Monday, January 31, 2005

The Beatles
Another reason the secular world loves John Lennon
And another reason for me to like him less — it’s not out of character at all based on the bio I’ve read. He meant the ‘bigger than Jesus’ remark and only was sorry he got caught, and then there’s the anthem to atheism ‘Imagine’.
Asperger syndrome
Steven Spielberg has it

So does Dan Aykroyd

We don’t act like The Rain Man
Conservatives against Bush and the war now noticed by mainstream press

Reconsidering Private Slovik
(you have to sign up to read this)
Eddie Slovik, executed 60 years ago today, officially the only US soldier shot for desertion since the Civil War

In 1942 Slovik was classified 4-F, unfit because of his criminal record (petty theft and joyriding). As Allied casualties mounted in Europe, however, the military began casting a wide net for replacements. Slovik was reclassified and inducted into the Army on Jan. 3, 1944.

At basic training at Camp Wolters, Texas, it became clear that he would embody none of the heroism for which his generation is remembered. He was 5-foot-6 and skinny, and had trouble walking because of childhood operations to straighten his bowed legs... More debilitating, he abhorred violence. The booms of heavy artillery terrified him... Slovik showed ‘total inability as a combat soldier’, Col. Arnold Shaw, his commander, once wrote.
They sent a disabled man to the front!

LRC is right — he was set up and scapegoated. Slovik obviously never should have been in the Army let alone in combat.

And no doubt many Europeans liberated by the Allies also liked Ike – many Europeans except those Russian prisoners of war sent back to the Soviet Union.
A lot like these Russians, some of whom I know.

And was it so important that 292,131 American soldiers had to die so that the Communists could control Eastern Europe for forty-five years while the United States wasted billions of dollars fighting the Cold War? Our alliance with Stalin and the USSR during World War II was unconscionable.
Eastern churches
The online homeless
A while back Fr Alvin Kimel, the Perennial Rambler and I talked about the phenom of Catholics and others who end up ‘theologically homeless’ when their home churches go bad and they don’t quite belong anywhere else.

As diverse as the Web is, this happens on its message boards as well.

Existing boards change/go off and attempts to build new ‘homes’ are stillborn.

Anglo-Catholics are almost in this position as they are in the Anglican Communion — just a couple of barely flickering lamps out there and a couple of dead boards.

Anyway, in only about five years I’ve seen the same thing happen to people like some of us of this blog: people who aren’t theologically liberal and love the Eastern Orthodox services and spirituality but don’t like the schismatic ‘anti-’ spirit towards other Catholics (as the late RC blogger Gerard Bugge described it) of the convert-driven online Ortho-world.

The Byzantine Catholic online options suck too but for different reasons:

There was, which died many years ago from a ‘troll’ invasion made possible by outdated board technology and nobody maintaining it to keep out that sort of thing.

Then there was, which went mad-dog three years ago against the people I’m talking about for liberal reasons. (It hates traditionalists.) Ironically it’s easier to be a hostile ‘Orthodick’ there (probably because the owners want to be cool in an ecumenical way) than to be of the churchmanship I’m describing.

Then exiles from that started, which morphed into and while so doing they redundantly went batshit in the other direction, basically re-creating what’s already out there in the cyber Ortho-world.

Slightly ahead in that trajectory is, actually a kind of offshoot of the board last described, which in three years has gone from being to an unwitting parody of Ortho-convert neuroses including changing churches like Elizabeth Taylor used to change husbands.

CINeast, now a Yahoo! group, is moribund as is the group the Russian Catholics in New York tried to start — I think simply because the Web has made e-groups and e-mail lists obsolete. (Even your wife’s naff cousin who daily forwarded you every joke that’s been circulating in cyberspace for 10+ years now twigs that.)

If anybody is starting or knows of an alternative do please let us know! Personally I almost don’t give a toss now but some of our readers might benefit.
LRC picks
Reporting the war
Usually journalists turn against wars. Why? ... It is not because they are Commies. It is because they are there. After a few weeks on the ground, you will find yourself acquiring pronounced opinions about things. This is inevitable. No one short of a diagnosable psychopath remains emotionally remote.

Without profound ideological commitment, you will come to loathe the military command. This will happen regardless of whether you think the particular war necessary. The military lies, and lies, and lies.
Probably true but to be fair, friend John Treat notes that the generals know better, didn’t want this war and hate it.

Heroic Poland
Fighting both Nazism and Bolshevism, part of Catholic Europe that FDR betrayed

It was not Ronald Reagan who ended history’s most murderous political regime, Stalinism. That’s just a bunch of propaganda from the men Reagan made wealthy and powerful by building up his war machine. No, as predicted by a Polish-speaking Austrian Jew who grew up in heavily Polish Silesia – Ludwig von Mises – communism was doomed by its own contradictions; its inner rot. That inner collapse started in Poland, inspired by a man named Karol Józef Wojtyla and carried out by Lech Walesa and crew. The Poles always knew what a joke communism was: "They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work." – they would say.

The Soviets knew how stupid Western intellectuals, reporters and politicians were. They thought they could get away with this lie and they did get away with it for many years. The U.S. government helped. Thank you.

At least the Brits fought to free Poland. But that too was a disappointment as that legend in his own mind Churchill and his dupe Roosevelt sold Poland out to the devilish mass murderer Stalin. That’s right. Stalin, who along with his erstwhile buddy Hitler, started the war by invading Poland, ends up with Poland after, with FDR’s and Winston’s help. Talk about dumb! And it’s not that the West didn’t know what a bastard Stalin was.
A place where, even under Soviet occupation for 45 years, for most of that time the Communists were afraid to take down the crucifixes in schools.
From truthout
Briton held in Guantánamo: my nightmare of torture and assault

Sunday, January 30, 2005

On the box

‘Star Trek’ star James Doohan has Alzheimer’s
From July 2004

• Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.
• Nice fellow as far as I can tell — this World War II Canadian Army veteran became American TV’s most famous Scotsman, a serviceable semi-comic music-hall/vaudeville impersonation. This article describes his other talents and exploits, some of which I didn’t know about (he invented the Klingon language for the movies!).
• It seems the fan conventions became his main activity; most of the old show’s actors seem to really like the fans and be grateful for them.
• Glad he got a star in the pavement on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame a month after the news about his health.
From blog member Samer al-Batal
From Chronicles:

How Americans were seduced by war
By Paul Craig Roberts
The world is a vast place. The United States has demonstrated that it cannot impose its will on a tiny part known as Iraq. American realism may yet reassert itself, dispel the fog of delusion, cleanse the body politic of the Jacobin spirit and lead the world by good example. But this happy outcome will require regime change in the United States.
Douglas Feith resigns under pressure of investigations
S al-B: Juan Cole comments on the record of an American Likudnik who contributed to lying his country into war to serve Israeli interests. The man is a traitor to his country.

An inaugural formula for endless war
By Patrick Buchanan
In declaring it to be America's mission in the world to end tyranny on earth, President Bush is launching a crusade even more ambitious and utopian than was Wilson's. His crusade, too, will end, as Wilson's did, in disillusionment for him and tragedy for his country.
Not even Saddam could achieve the divisions this election will bring
By Robert Fisk
S al-B: A relevant article, though a little dated, that provides some comments and focus on tomorrow's elections.

