by bunnies
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Protests forbidden in Crawford, Texas
JB: Reminds me of another Crawford. "NO MORE BUSH PROTESTERS EVER!"
LRC pick
Terrorizing our freedoms
What I’m watching
Una Storia Segreta

Another reason to hate the government

Related to that is this fine entry on

World War II: the ‘just’ war?

More on this
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Albanians ‘orchestrated’ Kosovo violence: NATO

US says shooting of cameraman was justified

And for the recent feast-day of St Patrick and our own Gaelic-speaker, Dave McLaughlin (Daithí Mac Lochlann), here's this:

The Gaelic language
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Sex-change vicar quits
JB: Uh, no comment.

Gives new life to the Smiths song 'Vicar in a Tutu', doesn't it?

At least he had the honour to quit before getting 'the operation'.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
‘The White House has played cover-up’ — former 9/11 commission member Max Cleland blasts Bush
Hamas elects new leader
From Trushare
Mark your calendars in the UK
Prolife rally in London this October
From Trushare
Joanna Jepson
She's not a priest but this C of E minister is prolife and now has her own site - here's a tip of the biretta
The abolition of sex
By John Derbyshire
My Anglo-Catholicism page comes up as the second link in BBC search results
In a faraway country
This site in Russia has a link to my page Ex Oriente lux. Спасибо!
Looking ahead a few weeks
Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
Fr Peter Robinson and I: separated at birth?
You decide! The two Westies look good in this pic too.
Russian writer fumes at Archimandrite Robert (Taft) remarks
by Vladislav Petrushko
The Vatican cannot come to the realization that the
worsening of relations was caused by the intensification of Catholic
proselytism, most clearly seen in the creation of four Catholic dioceses in
Russia in 2002 and the declaration of a Catholic province, i.e. essentially
an independent metropolia, without any kind of agreement with the Russian
Orthodox Church

I agree that setting up the dioceses was unnecessary but there was an RC diocese in Russia before the Revolution, so it's not unprecedented nor is it necessarily aggression.

For example, the Jesuit allows himself to make
such statements as: "much of what the Russian Orthodox hierarchy does is
because of their own lunatic fringe", "It's extremely difficult for the
Orthodox to face up to their own reality", or "They don't really understand
the uses of history".

Allowable opinion, if a bit harsh.

He adds: "It's a mistake to think the patriarch and
the permanent synod have the kind of control over their hierarchy and their
church that the pope does in the Catholic Church. The patriarch of Moscow
is not a pope

Well, he's not!

He also makes such cynical remarks about the Orthodox: "if
you get bent out of shape, that reaction is going to hurt nobody but
yourself. Nobody. Do we need them? Answer, no. Simple as that".

As I've said before, the RCs have got the money and the resources, by jingo, to really move into Russia and win over the unchurched but out of respect for the Church of Russia don't. So stop your whingeing, Vladislav.

In places Taft even makes downright racist comments: "To attempt to apply rational
analysis to this is to fail to understand what the East is. Once you get
over on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, the further you go South or East
from anywhere, the worse everything gets, except the food. Logic gets
worse, rationality gets worse, and everything ultimately winds up in
hysteria and emotionalism. It's futile to try and reason about this".

Nasty, yes, but not racist - these remarks have to do with culture (which is fair game), not with anybody's inherent worth as a human being.

In the interview Taft speaks mostly about the problem of creating a
Patriarchate for the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (UGCC), which western
Ukrainian Uniates
(sic) have sought after for a long time, driven by a strong
desire to end their provincial isolation in L'viv and spread their
influence throughout the entire Ukraine. However, the Vatican knows quite
well that the creation of a Uniate Patriarchate with a centre in Kyiv, as
UGCC head Cardinal Lubomir Husar is hoping for, will exacerbate the already
extremely tense religious situation in the Ukraine.
The creation of the
Patriarchate is not just a matter of four dioceses, and there is no doubt
that if this situation were to continue one can forget about any dialogue
between Moscow and Rome not only for years, but even for decades. But it
seems that this is exactly what Taft wants, as he openly calls on the Greek
Catholics of Galicia to declare the Patriarchate even if this leads to
confrontation with Rome.

...In the interview one can only be appalled by Fr Taft's appeal to Galician
Uniates to "just declare the patriarchate and get on with it", even if Rome
refuses to recognize such a self-proclaimed institute.