The real trouble with this election, however, is not so much the violence that will take place before, during and, rest assured, after 30 January. The greatest threat to "democracy" is that with four provinces containing around half the population of Iraq in a state of insurgency and many of its towns under rebel control, this election is going to widen the differences between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds in a way that not even Saddam Hussein was able to achieve. If the Sunnis don't vote - save for those living in America, Syria and other exotic locations - then the Shia community, perhaps 60 per cent of the population, will take an overwhelming number of seats in the "Transitional National Assembly".
This year’s Oscars lack Passion
S al-B: The Academy has decided to grant the film nominations in three categories: cinematography, makeup, and original score. Sadly, it has been given no place in the competition for best film. The foregoing sounds like consolation nominations, if anything.

I don't consider myself particularly religious, but Passion was by far one of the most powerful films of the last decade -- and certainly one of the five best of the last year. The fearless portrayal of Roman brutality mixed with the film's captivating presentation of Christian spirituality take viewers to a place that few movies dare to travel. The country's premier film society ought to reward this type of artistic risk-taking, not shun it.
Once again, repeating several postings here when the movie was released, it’s a good effort and quite orthodox, with the violence necessary to re-create what happened, but not as good as the hype promised. The absence of the Greek language both as the majority of the dialogue and on the sign over the cross (which is in scripture) is a glaring error. (It was the common second language in that part of the world at that time, which is why the New Testament was written in it: Jews and Romans would have communicated with each other using it.) My version would have had Gibson’s use of languages other than English using subtitles and his depiction of the violence, but Zefferelli’s staging of the carrying of the cross and the acting at and after the crucifixion, and Scorsese’s AFAIK historically correct staging of the crucifixion itself.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

LRC picks
The word thieves


We have become the terrorists.
From truthout
The Independent: Is the world safer now?
Who are the insurgents and are they linked to al-Qa’ida?

There is no single resistance movement. It is made up of different groups - many of which only operate in a single district. The U.S. has sought to portray the insurgents as consisting of either foreign fighters or bloodthirsty Islamic fanatics, though U.S. military intelligence admits that 95 per cent of fighters are Iraqi.
The answer to the second part of the question is no but:

American denunciations meant local groups began to call themselves al-Qa’ida.

Do Iraqis feel liberated?
No, on which they are correct, and:

Many of them this week referred to the election as "a movie" staged for the benefit of the outside world.

Coalition pull-out from Iraq gathers pace
The move has been backed by incoming President Viktor Yushchenko [of the Ukraine], who campaigned on a promise to bring the troops home.
Why he was the better man after all.

Editorial on the columnist-Bush payola scandal
As reported in The Gaelic Starover
From New Directions
This is a month late but worth saving:

‘Season’s greetings?’
Local authorities remove all reference to the cradle of our culture, renaming it, ‘A Time of Gifts’, the primary gift being my bally taxes to pay for this nonsense. Po-faced headmistresses ‘reduce offence to minorities’ by replacing the Nativity Play with glib morality tales in tinsel. This does not reduce the ‘offence’ to Muslims, who love Jesus and Mary and were not offended in the first place, only to the militant atheists in the staffroom.
Old ways, new hope
By Fr Michael Heidt, ‘priest trained at this house’, whom I had the honour of knowing then, now rector of St John’s, Norristown, Pennsylvania. Stand by, World War II generation and boomers: the restoration of what you tried to destroy is under way.

One of the happier things about moving parishes is the cheerful opportunity it gives to remove 1970s memorabilia. Out go the weary cassock albs with their thick, rope-like waist accessories that the Star Trek generation forced upon young servers. The ‘President’s Chair’ gets to go back to the teak recycling plant and the nylon impedimenta of the Decade of Good Taste can be quietly shelved and forgotten. All this to say nothing of veneered chipboard Tables, which only succeeded in confusing the faithful. Well, you know what they say ‘it’s out with old and in with the new’. The new in this instance being a return to natural fibre, cassocks and cottas, the Sacrament back on the High Altar and the Mass restored. Add a healthy dose of daily catholic devotions and everyone begins to get positively festive. Why not? They’ve got their religion back after several decades of tired modernist experimentation and what better gift to give a parish for the New Year than that?

...there is no good reason for us to side with a disbelieving culture. There is every good reason for us to have confidence in our own, because its true and it works. Fr David Diamond proved that not so long ago on the streets of Deptford, faithful priests and people proved it before, they do so now and they’ll do it again, even in America. So I say, bring back the High Altars and the Mass which converted me as a child and does so now. More to the point, bring back that militant love for the Church and the people, that holiness of life and surety of mission, which changed the face of Anglicanism and nearly converted its soul. For that matter, bring back triumphalism; after all, what do we have to apologise for but the apology itself? Having gotten over that we can begin to move again, here in America and regardless of primatial decision in February, towards the goal of rebuilding the Catholic Movement and converting our nation to the Faith.
Even if you don’t succeed, you can make your corner of the nation a better place and save souls.

Friday, January 28, 2005

From Ship of Fools
How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?
From Drake Adams and The Perennial Rambler
Is an Israeli fanatic Mr Bush’s ‘brain’?
From David’s Daily Diversions
A hard look at crime in Britain
Brits like to characterise America as a violent lawless place
I remember. Considering that there have been two shootings (one fatal) within yards of my house in a few years I can see why. However...

so unlike these gentle shores, populated with the sensible people sharing enlightened Euro-values.
The thing is those enlightened Euro-values were nicked and distorted from the Catholic faith. Take away grace and you get tyranny.

Violent crime is up by six percent. No big surprise there. This is a violent country. People used to just beat the crap out of each other, but since the Government took away all the guns in their first year in power, gun crime has steadily risen. Firearms offences rose by another five percent last year to 10,670.
Score one for America’s Second Amendment. BTW, Drake Adams notes that the neocons are now, erm, metaphorically shooting their gun-owner supporters in the back.

There has not been sufficient working together between communities themselves, police and the alcohol industry themselves to ensure people behave in a responsible way.
Sounds like the bullshit on TV in the States where Philip Morris pretend they want to help people quit smoking and prevent kids from starting, which would put them out of business. BTW, see The Insider with Russell Crowe.
Eastern churches
Russian Orthodox reunion in America: what would it mean?
What would it mean for mainstream America and the possible conversion of same to some kind of the Catholic faith? Except allowing for miracles (which one must do!), as great as the Russian recension of the Byzantine Rite is, probably not a whole lot.

Internally, would the Church of Russia turn its back on/revoke the independence of its old dioceses in the States (the Orthodox Church in America) in favour of ROCOR, with whom culturally and in praxis it has more in common? I don’t think so. Even though AFAIK the Russian Church doesn’t get any money from its old dioceses since independence, a look at the numbers shows such a change wouldn’t make any sense. There are four times more OCA congregations than ROCOR in the States, so even though the OCA are a small church it seems they’d have more clout.

(Though it’s been pointed out that ROCOR are international, serving not only a few people in Europe but also Russian expats in Australia.)

Add to that the long history of the American dioceses and that there are more of them than there are ROCOR ones in the States.

No, what will happen in the short to medium term is the Russian Church will renege on only part of its grant of independence in 1970, the promise not to add more churches to its tiny holdings in America (about 30 congregations exempt by choice from the independence grant).

It seems OCA Metropolitan Herman is amenable to that. (BTW, here is why he participates in the March for Life.)

In time, numerical superiority (though the OCA are a small and shrinking church), assimilation, good basic Catholic ecclesiology (one bishop per see) and common sense would mean the combined Russian Church holdings eventually would pass into the OCA.