Right. Petrushko's and the Church of Russia's understandable and perhaps justifiable quarrel is with Taft and the Ukrainian Catholic Church, not with the Vatican.

If I may say so, this is nothing less than insurrection against the Pope, whom,
it would seem, all Catholics are obliged to recognize not only as the head
of the Church but also as infallible in matters of faith!

And fallible in prudential judgement - Archimandrite Robert agrees with the Orthodox that the Pope makes mistakes (even though he happens to be right about not setting up a patriarchate in Kiev) and that still isn't good enough, apparently. You just can't please some people... which is why Archimandrite Robert says, 'Why bother?'

It seems that Fr Taft was so carried away by his own advice on disobeying Rome that he
didn't even notice how he spoke with the same rough tone when discussing
the papacy and the Catholic Church. The Jesuit remarks in all seriousness:
"What we've made out of the papacy is simply ridiculous. There's no
possible justification in the New Testament or anyplace else for what we've
made out of the papacy".

He's being evenhanded and criticizing temporal aspects of the papacy and still all Mr Petrushko can do is bitch.

Taft speaks very frankly about why the Uniate Patriarchate should be
created in Kyiv, and not in L'viv, where the Uniate Church has been
traditionally spread as the faith only of the Galicians.

Although it is possible to turn a blind eye to his statement about how "there was a time
when all of Ukraine west of the Dnepr River was in union with Rome, and the
presiding hierarch was in Kyiv", it is nevertheless impossible that Taft,
as an expert in the history of Orthodoxy, does not know that the head of
the Uniate Kyiv metropoly never had his residence in Kyiv and only bore the
title of metropolitan of Kyiv.

I didn't know that last bit underlined (by me). Can any blog readers confirm that?
More LRC picks
Is Bush unhinged?
I think he's just thick, not mad - he believes off-the-wall stuff ’cos that's what his handlers feed him. Credible deniability.

Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Armageddon plan
From The Atlantic

The coming Iraq intifada
News of the weird
Poll: Ozzy is Britain’s favourite ambassador to welcome aliens to earth
I'd choose the Queen but Mr Osbourne is preferable to Mr Blair, and they're aliens anyway so it doesn't matter that nobody understands his Brummie-druggie speech
Israel says it will kill more Hamas leaders
Madrid death toll lowered to 190
LRC and Crisis pick
Los San Patricios

The Irish who fought the aggression and anti-Catholicism of los yanquis

Monday, March 22, 2004

Ministry of Information: claims vs. facts on Richard Clarke
From Taylor Marshall’s blog
Yasser Arafat on The Passion
I'd decided I'd posted enough here about the movie but this story is extraordinary. Of course his interpretation falls far short of what the Passion means but that doesn't mean there's not some truth in it.

Commemorating James DeKoven today
Holy See deplores killing of Ahmed Yassin
LRC pick
The Catholic faith and Austrian economics
by Thomas Woods
Modernity is self-defeating
The lesson of Vet Stadium
Like the Prince of Wales, I hope ugly modern architecture goes the way of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, which like the high-rise welfare slums* was supposed to be the wave of the future and like them has been demolished — in the case of the big concrete arena after only about 30 years of use. (It and the recent liturgical and theological experiments amongs RCs and Anglicans were about the same age, which was fitting. May they all come to the same end — boom, crash, GONE!) In Philadelphia an historic stadium was torn down back then and replaced with the Vet, and not long after it seemed nobody liked it — it was cold, sterile and players got hurt a lot on the artificial grass.

I set foot in it exactly twice, once to make my only Beatle sighting (Sir Paul McCartney in 1990).

Now it's rubble, being replaced by something smaller and I think cool po-mo if I'm using that correctly. Retro (example: Camden Yards in Baltimore) is also big with ballparks now - the last laugh is on the moderns.

*Sometime acquaintance, writer and publisher E. Michael Jones, debunker of the Medjugorje hoax, likes to make the same parallel when talking about the spectacular failure of 'the projects'.
Fun junk mail
The dead-tree kind:

Real Estate Scammers Invesment Company LLC

Dear J Beeler,

We have researched the homes in your area and would like to make an offer to buy your property located at:

P.O. Box 1234

Who's interested in living there, 'The Indian in the Cupboard'? How much is he offering?
Hamas founder killed in Israeli air strike

Gaza killing spooks global markets

Saturday, March 20, 2004

From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
More on Staff Sgt Camilo Mejia
Iraq War veteran and now conscientious objector is Catholic
On the protests worldwide today
From blogforlovers
The RC church in The Netherlands: ground zero
Apeing mainline Protestantism since the 1960s killed it
Today’s march
On a scale of one to 10

Attendance: 10 (filled the street for nearly a city block)
Weather: 9 (a beautiful, sunny, slightly crisp first day of spring)
Quality of speakers: 7 (including a Palestinian, an Iraq War veteran and a Catholic Worker member)
Palestinian presence: 6
Old granola: 7
Cute girls: 5
Commie front groups: 3 (quite visible but they didn't take over, thank God - the Wobblies were there too)
Mumia annoyance/tune-out factor: 1 (they were blessedly silent, sticking to handing out flysheets)*
Gay annoyance/tune-out factor: .5 (two of those silly rainbow flags - so how again does your telling complete strangers how you like to reach orgasm help stop the war in Iraq and help the Palestinian people?)
Pro-murder annoyance/tune-out factor: .25 (some dodgy literature for sale and those bizarre crossed-out coat-hanger buttons - what are they, Joan Crawford 'Mommie Dearest' fans? As if what they want is somehow less cruel than what they're alluding to.)

I saw exactly two church groups, one RC from a nearby slum and one United Methodist, and the rector of what used to be an Anglo-Catholic church - the second time I've seen him at one of these.

Best displays: the young Palestinian women flying the red, white, green and black and wearing the black-and-white hijab, and the little bulldozer (like the one that ran down Rachel Corrie) with chilling anti-Palestinian quotations from Americans and Israelis on it.

*Reason to boycott Ben & Jerry's: an acquaintance told me recently they give money to the ridiculous 'Free Mumia' cause.
Hope Greene, photographer
An acquaintance who takes black-and-white photos including of nature and of mediæval ruins in the UK
Committee to End the Occupation of Iraq
One year on
Today I plan to march - holding my nose at the Commie front groups and Mumia rubbish if necessary
Glad tidings for Anglo-Catholics everywhere
Sherry is good for you
From Clifton Healy’s blog
Frank Griswold patronizes the Russian Orthodox
From 29th February
US Army drops spying charges against Muslim chaplain James Yee
Shiites and Sunnis join in a protest in Baghdad against the US-led occupation
...several Iraqi and other international journalists walked out of the coalition news conference while [Colin] Powell stood at the podium.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Medical student being failed at University of Manitoba for not providing abortion option
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Palestinian town claims victory for non-violence

Friday, March 19, 2004

From the Susan B. Anthony List:

Laci and Conner’s Law
News on it this week from the same site
From David’s Daily Diversions
House of Lords is saved — for now
From InfernoXV and from France
The Bush Régime Card Deck
Grief, anger, anti-US slogans mark funeral of two Iraqi journalists
The world must know that the situation in Iraq has gone from bad to worse.

- Sheikh Ahmad Abdel Ghafur
LRC pick
It doesn’t fit
Neocons try to force Spain's ‘3/11’ into a 9/11 template
From Forum 18
On Russia’s Pacific coast: Orthodox church in Maisky’s row with local government
It’s often hard to sympathize with the groups Forum 18 reports about - Jehovah’s Witnesses in ex-Soviet countries, for example - but this story about the Church of the Annunciation, a parish of the Church of Russia, reminds one that religious liberty works both ways.
From Forum 18
Inter-ethnic violence in Kosovo

Priština Orthodox priest ‘lucky’ to be alive
Putin wants Christian unity, says Russian envoy

Thursday, March 18, 2004

President of Poland: country misled on Iraq
9/11 con artists
She forgot the one in the White House and his handlers
From Pensate omnia (S.F. Danckaert)
Conscription: US considers drafting people with computer and foreign-language skills
Government schools unfair to boys
LRC pick
Don’t enlist in the culture war
by Charley Reese
There is such a thing as objective truth, not just personal opinion, so this has its limits - abortion for example - but Mr Reese makes some good points.

When the Founding Fathers wisely chose to keep state and church separate, they did not intend to encourage atheism. On the other hand, they did intend to keep religious people from imposing their individual religious beliefs on other people via legislation.

In our free country, despite the obvious depravity of some people, there is nothing to keep a religious person from following his or her faith to the letter, regardless of how others choose to behave.