More interesting numbers:

• There are about as many Coptic congregations in America as there are ROCOR. These are Egyptian immigrants, the descendents of the ancient Egyptians who are a persecuted minority in their own now-Arab Muslim country.
• The RC Archdiocese of New York has almost as many parishes (often very big) as the whole OCA has congregations. Their site is very telling: pastoral FAQ are mostly to do with annulments (in practice lots of people want a divorce) and there is lots of attempted damage control in the wake of the gay-priest scandal. It practically screams ‘Come back, please! We don’t molest boys anymore, we promise!’ How about adding a counter showing how many months since the last case or lawsuit? (No wonder the Holy See thinks Americans are sex-mad. If I had a teen-aged son and saw this site I’d run like hell the other way.) Of all the liturgical and socio-political matters dealt with in the Catholic faith and of interest to this blog, only one is represented: abortion, full stop. No wonder the March for Life and suchlike for many have become a substitute for fuller religious life (seen from the Middle Ages until around 50 years ago in city neighbourhoods).
• About 400,000 people in the US practise Greek Orthodoxy, making their archdiocese numerically the No. 1 Eastern Orthodox church in that land, an ethnic chaplaincy that sends much money to the beseiged patriarch of Constantinople in Turkey. (They’re not under the Church of Greece — complicated story.)
• ROCOR have about 3,000-4,000 members in North America.
LRC picks
Bollixing up the world
Congressman Ron Paul, MD, on US foreign policy

Saying no to Al ‘Thumbscrew’ Gonzales
Somebody unknown to me (yet?) signed me onto the truthout mailing list:

Kennedy’s Iraq withdrawal plan
Sounds good but I still think you’re going to see a replay of the Vietnam end-game

Thursday, January 27, 2005

From Ship of Fools
Did you know...

• That the US Secretary of State is fourth in line to the presidency?
• That about two years ago, referring to the new Canadian charter of rights, a Roman Catholic subject in HM Dominion challenged the Act of Settlement, which requires the Sovereign (who is Queen of Canada) to be a non-RC? He lost — British law still trumps Canadian regarding that.
Gitmo soldier details sexual tactics
The latest from the administration that stands for morality and faith in God.


P.S. If you don’t see the irony here read Joshua Snyder’s fitting headline.
From Fr Joseph Huneycutt
Partly why Generation Y often aren’t very nice

When, in Tom Wolfe's most recent novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons, Charlotte's mother asks her during Christmas break where students go on dates at Dupont University, Charlotte responds: "Nobody goes out on a date. The girls go out in groups and the boys go out in groups, and they hope they find somebody they like." This is Charlotte Simmons's description of "hooking up." "Hooking up" has replaced traditional courtship and dating among today's college students. "Hooking up" is dating sans courtship or expectations of a future relationship or commitment. It is strictly about user sex. I use you and you use me for mutual pleasure. And liquor is more often than not the lubricant that makes things go.
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.

Fr J is also right about contraception, standing with the Popes and the church fathers:

In Humanæ Vitæ, Pope Paul VI warned that the wide-spread use of contraception would lead to "conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality"; he also warned that man would lose respect for woman and "no longer [care] for her physical and psychological equilibrium"; rather, man would treat woman as a "mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion." Why? By breaking the natural and divinely ordained connection between sex and procreation, women and especially men would focus on the hedonistic possibilities of sex and cease to see sex as something that was intrinsically linked to new life and the sacrament of marriage. [Touchstone, Vol.18, No.1, p.39]
Fr J: But I thought all that stuff was due to heterosexism.
The one good thing Pope Paul VI ever did.

This blog isn’t saying, BTW, that sex is only for procreation, rather holding to the relatively recent teaching that the unitive aspect is just as important.

...rather, man would treat woman as a "mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer as his respected and beloved companion."
I’m afraid it didn’t always work that way back in the good old days. Fallen human nature and all that.

The state of Christ’s church in Bethlehem

Sponge Bob redux
Answering The Gaelic Starover’s remark that was echoed here

And related to that:

Fr Joseph’s no-nonsense take on homosexuality
The authentic Catholic position
From Fr James Tucker

Where have all the children gone?
On low birth rates and why pay-as-you-go pension schemes are doomed (US Social Security: a big Ponzi con-game?)
A word on the Shroud of Turin
The carbon-dating didn’t bother me. At ‘worst’ the shroud is a mediæval miracle. A forger, even a talented artist, wouldn’t have known how to make it nor have got the details right. And it turns out the dating may have been wrong...

Johnny Carson
By Tim Whitaker


Gary North on the man and his contemporaries
From blog member Lee Penn
This already ran in The Gaelic Starover.

More from Seymour Hersh: doom: defeat in war, econ crash, anti-US trend in EU
Or ‘we’ve been taken over by a cult’. From an interview late last year.

Lee: Time is running out for the US.

The quotes say it all. The Bushies are taking us straight into defeat .... and though Hersh does not say it, I will: next is the New World Order. [End.]

"as virtuous as I feel, you know, at The New Yorker, writing an alternative history more or less of what's been going on in the last three years, George Bush feels just as virtuous in what he is doing. He is absolutely committed -- I don't know whether he thinks he's doing God's will or what his father didn't do, or whether it's some mandate from -- you know, I just don't know, but George Bush thinks this is the right thing. He is going to continue doing what he has been doing in Iraq. He's going to expand it, I think, if he can."

"I can't begin to exaggerate how frightening the position is -- we're in right now, because most of you don't understand, because the press has not done a very good job. The Senate Intelligence Committee, the new bill that was just passed, provoked by the 9/11 committee actually, is a little bit of a kabuki dance, I guess is what I want to say, in that what it really does is it consolidates an awful lot of power in the Pentagon -- by statute now. It gives Rumsfeld the right to do an awful lot of things he has been wanting to do, and that is basically manhunting and killing them before they kill us."

"These are punitive people. One of the ways -- one of the things that you could say is, the amazing thing is we are being taken over basically by a cult, eight or nine neo-conservatives have somehow grabbed the government. Just how and why and how they did it so efficiently, will have to wait for much later historians and better documentation than we have now, but they managed to overcome the bureaucracy and the Congress, and the press, with the greatest of ease. It does say something about how fragile our Democracy is. You do have to wonder what a Democracy is when it comes down to a few men in the Pentagon and a few men in the White House having their way."

"Iraq is being turn into a 'free-fire zone' right in front of us. Hit everything, kill everything."

"Abu Ghraib was reported in January of 2004 this year. In May, I and CBS earlier also wrote an awful lot about what was going on there. At that point, between January and May, our government did nothing."

"Every four-star general I know is saying, 'Who is going to tell them we have no clothes?' Nobody is going to do it. Everybody is afraid to tell Rumsfeld anything. That's just the way it is. It's a system built on fear. It's not lack of integrity, it's more profound than that. Because there is individual integrity. It's a system that's completely been taken over -- by cultists."

"Another salvation may be the economy. It's going to go very bad, folks. You know, if you have not sold your stocks and bought property in Italy, you better do it quick."

"And the third thing is Europe -- Europe is not going to tolerate us much longer. The rage there is enormous. I'm talking about our old-fashioned allies. We could see something there, collective action against us. Certainly, nobody -- it's going to be an awful lot of dancing on our graves as the dollar goes bad and everybody stops buying our bonds, our credit -- our -- we're spending $2 billion a day to float the debt, and one of these days, the Japanese and the Russians, everybody is going to start buying oil in Euros instead of dollars. We're going to see enormous panic here. But he could get through that. That will be another year, and the damage he's going to do between then and now is enormous. We're going to have some very bad months ahead."
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

From The Onion
Making fun of what I do for a living (yes, I like what I do and no, I don’t know all those grammatical terms):

Someday I will copy-edit the great American novel
Seriously, expanding on another part of what I do, I’d enjoy doing multiple interviews with a celebrity to ghostwrite that person’s autobiography.

Incidentally the model with the rad glasses is cute.

Anti-Bush protest one person short of success

What do you think? The Rice confirmation

She belongs in the same bin as Michelle Malkin: I don’t care what race you are; you’re a fascist.

Meet Seth MacFarlane
The comic genius behind ‘Family Guy’: all the things that make us effing cry
LRC pick
My husband chooses not to kill
By Monica Benderman, the wife of a real American hero

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Eastern churches
From blog member Samer al-Batal

Posted as a favour to the project’s producer, Subdeacon Kareem il-Far:

The first complete recording of the Eastern Orthodox Liturgy, Arabic recension, in English
The CD is for sale here
From David Virtue
Former Episcopal priest joins RC diocese and promised Anglican Use
That’s nice, Father, but when you retire or die your congregation will be shoved into the Novus Ordo maw as happened in Las Vegas. The Anglican Use is a Potemkin village — mainstream RCs don’t want you... because you’re Catholic. The AU is better (certainly ceremonially) than the default use but it’s not the Roman Mass — it’s the NO (complete with ‘for you and for all’) partially wrapped in Elizabethan English.
LRC pick
Following up on my entry this past week on the big US March for Life: a challenge to the pro-life activists:

Where’s your concern about the war in Iraq?
Of course this blog isn’t the only place where you’ll find something like consistency on this, the authentic Catholic position held by traditionalists. (Almost the ‘seamless garment’ except there is a place — rarely — for the death penalty.) But that it might have been missing for the most part at the NovusOrdopalooza self-congratfest really isn’t shocking anymore.
Dog bites man, or let’s bait Morris Dees
Holocaust milked
As it will be until the second coming of the Messiah. Oh, yes, there was that unpleasantness with 20M Russians, right? I reckon that like the Gypsies they’re among the also-rans in the monopoly on suffering. As are the Palestinians.

Hard to believe that 50+ years on and after all the Cold War propaganda in which the West 180’d on the USSR, Uncle Joe still gets a pass. The John Birch Society have a point: where are the multimillion-dollar museum and the black-tie gala so people ‘never forget’ this?

On that note Fr James Tucker says:

I'll take seriously the Europeans who want to ban the swastika once they start talking about banning the sickle and hammer, too. (Fat chance of that.)
Free music
‘Eyes of Mercy’
From October Project

Monday, January 24, 2005

Eastern churches
Big shots at creepy New World Orderish Swiss conference make retreats... on Mount Athos?
I’m still thinking about this one. Many of the mountain’s monks seem (never been), like many others in that church scene, quite Catholic (admirably fervent and observant) but at the same time quite mad, having kittens if the Patriarch of Constantinople (‘Modernist ecumenist heretic!’ Evil ‘world Orthodox’!) is in the same room as the Pope to give an example among many smaller ones — they think most other Orthodox aren’t up to snuff and even have rebaptized them which would make them Donatist heretics even by their churches’ standards. (An acquaintance of admirable churchmanship says that all such Catholic groups thinking they’re the only one might be a sign of a divine sense of humour.) But Fidel Castro as a guest on Athos is OK? (Of course all are sinners and all are welcome to come and pray in a Catholic church.)

Said years ago after being interviewed by a company that did that sort of thing that perhaps it’s best not to work for businesses that presume to conduct ‘retreats’. Reminds me of the ‘Simpsons’ episode where Burns tried to be the nuclear power-plant workers’ God until his costume melted off.

On the bright side giving some big cheeses a stiff dose of unbowdlerized Catholic religion sounds like it can’t be a bad thing if that in fact is what’s going on.

And it seems none of the ‘God told me to invade Iraq’ people goes there. Then again Mr Bush’s churchy supporters tend to think the Athonites aren’t Christians (’cos they don’t follow the Bahble* and are ‘worshipping’ bread, paintings and Mary...).

*Which, since sola scriptura isn’t scriptural, really means the fathers on Athos don’t follow Pastor Billy Joe Bob.
On the box
‘Island at War’
Based on the true story of a corner of Britain that the Germans invaded and occupied during World War II. Knew somebody at college — a full-fledged young fogey when I was just getting started — who was from there.

Seems like an accurate re-creation of the period — I admit I love the quaintness — and it’s got all the makings of good drama: plucky, good-hearted English v. suitably loutish Germans.

‘Hey, Betty Grable! Got my number?
Pennsylvania 6-5-oh-oh-oh!’
Compared to what Soviet troops* did to German women that’s nothing.

What I wonder, though, is if the neocons would watch this and have their view reinforced of Airstrip One as their quaint, witty, ineffectual (as the old bailiff of the island is) sidekicks: Mini-Me to their Dr Evil as cartoon character Marge Simpson has described the Special Relationship. (The part Brits play in American movies when they’re not being bad guys for Disney or George Lucas.)

The complete lack of French only a generation removed from when it was spoken there also fascinated me. The islands are actually nearer to France than to England and the people once spoke a strange archaic Germanic-accented version of it which some people are trying to bring back. They were part of Normandy to begin with and the Normans originally were Vikings, which explains the strange sound Jèrriais had. (Like ths where rs are in modern français.)

Technically the islands aren’t part of the UK and are under the Sovereign as ‘Duke of Normandy’ as they are the last Norman lands the Crown claims.

And moving downmarket:

Bridget Jones’s Diary
Mediocre** — see Renée Zellweger in Nurse Betty instead with the great Morgan Freeman — and no, she didn’t master the accent but she’s even hotter when she has put on weight to play the part.

So... she’s cute, sexy and having it off with Hugh Grant and one is supposed to feel sorry for her?

*Who were, after all, the good guys — our father among the saints FDR said so.

**It might be based on Jane Austen and I don’t like that either.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Now that’s a coalition
When a Bush speech is so scary that not only Daithí Mac Lochlainn and Joshua Snyder but a Republican Party stalwart like Peggy Noonan and a lefty Broad Churchperson agree with this blog about the man, that says something. It’s even too much for Jeff Culbreath:

A purer expression of the Americanist heresy will never be found.
Now that I’ve read the speech:
• Holy shit.
• Whoever wrote it, it certainly sounds like it’s coming from somebody who ducked out of Vietnam and thus didn’t learn anything from it.
• Wilsonian. Very scary, kids.
From blog correspondent John Boyden
Viet Dinh: ‘I am a complete intellectual fraud’
He is a Bush-appointed former assistant attorney general and main author of the USA Patriot Act
From Slugger O’Toole via The Gaelic Starover
An archaic sister language to English from Norman times in Wexford, Ireland, now extinct

Daithí also says:

Get a bloody life, Dobson!
Evos make fools of themselves — again

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Weather boffinry
Thunder snow
The cool phenom I’ve occasionally seen (but not today) where a snowstorm has lightning is actually called that. It’s simply a thunderstorm in very cold air so it snows instead of raining.

And a Philadelphia reference:

Too cute
The city’s most beautiful weather reader is called Amy Freeze and yes, that’s her real name.
From Fr James Tucker
Alzheimer’s brain damage reversed in lab mice

The last days of the universe?
From blog member Lee Penn
Bush: Junk the Hubble telescope
Leaving aside for a moment the libertarian argument whether the government (that is, taxpayers, whether they give a toss about space or not) or private companies or people should be paying for this...