When politicians rant about matters of personal morality, they are just trying to distract your attention from their own failure to solve the quite secular problems that they themselves have created.

Don't let them get away with it. The politicians can't make you a saint, but they can destroy your material well-being.

In other words, Mr Bush's handlers' attempted scapegoating of homosexuals - 'Hey, look, a distraction!' - won't get a vote from me.
From Joseph Oliveri
New novel has hero with Asperger syndrome
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Monster Island
What's happening at New York's very own bioresearch lab?
Anonymous submission
Pentagon flouts stem-cell funding restriction
Anonymous submission
Forwarded from the long-running, well-known Eastern Orthodox ‘Indiana List’ on the sufferings of the Church of Serbia in Kosovo.

Kristallnacht all over again

Anonymous submitter: Please ask your ’blog readers for their intercession.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

LRC pick
Yes, more on that movie.

First, an anonymous submitter sent me this:

Ayn Randians vs. The Passion

Anonymous comment: IMHO, Gibson's basically fine film has no shortage of theological (a certain latent Jansenism -- maybe even outright Manicheanism) and cinematic idiosyncrasies -- if not outright inadaquacies. BUT... the problem here is that this objectivist scholar doesn't really object to any of that -- just the moral demands of Christ Himself.

And on LRC today there's this:

A note on these Randians from LRC’s Steven Greenhut
Back to that Dark Ages passage. I dunno, but you probably need to deal with an obvious substantive point: As people become more apt to view Christ in your way, and to live without restraints, this world becomes a scarier place, more like the Dark Ages than the Enlightenment. Are you sure a lack of self-esteem is really the world’s biggest problem? Food for thought, that’s all.

Yes, a punto. This is not a left-libertarian blog!
Anonymous submission
US troops in Iraq buying their own equipment
As British ones have had to do

Anonymous submitter: Just when you thought you'd heard it all: A new outrage perpetrated upon American military personnel while sofa samurais Perle, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld rattle their sabres at ever-more "rogue nations."

Monday, March 15, 2004

From The Granola Conservative
On the crunchy right
Rod Dreher on granola conservatism
Iraq war veteran a conscientious objector
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
Mel Gibson has doubts about Mr Bush
On the box
‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent’
Don't you wish therapists were as good at finding and understanding the causes of good citizens' problems as Detective Goren is at getting into the heads of criminals?
From The Rockall Times
More on Dasani
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
The Iraq war, one year on:

War without end
by Robert Fisk

The War Party regroups: get ready for Phase Two
by Justin Raimondo
OK, another quotation about The Passion
It is my sincere — and possibly utopian — hope that in due time, when our crazed "culture war" hysteria finally dies out, we will all someday be able to sit down and discuss The Passion of the Christ for what it really is. The film is a brutal, blood-soaked plea for compassion and understanding in the face of monstrosity. There is a purity — an openhearted zeal — to the picture that is forthright and breathtaking.

And it is, first and foremost, exemplary filmmaking.

- Sean Burns

Wow - liberality from a liberal and a believable reaction to the film from the POV of an open-minded nonbeliever.

Yesterday for the Third Sunday of Great Lent the Byzantine Rite remembered that 'brutal, blood-soaked plea' that was part of God's redeeming Sacrifice - Кресту твоему покланяемся, Владыко, и святое воскресенiе твое славимъ; 'We bow to Thy cross, O Lord, and we glorify Thy holy resurrection'.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
FBI adds to wiretap wish list
Pseudo-St Patrick’s Day
One of my least favourite holidays and not because part of my family were English overlords in Ireland in the 1600s. I wrote a lot about this holiday last year - you can peruse the archives yourself or Google to find the entries. As the crowds in green T-shirts, plastic bowlers and pseudo-Mardi Gras beads (hey, why not degrade two Catholic holidays at once?) blocked traffic in the city centre this weekend, I thought of a fact told me by a friend recently. He claims that at one point in Irish history the overlords paid workers with liquor, causing alcoholism and keeping them oppressed. So if that's true the stereotype of the Irish being drunks was the overlords' creation, and as for those Irish-Americans and would-be Irish-Americans jamming the bars these past two days, historically the joke's on them.