Lee: Various comments on this:

(a) The White House can fund wars of aggression, but will not fund a quest for scientific truth.
(b) Since the WH loves darkness and cover-up on earth, why would they want to look at reality in space?
(c) Or .... they know something is coming, and they don't want the rest of us to see it.
Ethical questions
A new form of journalism

RSS works
Syndication seems to have nearly doubled our hits, which weren’t bad to begin with — thanks! There seems to be a slump this morning because of both the weekend and perhaps the big snowstorm in the eastern US. Speaking of which...

It’s bloody cold
A friend fixed my central heating but I woke up this morning to find my front room about 20 degrees F colder than my kitchen/office/bedroom, thanks to the godawful neighbours* upstairs who on the coldest night of the season so far (0 degrees F) left the front door to the house, opening to the vestibule and corridor next to my front room, open all night. Brilliant, people, brilliant.

*To forestall the question ‘Why not talk to them about it?’ they’re dangerous as in violent. The police have been here twice to break up fights among them. And I checked twice last night to prevent just this disaster (the door, not the fights!) from happening. The trouble is they’re in and out at all hours.
Tsunami news
British stars perform in Wales to raise money
LRC picks
On presidential inauguration speeches
In which Gary North tells the truth about FDR (especially) and JFK

His [Lincoln’s] famous phrase, "with malice toward none, with charity toward all," was repudiated for the next decade by Congress during what came to be known as Reconstruction.
Actually the whole war that preceded those words showed they were a lie.

BTW, those who paint Lincoln as a Christ figure sometimes use the fact that he died on Good Friday. Yes — at the theatre, in 1865, which tells you what use he had for religion if you can’t suss that from the conduct of the war.

As noted by Fr James Tucker three days ago was the birthday of a real hero, Robert E. Lee.

If you want two images that serve as the grave markers of Kennedy’s inaugural address, think of the riderless horse and the casket, and think of the photo of that last helicopter out of Saigon.
Which you’re probably going to see in Baghdad in a few years after Mr Bush’s handlers replay Nixon’s ‘exit strategy’ of some posturing attacks on neighbouring countries followed by an ‘Iraqization’ scheme and ending with the unpopular US puppet government being overthrown, replaced in this case with a militant Muslim one now that Iraqis have good reason to hate America.

Perhaps if they can’t have a bigger empire right now the neocons would be happy with this result as a consolation prize: a perpetual ‘war on terrorism’ (against people they provoked) to stay in power and expand the state. No different really to the Galtieri junta that seized the Falklands only the stakes are higher.

From The Spectator
More on Harry hysteria: what about the gulags?
Of course the British who lived through the war are angry but at the end of the day this article gets it right: an apolitical kid sick to death of PC pseudo-niceness goes for fancy-dress shock value. Dog bites man.

The sovietization of America
As seen by Karen Kwiatkowski in the swearing-in of ‘Dear Leader’, who ‘glows’ and everything. I wonder if the ZIL company made the Благовесть* bell for which I gave a small donation to hang in Yekaterinburg where the Tsar** was killed. Based on their page title it looks like they did! Got to give them credit for adapting to the market.

America’s war is coming unglued
Military expert William Lind on Fourth Generation warfare

*Which means ‘announcement of good news’, as in the gospel including, in Luke, Благовещение, the angel bringing tidings unto Mary.

**Bad leader, good man. But not a particularly oppressive or violent ruler except for the big mistake of involvement in World War I.
From Fiat Mihi
Are you a nerd*?
I got a score of 49 per cent, FWIW.

Kerygma (Lee Nelson)
Coincidence? Not
Seems somebody did a quality test of condoms and the worst was the ‘free’ one from Planned Parenthood

As the rude song goes (to the tune of ‘My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean’):

My father, he gives out the condoms
My brother sticks them with a pin
My mother, she does the abortions
My God, how the money rolls in.
Be sure to read the comments box under Lee’s entry — somebody points out the racialist history of the organization.

BTW, Hilary in Fiat Mihi mentions the big US March for Life coming up next week in DC. Well-meant, of course, as abortion is evil, as this blog makes clear. And of course common prayer for a good cause isn’t bad. But like voting for neocons does nothing to stop it while only enabling them to murder more Iraqis, I’ve come to the conclusion that the event, really one ‘GIANT NOVUS ORDOPALOOZA concelebrated neo-con** fest’ as Hilary says of one religious service planned for it, only serves as a way for people of that kind to identify with and congratulate each other for being such righteous fellows.

Catholics have the (non-NO of course) Mass and office of whatever rite — those keep us together, march or no march.

Ecclesia Anglicana
Taylor Marshall has moved to a new domain name

*Anorak, trainspotter, boffin

**Like this ding-dong. To be fair, in the past he’s had some good things to say. In his 1970s book The Rise of the Unmeltable Ethnics he’s quasi-Catholic in his description of a McGovern campaign staffer bombing with Slavic-American steelworkers, men who looked like his relatives, because she wore a big pro-abortion button. (That was before Vatican II worked its magic and such people were still catechized.) Much like the Democrats blew it last year. They don’t know how to talk to red-staters and don’t care. Bush is a humbug but may be people-smart: when he starts ‘talkin’ country’ and pouring on the religious rhetoric (got from Billy Graham for example) they eat out of his hand... as he sends them to kill and get killed in Iraq.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Eastern churches
RC bishop in Russia put in charge of Russian Catholics there
Say two men in Slovakia and Poland respectively. Doesn’t sound right. By Russian Catholics I don’t mean RCs in Russia but the few churches of the exarchless Russian Catholic Church.
From Jump the Shark
How the last Elisabeth Röhm episode of ‘Law & Order’ should have been written
I'm relieved I'm not the only one who was ready to yell "What da F%*@!" Gilbert-Gottfried style last Wednesday. A few more thoughts on Southerlyn's departure: First, it's obvious the writers or producers were trying for a "Gotcha!" moment...forgetting that we've seen gay or lesbian characters come out in a MUCH more believable way before. (Also, they missed an opportunity for a REAL L&O twist. More below). I still suspect they're gonna have Serena file a discrimination suit against the DA right soon, and IMO, there's only one way this could go that would make any sense: we'll learn that Branch had no idea she was gay until after he fired her. Serena wouldn't look too good after that, but it WOULD give closure to the one good thing about her departure - I thought Branch looked genuinely surprised. After she said, "Is this because I'm a lesbian?" the look on his face said W-h-a-t? That's the problem with this scenario: the only wrap-up I think would work would also have a major character, albeit an unpopular one (for pretty good reason IMO), go down in flames. Again, all of the other former cast members have gone out with some dignity, or have gone out and returned in a way that didn't suck. Even Stone, who screwed up royally (he was indirectly responsible for a witness's death), admitted his mistake and resigned over it. And that's exactly how last week's episode should have ended. So here's my quick-and-dirty rewrite of the ending. Shawn Foreman gets off for the rap producer's killing, and his buddy Psycho is charged with the earlier murder of the drug dealer. But during the trial, when Psycho denies knowing anything about the drug dealer murder, Serena starts to get uncomfortable. The possibility comes out: what if Psycho was telling the truth? What if Shawn Foreman played her the whole time?? Sean Nelson, who played Foreman, first played a VERY manipulative character in "Fresh". He could have easily pulled off a character like this. After the trial, Serena tells Branch about this. Branch's statement to her is the same as in the episode, except that he adds "And you let yourself be manipulated. Maybe we have the right person in jail, maybe not, but we'll never know." He then gives her a decision: make all the speeches and arguments she wants but do not let them affect her work under any circumstance (and if she does, she's gone); or, if she doesn't think she can do this, let him know right now, and he'll right a good reference letter for her to take to a private law firm. He tells her to sleep on it. She says, "I don't need twenty-four hours. I'll get that letter tomorrow morning." She shows no anger or bitterness. Branch nods a little. Southerlyn keeps her dignity, the lesbian angle (which I myself wrote in a screenplay twelve years ago - and threw out because it was so stupid) is ditched, and we have a nice twist about the DA's office possibly being manipulated by a 19-year-old kid. THAT would be a good episode. I'm at best a wannabe writer, and I think I just handed a highly-paid TV writer's ass back to him.
I think you’re right.
From The Latin Mass
Dostoevsky and the mystery of Russia
Follow-up to my entry five days ago with the link about The Brothers Karamazov
Fun with spam
‘Christian’ spam e-mail from Nigerian organized crime
An old trick now but I just got one (rare):

My name is Barr. Solomon Ironsi Rhodes. I am the Legal adviser to Mr. & Mrs. Peter Ferguson, Scottish Citizens that lived in my country for 19 years before their death.

After their death, I sold all the properties and instead of giving out the funds as instructed by the owners, I diverted the funds to myself with intention of investing the funds in Europe. The funds in question “US$2,500.000.00” was packaged in a box, shipped and deposited with the trust for save keeping.

I had encounter with Christ when Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was preaching on television concerning Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5:1-11. After hearing the word of God, I gave my life to Christ and became a born again Christian. As a born again Christian, I started reading my bible and one day, the Lord opened my eyes to Ezekiel 33: 18 and 19 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.

After my fasting and prayers, I asked God to make his choice and direct me to honest Christian or the chosen ministry that deserves this funds. By his Grace, I came across your address while browsing on the Internet through a Christian site. As a matter of fact, it is not only your address that I picked on the Christian site. But after my fervent prayer over it, you were then nominated to me through divine revelation from God.

I have notified the Trust Firm where I deposited the box that contained the funds that I am moving the box abroad and the firm has since been waiting for my authority for the box to leave. If you can assure me of your capability managing the funds strictly towards His Glory, please do contact me urgently with your complete names, address/contact information’s.
• Evidently this writer hasn’t read or heard ‘thou shalt not steal’.
• If somebody supernatural is talking to him it’s probably the same one who talks to Mr Bush.
• I know a Scot and he travels with a British passport, not a Scottish one — devolution hasn’t gone that far.

And get with it, comments-spammers! Offer me my own ninja assassin!

If you can dare to promise me super-sized, long-lasting tumescence, eating without getting fat, making money without working and spending money without earning it, surely you chaps can manage this.
LRC pick
The world’s view of Mr Bush’s second term
From Forum 18
China: How believers resist state religious policy
+Cantuar via David Virtue
Does a ‘right’ to assisted death entail a ‘responsibility’ to kill?
The inverted commas are mine

Thursday, January 20, 2005

March madness
Patrick Resta, National Guardsman medic and veteran against the Iraq war. This link should work through Wednesday.
Specialist Resta had been living in South Carolina, where his wife was attending school, and joined the state's National Guard unit for the college tuition benefits, which he hoped would get him through nursing school. He was working as a dialysis technician, taking college courses and training one weekend a month when the world changed on 9/11. He lost an aunt and uncle at the World Trade Center and was called to active duty a month later.

"I did what I had to do. I signed a contract to defend the Constitution and the people of this country. But, of course," he says in a voice tinged with anger, "that's not what we're doing over there."
Who I’m listening to in person
Robert MacNeil
The co-author of the book and presenter of the programme on American English I linked to yesterday. He’s aristocratically handsome with a voice like a deeper, more commanding version of Peter Jennings with even a trace of BBC — wonderful. They don’t make voices like that anymore. Anyway I learnt that a lot of the distinguishing features of extreme black dialect today weren’t heard from former slaves circa 1930 — somebody went round and recorded some speaking to save their voices for posterity. Rather they sounded much like their white Southern neighbours, says Mr MacNeil. It was heavy-duty segregation in the North that set this dialect on an ever-diverging course from the standard (Two-Beer White Guy notwithstanding, and he is thorougly analysed on the site linked in yesterday’s entry).
Professor’s legacy raises questions
As a former friend who helped form my worldview would put it, this is beneath a putatively RC college but not surprising for the place.

Of course no-one except God can judge poor Dr Ener’s soul (and if she was mentally ill she wasn’t capable of mortal sin) but she wasn’t heroic and so shouldn’t be so publicly honoured. (Just like the unheroic aren’t canonized as public examples but could well be in heaven, and an excommunication doesn’t necessarily mean you’re hellbound, end of story.) A scholarship for Arabic-studies students would be better.

Maybe the difference is barking-mad John du Pont was a public figure and this woman wasn’t.
The Catholic faith
From Fr James Tucker

Lord Acton
Seems classical Liberal like this blog, neither modern liberal nor Modernist and perhaps more faithful to tradition in the long run. The successors of the Manning types are the Novus Ordo religious neocons such as the charismaniacs now on the wane.

Images: iconic v. didactic
Ideas from the great Eamon Duffy. I see this Protestant didacticism/dislike of iconic images today in mainstream RC churches (at least the last time I was at a service in one, over four years ago).

From The Liberal Protestant Century
Another article on Eastern Orthodoxy
Says a lot of good things about a holistic approach: authentically Catholic. The World Council of Churches wasn’t a bad thing when the Eastern Orthodox first got involved in it. It was Christian theologically and a chance to witness to Protestants. Today it’s a waste of time and now that the Iron Curtain is gone the Orthodox don’t need it to talk to each other or to the West.

But if mainline Protestantism has adopted parts of Eastern Orthodox theology I think it’s like their adoption of liturgical stuff. In a part of my job, as an occasional religion writer, I’ve seen more than one mainline minister’s office with icons on the wall (but without candles, oil lamps or censers in front of them): such is hip right now. It’s not that they’ve become Catholic but rather it’s liberal condescension, belief in nothing therefore everything.

IOW they’re as un-Catholic as they were when they bought into John Calvin and if they have adopted parts of Eastern Orthodoxy they’ve got f*ck-all to show for it.
From blog member Samer al-Batal
The coming wars
Seymour Hersh’s detailed exposé on the madness being cooked up this second term by this dangerous administration.

Justin Raimondo comments on the above report and the latest revelations:

Exporting democracy — or terrorism?
Slip-sliding away
After several days of wicked cold (in which I went ghetto and used the cooker to heat my kitchen/office) there was relief yesterday in the form of snow and ice, in which I quickly learnt to keep my car ‘на землю праву’ (Psalm 142/143), LOL, after my guardian angel kept me from getting hit by traffic after a hill rendered my Korean machine a hurtling two-ton sled. It slid again on a slight incline towards a man directing traffic, who must have nerves of steel ’cos he stayed at his post and didn’t run out of the way! Neither any people nor the car were hurt. Lord, have mercy!

Barbershop vibe
Been cutting my own hair with clippers since 1998 but I miss the atmosphere of the ‘old man’ barbershops I’d go to, often literally older men serving older customers in shops that were like stepping back in time, sometimes as far back as the 1950s or even earlier. Places with straight razors and straps where you could get an old-fashioned shave if you wanted one. (Obviously I didn’t!) The ‘You want highlights? Watch the news!’ kind of places and people.