Meanwhile in Ireland the real St Patrick will be remembered fittingly the day after tomorrow.
The Madrid incident and its aftermath
First, for the dead, rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord. Second, I don't quite understand the motive for al-Qaeda - little Spain isn't really to blame for the war. Payback for Granada 500+ years ago? I believed ETA's denial - the Basques have no motive really. I'm not a socialist but am glad the Spaniards voted out a Bush-supporting government and that the new PM is bringing Spanish troops home.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Another assault on free speech?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

The latest thing in spam
I want to say adios
The link to the fake 'unsubscribe' page or e-mail address that just confirms the spammer reached a real e-mail address, thus guaranteeing more spam.

No, verdaderamente quiero decir a ti, ¡ch*nga a tu mamá!
A lurid-looking site but it has a point!
From Thoughts of an Orthodox Sojourner
G.K. Chesterton
I don't quite understand or agree with the de rigueur anti-Western snipe at him (verbosity and melancholia = holiness?) but otherwise this is a good introduction to the man.
LRC pick
Not my kind of ‘conservatives’
by Bill Barnwell
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Planned Parenthood appoints chaplain to try to please Christians
And patronize Hispanics - to their credit, they're not buying it

JB: Why not Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J.? He's a priest in good standing with the Church and his local bishop and the Society of Jesus.

No, he would probably be too radical for them since he openly supports partial-birth abortion (which many pro-abortion people do not.) [End.]

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

American ISPs sue hundreds of spammers

How spammers may be using your PC as a relay
From blog correspondent Lee Penn
RC liturgist in Australia pushes goddess worship (More)
by Paul Likoudis

"On the log for the 21st century is a ‘virtual egg’; a whole unbroken egg shown on a TV monitor, illuminated by suspended, battery-powered torch."

Back to the egg?

Considering most liberals now are old, maybe he's just a keen Paul McCartney & Wings fan from those days.
From David Holford’s blog
Results of ‘safer sex’ (oops, turned out it wasn’t safe after all) teaching in Britain
More pregnant teens and more dead babies
LRC pick
How to survive the depression
by Gary North
I saw Brent Spiner on that 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent' too. I question whether even Patrick Stewart, the one world-class actor in the 'Star Trek' cash cow, has escaped the 'black hole' of typecasting, but he's set for life financially and always can go back to doing Shakespeare on stage for the love of it.

'Law and Order' has become so successful a format that it is now a cottage industry on NBC.

I'm not complaining!
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Judge bemused by abortion furore
About Harry Blackmun's memoirs
Anonymous submission
The Pentagon’s Secret Scream: Sonic devices that can inflict pain — or even permanent deafness — are being deployed
The US military's new tool to, uh, help Protect Freedom and Democracy by silencing speech, causing deafness and inflicting excruciating pain on unarmed persons
From Virtuosity
The rebirth of Christianity: the gospel blossoms in the East

No absolute truth governs Frank Griswold’s thinking on gay marriages

From 'BBC Breakfast with Frost' interview with David Frost

England: Row over sex-change weddings
This may be a down side of establishment (the Church of England as the state church) - if I recall rightly anyone can use the church building

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

From the other young fogey (The Young Fogey’s Agreeable World)
Coca-Cola’s Dasani bottled water actually comes from tap
From Gutless Pacifist
The world still says no to war
What are you doing the Saturday after next?
US Department of Retro warns: ‘We may be running out of past’
In the post
America’s empire of bases
Anonymous source: What organization maintains 250+ golf courses at taxpayer expense?

What organization pays waiters in white shirts, black pants, and black bow ties to serve gourmet dinners to its management?

What organization owns and operates seventy-one Learjets, thirteen Gulfstream IIIs, and seventeen Cessna Citation luxury jets to fly its elite to places like its own ski resort in the Bavarian Alps?

Hint: It ain't IBM, Microsoft or General Motors... not even combined.

Monday, March 08, 2004

From The Rockall Times
The War Office

On the retirement of Alistair Cooke
LRC pick
The trouble with left-libertarians
Thank you - this answers common objections from well-meaning religious people right and left to libertarianism, because they think all libertarianism is left-libertarianism. The often Catholic-based one of my virtual mentors here (props to occasional blog contributor Mike Russell for introducing me to them via e-mail about four years ago) says otherwise and helped me make sense of a lot of things for the first time in my life.

There are folk – value-relativists I will term them – who take libertarianism not merely to be a theory of rights; but as itself a being a guide to the good life.