One place even had one of those big clunky electric massagers you strap onto your hand with the motor on top. The barber would rub your shoulders with it when he was done cutting your hair. Nice.

The trouble was those guys often weren’t sure how to cut my hair right.

I give myself a haircut about once a month, maybe every month and a half.

Blogging lesson
Apparently you don’t need a cool domain name in the blogging game. I rent one but in the two days I’ve been tracking it through a special-event intro page, out of hundreds of hits a day (thanks!), of the traceable ones only about a tenth came to the blog that way!
Anglican doings
From David Virtue

Archbishop Peter Akinola in talks with the Reformed Episcopal Church and Anglican Province of America
‘Realignment’: hey, the Elizabethan settlement didn’t work the first time even when the government was enforcing it so let’s try it again!

The REC are admirable Christians but Protestants. No, thanks. The enemy of your enemy isn’t necessarily your friend.
From Katolik Shinja and El camino real
Cælum et terra
Catholic and granola conservative
LRC picks
Condi Rice, sycophant and liar
People are dying because of these types

‘Why, yes, Mr President! Your new suit is marvellous!’

Bush as King Saul
An evangelical Protestant ‘gets it’
From The Gaelic Starover

The emperor’s starkers
On Thursday, the fairy king of fairyland will be recrowned. He was elected on a platform suspended in midair by the power of imagination. He is the leader of a band of men who walk through ghostly realms unvisited by reality. And he remains the most powerful person on earth…
Lord, in Thy mercy: hear our prayer.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

On the box
‘Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State’
Pro-life lesson here: the first people the Nazis gassed weren’t Jews but the disabled. Relevant to what’s happening in Holland today.

American English
Fr James Tucker first blogged about this programme: the site has well-written articles about a sampling of dialects from dudespeak to Spanglish

‘Law & Order’
The new junior prosecutor, played by Annie Parisse, is more beautiful than Elisabeth Röhm. Somebody with some knowledge of history and perhaps a sense of humour named her Alexandra Borgia.
The Catholic faith
Eastern churches

A ‘Confession of Sins’
Каюсь, Господи, помилуй и прости.

Another excerpt from The Way of a Pilgrim (buy the book)
Intense! Must be read in context so you don’t lose your mind. I’m actually not a devoté of the Jesus Prayer — it’s a practice of Orthodox* monks and nuns — but Pilgrim is a lovely book all the same.

*There is a new book pick (for sale) on this page by Adrian Fortescue thanks to Dr Philip Blosser.
LRC pick
Sobran on Sontag
She said some stupid things:

The white race is the cancer of history
But was right about 9/11.

Oh, and yes, she was attractive.

She struck poses and uttered a few outré aphorisms
A lot like somebody I’ve met who’s entertaining and occasionally on target, Camille Paglia, a motormouth who fires remarks like birdshot. Part teacher, part comedienne.
Petition: Stop Ashlee
Before she pretends to sing again
The Catholic faith
Today the churches of the Orthodox tradition that use the Julian calendar (on which today is the 6th January), including the biggest, the Church of Russia, celebrate Theophany, Our Lord’s baptism, by John the Baptist, in the River Jordan. Not just a manifestation (what Epiphany, epiphania, means in Greek) of Jesus’ divinity, as was the visit of the Three Kings to the Baby Jesus as celebrated in Roman Rite Epiphany, but specifically named as the manifestation of God (what theophania means in Greek) in which Our Lord, not needing to be baptized himself of course, instituted the Sacrament of Baptism for our sakes.

O faithful, come and behold the place of the baptism of Christ, so that we may follow Him to the streams of the Jordan and thus draw near to the one who cries out in the wilderness: See the inexpressible loving-kindness of the Creator of Adam, who bows His head to the hand of a servant. Therefore let us cry out to Him: Thou hast come and appeared in the Jordan to sanctify the waters.
- From Byzantine Rite Matins for the feast

Also today in Russia congregations cut holes in river and lake ice to have the priest bless holy water, of course the sacramental that reminds one of baptism. Eastern Orthodox use it to bless people and things by the priest sprinkling them with it and also drink it. This season after the feast is when he comes round to bless houses.

Съ праздникомъ!

As for the Baptist’s words to the Pharisees, et al. who came to him, I can’t imagine a sermon today even in the most un-PC, un-touchy-feely place beginning with ‘You brood of vipers!’
From The Onion
Caged Saddam to be highlight of inaugural ball

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

From The Gaelic Starover
Deception Dollar No. 8
A punto.
The canonization*, even apotheosis, of Martin Luther King Jnr
I noticed something this year about yesterday’s stateside bank holiday: the PC powers-that-be are attributing more and more well-meant charitable activity (in the form of work projects by school kids that day) to this man that AFAIK is nothing to do with what he did. Despite his historical problems Dr King has come to stand for charity to and especially equity for American blacks. But the PCers are inflating him into a kind of ersatz Jesus much like what’s been done with Lincoln. (Hmmm, both dealt blows to states’ rights. At least King really cared about blacks.) Next year I shan’t be surprised to read ‘be kind to animals’ attributed to him.

*The Episcopal Church has! He’s in their liturgical kalendar.
LRC pick
I refuse to return to Iraq
By Sgt Kevin Benderman, US Army
Chair of Unity Octave
Today in the Roman Rite is the feast of the Chair of St Peter in Rome

In Russian
Site of the Russian Catholic Church in Russia
Well done. A note at the bottom of the page says it’s not an official site.

Prayer translated by me:

Look down, most merciful Lord Jesu, our Saviour, upon the prayers and sighs of Thine unworthy servants, humbly falling down before Thee, and unite us all in one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. Shine into our souls Thine ineffable light. Heal all church divisions that we may glorify Thee with one heart and one mouth, and all know that we are Thy true disciples and beloved children. Our most merciful Lord, quickly fulfil Thy wish that there be one flock and one shepherd of Thy Church, that we may one day worthily glorify Thy holy Name, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
- Blessed Leonty (Leonid Feodorov)

As a footnote to the two entries in the past week on Russian Orthodox history, here in brief is the Russian Catholic story. (Blog e-mail correspondent Lee Penn is a Russian Catholic as is new friend Bernard Brandt, and sometime member, now Gaelic blogger for peace, Daithí Mac Lochlainn at least attends New York’s excellent Russian Catholic church.)

Some intelligentsia in Russia around 1900 read their own way into starting this small church, approved by St Pius X with the order nec pluc, nec minus, nec aliter (use Russian Orthodox practices as is and don’t latinize) which they’ve been faithful to ever since with few exceptions. Under the care of Ukrainian Catholic head Metropolitan Andrew (Sheptytsky) the little church was under a priest exarch who was a secret bishop, the monk Leonty quoted above. The Soviets essentially squashed this church in Russia. (Bishop Leonty died in internal exile in Viatka, Russia in the 1930s.) As you can see from the site it’s back, again a small grassroots movement, but isn’t pushed by the RC or Ukrainian Catholic authorities out of respect for the Church of Russia. (It has no bishops of its own though the exarchate still officially exists.)

Meanwhile in America...

Essentially there the Russian Catholic Church was a 1930s project of the Jesuits to convert the Russian Orthodox that failed (Bernard’s church, however, was founded to convert members of the Molokan sect but that failed too), leaving three churches (only Lee’s is still Jesuit) as sturdy refuges for Catholic-minded non-Russians who love the rite and culture and don’t solicit the Orthodox.
Sometimes change is good
Site updates:
• I’ve brought back something I tried years ago on the old site but technically didn’t work then: a news feed, as you can see on the right side of this page, ‘increasing this blog’s functionality’* as the tech and corporate boffins would say. Anyway, enjoy!
• A new book for sale (in print and inexpensive) on the Anglo-Catholic page (scroll down towards the bottom of that page), a classic from William Cobbett.

*In my job I’ve dedicated my work to ridding newsprint of that kind of language. (Cf. Paul Fussell.)
From Katolik Shinja

Funeral of murdered Coptic family in Jersey City

And a pro-life entry got from InfernoXV:

‘It was horrible, horrible!’: A first-hand account of what goes on inside a Chula Vista abortion clinic
Edward Yong’s warning: Not for the squeamish.
From The Gaelic Starover
Syrian Catholic archbishop released in Iraq

Monday, January 17, 2005

In a country where until about two years ago you could practise Christianity in peace (unlike its neighbours):

Archbishop kidnapped in Iraq
What Bush hath wrought
From blog member Samer al-Batal
Tsunami before and after photos from a satellite
From blog member John Boyden
Something to make a lot of us feel old
A mass e-mail full of stateside trivia:

Just in case you weren't feeling too old today, this will certainly change things. Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year's incoming freshmen.

Here's this year's list:

• The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1986.

The year I first went to S. Clement’s (High Mass for the feast of Our Lady of Clemency), an experience of a kind sought for some time which was life-changing all the same, and where I first met Fr Peter Laister, who gave me his blessing when I set out completely on my own starting my adult life three years later.

And the year of my third shouting match with a mainstream RC priest, a type I’d first met in person two years earlier. (Him regarding traditionalism: ‘Those people are dead! Those practices are dead!’ Today, not so much — it’s more likely he is.)

• They are too young to remember the first space shuttle blowing up.
• Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
• Bottle caps have always been screw-off and plastic.
• The CD was introduced the year they were born.

I still call them ‘records’.

• They have always had an answerphone.
• They have always had cable.
• They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
• Jay Leno has always been on ‘The Tonight Show’.
• Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
• They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
• They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are.
• They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.

The year they were born I saw Robin Williams live and he ruled. He won some kind of Golden Globe award last night, maybe for lifetime achievement, and deserved it. My picks: Good Morning, Vietnam, The Fisher King and Awakenings (try Dr Oliver Sacks’ book too!). Moscow on the Hudson looks pretty good too. Don’t see Dead Poets Society unless you enjoy the equivalent of being punched in the stomach.

• They never heard: "Where's the beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel", or "ze plane, Boss, ze plane".
• They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. even is.
• McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.
• They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.

So what? Typewriters suck. They can type very well, thank you, as they’ve lived with graphical-user-interface home computers all their lives.

Do you feel old yet? Pass this on to the other old fogies on your list.
This young fogey enjoyed it.

To which one can add:

• They don’t remember the Falklands war (unlike the business today really a noble cause ‘for Queen and country’ defending one’s own people) or the Pope visiting Britain.
• They probably don’t remember Thatcherism, Koo Stark, the ambulance-drivers’ strike or ‘No poll tax!’
Fun with spam
The latest crop of crap URLs left in the comments
Yawn. More diet and boner pills, online gambling and crap credit cards. OK, maybe with the phentermine they’ve got gluttony covered already. But obviously the spambot can’t process what it reads in this blog. To cover all seven deadly sins, where’s the offer to get me a ninja assassin?
LRC pick
Robot factories
On the native intelligence and inquisitiveness of children and the government schools trying to stamp that out

Sunday, January 16, 2005

On the box
The Golden Globes

Congratulations, Mariška Hargitay! (Detective Benson from ‘Law & Order: SVU’.)
From The Gaelic Starover
Amazing tsunami pic (not real, though)

It’s only Photoshop magic as Snopes and friend Charley Wingate told me. It’s still an impressive artist’s rendition.


One of New York’s three Russian Orthodox cathedrals (see yesterday’s entries for that story) to hold benefit concert for tsunami relief
To add to yesterday’s history lesson a bit, unlike in San Francisco, the old Russian diocese in NYC hasn’t got its onion-domed old cathedral (built for them by Tsar Nicholas II!) — it lost it to the Soviets in a 1920s court case! So it passed on to the Church of Russia (the bishop the Soviets started sending after WWII). (Government types used to spy on the place.) The American diocese started over again in the 1940s and set up its cathedral in the place Daithí refers to, in a Gothic secondhand church on the Lower East Side. Then when ROCOR moved to the city, thinking the American sees were being insubordinate to them, they eventually set up house (cathedral, bishop’s palace and chancery) in an old mansion near Park Avenue (and only a few blocks south of the old cathedral).
Eastern churches
On The Brothers Karamazov
A book I admit I didn’t understand but from this commentary it sounds like Dostoevsky ‘got’ the Catholic view of free will and liberty
From The Perennial Rambler
On the liberal myth behind some bad science fiction
One thing I always couldn't stand about ‘Star Trek’ (which is why in the end I always prefered Star Wars, both as a story concept and actualized series of films) was its naive trust in the notion of "better living through science" also known as that bane, "inevitable progress". He [Gene Roddenberry] honestly believed that with enough material affluence (elimination of poverty and disease, etc.), people would get along in some egalitarian wonder. The truth of course is that there is never enough, that human appetites know no end. Peace comes with the transformation of man, not with the acquisition of gadgetry.
Gene Roddenberry was a lifelong believer in that liberal myth and anti-religious on the Bolshevik level.

As I learnt from reading The New American years ago if you take his imaginary universe to its logical conclusion his ‘good guys’ (in whose employ are Capt. Kirk and Mr Spock) are... totalitarian. You see it every time Kirk bosses some newly discovered aliens around (sometimes at gunpoint!), forcing the American way on them, just like the real-world liberals were trying to do in Vietnam at the time and like Mr Bush’s neocon puppeteers are trying to pull off in Iraq.

Yes, the transformation of man, the Catholic answer. Not to be confused with The Transformed Man, William Shatner’s ’60s album of dramatic readings of pop-song lyrics that’s laughed at to this day. (In which he yells ‘Mr Tambourine Maaaaaaan!’ just like he did Khaaaaaaaaan! 15 years later. To be fair, AFAIK he’s never tried to sing.)
From Evangelical Protestantism Christianity Today
Evos rediscover liturgical worship and mysticism
Say "liturgy" and my evangelical college students have a reflex akin to an invitation to take a quiz. Say "mysticism" and they are drawn, fascinated, eager to see what I mean. They want spontaneity yet drift toward the Episcopal church. They carry NIV study Bibles but are intrigued by experiments in prayer, Christian meditation, spiritual disciplines honed in the medieval world, and candlelit sanctuaries. Some play the Chant CD endlessly. Os Guinness, Saint Teresa of Avila, and Richard Foster might all inhabit the same book bag.
Foster’s good.

Both these people and the neo-pagans* have a lot of potential.

Not only have a number of these people re-created Anglicanism but of course the Eastern Orthodox convert boomlet blogged about yesterday is a part of this phenom.

*Again, if I were 16, didn’t know better and were given only mainline churches and being a goth as choices, I’d be a goth! They’re shoring up fragments against their ruins to quote T.S. Eliot (an Anglo-Catholic), distorting bits of the Catholic religion they don’t understand. Rather like the Samaritans in biblical times (they’re still in Palestine but very small).