In other words, mistaking this liberty, including religious liberty, for an absolute good rather than a relative one. Reaction to this error was behind the church's historic policies opposing such liberty.
From InfernoXV and The Spectator
A differing view on rock stars doing classical music
I agree that Sir Paul's Liverpool Oratorio sucked but hold to what I wrote yesterday about Give My Regards to Broad Street and the famous Sir George Martin scoring of Beatles tunes.
Technical note
Attention multilingual visitors: thanks to an upgrade of Haloscan (used here), you now can write comments with non-Roman alphabets and characters. Have fun!

Sunday, March 07, 2004

From David Holford’s blog
Empty pockets, bulging coffers
More on the evil Inland Revenue and other appalling taxes in Britain. Reads like the IRS having a wet dream.
Lest we forget

Rachel Corrie, from

News from Palestine
Israeli incursion leaves 14 dead
Israel described the raids into the al-Bureij and Nusseirat refugee camps as a "pinpoint" operation against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

Well, Shlomo, if you hadn't driven them off their lands in 1948 and bantustan-ized them there wouldn't be any 'terrorist infrastructure', would there?

At a time when they're speaking about withdrawing from Gaza, they're destroying Gaza.

- Saeb Erekat, Palestinian Cabinet minister

Die Apartheidsmauer (apartheid wall) by Wilfred Seibert from

Boy killed during Israeli raid of Gaza
A cloud of witnesses today, 7th March
This says it all: despite their supporters being bitter opponents in the 1300s, making the mistake of thinking their different approaches to the Catholic faith amounted to two different faiths, in various places respectively the Catholic Church commemorates both 'the Angelic Doctor' who 'baptized Aristotle' to explain the faith, the Dominican St Thomas Aquinas, and St Gregory Palamas (commemorated in the Byzantine Rite on the second Sunday of Great Lent), the Greek Orthodox bishop of Thessalonica who explained the mysticism of hesychasm and the prayer of the heart. 'The walls of the schism don't reach to heaven.'

A third commemoration from Russian Catholic blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin (though I think his proper feast day is in the summer):

Icon of Leonty (in the world Leonid Feodorov)
Internally exiled by the Soviet Union, he died alone in Viatka in the 1930s.
What I’m watching on the box
Give My Regards to Broad Street

OK, I know it's naff but like it anyway. (Even the allegedly megalomaniacal Sir Paul McCartney has disowned it, referring unkindly to the fans who like it as having 'rather thick glasses'.)

Kind remarks from the Amazon reviews:

If you go into this movie expecting more of a fun collection of music videos [it was 1984 after all] ...connected by a marginal plot, then you will not be disappointed.

Forget about the script... Think about it as a little bit of fantasy + great music and you get a well-organized concert.

Some of the music and vignettes are fabulous - the costumed Victorian scenes with the tableau re-enactment, etc. that fuelled my developing young-fogey æsthetic 20 years ago, for example. John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin plays on some of the tracks. Great to see Ringo and Sir Ralph Richardson, and Barbara Bach (Mrs Starkey) was hot.

On the down side some of the Beatles remakes are disappointing - the beautiful 'Long and Winding Road' (great even when Spectorized) as rendered here by Sir Paul sounds like some awful lounge act, the heart in the original performance gone.

But the notion pioneered by Sirs Paul and George Martin of setting some of these pop songs to strings and horns, like classical music, holds up (as heard in the self-covers of 'For No-One' and 'Eleanor Rigby') - I understand Sir George still guest-conducts symphonies around the world to play these songs.

As proved when Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé covered Soundgarden's 'Black Hole Sun' or even when Frank Sinatra (whom I loathed) changed his mind about the Beatles and covered George Harrison's 'Something', these are good songs and their successfully crossing styles proves that.

P.S. Sir Paul is the only Beatle I've seen in person, in 1990, and fairly up close too (about 20 feet away!) - Linda was indeed lovely (and cute flipping peace-signs from the stage while pretending to play a keyboard) and he was a talented, charismatic performer.
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani: The real face of power in Iraq


Archbishop Joseph (Raya)

Photo of the Melkite bishop who translated and compiled Byzantine Daily Worship
From blog correspondent Dave McLaughlin
As US detains Iraqis, families plead for news

Saturday, March 06, 2004

From blogforlovers
Church of England creates ‘virtual parish’
The i-church is a cute gimmick (as long as it isn't the 'I- Church', the church of me, myself and I) and there is a place for this as part of the church's outreach but of course it isn't literally a parish church as there is no such thing as virtual sacraments (though I'm sure some vagante and other fringe groups have tried that). The bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries (met him once when I happened to live in his diocese), is no Catholic but that doesn't ipso facto make the idea bad if rightly understood and used. Such a site or e-mail list - and better still, with a priest available 24/7 for its members - is as legit as the Online Chapel among this blog's links (pop in to pray for peace).

There are different levels of involvement in the church, some better than others, of course, and this may be just the thing for people who don't think they're ready to visit an actual church yet.
In the post
More on the Chilandar (Хиландар) monastery fire
And a way to help the poor Serbian monks rebuild. No matter one's differences with Mt Athos, this sounds like a worthy cause:

Anyone who wants to make a contribution through FoMA can send a check made out to the Friends of Mount Athos to the following address, and we will forward these donations in the name of FoMA to the appropriate agency ... Please indicate whether you wish your donation to be anonymous or not. The Address: The Friends of Mount Athos c/o Robert W. Allison, Dept. of Philosophy & Religion, 73/75 Campus Ave., Bates College, Lewiston, ME 04240, USA

By the way, though culturally the monastery is Serbian, and so if there is a Serbian recension of the Byzantine Rite that's what they use, technically it isn't part of the Church of Serbia (Patriarch Paul III) but rather, logically, geographically and canonically, is under the patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew - one of the corners of modern Greece that still is.

Photos (more)

And finally, the Serbian in the first linked page is a fun and challenging read if you know Russian.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
OK, still another story on The Passion, this one anti from a longtime quisling RC priest:

Oh, the horror
by Fr Andrew Greeley
Living proof that when it comes to Catholicism, ethnic-Irish identity doesn't necessarily mean anything much of the time anymore, if it ever did.

The Irish connection reminded me of another Irish-American rather different to Fr G, the late, infamous Fr Leonard Feeney (who taught his monstrous but allowable opinion as doctrine and was excommunicated for it, in poetic justice - his followers meant well but were wrong). The Irish are Calvinist-tinged via Jansenism, and as the saintly Archbishop Robert Morse likes to say, Calvinism always shatters into Unitarianism. That's what's happened here, which is why Fr G apparently is sex-mad as well. In a way Fr G is as representative of his generation of Irish-Americans as Fr F was of the one before it.

Well, his compromised, halfhearted brand of churchmanship - Broad Church for non-Anglos - only draws the old and dying like him and he knows it. Most people, especially the younger generations, are honestly secular and those who are religious don't buy his crap.

'The Passion of the Christ' is a celebration of the bloody suffering of Jesus, a fundamentalist interpretation by a man who rejects the Vatican Council.

You usually are doing something right when the chattering classes f-bomb you with 'fundamentalist'.

'Passion' is a glorification of sado-masochism.

Everything is sex with this bloody-minded git.

For most of the first millennium of Christian history, the church spread a veil of modest discretion over the physical suffering of Jesus. It respected the privacy of his final hours and celebrated the empty crucifix as a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus (an event that is noted only weakly and vaguely in Mel Gibson's conclusion).

First, if it's empty it isn't a crucifix! Second, regarding the Resurrection, going in depth with that was beyond the scope of the movie and what's it to you, anyway, Fr G? Your kind don't believe in a literal resurrection anyway but rather 'the Christ event'. (Don't your favourite theologians believe that the disciples made up resurrection stories so they'd feel better, so Jesus would live in them always, like Santa Claus or poor Uncle Fred, while His body was thrown in a rubbish pit and eaten by dogs?)

The Greek churches even to this day resist sensationalist presentations of the suffering of Jesus. However, in the Middle Ages, the Western church gradually put the corpus back on the cross, though it did not present Jesus as naked, as he in fact would have been. The cult of the physical suffering of Jesus became especially strong during the Renaissance. It was not always a completely healthy devotion as the cult of the flagellants demonstrated.

A half-truth at best. He's got a lot of nerve trying to co-opt the Orthodox and sorry to burst his bubble but do have a look.

It was typical of everything in the life of Jesus that he chose to be united in his death with the poor and the oppressed, a point Gibson seems to have missed.

So, 'peace and justice' type, who again was the fellow hanging on the cross next to Jesus who was promised paradise?

Those religious conservatives who seem to delight in how much Jesus suffered are certainly correct that his sufferings were terrible. Those who say the sufferings were absolutely unique to him simply display their own ignorance of history.

Or maybe they believe in the divinity of Christ, the faith you were ordained to teach instead of writing narcissistic soft-porn novels.

Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
LRC picks
In praise of saving
by Gary North

Crossing the threshold
From liberty - Anglo-American rule of law, an achievement of civilization - to totalitarianism
Pop-culture watch
Reason to hate ‘Friends’
I admit I watch it - often it's cute, stylish and according to my tastes far preferable to the insanely popular, vicious, very secular-Jewish humour of 'Seinfeld'.

That said, I can detect the poison in this confection:

JOEY: Man. Can you believe he's only had sex with one woman?

CHANDLER: I think it's great. Y'know, it's sweet, it's romantic...

JOEY: Really?

CHANDLER: No, you kidding? The guy's a freak.

That's right, hipster wannabes for the past 10 years this programme has been on - romance and sex as God intended are for freaks. (And broken hearts, divorce, VD and AIDS are cool?)

This hasn't even got the irony and camp/OTT-ness that make 'Will & Grace' funny.

Fie on David Crane.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Book pick
The Forgotten Medicine: The Mystery of Repentance
by Archimandrite Seraphim (Aleksiev)

Sounds good! In addition to the reviews on the Amazon page (including one from old online friend Lou Pizzuti/Luigj Picut, proudly of Arbëresh/Italo-Albanian descent), online friend Jim Coffey recommends it:

I would describe this little 74-page book (almost a pamphlet) as one of the most precious jewels in my personal library. I dust it off every Lent and go throught it. The late Fr. Aleksiev (sic), a Bulgarian monk, wrote the best single book on Confession that I have yet to encounter. I have another one published by Scepter Press (Frequent Confession I think is the title) that is OK but really is too much of a long read for such an important topic.

Fr. Aleksiev's book is the perfect book for Roman Catholics, not just Orthodox (Anglicans too!). He discusses all the excuses--he's gentle about it but quite blatant--for not going to Confession and straightens the reader out.

The book is maybe $5 plus s/h.

This is the 1st of 3 volumes of Fr. Aleksiev's spiritual writings. The other two books are:
The Meaning of Suffering and Strife & Reconciliation. I plan to get these two books too.

Sounds like he's right up there with the late Frs John Meyendorff and Alexander Schmemann as one of those Orthodox writers for all Catholics. The kind of book the Russians call a настольная книга, the kind you keep out on the table!
From blog correspondent Samer al-Batal
Fire guts mediæval monastery
Chilandar, a treasure of the Church of Serbia on Mt Athos in Greece. I haven't got that much use for Athos - many of those monks have got the basics of the faith but regrettably are also quite mad (and some haven't got the faith down either, as they rebaptize people already Eastern Orthodox, making them Donatist heretics) - but am very sorry to hear of this, of course. At least nobody was killed or hurt.
LRC pick
The phoney election
by John Pilger
I'm afraid he's right.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Oh... Canada! (Said while shaking one’s head)
As my friend Jeff Culbreath said to me years six years ago and I agree, Her Majesty's dominion is a bitter disappointment because 'it had a lot of potential' as a base of traditionalism in general in North America. After all, traditionalism (vs. the godless rebels in the more southerly colonies) was Canada's original reason to exist!!!! Loyalty to a sacramentally crowned king. So what went wrong?

Mr Kantor has the right to embarrass himself any way he wants with his art - freedom and religious liberty and all that - but it's wrong for any government to subsidize it with our money. If I wanted to see it, I'd pay for a ticket.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
‘Billionaires for Bush’ protesters crash Yale College Republican rally
LOL, brilliant.

Republican supporters were not alone, as they were joined by the group Billionaires for Bush. Around 30 students were present, all dressed in formal attire and holding signs such as 'Blood for Oil'.

Members also chanted slogans like 'Who needs equal rights?' as they handed out pamphlets.

'One of the problems we faced in this rally was that they kind of look like Bush supporters.'
Ukrainian prelate still seeks patriarchate
Understandable considering what the USSR did to your church, but once again, Your Beatitude, look at the big picture like your saintly predecessor, Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky), did - corporate reunion, not short-term gains for your side at the expense of the Church of Russia.